*adopting Paddington

On Saturday my husband and I went to see the new Paddington Bear movie. I don’t recall reading the books when I was little, but I knew who Paddington was. He is definitely iconic.


I wanted to see the movie because it looked very cute, as well as relive our London adventure!

The movie had a lot of deeper meanings, but my favorite was how adopting a pet can bring your family together! The mother in the story wasn’t afraid to walk up to Paddington and ask him where he was staying. She of course had to convince the husband to let them take him home for the night. A bear, or any animal of course is a curious creature, like any of our pets, Paddington made a huge mess shortly after entering their home. Of course he didn’t do it on purpose, but it made the father angry. The next morning the mother was supposed to take him to the authorities, but of course couldn’t because she interested in Paddington’s history. Paddington quickly turns into a hero, even for their teenage daughter. The mother could see the family was starting to change, and the father was starting to enjoy the adventure. After a bad guy gets Paddington into trouble, with the father extremely angry, Paddington runs away! The family then has to join together to find the one who could keep them together!

This story of course reminded my husband and I about adopting Bruce Wayne (our dog). He was such a hassle the first few days, he cried at night and explored into places he shouldn’t have. Over the years he still is a trouble maker, getting himself hurt, eating chocolate, chewing on clothes. But again, it is just his nature. Bruce Wayne has made so many of our friends and family smile and laugh. When you get home from a hard day at work and see his excitement, you can’t help but smile. The love of a pet brings families together. That’s what Paddington did for his adopted family! Please give your family the joy of having a pet! They can make your life so much more rewarding!


“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” ~ Karen Davison


*merry christmas

I hope everyone’s holiday is off to a good start. I’m a little bummed that its raining instead of snowing, but at least it is not freezing and hopefully my plane won’t be delayed tomorrow!

Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. The night before Christmas we would attend church service. On Christmas morning my sister and I were always so excited to see the presents under the tree. Santa always delivered! Stockings are opened first, our stockings are stuffed with candy! After mom got her coffee we would sit under the living room tree to open gifts.

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We each took turn opening one gift at a time! I’m not sure what I received in the picture below on the right, but I was definitely excited! I remember asking for a boombox with CD and cassette player, one Christmas in the late 90s. But I loved getting Barbies, Laura Ingalls extras, and I went through a Titanic phase. A few years I asked Stanta for the internet, AOL dialup to be exact! Hours later we would have a huge meal prepared by my mom. When we were younger we would visit Grandparents in north east Indiana.

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Our Christmas traditions haven’t changed too much. We will be opening gifts this evening with my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and Daniel. I will still make everyone sit in their original spots. Dad is on a chair to the left of the tree, Ashley on the floor next to him, Mom on the couch, and me to the right of the tree on the floor. I’ll have Daniel sit on the couch above me, and Matt will be behind Ashley! I like traditions! Afterwards we are attending the 10:30pm Christmas Eve church service. My Christmas morning the past 5 years have been spent with Daniel’s family. We watch his nieces open presents from Santa. This year is going to be a little more crowded, we have 2 baby nieces. Christmas will probably start to change as the nieces get older or when me or my sister have kids.


For lunch Daniel and I will be hosting our parents over for a late lunch! My mom is preparing the ham and I am taking care of the sides and the dessert! Of course I made a cheesecake, Peppermint Oreo! I’m excited to host, it’s kind of my thing.

I am blessed for all the wonderful Christmases that I have been apart of. Although I’ve always wanted to take a trip with my family on Christmas, instead of buying one another presents. I feel next year we should partake in some volunteering at a local organization to help those who haven’t been as blessed. Luckily I have one of the greatest families in the world who is full of love!

Can’t wait to share my family photos with you!



Christmas is 26 days away! Christmas cards to family and friends went in the mail today!

I try to show the people I love, that I love them throughout the year. I see something in the store that reminds me of them and I buy it, no matter what time of year. I also have three pen pals that I send cards to through out the year to remind them that someone is thinking of them. My mom, Linda, and mother in law, Starla, were always sending me care packages during my years in California. It made living so far away from family a little easier! Now, I have a few friends in California that often send cards to. I have always enjoyed giving and receiving snail mail! My friend Chelsea posted online a card I had sent her, “Totally made my Monday! Thank you @amberks07 you are the most wonderful person! Snail Mail rocks my world!”



I always get a head start on Christmas. I like having it done before Thanksgiving, I hate dealing with all of the crowds. I also do not spend a lot of money and rarely pay full price. Making items is great too! The bottom line is- it’s important to give. I found some very pretty jewelry for $10 and under at Kohl’s for some family members! The jewelry were items I would have bought myself! Around Christmas time I also try very hard not to buy for myself. The other 11 months of the year can be about rewarding myself, December is a month for our loved ones. (pictured below is the collection of Christmas presents already bought and wrapped 6 weeks before Christmas 2014!)


I appreciate any kind of gift at Christmas and any time of year. Last year, Michael (Daniel’s brother) bought me a $10 Starbucks gift card and I was thrilled! We were told not to exchange gifts (I did anyway), so the gesture that he thought of me made my holiday! Pictured below is from Christmas 2010, it was a great Christmas!


My husband and I stopped giving each other Christmas gifts a few years ago. We try to buy each other small things through out the year. My favorite is when he brings me candy when he gets gas. Instead we use our “gift” money to use to do something together. I rather create a memory. Last year we were in Paris a month prior to Christmas. This year we leave for London the day after Christmas. Next Christmas will probably be paying for our flights to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary in France on June 11, 2016. For Valentine’s Day 2014 he made me a custom picture that he framed with our spare key to our lock on a bridge in Paris! It was a great gift that I hang next to our front door!


As a child I hated writing thank you cards, but every birthday and holiday, if I received a gift my mom made my sister and I write a thank you card. Being 26, I still write a hand written thank you card. I know the value of money now and the thought of someone spending some of their hard earned money on me is wonderful, so they certainly deserve my thanks!


“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill


*giving thanks

I haven’t spent Thanksgiving Day with my parents since 2010! This year I will see them, but our day will be spent with Daniel’s dad and his family. I’m not mad or sad. I have spent a lot of time with my family since moving back in May. Daniel’s dad, Bill, and his wife, Roxanne moved to Florida shortly after we moved to California. Daniel has seen his dad maybe 5 times in the last three years, so he definitely deserves this time. Daniel’s aunt, Melissa, and uncle, Bob, will be hosting it this year in their home in Carmel. It’s a beautiful home and will definitely fit our large family! (pictured below is our siblings, parents, and grandparents)



My parents and I started a tradition when we moved back. We share at least one meal a week together. We were having dinner together on Fridays, but just recently changed it to Sundays as a late lunch/ early dinner. But there are weeks where we get together for two or more meals. I like having lunch with my mom or dad on days they are off so I don’t have to eat by myself. We also take turns on who is cooking.


We all know Thanksgiving Day was originally to celebrate those who risked their lives moving to an unknown land for religious freedom. Today we use it to remind ourselves how precious life is and that we can’t take it for granted, but shouldn’t we celebrate being thankful on a daily basis?

Things I am thankful for on a daily basis:

*My Husband (he’s the best cuddle partner when life gets rough)

*My Dog (he’s always so excited to see me)

*Having a Job (it pays the bills)

*My Family (trusting, loyal, fun times, we create our own traditions)

*My Friends (for more fun)

*A Garage (definitely with winter’s early arrival)


Whenever you are feeling down, remember all the things you have to be thankful for. Give yourself more things to be thankful for, the small things count! Being thankful for something daily can help you to live a wonderful life!


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy