Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Farm fresh

We recently joined Abundant Harvest Organics and receive a box of farm fresh food every week. So far we have been really happy with the variety and quality of the fruits and vegetables. I was a little concerned if we would get a good amount of produce for our money but everything above was all from our first week. It is also a fun challenge to try and use all the different food we receive. I have only cooked with eggplant once and never used fresh mint, acorn squash, or so many different varieties of tomatoes.

Part of the produce went into a fresh batch of salsa recently.

This week I'm thinking of making some homemade pasta and tomato sauce. I have longed to have a little garden of our own but this will have to do the trick for now. Plus, I am learning so much about different vegetables and fruits and how to use them in our menu so I feel like I'll make more informed decisions when it comes to our own garden someday.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Turning One

My baby girl turned one on July 17th. We celebrated Star Wars style with her big sister. Violet is an amazing child and I once again feel so blessed that God added her to our family a year ago. Some of you may know but we had a miscarriage two years ago and then became pregnant with Violet a couple months later. This experience made me nervous throughout my pregnancy but I'm so thankful to have a faithful Father who carried us through that experience. Even though I can't explain all the whys of losing our baby, I find comfort and peace in trusting Him. One of the many blessings that came from that difficult experience was added joy in the birth of Violet. It felt like such a celebration of life and the blessing of children.

Violet, you are truly a joy to your daddy and me. Here are a few of the many things about you that make me smile...

-the way you say hi by reaching out to us in excitement
-your little tentative, wobbly steps
-your "kisses" face

-your "cheese" face
-the way you laugh when Sydney plays with you
-the fact that you giggle so much and so easily
-the way you say "Dad, Daddy, Dada, Dad" all day long until he comes home
-how you lay your head on my shoulder when you're tired
-your little chubby hand signing "please"
-how you drink from a straw until you are breathless (someday soon you realize you just have to stop sucking)
-your love for water (we find you in the tub even when it is empty)
-how brave you are

Right now you love all things with buttons, all fruit, and anybody who will pick you up. You don't like being told no, skipping naps, or being quiet in the car.

Little padawan, you are my heart's joy. I pray that this coming year is filled with adventure, exploration, and discovery. I pray that as you become a young lady you are brave and courageous in your walk with the Lord. I love you, Vi!

Much love and blessings,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Homemade Pizza and More Bread

We made homemade pizza using the one-hour bread recipe. It was delicious. I'm still learning how long to bake it and we are experimenting with toppings. Even little Violet loved the pizza. Next time I would like to try a whole wheat crust and bake it at a higher temperature to try and get the bottom nice and crisp.

I have made the bread several times now. The family favorite so far is the whole wheat (with flax seed). It is so great and has the perfect texture. I also made little breadsticks for Violet but they didn't turn out quite right. I think I just overcooked them but the flavor was good. I just used the whole wheat bread but added in some mashed strawberries at the end. I will probably try making them again for her.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Sydney!

My first born baby girl is FIVE today. Can you tell I'm in denial? I just can't believe this precious girl is FIVE! Really? Five? But yes, she keeps assuring me that she is indeed five today.


When you were born:
- you were right on time.
- you had a head full of dark hair (we still don't know where that's from.)
- you immediately stole Daddy heart.
- you had the hiccups multiple times every day (still do usually).
- your Grammie, Papa, Oma, and Frankie were all at the hospital.
- I already loved you.

Today at five:
- you have a heart for kids less fortunate than you.
- you always can make Violet laugh the hardest.
- you are beginning to spell and read.
- you love making up songs and singing loudly for all to hear.
- you love learning new things.
- you are Mommy's helper in everything from laundry to cooking.
- you still have Daddy's heart.
- your favorite movie is How to Train Your Dragon.
- you say "fail" when something goes wrong.
- you love Star Wars.
- you love playing Little Big Planet.
- I love you even more.

