Category Archives: Flashbacks

Twenty Fourteen ~ A Year In Review

Happy New Year! I am eagerly awaiting to see what 2015 will bring….it’s a big blank space just waiting to be filled with precious memories.

I hope you all had a joyous and safe NYE. We got together with several of our wonderful neighbors and overindulged on everything from Ethiopian enchiladas to key lime pie and washed it all down with everything from caramel apple sangria to Shock Tops! Needless to say I need to get back on track with my Weight Watchers program!! I have been attending the weekly meetings, but watching the pounds go up little by little here and there since the beginning of December. I did so well from early September to the end of November….the secret is to have all the right foods in the house and that has been the problem. So, tomorrow I shall gather all the right groceries to regain focus and watch the pounds head back in the right direction.


About this time each year I choose one photo per month from our iPhoto library and post it as a way to look back on the past 52 weeks. It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single moment, but that’s part of the fun.

Here are twelve memories frozen in time from Twenty14…


{Splashing in Santa Barbara on a January day}


{Game truck madness for Holden’s February birthday}


{Cosmic mother/son bowling in March}


{April brought the beginning of Spring Sports Saturdays}


{Celebrating 5 years at Star Dance Center with Miss Erin in May}


{June’s maiden voyage to Grand Central Market}


{July welcomed Auntie Anuja into the family}


{An August day at the tar pits and MOMA}


{Fall Sports Saturdays commenced in September}


{October hosted our first, and definitely not last, Color Run}


{A blurry capture of a perfect Thanksgiving}


{December brought a full house for Christmas}


This year I was surprisingly ahead of the Christmas card game…both photos that I wanted to include on it were done and captured by mid-October and our cards were in-hand by Halloween! I loved not having that hang over my head for the month of November.



The happiest of January Firsts to you!


Blue Ribbon Day ~ An Afternoon at the OC Fair

Yesterday we ventured down I-5 and headed to the OC Fair. My friend Angela is well schooled in this fair and assured me it was bigger and better than our more local Ventura County fair that is also currently going on. She had gathered some budget friendly information for our trip, too.

1. Bring $5 worth of school supplies {with receipt} for entrance into the fair. Entrance also included one FREE ride. It’s a win/win.

2. Read & Ride Program {kids ages 5-11} ~ Read two books, fill out a form, turn it in and receive 3 FREE rides.

The kids obviously wanted to IMMEDIATELY hit the death traps…..I mean rides, but we encouraged {OK….MADE} them check out some animal exhibits and the area where the biggest produce is awarded and displayed ~ AKA lemons and avocados on steroids!

The girls then made leather cuffs and bookmarks. This was perfect for Elliott and she can never find anything personalized with her name. I thought this was a nice fair souvenir for only $5.

The mamas figured it’d be better to go on a couple rides BEFORE eating lunch. Holden was turned down for a ride that he desperately wanted to go on due to his height and a kind young man and his girlfriend handed over their 2 tickets so that he could enjoy 2 other attractions as they had purchased a bracelet for “daily unlimited death trap usage”!!

As you can imagine, pin pointing a lunch item can be difficult at the fair. I talked Holden out of a $13 smoked turkey leg and redirected him to a $6 piece of cheese pizza! I had spotted a place that sold sourdough garlic bread which you could order gussied up in many different fashions….I chose the buffalo chicken version and was NOT disappointed. They also had a Nutella/bacon option which I’m sure received high marks, but I went with savory and was glad I did.

After lunch the kiddos explored some sketchy fun houses and we eventually embraced redneckness by making our way to the Turkey Stampede. It actually was tons of fun and now I think the kids will be questioning what we put on the table this Thanksgiving. Immediately after that, we crossed over to the Pig Races and secured a seat in the shade. Holden was chosen as one of four pig coaches for the finals and his choice, Bob, was the grand champion! He was so cute getting the crowd pumped up and rooting for “his” pig which was #6 and wore a blue bib.

We then took our blue ribbon winner and the rest of our crew for their long awaited sweet treat for the day…soft frozen lemonade, shaved ice, deep fried Oreos and Dippin’ Dots. Believe it or not I passed up my sweet treat for an ice cold water and Diet Coke! I’d never been so thirsty in all my life. Calories saved, I guess…….

We closed our day with a bird’s eye view of the fair on the sky ride. I praise the Lord that they have enough sense to require an adult to go on this because there is NO way I’d let Holden ride with his friends. I winced the whole time watching the three 9-year old girlies in the chair in front of us, yelling at them, “Please sit back! Don’t lean forward!” Longest 8-10 minutes of my life!!

