Artistry in everything…

Ever since I could remember, I have always endeavored to create. Busy hands, a calm mind, and profound focus is meditative to me. When you constantly have a rush of thoughts going on in your head you seek out something to take you away from that. Some form of expression where your mind suddenly becomes clear, even if only for a few moments, and where you forget yourself. Clay has always done that for me…taken me to a different place, a quiet place where nothing else matters.

Working with clay has always been part of how I defined myself. Clay, with it’s unlimited potential and tactile quality, has been my preferred outlet since I was in high school. I have spent countless hours locked away in my studio, working on some special sculpture. Sometimes, I would enter the studio without an idea of what to create but, as I manipulated the clay, something suddenly appeared. I would feel immense joy in that type of surprise. That has always been a magical process for me.

When I had my children, it became more difficult to set aside that time for myself. Between caring for them, tending to the house, and working, there didn’t seem to be much time for that. When I tried to make that time for myself, I just felt guilty and rushed and so nothing really meaningful came from it. I was increasingly becoming frustrated with what I felt was the loss of my creativity.

Recently, I asked an artist friend of mine if she had gone through the same issue when she had her children. She answered with a resounding yes. She advised me to keep my hands busy and my creativity alive with whatever I could achieve while with my children (clay is not so simple, you need hours alone with the medium to achieve anything worth while) and that, as they got older, the time would return. That really resonated with me. My yearning to create takes shape in many forms and whether I realize it or not, I am always creating. There is artistry in everything that is done well. So, with that inspiration, I decided to fully commit myself to something beautiful that I have been creating alongside my children and husband for months: our garden.

Over the past several months, we have been slowly building our outdoor space. When we moved into our new home, the backyard consisted of an empty canvas…just a space with manicured grass and a cobblestone deck. I drew up a plan for this space. Since then, we have been putting the pieces together, sometimes changing bits and pieces here and there, but mostly sticking to the plan. Lately, this space is starting to come to life. There is intention in nearly every corner and there is wonder everywhere. We have seen so many animals in our garden, all types of birds, butterflies, and garden creatures…a true indicator that we are doing something right. There is still a lot to do to fulfill our vision of the garden but it’s starting to take shape. The photos that I’ll post serve as a time marker for us…the beginning of our vision for this space. In a few months, there will be more of the lush green foliage that we all love so much.

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This garden brings us closer together. We are always outside, tending to our plants, playing together, having our family meals, and enjoying the beauty of this space. And, all while exploring our creativity.

 

 

Back after a long absence…

It’s been nearly a year since my last post. Since last May, a lot has changed. My children are a bit older, I’ve had some incredible moments, I’ve faced some challenges, and I’ve felt myself grow as a wife, mother, and artist. With that being said, I’ve given the blog a new name and, I think, a new identity. Glowing Goodness. That is my blog’s new name. I chose that name because it means so many things to me. The Glowing Goodness of a close family and dear friends, of meaningful work, of creative expression, of growing gardens, of delicious food, and the list goes on.

I’ve been thinking about what I want this blog to become lately. Once I had someone ask me what my angle for the blog was. Is this a mommy blog? Is it a how-to blog? Is it a networking blog? I was taken aback by that question. Why do I have to define this blog? I’m not blogging as a business. I’m blogging as a creative outlet. I’m blogging as a way to track my life while sharing some stories and tips along the way. If I have to define my blog, I would say this is my diary. This is as personal as it gets for me. This is where, after finding solitude in the early hours of the morning (or in some hidden space in my house) I sit quietly and listen to the thoughts going on in my head. I look for direction and arrange these thoughts. Then, I create the post, press publish, and feel so accomplished…just like when I create a sculpture, sketch, or painting. This blog is like little pieces of my art coming together in the form of a diary.

Now, with my little blog nicely defined in a way that suits me, I look forward to getting back into the swing of things. I’ve missed this blog, both as a creative outlet and as a way to share my thoughts and interests with others. I’ve got so many plans for this upcoming year and, this time, I plan on capturing these special moments for this special blog ❤

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Ode to Our City: Deering Estate

This morning we decided to go to Deering Estate. It was a last minute decision based on our mission to make the most of every weekend. I immediately wondered if we would see manatees there. I had seen manatees swimming through the bay once or twice before and, since my son is studying the migration of manatees in his class, I hoped we would see them. We raced to the bay to find out. Right away, we spotted several large silhouettes in the water. It turned out to be a group of manatees! We sat for quite a while as we watched them swim around. It felt like such a special experience.

