Tuesday, September 28, 2010

7 years ago...

...I had this precious little girl!!! Happy birthday to my sweet Kayla!

She is so smart and funny and witty. She loves to play soccer, read, bake and cook, play with her friends and has a very close relationship with her brother. She makes me laugh everyday. But to be fair, she makes me cry some of the days, too. She is a tough cookie. She tests us every single day. We don't have her figured out, not in the least. I'm not sure we will ever figure her out. She is opinionated and sometimes brutally honest. She keeps us on our toes and sometimes she makes me want to tear my hair out. I have plenty of new grey hairs popping up and I'm sure she is partly to blame.

She still lets me take photos of her. Her smile is so beautiful! Her hair is out of control, look at those wispies!! I have them too and still haven't figured out how to tame them. She still wants to cuddle with me on the couch. She loves music and wants to be a singer when she grows up.

There are lots of these kind of days...

But there are also plenty of these days...

Today was one of the good days!!

I am looking forward to many more years of being challenged and loved by this sweet face. Happy Birthday sweet girl!!! Oh wait...can't forget the cake!! Vanilla inside, chocolate frosting and M&M's outside...her choice.

Thanks for stopping by today!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kayla's 7th Birthday Party

Happy Monday everyone!! It is SOOOOOOOOOO hot here today!! Downtown Los Angeles hit a record high of 113 degrees today. Yes, you read that right. 113 degrees!!! Thankfully, it was only about 102 degrees where we are. What happened to fall? Apparently we are getting our summer in September this year.

So we picked a doozy of a weekend to have Kayla's 7th birthday party. Outside. All of it was going to be setup outside but we have to rearrange things a bit. We did have a jumper/slide in the backyard and I swear it was about 20 degrees hotter inside that thing, but the kids didn't care. Lots of sweaty heads and red faces, but everyone had fun regardless. This year we had an ice cream social for her party. So no cake...but we did have a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar. The kids (and adults )loved it! Here are some details. My daughter picked purple and blue as her 'theme' and I tried to go with that.

Marshmallow Pops!

Tissue paper pompoms. I found the directions on the Martha Stewart website, soooo easy to make!

Rice Krispy pops for party favors. We made ice cream cone tags and Kayla wrote all the guests's names on the tags.

Here's the birthday girl. Don't you like how her outfit is color coordinated with her 'theme'? She did that, no suggestion from me! Really!

We had a bounce house/jumper in the backyard and an ice cream cone pinata!!

And we cooled the kids off with a make your own ice cream sundae bar. Yum!! There was some serious sundae making going on. And some kids just LOVED the whipped cream and I swear ended up with a huge bowl of just whipped cream.

LOOK at her face!!! She was SO hot and sweaty and red-faced. And if you've ever wondered what I look like after a long run...that's it!!! Both my poor kids inherited my 'red-faced' gene. There is a reason my soccer playing nickname was tomato!

It was a great group of friends and we all had a ball celebrating. Tomorrow is her real birthday and we plan on celebrating with vanilla cake and chocolate frosting and whatever she wants for dinner. I hope you are all staying COOL!!! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 24, 2010

More beautiful Bella!

Oh Friday...how happy I am to see you!! It's been a long week and I am so happy Friday is here. We have a full day of soccer and team photos tomorrow (starting at 7:45 am...ack!!) and Sunday is my daughter's 7th birthday party. Lots of fun planned for this weekend!!

Here is another layout I created using the Sunny Happy Skies papers from Bella Blvd. I loved cutting all the elements from the papers! Rainbow...clouds...birds...

These photos of my daughter just make me smile! I remember this day...I was lying on the sidewalk in from of my house with my camera and she kept skipping by and singing at the top of her voice! It was so cute...minus the strange looks from the neighbors.

I cute the rainbow and clouds from paper. And I love the whimsical feel of the letter stickers. All Bella goodness!!

Oh yes, a banner!!! And some cute tied baker's twine, I am lovin' my baker's twine!!

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday! It's suppose to heat up this weekend...so much for fall arriving. Thanks for stopping by today, friends!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lovin' the Bella

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday!!! I carved out some time last night to scrap some photos I have been meaning to scrap for a while. I got my hands on some papers from Bella Blvd and i'm in love!! Go check out all the Bella Blvd available at Croppin' Paradise, they have all the new lines.

I played with Sunny Happy Skies...

Such fun, bright, girly colors!! This layout is also for a challenge at Citrus Tree Studios to make your own photo corner and fancy it up. Here's mine!

