Our first week apart

My daughter Sabrina is having a great time before she settles into her school in London. After dropping off her stuff at storage, she finally had a chance to explore her new surroundings and her new school. She sent me some pictures of King’s College in London. It looks so majestic and regal! Watching her snaps on Snapchat of her adventures in London and on her trip is so exciting. What a cool vibe it is over there! Afterwards, she was on her way out to go on a mini vacay. She visited Dublin and had a great time. Her next stop was Prague with a slight layover in Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam!

Amsterdam. Photo cred to Sabrina

I still remember walking the streets of Amsterdam late at night with Sabrina in a stroller when we stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of days. She was only 18 months old. I bundled her up in her thick pink winter jacket and an extra blanket so that we can walk and explore Amsterdam (at night). It was a fun adventure. I remember it so vividly because it is one of my favorite memories. I would love to go back to Amsterdam with Sabrina!

After Amsterdam, Sabrina went to Munich. Her main reason for going to Munich was to attend Oktoberfest, a beer festival. I know that she was really looking forward to it and it seems that she had a great time.

How exciting for Sabrina to experience (and re-experience since she is an avid traveler) so many different cultures.

As for Josh, the first week for him was very hard. He missed his sister so very much. Sabrina made a picture frame with a couple of pictures of them together in it. When Josh misses her, he looks at that picture. He also placed it on the table near his bed so that he can look at it before he goes to sleep. Unfortunately, it makes him miss her even more.

He also looks into her room (so do I).

Where’s Sabrina…

When he misses her, he opens the envelopes that she left for him. So far, he has opened the “open when… you are sad” and “open when… you miss me”. It makes him feel a lot better. He also goes into the box that Sabrina made for me with all the little papers with sayings on it and picks one to read. He realizes that he keeps picking the same one which says “Have a great day”. It makes him smile.

Everyday, Sabrina and Josh and I text with each other. We also had a chance to video chat a few times. Josh looks forward to her texts. He loves texting with his sister and updating her on his life.

A few things that he texted to her:

He went to Red Lobster to eat his favorite, snow crab. While there, he took a picture of a lobster and sent it to her. I took a picture of his food (because that’s what foodies do). He loves the process of eating a crab. It’s so messy but fun.

and he ate every bite!

He tried out for flag football, picked out his jersey size, had his first practice and bought some really cool football gear. His favorite are the sticky football gloves. He can’t wait to wear his cleats.

oh, you fancy

He also went to a new dentist. This dental office is geared specifically for children. He liked going there because the hygienists are so gentle and so nice. He also liked watching a movie while he was having his teeth worked on. He watched Finding Nemo. Later the hygienist let him pick a movie and he picked Ice Age. We were there for almost 2 hours! But the good news is that he has no cavities. He especially enjoyed taking the panoramic x-ray of his teeth. He is excited that he might need braces. At the end, he got a toy! Wow.

Yes, that’s a smiley face on your lap

The first week was hard but Josh is doing much better now. Sabrina was so worried, but that’s what loving big sisters do.

Today I am grateful for loving big sisters, little brothers who love their big sisters, London, Amsterdam, adventures, different cultures, fond memories, snow crabs, sticky football gloves and smiley faces.

Goodbye Presents: She’s leaving on a London plane

My daughter Sabrina is leaving today for London. She is working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at King’s College. She will be gone for a year.

We have been spending some good quality time together before she leaves. At the end of one of our days of fun, she gave me a goodbye present. It was a box that she decoupaged herself and filled with little pieces of paper with little sayings that she wrote and a cute little book called “Why You’re So Awesome”.

It was my turn to give her my goodbye present. I wrote quotes, advice, encouragement and praises on cards and pasted photos on the back. She loved them!

We love giving homemade gifts to each other!

She gave her brother a great goodbye gift too. They were envelopes filled with notes that he can “open when…” One is “open when you are happy”. Another one is “open when I leave”. She instructed me to make sure that he opens it when we get back from dropping her off to the airport.

Open when….

She is leaving today. We are leaving in an hour and a half to drop her off at the airport. We are very sad and will miss her terribly but we are so proud of her for following her dreams.

Dream big, Sabrina. Reach for the stars.

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!

Project Paradise

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.

Book Review: My Happy Place by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam

Purplesplashstudios.com

I was given the opportunity to review a wonderful children’s journal. “My Happy Place” by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam is a self reflection and personal growth journal filled with creative exercises, activities and inspiring quotes. This journal will take your child on an exciting journey of self-discovery.

By engaging in the activities and exercises in this beautifully illustrated journal, your child will have an opportunity for personal growth and self reflection. They will have a chance to creatively express themselves through writing, drawing and coloring. In addition, each exercise will give them an insight of who they are. It will empower them and give them an awareness of their importance in this world. They will have a chance to discover their dreams and reflect on their accomplishments. In turn, this will build self confidence which leads to a better relationship with themselves and with others. It will take them on a path to happiness by teaching them the habits of happy people.

A true happy place is a place deep inside that bubbles and glistens and glows. It grows from the seed that we plant in the world when love and our gratitude flows. In our happy place, we will treasure all life and love and embrace who we are. We’ll nourish our minds and nurture our souls and radiate light like a star”- Helene Pam

There are 4 sections of this journal. One is self reflection. The exercises in this section will help a child discover their inner beauty, reflect on the things that they like about themselves and the things that make them happy as well as express their dreams and things that they are grateful for. The next section is school and hobbies. This section helps them to write out their achievement and goals. Family and friends is another section in which they list the people that they love and how they can express that love to them. It helps them to reflect on the deeds of love and how to be more thankful. The last section is helping the world and how to help the community in big ways and little ways. It gives them ideas on how to take care of our earth and enjoy nature.

At the end of the book, the child will receive praise on completing the book along with a beautiful poem written by Helene Pam part of which states that:

Our world is connected; that’s something we share and love and compassion can spread everywhere”- Helene Pam

In reviewing this journal, I can tell that a lot of love went into the making of this journal. That it is the passion of these two women, Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam ( a mother daughter duo) to spread happiness and inspire young minds. This journal is also well thought out. The exercises and activities contained in this book provide well researched techniques of personal growth and happiness. Not only were the exercises and activities well thought out and researched but they have a positive vibration which is important for a child. The quotes throughout the book help with self reflection. They are simple enough for a child to understand and deep enough to inspire self reflection. The two poems contained in the book and written by Helene Pam are beautiful and touching. The illustrations are beautiful and whimsical, perfect for a little child (or child at heart person) to enjoy.

The message that I received from this book is a message of love- a love of self and a love for others. When I used this journal with my 8 year old son, it made him smile throughout all the exercises. He had a great deal of introspection and then afterwards, a feeling of satisfaction as well as empowerment, confidence and happiness when he was able to see all the achievements, dreams and goals that he accomplished. My favorite page to do with him was the gratitude tree. It was enlightening as well as introspective to talk about the things he is grateful for everyday. His favorite page was the goals page. He had a great time listing his goals and taking pride in them.

My Happy Place journal is beautifully made. The colors on each page are vibrant and bold. The illustrations are beautiful, cute and whimsical. The book itself is excellent quality. In addition, the pages are of good quality. My son was able to use marker to write in his journal and it did not bleed through. This book makes a wonderful keepsake of your child’s thoughts, dreams, goals and wishes. I will treasure his writings forever.

I highly recommend this journal for your child to build self confidence, learn the habits of happy people, develop and exercise self reflection and self expression and in turn, increase empowerment.

Most importantly, the message of a love of self and a love for others is in this journal and I believe that is the best message of all.

Please visit purplesplashstudios.com/my-happy-place to check out and order this book for your child. You can also check out other wonderful books by Helene Pam and Sheleen Lepar at purplesplashstudios.com/books

Also at Purplesplashstudios.com, you can find some fun extras, such as these wonderful printables:

Don’t forget to check out Purplesplashstudios.com

on Instagram: @purple.splash.studios

on Twitter: @PurpleSplashS

on Facebook: @purplesplashstudios

on Pinterest: @PurpleSplashS

Today I am grateful for wonderful opportunities to be a part of something beautiful and inspirational. Thank you Sheleen for this wonderful opportunity to review  the “My Happy Place” Journal. 

