our fall potluck

fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner fall dinner I had pinned this image on Pinterest in the summer and it made me really want to do a fall potluck with friends (I talked about it here). I shared my idea with my friend Reese and Liz and they were totally on board. Also, Ben and I have really been wanting to get to know our neighbors more, so we thought it would be a great way to throw a fall dinner and just invite everyone over.

I literally was inviting everyone who lived near us over (Ben was like, “Calm down, Ruby.”). I invited the girls’ swim teachers (they probably think I’m some weird crazy mama!), some parents from swim class, neighbors, and I pretty much had no idea who was going to show up. We’ve lived in such a bubble the entire time we’ve lived in our neighborhood and it really isn’t what I want to teach our girls. I want them to love people, love serving them, and want them to desire to live in community with people. It’s good to get to know people and hear their stories. I love hearing people’s stories! I guess it’s what God has been teaching us lately.

Anyways, it was a potluck, so everyone knew to bring something. I prepared turkey (in a crockpot!) using this recipe, this stuffing, this veggie dish, and this pumpkin bundt cake. Oh and mashed cauliflower and pumpkin bread! Let’s just say it was a really busy weekend for me! I had no clue who was coming, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty. And everyone who did come did bring plenty more!

I borrowed plates from my mom and everything else I already had, so when I saw this, I knew I could totally recreate that. I picked flowers from our garden, but it was looking too spring-y so I grabbed the mini pumpkins on our mantle and scattered those on the table too. The girls gathered candles we already used in the house, plus a couple extra that I picked up on our Ikea run and set those out. We even had a cute little kids table and my girls were the ones that put it together. They were actually good little helpers putting the glassware on the table. My girls were just so excited about new friends coming over, even though it took them like an hour after they arrived to start talking to them.

All you get are pictures of the dinner set up because I snapped these before everyone came and before the food was put out. Once everyone came, we were busy and just enjoying our time getting to know our new friends that taking pictures was the last thing on my mind. We all ate plenty, got to enjoy our candles and string lights once the sun went down, laughed lots, swapped stories, and the girls were running all over the house with their new friends. It was a good way to celebrate fall. I’m also thankful that we had some leftovers, so it saved me from cooking dinner tonight and we got to enjoy more of that yummy turkey and stuffing. This is getting me really excited about next week and Thanksgiving… I love turkey and family time!!!

Do any of you do get togethers with your neighbors often? Hopefully, we didn’t scare them and they want to hang out with us again!


family meals: week 54

family meal Chicken Adobo. It’s a recipe I shared on the blog a long time ago and it came from my friend Tiff. I kind of healthified it, so it’s probably not an authentic Filipino recipe. We rarely eat Filipino food. This night though, I was craving it, so I made some. I even busted out the banana and ate it with the chicken and rice. The girls were loving the banana with the chicken. It may sound strange to eat a banana with chicken and rice, but with chicken adobo, it’s really good. By the way, did you know that Filipino ketchup is made with a banana base instead of tomatoes? I haven’t had it in almost a decade, but I remember it tasted good. I liked eating it with fried fish. Filipino food isn’t the healthiest, so we never really eat it. Filipino dessert on the other hand, I love it all!!! My parents brought me mango cake for my birthday… yum!!!

family meal Ground Turkey and White Bean Chili. I don’t even know what to call this dish, I kind of made it up based on a few recipes I made in the past. This was for our Thursday night dinner club where I don’t know if 6 people are coming or 20, so it’s the easiest thing to make a big pot of. Add tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and chips and well, you’ve got a party in your tummy for sure!

Week 11/18 – 11/21
Monday: Leftovers (We’re having a big pot luck dinner tonight, so I’m thinking there might be leftovers.)
Tuesday: Crab cakes
Wednesday: Enchiladas
Thursday: Black bean soup
Friday: Pizza/sushi night

I’m ready to cozy up and eat some fall soups. Does anyone have a good recipe to share?


martha stewart living!

martha stewart living martha stewart living When I was in high school, I used to dream of working for Martha Stewart. I would joke that it would eventually become Rubyellen Living. I know, I’m so silly. I am much more in touch with reality now to know that won’t ever happen, but I am definitely honored to be in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living. It’s like pee in my pants excited! So a slightly different version of my dream came true, but I’ll take it. Thank you Lord! Well, I’m kicking off the weekend with this happy news. Hip, hip, hooray!!!

p.s. don’t forget to pick up your copy!


diy: a very thankful garland

thankful garland thankful garland thankful garland thankful garland thankful garland I wanted the girls to list out things they are thankful for and this was our simple solution…

Strips of colored paper
Colored pencils
Sewing machine

Cut out your strips of paper (add a fancy shape if your heart desires). Let your kids write things they are thankful for. Then, run the strips of paper and the twine through the sewing machine using a zigzag stitch at the top (or you can just tape or glue the twine onto the back of the paper). I hung ours up from the ceiling and it gives it this cool kind of twirling effect.
thankful garland thankful garland My big three girls got in on the being thankful action. I can’t quite comprehend what Soul’s thankful for, but I’m going to guess it’s for shoes and makeup because those are her favorite things… oh boy! I do love reading through all their thankfulness and apparently, Brave is even thankful for numbers! I never would have guessed as math isn’t a fave subject around here. I think it’s good for the girls to go through a list like this often. I really want them to be constantly developing a deep heart of thankfulness, after all, we do have so much to be thankful for!

Do you have anything you are particularly thankful for at this moment? I just ate an In-N-Out burger, so my tummy is very thankful for that.


what’s going on

tidbits tidbits tidbits tidbits Are you bored of every blogger talking about how insanely busy life is? I think life is busy in general for everyone, and those who blog (me included), just like to blab about it. It’s probably monotonous, but it is what it is, and this is where I continue to blab about it… we’ve been so on top of school these days. It makes me excited! And we’re actually ahead in math (we’re never ahead in math). We’ve finished Story of the World: Ancient Times and we’re heading to the middle ages. Brave, my informational text lover, has taken it upon herself to re-read our whole ancient times curriculum. That girl scored high in the informational text assessment test she had to take online, so I guess she wants to up that score even more! I think we’ve been doing so well in our homeschooling this week, we might be able to take Friday off (since we also did do school on Veteran’s Day), and that my friends, is part of the beauty of homeschooling. It isn’t for everyone and it definitely does take discipline, but it’s what is right for our family right now.

Other than school stuff, we’re going to start some Thanksgiving projects and we’ve been doing lots of baking. Ben and I have really been wanting to teach the girls how we can serve others and the community we live in, so we’ve been trying to bake things for others and have people over for dinner. Despite how open I may seem in this space, I am really an introvert, just an extroverted one. My Ben is not an extroverted introvert like me, he’s just straight up introvert.

And while most of you are probably blissfully basking in the wonderfulness that is fall, it was 95 degrees here today. Ugh. Fall, where are you?! We skip out on the challenges of snow, so maybe we’re even. What do you think?

I’m thankful the cleaning we did on my birthday has pretty much stuck around, thus we’re still enjoying a decently clean house. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving week when we have an official week off of school (and I’m hoping I don’t get called in for jury duty), so that I can spend even more time purging. It just feels so good that I think I’m addicted.

Now I’m switching subjects (yet again), the devastation in the Philippines is just so sad. Here I am (and most everyone in the blog world) ranting about too much junk or what junk we want next, and in the Philippines, there are thousands upon thousands who have lost everything when Typhoon Haiyan hit. I’m Filipina and while I’ve never been to the Philippines, my heart goes out to everyone there. My parents are supporters of a missionary group called Amazing Grace Missions and the island that this particular missionary group is located on is near Tacloban, which was the worst hit city. The pastor lost his home, along with the schools and churches that were built, and the cottages that were there for other missionaries. My mom was telling me how sad she is and that we might forgo Christmas presents this year because their resources are going to be helping that mission group rebuild their homes. I told her we were way more than okay with that! Seriously. If you’re the praying type, please pray for all those affected, and if you are led to help, I’d say the Red Cross or UNICEF is a good place to start.

Thanks for checking in to my rant and share for the day. Sorry this post was probably all over the place, but that pretty much sums me up lately. xoxo



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