focus: our days are full

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Our days have been so full. We are down to one car for the time being (Ben’s needs a new engine), so we are making do with sharing. Though with this sharing business, 2 hours of my day, with the girls in tow, is spent taking Ben to work and picking him up. While time already feels like it’s in short supply, it’s been feeling really depleted these past couple weeks with having to spend more time on the road than normal.

We’ve been trekking on with school and I think we will be done with most of our curriculum well before the school year ends. The only one we always seem to be playing catch up with is math. Oh math! It’s never been my strongest suit and I admit that I’m probably not helping my girls love it either. Nevertheless, the kids must study it because otherwise one day they might find themselves way in over their head in credit card debt and it might be because they won’t know have the math knowledge to prevent them from spending money they don’t have. Let’s hope they don’t get there though, so for now, I’ll keep chugging along with math and Ben will keep doing Dave Ramsey Junior lessons with them.

Anyway, I love the flexibility we have in homeschool. If we get really focused in the beginning of the week, we can charge through my lesson plans and then Fridays can sometimes be a light project day. I love that! Sometimes though, it does cross my mind that if I sent the kids to school, I would get all this free time and it might be glorious! But then I remember why I homeschool, and well that’s that. I have to keep our bigger picture in mind rather than some peace and quiet, I’ll have plenty of time for that later. These days are long and time is short thing is really true. They’ll all be out of the house before you know it!

Despite feeling really overwhelmed, more like crazy, yesterday was a good day. I had been waiting for something for a very long time and it finally came! It kinda lightened up the load I was feeling and made things slightly less stressful. I also think I’ve been stressed because I’m working on a little project (can’t wait to share!!!), but I have some sort of creative block and I’m stuck on ideas for this project. It’s frustrating and my ideas about it just feel so scattered. I hope I get it together soon because well, I’ve got no choice but to get it done. Focus, Ruby, focus. 

Oh and that picture above has been my daily uniform of late. These Aladdin-like pants from Old Navy and this super comfy top from Gusta are so good together, and if I have to leave the house, I just slip on my leopard sneakers (it was Ben’s love day gift to me from here). Maybe once the craziness in my brain clears up (will it ever?), I’ll be in the mood to throw on a dress again or maybe sewing up a new one will get me in the mood too. I think sewing up a new one should do the trick, now only if I can find more time. Anyone know where I can get more of that?!

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the girls and my technicolor coat

the five of us
the five of us
the five of us
the five of us
When I go through the closet purging mode, I always come to this blazer-jacket thing and debate on it. Sure, it gets worn once a year, if that, but it fit greats, the fabric feels wonderful, and it’s just so different (in a good way, at least to me). Ben found it in a Texas thrift store for me long ago (back when thrift stores weren’t so picked through), and I’ve only worn it a handful of times, but it’s just of those things I can’t give up. According to those promoting a minimalism wardrobe, it getting worn once a year probably means it needs to be moved on, but I really just can’t.

I think it’s just one of those pieces my girls might pick up one day when they fit it, and say, “Wow! Mom, this is so cool!” But then again, I could be wrong, and they say, “Mom, this is hideous. Why’d you keep it?!” Who knows?! I guess it will be an experiment of sorts and we will see what happens on that “one day.” I’m pretty good at letting go and purging my closet, but for now this jacket stays. Do any of you have any pieces like this that you think of getting rid of, but don’t?

Oh and these black shoes of mine are one of my faves! It might be my best deal ever as I scored it at the thrift store for just 2 buckaroos!

on me: jacket, vintage. shirt, everlane. patchwork jeans, old navy. shoes, thrifted. on true: dress, panache box. jacket, vintage members only. leggings, hello hi apparel. pin-dot sneakers, old navy. on brave: shirt, misha lulu. jacket, thrifted. pants (she wear these all. the. time!), misha lulu. shoes, gap kids. on soul: dress, misha lulu. boots, thrifted. on glow: jacket, vintage. dress and leggings, misha lulu. shoes, old navy.

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korean pork roast sesame leaf wraps (bossam)

korean pork roast sesame leaf wraps
Korean Pork Roast Sesame Leaf Wraps (Bossam)
about 6 servings

Ingredients
For the Bossam (pork roast):
About 2 lbs. pork sirloin tip roast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar, set aside the 1/3 cup
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tbsp salt, set aside the 1/2 tbsp
1 beer

For the Ginger Scallion Sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside (best made the day before):
3 bunches of green onions, chopped
5″ piece of ginger, skinned and minced.
1/8 cup of vegetable (canola) oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar

For the Ssam Sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside (best made the day before):
2 tbsp chili paste
2 tbsp soybean paste
1/8 cup canola oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Pickled Carrots, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside (best made the day before):
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 cups warm water

For serving:
Sesame leaves, about 6-10 per person (or red leaf lettuce or steamed cabbage leaves removed from core)
Rice (brown rice would be our choice)
Kimchi

korean pork roast wrap
Directions
For the overnight marinade:
Mix together the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup salt in a small bowl. Place the sirloin roast in a large bowl, rub and coat it completely with the sugar mixture. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate overnight.

To cook the roast:
Rinse the pork and place it in the crock pot with the liquid from a full bottle of beer. Cook the pork on low for 8 hours. Once it is done, heat the oven to 500 degrees and mix the remaining brown sugar and salt together. Completely coat the pork with the sugar mixture and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. This gives the pork a salty and sweet coating.

