Thursday, May 31, 2012

Teacher Gifts–End of School Year

Don’t you hate when the year flies by so quickly that you keep forgetting you have something to do?

Well, that was me yesterday when I realized I didn’t have teacher gifts and school ended TODAY.

My little one has 6 aids and one teacher so it took me awhile to come up with gifts without breaking the bank.

I decided on doing a Summer themed gift.

It included:

  • Summer themed mini-pails
  • Individual powdered drink mix (2 kinds)
  • Snapple frozen sorbet bars
  • Fudge pops
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (1 of 8)

I took the labels off the water bottles and attached home made ones that said “Have a great summer”.

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (2 of 8)

Next came all the other goodies.

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (3 of 8)

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (4 of 8)2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (5 of 8)

The gift was finished off with a custom card.

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (6 of 8)

I am SO very thankful for everything that Cody’s teacher has done for him and couldn’t figure out how to show my appreciation until I remember Kayce Jones Designs’ hand stamped jewelry! I had this created for his teacher. Simple, but I love it.

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (7 of 8)

This necklace was created for DJ’s teacher.

2012 End of School Year Teacher Gifts (8 of 8)

Have a great summer vacation with your kiddos!!!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Giveaway–Nessa’s Cutie Patootie Flower Clips & Hairbows

Today’s giveaway is brought to you by Nessa’s Cutie Patootie Flower Clips and Bows!


Vanessa Urea is the creator behind these adorable flower clips and bows. If I had a daughter, I would be all over this! :)

She can design bows to match any of your princess’ outfits. Check out some of her previous designs.


I asked Vanessa how she got started with her business-

“My name is Vanessa I am a stay at home mommy to a 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son. I started my business without really knowing I was going to start a business. I made hair clips for my daughter one day and posted the picture on Facebook. Quickly after that I began to get request to make orders. I told myself that if I sold 100 clips I would start a Facebook business page and wah-lah here I am now creator of Nessa's Cutie Patootie Flower Clips & Hair bows :)

I custom make items to your liking. You choose colors and I work my magic based on what you would like. I love to keep my customers happy and I love to see all the Cutie Patooties in action ;).”

My favorite part about it is the “accidental” business. That is how I began my photography business and I just love how sometimes things just fall into your lap that were meant to be – like Vanessa’s new, unexpected business. :)

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win

2 customized stacked hair bows

Use Rafflecopter below to enter. Entries must be received by June 8th.

Vanessa will help you design create the perfect hair accessory to coordinate with any outfit or occasion!

Create bows like these beauties -





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vanessa also has 2 great specials to share with you this month!


Contact Vanessa at or through her Facebook page to order your bows today! Be sure to mention this blog post to receive your special.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Have a Winner! | World World DVD Giveaway

Congratulations, Sum! You are our Word World DVD Set winner! Check your email. Winking smile



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Friday, May 25, 2012

Running and I are not Friends…

There was a time were I could lace up my tennis shoes, head out the door and run a mile without breaking into a sweat.

Well, those days are gone….

A couple of months ago, I decided that I was going to try the Couch to 5K and get myself running again.

A bad back, dead nerves from my neck on down, and asthma are a temporary damper to my hopes of joining the likes of Forrest Gump and running.

I will try again, I’m sure, but for now, I’m hanging up my running shoes . :/

Awhile back, I was reading something about Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD. So I do what I usually do to see more reviews and checked Amazon out to see what folks have said about it.

Well...with 4.5 stars and 2,9995 reviews I decided that it was worth a shot. Target happens to sell the DVD for less than $10 so I went straight to Target and bought a copy.

Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred

When I read the DVD case I thought “cool, 20 minutes a day. EASY!”

Um….I was soooo wrong! About 10 minutes into the workout on the first day, I thought my legs were going to fall off and I felt like passing out. Seriously. Jillian Michaels is unforgiving. She chides you even through the video. Sure, I could have turned the DVD off, but something just made me want to prove myself to Jillian. Darn you Jillian Michaels for your motivation. ;)

The next morning, I could hardly walk up and down the stairs, but I forced myself to do the workout. I had to convince myself that it was only 20 minutes so DO IT…though it felt more like 2 hours of workout.

The third day was a break day. Mostly because the soreness in my legs made me walk like Frankenstein.

