New – My Little Pony Stamps!

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I am so very excited for the newest stamps I bought. I have been wanting to buy them for a while, but I put myself on a budget with my business and slowly accumulate things. (Darn being reasonable!) I bought these about a month ago and finally got some time to sit down and stamp before we left for our trip – then to finish the coloring/polishing once we got back. It’s been nice to get some new things created since I have felt rather ill for the past 2 weeks (glutening possibly?); creating always helps drag me out of feeling miserable.

So I present to you: Hand-Stamped MLP.

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You can find all my MLP items at my store – click the upper right link (“Shop”)or click here for the MLP specific items. ūüôā

Zoologico de Vallarta

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IMG_0819One of the the things I have wanted to do my entire life was pet a tiger. Or Jaguar. Or Lion. Really any big cat. I really didn’t care if it was a baby or a big one, I just wanted to be up close and personal with a big cat. When I was younger, I was sure I’d have a chance, but the older I got, the more I realized that was unlikely to happen.

Until my husband was looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta on our trip and he stumbled across the Puerto Vallarta Zoo. Wow, this place was so cool! It’s about 20 mins south of where we were staying (maybe 30 south of the city). We went down early in the morning, which was what we read was the way to go (the animals have more energy before it gets too hot plus there are a lot of hills so it’s easier for you to walk too, plus there aren’t a lot of guests that early.) There’s the regular entrance fee, which is like $5, or you can pay $50 to hold a tiger and money for a few minutes, or $85 to sit in with the kitties for about ten minutes and hold all the monkeys (of course, we may have gotten longer because it was a slow day) – oh, and they give you a t-shirt, 2 drinks and a dinky souvenir. Plus , food to feed the animals (but not the carnivores, obviously).

Anyway, so we got our bags of food. They were filled with all sorts of fun things: carrots, bread, peanuts, corn, and food pellets. The outside of the bags had instructions so that we knew what to feed who, so that was helpful.

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We began our climb uphill – it kept going up and up. First we saw some monkeys tucked away in cages, then some crocodiles far down, then we turned a corner and BAM we were face to face with a male and female lion – like 2 panels of chain link separated us, and that was it. We heard the male lion purr/growl right next to us and it was LOUD. It was really neat to get to see that. We kept walking and passed tigers, jaguars, and then turned again to see 2 ostriches. We took turns feeding them. One was sneaky and tried to grab the bag of food out of my husband’s hands. (He kept it though; we later saw emus eating a bag.) Once the ostriches got food from us, we actually saw the food slowly moving down its long neck – it was really strange.

ZebrasWe then turned around where we saw flamingos. One was very polite and brave – the others hung back. We kept walking where we found monkey island separated from us by water. There were fish in the water that frantically swam over to us looking for pellets. We fed them and the monkeys on the island went crazy. We tossed them some food and kept walking.¬†We passed a hippo, another crocodile, then found the zebras. The zebras were some of my favorites. They were just like horses, and they were SO funny! They kept moving their lips making the ‘please feed me’ face. They were adorable.

We fed them for a bit, then moved up to the giraffe. He was so cute! He ducked down so we could feed him – my husband put a carrot in his mouth and the giraffe took the carrot right out. Then we got to play with his tongue and pet him. (There was no supervision at all – we could have climbed over the wall if we were dumb enough.)

Then we saw the guinea pigs (there were so many and they were so noisy! They made a kind of whoop whoop sound.) We saw a turtle who stuck his head in his shell, and a bunch of birds. Then we walked through some more cages and saw a peacock with his feathers displayed, some big cats locked together (for the babies), then turned again to see macaws, toucans, coyotes, mountain lions, and owls. It was really neat to be so close to all these animals (and to get to feed so many of them!)

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IMG_0849Then we got down to the exciting part – the baby kitties and the moneys! We got to spend about 10 minutes inside the cat area. There were 8 cubs in the cat area – 3 jaguars and 5 tigers (one was white). The youngest was a jaguar who was 10 days old, and the oldest was 24 days old. We got to sit and let them climb on us – and the guy working there would bring us the other kitties so we got to pet/hold all of them. He even took a picture of us so that my husband and I had a photo together. After that, we got to hold all three monkeys, then we headed back to our hotel to relax and talk about one of the most awesome days ever.

To see all my videos of the animals at the Puerto Vallarta Zoo, check out my YouTube channel!