I am lovin' all my new baker's twine!! Here are a few more detail shots, I did lots of fussy cutting from the patterned papers and I just love the font of the Bella letter stickers. And I finally used some felt flowers and bling I bought at the scrap expo this past spring. I love finding cool stuff in my stash.

That's all I got today! I have been busy planning my daughter's 7th birthday party that is going to be this weekend. I always says it's going to be low-key, but who the heck am I kidding??? There are paper scraps, tissue paper, and rice krispies flying all over the place. I can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Hope you all are having a good week so far. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Homeade Iced Tea

Am I the only one on the planet that doesn't know how EASY it is to make your own iced tea??? I have a bad habit of stopping by Starbucks for their unsweetened passionfruit iced tea but it's expensive. Plus I have the added guilt of throwing away a big plastic cup I didn't need everytime I do it. So, I search around the internet for ways to make my own iced tea. Ummm...yeah...SUPER easy!!!

All you need is to is use 2 teabags for every 1 cup of water. That's the same as hot tea, except double strength. So for a big batch use:

5 cups water
10 bags of tea

I used a combination of green tea and mint tea. Oh, and I love Trader Joe's!

Put the tea bags in 5 cups of boiling water. Simmer the water for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Let the tea bags steep for about 20 minutes. Take the tea bags out. Pour over lots of ice, add some freshly squeezed lemon, sweeten with your favorite sweetner (optional step, I like mine unsweetened), and enjoy!

Just so very easy!!! Now I need to find that passionfruit tea that Starbucks makes in bag form and make my own. I know summer is winding down, but I still love a big icy glass of iced tea during the day. With lots of ice. And a squeeze of lemon. Yum!!

Hope you are having a great Saturday!! Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer-Day 2

I am re-capping my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer weekend. If you want to read about Day 1, go HERE!! Are you ready for Day 2?? I know I could have used a few more hours sleep before day 2. Hee hee! The lady in the tent behind me was snooooooring like a brown bear and I didn't get much of that so-called sleep!! We woke up to a misty, slightly foggy morning.

After taking our tent down, packing and turning in our luggage, eating a hot breakfast...we were ready for Day 2! Moving a bit slow, but ready.

Day 2 was only 13.1 miles. Yes, only!! It felt good to take it easy starting off, knowing that we had plenty of time to get to the finish line. Everybody was struggling with something...lost toenails, sore knees, blisters the size of Mount Olympus. But we kept on truckin'! Here we are at mile 5.

The Avon Walk provided all of our food along the course, water, 4 different kinds of gatorade, lunch, and snack galore! This was by far the BEST of the snacks. It was peanut butter and jelly sandwiched between graham crackers. Ohhh yeeeeaaaah!!

There were lots of people walking in sandals, flip flops, even socks on Sunday. Lots of bloody toes and nasty blisters. One of my teammates lost her pinkie toe toenail and her pinkie toe was soooo blistered. She could not fit her feet into her shoes. So she walked all 13.1 miles in her SOCKS on Sunday. CRAZY!!! We slowly kept moving and before long (well...6 hours long) we MADE IT to mile 13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So that was 26.2 miles Saturday plus 13 miles Sunday...for a total of 36.2 miles. We only had 0.1 miles to reach the finish!! The rest of our teammates that already crossed the finish line met up with us and we all finished together!!!

My husband and kids were at the finish line and that was amazing. My daughter would not let go of my hand and told me...Mom, when i'm old enough I'm going to walk with you! That made me cry right then and there. My son was just excited that I had snacks for him. Ha ha!!

This is my long time bestie, Beth, who was the captain of our team. Her mom is a 2-time breast cancer survivor and I am lucky and grateful and so happy to have her in my life!

And this is my girlfriend Shannon. She is my neighbor and we went through this whole adventure together. She was a real trooper during the walk and was always smiling, even though some parts were not that fun. I love this girl!!

Closing ceremonies was pretty amazing. We all walked in together and then all the people who were breast cancer survivors that walked came in. And we learned all sorts of great statistics about the weekend:

-2800 people walked Santa Barbara 2010
-$6.4 Million was raised!!
-That was a 40% increase from last year's walk. AMAZING!!

During closing ceremonies, checks were presented directly to foundations and organizations to help fight breast cancer. The money was split across care centers, research labs, population studies, and a place called Helping Hands who provide free hot meals to cancer patients. All the money stayed in Southern California in places like Santa Barbara, the Antelope Valley, Northridge, and UCLA to name a few. Pretty great to see exactly where the money was going. Oh, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas was there to hand out the checks. And she was with her hubbie, Josh Duhamel!

