How to be Happy in 2015 – 4 Positive Resolutions for the New Year

 

Every New Year, people always write down their resolutions. Sometimes they are specific and unreasonable, so I came up with four easy things to focus on this year to make sure that 2015 will be great.

Photo courtesy of spiritualboosters.com

Photo courtesy of spiritualboosters.com

BE THANKFUL

A gratitude journal is a great way to remember to be thankful. All you do is write down five things every day that you are thankful for. It can be anything from a successful project at work to a hot cup of coffee that tasted so good. No matter how big or small, remembering to write down the good things can definitely change your attitude over time.

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BE HEALTHY

I know, I know. Every year people resolve to lose weight, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Just make small choices to be healthier and extend your life. Get a fitness app on your phone, start taking walks every day, or cut out one unhealthy meal a week. All those small changes can really make a difference and help you feel better. If you want, join a gym! There are a ton to choose from: LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, The Exercise Coach – just to name a few.

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BE PET FRIENDLY

Having a pet is proven to have great health benefits. Also, you’ll feel better taking care of a loving animal that needed a home. Pets can be your best friends and comforting companions. Not so fast, pet allergy people, you can get a fish and still reap the benefits. Check with your local Camden community for their pet policy.

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BE FAMILY ORIENTED

Having a work-life balance is really important to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Make sure that you’re carving out time for your family and friends. We work a lot, but we don’t have a lot of time to spend with those we love. When it comes to children, you don’t want to miss precious moments that you can’t get back, so make sure you make the time for them!

These are just four simple goals that don’t take a lot of effort, but sure can make a huge difference in your life. Here’s hoping that your new year is full of great moments!

Holiday Activities for the Whole Family

The holidays are a great chance to enjoy time with your children and plan some activities that only happen during this time of year. I’ve found some fun family activities in the Orange County area that could be a part of your holidays.

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“The Nutcracker” At the Barclay Theater
December 12-24, 2014

Celebrate the season with visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy, her dashing prince and our heroine Clara, while a cast of over one hundred takes you back in time to mystical lands of old world charm. Family-friendly and affordable, this professional production of The Nutcracker features internationally acclaimed guest artists, Festival Ballet Theatre’s professional company dancers, and exceptional budding young talent from across the Southland.

LOCATION:
4242 Campus Drive

INFORMATION:
(949) 854-4646

Frosty Treat Fun Mommy & Me Cooking Class - Irvine
December 22, 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm

cooking

The holidays are a time to bring the family together. With so many fun treats that can be made why not come together in the kitchen! Cooking with children is something not all grown-ups are comfortable with, not to worry! Child Development Specialist, Kunaal Kumar, is here to help guide grown-ups through the process of cooking with kids. Children will delight in making frosty, winter themed treats like Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips, Snowman Pizza, and a refreshing water infused with wintery yumminess.

$5.00 fee per one grown-up and one child pair. For children 2 years of age and up; Grown-ups. register online

LOCATION:
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA Continue reading

Thanksgiving and What it Really Means

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love gathering together with family while the children run around the house, the men yell at the football game playing on the TV, and the women laugh and talk about everything under the sun. Thanksgiving is one of the few times a year where we can all gather in one place and simply enjoy one another and catch up on everything that has happened since the last gathering. If you are like me, family time is a cherished time and there is simply nothing better than gathering around and enjoying one another. Of course who can forget that massive meal that happens on Thanksgiving! The one day a year you are allowed to wear your “fat” pants and dig in and NOT count the calories. Calorie counting is absolutely not allowed on Thanksgiving Day!

Turkey


Have you recently thought about the true meaning of Thanksgiving and where the tradition originated? Typically when we gather for the holidays this is not a conversation topic that comes up. I believe that there are times in life in the midst of the hustle and bustle that we need to stop and think and remember why we celebrate certain occasions and why it is still important and relevant to us today.

Thanksgiving is more than just the story of the Pilgrims and Indians. Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims and Indians. It was later adopted by President Abraham Lincoln and nationally recognized as a holiday in 1863. As we all know, Thanksgiving is celebrated every 4th Thursday in November. But what does this mean? Thanksgiving is 2 separate words; Thanks and Giving. Therefore, this holiday is a national day for giving thanks and for sharing. Counting our blessings at the family dinner table is one way, however, the holiday consumes much more than that. It goes beyond simply our immediate family and friends and being thankful for far more than just the blessings and riches we have received. The Holiday reminds us to share our economic and material wealth, and to share also our time and talents with other people who could use our help. This is the season to put into perspective the abundance of riches in our own lives by aiding those less fortunate.  Giving your time and sharing your resources with those who are not as blessed as you are is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. This is demonstrated all year-long, not just on one day. Thanksgiving Day is a designated day to reflect, praise, and celebrate with those closest to you as you discuss the ways you have given and shared all year-long. The Holiday is much broader and encompasses a great deal more than we realize and celebrate.

