messy me, thankful for a village, and lots of grace

camellias and roses This week has felt like one jumbled mess! Between getting our bathrooms remodeled (everything downstairs feels gritty), the joys and chaos of mothering, lots of homeschooling lessons, Ben working lots of late nights, and the added stress of getting True ready for her first round of standardized state testing has put me on edge. Especially that bit about state testing.

One thing I love about homeschooling is that we don’t really have to teach to the test, but at the same time, I want to make sure she’s equipped to navigate it. I’m sure the reading and writing will be a cake walk for her, but math isn’t her strength. Also, I’ve seen the Common Core way of asking questions, and it’s pretty sneaky (sometimes I’m not even sure what they’re asking). We’ve been spending extra time doing math activities and worksheets in preparation for it. In regards to all the other school stuff though, we are almost done for the year. Hurray!

Tuesday was a particularly rough day (f-bombs included), by the end of it, I was no longer talking to the children, just yelling. Is this the story of my life or what?! I shared a little about it here too. I could feel a lot of anger and crankiness in my heart, so I started texting some friends (and my own mom) to pray for me. They lovingly pointed me back to Jesus, and reminded me that my desire to control is exactly what put Jesus on the cross, and only through Him am I set free from my own desires. I needed to hear that truth. I was just exhausted, and it’s okay to be exhausted because it’s normal. It’s just that my heart needed that rebuke and reminder, and that’s why community is so important! We weren’t meant to navigate our lives alone; everyone needs their own village, and I’m thankful for the one we are part of.

Did you know I get scared to share these parts of me here? But it helps me think through things when I write it out, and while we all know we probably aren’t alone in feeling the things we go through, it’s nice to read someone else going through it too. It’s kind of validation that we are all in this together.

Blogs started off as this grand community of sharing and has grown into a full on business for a lot of people, and now it’s mostly about consuming. I’m personally very thankful for the opportunities that have come from it, but now these once personal (and encouraging) spaces can feel a bit too commercial. I’m not saying it’s wrong to take part in sponsored posts and work with brands (I do it!), but blogging is just a different game now. Despite how its evolved, I still love that this is a place where I can share what I’m learning in this stage of my life, ultimately, this space is still very much me! And honestly, I’ve said this before, and I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, but I’m very thankful for all of you who do take the time to read here (or on instagram). The tidbits and encouragement you do share really mean a great deal. Sometimes after I hit publish on a post like this, I worry if I said too much. Then I remember, it’s not good being a people pleaser, and there’s no harm in thoughtfully saying what’s in my heart. It really is my hope and prayer that the stories I share here stir your heart towards grace (and that you’d learn from my mistakes!).



our sky lantern hanging light

sky lanterns sky lanterns sky lanterns sky lanterns sky lanterns sky lanterns When my friend Abby came over, she noted how our koushi inspired light was very similar to a sky lantern (those lanterns you light up and let float away into the sky, like in the movie Tangled), which then peaked my interest and I asked her if she thought I could use them as a light pendant of sorts. Well, a few days later, Abby had sent a sweet surprise…. a colorful package of sky lanterns arrived in the mail!

She sent the package a couple months back, but I’m just now getting to decorate with it. I want to hang all of them up somewhere, but for now, I just did the orange one in our homeschooling room. I added a 20″ strand of wire and attached it to the hoop already on the lantern, and then I hung it on a screw hook that was inserted into the ceiling. I used our swag light cord kit (from this project) and hung that from the ceiling too. I placed the light bulb near the top center of the sky lantern, and used another smaller piece of wire to keep the light attached to the center of the lantern so it doesn’t move around. When the light is on, its orange glow gives off a warm vibe. It’s not the main lighting in the room, so it wouldn’t get much use, but of course, it’s not something to leave unattended.

I know Abby purchased the sky lanterns from eBay, but I’m not sure from which seller. I’m thinking of adding a couple more to join the orange one, so it’ll be a nice cluster together, but I haven’t decided which colors to mix in.

p.s. the hanging chalkboard on the wall is a project from my book!



family meals: week 101

family meals family meals Mexican Picadillo. We went over to our friends’ place for dinner, and my friend Kelley made this dish for us. It’s a recipe her mom made often for her growing up, and I loved it so much that I made it at home a couple days later (I texted her for the recipe). She cooked it over the stovetop, but I wanted to see if the crockpot would work well for it, and indeed it did. It is basically lean ground turkey (she used ground beef), quartered potatoes, fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, serranos, cilantro, with a teaspoon of cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. I cooked it on high for about 4 hours and it came out so delicious. Leftovers were even better because the flavors had a longer period to blend together.

family meals family meals Ground Turkey Tacos. You really can’t go wrong with tacos. They win in our family every time.

family meals family meals Bún Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Rice Noodles) with Chả Giò (Egg Rolls)The BFF texted me this recipe when she made this a few weeks back. She told me that its spice level made her husband feel like he was dying, so then I knew, we would love this! HA! I finally got around to making it this week, and let me tell you… oh, we loved it!!! Don’t let the name intimidate you, it’s really quite simple to make. Everything is just absolutely delicious, and I baked the eggs rolls instead of frying them! Seriously, that is amazing. This just opened a whole new world for me and my family. I’m Filipino, and lumpia (Filipino egg roll) is delicious, but so bad because it’s deep fried. I probably haven’t had any in a few years (we don’t eat much Filipino food). Now, that I know they can be baked, I’m going to try and make them for my girls. Anyway, this is noodle and egg roll recipe is one you must try! Hungry Huy is right when he says this dish is “love in a bowl.”

