What makes you happy?

25 things that make me happy:

1. Deep discussions with my dad during long car rides

2. Wine and fancy dinner with a group of friends

3. Rocking my daughter to sleep

4. A really good kiss from the love of my life

5. Playing with a puppy

6. Watching my baby discover something new

7. Hugging my friends who I don’t get to see very often

8. Listening to a feel-good song

9. Getting a call in the morning that I don’t have to go to work

10. A breath of salt air on the beach

11. Looking at a finished project or piece of artwork I made, after great effort was put into it

12. A long, healthy talk with my husband, at random

13. An early morning in PJ’s with a cup of tea and something to read

14. Puzzling with Poppop and making him laugh really hard and loudly

15. Running errands on a Saturday with my Mom

16. Walking into the Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld

17. Christmas Eve at my Mommom’s house

18. Watching my husband enjoy a meal I made for him.

19. A lunch date with my sister

20. Eating slices of Mack and Manco’s pizza on stools in sandy bathing suits in the middle of a beach day with my Mommom

21. Seeing someone’s face after you just paid them an appreciated compliment

22. Hearing and seeing my daughter chuckle

23. Watching and reciting every line of City Slicker with my Dad

24. That perfect-timing hug and love from your mom

25. Walking the Ocean City Boardwalk on a summer night

*This post is dedicated to my beautiful daughter. May you read this and learn that your mom knows what matters in this world and thanks God every day for the small and incredibly beautiful gifts with which she has been blessed.IMG_0017

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Bears

My husband and I have been dropping our baby off at my mom’s house and seeing a movie every Tuesday night (we just learned that our theater has $6 movies on Tuesdays!). This is so fun for us because it gives us something different to talk about; it is like we are sharing a new experience! Anyway… a few weeks ago we went to see Saving Mr. Banks, which we really loved, and while we were waiting for it to start they showed a preview for a movie called Bears! It was made my Disneynature, was filmed in Alaska, and narrated by John C. Reilly!

Oh my gosh, I am a new parent and a nature lover so I cried by eyes out through this entire trailer. It really touched me, I can’t believe how emotional I felt. I was literally sobbing! I am so excited to go the week it comes out, April 18th to celebrate Earth day. For each ticket sold, Disneynature is donating to the National Park Foundation so not only are you getting an experience but you are helping too! I can’t wait!

Click here or click this photo, from the movie, below to see the trailer:

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Luciana’s Playground Adventure

It has been so cold in our town that this 40 degree day felt amazing! We needed to get out of the house and since Luchi is sitting up on her own now I figured she would have a ball in the swing at the park! She loved it!! We bundled her up and brought her over the bridge to a park I went to as a kid. She watched some other kids play, which is her favorite thing to do, and had a nice first ride in the swing while Mommy and Daddy took pictures!

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Friday Fun-day!

In between homework and chores, Mommy and Luchi have been having tons of fun in the kitchen! Luchi had some homemade sweet potato mash and Mommy had a fruity salad and roasted chick peas for lunch! Girls gotta eat! This amazing new popcorn I found has been in a bowl by my computer screen for some of the morning as well! What an awesome snack! Eat whole foods and feel amazing!

I just piled anything fresh I had into a bowl to create this masterpiece. Apples, raspberries, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, feta, and spring mix topped with raspberry walnut dressing.

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These are just organic garbanzo beans from a can, rinsed, dried, tossed in 1 tbsp of olive oil, baked for 25 mins at 400 degrees and then sprinkled with spices of your choice! (I used 1/2 tsp of each, salt, coriander, paprika, and garlic powder) They are crunchy and delicious! 4 points plus for 1/2 cup.

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Look at those little teeth!! I love this baby!!

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We are going to finish our Valentine’s this evening…stay tuned for that post!

Chase the Sunset

I was cozy in my bedroom with a book and the baby on this lazy Saturday afternoon when I glanced out the window to see the glow of the pink sunset on the snowy roofs of the neighbor’s homes. Inspired, I put the baby in a snowsuit, bundled myself up, grabbed my camera and ran out the door to get my shot!

I got a few right out front of my house but was not done! I packed the baby up to drive down to the bay. We got a few more to satisfy us! So much beauty so close to home!

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An Update…

As if I needed another hat to wear, last week I added a new role to my list, student. I started back at school to get my BSN. I didn’t particularly want to take any more nursing classes but getting my bachelor’s degree is a personal goal. I want to show my daughter that her mom can finish what she starts. It is a financial burden and eats up a lot of precious time but I think it was all be worth it in the end.

My sister moved to North Jersey and I went to visit her new house for the first time yesterday. She is only 21 and she bought her first home on her own, is taking care of her 2 dogs, and working as an accountant! I am so happy for her and proud of her! Her new home is perfect for her at this time of her life and her town is adorable. We had so much fun! We went to a restaurant called Toast, wandered around Whole Foods choosing some really fun chocolate bars, tea, and goodies, and went to a place called Eagle Rock Reservation to see the skyline of NYC. Luciana had a blast visiting her aunt “Mo Mo”.

