“Mirage” by Doug Aitken.

“Monument” by Will Boone.

“Curves and Zig Zags” by Claudia Comte.

“La Fiesta en el Desierto” by Armando Lerma.

“Visible Distance” by Jennifer Bolande.

“Hollow Earth” by Glenn Kaino.

“The Circle of Land and Sky” by Phillip K. Smith III.

“I Am” by Tavares Strachan.

True wants to be an artist when she grows up, so to celebrate her 11th birthday, we took her to visit the Desert X installations, and called her celebration, “True 11 X.” The Coachella Valley did all the work for us, and all we had to do was show up to the exhibits and enjoy it. Ben and I researched the pieces beforehand to determine what we thought was age appropriate (and ones that she would appreciate) and the list above is what we came up with. Her favorite was “The Land of Circle and Sky” because she loved how the mirrors looked like sticks in the ground and reflected the surroundings. My favorite was “Hollow Earth.” It was such an insane optical illusion and I love the re-purposing of an abandoned shack. Our least favorite was “I Am” because when we got there, during the time it said it would be open, the exhibit was closed. We were so bummed. It would have been cool to get an “I am 11!” picture. While we missed out on that one, we still were able to plenty of them, so True was very happy about that.

I made her 11-x sign with silver poster board that I cut out and taped onto dowels. For each exhibition we visited, she had me take a instax picture of her and her 11-x sign. She has a nice collection of photos to remember her 11th birthday. And of course, we are in Palm Springs after all, so we had to go to the Ace to get some birthday photo booth pictures. Our 11 year old was quite delighted with how she rang in another year of life!

Read here to see her breakfast in bed and here for her birthday dress.





mom day 2017

We had a family picnic for my mom on Mother’s Day. It beats the crowds and long waits at restaurants. Plus, picnics seem sweeter and more intimate. We really ought to picnic more often. My siblings and I divided up what to bring, so our feast included bahn mi sandwiches, sweet breads, chips, cookies, and drinks (all my mom’s favorite types). There was no shortage of deliciousness for our Mother’s Day celebration. My grandma ended up coming too, so it was definitely special to celebrate the 3 generations of moms in our family. When we got home, Ben and the girls sent me to my room, and told me to watch something and put my headphones on. I happily obliged. Later, they came in showering me with homemade gifts/cards, a pot and plant (read the story behind it here), sushi in bed for dinner, and a hilarious song (see below). I was laughing so hard at the silly song they (Ben) made.

Our days are chaos, there’s a lot of fighting, but there is joy and abounding grace. Each day is a trial and sometimes we fail, and sometimes it’s good. This life, is totally undeserving, and it is all about grace. Motherhood is all about grace. I love this family and mine, and I’m thankful for the grace we need and experience daily, which flows only through Jesus on the cross.






birthday breakfast in bed with a banana cream pancake stack

Banana Cream Pancake Stack

Pancakes (we used 11 because she turned 11)
5.1 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (follow package instructions)
1 cup whipped cream
4 bananas, thinly sliced
Syrup, optional

To put together pancake stack:
Start with a pancake on the bottom, spread a layer of whip cream on the pancake, add a big dollop of pudding in the center and add a few banana slices around the edge. Repeat for every layer, but alternating the placement of the bananas from around the edge to near the center. This is to keep it evenly stacked as you add each layer. Once you get to the top, spread a layer of whip cream on top, a dollop of pudding in the center with a few banana slices on top. Drizzle the pancake stack with maple syrup.

Our 11 year old got a 11 pancakes to celebrate her new year, and she happily shared her stack with her sisters. Ben makes a little animal (or creature) from fruit or vegetables as part of our birthday breakfast in bed tradition. This year he made her a little poodle out of broccoli with a bowl of food from a slice of serrano pepper. We did have to tell her not to touch the pepper, so that her fingers wouldn’t get spiced up. Ben gets a lot of his fruit/vegetable ideas from the book, Play With Your Food. Also, this tray is similar to the bed tray we use. Ours was a wedding gift that has been going almost 12 years strong. Those trays have served many breakfasts in bed.

After breakfast, we all showered True with some birthday gifts. Soul, Glow, and Brave handmade her little presents. We had to give them a limit of 2 each because otherwise they would have made her 10 each! Ben and I gave her this tin container. She’s my little collector, so this is for her collecting heart for really special (and little!) things. Her collecting (hoarding) tendencies clash with my toss everything and anything attitude, but I do appreciate a good collection of real treasures. Hopefully, that tin will hold some real goodies with stories. Inside the tin, we gave her a vintage, sterling, turquoise bracelet (similar to this). It seemed like time to give her something a little more grown up. The bracelet is an open back and can be adjusted, so it can grow with her. We also gave her a birthday dress (see post about it here), mini instax film (she loves taking pictures!), and vintage camo cargo pants (she had it on her birthday list and I happen to find one of the thrift!).