Puerto Vallarta Trip

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sunsetMy husband and I just got back from a trip to Puerto Vallarta. We got an amazing deal on the trip since we did a package deal where we got airfare and the hotel Рplus we picked an all inclusive (so no need to buy food when we were there). We also traveled early June, which is the start of the rainy season for PV (so low tourist traffic and it only rained at night!)  and before most Americans travel. All in all, it made for a great deal! We spent most of our trip at our hotel, but we did venture out twice Рonce for the zoo (my next post) and once for church and exploring the main city/malecon (boardwalk).

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The hotel we stayed at was fantastic! Time after time we were seriously impressed.¬†We arrived on Mexican theme night, which we thought was going to be overly cheesy and aimed at the tourists.¬†Wow, were we wrong! There was a big mariachi band (like 10 people) plus 8 dancers, as well as a huge buffet of all kinds of Mexican food. I was a bit worried about being gluten free, but my husband had emailed before we got there. When we walked up and checked in to dinner, they knew I was gluten free, and the head of the dinner walked me around and let me know what was okay for me to eat. Then we sat down to enjoy the show. The music was fantastic! I have never seen anyone play a violin furiously enough to break a string in front of me, and 2 of them broke strings that night. The stage (albeit a crummy stage) was bouncing with the dancers’ feet and actually had chunks coming off. It was a blast.

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The same thing happened at the fire show a few nights later – there was a juggler, two girls hoola-hooping with hoops on fire, and a ton of other crazy things. It was very well done. It was neat especially because it was on the beach and we were all hanging out on lounge chairs – very relaxed (except the guy in front of us who filmed the entire show). We were not fans of the Caribbean night though – too much like a Vegas show (skimpy outfits) – so we ditched out of that after 10 mins.

On Sunday, we headed into town. I really wanted to go to church since one of my favorite things to do when I visited England was attend services at different churches. It’s very different to visit a church as opposed to actually attending service. So I did some research and found a Baptist church with English services in the district closest to us. (We aren’t Baptist, but that’s much closer than Catholic, which was what everything else was.) As we were heading down, we ran into another couple from dinner the first night who asked where we were going. When we told them church, they told us the hotel had mass at 11am. We said we knew but weren’t interested. In the lobby we got the same response:

“Where are you going?”

“We’re headed into town to go to church.”

“We have mass here at 11 am if you don’t want to go to town.”

“Thanks, we’d like to go to church.”

“Ah, you’d like to see¬†Our Lady of Guadalupe¬†Parish”

Baptist Church“No, we’d like to the Baptist Church. It’s on Argentina.”

“… I’ve never been there…”

When we told the guy who hailed the taxis, we went through the same conversation. Then we got in the taxi.

“You going to Mass?”

“To church, yes.”

“Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

“No, Baptist Church. On Argentina.”

“Ah, okay.”

Then we drove into town. We pulled right in front of a beautiful church … with nuns in full habit.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe!”

I looked at my husband and pulled out the address I had written down. I looked at the driver, “No, not here. Baptist church.” And I pointed to the address.

“Ah, different church. I know this place.”

So we drove to the Baptist church. Once we got there, we walked in. The older lady who greeted us was so sweet and happy to see us. She gave us nametags and then we sat down. Apparently they couldn’t get the keyboard hooked up, so we all sang everything acapella. After the first song, the lady said, “The next song is number 95. I don’t know it. Does anyone know the melody? Someone start us.” It was fun. We went through all of Amazing Grace as well. There were maybe 30 people in attendance, mostly Canadians and Americans living in the city. The sermon was great too.

After church we walked down to the Malecon and got to see all the neat sculptures. It was fun Рexcept for the people heckling us to buy things. We walked down the little island, which was beautiful.  Monday was our zoo day, Tuesday was spent relaxing, and we headed home Weds.

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The beach was beautiful, the water was warm, there were several pools. We sat and read and played cards (ever played Five Crowns?), and just relaxed in general. It was a great break. We had just enough of a rest to be able to come back home and be refreshed and rejuvenated. (And ready to head into our daughter’s birthday, summer vacation, VBS, hosting Chinese students, and all the other stuff going on!)

Jessica

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I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write this post. You see, the shop carrying my items opened on Friday and for the first time ever my things are available in a brick and mortar store. There was a party and everything to celebrate the opening. I have a post and pictures in my head, ready to go. But somehow I just can’t get past Jessica – so I’m going to tell you about her first.

