Neighborhood Gift Ideas on Good Things Utah

This past Monday I had the opportunity to be on Good Things Utah doing a segment on Neighborhood Gifts. I had so much fun thinking of all the different ideas that it was hard to narrow it down, so I did two - Holiday Bread Wrap and Stamped Notepad.

Here's the link to the episode: Decorative Wraps for Your Holiday Baked Goods

Part of the fun in doing these segments is shopping for product. I cruised Roberts Crafts for about a half hour picking up various products and putting them back until I decided on papers from My Mind's Eye and SEI. Then I found the perfect pearl brads from American Crafts. This project comes together quickly and the accessory sheet from My Mind's Eye has plenty of options for several wraps.

The stamped notepads are fun because you can customize them based on the recipient. I used stamps I had in my stash, but there are plenty of options in the stores if you need an excuse to buy something new. They were so quick and easy, that we've decided to do them as our neighbor gifts this year!

Thanks again to Good Things Utah for letting me join their fun group and for giving me the opportunity to be creative.

Holiday Bread Wrap
Stamped Notepads


Thankful for the Holidays

I love the time from Thanksgiving to New Years. It's full of traditions, festivities, decorations, favorite foods, and more. Yes it can be crazy hectic, but it's a happy hectic. I enjoy sitting at night with only the lights from the decorations on. Shopping for the perfect gifts is a fun challenge, especially being patient while standing in line and being nice even when people around you are grumpy. And so, today I'm thankful for the holidays and all the excitement, sparkle, love, and food that come with them. Happy Holidays!


Thankful for the Beauty of Snow

I love snow. It coats the world in a blanket of white that is beautiful. I love watching the big, fluffy snowflakes fall. And there's nothing like a walk during a storm - everything is slightly muffled and oh so peaceful. At this time of year, the Christmas lights are an added bonus as they add color and sparkle to snowy rooftops.

I recognize I'm in the minority. I also admit that there are times when the drive to and from work are more challenging, but all the benefits of snow far outweigh the drawbacks. And so today, I'm grateful to have woken up to a world made white by a fresh snow fall.


Thankful for Gratitude

Today I looked back on this past month's experience of writing down one thing I'm grateful for each day and wow, what a difference it has made on my outlook. It has not taken away the hard days or made life any easier, but it has made the way I look at things much more positive. Each day as I would reflect on my day to decide which thing I wanted to record as my gratitude item, it was a great reminder of all the many things I have to be grateful for. I am truly blessed and this daily reminder is exactly what I needed this month to get my perspective back on track.

I'm grateful to Jacki who shared this wonderful idea (I did see other people with the same or similar idea, but Jacki's post was the one that got me started). I hope to keep this going in some form since the effects were so worth it. But I have to confess - I'm great at starting things, but not as good at doing something consistently for a long time. So today, I'm thankful for gratitude and the positive effect recognizing it in your life can have.


Thankful for Time at Home

Today was a day of being home. I slept in, took the dogs for a walk, and then pulled out my jewelry supplies and watched football while making jewelry. It was wonderful to be home with no set schedule doing something I enjoy. When life gets hectic, it's days like today that help me feel human again. I'm so very thankful for a home that I'm comfortable in, that I can enjoy and relax in, and be surrounded by those I love (people and hounds). Today, I'm thankful for time at home.


Thankful for Days Off Work

I didn't have to go to work today. Instead, I slept in, did a little shopping, worked on a couple of projects for next week, and hung out at home. It was lovely!! Everyone needs time away from work, no matter if you love your job or not. The change of pace is refreshing. The time doing what you want on your schedule is rejuvenating. I'm grateful for vacation time, especially when I know that I still have three more days at home :)


Thankful for Family and Friends

What a wonderful day! I love spending time with those I love, which includes family and friends. The stories shared around the dinner table bring laughter and tears, but mostly memories. I'm truly blessed to have two friends that are more like sisters than friends. They are always there for me through the good and the bad, the fun and the struggles. I would be lost without them.

