a yoda birthday… the four is strong in this one

We stayed home to celebrate her birthday, so she got the family tradition of breakfast in bed! She was saying she wanted to go to a hotel to celebrate her birthday, but the two weeks leading up to it she said she just wanted to stay home watch Star Wars and My Little Pony with a Yoda Party. I wasn’t sure how to interpret that Yoda idea, but I think she was delighted with the results. I love these quirky requests my kids have!

For breakfast, I made green tea french toasts (thank you nearby Asian bakery for carry green tea bread), and it turned out perfect to get in a bit of that Yoda-green. She chowed down on the giant stack of toasts all by herself! She doesn’t mess around when it comes to her birthday breakfast in bed.

Glow had this long list of things she wanted for her birthday (she dictated her list to True). It was basically a super long list of all things with “Yoda” in front of it. She wanted Yoda diapers, Yoda dress, Yoda flashlight, Yoda pajamas, and the list goes on. We had her pick her most favorite, and she said, “Yoda flashlight,” so we ended up ordering this talking one for her. Of course, she loved it (there is a no-talking one). I also made her a little Star Wars dress with fabric that she picked when we went to the fabric store. Her older sisters spent the days leading up to her birthday working hard in my office making her lots of Yoda presents. These kids take handmade gift giving to another level!

It was such a sweet celebration with homemade pizza and a homemade mint chocolate chip cake. Let me tell you… I went to the store to buy ingredients and spent about $30 and then another 4-5 hours later, we had this triple layer of sugar and butter with a Yoda on top. I was kind of thinking it would have been easier to buy one, but still, nothing beats a homemade Yoda cake, so my labor of love went to a worthy cause. I used this recipe, but did some of my own alterations here and there to make it a mint chocolate chip cake with some green food coloring and pure peppermint extract. At the end of her special day, she was beaming from ear to ear with all the birthday love and attention that was showered on her (and her Yoda flashlight was glued to her side). It’s a special role to be the baby of the family and she certainly relishes every bit of it that comes with being the littlest love. To our little Glow-da… may the FOUR be with you! 

the fourth, family, and feasting

july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th I ate so much this weekend. We spent Saturday with my family and it was “kamayan” style, which is a Tagolog word and means eating with your hands. She served clams, squid, mussels, shrimp, crabs (my favorite!), mackerel, and I’m sure there are a couple other things I’m missing. She even added the little detail of wrapping a serving of rice in banana leaves. My mom is a master at hospitality and cooking up a gourmet feast!

Ben’s favorite were the clams and shrimp, and I overindulged in crab. I think I ate 4 or 5 (plus, a little bit of everything else)! To say I was stuffed is an understatement. Then, even though I really didn’t have much room left in my stomach, I was able put in some chocolate chip cookies, pie, and cherries. Soul and Glow stuck to the rice, fish, and lots of mangoes (and lots of pie and cookies too!). That probably would have been what True would have eaten too. On the other hand, Brave would have been stuffing herself silly with the crab and shrimp.

Fireworks aren’t allowed in my mom and dad’s neighborhood (nor ours), so we didn’t get to participate in any of that fun. I tried to convince Ben to pick up some sparklers to do it in our backyard, but he didn’t want to risk it. We did see some fireworks going off as we drove home, and the girls were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the few sparks we saw, and then next thing we knew they were out. I think that was enough fun for them.

On Sunday afternoon, we went over to Ben’s cousin’s place and spent the rest of the day filling up on barbecued steak and chicken. I think I ate enough food this weekend to last me until Wednesday. HA! We don’t get to see his family often, so it’s always nice to catch up and see how everyone is doing.

I’m thankful for this day and what it means to all those who get the privilege to call this country home. While it is a blessing to live here, it is still a broken country. It’s evident in the news headlines that break everyday. There is still poverty, fighting, racism, and the list of how broken we are can go on. All of this makes my heart heavy, and nervous for the world my children are growing up in. Despite this, I place my faith in a God who promises that one day every experience we have is only going to get better because of Jesus and the cross. He died to make things new. His death gives me life. Jesus is where I can experience freedom and relief from the brokenness. He makes me whole.

My faith in God isn’t meant to ensure I get an easy life, nor does it mean I get to skip suffering. Suffering will come, just as it did for the early church. So as I live out my life as a Christian, in a culture that may be hostile to Christians, I pray that my affections for Him and His Word is unwavering. My list of failures are many miles long… I have a cargo ship full of selfishness, a mouth and heart that spews out anger, pride coming out the wazoo, but Christ died for me. It’s about what He did, not me.

