My Gratitude Journal

Finally Hawaii!

When my daughter, Sabrina, was 18 months old, she went on a vacation to the island of Oahu, Hawaii with her dad and me. Since Sabrina was a little girl, she has been asking me to take her back to Hawaii. I told her that I would take her once she graduated from college. Well, she finally graduated from college in December 2016. She graduated early, taking only 3 and a half years to finish. On top of that, she graduated Cum Laude. We were very proud of her! What an accomplishment. We planned her college graduation celebration trip to Hawaii for April and she had her graduation ceremony in May. What a perfect Spring! So for my gratitude list for Spring, I am grateful for:

*My daughter’s college education.

She did it!

*Our Hawaii trip! Finally, Hawaii!

Here is a list of a few of my favorite Hawaiian things:

yes, I do…

-Pina coladas- there’s nothing like having a pina colada in Hawaii. They actually taste better in Hawaii. It was the first thing I ordered on day one of project paradise.

Ok, let’s just get the food posts out of the way. Seriously, they were part of my favorite Hawaiian things, so I have to add them to my list!

Now, that’s a coconut!

-Fresh coconut- Of course, when visiting Hawaii you must have a fresh coconut. We visited a small mom and pop mini farmer’s market store in Hawaii that was similar to a little Whole Foods market. In there you can order a fresh coconut. They cut a hole in it for you and put a straw in it. When you are done, they cut it half so that you can scoop out the coconut meat. So so fresh…

Shoyu chicken, you sho is good…

-Shoyu chicken and macaroni salad- These are must eat foods while in Hawaii. Macaroni salad is a common side dish in Hawaii. Shoyu chicken is chicken marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and brown sugar. They are very delicious and as I found out later, very easy to make. I made both of these dishes when I got back home.  The chicken turned out great and the macaroni salad was okay. But really, I think they just taste better when eaten in Hawaii.

Don’t worry about a thing…cuz every little thing is gonna be alright…

-Acai Bowls- We love acai bowls so of course, we had to have one while in Hawaii. Josh and I shared a “Bob Marley bowl”. It had pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, and hemp seeds on top of the acai. It was mmmm-mmmm good.

So majestic

-Hawaiian flowers- Another one of my favorite things in Hawaii are the flowers. They are so colorful, majestic and fragrant. Every time I saw a flower, I had to stop and take a picture of it. Of course, the pictures don’t do justice to their beauty.

-My morning view- This is one of my favorite Hawaiian memories. I really enjoyed waking up to the view of the ocean and watching the sunrise. Every morning, I would sit on the balcony, sip my morning coffee and enjoy the view. I loved hearing the sounds of the crashing waves.

-The beaches in Hawaii- I love the beaches in Hawaii. They are the best! One of my favorite Hawaiian memories is watching Josh run on the beach. Without fail, as soon as we arrived at the beach, he would kick off his flip flops and start running. He loved the beach, the feel of the sand and water on his feet and the sounds of the crashing waves. He would laugh and scream with joy as he ran. He was so happy. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile.

Josh enjoying the water, while watching the sunset.

-Hawaiian sunsets- We enjoyed watching the sunset in Hawaii. It was so beautiful. This was our view while we waited in line to enter a Luau.  Can’t get any better than that.

Fire!

-While in Hawaii, we went to a Luau. We enjoyed the traditional Hawaiian music and hula dancing. We tried new foods such as poi which is a Polynesian staple food made from the taro plant and is a traditional part of the Hawaiian cuisine.

-Road to Hana- We went on the Road to Hana. We didn’t drive it ourselves. We took a tour bus. Our tour bus driver was great and provided us with lots of stories, legends and history of the Hawaiian culture. There were plenty of waterfalls to admire and we also stopped at a black sand beach.

I enjoyed every minute of this trip. Hawaii is my happy place.

I am grateful for our trip to Hawaii and these wonderful Hawaiian memories with my kids.