And so today, I'm very, very thankful for those that share my daily life, for those that are my family (raised with and by, and adopted into or by later in life), and for friends that bless my life in so many ways. Thank you!


Thankful for the Glow of Christmas Lights

I know that I really shouldn't have them on yet, but I love them so - Christmas lights! I love sitting in the family room with just the Christmas lights on. They cast a beautiful soft glow on everything in the room. It's peaceful and beautiful and it makes me happy. If I had my way, we'd have them up until spring, but I guess this way they keep their special factor. So today, I'm thankful for a room full of Christmas lights. Ah, life is good!

Lights and garland on the railing


Thankful for Covered Parking

No matter if the weather is hot or cold, I'm thankful for covered parking that helps regulate the temperature in my car. But on snowy days like today when the wind is blowing hard, I'm especially grateful for a cover over my car so I don't have to endure the wind while I scrape the snow from the windshield. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the mall for providing this marvelous option.


Thankful for Time to Try New Recipes

I love cookbooks and looking at recipes (have cookbooks I've never made a recipe out of, but I sure enjoy flipping through the pages). The pictures are gorgeous and I love seeing what's in a recipe. I also really like cooking, especially baking but seldom do either because of travel and pure laziness when I'm home. But today I made a new recipe for meatloaf that I found on the Pioneer Woman's blog (she has great recipes and wonderful step by step instructions). The great thing about this recipe is that I put it together this morning and then the first person home popped it in the oven to bake. And might I say, it was delish!!! How could it not be? It had Parmesan cheese in it and bacon on top :)

This picture says it all - I'm thankful for new recipes and time to try them (and of course eat them too!).


Thankful for a Gas Fireplace

On a snowy day like today there's nothing like flipping a switch for an instant fire. The flames are so mesmerizing and the immediate heat is absolutely delightful. The hounds love to curl up about 2 feet from the front of the fireplace - I can only stand there for a couple of minutes before I start to melt, so I'm not sure how they can lay there for as long as they do. So today, I'm thankful for the beauty and warmth provided by our gas fireplace.


Thankful for Car Rides

We spent most of the day away from home and then once we got home started working on things and didn't really do much with the hounds. Needless to say, they followed us wherever we went - they were bored!! So I suggested a car ride, which immediately put Mabel into a tizzy, albeit a very cute tizzy that involves high-pitched barking and jumping up and down. Going for car rides with the hounds makes me happy because THEY are so happy. Mabel nuzzles me constantly, almost as if to thank me over and over. And so today I am thankful for car rides and the opportunity it gives me to bring pure joy to the hounds that give me unconditional love.


Thankful for Fridays

While I'm not opposed to other days of the week, I have a special spot in my heart for Fridays, especially Friday night. The work week is finished, Saturday is still in the planning stages, and there are a couple nights of TV to catch up on. I'm sure if we worked Tuesday through Saturday, I'd have similar feelings for Saturday, but right now, I'm thankful for Friday.

Here's a fun quote to start off the weekend. Enjoy!!

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.  ~Bill Watterson


Creativity for the week

This week brought another opportunity to be part of Good Things Utah (thanks Rox!). They asked for home decor for Thanksgiving. I struggled with an idea for several days and then found something similar to what I created. I also remembered the Blessing Mix I made several years ago for Paper Crafts and thought it could be a fun addition.

So here's what I came up with: Give Thanks Shadowbox and Blessing Mix Placecards

I found the perfect paper from Imaginisce - fun and festive Thanksgiving designs. The shadowbox comes in three sizes at Walmart (I used the 8x8, but they had 12x12 and 11x17). Of course I couldn't find the original recipe I used for the Blessing Mix, but the Internet provided a variety of options, so I picked the one I liked the best and made a slight modification.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. The Blessing Mix is a quick gift idea too, in case you don't need placecards at your dinner.