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Luciana is getting really big and more beautiful every day. She is the best thing that has ever happened to us and we couldn’t be happier. She is a really good baby and is a ton of responsibility but is worth every second of it. It has been awful going back to work because I LOVE being at home but I am doing my part to contribute to my community and make some money to take care of my daughter; my dad takes care of her most days while I work, we are so blessed! She sits up on her own now and plays so nicely on her own with her toys. It is fun to make her different foods. She loves sweet potatoes and pears. I am enjoying every day. Watching her grow is the most bittersweet experience ever; I love that she is healthy and learning new things but seeing her slip away from earlier stages hurts so badly. Here are some of our favorite photos from the last month, playing outside at the beach…

IMG_3023in the snow…IMG_2867in the custom Christmas pajamas I designed and sewed for her with her name in the fabric…IMG_2646and on Christmas Eve with Mommy and Daddy…IMG_2579Stay tuned for more inspiration, recipes, and much more!

Thanks for reading…come back soon!

The Monster

Everyone who reads this blog knows it is about achieving balance in life. Whether it is food, experiences, art, music, stuff, people or feelings, I feel like I need to control it all and keep it balanced.

I wanted to blog about something very real and difficult that I call “the monster”. I have to factor “the monster” coming and going in and out of my day as I try to achieve this balance. “The monster” is the feeling I get when a hormonal wave comes over me. I don’t feel overly sad or overly angry. I would call it a cousin or relative to the emotions: anxious and uneasiness. Some people would say its a type of PMS. Some would say it’s when you cry but don’t know why.

If “the monster” comes over you, especially after your body has just gone through a pregnancy, you are not alone; I am at least one other woman who experiences this.

I usually notice that it will take some kind of trigger to bring it on, it can be as small as spilling a glass of water on the floor or something not going as planned. It feels like a pit in my stomach and sometimes it takes triple the effort to take a deep breath.

Crocheting or reading help. A few tears shed sometimes help. Time and patience help it to go away as well. I beg my husband not to ignore me but to ignore “the monster”.

I want my readers to be reminded that bloggers of happy and inspiring things are also people who have struggles and challenges. I usually share to inspire but today I share to help someone feel less lonely when their monster comes.

Infant Infinity Scarf

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I made this scarf for my daughter last night and am so excited about how it came out! I take so much pride in what I do and I love to share it! I would be thrilled to make one for your child!

I usually use Merino yarn that is hand-dyed by an organization called Manos Del Uraguay. This organization not only provides financial opportunity for woman who would otherwise struggle finding work but they also turn out a quality product. The yarn is incredibly soft, warm, and no skein is exactly the same as another. Read more about the organization here.

I can ship anywhere in the USA. Leave me a comment on this post, contact me via my Etsy page, Heart of Gold by Torro (click this link and then click the button that says “Contact shop owner”), or message me via facebook if you are interested in having one of these made for you!

Hanging Paper Stars

I have a tall window in my living room with a sill which I love to decorate. For our first year in our home we went “all out” and put garlands and lights and our nativity on the sill but there was some negative space that I wanted to fill. I came of with the idea of floating 3D stars made from Christmas scrapbook paper!

I made 4 and they came out so pretty; they are perfect!

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They are hanging from yarn tied onto command hooks:

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I cut out 16 stars, 4 for each ornament (each about 2 inch). I folded them all in half, good side of paper on the inside of the fold. I put 4 together with scotch tape adhesive dot roller. I left one part detached so I could glue the yarn into it.

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They came out so great! Could use any shape! Gonna try larger hearts for Valentine’s Day too!

Family Memories In The Making

My husband and I have been enjoying every special moment with our daughter but her Baptism, Halloween and Thanksgiving were extra fun! We love to incorporate creativity into our every day lives and are excited to build traditions for our family!

We were excited to have a Baptism for Luciana because it is tradition in our families. We wanted her Godmother to dress her, to enjoy the ceremony with family and close friends, and have an Italian butter cream cake to celebrate afterward. So that is just what we did! We had her dress made from my mom’s wedding gown and I bought her her first bracelet with her name on it! She was such an angel the whole day!

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For Halloween, we decided to dress as Disney’s The Incredibles. We walked in our town’s Halloween Parade and won first prize for the best family costume! We even made it into the local paper (they spelled our baby’s name wrong but that’s okay, we were still excited!) I even made sewed parts of our costumes myself and we pieced together the rest!IMG_1323IMG_1611 We also dressed up to take the baby to our favorite neighbor’s houses to trick-or-treat! I made Luciana a personalized bag for her candy! I hope she likes to use it every year!!

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And for Thanksgiving we made pumpkin spice chocolate chip pancakes in our comfies (pajamas), watched the Macy’s Parade, traveled to see Frank’s side of the family at their Thanksgiving, and then wandered over to see my side of the family for their Thanksgiving!

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We are so very blessed!

Thanks for reading.