Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things that I am Thankful for...

These are some of the things I am thankful for in my life.
My husband, the love of my life.
My children, pretending not to be excited at Disney World.
My Oldest Josie and her husband Luis.

My grandchildren Christian and Mya.
Showers. I really love taking hot showers. FYI that is not me! LOL
Chocolate. Chocolate filled with more chocolate.
Plants vs. Zombies! Yes I love to play this game.

I am most thankful for being a daughter of God. If I had a picture of Him I would put it on here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving

Once again the holidays have snuck up on us. How is it that each year I hear myself saying, " I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already". This year has brought us so much to be thankful for. Starting with the birth of our first granddaughter, Mya Bella. She is beautiful and such a happy and calm baby. Her smile and little dimple just lights up our entire house. She is so small and so innocent yet she has had such a tremendous impact on each one of us.

Our sweet grandson turned two in October. He is quite the chatter box. He is full of wonder and adventure. He keeps us on our toes. He is always busy and on the go. He is loving and kind. When his baby sister came home he wasn't sure about her. He had some moments of jealousy. These days he loves his baby sister and kisses and hugs her constantly. He is protective of her and tells others she is" his" baby.

I am so thankful for my husband. He is a man that works extremely hard so that I can stay at home and raise our children. He has a tough job and has to deal with many unpleasantries. He gladly deals with all of them to grant us the opportunity to homeschool and go on many field trips. One of our favorite destinations is Disney World. There is so much opportunity for the children to learn about so many things in each of the parks.

I am so thankful for our home and our neighbors. We were blessed with buying a new home last year. We have also been blessed with having some wonderful neighbors. Our children all play so well together. It is so nice to see each and every day, all of the neighborhood kids running and climbing and long boarding, skateboarding, bicycle riding each day. Some of us moms have been getting together for coffee on Wednesday mornings and just sharing with one another. Getting to know each other. I feel really honored to live in such a great community.

I am thankful for my dad. He lives with us. He is always helping around the house. He spoils the kids a little too much! He takes their breakfast orders the night before and always makes them a hearty healthy breakfast. He does a lot of the honey do list around the house considering my husband works long hours. My dad really loves his grand kids and great grand kids so much.

I am so thankful for my children. My eldest child Josie, is married has two babies and has grown by leaps and bounds this year. She has learned to trust completely in God. One of the beautiful things of her journey is that her husband has joined her in loving and trusting the Lord completely. They are about to go on a new adventure to Arizona. God has opened every door for them to make this journey possible. We are going to miss them terribly but we are so happy that they get to experience this new chapter in their lives.

Our second oldest, Jevan, has decided to pursue mechanical engineering once he is done with his culinary degree. He is such a smart young man. I know he will do well in both of these fields. He has started to volunteer with his church youth group. Most kids leave the group once they graduate high school but he decided to become staff and keep worshiping with these kids and to be an example to his younger sister and brother. He is on a cruise to the Western Caribbean as we speak. I am going to miss him tomorrow on Thanksgiving but I know he is having fun and am grateful he gets the opportunity to travel.

My youngest two Jade (12) and Jaime (10), are working hard at being kids! They have so much zeal for life. They are so curious and not afraid of much. They have fallen in love with the sport of long boarding(thanks to my 19yr old son). On Saturdays they ride their boards to the Farmer's Market and enjoy what our community has to offer. Every day is a new adventure with them. We have been doing field trips lately. Recently we met up with our Disney Homeschool group for a photo scavenger hunt. Fun was had by all and we learned so much. We were playing detectives that day and deciphering the pictures.

Thank you God for giving us so much to be thankful for. I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He is my God and I am His child. I am thankful for the freedom I have in Him. From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family, your loved ones, your community, friends and neighbors.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Delights

Fall is in the air. Of course in Florida that means the low is 78 degrees and the high is 89. Nevertheless I am in the mood for Fall. All the warm colors. The wonderful aromas of cinnamon and spice. The shorter days and longer nights. Enjoy these beautiful pictures.

Fall leaves. The colors that Autumn brings are so vibrant and warm.