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After that spectacular experience, we spent the rest of the time joyfully experiencing the estate. These types of adventures, where I am immersed in natural beauty and profound wonder, make me feel inspired. Today I felt infinitely happy and a bit nostalgic because I realized that, before we had children, Shaun and I used to spend all our free time walking through trails, kayaking, and exploring our beaches. This is our new mission, to spend as much time as we can experiencing the natural wonders of our city, with our children by our side…sharing these special experiences with them ❤

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The Redland Heritage Festival

Yesterday, we enjoyed the Redland Heritage Festival at the Fruit and Spice Park. The festival consisted of many local and unique small businesses setting up booths to sell their wares. It was like a craft fair but with an emphasis on the environment. There were sellers of local honey, or native/butterfly attracting plants, of artisan soaps, and more.

We were pleasantly surprised to see the Bubbleman there. If you don’t know who the Bubbleman is, he is a really sweet older man who really loves bubbles. He loves them so much that he invented a special bubble wand that he sells at a really great price. Dylan was so excited to see him and learn how to create the biggest, most beautiful bubbles.

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After walking the festival, we explored the park independently. Part of the allure of this park is that you can eat any fruit that has fallen off the tree. They have so many different types of fruit trees so it felt like treasure hunting to us.

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Shaun was happy to find mamey, I introduced him to mamey ice-cream and smoothies a few months ago and he loved them. This was his first time trying the raw fruit.

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Dylan was really excited to find a large coconut that reminded him of Moana.

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Meanwhile, Stella was in her stroller munching away on a pumpkin/banana bar as is evident by the crumbs on her face.

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Then, we encountered a grove of jackfruit trees. I don’t think Dylan had ever seen a jackfruit before.

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We also saw the longest banana tree inflorescence ever!

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It was a beautiful day!

 

 

 

Our Magical New Year’s Weekend

A few weeks ago I made the decision to seek out fun things to do in advance so that my family can make the most out of every weekend. I made this decision after several of those do nothing weekends that drive me crazy. They usually consist of Shaun and I trying to figure out something to do last minute and then just giving up and doing little things here and there…more like a weekend of running errands. I want to be more intentional with my free time and, more importantly, with my family time. One of the first commitments we signed on to was to spend New Year’s in Pompano Beach. We booked an ocean front hotel about a month in advance and anticipated the great time we’d have but we didn’t expect it to be as magical as it turned out to be.

We arrived at the hotel, checked in, and made our way to our room which we were thinking would just be a little room with an ocean view. It was not. It was a beautiful room with a great kitchen, spacious living room featuring a pull out couch, and a cozy bedroom. What was even more amazing was that it was on the first floor with a beautiful ocean view and it was just a few steps to get to the ocean.

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The view from our room.

We immediately went out to see the ocean which was overwhelmingly beautiful on that Saturday night. When you haven’t been to see the ocean in a few months and you visit it on a windy, wavy day it is breathtaking. The sound of the waves breaking, the wind in your face, and the smell of the ocean are enough to awaken your senses and form a vivid memory in your mind.

The next morning I woke at 5am. It was like my internal clock set itself so that Shaun and I could watch the sun rise. I quickly woke him up and somehow Stella woke as well so the three of us went out together. It was too cloudy to watch the sun rise but it was still a beautiful experience to feel the sun rise instead.

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Later, we all walked about a mile to the picturesque light house. We took our camera with us to document our little journey 🙂

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We invited my sister, her husband, and their two children to join us. They were able to spend the day with us so we enjoyed the beach, bowling, and just being together. My sister is an amazing photographer who always has her camera handy. She captured so many beautiful pictures while she was with us…

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We were so excited with this mini vacation that we immediately booked it again for the summer. It felt nice to plan something in advance and have it turn out to be so memorable.

Our Joyful Weekend in the Woods

Pinecones, raccoons, squirrels, moths, stick bugs, and saw palmetto…these things hold a special meaning to me. Every year, when my husband and I join many of our family members on our annual camping trip, we encounter these beautiful things. They always remind me of the magical time we all have during these yearly adventures.

This year, we stayed in cozy cabins at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. We stayed with my in-laws who are the most wonderful and special people in the world. They are so loving and generous…truly the perfect parents. We were also joined by my husband’s three awesome brothers, their amazing wives/girlfriends, and their wonderful children. It’s a great bunch of people who all share many similarities, including their wacky sense of humor. They are so fun to be around.

During this camping trip, I could feel how happy everyone was to be together. We are all so similar in our love for one another and in our love for the outdoors. It’s a great feeling to be around a large group of people who have so much in common. I really feel a sense of family when we’re all together.

