Monday, December 9, 2013

A day in the city with my girl

My sister invited Keira and I to head into Chicago to see the Marshall Field Macy's Christmas displays and visit the American Girl Doll Store.

The thing is... Keira didn't have her AG doll yet.  Santa wasn't bringing Saige until December 25.  So Mommy called in a favor, and St. Nick dropped her off on December 6!

The boys' gift and Keira's doll


Yesterday, my sister, niece, Keira, and I drove into the city.  I hate driving in Chicago. But we had a blast! It started snowing right about the time we got there, and the snowy roads made for a loooonnnngggg drive home, but we girls had a fantastic time!

Lexi, Julie, Keira and Saige

Stopped for a quick snack

After lunch at Macy's on State Street

The great tree in the Walnut Room

Walking back to the car
Keira picked up a couple of goodies at the AG store, and Mommy bought herself a new purse as an early birthday present at Macy's.... All in all, it was a wonderful day!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happiness at home...

Today I'm linking up with The Happiness Project over at Leigh vs. Laundry.

The kids had off most of last week for "turkey break".  My work is always closed Wednesday-Friday (a fact my husband somehow was clueless about but we won't talk about that....)  

It was a great five day break from work and school.  I got to pretend I was a stay-at-home-mommy, and we did a lot of fun things, in between spending Thanksgiving with my side of the family at my uncle's house.

Watching the Thanksgiving Day parade
(Aunt Diana and her horse, Quest, rode in it!)

Thanksgiving fun

Decorating the tree

Playing with the swords of destiny
and our mermaid crowns,
rather than posing nicely for a picture

Rounding out the weekend with pizza
and Christmas shows on Disney, Jr.,
then snuggling on the couch
as a family!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Peppermint is Back!


Keira, my sweet little girl, is deathly afraid of the elf on the shelf.  

Read about it here: The (Evil) Elf on the Shelf

So last year, I found a stuffed polar bear that used to be my grandma's. I don't know where she got it, but it was in her curio cabinet, and I asked my mom if I could have it. I figured a polar bear was a lot less menacing than an elf.  The experience went pretty well, Keira loved Peppermint, as long as he doesn't move around too much AND because he can't go upstairs. (I called Santa and specifically made this request.)

With Thanksgiving break last week, 
Peppermint the Polar Bear made his grand entrance, 
and brought along 3 baby polar bears to keep an extra special eye on the kids.  
Because the babies are so small, Keira is ok with keeping hers in her room.  
(And apparently in my work bag, because that's where I found one this morning!



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

To Be Grateful (A Reminder)

I published this post earlier this autumn season.  I thought it was only fitting to re-post as we draw closer to Thanksgiving.  I was reminded of how great my life is when I drove past the local homeless shelter this morning and saw kids and parents standing in the cold, waiting for the school bus.  


Imagine driving past a park one chilly November morning as you are headed to drop your kids off at school.  The sun is just bursting out of the clouds, and the cold frost twinkles on the grass.

You pass a park and see a minivan. It's side door is open, and overflowing with open boxes and bags of clothes.  Two small children play on the swings in school uniforms, as a woman picks up the picnic table and walks to the garbage can with the remains of breakfast. A man walks out of the park bathroom with a pile of clothes in his arms.

You think to yourself how odd it is to see a family at a park at this time of morning.... especially on such a cold morning.

Then it hits you. The boxes and bags in the van are the family's entire belongings.  The children are spending time playing in the only backyard they know. The woman served her family breakfast on a cold metal picnic table. The man had washed up and changed for work in a park bathroom.

Over and over, this scene replays each morning, until the first snowfall. Then the park district police stop coming to unlock the bathrooms for the winter.

Fast forward to today.

As I drove the kids to school, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a minivan in the park's lot.  I didn't really pay attention until Keira mentioned the child on the slide had on the same kind of dress as her.  Flashback to last November.

Was it the same family? How could it be? Or was it another family, down on their luck, who just happens to attend the same school as my children?