Friday, before I went to the grand opening of the store, I stopped by church for a few hours to help with a memorial service. I didn’t know the lady who had passed. I didn’t know her family. All I knew is that they attended our church several years before, moved (for the military), and she died from cancer. Oh, and that they needed help with the food for the memorial.

I showed up planning to help in the kitchen and take off a bit early to make it to the opening. I helped set up the silverware and all the other stuff, and we found ourselves waiting for the service to end to actually set out the food. So we headed into the service. The sanctuary was about 1/4 full, so when we sang, you could hear the individual voices. You could hear the pain and feel them crying out to God. I could see the hands extended towards Heaven. And then I sat and listened to Jessica’s best friend Kate.

Kate got up and – choking back tears – told us how Jessica took care of her family. How she was strong and decided to homeschool her kids because that was the best option with their autism. How Jessica retaught herself to cook and plan around a gluten-free, dairy-free, etc ¬†life-style necessary for her family. How she did everything cheerfully, wonderfully, and “better” than everyone else. How she never let anything stop her – if she didn’t know how to do something, she taught herself. How even during chemo and her brief visits home, she’d be going over lesson plans for her kids, and treasuring every moment she had with them. How she loved her husband and supported him through deployments and readjustments. How she was loyal, considerate, and giving beyond necessary. How she had a faith and love for Jesus that was strong and enduring.

I found (and still find) myself wishing I knew Jessica. I know she was an amazing person and a true woman of God. I know she will be missed – by her husband, her kids, her best friend, and everyone who came in contact with her. But I also know that she lived a life for Jesus and that her time here meant something – and it still does. She has something to teach all of us about love, faith, and sacrifice.

Cancer Awareness Ribbon HOPE - Hand Stamped Penny (choice of keychain, necklace or cell charm) -Made to Order-

For the next month, any purchase of my “Hope” penny will go to directly benefit Jessica’s family. See, the hope isn’t just about curing cancer, it’s about much more – the Hope we have in Christ, the hope we have for the future, and the memory of those who have gone before us.¬†Click here to check it out.

OR donate directly to support Jessica’s kids¬†(through Fundly)

Shop Opening

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In a whirlwind of events and emails, one of my close friends (Leslie of A New Leaf Creations pictured below, who makes awesome up-cycled scarves) let me know there was this really neat store opening in Anaheim, CA called A Little Known Shop. They were (and are) renting space to vendors to sell their handmade goods. I contacted the owners (Danielle and Eva) and managed to slip in just in time, and I am so glad I did! I got the confirmation that I was in on Friday, spent all Saturday and Sunday working on stock, and headed out Monday (Memorial Day) to fill my shelf.

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From this post – with LOTS of pictures:
http://www.ahteesdesigns.com/a-little-known-shop-grand-opening/

 

 

 

 

I was told to “go natural – wire, woods, stuff like that,” so I went to Marshalls, where I buy most of my prop stuff for cheap. I found these awesome baskets for about $30 total, plus I grabbed a few glass jars from Michaels to hold my pennies.

 

It took a while to set everything up (I was there 2 hours!) and I came back on Weds to help tag everything with a bar code and put the finishing touches on my area – a crate to boost one of my baskets, a jar for organza bags, and a sign to hang over everything.

And then came Friday May 31 – Grand Opening! We had such a great time – there was face painting, a live band, food, and of course, all the awesome stuff in the store. It was like a buffet of eye-candy. Let me say I was severely upset my camera was in the shop – but at least we had my husband’s phone for a few photos!

IMAG0370-2 One of the funniest things while we were there was the face painting. We asked our daughter (remember, she’s 3) if she’d like one. She was adamantly against it. NOT going to happen. We asked her several times and the answer was always no – she almost seemed scared. Finally we dragged it out of her:

“I don’t want a tattoo.”

“They aren’t tattoos. They come off.”

“They come off?”

“Yes. You can wash it off with water when we get home.”

“OH! OKAY!”

And then she was a bit shy, but definitely wanted one. She decided on a pirate since she’s been into Jake and the Neverland Pirates (this will be her birthday party theme at the end of the month). It looked awesome…and was promptly washed off as soon as we got home.

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My stuff (not everything, of course!) will be on sale at this awesome store for the foreseeable future. I *highly* recommend you check it out if you are anywhere near Anaheim!

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Image from https://www.facebook.com/ALittleKnownShop
423 S. Brookhurst St. #M, Anaheim, California