Darling girl, I can't wait to see all that God has in store for you. This coming year you start Kindergarten, you will be learning Korean, and you will begin Awanas. And these are just the things we have planned. I am truly blessed to have you as my daughter. I pray that you will always feel loved, continue growing in compassion, and grow into a girl and young woman who hungers for the Lord. I love you, Syd.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Beginning embroidery

Sydney is always interested in trying different crafts. I have been meaning to let her experiment with some hand embroidery for some time now. Last week I let her pick out some fabric and thread from my stash. She picked out some Anna Maria Horner fabric (she is a girl after my own heart) and some pink thread (of course). She decided to add some stitches around the different designs on the fabric. We talked about all different things we could do with her embroidery once she was finished: a shirt, skirt, purse, etc. In the end she decided she wanted to use it as a hankie so that she could start using it immediately.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baking Bread

I recently discovered a great recipe via The Sky is Pink. I knew right away that a one hour bread recipe was something I wanted to try. We have been making it frequently for the past few weeks. We have made the regular loaf, cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon bread. My favorite so far is the cinnamon bread: toasted with butter for the perfect breakfast...or snack. These two loaves above are for friends.

This is a great recipe to make with kids. Sydney loves making it. The bread has a thick homemade bread texture and a rich taste. I think it is perfect to serve with soups and pastas because it is a great tool to soak up all that extra sauce and juice.

Now that I have made the recipe a few times I am ready to start adjusting and experimenting with the bread. I am going to try using wheat flour as well as adding in some flax seed. I also would love to try pizza. I'm thinking fresh basil and tomatoes would be yummy. Finally, I think I would like to try some sort of nut bread too. I'll let you know how it goes and share our experiments with you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beautiful Pottery

I have had my eye out for a nice cake stand for awhile so when I spotted this one that Oh Joy shared I fell in love. Although these are a bit out of my price range, I love them! I may have to save and splurge on a little one in the future. All Jeanette Zeis creations are amazing so go take a look.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Black and White Throw

Here is a black and off-white crocheted blanket for a friend. It is a large granny square crocheted in a soft yarn. These are so quick to make and I always love how they turn out. I have a few more crafts and crocheted projects in the works so I'll share more soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Swimming Experience

Violet and Sydney are different in many ways. Swimming is definitely one of them. Sydney's first experience with a swimming pool did not last long. She started screaming the instant her toe hit the water. Even though she's almost 5 and has had swim lessons she still demands a floaty. Violet is the complete opposite. She was trying to crawl into the pool and laying on her belly splashing away at the edge. As you can guess once we put her suit on she was a happy water baby. I am looking forward to much more swimming with the girls this summer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Craft

Sydney and Violet made these little pendant necklaces for their Grammy and Oma for Mother's Day. Well, mostly Sydney and Mommy made them. I saw the idea over on The Crafty Crow and thought it would be a great project for Sydney. We just added little Violet's fingerprint too. Now both grandmas have a pendant with the girls' fingerprints. I will say it turned out a bit too big to wear though so these necklaces may become Christmas ornaments.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy 29th Shane!

The man I love turns 29 today. I struggled with what to get for him. He means so much to me and another Blu Ray or book just seemed sort of....not enough. In the end, Sydney picked out a record for him (his newest hobbie) and along with a couple small gifts we each made him something. Sydney used some clay that bakes in the oven and made him a pencil holder for his desk. I decided to make him this crocheted yoda to sit and guard the pencil cup. The pattern was a little confusing to me so I sort of changed some things as I went, but that may be because this was my first attempt at any sort of animal or doll. I am happy with the way it turned out and I look forward to trying other creatures in the future.

Shane, I love the way you love me and the girls. You are such a wonderful man of God, an amazing artist, and of course, an amazing father. May your birthday be filled with lots of laughter and fun, and may the Dodgers win today for you! ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Brother's Wedding

My youngest brother was married this past Saturday. It was a beautiful ceremony at my parents' house. He married Stephanie, who already feels like a part of our family but now we officially welcome her to the chaos. I wish them many years of happiness and lots of babies. hee hee

Of course I was too busy during the wedding to take pictures but here's one of them heading out at the end of the night.

And here's one of the my little family, all ready for the wedding and pictures to start.

