October 16, 2018

When I was 4 or 5, I had my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I remember the excitement I had at the party and watching the big mechanical Chuck E. Cheese and friends entertaining us. It’s been a long while since then, but now with my own kids, Chuck E. Cheese’s is still as joyful and family friendly. Our family was invited to the unveiling of the Chuck E. Cheese’s new remodel in Foothill Ranch and we were enthusiastic about taking part of the festivities. We loved all the restaurant updates, the girls got to see a grand opening ribbon cutting, and Soul was so excited about helping hold the ribbon for it.

Gone are the mechanical characters of yonder, but in it’s place the characters come out for an hourly live show to sing and dance on their light up dance floor that kids can go on too. They also do a “ticket splash”, which my kids were all about, since tickets are king when you’re here, so they gathered as much tickets as they were able. My eyes were not on the tickets though, my eyes were on the breadsticks. Their breadsticks are my absolute favorite, with a side of ranch of course (I craved them all the time when I was pregnant with True). While they girls were happily devouring their BBQ chicken pizza, I was going to town with my breadsticks.

After dinner, we hit up the games with their play pass game system. We did the All You Can Play wrist bands and the kids had free reign of all the games for a couple hours. All they had to do was swipe and the game started, no more digging for tokens or bugging mom and dad for quarters to get more tokens. It was continuous play and laughter all evening long. I say laughter because some of my girls would just hit up the games of luck to get lots of tickets, and there were a few times they would cash out on 200 tickets in one play. When we started, we all vowed to clean the house of tickets, and I think we did just that because a few machines that we frequented at, ran out. And if you take a closer look at True, you’ll notice she wore an apron because she had plans to have an easy spot to house all her tickets. Clever girl, I tell you. By the end of the night, the girls had accumulated about 6000 tickets! They picked out a couple things for themselves and got a bunch of things for their friends too.

We went home exhausted from the whole adventure, but it was a special bonding time for our family. It was just the kind of carefree evening we needed. There was nothing on the agenda, but have fun, and by golly have fun is what we did. Thank you Chuck E. Cheese’s! It’s still definitely a place where a kid can be a kid, and an adult can be a kid too. Ben and I had way too much playing skee ball, which is my ultimate favorite game ever. We were happy to come home with a pocket full of happy memories with my own kids there.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E. Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with


May 7, 2018

Of course, True’s first day as a 12 year old started off with the birthday breakfast in bed tradition. This time, she was served a 12 stack of chocolate chip pancakes with a bell pepper elephant made by Ben. We gave her some presents along with her breakfast… her mama-made birthday dress, cowboy boots, instax photo stuff, and a magical mirror. She had requested a Whatever After themed birthday, because of one of her favorite book series, so this magical mirror was the key to unlocking some birthday magic.

She read the message on the magical mirror and she was given a reply (by Ben) to give a hint to what was the next adventure. The reply was a little rhyming poem that gave her clues to where we were going and what she had to do. The first one took us Pumpkin Rock, which was a nod to the story of Cinderella (if you head here, note it is a bit steep going up and down the hill)…

Next, it led us to the Giant Apple Boulders, in which our poem to her touched upon Snow White’s story…

Then, the next magical mirror reply led us to the Frog Prince (and there was a snake rock not too far away)…

This next one was a bit tough, but it led us to an Elephant Rock (or lamb), which was touched upon in the book series for the Cinderella story. This one was hardest to find because we thought it was in the landfill, but it was outside of it. That was an adventure because we drove into a landfill looking for it. While here, she was also given a special purse to rub, a la Aladdin…

The magical mirror seemed to be done with the rock scavenger hunt and it led us to drop off the 3 younger girls with a friend, and Ben and I took True on a date. Her choice was ramen! It was nice to give her undivided attention from both of us and a date like this is something we never get to do, so it was extra special to give her this time, and very special to us too. She is super chatty when she’s alone with us!

After lunch and picking up the other girls, the mirror led us to all of our favorite ice cream place, which was part of the hunt to defeat the Snow Queen. Though once we got there, we were too busy indulging in ice cream to snap a picture. Lastly, the mirror took us back home where we ended the celebration with lasagna (her request) and a crownie cake (the book refers to brownies and crownies).

It was a full day of adventures celebrating our 12 year old! We’ve got one year until she’s a teen and I’m so thankful she still loves fairytales. She is not in a hurry to grow up and definitely cherishes being a kid. I’ll take all the years of that I can get! Time really does go by fast and I’m so thankful to God for allowing me this opportunity to disciple her heart. We’ve been at odds more lately, I think it’s that tween-hormonal thing, but she is also my sidekick. We love her so much and are praying God teaches her to rely on Him and His Word to carry through life. Happy 12, dear Truey!


March 14, 2018

I have to admit, Friday night as we loaded the car with all the market goods, I wanted to back out of participating for Golden Years. The forecast was predicting rain all day long and I thought no one would show up. Us Southern Californians don’t get rain often, and when we do, we don’t know how to deal. We can’t drive, go out, get too cold, and don’t function as well without that California sun, so for sure I thought we wouldn’t see anyone at the market that day. Anyway, despite my trepidation, I decided that no matter what, we we’re doing this, and if we got rained out, well then, we got rained out.