One of my favorite things about our annual camping trips is that Dylan and Stella get to be a part of them from their first year of life. This was Dylan’s third trip and Stella’s very first. To grow up with this special family tradition is truly remarkable. I remember, last year, Shaun’s father told us all that he wants us to keep this tradition alive for the rest of our lives. I will never forget that he said that…I don’t think anyone will. I’m sure that we will never stop these special trips because of the joy that they inspire.

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Something unexpected – A full moon drum circle…

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Can’t wait for next year’s camping trip!

A Lovely, Rainy Day at Zoo Miami

We spent the morning at Zoo Miami. It was a gloomy morning which made our experience extra special. We packed our raincoats, Dylan put on his favorite rain boots, and we headed to the zoo for a fun-filled morning. I love to be out on gloomy, rainy days. Everything is brighter, more fragrant, and peaceful…

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Scarecrow Night at School

Yesterday was Scarecrow Night at my school. This is a really special event where families come together to create a unique scarecrow using whichever materials they’d like. This way, each scarecrow has it’s own look and serves to represent the family who made it. These unique and beautiful scarecrows line the outside of the school for the following several weeks. It’s so much fun to create a scarecrow and add it to the collection. It’s just as fun to marvel at everyone else’s special scarecrow. This is a wonderful annual event that I felt lucky to experience as a parent this year. Shaun, Dylan, Stella, and I worked together to create our scarecrow. What a wonderful way to celebrate fall. I’m so glad that I brought my camera along to capture this special event. I will treasure these memories forever.

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A Day at the Farm: Pinto’s Pumpkin Patch

We spent the afternoon at Pinto’s Farm today. Pinto’s Farm is a lovely farm that’s five minutes from our house. They offer lots of wholesome things to do with your family like paddle boating (even babies can ride!), pony rides, tractor rides, a petting zoo and more. This month they are featuring a pumpkin patch. I thought it would just be a simple change like a few pumpkins here and there but, to my surprise, they had gone all out in the most beautiful way! They hung pumpkins and ghosts from the trees, they had several spots set up to take beautiful holiday pictures, they had trick-or-treating, face painting, and they even had a hay maze! It was a lot of fun!

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A Special Invitation: Sensory Dough

Last weekend I prepared several batches of sensory dough. The sensory dough I prepared was comprised of flour, salt, cream of tartar powder, and herbs. I’ll post the recipe below. It’s such a simple and natural recipe that I knew would stimulate the senses while providing children with extended periods of exploration. I decided to prepare a double batch so that I could offer some to the Baby Nido class at my school and some to Dylan and Stella.

I placed a table cloth on our dining table, brought out a few clay tools and cookie cutters, and invited Dylan and Stella to explore.

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Stella immediately grabbed a piece of the dough and began to mouth it. I love how interested she becomes when offered something new to explore. In this case, she was mouthing the dough more than I thought was safe so I tried to pull it from her mouth. I was surprised by how upset she became. She looked so angry as she pulled the dough from my hands and towards her mouth. I was shocked.

 

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My husband took this picture once I gave the dough back to Stella. She immediately began to mouth it again.
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Then, she held the dough out to her brother.
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She began to whine…I think in order to get his attention.

That was a special moment between them for me. Stella is always so interested in what Dylan is doing. I think she really enjoyed this invitation, to explore alongside her brother. It seemed that she was trying to share her discovery with Dylan. Dylan was immersed in his own exploration with the dough so he didn’t really notice her effort in calling his attention. Once she whined, he looked to her and that was enough for Stella.

Stella seemed to be more interested in watching Dylan at this point so I held her in my lap and we watched Dylan together.

Dylan really enjoyed this experience. He was drawn to the chocolate dough. He held it to his nose and commented on how it smelled. I believe he said something like “delicious!”.

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Then, he created a little snowman with the dough. He used different herb-scented balls in creating his snowman. He stayed engaged in this exploration for at least half an hour 🙂

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Sensory Herb-scented Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Herb/Spice (2 tbsp of cocoa powder for batch 1) (1tsp paprika for batch 2) (2 tbsp of pumpkin spice for batch 3) (2 tbsp ground sage for batch 4)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a pot, mix, and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture resembles a ball of dough.
  • Place ball of dough onto a piece of wax paper, let it cool, and then knead until the consistency you desire.

*You have to make a separate batch for each scent.

*I found this recipe on Pinterest. It was originally created by craftulate.com.