BUT, we had a great day and the kids loved it. It had been 6 years since they had been to the fair! We went to the San Benito County Fair in the summer of ’08 before we moved back to So Cal. Holden was just 18 months and Elliott barely over 3 years old!

Here are some iPhone memories…..



















Despite my newfound old lady fear of heights, I think we need to make the county fairs a permanent fixture on our summer bucket lists from here on out.

Missing the San Diego County Fair {or the Del Mar Fair for us locals} and the memories made there over the years…..


Today marks FOUR years for



I don’t quite know what path this little blog is going to take, but I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet…..

I want to thank YOU all for stopping by from time to time and leaving comments.

It really does mean the world to me and I most certainly appreciate you taking the time to visit my teeny tiny corner of the internet!


On Honesty

Last year when I was going through RCIA, we discussed that being a follower of Christ is not always easy. Sometimes being Christ-like is hard. We want to do what WE want to do, not what Jesus would want us to do. Sometimes going against what WE want is not fun, but it is almost always right.

I had a lesson in this about 8.5 years ago before I became Catholic; before I was technically a follower of Christ, I guess you could say.

I’ve always considered myself an honest person. I was born with a huge guilty conscience {perfect for Catholicism many have joked}. I learned honesty is the best policy at a young age from my parents, obviously. I always chalked it up to “doing the right thing” because it’s the right thing to do, but now I know it’s the Holy Spirit guiding me and by following the Holy Spirit, I am glorifying God.

So, when I was pregnant with Elliott I worked full-time and knew that I wasn’t going to return to the workforce after she was born. See yesterday’s post for more on this. It came time to prepare for her arrival and get all my ducks in a row. Like I said, I knew that I needed to give my employer notice before I went out on maternity leave {or SAHM leave} and when I talked to several friends they suggested I tell them I’m coming back so that I could get my disability. Well, that didn’t sit well with me although you KNOW I saw dollar signs flying out the window in my head. Let’s be honest.

It was not worth it to me to LIE to my employer who had been so good to me and have them think that I was coming back only to call them 6 weeks after my baby was born and say, “Hey guys, I decided to be a stay at home mom. I won’t be coming back.” I didn’t want that conversation hanging over me while I was enjoying my new blessing of motherhood. So one morning I went into one of my bosses offices {the one who interviewed me} and sat down. I explained to him that I knew I wanted to stay at home with my baby and that I was sad to report that I would not be coming back to work there. This was the best job I’d ever had. It was an hour commute each way, but worth every mile. I was sad to leave, but I was excited for the next chapter on our life.

Do you know that Mark looked across the desk at me and said something to the effect of, “Amy, I’m so glad you’ve decided to stay at home.We’ll certainly miss you. But I’ll just have you send in a letter of resignation after the baby is born because you’ve paid into this for so many years and you DESERVE to receive these benefits. This happens all the time.”

I couldn’t believe it. I “did the right thing” and was still blessed with the thing that I was worried about losing ~ money.

I left that meeting overwhelmed with gratitude and complete peace. Because I chose to be honest, I believe I was rewarded with several little checks during my maternity leave that certainly helped us financially. I will never forget the day the last one came. I knew it was the last one. I opened it and it was like a big {not THAT big} lump sum and there was a note that said this was my last of my benefits. The total was way more than I was receiving weekly and I guess it was just the balance of what I’d paid into?? I didn’t call to ask, just thanked my lucky stars and lived off that instead of starting to ask Jay for money and getting me a debit card at HIS bank. LOL

Anyhow, I was walking with my friend a couple weeks ago and we were talking about blessings and how they come when we least expect them. I told her about this story and about how Mark’s kindness would be remembered for a long, long time…probably forever. I got choked up as I was telling the story and she could tell that this was something that I held close to my heart after all these years.

Last weekend Jay and I were invited to a 25th wedding anniversary celebration {stay with me here} of the sweet friend who had gotten me the interview of this best job ever. We had a mutual friend and were wine tasting in Temecula one Sunday afternoon. I had expressed to her that I was unhappy at my current job and she begged me to come and apply at her company. So I did and I am ever so grateful.