As I drove to work in my new jacket, sipping my just-bought iced coffee, I was hit with a wave of heartbreak and guilt.  How truly grateful am I? For the house that keeps my kids safe and warm?  For the nice clothes I have for work? Granted, I only spent $15 on this jacket at Walmart of all places, but we had stopped there after dinner and a movie... luxuries that I am sure some families do not know.  What a person might give to have a hot cup of coffee early this morning with a bit of wind in the air, the person who may have slept in his car last night. And here I sit at the drive-up window, a myraid of choices to drink and some cash in my hand.

My life is full of blessings. Absolutely overflowing with them.

Yet last week, I was sulking over something petty.  I even question my writing skills and if there was a point to keep this up.  I took sometime to myself, and thought I was over it. But the feelings still lingered deep inside.  Until this morning. When I realized there are so many bigger things in life to worry over. And many of the big things - I don't have to worry about. I have a house, two cars, a job that includes great insurance, three little monsters, and a great husband. We are for the most part healthy, the kids are well-fed, and we all stay warm at night.

What about you? What are you grateful for?




Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Week, Day 1 (Guest Post: Kendra Thornton)

This week I'm writing about all things Thanksgiving!  To start things off right, I would like to welcome Kendra Thornton to Embracing Chaos. Check her out on Twitter when you are done reading about her Thanksgiving traditions!



My favorite time of year is coming up soon: Thanksgiving! With all the leaves falling and crisp air-cooling the neighborhood, the Thornton household is a whole bunch of family visitors this year in Chicago of friends and family! Thanksgiving and its symbolism of gratitude make me thankful about my immediate and extended family and I can hardly wait to have everyone here to celebrate it.
With all of our guests coming to Chicago, I need to come up with simple recipes that the kids and I can cook together without too much of a mess. I'm sticking with fast recipes that incorporate either desserts or appetizers. Because I don't have many recipes to choose from at home, I've been searching through Pinterest for ideas. The pictures help me visualize the dish rather than just read the ingredient list. My kids aren't too young anymore, but they still make a mess in the kitchen if the recipes are too complicated! If I see too many ingredients in a picture, I just skip to the next one.

I love traditional Thanksgiving foods. Mashed potatoes and gravy are my favorite! You can't forget the turkey, stuffing or cranberry sauce either. These staples make me think of family and friends every year. This year, however, I think I want to mix up what I’m serving! I came across an article on Gogobot, “Turkey Trimmed to the Nines,” and it discusses what some of the top luxury hotels are going to be serving their guests this year for the big day!
Although I can't create all of these luxurious dishes for Thanksgiving, I can certainly bring in my cooking expertise and alter the ingredients to fit my family's food cravings. I hope my family enjoys some of the new foods I’m going to try and recreate! Thanksgiving is the best time to gather around and sample new things! If the kids don't like a dish, one of the adults is sure to enjoy it thoroughly! I'm particularly excited about trying a new recipe that the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando is making for their guests. Velvety pumpkin soup accented with lobster sounds incredibly scrumptious as a dinner appetizer! It is sure to warm the heart before trying all of my other creations.

One of the best things about Thanksgiving, aside from the food, is how we give thanks. Starting with the eldest family member, we ask everyone to name what he or she are grateful for. If you think back across the year, there is so much to be thankful for! I am incredibly thankful for the Thornton family and our respect for one another. Have your family talk about their gratitude. It is sure to brighten everyone's holiday. Have a delicious holiday filled with friends and family! You are sure to make so many memories!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Woes of a Working Mom

Being a working mom is hard.  
Getting the kids out the door to school on time, 
while trying to make sure you are not late to work is even harder. 

Almost impossible.  
Actually quite inconceivable these days.  
Let's face it, it's just not happening.

We have a routine in the morning.  In fact, I created a colorful chart with words and pictures for the kids to see.  They do well... sort of.  Despite our routine, there is a lot of arguing and crying and screaming that goes on during the wee hours of the morning at my house. Apparently putting on a uniform that your mother has laid out for you the night before is quite tough.  Today's arguments revolved around Christmas socks and long sleeve black shirts.  Neither are school approved.  But five-year olds don't care.

Finally the crying/screaming/arguing has stopped.  
Everyone is dressed.  
Everyone is happily watching tv 
while setting up every single board games and box we own in our family room 
to create some sort of fort. 
Oh wait, girls can't play in this fort. 
What the what? 
Cue crying.....