Give Thanks

As you gather with your loved ones this joyous holiday season, I urge you to celebrate the true meaning behind Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for all of your blessings that you have received throughout the year. Even the smallest of blessings are still blessings worth celebrating. Continue to be thankful for all you have and will continue to receive and always remember to pay it forward to those less fortunate than yourself.

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy these small moments that will turn in to lasting memories.

Make sure you look for your next home to turn your moments into lasting memories at www.camdenliving.com.

Quick & Easy Mid-Week Dinners

 

It seems it gets harder and harder to get the family together for dinner between work, school, and sport schedules. However hard, I think it’s so important to at least come together for 30 minutes.  You get to catch up on your day, hear & solve problems, and learn about accomplishments of the day. I know the last thing I want to do when I get home is to cook an elaborate dinner. I have found some recipes that my family likes that you can cook ahead of time so you can actually enjoy your family time.

Chicken Pot Pie

Frozen Pie Crust

3-4 Large Chicken Breasts

Family Size Mixed Vegetables

2-3 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (low-fat or fat- free)

Seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 375. Cook & season chicken. Cut cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl mix chicken, vegetables, soup, and seasonings. Pour into pie crust and place 2nd pie crust on top. Poke holes on top crust using fork. Back 1 hour.

chicken pot pie

 

Chuck Wagon Casserole

1 lb Lean Ground Beef

1 Can chili beans (15 ½ oz)

½ Cup Onion & Green Bell Pepper Chopped

¾ C Barbecue Sauce

1 Can Mexican-Style Corn Drained

1 Package(8 ½ oz) Corn Muffin Mix

Preheat oven to 400. Chop onion and pepper. Cook ground beef, onion, and pepper. Drain. Stir in chili beans, barbecue sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Spoon into 9” baking dish. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions, stir in corn. Spoon over meat mixture. Back 30 minutes.

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Labor Day Fun at Newport Dunes

Labor Day – end of summer vacations and start of school…. Although most schools start before now and the end of summer vacation is harder to do. It seems that more and more families are staying close to home but still want to enjoy the last official weekend of summer with family and friends.

One idea is the Newport Dunes Resort. It is a 110-acre premier waterfront resort located in Newport Beach on Pacific Coast Highway.

 

just-spotted.com

just-spotted.com

Bring your RV, tent, rent a cottage or just stay for the day. There is a mile of beach featuring a waterpark with inflatable rock climbing walls, icebergs, trampolines, swimming, sail boat, pedal boat, electric boat rentals, or kayak rentals. The Back Bay Nature Preserve and the Newport Bay Conservancy is at the entrance of the resort also.

rvmagonline.com

rvmagonline.com

The Dunes has a fun Labor Day weekend planned. There are family-friendly movies on the sand Friday and Saturday. On Sunday there is a bounce house fun zone, volleyball tournament and a pizza party and dance social. Along with these planned activities, you can just relax on the beach and enjoy the water. There are plenty of BBQ’s or you can enjoy the Back Bay Bistro restaurant.

gkind.com

gkind.com

#DearSummer

This year has certainly flown by! Before we know it will be time to put on the scarves, hats and boots and decorate for the holidays! Here in Atlanta children have already returned to school! It’s sad but true—summer is almost officially over! “Yes the end is near!” (Please feel free to insert awkward chuckle) But don’t worry there are still some fun things to enjoy before it’s completely over. Here is a quick list on “How to to live the end of the summer to the max!”

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Concerts- Many musical acts are touring around the country during the summer! Some are FREE which are always great to attend! Usually at nearby park location so don’t forget to bring your blanket and lawn chairs! Then there are concerts which may not be free but depending on how much you love that musical act—you may end paying a pretty penny! I had the pleasure of going to the On the Run Tour starring Beyonce and Jay Z and I had the time of my life! Summer was definitely made for concerts! Something in the summer air just makes you want to dance—but please dont’t break a hip! Continue reading

The “School of Shopping” is in session!

back to school

Nationwide there is a sense of excitement as school begins, yet at the same time a feeling of sadness as summer comes to an end. With the memories of family vacations, summer blockbuster movies and sleepovers fresh in their mind, parents and children alike are preparing backpacks, uniforms and lunch boxes in anticipation of a great school year.

