Saturday, November 8, 2008

A True Sense of Gratitude

I am grateful for so many things in my life, and although I may complain about stuff from time to time, I truly know that I am a blessed person. I have a supportive family, an education, good friends and so much more. And although I always try to stay focused on these things in my life, I think Thanksgiving just gives us a special opportunity to reflect on what we are truly grateful for.

The ability to just slow down our hectic lives once in awhile, and enjoy the small things that bring us pleasure, is a blessing in itself. For many years I was just unable or incapable of doing that, but now that I am a wife and a mother I truly enjoy those simple pleasures that life has to offer. I especially love those little things that make my son giddy with excitement. One of the ways I have been nurturing this excitement is by creating little traditions for each holiday that he experiences. This is all so new to him, since this is the first year he is really enjoying and getting the holidays, and we have plenty of time to build on them. But one of my simple traditions, and one that my mom has passed down to me, is just decorating the house for the holidays. Yesterday, Zolie was running around the house yelling "Happy-ween" and pointing to all the pumpkins we have out for decoration. It was adorable. So, now that Happy ween is behind us I'm trying to think up special ways to commemorate Thanksgiving. I'm thinking of putting a scrapbook together with pictures of the family at dinner and ask everyone to write down a few things that they are grateful for and incorporate that into the book-- I'm still working out the details though.

I've been working on a few Thanksgiving cards that I plan to send out to friends and family, just to remind them how special they really are. I think it's going to be a nice surprise because we don't usually send cards for Thanksgiving. I just think that the sentiment that this time of year conveys is perfect for hand made cards and I also love the color pallet of the autumn so that fits in lovely as well.

I found the sentiment for the first card on the Pursuit of CraftYness blog. I just love it and it really speaks to me on a personal level. I know my photos are pretty awful (I'm still really new at this) and I am working out a way to improve on them-- mainly I need a better light source. It's been exceptionally wet and rainy hear for the last week, so that's not helping. Anyway, the sentiment reads; "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." That just rings so true, and it's one of those quotes that I'm sure I'll find myself reflecting on throughout the year.

Free Stampin' Fun

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to join her for a stamping class at the public library. The class was hosted by a lovely woman who just happens to be a Stampin' Up demonstrator. It was great! Vicky showed us a bunch of card making techniques and how to use a bunch of tools. And the best part of the class was that we got to make two cards to take home with us! I can't wait to do it again.
The first card we made was the purple and green-- great color combo-- pansy card. For that one we were shown how to add a thin layer of ink with a blending pen to give the stamped image a painted look. For the second card, we used tools like sponges to apply ink and a scalloped punch. The second card actually has a pocket on the inside for placing a gift card-- oh so fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flee Market Finds

I really love garage sales, flee markets and rummage sales. Actually, I love it anytime I can find a great deal for under .50$. This year I managed to drag Zoltan to a bunch of garage sales-- although he was reluctant he loved it just as much as I did. It all began for us when our town had a town wide garage sale at the beginning of the summer. We came home with a car load of toys for Zolie and had only spent $12.00.

I think the other thing that's appealing to me is the chance, even if it's slight, of actually finding a real beauty find-- something that is just so unique and special that it could only be found at the back of someone elses closet.

Oh Halloween, you will be missed

I was really hoping to get this blog up and running about a month ago, especially since there were a bunch of fun Halloween things going on that I would have liked to share. I guess I was just way too busy with all that fun stuff to get my self organized in the blogshpere. Hopefully I will be able to make up for it next year. But since I'm not quite ready to give up on Halloween yet, I thought I would just re-cap the great moments with a top 10 list and maybe a few pictures.
Top 10 things I like about Halloween
1. Dressing up
2. Halloween decorations
3. Candy apples
4. Jack o'Lanterns
5. Trick or Treating
6. Cupcakes
7. Mr. Halloween
8. Halloween parties
9. Halloween crafting
10 The Sweet and Sinister craft blog

As for the cupcakes, I'm not much of a baker but I sure had fun making these. I figure if I can perfect making the cupcake I'll never have to bake anything else for the duration of my son's childhood. I especially had fun making the colored icing. Next time I might even dye the cake to match, because after all it's all about the aesthetics-- and lots and lots of butter.
Other than them being so cute and fun, I also had an ulterior motive for my cupcakes. Since Zolie may possibly have a peanut/nut allergy and tends to break into hives when he eats cake because of the egg whites (another allergy) we usually have to avoid cake. I stopped by our local health food store a few weeks ago and picked up Cherrybrook kitchen's cake mix and icing mix. The great thing about Cherrybrook is that they are peanut/ nut free, egg free and milk free -- although we don't have to worry about that last one --whew. Your probably wondering how the heck you can make cupcakes without eggs, and to tell you the truth I really don't know how they manage it-- but they also taste really, really good-- actually I think better than Betty Crocker. So this is great for us, because it means our little one can have his cake and eat it too!

It's very hard to believe that it is already November. I think I have been in complete denial that the summer is actually over and that winter is almost here. It wasn't until yesterday that it actually hit me when I left my house at 4:50 to pick up my son Zolie from daycare and it was already night time! When Zolie and I left the school he kept saying "dark, dark", even my toddler realized that something was not quite right. He was probably remembering all of those great summer days when we would stay out playing in the yard until 7 pm or later. Just like the song says-- summer time and the living is easy.

It's not to say that I don't like the autumn-- it's actually one of my favorite times of the year. I definitely had a fun time getting ready for Halloween all of October. But there is nothing quite like those lazy days of summer that feel like they are going to last forever. Well, in a final and feeble attempt to hold onto a bygone season I am going to leave you with an image of Zolie whooping it up in his kiddie pool in our backyard, so enjoy!

One of the big events of this month, and one that we all got to be a part of (at least I hope so) was the 2008 Presidential election. It was truly a moment in history and one that we will get to tell our children and grandchildren about one day; the year when the first African-American was elected President. When I woke up on Wednesday morning and found out that Barack Obama was going to be our next president I honestly felt proud to be an American. This man truly represents the changing face of the American people. And the fact that he was actually elected as President sends a message to the rest of the world that America is ready for a new and improved global image.

This election was also a historical moment for us on a personal level. This year Zoltan had the chance to vote for the first time as an American citizen, in fact it was the first time he has ever voted in any Presidential election. He was so excited about it and a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of it --he's so cute! We dropped off Zolie at daycare together so that we could go to the poles together to vote. Luckily, there were no lines and we were able to jump into a booth right away. I probably waited an extra five minutes while Zoltan completed his ballot. He probably read over every one's name just in case--oh! I think it really meant a lot to him and gave him a sense of how far he has come since he left his home country of Romania.

Well, there it is. Nov. 4th 2008 two American men make history in their own way-- one man named Zoltan and the other man named Barack-- Only in America, God Bless America!