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.



you are our father

you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father you are our father My girls are Star Wars obsessed. Ben and I are both fans, but these girls have taken it to the next level. Every time we have family movie night, they request Star Wars; we’ve watched it a lot. Their faves are Episode 3 (they like to see baby Luke and Leia), and Episode 6 (Anakin becomes good again). They are super excited that there will be an Episode 7, 8, and 9 coming out in the near (and distant) future.

So with their love for Star Wars, the girls and I concocted a little Star Wars themed Father’s Day. Last week, I picked up some fabric to make them little Jedi jackets. I wanted to make them robes too, but there just wasn’t time for that. We also got fabric to make Ben a black cape, and I bought this Darth Vader mask. It is child-size, but since I know it’s really the girls who will be playing with it, it was fine.

Sunday morning, when the girls were ready, I told Ben to hop back in bed so we can give him his surprise. I started playing “Darth Vader’s March” on the iPad, and the little Jedi marched into our bedroom with Ben’s breakfast tray (every morning he eats 1 cup of oatmeal, covered in non-fat milk, 23 almonds, 1 banana, and 1 scoop of protein). Soul carried his gift, and on it True wrote, “You are our father.” (He was in the middle of getting ready for church, so that’s why he’s all dressed up in the photos.) All the girls made a whole bunch of other gifts too, so the rest of them carried that in.

Immediately after opening his gift, he put on the cape and mask and then started “fighting” with the girls. They used their markers as light sabers! Then, they got online and started looking up real light sabers to buy. Of course, he did get to eat his breakfast and open all his handmade gifts; we always get a kick out of the things they make. We had our little celebration in the morning, went off to church gathering, stuffed our selves silly with sushi with my family in the afternoon, then came back home for more family time.

I’m so thankful for a husband that leads and loves our family well by relying on Jesus. I see grace and gospel overflowing in his life, and as uncomfortable as he is to be obedient to what God may be calling him to do, I see him responding with faith. I really love that man of mine so much!

you are our father


the one year birthday of my book!

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I can’t believe it’s been one year since the release of my book, Let’s Sew Together! I’m still very thankful for the opportunity to have written a book, and it’s kind of strange to think I’m an author (even if it’s been out for a year). Still weird. I think the hardest part of having written a book is the self promotion that comes along with it. Like I said, blogs are kind of narcissistic already, but then to keep having to remind people that you wrote a book and that they should buy it, that’s kind of tough for me. The whole business aspect of my creative job doesn’t come natural to me.

Since, we are on the topic of my book (duh!), and if you do want to learn how to sew and make some projects for and with the little ones in your life, I think you’ll really like my book! The projects in the book are totally new and have never been shared step-by-step on my blog, so you aren’t just buying blog material that is given here for free (in case you’re wondering). In the past, some of you have asked for a tutorial for my world map quilt and giant dollhouse pillows, and those are both in my book.

The photos above were from the book release party, which was a year ago. I’m totally lame because I’m way so late in sharing this. After the book party, summer happened, off we went to Singapore, then Williamsburg, and then life kept happening, so it just never got shared. Also, I was waiting for the edited pictures from my friend, Reese, and the video from my sister. Here we are a year later and I’m finally sharing it. Better late than never, right?!

Thank you to all those who attended and showed their support! It was so lovely to meet so many of you and it’s so strange for me to sign books. Sorry if I wrote all messy because when I’m nervous, my penmanship is atrocious. I remember I even spelled a simple word wrong! Oh goodness. You all (and all my friends and family who were there too) were so awesome! The whole book thing was such a dream, with the most amazing editor & publisher (shout out to my editor Caitlin over at Potter Craft/Penguin Random House), and I’m just filled with gratitude for it all. While it was an amazing thing to accomplish, I still learned that even an accomplishment like that never fully satisfies, only Jesus can fill my empty hole.

A special thanks to Danni & Oh, Hello Friend for hosting the party at their shop, also to my favorite dynamic duo, Me & Mr. Cassidy, for serenading the crowd. Thank you to Reese Tibayan for your photography skills, and to Reinna Cruz for putting together such a fun video! Also, thank you to my mother for making all the delicious desserts and drinks! Another round of thanks goes to these sponsors and their wonderful gifts that were given to the guests at the party: Totes from Hello Apparel, pillar stud earrings from Lisa Leonard, soaps from SQ Apothecary, craft kits from  Treehouse Kid & Craft, craft supplies from Oriental Trading Company, fabric bundles from Ann Kelle, and accessories from Burdees.