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Quick and Delicious Dinner Idea: 45 Minute Ravioli!

I’m not much of a chef. In fact, the only thing I’ve really perfected cooking in my lifetime is spaghetti, until now! I found an amazing recipe online and it was so delicious and easy I wanted to share! This ravioli paired with a little garlic bread and salad is simply to DIE for!

The great thing about this particular recipe is, if you don’t like or eat meat, you can use cheese-stuffed ravioli pockets and make it a vegetarian meal! How awesome is that?! Just a reminder, if cooking for a vegetarian, opt for a regular tomato sauce, rather than marinara. Only 3 ingredients and a 45 minutes to bake, how can you go wrong with this recipe? Oh, that’s right, you can’t.  Check it out!

Ingredients

You can purchase all of these ingredients at your local grocery store

1 bag (25 Oz. Bag) Frozen Ravioli

1 jar (26 Oz. Jar) Marinara Sauce

2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Parmesan Cheese, For Sprinkling

Preparation

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9×13 rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.

Spread 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce in baking dish. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in the center. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Ravioli

Family Vacation Time…. And Pets Welcome!

It is that time of year again! Summer vacations are in full swing! This year we decided to do something a little different than we have in the past. Since my family and I have recently relocated to the Houston area we thought it may be a fun summer vacation to do something around the area since there is so much do in Houston and we are in such close proximity to other big cities that host a ton of events and activities as well. This area is still knew to us so we thought why not get to to know our new home as well as get in a good family vacation. Once we got into planning mode it occurred to me that we needed a place that was pet friendly! We have a four legged fur baby that has historically stayed with family when we have vacationed out of town, but now we are not close to family anymore with our recent move. Kenneling him would break my heart so I decided that we must find a family vacation spot that will accommodate pets. There are several hotels around the area that will allow pets to be brought in for an additional deposit. I really did not want him cooped up in a hotel room all day while my husband and I were out and about with the kiddos, so I opted to look for places where our fur baby could be incorporated into our vacation. To my surprise I was able to find a few places that are great for the entire family….even our four legged family member!

Beaches are a popular vacation spot for the summer. Since there are a wide variety of activities for the whole family on a beach it was one of my top places to research. Galveston, Padre Island, and Corpus Christi all have great vacation homes right on the beach that you can rent by the night. There a smaller bungalows that sleep smaller families to large homes that can accommodate multiple families right on the beach shoreline. Most of these homes do allow pets. You could get the whole family together for a small reunion or get together on the beach and enjoy the waterfront views and the relaxing sound of the waves while your pets played along the shoreline. Of course, although I love seeing the entire family, a small intimate family vacation away from it all sounds so relaxing! A nice stroll along the beach does sound heavenly! I am positive that Www.tripadvisor.com can aid in helping you find the perfect beach front home for your family and your family pets.

oregoncoastmagazine.com

oregoncoastmagazine.com

The beautiful Texas Hillside is another breathtakingly beautiful sight to take your family to vacation this summer. If your family is into the outdoors than this type of vacation is perfect for you and your family pets! Camping, fishing, hiking, boating, and more can be done in the various parts of the Texas hillside. These areas extend from Austin to New Braunfels, to Kerrville and more. All of these areas host a wide range of activities that are perfect for the family who enjoys being outdoors during the summer. Pets are welcome at the camp sites as well as most of the hotels and resorts in the area. Just think of the peacefulness of the night stars and the rhythmic sounds of nature to calm the tensions of day to day life. Anyway you slice it, this family vacation spot would be a great getaway from it all. If you prefer a private lake front rental home where your family can retreat into the peacefulness of the Hillside check out www.vrbo.com to book your perfect spot!

Neither one of these places tickle your fancy for a vacation? No worries! Just check out to www.BringFido.com for a complete listing of fun pet friendly places to vacation at this summer with your family. They have tons of listings for hotels, hiking trails, beaches, shopping destinations, and more on this website. I am sure there will be something perfect for all of your family members on the website.

We hope that you have a great summer vacation and we are wishing everyone safe summer travels! Your pet friendly home at www.camdenliving.com will be ready for you when you return.

Summer 2014 Movies You Must See

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Photo Credit: eonline.com

Summer is the best time to go to the movies. Movies are a great way to escape the summer heat. For the past 2 years, I have shared my picks for the top 10 must see movies this summer. Looking back, I have fulfilled seeing all of the movies on my list. Here we go with my picks for 2014.

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