lavender festival in highland springs

Several weeks ago, Ben and I took Soul and Glow to the Lavender Festival in Highland Springs. True and Brave were already in Texas, so this was part of our two-kid weekend adventure. We had never been before, so we didn’t have any expectations, all I knew was I wanted lavender ice cream and cheesecake (we peeped their menu online prior to going).

We got there first thing on a Sunday morning, and quickly made our way to sign up for the wagon tour (they sell out fast). Even at 10:15am, the next available time for the 4 of us was at 1pm, so that’s what we signed up for. They have plenty of craft booths (each one has a different cost, so bring cash if you plan to do any of these, though I think it would have been better if they included that since we do pay to get in), food vendors, and a really nice lavender marketplace. We opted not to do crafts, we do plenty at home, but we made sure to warch the little puppet show. Soul and Glow really liked the show, and I liked that we sat for 30 minutes under a big, shady tree. It was super hot that day.

Ben attended one of the seminars on culinary lavender (they have various classes all weekend long), while we ate lavender ice cream, cheesecake, and shopped at the marketplace. I bought lavender sugar and honey, and I can’t wait to try them out in recipes. We already made lavender ice cream and it came out amazing. I’d love to make lavender cheesecake (theirs wasn’t so good), lavender lemonade, lavender martini, and more variations of lavender ice cream.

Of course, a trip to the lavender festival wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the lavender fields. The whole placed smelled wonderful, but the scent was especially potent in the fields. After wandering through the fields, it was time for our wagon tour. It was about 20 minutes long and gave some good history on the farm, but it probably wasn’t worth the pennies. It did take us to the thousand year old oak tree, but if you have the stamina to walk in the heat, your feet could take you there for free. I thought it was going to take you through the fields, but it just drove by the side of the fields we walked through earlier in the day, around the 1,000 year old tree, then back to the beginning. So if you go, read up on the history online and skip the wagon ride.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I’d love to take the whole family next year, or maybe check out their olive festival this fall. Lavender is so pretty and I can’t wait for Ben to put his new lavender knowledge to good use and plant us more lavender plants in our garden.



This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

The big girls are back! Woot! Thankful for all the memories they made in Texas with their Grandmama and Auntia Suzi.

Thankful for the BFF and her hubs for letting the little girls and I crash at their place. It was a fun, quick sleepover.

If you’ve been eyeing the Everlane day heel like I have, you better pop in now to get a pair (in ballet pink!) because it will be sold out pretty soon. In fact, it’s sold out in the sizes that are smaller than a 6.5. The wide leg crop pants popped back in too, but they’re already back ordered (can still order, but won’t ship out until later). I finally got myself a pair and I love the cut and material.

Love this whole outfit, red lippy and earrings included.

I’ve got a thing for Mexican folk art earrings. This pair is gorgeous too. I love modernist earrings too, so I have some pairs up for grabs over here.

Two of my girls hate combing their hair because they have sensitive scalps and it hurts (or maybe I’m not gentle enough!). We recently learned about the wet brush and it’s pretty amazing. Also, the tangle teezer works wonders. Glow, who is the most sensitive, loves brushing her hair with it! #lifechanging

WOVENFOLK loaded up with some new goods and a sale section!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


denim skirts

I have quite the collection of vintage denim skirts. One that wraps, buttons up, a-line, pencil (pictured above), and a mini, even one with a flared bottom. It’s hard to pass them up when I come across them in my size. Just like jeans, they’re classics.

on me: denim skirt and top, vintage. shoes, vintage (lucky find!). plaid raffia bag, wovenfolk. earrings, minimalism vintage.

Here are a few I found on the web…

from top left clockwise: pieced jean skirt, vintage levis denim skirt, vintage patchwork skirt, wrap skirt



summer of four

Our summer of four is coming to an end, and we will soon be reunited with the big girls, and get to relish the rest of summer as a family of six. We spent our last night as four picnicking at the park, and asking Soul and Glow what their highs and lows for their summer has been so far. Their highs involve swimming, two kid weekend, and baking. Their lows involved getting bitten by Glow (Soul) and fighting with each other. They didn’t have very many fights, and I can only think of a couple instances that I had to step in to referee. When it’s just the two little ones the dynamic in our home changes so much, as does our grocery budget and the amount of dishes we use daily. The time went by so fast, and I feel like we didn’t do much (not as much as last summer), but I think it’s due to this intense heatwave we’ve been having. We pretty much swim or try to cool off with milkshakes and a movie. We’ve had plenty of movie afternoons. Thankfully, we still have another month of summer-ing, and hopefully more adventures before we have to get back to the grind.

The big girls texted us pictures of the farewell luau party they were having with Ben’s mom and sister. It’s especially sweet to see the last hurrah they are doing a few states away. I know they are excited to be reunited with us, but we all have to endure a water show before the excitement of being back home kicks in. They truly enjoy their time in Texas and goodbyes are always hard for them. They are California girls, but with Texas hearts.

