My Word for 2014 | New Year’s Resolutions

One Little Word

happy new year!

i love how the beginning of each new year brings a sense of a new outlook on life. people promise to themselves that the upcoming year will be better than the last, new goals are made and the pursuit of accomplishing those goals begin. EVEN IF many of these resolutions are only partially met or forgotten halfway through the year, it’s still wonderful to start the year off with the excitement of renewed hope for a better future.

in the New Year, bad habits of the past are often forgiven. this is important because we can’t and shouldn’t dwell on the past. time and energy spent on past negatives is wasted energy. in fact, energy spent on anything other than positives that benefit the life of yourself or others is wasted energy. i for one, need to work on this.

for me, my mind moves a mile a minute. i think of 100 things at once, and it’s easy for me to get sidetracked and start doing things that aren’t in the plan for the day. sometimes i look at what others are doing instead of just worrying about what make me happy. i also find myself choosing to do tasks that sound better than what i should be doing. i especially get sidetracked in electronics…like my phone….

do i really need to play another game of Jelly Splash or Candy Crush?

do i need to look at my friends Instagram photos again?

do i need to check my friends Facebook statuses or read those viral media articles?

do i need to check my email again?

do i need to compare myself and what i am doing to what others are doing?


now i don’t have a MAJOR problem will all of these things, but there is definite room for improvement in all of them. that is why i have chosen my word of the year to be FOCUS.

one little word for 2014. FOCUS.

if i focus the energy i have in things that are good…i know my family and myself will thrive. i need to cut out the fluff….simplify, and work toward my goals. choose only to do what is necessary to live a happy life and move towards my goals.

there are 5 areas i want to focus on…

my family. i need to focus on making our lives more organized, cooking meals, teaching life lessons, playing, loving and giving them my full attention. i know my family needs some organization and structure…and i am going to focus on getting us organized once and for all.

myself. i need to focus on my health, getting fit, growing my relationship with my husband, my goals and letting go of the past and moving towards a happier future.

my work. for those of you who do not know, i am a work at home mom. i juggle a lot, but i love it. i love to work when i am not taking care of the kiddies. i want to work on growing my business and my blogs. i have potential and it’s about time i take it to the next level.

my faith. it is easy to get into a spiritual rut when you don’t put your faith as a priority. i need spiritual motivation each week or i start to loose sight of my purpose here on Earth. for me, having a higher-being to be accountable to, helps me make good choices. i want to focus on feeding myself spiritually each week.

others. giving back is important. it is said that when you are helping others and doing good, the body doles out feel-good chemicals. this releases stress, helps sooth the soul as well as benefitting the lives of those who need help. before i had kids, i did a lot more charity work than i have been recently. i need to get back into the routine of helping others. it’s important that i do this…and teach my children this as well. there is no good in being selfish…and the less i help others the more selfish i become.

so enough of my rambling on. today and going forward i am going to FOCUS. no more wasted energy. no more wasted time.

i may stumble here and there,

i may get sidetracked for a bit,

i will not be perfect…

but thats okay. it won’t come all at once, but as long as a sincerely try, this year will be successful. and with that, my family, myself and others will benefit. and that’s good enough.

i am good enough.


Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year from the Sandy Toes & Popsicles gang! we got through another year…a year of adventures through the OC. it hasn’t all been perfect…don’t be fooled. but, i have so much to be thankful for…

starting with him…


and him.

they are my inspiration for this blog. the reason why life is good.

i am also grateful for everyone who inspires me in my daily life…including you. thank you for reading. thank you for sharing our daily adventures. this blog is my happy place…my escape. i LOVE reading comments and emails from all of you. and look forward to another year of daily adventures in Orange County.

Happy New Year!

may this year be as fun as the last.

p.s. i am just loving the boy’s outfits from The Children’s Place. such cute boys clothes.

Decorating the Dole Rose Parade Float

this month, we go the opportunity to help decorate the Dole Foods float for The Rose Parade at Fiesta Floats. the theme of this year’s The Rose Parade is “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess. and the theme of Dole’s float is “Dreaming of Paradise.”

here is the giant building, Fiesta Floats, where some of the floats are housed and being prepared to go down the parade route on New Year’s Day.

we were so excited to work on the Dole float.

Dole’s float, “Dreaming of Paradise,” was designed by Raul Rodriguez, an award-winning float designer who designed last year’s float and 7 other floats this year. he told us that he got the inspiration of Dole’s float from his parrot Sabastian. it also follows in the tradition of Dole’s two Sweepstakes Trophy winning predecessors of showcasing the regions where Dole employs workers and grows produce.

there is a lot of preparation that goes into getting the parade float from this beautiful drawing to being ready to drive along the parade route.

the DOLE Rose Parade Float will have a 26-foot massive volcano which will erupt with smoke, steam and fire shooting 20 feet into the sky over a vibrant and lush tropical rain forest of Latin America teaming with prowling tigers, fluttering butterflies, chimpanzees, parrots, and dragonflies.

nested in the lush backdrop of tropical flowers and foliage two magnificent parrots will be perched on lofty branches of orchids. whimsical chimpanzees will demand our attention as they frolic near magnificent waterfalls cascading down plush moss covered walls accentuating the mist-draped gardens. exotic animated leopards will bask in the beauty of the jungle that claims the lost ruins of past civilizations.

it’s so amazing how you can take simple dried ingredients like rice, grains and dried herbs…

and turn them into an amazing monkey like this!

the boys really enjoyed gluing kidney bean with white glue onto the float pieces.

they can’t wait to see the float when it is finished.

being over 55 feet long, 18 feet wide and over 26 feet tall, it’s going to take a lot of flowers and seeds to cover this massive float. when finished, it will feature three waterfalls with over 1,000 gallons of cascading recycled water as well as a misting system add to the tropical mood.

throughout the float there will be fresh and healthy fruits, including bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, peaches, strawberries and blueberries that were grown by DOLE.

my boys were thrilled to learn about the process of float making and see the behind the scenes work that goes into making the Tournament of Roses Parade spectacular. it was also awesome to share this experience with Dole.