There was a light drizzle as we set up in the morning, and by the time everything was in place, it started to rain even more. As the rain kept on coming, the people kept coming too. It was so encouraging! Thankfully, we brought painter plastic to wrap up my tent, so that prevented all my clothes from getting wet. I loved that the rain didn’t stop these vintage lovers from coming out at shop. After talking to other shops, I learned that this was the best Golden Years yet!

I had so much fun meeting other vintage sellers, shoppers, and having a sort of all day date with Ben. Also, I really enjoyed styling up my space. We might have brought more goods to load and unload to set things up than the other vendors, but it’s exactly how I imagined setting up my pop-up shop. I’m really so thankful for technology, the internet, and how it really allows people to pursue things they love. I love vintage, handmade, indie designers, thoughtful fashion, and meeting others who share the same passion. Wovenfolk was born out of that love, as well as my love for baskets.

The next Golden Years event takes place on a day I’m doing flowers for a wedding (June 9), so I likely won’t be able to be there. I’m a little bummed about that, but I will try to make sure and not miss the fall one. It’s such a wonderful market, and if you love vintage, I highly recommend you make sure you make the next one!


February 20, 2018

We befriended one of the photo booth operators from our yearly OC fair tradition (I’m even friends with her on facebook, and she’s typically the one that takes our family photo), so she’s always telling us all about the Date Festival in February. The past few years, we haven’t been able to make it, but finally this year, we made it happen. Also, thanks to being homeschoolers, we got a school pass to get in for free (get info here). The reason she convinces us to go is because at this fair, they (the company that runs the photo booths) have a mini studio that uses this old school film camera to take these black & white family portraits. You take the photo (and try not to blink because they only get one shot) and you have to wait for someone to develop it, then come back to pick it up. The package we chose has 3 – 8×10″ and 8 – wallets ($32 minimum for more than 3 people). We really love the simplicity of these portraits and it’s definitely worth the trek out if you love film photography.

Besides the photo studio and photo booth, there were plenty of shows to watch at the fair. There are all your traditional fair rides too, but we didn’t ride any and spent all our time watching shows. There were pig races, a magic show, marionette puppet show, date cooking show, ostrich, zebra, and camel races, and a few others. The shows were all quirky, rough around the edges type stuff, but still entertaining and fun. Of course, all that fair food was there, but fair food just ain’t our thing. Family time, fair fun, and film photographs as souvenirs are what fairs are all about for us.

More info about the Riverside County Fair and Date Festival here. It runs to February 26th if you want to try and catch it.

dream halloween

October 25, 2017

 This past Saturday, we got to go to the annual Dream Halloween event for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and we all had a blast. It’s the ultimate Halloween party. Not all the girls’ costumes were completed, but that didn’t stop them from getting into character. Ben and I pulled a last minute costume together and were sort of “birds of a feather flock together” kind of thing. I used Brave’s swan lake head from her 5th birthday and Ben used my bird costume from last year (and I changed the color of the beak). And like last year, Glow garnered the most attention for her costume (last year she was rolling around as BB-8). It’s fun looking at the creativity people put into dressing up.

After we stuffed ourselves (the food was fantastic this year, better than last year’s), we headed to the Michaels‘ room. The girls were very eager to visit all the craft tables. They decorated frames, made masks, danced a little, took family photos, but I think they would all agree that the slime decorating table was their favorite. They could have spent the whole night there, but once they learned there was a Star Wars room, they wanted to head there too. C3PO was waiting to greet them there, and they each got their own lightsabers, then went on stage to have a lightsaber duel with each other. The night was filled with crafts and Star Wars, which is pretty much their dream combo, so you can imagine they came home very tired, but happy.

See last year’s party here.

day at the beach

September 5, 2017

Probably kind of lame considering we live in Southern California, but we really don’t spend time visiting the Pacific often. Ironically, Ben moved to SoCal to be near the beach, but we go to the desert way more than the beach. When we were dating, we spent a lot of time at the beach (first date, official boyfriend girlfriend moment, engagement, and lots of other times in between), but with the busyness of life (and California traffic), we don’t go out that often. Thankfully, we have an annual Navales family beach picnic, so right before we kissed summer adieu, we had one last summer hurrah at the beach.

The girls played in the sand and water all day long, Ben and I snacked and relaxed all day long, and we had a good time with family. These are just a few of the snaps I got, but I love all the negative space in the photos. It captures the vastness of the sand and the ocean. We are all merely tiny dots in the gigantic world and it’s pretty amazing. Not only are we dots, but life is such a vapor. These girls are growing up fast and I feel like I waste so much time not treasuring. Feels like the same old story and struggle, but I guess it’s that constant battle of fighting selfishness and intentionality in one’s life. These photos remind me to treasure this glorious earth God has given, the little girls He has placed in my care, and how great my God is. Also, while I love the carefree days of summer, God’s showing me I ought to delight in these days of homeschooling, and the brief moment in time I get to hold and disciple their hearts.

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