OK, getting back to the party…Jay and I walked in about an hour late due to a dumb grass fire on I-5. The vow renewal had already taken place and the guests were enjoying passed hor d’oeuvres and cocktails before dinner. The DJ directed us into the room and the first thing I saw was several smiling faces of some of my favorite colleagues from, you guessed it, THE BEST JOB EVER. After a mini hug reunion, we sat and got caught up from over the years.

All of a sudden I asked, “How’s Mark? Does anyone keep in touch with him?”

There was a silence. Art, my other former boss, said, “Mark died!”

I was in complete shock. So saddened.

50 years old and had a heart attack while surfing with his son.

I couldn’t believe it.

I shared with everyone that I was JUST talking about him a couple weeks earlier and how he would forever be remembered as one of the most compassionate bosses in my career. I reminded them about how painless he made my departure for the workplace and that he had been the force behind a little financial freedom that doesn’t always come when you stop working.

It was SO great to share in our friends’, Tom & Teri’s, celebration. It was so neat to view photos of them over the years…the places they’ve visited, the CCI puppies that they have devoted their hearts to raising.

I didn’t know who to expect on the guest list from our Decision One days, but I can tell you that it was so, so great to see the ones that were there and the way they welcomed us when I was feeling terrible that we were over an hour late!

Art, Julie, Teri and Linda ~ I loved spending the evening with you all. XOXO

Being a stay-at-home-mom is great, but working in a cubicle with amazing people all around you is pretty great too!

Mark, rest in peace and love. Your words and kind gesture will NEVER be forgotten. Thank you for reminding me that being HONEST is always the way to be.


No legacy is so rich as honesty ~ William Shakespeare

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight ~ Proverbs 12:22

I Always Knew

I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mother.

But I also always knew that I wanted to go to college and earn a degree.

There was a time when I was focused on graduating from SDSU and being a mama was not on my immediate radar.

There was a time when I thought I may NOT be able to be a SAHM.

Thankfully, I surrendered and listened to what HE had in store for me. It took some time, but eventually I saw and understood why everything that had happened in my life up to that point.

I recall being at lunch with my colleagues when I was working FT in Del Mar and looking across the restaurant at a group of what I assumed were SAHMs. They had their strollers, infant carseats, burp cloths, etc. and were sitting around chatting about what moms of infants and toddlers probably chat about ~ sleep deprivation, finding the right diapers, etc.

I recall thinking to myself, “I want to do that someday.” Not live in Del Mar and sit in a brewery/pizza joint, but be a SAHM.

That was about 16 years ago.

I’ve been at home for almost 8.5 years now. It’s hard to believe. I don’t have it all figured out. Like at all. Somedays I feel so productive and others I feel like I’m letting my family down. Some days I just have to be OK with doing the bare minimum…

Kids up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair done, lunches packed, homework in the backpack, socks & shoes on and to school on time {a pet peeve of mine}.

Dishes in the sink at least washed and placed in the dish drainer.

Maybe a load of laundry started {and probably forgotten in the washer for a day or two, but I always know that Jay will remind me it’s in there!}

Making sure we have SOMETHING for dinner that is semi-healthy and not from a drive-thru.

Picking up the kids from school and getting homework done before soccer, religious ed, dance, etc.

Remembering who has practice and at which field/park and at what time.

Asking Holden 26 times to get his shoes on and get in the car.

Getting home from said soccer practice {late} and getting dinner together, the kids in the bath, reading minutes logged, teeth brushed and tucked in.

Somedays that’s all I can do. And that’s not to say that I do this all alone. Jay is obviously tired after commuting and working all day, but he helps a lot, too.

And I’m not complaining about this at all, I’m just saying that there are days {lately more so than not!} that I don’t get a thing more done than what I have to. I am totally aware that I need to put down my phone more and pick up the Swiffer duster and Hoover more. I know this. I get it. I want to. But somedays I just don’t have it in me. And I’m not saying that’s OK either.

What prompted this whole post was reading this article floating around Facebook.

I’m not going to get real deep here {because I never do}, but sometimes you just need to hear that being a SAHM IS work and that it DOES count as a “job”.

I am beyond blessed that I’ve been able to stay at home this long. Yes, we have to make sacrifices and say NO and sometimes even worry about money.

But, lately we have truly seen God’s grace and witnessed his promise to always provide.

It was laid on my heart many, many years ago to be in this exact place right now and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Bad days and all.

Because my “bad day” is someone else’s dream day come true.


The little 4X4 IG photos above are WHY I stay home with my kids.

I am gathering moments each day, the good and the not so good, so that when my babies are older and go off to college or I deliver a speech at their weddings, I can look back and know that I embraced what God placed in my path.