If you are keeping track, both of my brothers have now been married in the last month. Next up is my sister in October. Let's just say it is a busy year for our family. The good news is our family is doubling in size (almost anyways) and it is so much fun!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Favorite Things: Homemade Gifts

As you already know, I love handmade gifts. The girls have received so many amazing things from friends and family. The amazing knitter, mommy, wife, and friend, Amy made this beautiful vest for Violet (she was wearing it back here too). I just love how soft and tightly knit it is, plus it can be machine washed. Amy blogged about it back here and gave Vi the gift months ago but I just haven't been able to share yet. Hope you are all inspired, I know I am each time Violet wears it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New armoire

We have a 9 month old explorer living in our house. She loves anything off limits including any of big sister's toys, Daddy's flat screen and Blu Rays, and Mommy's crochet hooks and sewing supplies. In order to create a safe land of adventure in the apartment we have been doing some spring cleaning and decluttering. We also finally added this beauty to our living room. I love love love it! There is still a bit of cleaning and organizing to do and then of course my favorite: decorating. It feels so good to go through the house and organize. We are known to move often so usually the cleaning and organizing happens then. However, we have been in this apartment for over 2 years so it was time. I have a few projects in the works so look for some actual crafting up soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A brother's wedding

My brother Richard is only 13 months younger than me. He is dangerously intelligent and loves being a father. On March 27th he was married to Michelle. We welcome Michelle and her daughter Lily to our family. Lily and Sydney are only a couple months apart in age and have very similar personalities. You can imagine Sydney's excitement when learning that Lily was now officially her cousin. She even insisted on getting her a gift!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Care Package

Here is a crocheted lap blanket for my grandma who recently had hip surgery. It is a big granny square and made mostly of Red Heart Soft yarn. We love getting handmade gifts, and unexpected gifts in the mail are always fun, so I thought we would pay it forward. Sydney made a potholder from a loom to include. She is getting really good at making those little potholders.

8.5 months old

Uhhhh, who is this cute baby?

"coo coo"


Opps we got caught.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love her? I do. Immensely.

Friday, March 26, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

Shane finished up on How To Train Your Dragon a few weeks ago and last weekend we celebrated. The crew was treated to a screening of the film and a wrap party on Saturday evening. It was the first time I was able to see the film and I now understand why Shane was so excited. It is a masterpiece of animation, story, and imagination. I just love so many things about it. It is a father/son story placed in an amazing world of vikings and dragons but I don't want to spoil anything for you: just go see it! DreamWorks Animation has done some really funny films but my favorites are Kung Fu Panda and Prince of Eygpt; however, Dragons is better than these in my own opinion. Of course, I may be a bit biased since Shane worked on it. :) I hope everybody else enjoys this film as much as Shane enjoyed being a part of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In an effort to spend more time outdoors I have been taking the girls out hiking recently. Here in Southern California the weather is beautiful and perfect for being outside right now. Often Sydney will get frustrated with hiking and complain that her legs hurt after only a few minutes so I decided to give her a little motivation. To encourage her to explore and look at the world around her we made the following:

Basically, I had her use markers to color an egg carton. Then on our hikes I simply encourage her to find different objects in nature that match her colors. The picture above is some of her treasures from today.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cherilyn's Washcloths

My sister just bought her first house and I wanted to give her a little something to celebrate. As you know I have decided to try and make more handmade gifts this year. I've desired to try making washcloths for awhile so I thought this would be a good opportunity. I used some 100% cotton yarn I already had in my stash and just started crocheting away. It took a couple tries to get a size I liked but I think these turned out well.

The stitch is just a simple double crochet except I crossed them to make little X's. Basically, I would skip a stitch and double crochet into the follow stitch, then for the following double stitch I would work into the one I had skipped. I will definitely be making more in the future and will be trying different patterns too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: The Caboose Who Got Loose

The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet is another family favorite here. First it is a fantastic story full of whimsy and imagination. I must say it is really fun to read aloud. Secondly, it is illustrated by Bill Peet! He is an amazing illustrator. I think it is important to give children examples of high quality art whether it is in books, the music you listen to, or places you take them to experience architecture, design, fashion, etc. Of course, books are an easy and economical way to share the world of art and imagination with your kids.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Favorite Things: Afternoons at the Park

