Monday, July 26, 2010

Making me happy right now ~ Reading

Making me happy right now is the the fact that I *FINALLY* finished reading this:
OK, so I may quite possibly be the only person in the planet who did not think The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lived up to its WAY overly exaggerated hype, but I'm alright with that. It's taken me longer to read this book than any other I can remember. For a book being hailed as a modern-day masterpiece, I just could not for the life of me get into it. Now don't get me wrong, it had its interesting parts, but overall it just didn't do it for me. But since I am a bit OCD when it comes to HAVING to finish any and every single book I start, I stuck with it and finished it and am now beyond ecstatic to move on. Yes, I have the second book of the trilogy. And no, I do not intend to start reading it any time in the near future.


Making me happy right now,....

Did I mention that my wonderful in-laws got me this here beauty?

Oh, I did? 
Well, did I mention that I am in LOVE with it? 
Cause I am,....


Making me happy right now is the fact that I've already moved on to my next book and I am loving every single second of it so far.
As many of you may remember, I loved the Twilight series. Well, just like Twilight, this book is a Young Adult novel, which apparently is a book category I've really gotten into lately (The Book Thief, one of my all time favorite books, is also a YA novel). And just like Twilight, this book is the first of a trilogy.

The Hunger Games was highly recommended on a number of book blogs I follow. And being a third of the way into it, I can already tell you I am thrilled to have two more books to follow, cause I am so not looking forward to it ending any time soon. The second book in the series is Catching Fire and the final book is Mockingjay, which is scheduled for release on August this year. YAY!


Making me happy right now is the fact that I have totally immersed myself back into reading and that I have a nice long list of recommended books that await me. Go check them out on my goodreads box to the right.


And finally, making me happy right now is the fact that Starz is currently airing an eight-part miniseries based on Ken Follett's amazing book, The Pillars of the Earth.

I have to admit, I picked this book up after it was selected to be on Oprah's Book Club (seriously, is there anything that woman can't sell?). And initially I had some serious doubts about it. One, it's close to 1000 pages long (that is quite the commitment) and two, it was categorized as historical fiction (not exactly a genre I'm passionate about). But I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In a nutshell, the book is about the building of a cathedral during the tumultuous 12th century. But you wouldn't believe the amount of politics, corruption, romance, betrayal, and suspense it includes. It is definitely more of an exciting adventure that I would have ever imagined. So much so in fact, that I ran and picked up the sequel, World Without End, and happily committed myself to yet another 1000+ pages.


Now it's your turn,... what have you read or are currently reading that you think I should definitely get my hands on?

Friday, July 23, 2010

There's happy mail,...

and then there's HAPPY mail!

My in-laws decided to surprise me and they snuck a little something like this in with Isabella's birthday presents:

and let me tell ya, surprise me they did!

I think I'm in love.

I quickly ran to Barnes & Noble to buy it a nice little cover:

And I've already downloaded a number of books I'm eager to dig into.

Hmm,... call me crazy, but I think they kinda like me!

Thank you SO much, you sneaky, sneaky guys!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Well, it's official.
The inevitable has happened.
The day I've been dreading for some time has finally arrived.
My beautiful girl turns 5 today. 
FIVE, people! 
This is a big deal. Big. 

I can't believe it was five years ago that we welcomed this little miracle into the world. 
Into our lives. 
Into our family. 
Into our home.
(ready to leave the hospital)

Into our hearts!

How quickly she turned our lives upside down. 
Or is it right side up?!?!
Regardless, what an unbelievable blessing she's been.

And what a wonderful ride we've had together. 
Seeing the world through her eyes has brought out the kids in all of us.
And we've had SO much fun in the process!

(first snow)

The smiles, the laughs, the dreams.
The fears, the tears, the changes.

(first birthday) 

The milestones.
The challenges.

(first steps)
The protecting. The sheltering.
The holding on.
The knowing when to let go, even if it's just a little bit.

(first day of Mother's Day Out ~ 2 years old)

The anxiety that comes with the anticipation of seeing her try new things.

 (first school Christmas program)

Or take on new roles.

