DIY 2.0

DIY 2.0
Yes, I am still painting. It seems that the walls in my house have multiplied in the last week. Sore though I am, my home is gaining a fresh new look and giving me another perspective of Paradise. Funny how you can live in a place for so long and changing the paint or a light can bring another dimension.

Changing the perspective of your Paradise is necessary, but often hard. Moving into a new era means moving into new challenges. As a new school year begins for my daughter, and for so many, I recognize the mix of excitement and hesitation. Moving forward means a change. Oh, if it were only as easy as applying a coat of paint!

For those of you sharpening pencils and ironing uniforms, good luck and enjoy this journey. Another year like another color on the wall of Paradise, a new chance to shine. May your school year be fantastic and your homes beautiful!

DIY Paradise

image imageThis week was a Do-It-Yourself painting extravaganza in our little corner of Paradise. After days (Days? Really? Why do projects like this always take DAYS to complete?) of cutting in and rolling, not to mention the numerous trips to chat with my new besties, the guys working at the paint store, while I pick up just one more gallon of paint, I am DONE! Paradise is freshly coated.
I am so thankful that my daughter helped out with this project. She is learning through experience the importance of the DIY spirit when it comes to any household improvements. Learning from her Dad’s creativity and knowledge (truly, none of these projects would move beyond Pinterest were it not for him!), this should save her countless hours and dollars throughout her days! Paradise around here is much more beautiful thanks to his expertise!
So, although paint covers my fingernails, and not in the manicured fashion I prefer, my dining room is beautiful and my home is a pretty Paradise! May you, too, find a DIY project that inspires you to bring a whole new level of appreciation to your Paradise. I’ll save you a place in line at the paint store!

Baking in Paradise

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My Grandmother’s family owned a bakery in England when she was young. I assure you, she could bake like no other! I LOVED my Grandmother’s cooking. She has been gone for many years but the flavors of her recipes are still legendary. My mom and I would sample a delectable treat, only to sigh that, “No, it is not at good as Grandma Marjorie’s!”…no matter what the treat may be. She could turn butter and sugar into anyone’s Paradise!

Many years ago, my wonderful and wise Aunt and Uncle recognized the importance of preserving her recipes and archived them in an amazing book for each of us. They titled this Old Time Treasures and that is exactly what it contains. Treasures not just of my Grandmother’s, but all of the family favorites. It is a gift that I cherish and love to share with my daughter.

Today, at her request, we opened the treasure trove of recipes and made Marjorie Bars. The results are heavenly and I can only hope my Grandmother is smiling down from her kitchen in the heavenly Paradise with pride. Thank you so much to her and my Aunt and Uncle for making sure our Paradise would be delicious forever!

P.S.
To those sensational cooks out there, PLEASE share your kitchen inspired treasures. It will be something your family appreciates for generations!

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Progressive Paradise

imageThis weekend we dined with great Friends. We started at our house for appetizers and cocktails, walked in the misty evening to another home for dinner, then walked again to savor sweet dessert at another house. With an Italian theme uniting the menus, it was a culinary evening in Paradise!

Each stop of the Progressive Dinner Party included not just zest and spice but laughter and relaxation…the best decor to any table. While we planned for a while, shopped all over, and prepped for this theme focused night, it really had little to do with what was served and everything to do with who sat around the tables. Friends fill Paradise with all the fantastic flavors.

I cherish nights like this, the chance to connect and watch our children layer their memories with playful evenings and smile-filled time together. Thank you my dear Friends, for a progessive Paradise. Looking forward to more evenings when we eat well, laugh often, and love greatly!

Celebrations in Paradise

imageWe have a family tradition of celebrating birthdays during summertime at a lovely beachside Italian place. The gourmet dishes combined with the casual ambience suits our volume challenged family. (Seriously, we are a LOUD bunch!) This year, our WA family joined in celebrating my Mom’s birthday, and we dined, laughed, and reminisced as we toasted another year and another opportunity to be together. That is the best part. Together.