I know, I was far away from the stage, LOL!!! You can kinda see her in her pink Avon hat. And my sweet hubbie knew exactly what I wanted in the end. Comfy shoes and an ice cold beer!! Yes, it's a Bud Light. Don't judge me, I just walked almost 40 miles.

THANK YOU again to all my amazing supporters!!! I keep saying the weekend was amazing, but it truly was. I am so proud of each and every woman on my team. What a great group of girls, I cannot wait to walk next year. Okay, I can wait until my poor sore calves have a chance to heal. But I will be back next year!!!

Thanks for stopping by today, Friends!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer-Day 1

Hi Everyone!!! Well, I did it this weekend!! I walked 39.3 miles in beautiful Santa Barbara for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my supporters who got me to the starting line. Our team raised almost $40,000 for Breast Cancer programs. Amazing!! I'm going to share my photos from Day 1...so grab a coffee and get comfy. This is a long post!!

The Avon Walk started on Friday afternoon with check in at the Doubletree Inn in Santa Barbara. All the volunteers were simply amazing. So friendly and helpful.

I met up with teammates from Northern California, Santa Barbara and as far away as Oregon at check-in. We are all smiles!

We had a great team dinner, got our team shirts, laughed and chatted, then tried to sleep for the night. We all stayed with a teammate in her house. It was like a big slumber party!!! Saturday morning the alarm went off earrrrrly...like 5am early. We got to the start for opening ceremonies, dropped off our luggage and went to sign the pillars. These were super tall pillars where each panel was a city where the Avon Walk is done throughout the year. These were really cool.

We all signed the Santa Barbara panel.

There were some trainers from 24 Hour Fitness on the main stage trying to lead everyone in warm up stretches. They were waaaay too perky for 6am if you ask me!!! Instead, I took more photos. This is of my girlfriend Shannon and I...ready to walk!

Lots of pink signs all over the place reminding us why we are doing this!

Here's my whole team, Walking For The Girls, before the start of the walk!!

Our shirts were awesome. We had the names of loved ones on the back that we were walking for. Pretty humbling seeing all those names in one place.

At opening ceremonies, we heard from a woman who has a double mastecomy...LAST week! And she was walking this weekend. Pretty amazing, there was not a dry eye in the crowd. And then...we walked!!!!

This truck followed us everywhere on Saturday. The man driving would park and blast his music, give us high fives and shout encouragement. He would then drive a few miles up the course, and do the same thing! We saw him all the way until mile 26. Lots of people wearing pink wigs, waving pink poms-poms and honking at us...all day long!!

We started off right by Santa Barbara Pier and walked along the beach for a while before turning up into the neighborhoods of Santa Barbara. The very hilly neighborhoods of Santa Barbara!! I took photos at every single mile marker, but I'll only show you a few.

Mile 5 and feeling fine!!

This guy playing accordian was awesome! We danced in the street to his band.

Mile 13...HALFWAY done!!!

Pink encouragement everywhere...

This was my favorite handheld sign. We saw these 2 women all day, they followed the group through the course. They always had a high five and smile ready for us!

The sun finally broke out in the early afternoon and it was beautiful. This was the best part of the course, right along the beach. We even saw a couple getting married right on the water. So pretty.

Everything after mile 20 was hard. Like, really really hard. Like, what the heck did I sign up for hard. But really, who signs up to get cancer???? I could keep walking, even though I was tired!

Around mile 24 I was super giddy. Slaphappy giddy. Everything was sooo funny. Even this sign that had my name on it made me laugh!!

FINALLY...26.2 miles completed after being on my feet and walking for over 10 and 1/2 hours. I've never been so happy to see this pink finish line arch in my life!!!

After celebrating with my teammates, collapsing on the ground for a while, and finishing my water, it was time for a shower. In a really awesome truck. The whole truck was tilted to one side so the water would drain. One of my teammates was sooo tired that she was in the shower for about 10 minutes before realizing she forgot to take her sports bra off!! We got a good laugh out of that at dinner.

And did I mention we had to set up our own tents??? All the tents are blue...so imagine coming back from dinner in the dark and trying to find your tent. Ha ha, not so easy!!!

Everyone on my team made it all 26.2 miles on Saturday. So...after filling our bellies with pasta and using the port-o-potties one last time in the pitch dark and giggling like school girls in our tents...we fell asleep for the night. SO tired, but anticipating the next day. When walking 13.1 miles didn't seem that bad!!

The end of day 1...stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!! Thanks for stopping by!