Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Real People Feature: Katie

Who are you?
I am a woman; strong, bold and beautiful. 

I am a lover to my wonderful man, and a mama to Juba, my Rhodesian Ridgeback.  

During my weekdays, I am an acupuncturist, a practitioner at Boulder Community Acupuncture Clinic, where we offer quality health care at an affordable cost.  
Katie and Tim on the summit of Grand Teton, WY
My weekends take me to granite walls or sandstone cracks of the desert, where I get to do the most fun activity in the world, rock climbing.    

What is the best advice you've ever given or received and why?
The best advice I have received is, “Shit or get off the pot."  

It came from a retired Scottish/Catholic monk turned international investment banker who is currently residing in the Bahamas on a boat. Simply put and direct, this advice has helped me make many life decisions. It keeps me moving forward.

The best advice I've given is learned through experience, the good and the bad— have a sense humor.  
Katie in Bhutan
Nothing gets you through the darkest of nights or the lightest of days like humor. It brings every moment back to earth. Humor is grounding. It opens your heart and frees you from the moment. You have to laugh with yourself, your family, your friends, your situation because the present moment is fleeting. Why not enjoy it?  

Laugh hard, laugh loud. Find the light in the moment. It is always there.

What has been the greatest challenge in your life and why?
The greatest challenge in my life was learning the essence of my freedom. I learned this surviving and persevering through three of the most heinous years of my life.
When I was 26, I fell hard for a man and our relationship went south before it ever made it north. The day I met him, I didn’t trust my instincts. I hesitated saying yes to his dinner offer. My intuition was screaming red flags but to no avail; I was wooed. He started out as a perfect gentleman but soon turned manipulative, abusive, and controlling. I was naive and had been struggling for a while “finding myself."  I had just quit my job and started a 3 year graduate program learning the ancient art of Chinese Medicine and found myself in an extremely difficult predicament.

Nine months into our relationship he got in a significant amount of trouble and roped me into the situation. I spent the next two years fighting him, fighting for my freedom, fighting for my rights, fighting for my future as an acupuncturist. I couldn’t breathe, cried every day, was bound to him. 
Castle Valley, UT
I thought things could not get any worse until they did: a dear friend committed suicide, my house was robbed, I lost my car, my finances were drained, I discovered that my ex had been unfaithful and my father (who has since passed) was very sick. The challenges were endless until one day in August, 2010...

After a long hard fight with little resolve, I was driving home with my friend Emma- completely broke and broken. We looked at each other and just started laughing. It was so ridiculous. It was so incredibly unfair. Nothing made sense. But I was finally free. Free from him. Free from lawyers. Free from the unknown. And I never looked back.
Sunset in Bali
Nothing brings perspective to life more than when you lose everything in your fight for freedom. I was face down in the gutter and it took awhile to stand up and crawl out, but I did. I preserved and became an excellent acupuncturist, a bad-ass rock climber, a surfer and world traveler. 

Post graduation, I traveled all over the world. I was fortunate to spend a good amount of time in Bhutan, studying the ancient art of Tibetan medicine and experiencing the many different cultures of Asia. 

Now, my dog is happy and I have met the love of my life. Nothing and no one can shake me. I control my happiness and my life.
Climbing South Platte, CO
What has been the greatest joy in your life and why?
The greatest joy in my life is chocolate chip cookies. They are pretty darn good; but really the greatest joy in my life is my family, my love, Tim, and my dog, Juba. They are the light of my life. 
Juba has been with me since he was 12-weeks-old. Not a day has gone by in nine years that he has not loved generously and shown me how to delight in the simple joys of life. He is truly the most amazing companion.  

Tim is my other greatest joy in life. I dreamt of Tim a month before I met him—he literally is a dream come true, tall and handsome, gracefully fearless, humble, kind, compassionate and the most enthusiastic person I know. He fills my heart and calms my soul. I am grateful for each day I get to spend with this man. 

Our second date was a 5 day climbing trip to Yosemite, the beginning of many adventures far and wide that followed. We live big together, follow our dreams and unconditionally support each other.  
Katie and Tim in Indian Creek, UT
What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do and why?
I really look forward to having a big family, full of happy, healthy children. Motherhood is a the greatest endeavor a woman can experience. I look forward to the blessed opportunity to create life and experience that journey with my love. 

I also really want to learn to fly a plane...because that would be so freakin’ sweet!
Castle Valley, UT
I love Real People Features- learning about others and the events that spark positive change—those that become catalysts for moving forward in a healthy way.

To me, Katie's story is about freedom. While preparing her feature, I've thought so much about her journey. I keep going back to her commentary about laughter, how sometimes when we feel really down and out, a bit of gut-wrenching giggling is just the thing we need to remind us how alive we really are in that moment.

And now I really want to go on an exotic vacation to climb some really BIG rocks as well.  How about you?

Thank you, Katie—for inspiring others to keep their heads up no matter how rocky the road may seem, for reminding us that love and light surround us and that the view from the top is well worth the climb.

Send us a picture of you flying a plane someday soon! We'll send you some congratulatory chocolate chip cookies, girl!