DOLE works with thousands of independent family farmers from around the world. the “Dreaming of Paradise” float pays tribute to the beauty and bounty of the tropical paradise of Latin America. It also reminds us that with responsible, sustainable growing and operating practices we can keep the dream of paradise alive.

at DOLE, healthy living includes not only eating well and exercising, but treating our people, resources, environment and community as our most precious assets. Dole’s mission is to provide great tasting, all natural, healthy fruit and vegetables, as well as make the world a better place to live both today and in the future.

lastly, here is a picture of me, and bloggers, Mary, Jennifer, Jamie and Erin with the Tournament of Roses Court.

as the two time reigning Sweepstakes award winner, DOLE is vying to become the only company to win the Sweepstakes award every year they have entered. they are going for a three-peat!

good luck Dole!  thank you for having us.

here is a video of me and Dave Spare of Dole Foods explaining a little about the float.

Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

(this is us visiting the floats in 2010. note the flip flops. last year the temperature was in the high 70’s and i was 5 months pregnant. wow….a lot has changed since then)

visiting the floats after the Tournament of Roses Parade has become such a fun activity for our family. last year we had a blast. i was actually surprised that the kiddies enjoyed it as much as they did. and they even remembered last years “adventure” because this morning they came running in and turned the parade on in our room. they have been asking if we were going this year to see the floats.

so if you have some time this weekend, try going up to Pasadena and checking out the parade floats. one of the best things about seeing them in person is the beautiful flowers. and you usually get fantastic pictures because the colors and details are amazing in person. so don’t forget your camera.
here are the details:

January 1, 2010
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

January 2, 2010
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.*
*early admission for senior citizens and disabled visitors from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00a.m.

End of Parade route on Sierra Madre Blvd.

Street parking near the event is limited.
click here for Park & Ride shuttle locations if you want to avoid finding parking.

$10, free for children five and under
(wow….it’s getting expensive!)
*Ticket sales end at 3:00 p.m.; venue closes at 5:00 p.m.
Advance Tickets: are available through Sharp Seating Company at (626) 795-4171. Tickets will also be available at the event box office and all Park-N-Ride locations.

wear tennis shoes, you will be walking and might have to park far.
bring some water or box drinks (my kids are always thirsty)
bring your camera
strollers are a good thing for kids who don’t like to walk far.
plan to get there by 2:00 p.m., the ticket booths close at 3:00 p.m. (we had this experience last year, and half of us didn’t get tickets in time. i may tell you sometime how we all finally got in, but i do feel a bit guilty.)
carpool if you can, the less cars your group comes in the better because of limited parking.
study a map to get familiar with the area…this will help you find closer parking and figure your route to the float area.
and most of all, use this time to enjoy the beginning of the new year! these are memories your kiddies will carry throughout there lives.
click here for more information on visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade floats.

New Year’s Resolutions

i have been thinking for a while now what resolutions i would make for myself this year. i actually have never really given myself any resolutions because i never wanted to hold myself accountable for resolving them. and thinking about that now actually makes me feel kind of ashamed. i mean, am i really that weak that i can not make a commitment to myself to better my life? i guess i have always thought that if i needed to make a change, i might as well just do it right then and there, and not wait until January 1st, or any certain date for that matter. but this year, i really want to make a commitment to myself to fix a few small things in me and my family’s lives.

being pregnant and all, i really want to be careful not to overwhelm or have expectations that will be to stressful to fulfill. i need to be realistic….however not too lenient. there definitely needs to be some changes around here. so after some thinking, i think i have narrowed down my list.

my new year’s resolutions:

1. enjoy each and every moment i can with my husband, boys and the new baby when it arrives.

2. prepare healthy, quality meals for my family. (this means i need to learn how to plan and shop for meals…something i have never been taught)

3. finally finish cleaning out the garage (i will have to let go of past work projects and a lot of my kids toys which i haven’t gotten myself to throw away)

4. be frugal.

5. set up an awesome play area in my cleaned out garage for the kids.

6. redo my website (it is soooooo old)

7. organize the new baby’s room (what would motherhood be without nesting)

8. be more creative (in my activities with the kiddies, on my blogs, and in my everyday life)

9. take my family to the Skirball Cultural Center

10. simplify, organize and do laundry more often than once a month.

for now, i think i will focus on these goals, and i see no reason that i can not achieve them. even if i only do one a month. and after the baby arrives, i think i will add some more once i know how life will be with 3 kiddies.

and again…Happy New Year to you all. i look forward to another year of posts on sandy toes and popsicles. as always, i truly appreciate any ideas, comments and activities you share with me, so keep them coming!

jill, jack & kyle

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