The sweetest thing about this time is the intentional time we get to give Soul and Glow. With four kids, pretty much back to back, it’s hard to give one on one attention, and this allows for that. It also allows room for Soul and Glow to step it up. We see a more nurturing side of Soul when she’s the head honcho, and we also see Glow get more involved in the chores instead of trying to pull the “I’m a baby” card. Soul and Glow also get an opportunity to forge a stronger bond together; it’s so sweet to see them play and make crafts together. They direct their days instead of True or Brave telling them what to do. It’s a time of growth for the little ones when they’re here with us, and a time of growth for the big ones as they learn away from us.

We are looking for the big girls to come (and we miss them a lot), but I must admit, it’s so much easier with two kids than four (I think I haven’t yelled in five weeks). When you’re used to four, 2 kids is a cake walk. But like Ben and I discussed tonight, so much of my short-temperedness comes from my lack of dependence on God and me trying to do it on my own. Raising children, no matter how many and what age, calls for a complete dependence on God. It’s in my letting go and letting God where I can see how to best disciple and love my daughters. So True, Brave, Soul, and Glow… bring it on, so I can keep learning how much I need God.



12 for 12 anniversary celebration

It is such a blessing to celebrate 12 years of God’s faithfulness in 12 years of marriage. Ben and I are so similar, so for the most part, we are on the same page on most things. From time to time though, things do get rough, and we most certainly have spats or full blown fights. In fact, we had a spat on Friday night just as we kicked off our anniversary weekend. We treasure the covenant we are both in, and Christ redeeming and saving us both, along with accountability and transparency with our church family, are the keys for the healthy growth of our marriage and family for the gospel.

To celebrate, we decided to do a staycation (the little ones spent the weekend with my parents) and we did 12 (some silly and random) things we’ve never done before to commemorate the occasion. We probably spent most of the time in the car driving from place to place, but as cheesy as it sounds, I just loved being together.

1. We tried a new restaurant together, which was Miyabi Uni in Torrance. The pasta was bomb and I’m definitely going to figure out a way to recreate that dish at home.
2. We drove the whole length of Ortega Highway. Hate those windy two lane highways, but we love the scenic views and dried California native plants scattered all along the hills.
3. The drive spit out us onto Lake Elsinore, and though we’ve passed it many times before, this is first time we actually go to the lake.
4. While this is certainly not the first time we’ve had A la Minute, it is our first time visiting their newest location in Temecula at Vail Headquarters. It is also the first time we ordered orange honey ice cream.
5. After dessert, we did things backwards and headed to a ceviche bar, Mariscos el Guero, for dinner. This is my new favorite place, and I’ve been here twice prior with friends, but this is our first time together. I knew Ben would love this place!
6. Sunday morning, we visited New City Church in San Diego. This was our first time visiting a SOMA church (they focus on missional communities) and we were so encouraged by the message. I loved hearing their congregational singing and what missional communities look like in their church. Right after service, we ate our packed lunched in our car.
7. One of the things I looked forward to most was getting our portraits taken with tintype photographer¬†Catherine Segura. Ben and I both enjoyed learning (and watching) the process of wet plate photography, it was especially sweet to see the passion this father-daughter duo has for this classic photography process. It looks so old school and semi-creepy, but the results of this antique process is so beautiful. We can’t wait to go back and get a whole family portrait done. I highly recommend paying Catherine a visit if you find yourself in San Diego over the weekend.
8. Another new to us thing is thrifting in San Diego! I didn’t find much, but this vintage wire trash can. One really good thing definitely feels like a win!
9. Another first is trying African food from Flavors of East Africa. We were especially fond of the spices used to flavor the lentils and chicken. Ben also wants me to figure out how to make their collard green and cabbage vegetable dish at home.
10. We felt silly, but it was fun… we went to a local playground and swung on the swings together. I think the kids and parents around us were trying to figure out what we were doing.
11. Another favorite of the weekend… makeout in a photobooth. We were definitely giggling while we kissed because there was a camera on the outside of the booth for nearby onlookers to view what was going on in the inside.
12. Lastly, we did a marriage questionnaire to help build up our marriage.

Between all the fun, the weekend was spent evaluating areas our marriage and parenting needed improvement, asking each other where we are lacking, and discussing ways to help continue grow our marriage and family towards Christlikeness. We were definitely celebrating to remember the goodness of God in our lives and the abounding grace we’ve been given. Our marriage and family runs on the strength and grace given from God. And those times we try to do it on our own, things totally flop. Every day and every year, is a gift from God to be treasured and used to gospelize each other and the communities God has placed us in.

I’m very thankful for Ben and I love him more now than on our wedding day. Our love grows deeper, wider, and higher as time passes (and we have plenty of fights too!). We can dive into our marriage deeply because we know Christ’s love for us and that pours out in our love for each other. There’s lots of love and forgiveness that happen every single day. Happy 12 Benny B!¬†


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