an ode to summer

brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday brave 7th birthday These photos are from Brave’s birthday weekend, and I still haven’t finished recapping all the fun we had this summer, but we are back into the swing of things with school. Well, at least for a few weeks, until the girls are off with their grandparents on another vacation (I guess that means Ben and I get a sort of vacation too). Thus, we have a lot of work to do to make sure their school work is done before they go adventuring.

And while Southern California sort of lives in a perpetual back and forth between spring and summer, gone are the lazy days of play, no agendas, and meeting up with friends. Days are much more structured and homeschooling takes up most of it. I love the carefree days of summer, but I relish structure and can’t wait for the cozy warmth fall and winter bring (even if it is still about 90 degrees where we live).

If you’re stateside, Happy Labor Day friends. Have fun bidding summer farewell with one last hurrah!



family meals: week 86

family recipes family recipes Caprese Salad. After picking up Ben from work one day, I realized how I hadn’t enjoyed any tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, so we stopped by the store to pick up some mozzarella. The girls and I were chowing down it!

family recipes family recipes Lavash Pizza. We use Trader Joe’s lavash bread, marinara, and some mozzarella (and turkey pepperoni) and this is the best quick pizza ever. I make it often for lunch too.

family recipes family recipes Korean Kale. It’s a recipe for spinach, but I had kale, so I used that instead. The sauce is so good. I’m making this more often!

family recipes family recipes Oven Fried Chicken with Angry Sauce. I used this recipe, but used chicken breast instead of wings, and coated them with a panko and chili pepper mixture, then baked them in the oven. That sauce is oh so good! It’s spicy, savory, and sweet all rolled into one. I will definitely be making this recipe often!

Week of 9/1 – 9/5
Monday: Homemade Sushi Rolls
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Stuffed Garlic & Herb Meatballs
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Spicy Korean Pork Taco
Friday: Ceviche on Crispy Wontons

I’m loving the food blog Beyond Kimchee, I want to eat every recipe she makes! This Kimchi Udon will be made soon too. If you have never tried Korean food, you must. It has a lot of bold flavors, but it’s absolutely delicious and so many dishes are spicy (or can easily be made spicy)!




jackpot! This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

I’m so thankful for one week of school down and many more to go. We celebrated their first day with a family dinner at John’s Incredible Pizza. It’s been a tradition of ours to go for the past couple years.

This encouragement about living an “unrushed life” really spoke wonders to my heart.

Our front porch has been so messy all summer long, and I finally got to cleaning it up. I was totally inspired by this pin.

I love peanut butter and pretzels mixed together, so this look especially delicious.

Love this pretty vintage coach bag from Ms. Tips.

I want to make cute duct tape pencil holders.

Crystal Lewis did this post on “Learning to Let Go” as she prepares to move her daughter to another state. It makes my heart ache imagining the day we will have to do this for one of  our daughters. I love how Crystal calls her daughter-in-law, her “daughter-in-love,” I think it helps bring a special sweetness to the in-law relationship.

Saturday is here and that means that the girls are working on Saturday morning chores and Ben is out in the garden. Ben’s been sick all week, so while we had plans to go fruit picking this weekend, I think we will mostly be home relaxing and doing house things. I really want to make that pretzel peanut butter thing too. Happy weekend friends!!!



enjoy that dull moment

life life life life life life The photos are just simple moments during the week. I’ve been working on being more intentional on shutting out excess noise in my life, and while doing so, I’ve noticed that I can no longer just enjoy a dull moment. If I have a free second at home, at a red light (totally guilty!), standing in line, or sitting as a passenger, I will automatically grab my phone to check it (email and instagram). It’s this mindless habit that I have become accustomed to and it’s absolutely horrible. This bad habit has contributed to some of the noise in my life and I have really been working on getting rid of it.

Ben and I were sitting outside one evening and he went inside to grab something. I saw the iPad right there on the table, it was either just sit there and do nothing, or grab the iPad. I wanted to grab it so badly, probably to check Pinterest or something, but I had to resist. There was nothing I had to look at, nothing urgent at all, but I’ve trained myself to fill my dull moments with an electronic device.

Therefore, this week I’ve tried to enjoy the dull moments more. Once the girls go to bed, I usually get on the computer to blog, email, or just waste more time (hello Pinterest and online window shopping!), but this week I’ve planned my evenings to stay away from the computer. I even enjoyed a glass or two of wine while reading a book or watching something relaxing on Netflix. The girls are usually getting ready for bed by 7pm, so if I have to do something online, I’ll try do it between 7-8pm, and then after that, step away and enjoy the evening with Ben. It’s been so refreshing. I feel like we’re both always working on our home, but we never get to enjoy our home. Does that make sense?! It’s like everyday is go, go, go, and we never actually sit there and enjoy it. Anyone else feel that way?

I’m going to keep on trying to enjoy these dull moments as they come. Sure, sometimes I may still check something on my phone, but I don’t want that to be my go-to all the time. It’s lame for my kids to see and I’m probably missing out on a lot of great things by looking down, even if it’s just for a couple minutes.



a robot in a pocket dress

Brave 7th birthday Brave’s birthday was robot themed, so I made her this special “A Robot in a Pocket Dress.” Her original request was a Transformer party before that changed to a robot one, so since she loved Optimus Prime so much, we put a little one in her pocket. She loves that little guy. Since I’m always running out of time, I went for the simplest style for her dress. I used a lightweight denim (same as my dress here) and I think I cranked this out in 45 minutes (or maybe less).

Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday Brave 7th birthday She had a full birthday weekend, but we made sure to stop by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park before going home. Our passes are set to expire soon, so we’re trying to go as much as we can before the end of September. We got our passes for Glow’s birthday last year and we will probably go again for her birthday this year.




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