Crisis averted... girls do everything boys do in this house
 or mommy throws out all the boys' toys. 

But now it's time to go upstairs and get coats on.  
The children must have misunderstood me 
and thought I asked them to go pour battery acid on themselves
the way they moan and whine and cry
 (seriously, must someone always be crying in my house???)

Finally all coats and hats are on.

We are out the door.

We are on time to school.

I leave school and head to work,
happy to finally be on time to work.

And then this:


Oh wait, then this:
 

You've got to be kidding me!!!
This too???
 

Yet again,
I'm not on time for work.

Oh well, 
there is always next week.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happiness is a missing tooth!

Boy lost his first tooth last night.  
He is the last one in his class to do so,
 and he's been waiting and waiting for this moment!
 He was so excited! 

I kept hearing "This is so cool!" 
from the bathroom where he watched 
his mouth bleed for about 5 minutes. ;)

We had received a special tooth container 
so he carefully put his tooth in it last night 
and placed it under his pillow. 
This morning, he was stoked to find
 a gold dollar coin from the Tooth Fairy!

Happiness is sharing in your oldest son's excitement.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Love Story

13 (lucky 13!) years ago, 
I met a boy with an orange mohawk and tattoos. 
(My parents were thrilled.)

I didn't like him. 
He was kinda annoying and talked a lot.
When I ran into him at a party,
he poked me.
And annoyed me some more.

Then one night
I met a friend at the drive-in movies.
The boy with the mohawk was there.
We sat in the back of his truck and watched Shrek.

On our first year (dating) anniversary, 
he gave me a sunflower just like Shrek gave Princess Fiona.

On our second year anniversary, 
we rode a carriage through the French Quarter 
and went on spooky ghost tours.

I told him I was going to get married 
on Halloween 2004.
Would he be there?
If so, he should get to proposing.

Nine years ago today,
we had our spooktacular wedding:


See my skeleton bride and groom over on the left?
I love those guys!


Seven years ago,
we added a little pumpkin to our family:


And less than two years after that,
we added two more:


Now my pumpkin patch is complete,
and I'm the happiest girl in the world!


Happy Anniversary Keith!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Giveaway!!!


In honor of the paperback release of 'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (available for pre-order here), I was lucky enough to snag an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the hardcover version of this book! And I'm giving it away to one of my readers!

All you have to do is follow the prompts on the rafflecopter widget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I was sick yesterday and didn't get a chance to hook up with Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. One of her prompts was "a pumpkin-inspired craft or recipe".

Two weekends ago, I attempted Better Home and Garden's Pumpkin Mac and Cheese.  I gave Keith the list of ingredients, and he ended up not getting sage and walnuts, so that topping was basically just Parmesan cheese.   And that's okay because it still tasted delicious!

Here is the recipe that I used:
  • 2 cups  dried elbow macaroni 
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  whipping cream
  • 1  cup  whole milk
  • 4  ounces  Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 15  ounce can  pumpkin
  • 1/2  cup  grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.

2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and pumpkin until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

3. Sprinkle Parmesan over pasta. 

4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Now this was a big hit with Keith and me.  For the kids, not so much.  Connor doesn't like mac and cheese anyway.  And by using the entire can of pumpkin, the consistency is a little thicker than traditional mac and cheese, so I think that's why the twins didn't care for it.  It wasn't the taste, but the texture.  Next time, I will use less pumpkin (maybe 3/4 of the can) to see if that makes it easier for the kids to eat. 




Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Make Time for Detours



We had a busy weekend: Legoland on Friday and the firehouse open house on Saturday. Keith was gone a lot, and I didn't feel good. My plans for Sunday included the mountain of laundry and a week's worth of house duties that I didn't have time to complete during the busy week. I also thought I'd stop by the library, let the kids get a couple of DVDs and books to keep them busy, pick up lunch, then hurry back to the chaos I currently call "home".

Get books, get lunch, get home was my mantra for the day.

Once at the library, the kids were finding books and playing (the boys like to have a contest to see who can build the most blocks with these connector-things they have.)  I got my three books (Nora Robert's Blood Brothers trilogy for some spooky October reading). We got our DVDs, books, and a couple of CDs.  We were good to go.