Breakfast in bed was just the beginning of her birthday celebration. If you follow me on instagram (@cakiesblog), then you know we had a few days of celebrating our oldest gal. Another post and pictures to come soon! #true11x


finding the pot of gold

When the girls woke up Friday morning, they found a little St. Paddy’s Day surprise. I always end up putting together St. Paddy’s Day surprises last minute, so I was at the grocery store the night before looking for gold coins. I didn’t find any gold coins, but I got Ben’s approval to bring home a box of Lucky Charms (they never have sugary cereals, at least not from us). I had some Hello Kitty glasses that I totally forgot to put in their Christmas stockings, so I dug those out as part of their gift too. I wrote a little note, added “rainbow” streamers leading to their treat (I didn’t even have all the colors of the rainbow), colored some milk green, and there you go… their pot of gold (there was a yellow bowl). When they got to the end of their rainbow, they were giddy with anticipation to try out this new cereal, and they were also totally baffled by the green milk.

The verdict on the sugary cereal? True didn’t like it, but the rest of them did. I had a spoonful and it definitely brought back childhood memories.



our love day 2017

Last week, the girls worked hard to double up on school, so that they could take the day off on Valentine’s Day. They didn’t understand why they didn’t get the day off normally because Valentine’s is a holiday (to them). I tried to explain what kind of holiday it actually is, but I don’t think they quite understood. It was a lot of… “But mommy, it’s a holiday! We have to celebrate!”

Our love day morning started with Ben and me giving them the heart surprise balls. They had a blast unraveling it to discover their little treats and trinkets. Their favorite treat was the self-inflatable balloon. It was a lot of fun to watch inflate and we all anxiously waited for the loud “POP!” it would make.

After the girls finished unraveling their balls, Ben had me sit on the bed and handed me this little booklet. It was a quirky story of all the things we do together and then it ended with him giving me these quirky shoes I had been eyeing from Rachel Comey a couple seasons ago. He managed to find them when they went on super sale from Shop Bird.

Ben went off to work and the girls spent all morning working on Valentine presents. I had to limit each person to making only one thing per person, otherwise, they would make 10 things for each person. Handmade gifts can get out of hand pretty quickly with my little ones.

After lunch, the girls and I headed out to Ben’s work to deliver some valentines we made for him. I created these honey bear jar cards for each girl to fill out their name, and we cut out paper hearts and stuck them on a stick so they were kind of like heart balloons on a stick. On each heart, each girl wrote one reason why they love Ben BEARY much. He was definitely surprised by our presence and presents! The girls loved being able to visit him at work.

When Ben came home, we all cuddled together and watched Cutthroat Kitchen with some homemade ice cream. Once the kids went to bed, we parked ourselves on our bedroom floor, with my take away sushi and his bowl of canned beans and rice, and we had ourselves a simple, but romantic evening together while watching 24 Legacy.

While he spoiled me with a creative story and shoes, my gift for him wasn’t quite that fancy. The paper heart balloon I gave him read, “I love you BEARY much because are you irresistibly smooth and XXTRA hot!” Inside the box, there was a package of Lindt chocolates, their motto is that their chocolates are “irresistibly smooth,” and the “XXTRA hot” pointed to his other gift, which was a bag of XXTRA hot Cheetos. Ben is definitely irresistibly smooth and xxtra hot, but most importantly, he leads and teaches me to savor Jesus more. He is my valentine 365 days a year, well, minus a few days here and there where we might be fighting. Once we kiss and make up though, he’s back to being my valentine.

Clearly, we had a very full day of celebrating love for our children and each other. Hope your love day was spent celebrating love with family, friends, or just treating yourself to an extra piece of chocolate (or some shoes)!



my four galentines

Yesterday, I took my four little galentines on a Galentine’s Day date. We woke up and finished up school by noon, ate lunch, then went out for some sunshine and cupcakes. I wanted to check out the new Baked Dessert Bar location, and of course, I knew my sweet tooth loving gals wouldn’t mind that one bit. On Mondays, they have $1 mini cupcakes, so each of us picked one. True and Soul picked out strawberry cheesecake cupcakes, Brave and I went for a salted caramel pretzel cupcakes, and Glow went for s’mores. Each cupcake was moist and absolutely delicious. Their new location is nice and spacious, so I think we’re going to come back one day to do a little homeschooling there, and nibble on desserts on our break. As much as I love staying home (I’m such a homebody and I hate traffic, which is hard to avoid in SoCal), it is really wonderful to get out and enjoy a beautiful day with my sweet galentines. It reminds me I need to take them out on more adventures!


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