I may not get everything right, but I hope I get this right…..

I knew 16 years ago.

I knew 20 years ago.

I ALWAYS knew.


I’m a day late, but wanted to share yesterday’s Facebook post…

12 years ago at this time, I was glued to the television with fear, sadness, awe and disbelief. I go back in my mind to the visions of Ground Zero even 10 months after “that day” and still canNOT imagine being there in those first moments, hours, days, weeks and months after our country was tested. Red, White & Blue rose above all, and today I am not afraid, but am filled with hope, faith and LOVE.

…and an IG post…


“Land of the FREE. Home of the BRAVE. Always. No matter what.”

36 Months of Ramblings

Today marks this little blog’s anniversary!

Three years ago today, I hit publish on my very first post and 877 posts later, here we are.


The thought of starting a blog occurred to me about a year before I actually began. I knew I didn’t want solely a cooking blog, or a party planning blog, or a home decor blog, but rather a blog that just {flip flopped} around day-to-day from one topic to another…never over-thinking or stressing too much over any certain post. I wanted each day to be a surprise to my readers and them to never know what they may find once they clicked on their RSS feed or typed into their browser.

I didn’t want to worry if there were days {or weeks} where I didn’t feel I had anything to say. Weeks where I wanted to say something, but maybe never found the time to sit down and put the words onto the screen. Each and every post that I write here is carefully thought out, worded, reworded and proofread before I hit “publish” ~ whether it be a quickie or a longer birthday party recap. I want this blog to be a place where I can look back in years to come and remember a recipe that I made for family and friends. Or laugh at a bad day that we may have had. Or to remind me of the little things that we did with our kids that will amount to so much more when they have outgrown these stages.

I have always maintained that I will keep this blog light-hearted and fun. While I may vent from time to time or maybe complain, I try to do it a playful and humorous manner and make light of it. Parenting is tough work and as much as I want to only share the happy times, I feel it’s also important to share the challenging ones. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers from them opening their hearts and bearing their souls and I think we can ALL learn from our struggles as well as our triumphs.

I want you all to know that I appreciate your readership more than you know. It warms my heart when someone stops me on campus to tell me they tried a recipe I shared or see a post on Instagram of a quick little holiday craft I passed along. My goal is to try to get those who may not enjoy cooking or whipping up little handmade goodies to see that it’s easy to put that little added special touch into, not only your family’s lives, but the lives in the people around you. It doesn’t have to be much…’s the thought that counts, right?

To show my gratitude to you all, I will be having a little giveaway real soon. I’m in the process of sourcing a couple more things and then I will announce it here! Please stay tuned and DO enter….I will be giving away a few of my favorite things.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming here daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or if this is your first time, welcome!

Come back soon ~ you never know what you’ll find.


Sugar Overdose

Wanna know what’s more sickening than stuffing your face with Laffy Taffy, Almond Joy, Snickers, York and Pay Day candy?

Going into the archives and pulling up your babies pics from every single one of their Halloweens.

Time is so cruel. So, so cruel.

A reminder to take each day and appreciate them while they are monkeys, and peacocks, and candy corns, and butterflies….

A stroll down October 31st memory lane:









{2010 ~ Fall Festival}

{2010 ~ Trick-or-Treating : ballerina & chicken}

{2011 ~ Fall Festival}

{2011 ~ Trick-or-Treating}

{2012 ~ Fall Festival}

{2012 ~ Trick-or-Treating}


There you have it….eight years of costumes {some recycled!}, candy and sweet, sweet memories.

I’m in a sugar coma.

Happy Halloween!



Happy 8th Anniversary to my JWPA!

Can’t believe it was 96 months ago that we tied the knot at St. Francis Chapel and celebrated afterwards at Cafe Pacifica. Truly memorable both for us and for our guests!

Thank you for {putting up} with me and for your steadfast love and devotion to our family. I am so proud of your ethics and integrity which is what caught my eye almost 11 years ago.

Looking forward to what the next 96 months bring and I know, no matter what, that WE will embrace it TOGETHER as a team.

Thank you for being the LOVE in my life!


Where there is love there is life ~ Mahatma Gandhi


{November ’08 ~ their first visit}

Getting our plan of attack together for tomorrow…

Celebrating Popsi’s milestone birthday with Mickey & Minnie!

Looking at these pictures from 3 and a half years ago reminds me of how time flies.

Make today {and every day} great!