Until the librarian asked if we were staying for the craft/story activity at 1 p.m.  I sighed as I looked at the clock. It was 12:30. The kids hadn't had lunch yet. I wanted to get home.  The librarian mentioned it was for kids aged 3-7, and there was a firetruck activity.  A chorus of little voices greeted my ears, asking if we could stay.  I sighed again, Okay.  But really I was dreading this detour to the plan that I had created in my head.

Keira picked out a book for me to read, and the boys went back to their building contest as we wait for 1 p.m.   Colin asked if we were going to be in the room off to the right. I said I thought so, since it looked like the librarian was setting out glue sticks and paper. He got really excited.  "Yay! I didn't get to do my dinosaur bag last time when they were in that room. And now I get to do my own craft all by myself!"

Back story: In June, we planned to attend the make-a-dinosaur-tote-bag event the library had.  However, Colin was hospitalized the night before so Keith took the other two kids and made a bag for Colin.  They love their bags and we take them to the library every time we go.  But every time he reminds me how Daddy made his bag because he was sick and couldn't go.

Apparently Sunday was the day for revelations.  As I listened to the kids chatter on about how fun it was going to be to make firetrucks, I remembered back to the night we had to take Colin to the ER and the doctor told me (mistakenly) that he would have to be admitted for at least a week.  My heart stopped at the comment from the ill-informed ER doctor.  She was not familiar with his condition and thought it would take at least a week for the meds to work on him.  A week in the hospital with the child addicted to his mommy? I could never leave! What about work? The other kids? His birthday was in 3 days!  Then I thought about how relieved I was when the pediatrician came the next morning and said she'd get him home that day.  I was so grateful to her and the urologist who were willing to work with us so we'd get to sleep in our beds that night.

Would an extra hour at the library on Sunday really be that bad in the grand scheme of things? The laundry and chores would still be there when we got home. Lunch could be a little late.  The important thing was that the kids were happy, and Colin was getting that chance he had lost months before.

I firmly believe that God puts detours in our path for certain reasons.  The morning had been dicey with the kids not behaving. Perhaps a little extra time out of the house was what we needed. I do have to say the laundry is still in a large pile.  The kids got McDonalds' happy meals (did you see their new Halloween buckets?!?!) and watched Scooby Doo while they ate their apples and nuggets. And I was once again reminded how blessed I am.



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Monday, October 14, 2013

How I learned to stop yelling at the kids...


With the kids in school, we've talked a lot lately about being kind to others. And listening when our teachers (and parents) talk to us.  The kids are pretty good with being kind, but it's the listening piece we've struggled with.  Lately I find myself yelling at them because they are generally misbehaving more.  They seem to be keeping it together at school; it's only at home that we've had a lot of struggles with following directions, picking up toys, not fighting with our siblings, and general meltdowns over random things (mainly due to being over-tired I've surmised). 

I've prayed for patience and to not have to yell at them.  I thought that God would answer my prayers by having the children behave better and listen more.  Yeah, it didn't quite happen that way.

Last Monday, I started having a stabbing pain every time I coughed. (And I was coughing a lot thanks to being sick.)  Turns out I have an inflammation of my cartilage under my breastbone.  I can't take anti-inflammatory medication for it - the only advice the doctor had was to wait it out. Once the inflammation goes down, the pain will go away. But to settle the pain, I need to stop coughing, sneezing, working out, and generally moving the right half of my body since when I move my rib cage, it bothers the inflammed cartilage. Since most of those things cannot be control, I'm stuck in pain for most of my day. It's really rather annoying since I still have to go to work, do my house duties, and care for the children. (And take deep breaths from time to time.) 

Yesterday Keith was gone most of the day.

The children were not behaving well

I yelled.

Then I cried because yelling makes the pain worse.

As I sat outside watching the three kids build a house out of leaves then kick it down with a soccer ball, I was looking up at the sky through the trees when it hit me.  

God answered my prayer to not yell anymore.

Just not in exactly the way that I had hoped.

It reminded me of the old Stones song:

You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes
You get what you need....