Time to go to the pumpkin patch and pick the perfect one. I have so many ideas for them this year. Here are a few.

Look at these great decorating ideas. They sure have inspired me to bring some warmth into this Florida home.

Yearning for the Holidays

Today I was craving for a Thanksgiving meal. Of course we are in the middle of October and Thanksgiving is only a month away. I figured if I actually cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner today it wouldn't feel as special when the actual holiday rolls around. So instead we had Thanksgiving Sandwiches.

We got some Oven Roasted Turkey Breast from the Deli at our local supermarket. We had them slice it nice and thick so it felt like leftover Thanksgiving turkey. We used Honey Whole Wheat bread, spread whole berry cranberry sauce on the bread. Then I layered a couple of turkey slices on the cranberry sauce. I topped that with stuffing and poured some gravy on that. I finished it by adding more cranberry sauce on the top piece of bread. It was warm and delicious. It was just a little bit of Thanksgiving in October.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Just because I think it's Beautiful

Here are some lovely photos that I have found around the web that I find absolutely stunning. Enjoy.

I am a lover of all things beautiful.

Home and Garden

September has crept up on us. Normally this would mean summer is over and most people are getting ready for the Fall. The cool temperatures. The hearty soups and warm drinks. We live in Florida. Summer is not over. I repeat summer is not over! It rains every day. The temperature is still in the 90's and there is no sign of Fall. September is rather hot here in Florida. Our air conditioner will not get a break this month.

Weather aside, September brings so many wonderful venues to central Florida. Two are actually going on this weekend. Disney hosts an event called the Night of Joy. Christian music artists come out and give concerts at the Magic Kingdom. We have attended this event before and it is so much fun. It is also an amazing blessing. The music is great. The testimonies are even greater.

 The Orange County Convention Center is hosting the Home and Garden Show. I will be going to this years show. I am very excited for this event. I love, love, love all things Home and Garden. I love to decorate, create, style, paint, plant, grow, you name it, I love it.

I am hoping to be inspired by all the men and women at the convention. I crave inspiration to try new things. Inspiration to create. Inspiration to take risks. I can honestly say interior decor and home improvement is a passion of mine. One I long to dedicate more time and energy into. I want to learn everything that I can about this field. I want to help others with this knowledge. I know that our church has a program called Real Help. It is sort of our version of Extreme Home Makeover. This ministry helps families who are in need of home repairs and renovations.

It is nice to know that we can use any passion that is on our hearts to help others. Enjoy these beautiful pictures of Home and Gardens. Hopefully they will inspire you to add something beautiful to your home or to the home of someone in need.

A beautiful bedroom. An organized linen closet. A rustic headboard with stenciling. Tile that reminds me of art. Reclaimed wood with some simple words to inspire. A beautiful pantry that is actually pretty practical. These are some of the beautiful things that inspire me. (I got all the pictures from Google).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family Time

Summertime at our house is usually very busy. We kick off our summer activities by honoring Mother's Day. Shortly after that we celebrate six birthdays and then Father's Day. The kids go off to camp for a week or two. Then there is Fourth of July followed by three more birthdays and that brings us to the third week in August. This year we threw in the birth of our first granddaughter in late July. Needless to say we are exhausted by the time September rolls around each year. 

This weekend we decided to have some quality family time. We rented a nearby hotel and decided to just be together. Luckily for us we live close to Disney World and have many activities and opportunities to choose from, not to mention a plethora of hotels. So far we have had a wonderful dinner together. Worked out together. At the moment my husband is watching Sponge Bob with the kids. Our plan for the rest of the day is to play miniature golf and then have dinner and see the fireworks at Epcot. No rushing. No fighting. No stress. Just making memories and taking a breather from our summer.

I think that short trips like these are so necessary for busy families. We need to reconnect with one another. Parents to children. Sibling to sibling. Husband to wife. We need to get away from the daily routines and obligations. We need to stop and smell the roses. If a weekend sounds like too much time why not an afternoon or an hour.  Go to the park. Go for a bike ride or a swim. The point is to stop and enjoy each other.

