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The Gift of a Second Language

My native language is Tagalog because I grew up in the Philippine Islands until the age of seven. That’s when my siblings and I moved to the United States and started our new life with our adopted parents in Enid, Oklahoma. I started going to school and as I spoke English more and more, I spoke Tagalog less and less. Then one day I forgot the entire language.

Spanish children's booksI feel really sad about the whole thing. Not only did I lose part of my heritage, I’m a believer that as global citizens we should all speak a second language.

Yes, I took French in high school and college. Je m’appelle Diana. Comment allez-vous? Je vais bien, merci!

But no, the language did not stick. I can hardly remember much at all. (What I wrote in French just now, I had to Google!) It’s much harder to learn a second language as an adult, and it didn’t help I never traveled to France where I could put it to use.

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Life Lessons Learned From My Mother | Custom Book

So much of who we are we owe to our parents. Through their words, through their actions, through their examples, they taught us life lessons both large and small that influenced us as children and still influence us as adults. Can I get an “Amen?”

life lessons learned from mother custom bookI contacted all of my siblings and asked them to email me the things they learned from our mother growing up. I told them it could be anything as long as it made an impact on who they are today or how they live their lives.

I told them I would use their answers and mine to create a custom book titled “Life Lessons I Learned From My Mother” that we could give to our mother as a Mother’s Day present.

Collaborating with my brothers and sisters on what to include in the book made the present even better because we each came up with life lessons that the others totally agreed with but forgot about. Through teamwork, we really nailed it!

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One Line A Day Journal | A Twitter-like Diary

I’ve loved scribbling about my thoughts, feelings and the highlights of my life into a personal journal every since I was a young girl. I’d write until my hands ached because it was important to me to capture every detail of whatever I was writing about so down the road I could recall the memory completely.

one line a day journal Many times I have laughed and cried from reading what I’ve written down. It really is a lot of fun to go back and read through your journal and be able to relive your thoughts and experiences from years ago.

Some people have never kept a personal journal. They might not like to write or they don’t feel like they have the time to write regularly. But think of the memories and important events they’ll forget because they didn’t write it down! Don’t let that happen.

I found a perfect solution to getting people to journal who haven’t done so before or who want to but can’t find the time – the One Line A Day Journal.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea | Digital Photo Frame Containing Sweet Messages

When digital photo frames came out, I loved the concept and thought, “Why didn’t I think to invent that?” (I thought the same thing about Snuggies and Pillow Pets, and I bet you did too! We totally could have been millionaires by now!)

Digital Photo Frame Containing Sweet MessagesInstead of having to look at the same photo each day, with digital photo frames you can view a slideshow and swap out the photos without making a trip somewhere to get prints made.

I don’t think I need to go into how mothers love having photos of their children and other family members on display.

sweet message for Mother's Day

Download this image to use as one of your sweet messages.

From my experience, it’s pretty much a universal thing!

Giving a preloaded Digital Photo Frames as a Mother’s Day gift is a great gift but not unique on its own. So let me tell you how to make it unique!

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Custom Personalized Name Ring | Mother’s Day Gift Idea

Coming up will be my second Mother’s Day. My son will be 19 months old, and I just love him more and more with each month that passes. (I’m surprised my heart hasn’t burst out of my chest yet!) I wanted a piece of jewelry with his first name – Aiden – and middle name – Dragen – (he was born in 2012 the Year of the Dragon) and decided on a ring so that every time I looked at my hands, this ring and my wedding ring would remind me of the two most important people in my life.

personalized name ringI found a store on Etsy.com that makes custom personalized name rings but what made them stand out is that you get to pick out the font! With so many stylized fonts in existence, a person’s name can look like a beautiful custom piece of art.

You can also choose a font style that best fits the personality of the mother. A script or cursive font might be better for one mother while a retro or handwritten font might be the better choice for another. My favorite font website is Dafont.com because they have a wide variety of font styles. You can also type in names or words and see what they will look like in a certain font.

By selecting what goes on the ring, the metal the ring is made of, and the font, you can tell someone you custom designed the ring for them!

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Graduation Gift Idea – 18 Things I Wish I Had Known at 18

- - Graduation, Kids

Goodbye childhood. Hello adulthood. This is what my oldest niece Shakira is experiencing as she gets ready to graduate from high school. She’s excited about adulthood because to her it means freedom to do whatever she wants. But like most 18-year olds, she hasn’t really thought about the responsibilities that come with that freedom.

words of wisdom bookAs her aunt, I thought I would take the opportunity to impart some life lessons that I’ve personally found to be helpful in living a full and happy life. But Shakira doesn’t want to listen to a lecture from me. Blah. Blah. Blah. Even if she did listen, she could easily forget everything I told her the next day.

I needed to deliver my nuggets of wisdom in a fun and memorable way and something that would make a cool graduation gift.

I created a custom photo book called “18 Things I Wish I Had Known at 18.” I picked out a black and white template from Shutterfly.com that matched my niece’s sense of taste and style.

In the book I listed my top 18 life lessons and paired them with photos of Shakira, Shakira and me together, and group family photos. I arranged the photos in chronological older starting with her baby photos.

Here are the 18 life lessons or words of wisdom I put together:

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25 Ways to Pay It Forward| Random Acts of Kindness

The idea behind “pay it forward” is that everyone can make a difference in the life of someone else. When you pay it forward, you make an effort to positively impact a person’s life through a random act of kindness and love.

laundry detergent in laundromat

Leave a container of laundry detergent at a laundromat with a note saying, “Feel free to use!”

Last week, I wrote about my friend Erin who wanted to inspire 34 pay it forward random acts of kindness in celebration of her 34th birthday. In case you were inspired to do the same thing, I thought I’d share with you some ideas of what you could do.

  • Buy a movie ticket for the person behind you in line
  • Send a card to someone in the military overseas
  • Put something you no longer need on Craigslist.org for free
  • Tape a bag of microwaveable popcorn to a Redbox machine with a note saying “Enjoy some popcorn with your movie!”
  • Drop off a toy or game at a children’s hospital
  • Buy a lottery ticket and give it to a stranger
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Random Acts of Kindness for Your Own or Someone Else’s Birthday

When my friend Erin turned 34 years old, she posted the following message on Facebook:

pay it forward popcorn taped to Redbox machine

Pay It Forward Idea – Tape a package of microwaveable popcorn to a Redbox machine along with a note!

Friends and family – I am on a quest to complete 34 random acts of kindness today in honor of my birthday… will you help? Pretty please!?

It can be as simple as buying the order of the person in the drive through behind you, helping someone load their groceries in the car or taping quarters to the candy machines at the mall. It can be done at anytime and anywhere!

And if you wouldn’t mind sharing with me (send me a text, give me a call, post it on my Facebook wall), I would love nothing else on my birthday than to hear about all the nice things being done for others! I am starting today with volunteering at the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank until noon if anyone would like to come and join!

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