I forget sometimes that God always answers your prayers: in His own way, not necessarily the way you want Him too.  I have to keep reminding myself to be patient and wait this pain out (although the ability to be able to run would be nice since I have a race in 3 weeks that I probably can't do).  I also now have a fool-proof way to NOT yell at the kids (however, they still don't seem to be behaving any better...).  In a roundabout way, God is speaking to me... I just need to figure out what he's trying to say.

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It Happened at Daycare...

One of the writing prompts today over at Mama Kat's is "It happened at daycare".  Oh the stories I have...

I'm grateful to the twins' daycare because they started the potty training process and worked really hard with the twins to get them to where they needed to be.  However....I wasn't always grateful.  I'm cheating a bit and posting something that I wrote back in 2010. (Don't judge, life is crazy these days!)  It doesn't completely fit with the title, since the point of my story is what happened to me BECAUSE of daycare, but you get the idea.

The post was titled: "Thank you Daycare". I've copied it here for your reading pleasure. 

Last week, the twins moved up a classroom at daycare, to the 2-3 year old room.  This is also known as the potty training room.

However, no one told me this.

On day one, they were put on the toilet about 4 times to start intense potty training.  They also sent home their pack of their diapers with a note stating we need to start sending pull-ups instead.

This is all well and good for daycare; for me - not so much.

I am now left with two kids who do not feel they need to wear diapers anymore.  I spent part of Sunday chasing naked kids around because they kept throwing their diapers down the stairs.

And they want to go potty all the time.

By potty, I mean take off their pants and diapers and sit on the toilet for a minute (or ten).

They don't do anything but smile and laugh.

After awhile, Colin freaks out until you put his diaper on him again.

And then he pees.

And then he needs a NEW diaper.

Plus Connor has to be in on the bathroom action. So there are 3 kids and me crammed in the bathroom.  
It gets hot in there.

And loud, because they have realized that with the door shut, their screams echo.

Awesomeness.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, September 9, 2013

To Be Grateful


Imagine driving past a park one chilly November morning as you are headed to drop your kids off at school.  The sun is just bursting out of the clouds, and the cold frost twinkles on the grass.

You pass a park and see a minivan. It's side door is open, and overflowing with open boxes and bags of clothes.  Two small children play on the swings in school uniforms, as a woman picks up the picnic table and walks to the garbage can with the remains of breakfast. A man walks out of the park bathroom with a pile of clothes in his arms.

You think to yourself how odd it is to see a family at a park at this time of morning.... especially on such a cold morning.

Then it hits you. The boxes and bags in the van are the family's entire belongings.  The children are spending time playing in the only backyard they know. The woman served her family breakfast on a cold metal picnic table. The man had washed up and changed for work in a park bathroom.

Over and over, this scene replays each morning, until the first snowfall. Then the park district police stop coming to unlock the bathrooms for the winter.

Fast forward to today.

As I drove the kids to school, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a minivan in the park's lot.  I didn't really pay attention until Keira mentioned the child on the slide had on the same kind of dress as her.  Flashback to last November.

Was it the same family? How could it be? Or was it another family, down on their luck, who just happens to attend the same school as my children?

As I drove to work in my new jacket, sipping my just-bought iced coffee, I was hit with a wave of heartbreak and guilt.  How truly grateful am I? For the house that keeps my kids safe and warm?  For the nice clothes I have for work? Granted, I only spent $15 on this jacket at Walmart of all places, but we had stopped there after dinner and a movie... luxuries that I am sure some families do not know.  What a person might give to have a hot cup of coffee early this morning with a bit of wind in the air, the person who may have slept in his car last night. And here I sit at the drive-up window, a myraid of choices to drink and some cash in my hand.

My life is full of blessings. Absolutely overflowing with them.

Yet last week, I was sulking over something petty.  I even question my writing skills and if there was a point to keep this up.  I took sometime to myself, and thought I was over it. But the feelings still lingered deep inside.  Until this morning. When I realized there are so many bigger things in life to worry over. And many of the big things - I don't have to worry about. I have a house, two cars, a job that includes great insurance, three little monsters, and a great husband. We are for the most part healthy, the kids are well-fed, and we all stay warm at night. 

What about you? What are you grateful for?




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I knew they were trouble...