Serve the pork with rice (our choice is brown rice), some sesame leaves (or cabbage leaves), kimchi, and all the side dishes in this recipe. Just layer them all together on top of a sesame leaf, and enjoy it as it’s packed with so much good flavor. Typically, this is made with pork shoulder or pork butt, but we make it healthier by using pork sirloin. It lacks the fat (and crunchy skin) that the other parts have, but we enjoy it so much more knowing we’re doing without all that extra fat. It tastes really good to us this way that we aren’t interested in trying it with a fattier meat. My BFF said this would be the more traditional way of making bossam, so if you’re wanting to go really authentic, I would try it that way.

korean pork roast wrap
korean pork roast wrap
korean pork roast wrap
korean pork roast wrap
It looks so similar to the Mackerel Stew as it has some of the same ingredients, but it has a completely different flavor altogether. I’m totally addicted to cooking Korean dishes. The flavors in the sauces are so good that if you’re vegetarian, just leave out the pork, maybe use some tofu, and it would still taste just as delicious.

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diy: simple leather clutch

simple leather clutch
Simple Leather Clutch

Supplies:
9″ zipper
2 – 1 1/2″ x 2″ pieces of leather (about a 1.2mm thickness)
2 – 9″ x 11 1/2″ pieces of leather
Sewing machine
Leather machine sewing needle
Coordinating thread
Scissors
Pins

Inseam: 1/4″

Directions:
1. Place one of the 1 1/2″ x 2″ leather pieces, with the right side facing down, 1/4″ down from the top edge of the zipper, and pin in place. Stitch 1/4″ away from the leather edge (the long side), and snip off any excess thread. Fold the leather on the seam (away from the zipper), to have the right side facing up and top stitch along the folded edge. Repeat this for the other zipper end, and then proceed to trim the excess leather and be equal width with the zipper.

simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
2. Place one of the 9″ x 11 1/2″ leather pieces with the right side up, lay the zipper on the 11 1/2″ side edge with the teeth side down on top (make sure the entire zipper length is centered on the leather piece), pin in place if you feel you need the extra support to keep it lined up. I didn’t want to poke more holes into the leather, so I didn’t pin the zipper to the leather piece. Sew along the entire length of the zipper (you can use a zipper foot if you have one on hand, but I did without it). It’s best to pull the zipper down to the middle when starting, so that it won’t get caught, then when approaching the zipper pull, leave your needle down in the leather, pull up your presser foot, pull up the zipper, put down the presser foot, and then continue sewing the rest length of the zipper and leather. When done, fold the leather on the seam and top stitch the entire length near the fold. Repeat for the other 9″ x 11 1/2″ piece of leather and the remaining zipper side.

simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
3. Pull the zipper down to the middle, place the leather with their right sides together, lining up all the edges, and sew around the 3 edges of the clutch. Snip any excess thread and trim any excess leather. Pull open the zipper and turn your clutch right side out, and there you go!

simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
My best friend has one of those fancy Clare Vivier clutches. It is quite lovely, but I’m not really a bag person, I’d rather spend the money on shoes. I’ve had these leather scraps I’ve been hoarding for like 7 years (back when I used to make True her baby shoes!) and I took those scraps out and got little leather clutch happy. I had been using a 99 cent store wallet for myself, so I was happy to make a little one out of the leather too. I ended up messing up a smidge on the zipper part, but it does the job. I got the silver stripe on accident because I had painted a bright pink one on, but it didn’t stay and was peeling off, so when I peeled it all of, it lifted some of that bronze color and what was left was a silver stripe. It wasn’t my original idea of pink, but it was a good accident.

simple leather clutch
simple leather clutch
I didn’t put any lining inside because my best friend’s fancy one didn’t have it, so I thought I could do without it. Although, should I attempt to make another (because I just need more clutches in my life, obviously), I’d add in the liner. I originally wanted to make one to put my planner and sketchbook in, but now, I’m thinking Ben needs to take me on a date because the clutches feel a little bit too fancy just for my planner and sketchbook. Am I silly or what?! Maybe now I need to make a fabric clutch instead!

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calligraphy with laura hooper

calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
calligraphy with laura hooper
I love calligraphy! I took a semester worth of classes eons ago when I was in middle school, and I love to play around with it when an occasion requires, but my calligraphy knowledge is definitely limited. Thus, I am especially excited that this Sunday I will get to hone my (barely there) skills further under the teaching of Laura Hooper as I will be joining in on her beginners’ workshop in Manhattan Beach at the Shade Hotel. I know she has a few slots open, so if you want to join in, you better hurry (I’m in the 10am class, but there’s also an afternoon class if you can’t make the morning one). I don’t know anyone else who’s going to be part of it, so it would be fun to do it with a friend (dear readers, I definitely consider you friends!).  If you aren’t local and want to learn calligraphy, don’t you fear, Laura teaches all over the place. If you’re in Brooklyn, Seattle, San Francisco, Georgetown, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Denver, or Salt Lake City, she’s coming your way, and you can get more info about it here.

Laura’s beginner’s workshop in modern pointed-pen calligraphy will teach you about the tools of calligraphy, basics in brushstrokes and technique, as well as cover a full alphabet. If you are just starting out or are looking for hands-on tips and techniques to improve your beginner’s hand, these workshops are for you!

Each workshop will include:
- 3 hours of instruction with Laura Hooper
- 1 pen holder
- 2 nibs
- 1 pot of black ink
- 1 instructional alphabet w/tracing & practice sheets
- 1 keepsake Laura Hooper Calligraphy tote bag
- light refreshments

Investment: $225 (includes all supplies)
To register, please click here to select your workshop of choice.

Don’t forget to email me if you do sign up! It would definitely be nice to have a friend to do the class with.

*All photos courtesy of Raya Carlisle.

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