We can do this FREE Screen saver

 
 

Every once in a while I find someone online who inspires me so much.  Studio Mucci is one of those people.  Her love for color and her adorable way that she approaches life is so refreshing.  Today on her snap chat she said the phrase, "We can do this Unicorns" and I just had to make those words come alive through design. 

So, here for you are two free screen savers for when you just need that extra kick in the pants to get up and DO STUFF. 


Here you go!

Computer screen saver

 

phone screen saver

 

 

So yeah, you can do this. Even on the hard days. Don't quit on your life. I am cheering you on. Go for it unicorn. 

XO, 

 

 

 

I choose happy

I choose happy. 

Life's circumstances can sometimes weigh us down and sink us into the depths of despair. I'll be honest, sometimes it's easy to go there.  

So how do we climb out of those murky waters of despair? 

We choose. 

Joy is a choice.  Although not always an easy one. To help you in your choice of joy I have created a daily affirmation that you can read and use to help as you journey.  Each affirmation has a choice, a confession, and a prayer. I hope that it will encourage you as you journey. 

 

 

XO, 

 

 

 

My Life as a Gypsy: Never forget anything for your trip again!

Once a year I forgo the roots of house and home for a few months as we return home to visit family. It's a whirl-wind of travel, family, and making up for lost time.

Travel can be challenging at times and now as a family of four it can be downright insane.  As a master of systems I have come up with many helpful ways to make the insanity manageable. I wanted to start this series called, "My life as a gypsy" to pass on some helpful tips that I have discovered for traveling. I can't wait to share my tips on everything from how to pack your necklaces so they don't tangle, how to deal with baggage limitations, and even the BEST way I've found to pack clothes so they stay organized and wrinkle-free. 

TIP 1: Worry Free Packing. 


No one travels to feel stressed. You travel to feel lighter, have adventure, to be free. 

People always stare at me with wide eyes when they ask me if I've started packing for a three month trip yet and I say, "no". Why do I never stress about packing? Over the years I have developed some hassle-free ways to keep myself from having stress as I travel. Let's get started with one of my favorites that when you implement it, will help you never forget anything ever again. 

One of the most stressful things about travel is the fear that you will forget something on your trip.  Everyone has had that horrifying moment when you get to your destination and realize that you have everything on your list except for underwear. (What? Only me? Smiley-wink-face)  To eliminate the classic bad dream phobia of showing up somewhere without any clothes I have created ready-made packing lists for each person in our family. These are packing lists that I sat down and wrote one time and use over and over again every time we travel. You can store these on your phone, I personally use Evernote to store my lists.  I literally feel no pre-trip stress because I don't have to think at all to pack. I have lists for hot and cold weather with reminders to pack for special events we may be attending on our trip. Because we travel internationally a lot for our non-profit I create packing lists for specific countries as well. Then, when I return I don't have to worry that I will forget something important.

XO, 

 



Family Mission Statement

inspired by pastor Denis
who asked me, "What is the vision for your family?" 

I believe that "culture" exists no matter what you do. There is a culture that is created if you build it on purpose and there is one that is there if you don't. As a family, we are passionate about creating the culture that we want.

I remember as a young girl one of the defining moments in my life was the time I broke one of my moms favorite cups. I was terrified and disappointed with myself that I broke it. I remember taking a deep breath of courage and going to my mom to tell her that I broke her glass. She scooped me up in her arms, wiped away my tears, and said, "Thank you for telling me. That took a lot of courage. I forgive you." That day I learned that honesty was safe.
 

That is why in our house you will hear a lot of talk about "heart." We feel that one of the most important values we can instill in our children is to be people with a good heart. We know that as technology increases there will only be more ways for our children to live secret lives that could eventually destroy them. If their hearts are pure then no matter what happens with technology we believe that they will be empowered to make great choices.

Last year we created what we call "The Baca Family Values". It is a collection of values that we hope to instill in our family. I applied my designs skills to our ideas and made this print.
 


Here are a few of our family values:

Authentic and honest
Innovative and creative
Independent thinkers
Peaceful
Value family
Celebrate Tradition
Godly
Positive
Action oriented

I love the thought that each family is unique, with its own purpose for existing. What is your family all about? Comment below and let me know!

XO,

 


Sparkle: FREE PRINTABLE

for ceitci

You know those friends who you don't see for ages and when you meet up again it's as though you haven't missed a beat? I am lucky to have a handful of these precious souls in my life and was recently visited by one of my best girls Ceitci. 

Everyone needs a friend who reminds us of who we are, who doesn't let us settle for second best in our life, and loves us no matter what. That is my Ceitci. She is a dreamer and one of the most inspiring people I know. Recently, she turned 40.  I have known her since I was 17 and she looks more amazing now than when we were 20. This is a free printable I made in her honor... because she always reminds me to sparkle.  

I love freebies because it's always so awesome to get free things! (Am I right??)  I also love when I see those beautiful things being given to others as gifts or hanging in peoples homes. So download and reuse to your hearts content! It's a square print (pictured matted in an 8X10 frame) To download your free "It's Time to Sparkle" Printable click here. 

I hope you never forget to sparkle.

XO, 

 


Forgiveness is "For Giving"

Save this image as a screen saver for your phone as a reminder that forgiveness is "for giving" Image via Pinterest

For my darling Estephy

"Forgiveness is 'for giving'. The very word explains that it is a gift."

 A tear slid down my cheek as my pastor said these words. There are some words that slice through our heart like an arrow of truth. They reveal to us just how far we have traveled from where we want to be. 