Now I'm not saying I was a goody-goody-two-shoes when I was growing up, but I can say that during the first 13 years of schooling I had (K-12), I got in trouble ONE time. I was in fifth grade and rolled my eyes at the teacher. I had to write my name on the board. My mom was upset, and made me write an apology letter to the teacher. (Which didn't prove at all awkward when I ran into her years later, as she teaches at the college I now work at!)

Connor, I remember, had to move his magnet from green TWO times the entire first year of school.

The twins, on the other hand, appear to be on the fast track to detention. (If kindergarteners had detention, which they don't. They do have a colored-clip system where they start on green, and can move to yellow, orange, and red.)

Nine days of school, and Keira has moved her clip THREE days so far.  Yesterday, she even moved to orange, which warranted a 5 minute time out. Colin has only moved his clip twice, or so he says.  It's hard to get info out of the two co-conspirators. They have conveniently "forgotten" what happened.

Now with me getting in trouble once, and Connor rarely moving his magnet, I am mortified that my twins are getting in trouble at school. I mean, they get in trouble at home all.the.time, but I thought at school they would be better.  However, in retrospect, I'm not quite sure why I thought they'd be perfect angels at school...

Not gonna let this gate stop us

Beds? Who needs beds?

And this is why everything is bolted to the wall at our house
Just a typical afternoon play time

That's an open window they are yelling out of

I don't want to know


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How You Doin'?


  So a few months ago, I was all 


And I was happy, blogging at my new home Under A Gypsy Moon.

But then this happened...


The twins started kindergarten.

And, well, 

Life has just gotten funnier.



I know, I know!

 I said goodbye, but I hope you will forgive me.

And join me again...

as I chronicle:

The school years...

Monday, May 6, 2013

My 500th Post... A Giveaway and The End of an Era

This blog started in 2008 when life was crazy. I had just had twins, as well as a newly turned 2 year old at home. I went back to working full-time 2.5 months after the babies came.

This is the link to my first post, aptly titled, The First Post

And this right here...

This is the last post for Embracing Chaos.

I have been thinking about this for awhile now. I love writing and knew I needed an outlet to chronicle those first crazy few years of the kids' lives. I made the title of the blog, Embracing Chaos, because that it what life felt like at the time. It was so crazy and effed up, that I had to just embrace the crazies or lose my mind trying.

But things changes. Life has calmed down... sort of. There is a different kind of crazy that runs my life. The twins start kindergarten in the fall. Connor will be in second grade. Keith and I have taken a more natural, holistic approach to life. The chaos that once was is no longer. (Don't get me wrong, life still throws me curve balls, but I feel that life has also taught me the grace with which to swing back at those balls and still make a hit.)

I'm getting back to my roots, getting back to me. I'm happier now than I have been in a long time. I felt that the current blog lends to just posting about the kids, and not so much about me. Writing makes me happy, and I want to be able to post my poems and stories, jewelry I've created, and life lessons that I'm learning. I will still, of course, post about my children because they are what give me life. They are my heart and soul. But after they were born, and I became a mother, I let that consume me. I lost a part of me, my favorite part of me. And I've slowly been getting it back.

So that said, I'd like to invite you to visit my new blog, Under A Gypsy Moon.

But wait, before you go, let me explain the giveaway. As some of you may know, I love to create jewelry. So in lieu of actually advertising for my "work-in-progress" etsy shop, I wanted to give something away now, in honor of the (almost) 5 years that I've been blogging.

All you have to do is check out the new blog,  Under A Gypsy Moon, and answer the question posted. Follow Under A Gypsy Moon at bloglovin (link on blog) for an additional entry.  You will be entered to win a custom piece of jewelry created by... ME!

 Here's a sample of something you could win. (Actual item will be created by me after a winner is chosen.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

San Francisco - Day 4

On our last day, we got up super early 
to ride the trolley down to Haight-Ashbury:


Took a walk through Golden Gate park:




The day was filled with other conference-related things, 
but after my last session at 5, 
we hopped on the cable car and 
headed back to Fisherman's Wharf:




Sangria...yum...


Fresh crab... yum...


Sunset on the beach...ahhhh...




Ghiradelli chocolate AND peanut butter sundae...
OMG YUM...