Thursday, September 30, 2010

Power of Moms

I am always looking to improve my mommy skills, so when my sister in law asked me to join her for a Power of Moms retreat, ... on the beach, in the beautiful Dana Point, of course I said YES! If anything, it was an excuse to hang out with other moms at a gorgeous hotel for the weekend!

**We all met in the lobby and had a lightening round of get-to-know-you. Here I am with my new friend Amy and my sister in law Emily**

There is something really great about being in a room full of other moms who are just like me. Wanting to be better to our kids. Hoping we are raising them right. Helping them grow. As we all know, instruction manuals are not handed out in the delivery room. We just hope that God gives us the strength and knowledge to be good moms.

Believe me when I say that I took copious notes. The theme for this particular retreat was ORGANIZATION. I am somewhat organized. I have my own system of things to do, papers to be filed, tasks to complete, forms to fill out/submit, school papers .... OK, who am I kidding. I am no April Perry when it comes to organization. I am not kidding, this woman needs to write a book on how to organize. I got so much out of her session and have begun to organize and create my system based off of hers. Haven't you noticed my lack of posting as of late? Organizing takes time!

**We had table topics at our Friday night dinner as well as our lunch on Saturday. So much fun to get to know my new friends better and to learn from them.**

In addition to a brilliant session on organizing, Saren Eyre Loosli focused her session on Traditions. Establishing simple daily traditions as well as big yearly traditions are key to creating lasting family relations. Several suggestions and comments were shared. It was so great to hear how other moms are creating lasting memories and deepening their family relationships with some really simple traditions. My husband and I have started a few of our own, however, after participating in this session, and with the help of my new mom friends, I have thought of a few more simple traditions that I hope will create meaningful relationships.
My kids are young right now, and this retreat was great timing. Beginning traditions when they are young is the best time to start.

As much as I loved the topic of traditions and the organization session my absolute favorite session was all about LOVE LANGUAGES. This discussion was presented by the lovely Susan. I had heard about the 5 Love Languages before but had never really given it much thought. Oh Man! This has been the missing puzzle piece. If you have kids, or are married, or have friends - OK, so you are all included. This is a must!!

**The lovely Susan talking about the 5 Love Languages and how it has helped her family.**

Ina nutshell, there are 5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. We all have a strong language, or maybe 2 strong languages. I speak the language of Quality Time. So does one of my sons - we understand each other. It was during this session I had an "Ah-Ha" moment. My other son is NOT a Quality Time person. We do not speak the same language. Which explains why he is always a difficult child. No, scratch that, he is not a difficult at all, he just speaks a different language than I do. I NOW know his love language and I am learning to adjust in order to understand him more. It has been 2 weeks since I attended this retreat and I have been very conscious in coming to my son in his Love Language and I can already see a huge change in both my son and myself.

Talk about an awakening! Now that I have gotten a handle on the organization part (almost!), I need to read the 5 Love Languages book. Oh, and if you are interested you can take the quick version of the QUIZ to find out your love language. Give it to your significant other, your kids, your friends ....

**Here is our group of beautiful, smart, and lovely moms**

April Perry, co-founder of the Power of Moms organization, wrote a detailed blog post HERE.
Erin, another fabulous mom from the retreat blogged about it HERE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thank you my friends

I attended THE party of all parties last night. It was the OC Blog Awards held at Pretend City. How I have not been there before is a wonder. That place was amazingly-super-fantastic for kids and according to my son, "it was the best place EVER!"

So about the party ...
It was a blogger-fest for Orange County. Some of the coolest OC bloggers were there, and I got to meet some of the authors of my favorite local reads & run into an old friend who I had no idea blogged. I was a little hard of hearing during the announcement of all the winners. I didn't hear Swanky Paper announced in my category so I sort of listened to the rest with one ear, while watching my son show me & tell me about all the cool stuff he found.

It was not until afterwards that I was told Swanky Paper won 1st RUNNER UP!
You guys are AWESOME and TOTALLY pulled through! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for all the votes.

I will display my winner's badge with all gratitude and love that it comes with ... and maybe for bragging rights too!

The first place award went to a darling little company called Rags to Stitches

Friday, September 10, 2010

9 years & counting

Nine years ago I married my best friend.

He loves me & all my flaws and continues to make me laugh everyday!

Happy Anniversary Rob!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Popsicles

That popsicle made her thirsty!

OC Blog Awards

Time for the Annual OC Blog Awards and Swanky Paper is a nominee this year! How cool is that?!

First, I just want to thank the person(s) who nominated me. I was surprised to get the news I was in the running - but TOTALLY thrilled!! Seriously.

Swanky Paper is up for the Best Handmade in OC category.

Just Spotted, the local blog dedicated to all things Orange County, is throwing an awards show that is sure to rival the Oscars!

While this is the OC Blog Awards, you don't have to be an OC resident to vote - So, head on over to Just Spotted and vote for me, while I go work on my acceptance speech.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Golf & Swim Party

Summer vacation may be over, but the heat is still on here in southern California.

I had the fun task to come up with an invitation for my nephew's 7th birthday party. The theme was golf and the kids would also be swimming ... easy enough, right? 

My sister in law found a cute tutorial on making your own little golf course in the backyard from Martha Stewart. Is there anything Ms. Stewart hasn't come up with??

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pack Your Bags ~ We're going International!

This is just about the most clever idea ... and no it wasn't exactly mine either.

I had a last minute request to put together passports for a travel themed bridal shower. The groom is a pilot so the travel theme went through the whole wedding affair.

I was given a list of 6 countries. At the shower there would be tables set up with a challenge for the guests to complete focused on each of the countries. So cute, right?

Once the challenge is completed, the guest will receive a stamp in their passport. We didn't want to leave the pages completely blank, so I included different wedding traditions from the countries represented in the Passport.

Know of any jet setter couples? Passport invitations or bridal shower themes focused on travel would be a fun choice.

I secretly wish I was invited to this shower. It sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun!