best tomato season ever

tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 tomatoes 2015 Our tomatoes are booming. Every year over the last 8 years of growing tomatoes, we learn more and more about what does/doesn’t work. The 3 heat tolerant heirloom tomatoes we tried have been doing great! The other 3 are grafted tomato plants (2 varieties on a plant), but 2 out of 3 fizzled, so Ben pulled them (it’s the empty spot in the left bed). All the plants keep growing beyond the boundaries of the trellis, so we are going to have to figure out a way to keep it from flopping over. We’ve never had tomato plants grow this crazy before, but this is a problem we gladly welcome.

One plant is producing some pretty large tomatoes; it’s the biggest tomato we’ve ever had success growing! You can see how large it is next to the quarter, and then again right in front of Glow’s head. It weighed in at 1 pound 11 ounces!

I love tomato season! I always have a plate full of caprese salad ready to go. How are your tomatoes doing this summer?



recently made things

ruffled off the shoulder dress fringe rug bag My mother-in-law got me an off-the-shoulder top for Mother’s Day, and I wore it on our most recent road trip. It was perfect for galavanting under the Texas and New Mexico heat, so it got me wondering about making a dress version of it. I remembered this image I pinned several months ago, then I saw this post recently, and it sealed the deal, I was going to make one. I debated between white, chocolate brown, ivory, and red linen fabric, and as you see above, I went with the chocolate brown. The girls call this my Jedi princess outfit. When I was working on it, they thought I was making myself a Jedi costume to match them (see here), so maybe I should have gone with red instead. HA!

Here’s a rough sketch of the pattern I used to make the dress. Basically, I measured my width across, and added about 3-5 inches to that, and then measure around my shoulders and doubled the length of that for the ruffle. The dress is a basic shift and the off-the-shoulder section is a really long rectangle. I created a casing at the top and inserted elastic through it. When it comes to dress sewing, I just go for it and find it relaxing to not have to create a step by step of it.

During last week’s IKEA trip, I picked up another rug to make another fringe rug bag (this one is mine, the other is for someone else). If you’re itching to make something, but don’t have a lot of time, this bag is perfect. Just make sure to pick up a rug the next time you’re at IKEA.



the fourth, family, and feasting

july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th july 4th I ate so much this weekend. We spent Saturday with my family and it was “kamayan” style, which is a Tagolog word and means eating with your hands. She served clams, squid, mussels, shrimp, crabs (my favorite!), mackerel, and I’m sure there are a couple other things I’m missing. She even added the little detail of wrapping a serving of rice in banana leaves. My mom is a master at hospitality and cooking up a gourmet feast!

Ben’s favorite were the clams and shrimp, and I overindulged in crab. I think I ate 4 or 5 (plus, a little bit of everything else)! To say I was stuffed is an understatement. Then, even though I really didn’t have much room left in my stomach, I was able put in some chocolate chip cookies, pie, and cherries. Soul and Glow stuck to the rice, fish, and lots of mangoes (and lots of pie and cookies too!). That probably would have been what True would have eaten too. On the other hand, Brave would have been stuffing herself silly with the crab and shrimp.

Fireworks aren’t allowed in my mom and dad’s neighborhood (nor ours), so we didn’t get to participate in any of that fun. I tried to convince Ben to pick up some sparklers to do it in our backyard, but he didn’t want to risk it. We did see some fireworks going off as we drove home, and the girls were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the few sparks we saw, and then next thing we knew they were out. I think that was enough fun for them.

On Sunday afternoon, we went over to Ben’s cousin’s place and spent the rest of the day filling up on barbecued steak and chicken. I think I ate enough food this weekend to last me until Wednesday. HA! We don’t get to see his family often, so it’s always nice to catch up and see how everyone is doing.

I’m thankful for this day and what it means to all those who get the privilege to call this country home. While it is a blessing to live here, it is still a broken country. It’s evident in the news headlines that break everyday. There is still poverty, fighting, racism, and the list of how broken we are can go on. All of this makes my heart heavy, and nervous for the world my children are growing up in. Despite this, I place my faith in a God who promises that one day every experience we have is only going to get better because of Jesus and the cross. He died to make things new. His death gives me life. Jesus is where I can experience freedom and relief from the brokenness. He makes me whole.

My faith in God isn’t meant to ensure I get an easy life, nor does it mean I get to skip suffering. Suffering will come, just as it did for the early church. So as I live out my life as a Christian, in a culture that may be hostile to Christians, I pray that my affections for Him and His Word is unwavering. My list of failures are many miles long… I have a cargo ship full of selfishness, a mouth and heart that spews out anger, pride coming out the wazoo, but Christ died for me. It’s about what He did, not me.

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.



it’s been quieter around here

Yes, 4 girls. Yup, they're all mine. #peoplealwaysask #truebravesoulglow It’s been strange just having Soul and Glow to care for… there’s less food to make and less things to clean up (it’s always much more quiet). Even still, we really miss our biggest gals (and all the noise that comes with having 4 children)! Soul gets really sad sometimes because she really misses True and Brave. To make it as fun as possible for her, I asked her to give me a list of things she wanted to do while they were gone, and we have slowly been checking things off that list.

Since we got back from our mini road trip, I have been busy cleaning and purging through the kids’ rooms. I feel like I can’t rest until it’s done. I went to IKEA to pick up some bed sheets and have a pile of things to put away and save, and then even more to move on and donate. I think their little library is out of control; I’ve never been good at organizing their books. Any of you have any tips to help me get that under control?

We aren’t painting the rooms (though it desperately needs a fresh coat of white), but lots of purging and reorganizing, and a little bit of furniture shifting here and there. I’ll be sure to share the results of the cleaning soon.



family meals: week 104

pizza pizza Homemade Pizza. We’ve had some friends over for dinner these past couple weeks, and my go-to has been homemade pizza. I made a prosciutto and caramelized onions pizza, and a mushroom one. The mushroom one is a new recipe I tried out. I used shiitake and bella mushrooms, made a light chili garlic oil for sauce, used mozzarella and havarti cheese, and loaded it up with lots of herbs. Ben and I both really liked it, so I think this pizza will be added to our go-to pizza recipes. For dough, this is the recipe I always use.

rice pork noodles rice pork noodles Vietnamese Pork and Rice Noodles. We love this recipe! In fact, we ate it for 3 days straight. It has a nice balance, since we use a lean meat and throw in a lot of vegetables. We have ours with swiss chard from our garden.

Week of 6/29 – 7/3
Monday: Easy Pasta
Tuesday: Korean Tacos
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Fish Tacos
Friday: Tilapia Ceviche

It will be weird only cooking for 2 kids this week. I have a feeling this week’s menu might change.


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