This morning, I woke up pain free and was excited to do the workout. It was a satisfying feeling to complete the workout without feeling like I wanted to roll up in a ball and cry! I know she mentioned in the video that after a few days it wouldn’t be so hard, but I thought she was lying!

I am determined to keep my new routine – waking up at 6 am to do the workout.

Can you check on me to make sure I am staying on track? Smile

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

May Birchbox–Product Reviews

Seriously, I get giddy like a kid on Christmas Eve when these boxes come in. I think not knowing what is inside is what makes it most exciting.

May’s Birchbox sported my favorite color so that meant it was going to have something extra special inside…right?


This month’s box was created with a Gossip Girl theme.



I like Stila products so I was excited to see a Stila box inside.


Inside the box were allll these goodies. My favorite stuck out like a sore thumb – GOLD NAIL POLISH!


I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bold notecard! This deep purple with fuchsia envelope card is black inside so I can use it for any occasion!


When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I don’t mind spending money for great quality products that deliver.

After trying the Kerastase samples included in this month’s box I have to say I am not impressed. The shampoo is supposed to “add incredible body and movement”, but instead, I felt like my hair was just “eh”. The shampoo left my hair feeling a little dry and the conditioner didn’t give me the softness that I had hoped for. I have not yet tried the Lumiere Liquide. (I feel the need to say this in the voice of the candelabra on Beauty and the Beast. French accent and with a “oui oui” at the end.)


These products are from top right to bottom:

  • Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm – I wasn’t exactly sure what it was so I had not tried it. I looked it up today on Birchbox and I am pretty sure it goes on the face. I will be trying this soon. :)
  • Color Club Foil Collection in Disco Nap – I love nail polish – especially unusually colored ones so I was excited to try this out. I put it on right away and it is a perfectly spring/summer color! I especially love that this is a one-coat nail color and dries suuuuuper fast.
  • Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Curacoa – I like trying new eyeliners, but this one, I think I am passing on trying. It is a bright, sparkly blue and I just don’t know if I can pass it off! :) Maybe one day when I have somewhere that calls for shiny blue eyeliner, I will try it out.


Do you subscribe to Birchbox? If so, what did you get this month?


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giveaway! WordWorld: Shark’s Loose Tooth DVD & 2 Sticker Sheets

Thanks to our friends at KidToons, I am excited to offer this giveaway for a WordWorld: Shark’s Loose Tooth DVD and 2 sticker sheets!

WordWorld DVD and Stickers - Giveaway copy

To enter, use Rafflecopter below. There are multiple chances to enter!  You can also enter daily between now and Monday by posting the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter. Please be sure to use Rafflecopter so your posts count as an entry! Smile

Also, don’t forget to watch Sid the Science Kid: Backyard Campout in theaters! LA/Orange County and Kansas/Missouri familes - get your free ticket here.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Confidence Will Get You Anywhere

You know that feeling when you have so many hands lifting you up and supporting you and you feel like there is nothing you can’t do?

I think that is where Cody is in life right now.

Imperial Beach San Diego Birthday Pictures - Chula Vista Child Portrait Photography (5 of 10)

When we left Suisun, he could recognize his numbers up to 20, knew his capital letters and could spell his name along with a few other letters and numbers.

We moved here in mid-February and Cody was not able to complete jigsaw puzzles, use scissors, hold a pencil using a tri-pod position, or read.

2 weeks ago on a Wednesday, his teacher sent home flashcards with the words “I, A, the, my, see” on them and asked me to have practice reading those words. I was shocked when I showed them to him and he read them. Sure, “I” and “A” are totally easy, but he also read “the”, “my” and “see”.

Very first time reading

I was anxious to go to school the next day to ask the teacher how long he had been working on reading those words. I was surprised when she said he had just started reading them on Monday!!!

It has been 3 weeks since he started trying and he is now reading 12 words!

What I love about this school is the support system that the kids provide for both my boys.

Cody’s teacher has figured out that Cody loves praise, cheering, and clapping when he does something correctly. I know this has motivated him to try so much harder in class.

It is not uncommon to walk down the hallways on the way to class without an endless amount of children calling out good mornings and hellos to either of my boys.

During recesses and lunch, Cody spends time with the “typical” classes. It is heartwarming when I see kids calling for him to play with them or making room for him at the lunch table.

