peruvian apple cactus fruit

We got a Peruvian apple cactus last November, and we finally harvested its first fruit over the weekend. Ben noticed it had already started splitting while on the plant, so he figured it was time to pick it. It definitely gives off dragon fruit vibes.

We sliced it up and had the girls smell it first; we didn’t think it had much of a smell. Next, we asked them about the texture, and we all agreed it feels slimy. Then, we each ate a piece. It tasted like a mild kiwi, but slimier. It was good and I can’t wait until the second fruit on the cactus is ripe enough to eat. Anyone ever try a Peruvian apple cactus fruit before?

I haven’t had any garden posts here lately, but things continue to grow and change in our garden. We are always working on something out there and I will give an update on all of it soon.



cooking with kids

This summer I started letting True and Brave make meals themselves. They started doing both breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. Breakfast is really easy since it’s O’s for some, and oatmeal for others. Lunch though, they started making various sandwiches and grilled cheese type things, as well and mini pita pizzas. Being able to use a griddle or the oven by themselves was a big deal.

I didn’t start cooking until I was 20, even then, didn’t really pick it up until 3 or 4 years ago when I started meal planning and using this blog to keep me accountable. Now, I love cooking and feel much more confident mixing my own things, and being brave enough to not follow a recipe to a T. I get really excited to cook for my family, and trying new recipes to see if they like it, but I do need days off from time to time. Therefore, popping in frozen pizza is okay with us too.

Ben has always loved to cook since he was in middle school and he learned how to cook pizza from Reading Rainbow. His only flaw in the kitchen is that he’s not a multi-tasker, so while it would only take about 30 minutes to make something, it would probably take him double (maybe triple) that. Whatever comes out though, is always guaranteed to be nutritious and delicious.

Anyway, back to cooking with kids, True and Brave have been expressing an interest in cooking, so we’ve been letting them find their own recipes to try out themselves. They write down their own grocery list, then we all go together to pick up the ingredients. We supervise them in the kitchen as they make it, along with little cooking lessons as they go on (e.g., how to cut with a knife, where the pot handle should face when on a stove, etc…).

True and Brave both made the meal pictured above. Brave made a savory Green Oatmeal (recipe from Chop Chop), and True made Chuckwagon Chips (recipe from this cookbook) to go along with it. Both recipes came out delicious, though Ben helped them modify it a bit to make it healthier. Brave was especially excited that True loved it because she doesn’t typically like oatmeal. My girls were so proud of their creations!

We subscribe to Chop Chop Magazine, which has many good food stories and recipes for kids. We like it so far and think this is a good starting place for them.

This old Martha Stewart Good Things for Kids that Ben and I have had since summer 2006 is really what help jump start the girls in cooking. This summer they were making some of the sandwich recipes found in here. We wish Martha Stewart had kept these kid magazines going. You can still find some issues on eBay, but I don’t see this particular one for sale right now.

My BFF got Brave this cookbook for her birthday, so the girls have been enjoying picking out recipes from here. They are simple and kid friendly, but not the healthiest, so you definitely have to do some modification to put more nutritional value into the meals. The kids love it though, so I say it’s given them another good place to start.

I think our Cutthroat Kitchen obsession also inspires them to want to be more involved in the cooking. After they make their dishes, they look at Ben and me and say, “Well judge, what do you think?” Then we pretend we are Cutthroat Kitchen judges and lovingly joke and critique their dish.

Have you allowed your kids autonomy in the kitchen? If so, any tips or tricks to share, or some good recipes for them to start with?




This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

The girls will flip out over these Princess Leia cupcakes. I think we have to make these soon!

Love the serenity in this bedroom.

Hallelujah! We finally have a king size bed. I’ll do another post about it soon.

Now, I’m looking for organic sheets. Oh golly gee is this bed thing getting costly!

Ben wrote an excellent article on “How to Get Our Picky Eaters to Try New Foods.”

This week was a tough one. It just felt so chaotic, and I’m trying to learn how to let things go. I hold on so tightly that it’s tough for me to just release. It’s so ironic because by trying to hold more tightly, I just feel more out of control. Whereas, if I just chilled out and not act like I’m the one keep this world spinning, I’d probably have more calm. I try to be god, and well, I suck at it.

True and Brave did a little assessment with the teacher that checks up on them once a month, and True can read 10th grade level words, and Brave can read 9th grade words! I was pretty proud of them! They love to read, so all the reading they do is paying off.

The girls are obsessed with Weird Al Yankovic’s songs “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda.”

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice sounds delicious!

October is next week?! How is that possible?! Enjoy the weekend friends!


a rose colored painting project

Hello! It’s True and I wanted to share with you about our Picasso inspired project and his Rose Period. Picasso studied African masks and those things influenced his creation of cubism, so we wanted to make our own African Mask.  We also learned about his Rose Period, so it was fun to mix the two ideas together.

Brave’s was the one that looked most like an African mask, and mine was wearing bows. The Rose Period sort of reminds me of Valentine’s Day! I had so much fun making it! It is so fun to do art and I love it because we get to play with colors. I love art so much that I want to be an artist!



a california fall

Second day of fall and summer doesn’t seem to want to end over here. In Southern California, we are still wearing shorts and sweaters are unnecessary. It doesn’t stop us from channeling fall vibes, but we just do it with California style. We are loving the denim dresses and shirts at Old Navy right now; there are so many things that work for summer or fall (and in our California winter). Californians pretend we get fall, but really it’s just a super long summer. We will try to dress the part though. The girls are loving their wool felt hats, and plaid has crept its way into their closets. Though they are all different ages, they already share clothes. True’s tunic is a dress on Soul, and Soul was just wearing Glow’s dress the other day (it’s just a smidge shorter on her). They are different shoe sizes, but everything does eventually make its way down. We always joke with friends that it’s so much cheaper to have 4 girls!

My girls are way into Nancy Drew right now and all things detective/explorer, so binoculars are their current favorite accessory (this is the one they have). They use it to play “Nancy Drew”, look out while we are driving or out and about, scope out what’s going on across the street (sorry neighbors!), or as a sabotage for “Cutthroat Kitchen.” These girls are really a big bunch of silly!

on true: striped shift, skinny jeans, boots, c/o old navy. hat, gap. on brave: denim shirt & shorts (similar here), c/o old navy. floppy hat, old navy. clogs, lotta from stockholm. on soul: buffalo plaid dress, c/o old navy. shoes, thrifted. on glow: denim dress & critter shoes, c/o old navy.

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. I appreciate all the support you have given this space and the brands I partner with!



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