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. If you'd like to participate in a Real People Feature, send me a message at cally@frommyhearthtoyours.com or comment below. We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More than Most

We play that game.

I love you.
I love you more. 
I love you most.

And then, for no reason at all on a sunny afternoon, my eldest child looked up at me with her big greenies and said,

"Mommy? I love you more than most."

Suddenly, my heart held so much emotion that I thought it might explode.
There couldn't possibly be more most than this.

Here's to loving without limits.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shock vs. Electrocution

We've all said it...

"OW! I just got electrocuted from touching that lightswitch!"

Truth be told?
No. You didn't.
Just the facts, friends.

My jack-of-all-trades fella has straightened out this ol' English teacher, for sure.

Turns out, the word electrocution means DEATH by electricity. So if you're able to complain about getting zapped, unless you're a moaning ghost with a message from the great beyond...you've been shocked- not electrocuted.
In the event of an emergency, it's important to describe the situation using accurate terminology—and in order to maintain safety, it's vital to be able to properly interpret the wording of warning signs.

Although every good story probably hides a smidge of embellishment, the next time electricity passes through your body and leaves you to tell the tale, remember that using the wrong word can drastically change the meaning of what has transpired.
Most people can get down with a little added drama in their stories, but the difference between an electrical shock and fatal electrocution is cuh-raise-zee to confuse.

I feel pretty silly having erroneously reported that I've been electrocuted many times. Duh. Don't think so.

Special thanks to my man for straightening out my whack vocabulary.
Have a shockingly wonderful week, friends!

What words have you been using incorrectly without knowing?
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

After Hours Puzzlin'

Each night, from 8-8:30, our eldest gets time to herself. She reads, plays with toys, pretends to be Harry Potter, writes notes and...

she does puzzles.
puzzles for children
Lots and lots of puzzles.

I go upstairs and find them lining the floors, and as slippery as they are in the dark—can't complain. Puzzles are good for the brain!
Unless you wipe out on one on your way to the bathroom and smash your head against the wall...

Cleaning up is good. 
Although our daughter has mastered these puzzles, the cleaning up part—not so much.

Yet still, we all really dig these jigs!

I honestly believe they're great to have around, at all stages of kid-dom. 
Such great challenges in spatial organization, fine motor skills, problem solving and planning. 

Late night favorites are her Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles and her Ravensburger Disney Princess jigsaws. She has also been rocking out a simple Curious George lunch box tin puzzle for quite some time. 

Need to justify all those PIECES strewn all over your rug? Check out this article from Parenting Today about why puzzles are good for your child's development.

Let's get brainy!
There's nothing better than watching the wee ones start piecin' it all together. 

Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

*This is not a sponsored post. We're just super psyched to see our pipsqueak taking such an interest in puzzlin'!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dibbida Dibbida SOLD!

We currently live in a region brimming with Pennsylvania Dutch culture and heritage—a vast departure from the town in which I was raised out in Jersey.
Observing the rich local dialect, clothing and art, the strong work ethic and camaraderie...total fascination for me.
Once a year, there's this auction down the road that blows my mind completely. 
Thousands of people gather to bid on just about any and everything you could imagine—from furniture to flowers, live turkeys to tractors. 
It's quite a show, for sure!  Quite an experience. 

I try to follow the jabbering auctioneers' cries, smile at the Mennonite children as they gather in circles- their faces sticky with ice cream, marvel at the rough-handed men in suspenders, who load their pickup trucks with the farm equipment they've collected. 

Women gather inside as intricate handmade quilts are displayed and auctioned off, and I feel like an excited outsider, transported into the past. 
Inside at the quilt auction
The auction is always a welcome time warp for me—a reminder that life doesn't always have to be so complicated or as fast-paced as the auctioneer's yippin' twang. 
It reminds me that it's good to get your feet dirty every now and then, to put aside vanity and newness in order to celebrate resourcefulness, community and the beauty in simplicity.
I get such an intense charge out of this event. There are no kiddie rides, no bright lights, music or scheduled entertainment acts. But there's a thrill in the air, I assure you. 
It's just people...living and being—real people who dress differently but love the same. 

And I am so happy, so blessed, to be home.
Macht's gut!

What events in your area celebrate culture and community? There's so much more to come out here in the upcoming season. We just can't wait!

Have a happy week, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Best, Most Useful Toy (?) EVER! And a Discount Code!

If there has ever been an incredible gift for a growing family—this is it, friends.

On our daughter's 1st birthday last year, her great-grandparents rolled out a Speedway Express 500 wagon. I honestly can't tell you who was most excited about this gift.
No joke, people—this thing is quite possibly the best gift we've ever received for the family.

I could go on all day, but let me start by telling you that our handcrafted 22"x 40" wagon holds up to ONE THOUSAND pounds of weight.

Did you get that? A thousand!

On its first day rollin' on our property, you can bet your boots that we all piled in for wagon rides down our hill. With a little practice maneuvering the handle, you can actually steer from inside the wagon, so you can imagine how much fun it is to go coasting in this baby!

But if the sheer joy of Speedway Express Wagons isn't enough, the practical uses are endless...