P.S. - please forgive the froggy voice. My souvenir cold interfered with my plans for the week :)


Thankful for Stunning Sunsets

I love beautiful sunsets and Utah produces some incredible ones (especially when the haze settles in, which hasn't happened yet thank goodness). Tonight we happened to glance out the back window to find this.

View from our back porch

The colors were stunning!! I am so thankful to live in a place that provides daily reminders of God's creations in such vibrant colors. I'm thankful for sunsets.


Thankful for Comfy Couches and Chairs

I love our furniture! I can curl up in it, stretch out, lounge, or cuddle a pup. I love the comfort it provides. They're perfect for reading in, working on a laptop, or just hanging out. I'm thankful for a comfortable place to land when I get home.


Thankful for Quiet Nights at Home

Some days there's nothing better than coming home and just relaxing. The hounds are curled up sleeping and we're watching TV recorded from last night. I'm grateful for quiet, peace, and the comfort of home.

Sweet Mabel all curled up!
Cleo asleep on her favorite blanket


Thankful for DVR

I admit - I'm addicted to TV! And when I travel I often don't see the TV shows that I follow. So today, I'm thankful for DVR so that I can catch up on the shows I missed or record things while I work on something else and then watch when I have more time. Isn't technology wonderful??!!


Thankful for the Scents of Home

As I walked in the door today from my trip, I was met with the mouthwatering scent of roast beef cooking in the oven and I was so thankful to be home and even more so for the wonderful friends that took the time to prepare the wonderful meal. There's nothing better than a good home-cooked meal, especially after several days of eating in restaurants.

I'm thankful for a home filled with wonderful scents like the roast beef that greeted me today and the cinnamon rolls later in the evening :)


Thankful for ...

Today I'm just plain thankful! I have so much to be grateful for in my life and honestly, I don't have the energy to narrow it down :) But I know my life is truly blessed and I'm thankful for all that I have.


Thankful for Catching Up with Friends

I am thankful for time to catch up with friends. There is something so wonderful about getting together with someone and feeling as if no time has passed - you pick up where you left off the last time. One of the big advantages of my job is all the friends I have and being able to see them when I travel to conventions. I enjoy seeing them and finding out what is new.

And so, today I am thankful for time to catch up with friends, whether the time apart has been long or short.


Thankful for those that protect my freedom

I am so grateful for those that serve or have served in the armed forces. I enjoy so many freedoms because of these wonderful people. One of these people is my little (okay, youngest) brother. He is a Marine and was recently promoted. I'm so proud of him!

I'm also thankful for the families that support our troops while they are away from home. I know it must be so hard to not know how they are, to feel like you are a single parent, and often to move time and time again. So thanks to the families too!

Today, I am so very thankful for veterans past, present, and future.


Thankful for Naps on Planes

It's no secret, I love to sleep. And napping on a plane is a skill I have finessed. I know that for many, they cannot sleep on a plane and I truly feel bad for you. So today, I am thankful for the ability to fall asleep while rolling down the runway (if not earlier) and then waking up when we land. The flight goes so much faster this way!


Thankful for my Kindle

I LOVE to read and when I travel I go through books pretty quickly. Since getting my Kindle, I am able to either buy the latest books or get free books. So needless to say, my book budget has decreased and I still have a way to escape each night before I go to sleep (which is what reading is for me, an escape). My Kindle also allows me to carry multiple books in case I want to switch stories or want a back up for when I finish my current book. So today, I'm thankful for my Kindle and the flexibility and enjoyment it gives me to meet my reading needs. Plus, I have the best cover - pics of my hounds! That way they're always with me :)

Front of Kindle cover
Back of Kindle cover
I know these images are small, but it gives you the general idea. I created the cover at Unique Skins. Well worth the money :)


Thankful for Home

I love coming home! Whether it is from a day at work or a trip or just around the block, I find comfort in coming home. Sometimes it is filled with howling hounds and other times it is quiet. At times I think it can't possibly hold another person when it is filled with friends and family for special occasions. And then there are times when it's just me and the hounds, which is fine too, but I like it when we are all here, enjoying each others company. Home: a refuge, a place of comfort, where I can be myself, and where I'm surrounded by those I love and am loved by.

