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Perspective

A Facebook friend of mine, who is always extremely positive, posted this morning,”Good things are going to happen to you today!’

As I “liked” her post with genuine hope in my heart that she would be right, it dawned on me that being positive is very powerful.

My days are filled with what seems like a hundred and one mundane tasks. They sneakily eat away at the seemingly plentiful hours we are afforded every day.

Speech therapy, the supermarket, trips to pick up this, and drop off that. Squeezing in time with the adaptive P.E. teacher, the regular school teacher, and driving the after school carpool. Doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, making sure the people that live with me don’t starve to death, and trying to crank out orders for my teeny home accessories business.

When Oscar asks me, “What did you do today?” I usually answer, “Not much,” but it is much. It really is. It’s a lot of little things that equal the successful running our home.

Just like what YOU do every day. It is important. We are important.

I have to say, lots of good things happened to me today, but nothing is ever as good as knowing you are loved, and appreciated.

You are! Really….and you deserve a cupcake, a really big one.

XOXO,

Vanessa

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Confessions

When I was *ahem* young I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Ironic, since you would think blogging would be a great way to exercise that ‘ol writing muscle (my brain).

I haven’t written anything to speak of, no books, short stories, poems, articles, nothing of great significance. Just a few anecdotes here and there on this blog (not very consistently, I might add).

Despite my shortcomings, I still dream of being a published author one day.

I love sweets. Mostly carb laden sweets. Oh and gummy bears. And Aussie-style green apple licorice. I have no idea why, but I can rarely walk by the candy aisle at Target without popping a bag of licorice into my cart. Weird huh?  I have a half eaten bag of gummy bears in my purse right now.

I have an obsession with eggs. Whenever I go to the grocery store, Target, Walmart, anywhere they sell food, I always buy at least one dozen eggs. I just don’t want to run out of eggs. I know…cuhrrrazzzyy!

I also have a secret desire to be a really good dancer. Not like a “Dancing with the Stars” dancer, but more like a “kicking my eleven year old  daughter’s butt on Just Dance 2” kind of dancer. The problem is, I have no rhythm. It’s almost as bad as watching Elaine on Seinfeld dance to “Shining Star.”  Okay maybe not that bad, but pretty close. I still do it though. I have to coerce Sabrina into doing “dance battles” with me, and once she agrees, I dance until I’m sweaty…which sadly doesn’t take  very much effort at all. One day I’ll get all the moves right.

I love old music. Mostly standards from the forties, fifties and sixties. I also love Neil Diamond. Oscar and I saw him in concert a couple of years ago, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

I have a TON of gray hair. I am not exaggerating at. all. I am only thirty-five, and I probably have more gray hair than my eighty-six year old Abuelita. I blame my Dad. It’s all his fault, darn genetics.

I could confess all day and night, but I think I’ll leave some for later.

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You won!

Holiday Treats!

Okay, only one person won the give-a-way, but I really wish I had a bunch more stuff to give you! Thank you for taking the time to enter my little contest.

A big hearty congrats goes to:

Jennifer Phan

Yay, you’re the winner! Be sure and check your inbox 😀

I do have a “sort-of”  present for everyone though, a recipe! I love to bake, especially, as the weather gets colder. This is one of my favorites. I’ve made a few different variations, over the years. Here’s the basic recipe, and a few fun twists.

Snowballs (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies aka Polvorones)

Yields about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Additional powdered sugar (you’ll be rolling the cookies in it)

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, salt and butter, mix well. Add the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour, and work nuts into the dough. Cover and chill until firm, about one hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Form dough into one inch balls, and place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set, but not brown. Roll in powdered sugar immediately. Cool on wire racks. Roll in sugar again. Store in an airtight container.

Some fun variations that I have tried are:

Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of mini chocolate chips to the dough

Add 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the dough

Add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the dough

You can also use any type of nut you’d like. Walnuts, Almonds, even Pistachios.

Time to fire up those ovens, Enjoy!

 

 

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November Giveaway!

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I would give something away in October, but obviously that didn’t happen. My bad.  Since we are heading into, but are not quite in the wild frenzy that is the holiday shopping season, I figure this is as good a time as any, to make good on my promise.

I did a little craft show over the weekend at my nieces’ school, and I was forced to actually make stuff! Ahh the horror…. It’s one of those things though, when you are creative for a living (or are trying to make a living at being creative),  that creativity sometimes takes time off, without your permission. My creative mojo had been gone for a bit, but it’s back, baby!

So, I am giving away a hostess apron/towel combo. It can be something custom, or you can choose from the ones I currently have listed in the shop. You can keep it or give it away, whatever you like. This would make a great gift for your mom, your sis, your sis-in-law, your mother-in-law, your kid’s teacher….I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift.

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post = 1 entry

Leave a comment on facebook  HERE = 1 entry

Tweet about this giveaway = 1 entry

You need to let me know, by posting here or on the Facebook “Giveaway” post if you also tweeted this giveaway. I will randomly choose a winner on Tuesday 11/16/10, so you have one week to enter. Tell your friends! Good luck my peeps 😀

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They’re watching you…

I’ve had my Halloween decorations sitting in the kitchen for about two weeks. I fully intended to put them out. When Sabrina asked last week if we could start decorating, I told her yes, by all means, go to it. After sticking a couple of Halloween yard stakes in some pots of rapidly deteriorating  mums, it turns out that her idea of “decorating” and mine, are not quite  the same . Then I realized a couple of days ago, that Halloween is next week, and well, call me lazy, but I really don’t feel like taking everything out, just to put it away again….so soon, I mean.