While solitude certainly has its place and reflection is necessary for appreciation and growth, there is a dynamic quality to just being together. Whenever my Mom toasts, glass held high she states, “Now and Forever!” I feel it is a reminder to capture these moments of celebration and fun. Hang on to them. Be in the moment of now, but carry these memories with you to forever.

As the sometimes obedient daughter I am (stop laughing, those of you that knew me in my teen years!), I will honor the Birthday Girl’s command and celebrate these times in Paradise both now and forever.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you and thank you for reminding me to cherish my time together in Paradise, both Now and Forever!

Fireworks in Paradise

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Celebrating the 4th of July, family and friends joined us for traditions created long ago. Traditions that include kids impatient for a sparkling evening sky and silly with sugared treats. Traditions that include barbecue burgers, grilled veggies, and relaxing conversations around the full buffet. Traditions that include three generations sharing time, laughs, and love in Paradise.
How lucky are we to have celebrations year after year in this sweet Land of Liberty! Red, white, and blue styled moments to share and savor in the years to come. It is traditions like these that keep my Paradise shining bright. Oh so thankful for another year of fireworks, frosting, and fun!

Just Paradise

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I have spent the day on the sand with my daughter, husband, family and friends. We played in the summer sun without care and concern. Tumbled in waves until shivering then warming up on the shore, the day was the true reflection of summer. It was Paradise.

Thankful beyond explanation for days like this, I now watch the tired, yet content, eyes of my daughter as they slip into sleep. I share a glance with my husband, a confirmation that we have spent the precious time of today wisely, creating laughing memories for our family. A snapshot of summer. A moment of Paradise. An opportunity to define Paradise.

Yes, there are meals to prepare and laundry to sort and life to coordinate. There is sand everywhere and skin may be too pink. But the smiles and appreciation for a slice of time to just play together outweigh all of these distractions. It is a slice of Paradise.

A Positive Paradise

imageSeptember 1961, Atlantic City

My sister and I have been blessed with a heart of gold Dad! The most positive person I know, he will find a silver lining in any cloud that may drift his way. Once, I questioned at how easily he dismisses the stormy skies in life. His relaxed and smiling reply was why would he want to think about the bad times? Why, indeed?!

He has championed our causes and cheered us on, no matter the challenge. With a constant reminder to all to, “Bring your jacket!” he reveals his overly cautious nature and care. And, yes, if you visit with him, be prepared to eat something. He will offer you varying samples from the pantry until he hears a yes. That is just who he is, a supportive and nurturing soul.

I love my Dad for so many reasons including the example he has set for us with an unwavering and thankful focus on the fortunate moments in his life, on his Paradise. It is a lesson that I have been trying to learn and one I see my husband echo as he teaches our daughter to find her smile when completing any task at hand. With a heart full of love I wish my Dad a Happy Father’s Day in Paradise!

Glimpse of Paradise

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I am watching my daughter and husband explore the shores of the lake, chasing dragonflies and discovering the fun of a summer afternoon. The lake is hot, the water is cool, the company is perfect.
Looking up, the pines and the oaks compete for real estate on the hillsides that surround this beautiful slice of California. The clouds are rolling in with an afternoon thunderstorm to remind all of the visitors who really is in charge. Yes, this is a weekend in God’s country!
Paradise can be experienced in so many ways, with so many moments and backgrounds. But it is inescapable when the majestic landscape of God surrounds you. Feelings of good fortune and blessings running through these words today! Hoping you may find some of the same on your summertime journeys in Paradise.

Start to a Paradise Summer

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School has been dismissed for the summer and pool time, family dinners, and celebrations with friends will rule the calendar. Today, I watch the festivities begin as my daughter splashes with her cousins, creating fanciful games of mermaids and villans in their watery playground. How appreciative I am for these moments in Paradise.
There are closets to be cleaned, drawers to be organized, and walls to be painted. But, for these few sunshine-filled hours, responsibilites are suspended and the shimmer and hope of a summer packed with friendship and adventure shines bright before us.
As one of my wise friends recently reminded me, plan mandatory fun days! Schedule time for laughter and discovery. Capture the moments that only carefree, summer days offer. And, be thankful for each opportunity to share this season in Paradise.