 (meeting her little brother)

Only to be replaced by the overwhelming feeling of joy and pride 
when we see her rise up to the challenge and SHINE!


And don't even get me started on her personality ...
funny, quirky, whimsical


Our ride together has been beautifully magical so far.

And if any of you reading this know me, then you know it's
no secret my heart aches to see her grow up so quickly.

(preschool graduation celebration)

And to see her so eager to go out there and tackle the "real world".

But you know what?
I wouldn't change a thing about our journey together. 
Not one single thing!
(well,... except for maybe our whole potty training "adventure")

So anyway, at the risk of totally going into a massive hyperventilating fit and passing out on top of my keyboard, I'd like to wish my precious girl a very Happy 5th Birthday!

We love you so much, Peanut and look forward to a lifetime of fun adventures together!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garden Gymnastics Birthday Fun!

Caution ~ Photo-Heavy Post

Although her actual birthday is not until tomorrow (when she will be FIVE!), we celebrated Isabella's birthday with friends and family last Saturday. When I asked her (many, many months ago) what theme she wanted for her celebration, she instantly and without hesitation answered: Garden. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

So needless to say, my creative wheels started turning immediately: a garden party at home, a "big backyard" celebration at the Botanic Gardens, a fun crafty adventure at my friend Pam's farm. As you can see, the possibilities were many, and that's a great place for the party planning mommy to find herself in.

That is, until she was invited to one of her little preschool classmate's gymnastics party. Then the direction changed ever so slightly ~ my client still wanted the garden theme, but the location would be that exact same gymnastics gym. So that, my dear friends, is how our Garden Themed Gymnastics party concept was conceived. Hey, what can I say? She's the boss!

And this is how it all began:
As much as I'd love to take ALL the credit for the invitation, 
I must confess that my Silhouette did a whole lot of the work on this one. 
Oh, how I love that thing!

You pull the flowers out of the flower pot to see the party details.
Cute, isn't it?

And to stick with the garden theme, we ordered a garden cake and flower/ladybug/butterfly cookies as party favors.

I think it's safe to say that the Birthday girl was beyond excited on the day of her party.
 It was impossible to remove the smile she wore on her face the ENTIRE day! 

At the gymnastics gym they did everything from jumping on the trampoline to rope swings, going through an obstacle course, cargo climb, and racing through a huge inflatable. They had so much fun!

Warming up at the beginning of the party:

Jumping on the trampoline was a highlight for everyone:
The kids did a great job being patient and waiting their turn.

The rope swing was Isabella's favorite activity of the day.
Getting ready to go....
In midair:
Ready for landing:

Even Sam gave the rope swing a try...
with a little help, of course.

Boys racing up the cargo climb:

The huge inflatable races were fun and entertaining,
even for the adults who were watching.

Finally, they all gathered under the parachute
and sang Happy Birthday.

After that it was time for cake
and presents:

For the last few months, Isabella's birthday wish list has consisted of two major things: art supplies and anything and everything Barbie. Well, her grandparents totally hooked her up with an amazing art set-up, which I'll be sure to share with you soon. And I cannot even tell you how much Barbie she got at her party. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of the sea of Barbie pink you could see from miles away.

So needless to say, she was one happy girl:

Monday, July 12, 2010

July SNL Layouts

So, we just had July's SNL class this weekend and you have to believe me when I tell you that it was definitely a FUN one! Besides the fact that we had 15 wonderful ladies signed up (the most EVAH!), both Rhonda and I managed to create some pretty cool pages. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of Rhonda's LOs to share (trust me, they were awesome!), but I'll leave you with the ones that I did:

School Days:

Happy Day/Birthday:

Road Trip:

Can I just tell you how much I love our monthly SNL classes?!

I'm currently working on my Mom & Me class for this coming Thursday where, in honor of Christmas in July, kids as young as 6 years old are welcome to join us in creating a festive Christmas frame. We'll be painting, flocking, glittering, and embellishing a picture frame perfect for your favorite Christmas picture. I'll be posting a sneak peek of that project on the blog tomorrow. So stay tuned!