We are lucky enough to have a park right across the street from our apartment. It is not the best park by any means neither in playground equipment or setting but it is wonderful to have a park so close to home. Even though it is the middle of winter we are still able to go frequently. Sydney loves running around playing, Vi enjoys being outside with new things to look at and explore, and I am thankful for a few moments in the sun with my girls and a book. I do realize that as soon as Violet figures out how to crawl these moments of sitting on a small blanket with a book will be over. Our time at the park will become chasing her around and taking all sorts of leaves and dirt out of her mouth but for now I am loving it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: Yummy Yucky

I have always loved reading and I aim to pass that love of books onto my girls. There are lots of great resources out there to learn ways to make reading fun for kids but I think one of the most important is to just spend time every day reading with your kids. I have been falling a little short on this lately so I thought that doing little reviews on the blog might help motivate me to get back into the habit of sharing books with the girls. We will just see how it goes. This first one is going to be simple!

Yummy Yucky, by Leslie Patricelli, is one of our favorite board books. It was given to Sydney as a gift a few years ago from Courtney. I love that it is simple both in words and pictures, making it easy to flip through the pages with an infant who is not too interested in reading yet. Plus, it is a funny way to teach a toddler about what's ok to taste and what is definitely yucky, like the trash can and blue crayons. Look for it at your local library or purchase it for lots of giggles with your toddler.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Valentine Paper Hearts

Sydney made these paper heart garlands to hang in the front window for Valentine's Day. It was inspired from Marta's beautiful and sophisticated version. It was so beautiful and I knew instantly that Sydney would love all the hearts in the window.

First, we collected papers from Mommy's stash in reds, pinks, and blacks, scissors, tape, and string (or in our case pink embroidery thread). Because Sydney is still learning to cut I thought she could use a little help with the heart shape so I just gave her some heart-shaped cookie cutters to use as templates. They worked perfect because they are nice and large for her to hold on to as she traced and after a few hearts she was cutting away confidently without the 'template'.

Meanwhile, I prepared seven lengths of string that would hang in the window. Once Sydney had a good stack of hearts she taped them onto the strings.

Finally, we hung them up.

I think they look great...especially with all that rain on the other side of the window.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favorite Things: Bike rides

This year I would like to really take notice of the blessings in my life: those small things that make my day/week/month special yet so easily get overlooked. Of course, the first one is related to my two sweet girls!

Sydney received a bike for Christmas so we have been out practicing often. So far she is the only bike owner in the family so 'bike rides' is sort of misleading. Usually, Sydney rides her bike and I walk beside her with Violet. Although, lately much more running is involved. On weekends we are joined by Shane for little family outings around the neighborhood.

Monday, January 4, 2010


It is hard to believe that 2009 is already gone. I am not one to sit and reminiscence (at least not out in public on the blog) but this year has been a big one. I have been so blessed! Just a few of the things on my mind are:

- The three of us becoming the four of us!

- Learning that my second baby is so much different then my first and yet somehow her small fingers, her smell, her habits, and her smile seem so familiar.

- Celebrating five years with the man I love.

- Watching Sydney become a huge Star Wars fan (just like her Dad).

- Developing close friendships is always worth the time! I have not always had really close friends, you know the ones that you instantly call if anything significant happens. :)

- Watching the progression of Shane's artistic ability (whether he wants to admit it or not).

- Realizing it has been 10 years since I graduated high school and I am not as young as I sometimes think I am. haha

Of course, the beginning of a year always gets me thinking of what I want to change or improve upon. This year I am looking forward to:

- Violet turning one: the first steps, the first words, and her personality emerging a little more.

- Sydney turning five and starting kindergarten.

- The release of two films Shane has worked on in one year!

- Spending more time with my favorite three people. I am hoping to spend more time outdoors: biking, hiking, etc.

- Creating more. And hopefully sharing more here in the process. I am making a list of projects I want to try. This also includes my longing to make more of the gifts we give this year.

Mostly, I feel excited to see what God has in store for me and my family this year. I know that whatever the highs and lows He will always be by my side through it all. I pray each of us is acutely aware of His providence this year! May you each be blessed in 2010.