When was the last time you took a day to spend with your loved ones? Time goes by so quickly. Treasure the moments you have presently. Treasure the people God has brought to your life. 

Well it's putt putt time. I hope I get a hole in one!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's a new dawn, It's a new day...

Have you ever listened to a song hundreds of time and never really gotten the message? Funny how circumstances have a way of changing your perspective and giving you a new type of clarity.

I am what you would refer to as a night owl. Early mornings are much dreaded in this household. My children included. It's not that I set out to be a night owl. I actually do pretty well in the winter and early spring months. Then the dreaded daylights savings time comes and throws off my internal clock.

Once April rolls around my sleeping pattern is all over the place. I missed an hour here. I slept an extra hour there. The day is not over and I am running on empty so I catch a little nap, or at least the intention is for it to be little and it turns into a two hour drool fest. Of course that night I'm not tired so I start going to bed later and later. Before I know it, June rolls around and my new bedtime is past two in the morning.

So here we are in August and I have been going to bed anywhere between two and four in the morning, pretty much for the last four months. However this week I had to go for some medical testing. I made the appointment and the receptionist tells me since I want a first available appointment it will be at 7am. That just means be here at 6:40am to fill out paperwork. The office is about twenty minutes away so that means I have to leave the house around 6:20am. Goodness what if there is traffic? That means I have to leave at least ten minutes earlier. So how do I wake up at 5:00am when I have been going to bed at 4:00am? Preparation is necessary to pull off this Hudini trick.

Three days before the much dreaded 7:00am appointment I have to sacrifice sleep and wake up early. I need to reset my internal clock. That day I wake up three to four hours earlier than usual. It takes me about forty-five minutes to actually get out of bed. Forty of which I am just telling myself that I need to get out of bed.
 I start my day. All of this early morning sunshine is foreign to me. My eyes can hardly focus and now I have this spotlight shining right in my face. No matter which way I turn it is there. This first day is horrible. My heart is beating in my chest as if it is trying to escape. My body is dragging every second of the day. Food is not even a factor considering my eyes are the only thing awake on my body. I turn to my old friend coffee. I drink all eleven ounces with such hope and such love. It feels amazing to finally have some positive feeling in my body.

The day lasts forever and it is now 10:00pm and my bed had been calling to me about the past three hours. I go to sleep before eleven that night. I sleep longer than anticipated, about ten hours. It feels good waking up before noon.  I feel like I can get so much done because I have so many extra hours.

So today my streak continues and I woke up at 8:00am. Suddenly I want to go for a walk and get some exercise. I want to be one with nature. I want to feel the hot morning sun on my skin.

This new appreciation for morning hours pops song lyrics into my head. Oh, Michael Buble, you make me smile. It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me and I'm feeling good. Oh yes, the song takes on new meaning today. So in the famous words of Mr. Buble...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hiatus Over

There has been so much excitement in our household in the past three weeks. Shortly after my last post we celebrated my dear daughter, Jade's 12th birthday. We invited her closest friends and spend a day of fun and laughter. Her party theme this year was a Tiki Luau. We had everything from lei's to fruit kabobs to a volcano birthday cake. We played pin the coconut on the palm tree for the little ones and had a full on Cool Whip fight with the older ones. It was messy but they had a blast. We were so happy to have shared her special day with family and friends.

We actually spend the next day July 22nd recovering and trying to clean the last traces of candy and Cool Whip we had missed the day before. Needless to say we were exhausted. That night my husband and I spent many hours talking about how fast our kids have grown. We could not believe our oldest daughter, Josie, was already married with a toddler and a baby on the way. Our son, Jevan, was about to start his second year in college. Our sweet Jade, was going to be a teenager in just one year. Our youngest child, Jaime, was already ten and turning into such a handsome young man. We almost broke night, but it was so nice to reminisce. We finally fell asleep around four in the morning, knowing we could sleep in the next morning. Two hours after we fell asleep we get "the" phone call.  It was our daughter Josie, she was at the hospital ready to have our first granddaughter!
I was so excited. It took me about thirty minutes to get ready and grab the camera. I tried waking my hubby but it was no use. He tried, really he did, but at last sleep overcame him. So I kissed him ever so gently and then I left.