We roll our "Big Red" down the street to purchase and transport all our flowers for planting in the spring.

And because the sides slip out for easy transportation, we were also able to pack the wagon into our car to bring along to the beach last summer.

Having our Speedway Express with us at the shore made our trip so much easier. We'd pack it full of chairs, a stroller, the beach bags, toys, cooler and a KID or two and would roll everything down to the ocean each day.
Pointing toward the ocean on a beach wagon ride!
With excellent performance and maneuverability on sand, grass, dirt and gravel, we honestly believe that Speedway Express Wagons are, by far, superior to any other wagon that we've come across in stores.

This wagon will absolutely last our family a lifetime, and because we are confident that owning one will add incredible happiness to YOUR family as well, I've got a present for you...

From now until June 30th, 2013 Speedway Express is offering ALL From My Hearth to Yours readers a 7% discount code on ANY product in their lineup! (Custom orders and shipping are excluded from discount)

If you're ready to get your hands on the best wagon ever made, or if you have a baby shower or birthday party coming up and want to get someone you love the best gift EVER, head over to Speedway Express Wagons here, place your order and enter the coupon code My<3 to claim your discount!

You can also keep up with Speedway news by liking their new Facebook page here.
Once you get your own wagons, drop us a line and let us know how much you're LOVIN' every moment. I'm excited to learn about all the uses you'll find.

Just yesterday, I popped off the sides and used ours to haul deck chairs up from our shed. 
And then we rolled that bad boy right back down the hill for fun.

A million uses! 
I'm telling you! You'll absolutely LOVE owning one of these! I'm sure of it.

It's the perfect time to give the perfect gift. 
Three cheers for Speedway Express!

Have a wonderful week, friends! Let me know if you have any wagon questions you need answered if you're ready for the ride.

***This is NOT a sponsored post. The opinions here are my own. We are seriously just CRAZY about this company/product.***

Thursday, April 4, 2013

3D Street Art? Like Whoa.

Have you seen and had your mind blown to smithereens by 3D street art? 
Kurt Wenner
Kurt Wenner "Dies Irae"
I mean, seriously. I just have to shake my head and say daaaaaaaang.
3 D pavement art
Edgar Mueller "The Tree" 
The illusion of height and depth is created through an artistic process called anamorphosis- where the piece comes into 3D focus from one particular vantage point. 
Qi Xinghua
Qi Xinghua "Macao's One Impression"
Crazy cool!

I'm so excited and inspired to see this kind of art taking shape all over the world. How thrilling would it be to watch some of these talented artists at work on their projects?
3D street art
Julian Beever "Self Portrait of the Artist with Liquid Refreshment"
We've come a long way, haven't we?

Creativity like this reminds me that art can spring up out of ANYthing, that a masterpiece can be born out of a carved bar of soap or from broken glass off the street.
3D pavement art
Edgar Mueller "The Crevasse"
 When it comes to art, there really are no rules. It's all about evoking an emotion, a reaction, a charge.

And, MAN, do I get a charge out of this genre!

Wanna see how it's done? Here's an awesome, quick time lapse video of artist Julian Beever working on one of his masterpieces.
BaZONKo! Such an incredible process!

We're trying our hands at (cough) our own street art these days, seeing where the road takes us. Isn't that what art is all about anyway...teetering on the edge of something incredible?
Kaira and Layna "Tribute to Spring"
And speaking of incredible—say whaaaaaa?
3D pavement art
Edgar Mueller "Tribute to the Elements"
Hats off to these unbelievably talented and inspiring artists. Come transform our streets anytime! I can't wait to see more...

Have you recently discovered any new art forms? Tell us about it!

Have an inspiring weekend, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Monday, April 1, 2013

Traces of Creativity

There's this kid I know who can sometimes get a lil' grumpazoid. Oh, if only Small Fry would NAP!

Anyhoo- I'm always on the lookout for distractions that involve a bit of a challenge for the ole' noggin. Factor in some creativity and art and I'm sold.

We've got crayons, markers and paints out the wazoo out here, but I'd forgotten how much fun plain old tracing paper can be!

My fella came home with some Staedtler tracing paper the other day, and in a clever attempt to thwart a brewing meltdown, I set up our kiddo  with the goods.
tracing paper
Instant success, people! Magic. All whining ceased and exploration ensued. Cuh-rice-sis averted.

After our daughter had mastered simple tracing, I challenged her to take the images she'd copied and to ADD her own designs to the paper.

Result? Super fun and creative combinations of both traced and original design!

I wish I'd busted out tracing paper years ago and got to thinking of all the wonderful ways I can use this material to teach my (almost) 2-year-old.

We can trace letters of the alphabet, numbers and shapes—so many possibilities!

I dig it! WE dig it. I'm gettin' more!
Tracing is totally fun! I can't believe I'd forgotten.

Takes me back to my middle school days, when I'd use tracing paper to copy band logos from CD inserts onto my science notebook covers. Good stuff.

Tracing paper clearly ROCKS!

What fun art materials did you use when you were younger?
Have a creative week, friends!