I couldn’t resist pulling out my favorite decoration though. Oscar says this little pair looks like they’re watching you. It kinda does, but I like them. Heck, I love them. As much as one can love an inanimate object.  So, they are pretty much the extent of my Halloween decorating this year. There’s always Christmas right?

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Get a little Crafty

If you would’ve come to visit me a few years ago on October 1st, you would have found my house appropriately decorated, inside and out, for Halloween. I was really annoying like that. These days, I just hope that there’s not a pair of shoes or twenty, waiting to greet visitors at the door. There’s no need to call the people at “Hoarders” or anything, but I’m just not as diligent as I used to be with important stuff like holiday decorating.  I’m trying to change though, really I am.

Everytime I see those wreaths made out of black feathers, at Michaels, or Target, I want to buy one, but I can never bring myself to shell out the $25-$39 they usually cost. I’m not exactly what you would call frugal (though I should be), but I don’t think I could adequately justify that purchase to my lovely and patient husband.  At least not without lying about how much I spent on a feather wreath that I will only use for one month every year.

I decided to make a little Halloween-ish wreath that’s quite festive, and easy on the pocketbook.  I spent about $5.00, on the wreath form, crepe and tissue papers.  I had the rest of the materials on hand.  You want to make one too? C’mon, it’s easy, I’ll show you.

Your supplies, minus a couple.

Okay, you’ll need a foam wreath form. This one was fairly small, about eleven inches in diameter. I also used black crepe paper, floral wire, tissue paper, stick pins, and a piece of scrap fabric I had laying around for the bow. There’s a glue gun in the picture, but I ended up not using it.

Step 1: Cover the wreath form in the black crepe paper. Just take a long streamer piece, and wind it around the entire wreath. Secure the loose end with tape or a dot of hot glue. It will look like this:

Covered wreath form.

Step 2: Make the tissue flowers that are the main decorative element for the wreath. I used Martha Stewart’s tutorial. I used smaller pieces of tissue paper, than they did. Mine were 5X5 (inches), and I used four pieces to create each flower. I made eleven (don’t ask why such a random number, I have no idea), so that’s forty-four 5X5 pieces of black tissue paper.

Here are the completed flowers.

Here's one up close.

Step 3: Take your covered wreath form, and place your tissue flowers all around the perimeter, until you run out of flowers. I used stick pins to secure each of them in place. You can also use hot glue, either way will work fine. I left a space at the bottom center of my wreath, for a bow. I sew, so I have lots of fabric lying around. I chose a bright orange damask fabric, cut it to size, made a bow, and secured it to the wreath with floral wire. You can also use  hot glue to attach the bow.  If you don’t have any fabric, no worries,  just use ribbon. A nice orange satin would be nice, or really anything that floats your boat will work.

Damask bow. I like shabby.

A close up of the tissue flowers.

You're done!

That’s it! Honestly, the most time consuming part, is making the tissue flowers. After that, everything is easy as pie. The neat thing about this type of project is you can customize it for almost any occasion. Christmas, Baby Showers, Valentines Day, whatever you want, go nuts!

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Almost nine months ago, Araceli announces she is expecting a baby. She is technically my cousin, but we have grown up together, and she is as close to a sister as I’ve ever had. Though I know the shower is my Aunt’s to plan, I volunteer my mom and myself, as willing party co-planners. My aunt agrees, and the planning begins. 

I am kind of a decorating “free spirit.” What I mean is that I really don’t have a set “style,” but lean towards a bunch of different aesthetics.  I love shabby chic, ruffles, flea market finds, vintage/nostalgic pieces, and color, lots of it. I also have a weakness for polka dots. If you peek into my house, you’ll find them in almost every room. It sounds crazy, but that’s me, and except for a few things, that a lack of funds prohibit me from buying (ie: new floors, which I desperately want), there’s not a whole lot I’d change about my home…well, maybe the size, but that’s it…really.

How does this relate to planning a baby shower? Well, it says a lot about the type of shower I’d likely plan. 

 Araceli, however, has her own style. One she jokingly refers to as the “Latin Flair” style of decorating. Not really a lot of room for the “free spirit” school of party planning, if you know what I mean. We decide to use the “latin flair” theme as a jumping off point for the shower, and run with it.  I have to say, that my mom and my aunt are really good sports. They never question any of my crazy ideas, which I like!

The day of the shower was this past Saturday, and would’nt you know, after a week of cool, crisp, fall-like weather, Saturday was slated to reach about 100 degrees. The party was held at my house, as I live on a large “rancho” like property, very “latin flair-ey.”  Huge tissue paper pom-poms, papel picado,  lots of mexican food and desserts produced a sweet baby shower, for a super sweet girl.

Here are a few pics:

The Mexican candy and dessert buffet.

Guest Sign-in book, candle party favors, tissue flower pins, and mini diapers.

Diaper cake made by my cousin Peggy, such a cute idea!

Felicidades banner.

Calm before the guests arrive.

Flowers nestled in a rusty old watering can beckoned the guests inside.

Araceli and a few of the guests.

The pretty mama-to-be a friends.

The book basket. We asked each guest to bring a book for the baby.

My mama, the game emcee.

Parties are fun, but I am still suffering from a bit of a shower “hangover.”

Until the next one 🙂

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