Once at the hospital we went from the triage room to the labor room. It was about eight that morning when I finally had the heart to call my husband and wake him up to come to the hospital. By ten that morning Josie was half way dilated. She decided to have her second baby naturally. No pain medicine, no medicines to speed up her contractions. She is an amazing woman. She is strong both physically and emotionally. I was so proud of her decision and supported her all the way.

I watched her and her husband, Luis, as they hugged one another every time she started a contraction. He would reassure her that she could do this and they were so focused on each other. I think at that moment I finally realized that she was not my little girl anymore. It was a bittersweet moment. I will always treasure the memories I have of her as a child. I will always know that she changed my life for the better. She made me a parent and I learned along the way how to be her mom. Now it is her turn to be a mother to a daughter. She will have that girl bond that I have with her. She will one day see her little girl grow up. She will one day miss the days of buying flowy dresses just to see them twirl. She will one day ground her daughter for missing curfew. She will one day meet the man that will marry her baby. She will one day become a grandmother.

Life goes by so quickly. We need to treasure every moment. The good times along with the bad times. The happy times along with the sad times. I see how fast the past twenty two years have gone with my first two children and it makes me want to hold on to every second with my youngest ones. I try to look at the beauty each day brings to this household. I kiss and hug and tell my kids I love them everyday. I kiss and hug and tell my husband I love him everyday. I also tell him that if I had it all to do again, I would choose him every time. Sometimes jokingly I tell him, "I love you so much, I want to marry you and have your babies."

In the midst of the everyday mundane. In the midst of the chaos that can accumulate around us at times. In the midst of our lives. We actually need to live. So tell someone you love them today. Kiss your husbands, your wives,  your children, your parents, your pets. Do something as simple as give someone a smile. You never know if that is exactly what they needed. You never know if that is exactly what you needed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Happy Wednesday everyone. I don't know about you but I just realized we are half way through July! Goodness where did June go? I think I need to slow down and smell the roses more often.

 I have been in an organizing mood lately. I rearranged all the furniture in my family room. I actually organized our homeschooling supplies. I tell you it's amazing how fast our family room can get disorganized. I have one of those IKEA wall units with lots of cubbies. I have baskets in some of them. I arranged the contents of those baskets by school subject, and I feel like a new person. I can't believe how many opportunities I missed to teach my kids wonderful things this year, just because I didn't keep the family room organized. I also got rid of many things that I didn't need or were severely outdated. I figured if I have less things, I have less mess. When I have less mess, I have less stress. I can't live a simple life if I have a chaotic house.

The other thing I have been doing each day to help myself toward living a simple life, is having morning worship. It is my time alone with God. I pray and read a chapter from my bible. I ask God to help give me focus for my day. I ask for wisdom and understanding with all that I have to deal with in the next twenty four hours. It is really helping me. This fog, of stress and confusion that used to plague me is being lifted. I actually feel like I can take charge of my day and my life. It also helps me to focus on the important things. What is it that I really need to do today?

Sometimes when I look at my TO DO list I feel overwhelmed. Now I am prioritizing. I try to pick three things that absolutely need my attention that day. Then I do them. If those three things are done I am satisfied. If I have time to tackle a few more off my list, I do it. If I am too busy then I don't stress out about it because my goal has been met. It is very satisfying to know that you set out to do something and then it actually gets done.

 I  remind myself that my To Do list does not define me. Sometimes I actually put unattainable goals on that To Do list. For example these are some of the things in my present list. Paint the garage door, make six different doctor appointments and do all the laundry. Let's take paint the garage door for example. I would have to clean, prime, assemble all supplies, tape off all the areas I don't want painted. Then hope that I have the paint necessary for the task and actually do the painting part. What seems like just one thing to do is actually about ten things to do. So something of this magnitude should not even be on my daily To Do list.