Stay tuned for my review of the “My Gratitude and Dream Journal” also by Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam.

Baby clothes quilt

I have a confession. I’m a hoarder. A baby clothes hoarder. Because for 21 years I kept a bag of Sabrina’s baby clothes. For twenty one years. I lugged that garbage bag full of clothes from residence to residence. I’ve been a faithful hoarder to that bag of clothes. Now, they weren’t all of Sabrina’s baby clothes, just my favorite outfits and hats. I just couldn’t part with them. They reminded me of her special baby memories.

From the day I put those baby clothes in that garbage bag with every intention of hoarding them, my goal was to make a quilt out of them. I didn’t even know how to sew back then, let alone sew a quilt. But I figured that one day I would teach myself. I knew it would be a long time before I would teach myself how to sew. So I knew that the sentence for these bag of hoarded baby clothes would be long. Yes, they were treated fairly. They lived in a nice cool garage safely tucked inside a box. I sometimes forgot about them. Every once in a while, I remembered that I had them and reminded myself about my intention to teach myself how to sew a quilt. Well, finally, about a year and a half ago, I taught myself how to sew.

Then this happened:

I finally made Sabrina her baby clothes quilt! 21 years later. I made it and presented it to her at Christmas. She loved it! It isn’t a perfectly sewn quilt. But it’s a quilt made from clothes that I put on her when she was a little baby girl. My little baby girl. Now she is a grown woman and the proud owner of a very special quilt made by her mommy with lots of love. This quilt contains very special memories. Her special memories. My special memories of her.

Like her first baby gap outfit that I loved to death and put on her so many times. It even had little matching baby shoes. Her Minnie Mouse hat that we bought for her at Disneyland. Her first Disneyland hat. Her 1st birthday party dress that her Auntie Sherri bought for her.

What a great way to piece together and preserve all of your baby’s special memories. It was heartwarming to put this quilt together. As I worked with every article of clothing, I reminisced about Sabrina as a baby. This quilt is so special because it contains the special memories of my daughter from when she was a little baby girl.

Totally worth the hoarding.

Today I am grateful for babies and memories.

A party for my girl: the big day

The big day was finally here. Sabrina’s 21st birthday party. I sure was tired from preparing all week, but also very excited. I couldn’t wait for Sabrina to see the special party that I had prepared for her. She had requested a house party with family. She wanted me to surprise her with whatever theme I wanted to decorate with and I think I did.  It was a boho theme, using mostly chevrons. She was happy with the set up. I sent her a couple sneak peeks throughout the week.

Here are some pictures of the actual day:

I made a banner using mint green chevron fabric as well as black and gold fabric.  I used more chevron fabric as accent pieces on the table. I bought mint green wall art from the Target dollar section (cost $3). It read “Peace Love and Happy Hour”. A boho design that went perfect for this 21 year old birthday party.

I made a candy bar. Lots and lots of candy. Too much candy. I bought bulk candy from Smart and Final but I found some mint green gumballs (the same color as the chevron fabric) in the party section at Target so of course I had to get them. I bought $1 black and gold buckets from Target to use as candy containers. I stuck some feathers in the candy buckets.

I made little brown paper bags as favor bags for the candy.

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kisses, loving you, everything… loving messages on brown paper bags

But while I was at Target, I found some treat cups and paper straws in the exact same chevron colors as the theme for the party. Of course, I had to get them too!

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I made mason jar succulent planters and decorated the front of the jar with the fabrics.

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I had my son pop some kettle popcorn in the microwave and pour them into paper bags to place on the dining table. I added more succulent planters on the table.

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I bought some LED lights from the dollar section at Target ($3) and used them to decorate the main table.

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And of course, I made cupcakes.

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Today is Sabrina’s actual 21st birthday. I want to say:

I love you Sabi with all my heart. I am so happy and so proud to be your mother. You make me happy every single day. You are a beautiful girl, inside and out. You are my sunshine.  Happy birthday!

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.