DJ once told me that he saw Cody walking to the lunch table and heard a number of kids calling out for Cody to sit with them and moving over to make room. Cody decided upon a seat next to a couple of kids and the kids he did not sit beside grumbled and voiced their wishes that Cody would move to sit beside them.

It makes me cry at how wonderful the kids, their parents and teachers are to him.

They see what we see – CODY – and not Down Syndrome.

By his actions, personality and progress you can tell that these open arms have given him a confidence that he has never had before.

After just the first week of school, he was holding a pencil correctly (he previously wrote in a fist). Within the first month, he was completing floor puzzles and cutting with scissors.

The other day, I was amazed when he completed a 24 piece puzzle all by himself!

He continues to amaze me and I am thankful for all the cheerleaders in his life that encourage him to keep pushing to succeed.

Just a little bit of confidence in someone can make such a HUGE difference in that person’s life. I am indebted to those that have helped boost Cody’s confidence!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars (Your taste buds will love this, but your diet won’t)

Let me start by saying that if I could marry peanut butter…I would.

I found this recipe on the Six Sister's’ Stuff blog awhile back. My son likes peanut butter just as much as I do so we decided to try this easy recipe out (with a few alterations of our own).


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups cinnamon graham crackers crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup and 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips


Using a meat mallet, we took out all our aggressions on these defenseless graham crackers until they were granules. We left a few just a little chunky for that extra crunch.

(We used 18 graham cracker rectangles to get just a little over 2 cups of crumbs.)



With the butter already melted in the mixing bowl, we threw in the graham crackers, powdered sugar and 1 cup of peanut butter then mixed it together.


Spread the mixture into a 9x13 pan. If you want a thicker bar, you can use a 9x9 square pan instead.


Melt the milk chocolate chips with the 1/2 cup peanut butter in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth.


Spread the chocolate/peanut butter mixture evenly over the peanut butter layer then refrigerate.


Now comes the hard part…


Wait at least an hour for the layers to solidify…



Everyone I have introduced this peanut butter bar to has fallen in love with it.  :)

If you try this recipe out, leave a comment and let me know what you think. :)

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Do You Birchbox? April Goodies

A couple of weeks ago, this pretty box came in the mail-


I like trying new products until I find one that I LOVE so when I heard about Birchbox’s monthly product boxes, I was excited to try it out.

For $10/month (or slightly cheaper with longer subscriptions), each month you will receive anywhere from 5-7 products. It is a great way to learn about and try new products.

Think of it like Christmas every month…who doesn’t like receiving packages???

There is often a waiting list to sign up so I signed up to be on the waiting list and impatiently waited for the invitation to join. About 3 weeks after signing up for the waiting list, my invitation came! I felt like Violet Beauregard getting invited to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. If the box was a blueberry, I mighta ate it. :)

When I opened the pretty pink box, I heard Ariel’s voice somewhere in the background (or was it just in my head…same difference, right?) singing “ah ah aaaaah”.


The theme for April was Natural Wonders.


These are the surprises that awaited me. Pretty, eh?


Tucked away inside the bow wrapped tissue paper were these products-


I have been anxiously waiting to blog about these products, but wanted to try them out first. I have tested all but one.


1. Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift


I am not much into perfumes, but I shockingly enjoyed this one. The smell of flowers tends to send my nose into sneezing fits, but Wonderstruck has a slight floral fragrance with stronger fruit smells. Something about it reminded me of cotton candy. :) (It also made me hungry.)

2. Willa Start Fresh Face Foam


I used this wash with both my Clarisonic and without it. The scent is kind of a watermelony/cucumber scent so it is quite refreshing. I like that the foam lathers really well so you get that extra-clean good feeling. I especially like that the product is a natural cleanser.

Both with and without the Clarisonic, it cleansed really well and removed all traces of makeup.

Once I am out of my current cleanser, I will be switching to this face wash!

3. Kahini Facial Lotion


I am a big fan of Aragan Oil and its nourishing capabilities. This is the same oil used in my favorite hair products – Moroccanoil.

My go-to face moisturizer is the Bare Escentuals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer so I wanted to see the difference between the two.

First, because of the oil properties of the lotion, you do not need to use a lot. The first time I used it, I layered it up as I do with my normal moisturizer. Well, although I like how smoothly it went on, I looked like I was ready to be fried and served. My face was left super oily.