My advice to all you overachievers out there is do not measure your self worth by what you have not accomplished. Instead concentrate on what you HAVE accomplished. So here is to looking at ourselves in a new light.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Weekend

 Friday July, 13th was our 20 year wedding anniversary. It's funny how just a couple of months ago I thought we would be in Italy for our anniversary. It has been a dream of ours to vacation in Tuscany and Umbria. Doing as the locals do.
We've always wanted to explore those regions on our own. I never wanted to do the tour where you follow the guy with the flag. A bus drops you off for a couple of hours at some tourist attraction and then takes you back to your hotel. That feels so cliche.
I've always wanted to stay in a farmhouse with a host family. Eating in their dining room with their family and friends. Enjoying each others company and some good food and wine. I even thought about going during the olive harvesting time. (I think my dear husband and I like Olive Oil more than wine.)  I thought it would be great to help bring in the harvest. Maybe learn the art of pressing the olives and making our own olive oil.
We dream of going to the local town square and getting fresh bread, cheeses, fruits and wine and going on a hike to find the perfect spot to sit and enjoy our treasures. Life's beautiful moments are often found in the simple things. Too often we let life get in the way of enjoying our blessings and actually living.
 I want to  live and enjoy this life that was given to me. I want to see the beauty in people. I want to see the beauty in nature. I want to see how someone else, someplace else, can be so different than me but so similar at the same time. I want to learn new things. Most importantly I want to share it all with my husband. We were brought together on this journey called life.
The memories that stay with us are the ones that we make when we slow down and take time to enjoy one another. So don't forget to laugh a little today. Say hello to a neighbor you've never met. Go on a walk with your husband, wife, children, dog, any of the above or all of them. Take your camera with you and let the lens capture something your eye has missed.
Previously I posted that we were going through some changes in our household. I wanted to try to find a way of living frugally and more Eco-friendly. Now that I think about it, what I really want is to find a way to live simply. I don't want to miss my life because I am too busy not living it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Thursday. I hope that at some point today you can take a minute and breathe deep. Go outdoors. Look at all the beautiful things God created in this world just for you. No matter how hard things get, there is always something to be thankful for. Even if it's just feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin or feeling a warm summer breeze.

July brings so many changes to our family. For starters tomorrow my husband and I celebrate twenty (20!) years of marriage. It has been quite a journey thus far. It has been hard, sad, wonderful, easy, amazing. Marriage is by far the hardest journey I've been on. At the same time it has been the most rewarding. I have learned so much from my wonderful husband. It's funny how someone that is so very different from me, can bring out the best in me. He has taught me to take chances. He has taught me to relax. He has taught me that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Most of all he has taught me how to love unconditionally. If I could I would marry him all over again.

July also brings about an overhaul to our lives. The company my husband works for did some "restructuring" and there will be great financial changes for many in the company. My husband included. Our family is a one income family and I am so thankful that he still has a job. I know so many families out there have lost their income all together. I also know that God has always provided for us. We have never gone hungry. I believe in the power of prayer and in the promises God makes us in the Bible. At the same time I know that we have to do our part as well.

I am very big on educating myself every chance that I get. My new goal for education is how to live on less. I know there are so many websites that have so much amazing information on this subject. I have always tried to be frugal. I have always tried to be as "green" as I could be.  Now I need to do more than try. I need to make living "green" our new lifestyle. Part of me is excited. Part of me is scared. All of me is willing to learn. I'm not sure how my husband and the kids are going to handle this new lifestyle we are about to adapt to. I'm sure in time it will be their new normal. For now I need to read, learn, and apply. I will pass on all the helpful (and maybe the not so helpful) information I gather.  Here's to new beginnings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Welcome to Casa Velilla. We often hear the phrase home is where the heart is. For our family our home is our heart. Everything we have to offer our neighbors, community, and the world all begins in our home.
 Our family, our passions, our love of life, fuels us and encourages us to keep going each day. We are lovers of all things beautiful. We love to learn and experience what life has to offer. We have learned to roll with the punches and accept things for what they are.
Our hope for this blog is to encourage, educate, and enlighten all who share on this site. That includes ourselves. We love learning from everyone's experiences. We all have a story to tell. This one is ours.