I had been holding hurt inside for far too long. It had seeped into every pore of my heart; it had pillaged my soul and left me as someone I no longer recognized. The sparkle was gone from my eyes. Cynicism had replaced hopefulness.  Darkness had pushed out the light. I knew what God was asking of me. I knew His heart was beckoning me to be free. He whispered gently to hand over all my pain to Him and see what He would do with it. 

But how does one let go? Offenses; seeming so light and small can pile up so easily and before you know it you are carrying around the weight of the world. No one could lighten this load for me. No compliment or kind word from a friend could ease my suffering or bring me solace. 

I knew I had to let go. 

Yet, how?

I reached in vain for demonstrative symbols; something to signify the end of my bitter era. One night I desperately scribbled all my offenses like a haphazard ransom note onto a sheet of paper and buried them in the backyard. Perhaps this act would somehow end all my pain? Yet, even though I didn't physically unearth them from my backyard, just twenty minutes later I was in my living room sobbing again because no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find the strength to not mentally excavate my troubles. 

Everyday brought about the retelling. The rehashing of past memories and hurt. If a friend was willing to listen then I would talk to them, telling over and over why I was right; why everyone else was wrong. If no one was able to listen then I would sit alone rehearsing  my thoughts. The wounds engraved deeper inside my heart with every mental reenactment; the rhetoric of my loss became the cadence to my song. The skeletons in my closet my dance partners, whose company I summoned to entertain my lonely nights. 

Rather than turn away from these reckless habits I surrendered to them. I hated them and yet I craved them. I wanted someone  or something to take away my suffering and yet I was unwilling to let go of it. Slowly I would loosen my grip on my sadness and then quickly reel it back in; if for no other reason than it was familiar to me. 

Eventually I had to ask myself, "how long will you carry this burden?" One year? Two years? For the rest of your life? 

Over time I've learned that forgiveness is a process. It is something we make strides towards each day. It is a gift. A true gift is often undeserved. It is free. It comes with no strings attached. How often do we exchange our "forgiveness" with a list of requirements for that person to meet? How often do we hold others ransom, and dangle their mistakes over their head? I get it. They don't deserve to be forgiven. They don't deserve to go free

Yet, forgiveness is a gift. 

I used to hand out forgiveness flippantly, hoping that as soon as I extended the words,"I forgive you" that my internal feelings would somehow transform. It was naive of me to think that deep wounds could be healed by uttering empty words not attached to the heart. I have learned that first the words are given, the decision is made, and then the heart will follow suit.

I think of forgiveness, and the art of forgiving, more like waves of the ocean.  As waves of hurt roll in, we send them back with a little bit of the sands of forgiveness. Sometimes the waves come in strong and crash against our shores, and other times they are small and seeming unnoticed. I've found that I must give words to the waves. 

I forgive you.  

This happened in the past. The past is not today. 

You are free from this and so am I. 

Forgiveness is a gift that you extend towards others; yet the act of giving it will relinquish you from the pain you feel yourself.  

Set yourself free. 

Forgive. 

 


Hand-ground Pesto Recipe

pesto-header.png

for aunt rosemary who gave me my first irresistible bite of red sauce  

I live in Ecuador, the land of abundant vegetation. Bountiful, fresh, hydroponic, organically grown vegetables and fruit are everywhere and you can buy it for only pennies.

Literally.

This has spawned my love for fresh and simple cooking. I believe that everyone should master what I call the "Italian Flag" of pasta sauces.  You have to master a simple yet decadent red, white, and green sauce before you die. After three years of chopping, obsessing, and much trial-and-error and I can honestly say that I have mastered all three. (Humble, right?) Today I want to share my green pesto sauce with you! 


For this recipe I use a macadamia nut for the pesto. Greg has a slight allergy to the nut most commonly used in pesto (walnut) and personally I find the taste slightly bitter. Instead I prefer a pinenut usually but I can't find those always in Quito. I instead use a unsalted macadamia nut, I find their flavor mild so it doesn't compete with the flavor of the pesto.

For my recipe I try and use baby basil leaves. (Less than one inch leaves are the best and most flavorful) Typically the basil found in our farmers market or my table-top-container garden works the best. You can throw all the scrumptious ingredients that I am about to unveil in the blender but if you are like me and want to go really gourmet then you are going to want to use a  morter and pestle and grind all the ingredients by hand.  To do this I usually mash the nuts separate from the other ingredients and mix them in later. I start by grinding the torn leaves of the basil together with garlic into the morter. It takes a bit more work (for feeding 15 people it usually takes me about ten minutes of grinding) but that's what cooking is all about anyway! 

putting love into the effort of cooking is the secret ingredient for all delicious recipes. 

Ingredients: 

+ 3 TBS Macadamia Nuts
+ Basil (about a cup)
+1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
+ Salt (to taste) 
+ 3 Garlic cloves (minced) 
+ 3 TBS Olive Oil

 

DIRECTIONS: 

Crush macadamia nuts and set aside. 

Select the smallest basil leaves (under one inch) and tear them into small pieces. The smallest leaves hold the richest flavors for pesto. Using a morter and pestle grind the garlic, salt, and basil together until they are a paste. 

In a separate bowl, combine nuts, basil paste, olive oil and parmesan cheese, Mix together.  You may need to add more salt.  Use directly on pasta, pizza, or as a spread on sandwiches as a delicious condiment. 

If you try this recipe comment below and let me know!  

XO, 

 


Oh, Christmas Tree!

One of my favorite things about celebrating Christmas in Arizona with Greg's family is getting our Christmas tree. With a tree permit you can go to the forest and pick out your own tree and cut it down to use inside your home.  It's so fun to get all bundled up with the kids and go looking for the perfect tree.  Check out my favorite pics of this years adventure. 

What are your Christmas Traditions? Comment below and tell me! 

XO,