Here’s the first post I ever did about my book (I kept it a secret for so long!), and if you want to see the video we made for release day last year, check it out here. Happy May 20th friends!



mother’s day picnicking

mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015 mother's day 2015
For Mother’s Day, we took my mom on a picnic. We picked up Lee’s Sandwiches for everyone (our fave), along with some dessert (of course!); my sister brought drinks’ and my brother bought my mom’s favorite chips (Hot Cheetos!!!). We didn’t want our mom to stress or have to worry about anything, but in true Lolita fashion (Lolita is my mom’s name), she brought lots of dessert! That mom of mine oozes with hospitality and giving, that she can’t ever come empty handed. We aren’t gonna complain though, because it was goods from our favorite bakery, and deliciously moist cupcakes from a cupcakery we had never tried before.

We all just enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon at the park. My brother and dad napped, Ben played frisbee with the girls, Glow blew bubbles, and the rest of us just chatted. Ben and I also did a lot of shaking our heads because there was a big sign, “Don’t feed the ducks.” And this one lady was throwing so much bread at them, that they couldn’t even finish it; shredded loaves (no exaggeration) were just floating all over the little lake. It was pretty ridiculous, but it reminded us of grace, and just because we don’t do that, we aren’t any better. Everyone needs grace. We have one sister missing from our picnic, but she will be with us in less than 2 weeks, so we did a lot of chatting about our plans for when she comes home. We are all so excited to hug and see her again!

My mom is ridiculously awesome, and I’m so thankful for the love that she pours out into all of our lives. She is a passionate woman and I’m glad to be on the receiving end of that. I wrote a little more about her here too. Love you mom!!!

on me: dress, thrifted (I altered it to fit me). jitney sandal, c/o marais usa. bag, piperlime (got it for $25 during their closing sale, but you can get it here too).



true turns nine

true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine true turns nine We had so much fun on our little getaway for True’s birthday weekend. I love hotel birthdays! It’s a time when we can all really just relax and enjoy being together. We were gone for four days in Carlsbad, and all we did was swim, eat, and relax. I even took a nap one afternoon! I really much prefer this type of celebrating, but if they did ask for a regular party with lots of friends, we would be happy to serve them that way too.

Since True turned 9, and it’s her last year in the single digits, I went crazy with the nines! She had a couple theme requests, one was Buddies (the dog movies), and another was Spurs with black and silver colors. I asked her if I could do a little bit of surprise and she agreed, so I did the number thing with a lot of black to pick up on her San Antonio Spurs request. While Ben and the girls were out swimming, I decorated our hotel room. I pretty much just use one of the beds to set everything up on.

I had painted the 9 backdrop at home, and rolled it up for easy transport, and taped it to the wall for the party. I covered the bed in black checkered fabric, and then I made the paper plate cake stands at the hotel too (I bring an arsenal of glue gun, glue sticks, tape, scissors, and dowels with me). She loves Nothing Bundt Cakes, so we bought a dozen, but only set out 9 for her “party,” and I placed those on the cake stands. I got the little tissue paper honeycombs from IKEA, glued them onto a dowel, and inserted them into the cakes. They provided nice little pops of color.

We gave her one box with 9 little gifts inside, which included her birthday dress, this pony dress she wanted, glitter jelly shoes, mechanical pencils, rubber bands, sunglasses, and other little things that added up to 9. She makes a wish list (the mechanical pencils and rubber bands were on it, along with other things like the dresses), but we always tell them, you don’t get everything you want, so there were some things she had on the list, that she didn’t get. Of course, Brave and Soul made her a million and one handmade gifts too (like the paper puppet above)!

She came into the room after swimming and her face lit up! We were beaming from the smile she had, and then we let her open her presents, and she immediately changed into her birthday outfit. Then the party proceeded with a round of “Happy Birthday” and everyone indulging in 9 bundt cakes! The girls went to town eating those! We relaxed the rest of the afternoon together, enjoying our celebrant, then we went back to the pool to go swimming, and after that, we took her out to dinner at a local place of her choice.

We are so thankful for the Lord blessing us with her for these 9 years thus far, and for the beautiful little lady she is becoming. I tend to be tough on her, and I forget she’s still a kid, but she is always so gracious to forgive. We’ve hit a couple bumps in the road with her as she has started with some major attitudes here and there, but God is good in teaching all of us through it. It really has brought me to my knees, and made me realize how much I lacked grace in the parenting department (probably all departments really). My True is such a special girl with her sweet and reserved personality, but bossy at home, and always abounding in creativity. We love being able to celebrate the treasure that she is in this very special way on her birthday!




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