Week of 4/13 – 4/17
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Sesame Soba Noodles
Thursday: Filipino Pork Stew with Mixed Vegetables
Friday: Tilapia Ceviche (we have this every Friday)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?



on my bedside table This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

We are almost done with our grammar and writing curriculum for the year… yeah! Too bad we are behind in math. #storyofourlife

I am thankful for new friends that have come into our lives.

Super thankful to get all the laundry done yesterday.

Love the new rings Lisa Leonard has designed (the “clean lines” ring is my fave, this one is runner up). Also, love the “tiny twig” necklace (see both pictured above).

With our bathroom remodel underway, I’m in home decorating mode!

Love this vintage tapestry bag.

I think this round jute rug is pretty.

Finished reading The Dressmaker; it was a good read.

My sister comes home in about 40 days (she’s been gone almost a year). I’m so excited!!!

This week I’ve been more snippy than usual. I need to choose Jesus and love selflessly even when things feel out of my control. I don’t do well when I don’t feel in control.

I want our front lawn to look like this. With the California drought, we want to get rid of our lawn and use things that are more drought tolerant. Ben is lobbying for a front yard vegetable garden too, but we totally need to finish the back before we start the front.



diy: pom pom headband & clips

pom pom headbands Pom Pom Headband & Clips

Yarn (in various colors)
Alligator clips (we used this 4.5cm and this 6cm)
3″ x 4″ piece of cardboard (for pom pom making)
Glue gun/glue stick

1. To make your pom poms: Cut a slit across the middle to the center of the cardboard piece. Insert a 10″ strand of yarn and let it hang evenly on both sides of the slit. Wrap yard around the cardboard until you reach the desired thickness. Using the 10″ strand, tie a secure knot around the wrapped yarn. Mature sure to pull it tight before knotting. Slide the pom pom off the cardboard. Cut through all the loops and shape your pom pom by trimming around as needed.

2. For the headband, add a dab of glue where your pom pom will go, and attach the pom on that spot. Continue to use your long strands to knot the pom pom onto the headband by knotting on the bottom, and taking the long strands and knotting tightly at the top too. For the clips, add a dab of glue near the knotted portion of the pom, and attach alligator clip. Snip any long strands to blend with the rest of the pom pom.

Note: To make the smaller pom poms, I just wrapped the yarn around two of my fingers.

pom pom pom pom pom pom headbands And boom! We have another fun hair accessory! These girls are always asking to make new ones. Brave looks like some sort of pom pom princess with her three poms. It would be adorable to use brown yarn, spread them apart on the headband, and make it look little like bear ears. I bet most of you already have the supplies to make this. It’s such an easy DIY that definitely adds a fun pop to a spring outfit.

pom pom headbands pom pom headbands pom pom headbands pom pom headbands These girls are such a riot! As long as they’re home, there’s never a dull moment (while I love them home, I also cherish the dull moments I get from time to time). Based on how hormonal I get, I know the teenage years ahead will be tumultuous ones with someone going through some sort of feels all the darn time. Poor Ben, he will need a safe hiding place sometimes. I feel like “we’re living la vida loca,” but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We really love having four girls; they refine me so much!

I guess the skort is back. I’ve seen them for adults and I love the pair Brave’s wearing. I was a total skort person back in the day, and I loved pairing them with my flatform sneakers. Actually, I’d totally wear Brave’s whole ensemble from her birk-esque silver sandals to her denim top. I’ve been wanting a denim top just like that (I’ll probably just sew one, or thrift one and refashion it). Soul proclaimed her dress is perfect for twirling (that is one of her criteria in determining if she likes something). True’s going through that long and lanky stage, and wearing shorts make that quite evident. And Glow, sweet Glow, she’s the baby and just goes with the flow of whatever is going on. Though, she is slowly starting to become more vocal about things she likes and doesn’t like.

on true: boho top & patterned shorts, c/o old navy. clogs, lotta from stockholm. on brave: denim top (similar here), linen skorts, and silver sandals, c/o old navy. on soul: jersey dress & jelly sandals, c/o old navy. on glow: color-blocked dress & sneakers, c/o old navy.

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. I’m very grateful for the continuous support you have given this space and the brands I partner with! 



ms. tips citykid lotta sqapothecary entrance10


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