family meals: week 108

Spaghetti and Herb Stuffed Meatballs. You can’t go wrong with this meal! Here’s the recipe for the meatballs.

Week of 8/31 – 9/4
Monday: Homemade pizza
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Bean Soup
Thursday: Turkey Tacos
Friday: Tilapia Ceviche

This week I tried out a new pizza inspired by the one I tried in Phoenix. It was a rosemary, red onion, and pistachio pizza; I thought it came out delicious and this will be added to my go-to pizza recipes!



tomato love #cakiesgarden This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

I’m thankful for conquering some new challenges!

I’ve got a preschooler, kindergartner, third and fourth grader now. We all survived the first week of school… whew!

I recently got this shirt from the Gap and I’ve worn it about 3 times this week. It’s a comfy tee!

We thought we almost settled on a bed frame, but we didn’t like it from person (it was from Restoration Hardware), and we aren’t wild about the West Elm ones anymore (afraid it’ll look too bulky in a king), so we are stuck and the search continues. We love this one, but not sure if that’s where we want to put all our pennies. I think this one will do, but Ben doesn’t like the legs. If anyone has any suggestions of where to find a simple modern bed frame, please do share.

These size 7 vintage sandals from Ms. Tips are so cute!

All the kids extra curricular activities start this week, so things are going to get extra busy around here.

This past month, I’ve watched Storm Surfers, DamNation, Tracks, and Antartica: A Year on Ice on Netflix and they were all so fascinating. It just pointed me back to the glorious God who created all of these things for our enjoyment. The earth is such a beautiful place!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend friends!



cubism and the blue period

One week of school almost down and many more to go!

For our art program, we are going through the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series and we are currently focusing on Pablo Picasso. This week we discussed his blue period and cubism, so we mixed the two together into one art project. We are using this book as a supplement; we’ve done parts of the book before, so we are going back and pulling project ideas from there.

To make this project, each girl painted her own portrait in blue. We discussed cubism and geometric shapes, and once their painting was dry, they cut it up into geometric shapes. Lastly, they used the shapes to recreate their face. I loved how each one turned out and I want to scan it and get it printed together into a large poster! My girls’ art is my favorite type of art to put up in our home.

This first week of homeschooling went fairly well. I think I had a better handle of math and the girls are excited about school. We have our new daily schedules taped up all over the house, which helps all of us stay on task. With the four kids, I have to keep things really organized, otherwise, we’d all lose our marbles!



it’s 10 benny: alcazar hotel and moorten botanical garden

  We were so indecisive when it came to what hotel we wanted to stay at. It was between splurging and staying at the Parker the whole weekend, or staying at the Alcazar. I had just come across Alcazar, and their all-white rooms is my idea of the perfect hotel. Since it was just the two of us, and we could easily pack up and go, we decided to stay at both! We stayed our first night at the Alcazar and another at the Parker.

So here are my thoughts on the Alcazar… I immediately loved their little lobby because it is all-white. The white floors, white walls, and white furniture sort of reminds me of home. I was really feeling the vibe there. We went to our room, and sure enough, we were greeted with a calming canvas of white. I loved it. It had pops of color with the pillows on the bed and the art on the walls, and it was enough to give the plain room enough personality. The place I think they went wrong with all the white is in the bathroom. It was all the glorious white I love, but there was no art, and that made it feel too sterile. It gave off some weird futuristic vibes and the tub really needed some updating, and with all the white, the age of the tub really stood out. It didn’t feel relaxing. Other than that, the room was comfy and the grounds of the hotel were beautiful. It’s a small hotel and so the pool isn’t very large, but it is definitely a relaxing place to stay. If you love the all-white thing, you’ll love this hotel.

After we checked out of the Alcaraz, and before heading to the Parker, we made our way to Moorten Botanical Garden. It’s this beautiful garden full of various cacti that has been kept my the same family since 1938. We got to chat with Mr. Moorten and he told us all about how his parents started it and how he would help them. We saw tons of lizards, a roadrunner, and we were careful as we walked around because we didn’t want to chola cactus to jump up and get stuck on us (there was a sign and it made me nervous). Of course, we ventured into their enchanting cacterium (shared some photos here) and we did a lot of just relaxing and sitting on the benches. We happened to be there when it was unusually cooler for July, but it was still hot, just not over the 100′s. Ben wanted to see if there were any fruit trees, but to his disappointment, there were none. There were some fruiting cacti though.

We definitely needed some cooling off after, so we headed to Great Shakes for some ice cream. For this first visit, I ordered salted caramel, and we went back the next day to try pistachio (salted caramel wins). It’s actually a milkshake, but since it’s quite thick, I think it’s more ice cream-like. Ben thought he was going to just have a few bites, but he liked it so much, he had half of it. HA! Though he didn’t really like the pistachio one, so I finished that all on my own. Works out better for me!

Thankfully, we were able to check into the Parker early and we just relaxed once we got there. We walked around all the gardens, then found ourself a hammock, and parked our bodies there. I will share more about our stay there in a coming post!



a peek into another classroom

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a classroom, so when the The Learning Care Group invited me to see what their Tutor Time Learning Center was all about, I was glad to check it out and bring my junior kinder (Glow) and kindergartener (Soul) with me. Glow technically starts kinder next year, but she’s showing interest, so I think she may be ready to start some things alongside Soul. Thus, this will be the first year where I will be intentionally teaching all four girls in their four different grades (though True and Brave are pretty much on the same level and use the same curriculum). Obviously, I will cater to their different needs and levels, but I wanted to see if I could get any ideas from my trip to Tutor Time to aid in teaching the youngest two. I’ve gotten used to teaching the older girls, but starting again back at the basics makes me a little nervous. The early elementary grades freak me out, where as I’m most comfortable with third grade and higher.

We walked through most of the classrooms, except infant and toddler, and I loved seeing the teachers and students at work. It was a great tour and I was able to ask lots of questions about goals and how they measure progress. They value the uniqueness of each child, so they have a Learning Care System rubric to track each child’s growth. Assessments are done every 6 weeks, and based on that, they cater to their specific needs and strengths. While I’ve kept a mental note of where my girls are at, I think it would be great if we worked on setting up a goal sheet together, that way they could clearly see their progress and things they need to work on. I think this will give them more ownership of their learning.

Other great things I want to implement at home are to label objects in our homeschool room for the younger girls, get an easel for art projects (this will help keep them occupied while I work with the older two), and post our goals (not just keep them in my planning book or in my head). At Tutor Time, the goals were clearly outlined at various stations in the classroom and the kids know what to do, why, and their goals; we will definitely be posting our own version at home.

The thing Soul and Glow would love to implement at home is the Village Room, which was this room with facades of different buildings, and in each space were toys that corresponded to those buildings (e.g., workshop, grocery store, post office, apparel shop). That room was playroom heaven for them! They also wished for their own playground and all the toy sets they saw. Those things probably made them wish they didn’t homeschool. HA!

It was great to learn about a different schooling option and how Tutor Time caters to the specific needs of their students. Our neighbor brought their kids here (they’re older now), and she used to tell me all the things her children did, so it was great to check it out in person. Now, I’m on a hunt to find a good art easel. Anyone have a particular one they love?

This post is sponsored by Tutor Time. Visit to schedule your tour today. Thank you for the support you give me, my space, and the brands I partner with! 




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