My Gratitude Journal

Cristy’s Pride

 

My family and I attended the First Annual Cristy’s Pride Fundraiser on October 15, 2016. Cristy’s Pride is an organization which provides tutoring and nutrition to impoverished countries and communities. Below is the speech that was written for this event. It was written and given by Sabrina Shahawi, Cristy’s sister. 

Hi Everyone,

First I would like to start off by saying thank you so much for coming to our first ever annual fundraiser for Cristy’s Pride. As many of you may know, today is Cristy’s birthday and she would have been 28 years old. What a great way to celebrate her life by holding this fundraiser which was started in her honor.

I would like to start off by talking about Cristina. She was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend and a very special person who made a positive impact on every person she touched while she was present on this earth. For those of you who weren’t able to meet her, know that she had a heart of gold. She sincerely cared about everyone. It was her mission to make someone’s day, week, minute and life better.  Just this past weekend, her college sorority held their annual walk in her memory. They held this walk to raise money for the scholarship that they created in her honor. It is truly amazing to see how her memory continues to live on even when she is no longer with us in the physical world.

We first founded Cristy’s Pride in 2013, the year that she passed away. Prior to her passing, she was working towards a career as a teacher. Specifically, she wanted to work as a teacher to low income areas and to offer free tutoring to her students who wished to advance their knowledge, but whose families did not have the means to do so.

We founded this organization in her honor to continue the work that she was doing here on earth. I am so happy to say that we are now serving over 400 students, across 6 different schools in our tutoring centers located in Barranquilla, Colombia. Our organization aims to prevent children from dropping out of school by using innovative teaching strategies to tutor them in mathematics, reading and writing. We work towards empowering them to reach their highest potential and to raise their self esteem in order for them to achieve their goals and dreams.

The children whom we are serving live in very poor conditions. Many of them do not have shoes and have to share their shoes with their siblings. In Colombia, schools are separated by morning and afternoon sessions. So some children go to the morning session for school and then run back home to give their shoes to their sibling so that they can attend the afternoon session of school. Since they need to go home to give their shoes to their sibling, they cannot attend our morning tutoring sessions. Today, your donations will go towards new shoes so that these children can go to school and go to tutoring. They will also go towards backpacks, school supplies and tutor funding.

We are hoping to expand our organization in either Tijuana or San Diego this upcoming year. It fills me with such happiness to see all the support present here tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate everyone for coming out and supporting an organization that means so much to me and my family.

To learn more about Cristy’s Pride, please visit the Cristy’s Pride website at http://www.cristyspride.com/. You can also visit the Cristy’s Pride Facebook page at Facebook/Cristy’s Pride or the Cristy’s Pride at Twitter.com/CristysPride

Today I am grateful for helpful people and the ability to help others.

Today and everyday… I am grateful for FAMILY

DIY, My Gratitude Journal

A birthday party for my girl

My daughter, Sabrina will be turning 21 on Monday. We’re throwing her a birthday party on Saturday night. I wanted to just take everyone out to dinner but she wanted a house party with her family. So I figured, why not go all out. She has no idea what it will be like so I’ve been sending her sneak peeks.

I sent her this picture today:

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She loves it. So far, so good. I hope she likes the whole set up. I sent her this picture yesterday:

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These decorations are DIY.  As you can see, my theme is boho, mostly chevrons and I was lucky to find that Target had that theme available. The food is ordered and the decorations are all ready to be set up.Today I made the cupcakes. I told Sabrina I would order a cake but she asked that I bake her cupcakes. I was happy to hear that she loves my cupcakes. She chose vanilla cupcakes. They turned out great!

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The last time I threw Sabrina a birthday party was when she turned 18 years old.  We had all her friends over at the house. Now she is 21 and she requested this party as a family party so it’s going to be good family fun times. She will spend time with her aunts, uncles and cousins. So special. She’s off at college, so she misses them. It’s going to be a great 21st birthday party for my girl.

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Today I am grateful for my 2 beautiful children.