Plus, who wouldn't love coming home to this:



Thankful for Faith

Today in one of my church meetings we discussed faith and character and how the two relate to each other and work together. As we read scriptures and shared experiences, I realized how many times my faith has carried me and how thankful I am for my knowledge of a Heavenly Father that loves me and has a plan for me. So even when I don't know what the plan is, I have faith that I am watched over. Life without this knowledge would be so difficult. And so I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, and for how this knowledge gives me the faith to move forward each day doing what I know I should do.


Thankful for a No Alarm Day

Alarm clocks are a necessary evil if you want to keep your job :) So I thoroughly enjoy days when I can sleep until my eyes pop open on their own. No alarm days are heavenly and I'm oh so grateful for when they occur! And while tomorrow will be an alarm day, at least it is a fall back alarm day. Life is good!


Thankful for Take Out Pizza

After a long week at work, no one at our house was up for cooking and so I am grateful for take out pizza from Pier 49 (The Ghirardelli with Alfredo sauce instead of red sauce)! It was delightful, warm, and really hit the spot. So I am thankful for good food that no one at our house had to make - yeah for pizza!


Thankful for Nature's Colors

Nature's colors - the deep purple of the iris, the velvety red rose, the brilliant orange, yellow, and reds of fall trees, the contrast of the pines next to the aspen trees on the mountains. It is stunning and amazing - so many colors. I'm grateful that I can see to appreciate these colors. I'm also grateful to live in a place that goes through all the seasons so that I can spend time appreciating all the varied colors.

Here's a picture of a tree down the street. Love these colors!


Thankful for the drive home

I have a 30 minute drive home (provided there are no traffic issues, which is not the case for the next two years, but that's another story) and I'm grateful for the time it gives me to unwind from the day and leave behind work so that when I get home I can enjoy the evening. There are even times I don't mind the traffic, because it gives me a few extra minutes to shake the day off and of course, sing to my heart's content. So while I wish some days that I lived closer, today I am grateful for the drive.

For those of you with a nasty commute (traffic issues), here's a quote from a co-worker that is fast becoming our mantra: "Suck it up and drive!"

Gotta have some humor about these things!


Thankful for Tail-waggin' Love

Dogs, and especially our hounds, are lovers. No matter what kind of day you had or they had, they welcome you with tail wagging that takes over their body. They're excited that you are home, they dance and bark and howl and just want to be near you and have their ears rubbed or belly stroked. They love you even though you just gave them a bath or cleaned their ears - so quick to forgive. Seeing their sweet faces melts my heart and brightens my day. Life would not be the same without them.

And so, I am ever so thankful for my tail-waggin', full of love hounds!


A Month of Gratitude - I'm Thankful for Music

A friend posted on Facebook that she was starting her "Month of Gratitude" today and I thought she had a great idea, so here starts my month. The things I'm listing are in no particular order, just what comes to mind at that moment or during the day.

I am grateful for music. It makes me dance, cry, sing, smile, reflective, improves my mood, and oh so much more. It speaks to my heart, my inner dancer, and my soul. Music expresses my thoughts and feelings in words that I cannot find. It lifts my spirit. It communicates my love of God and my gratitude for all that he gives me. I love listening to music, but I love singing even more and I'm sure fellow commuters wonder about me as I drive by. Music completes me.

My favorite music - Christmas. My favorite song - O Holy Night by Josh Groban.





About This Blog

My posts are random. They cover a variety of subjects, but are mostly about things I enjoy, am inspired by, or catch my attention at that moment. I don't ever want to offend anyone by anything I write. This blog is a way to express myself and the interests I have. I hope you enjoy what I share.

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