The next time around, I used it sparingly and had a much better result. I love how it leaves a smooth complexion and left me with a natural glow. I *almost* had the guts to leave the house without makeup…almost.

This product is a candidate for making into my daily product rotation as well!

4. Kahini Giving Beauty Argan Oil


I have not yet tried this product, but considering it is 100% organic Argan oil, I am sure it will deliver. It can be used on the face, hair, body and hands to treat dryness and skin conditions. I am sure I will be using this product very soon….once I figure out where to use it on. Hmm…maybe on cracked heels because no one enjoys looking at that!

5. Alima Pure Organic Nourishing Lip Balm


This has been my every day product from the April Box. This organic tinted lip balm has a nice peppermint scent to it. The peppermint oil also leaves a tingly cool feeling on my lips.

I like how it leaves my lips hydrated without feeling greasy or thick.

It has a subtle hint of color – Rhubarb shade. I like to wear it under my lipstick or alone.


If you want to check these products out for yourself or subscribe to the monthly boxes, visit the Birchbox website. 

My May box is scheduled to come in this week and I can’t wait to try out these products (nail polish is included…YAY!!!!!).


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day - What Memory Will They Have?

Last week, I did a post on my photography blog about something that has been on my mind for awhile.

I am noticing that the older I get the more stories are real life.

Before, I could easily say “so and so’s friend’s parent passed away”. Now, it saddens me that I can name a lot of friends that have lost loved ones.

20 years ago, I knew nothing about Autism, but looking back can now realize which childhood friends and classmates show all the characteristics yet went undiagnosed all those years and were categorized as “different” by other children. Now, I can’t even count on 2 hands how many friends’ children have some form of autism.

Growing up, I saw kids with Down Syndrome and wondered about them. They were pushed aside in a classroom at the back of the school and a mystery to all. Now, I have a son with Down Syndrome that has opened my eyes to so many things I was ignorant and unopen to seeing.

The older I get, the closer things hit home.

When a friend messaged me a few months ago with some news. I was shocked and saddened.

She was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts.

She will fight it. She will get through it. She is just awesome like that.

It made me think.

In a loooooong time from now :), when my time with my boys has ended, what will they remember of me? What will they have to remember me by? What memories will they share with their kids?

Homegrown Photography

Image from Homegrown Photography

I seriously dislike being in front of the camera. I feel insecure and a little uncomfortable (maybe that is why I opted to be a photographer and stand BEHIND the camera!  Winking smile)

Every year, however, I make the effort to have a session with my family. Why? Because the older I get, the more precious I realize life is and I want to be sure my boys will always have something to remember me by.

A few years ago, I flipped through their baby scrapbook pages. They were filled with pictures of them with their dad, them with grandparents, them with our pets, them by themselves. What was missing? Them with ME!

Yes, there were pictures of me taken with them, but I opted to not scrapbook them because I didn’t like the way I looked.

I am cheating them of the memory of US by not including those pictures. The intimate pictures of us bonding while nursing. The pictures of comfort with them laying on my chest. If they don’t see those pictures, will they remember that it even happened?

For mother’s day, my message to you is this – step away from behind the camera and have someone capture you with your kids – playing, laughing, dancing, cuddling, holding hands.

Our kids don’t see the insecurities that we see within us. They only see MOM and nothing else but your presence matters.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! Enjoy your special day with the ones you love!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

It was sew easy

I have a bad habit of stocking up on patterns whenever they go on sale at Joann’s. Eventually, I am going to make my way through all of them! :)

I have been holding on to this one for awhile and even though the pattern says “It’s so easy” I thought it was lying so I never bothered to try it.


Now that I am living in San Diego and I am realizing that my closet is full of more cold-weather clothes than warm-weather clothes, I decided to go through my patterns and fabric and get sewing.

This pink fabric has been in my “to sew” stash for awhile as well. It is so pretty and light and I kept thinking I wanted to make a skirt out of it. Instead, I used it to make this type in style “a” without the belt (because belts and I just don’t get along).

Here is the final result.

Simplicity 2418

I have worn this top a couple of times since making it and I just love it. It hides all the wrong bumps in all the right places! ;)

Oh and it really is as easy as the pattern says it is. Smile

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