Friday Quick Takes


October 20, 2017 by Sarah

one. The fires in Napa have been very much on my mind these last few weeks. From where we are, 2 hours away, we smelled lots of smoke last week and my kids had to play indoors due to the air quality. We have family who needed to evacuate and close friends whose wedding was cancelled and replanned locally in less than 3 days. For anyone interested in donating towards Napa disaster relief, here’s one place I found where you can give.

Okay now, it really feels like fall.

two. It finally feels like fall around here, after a visit to the pumpkin patch! The one we visited had such a beautiful array of pumpkins, so many different colors and shapes and sizes.

three. Pumpkin recipes and toasted pumpkin seeds!

We are on our second week of getting a CSA box, and I'm so loving it!! Today I had my 4 year old with me to pick up our crate full of strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, escarole, collards, celery, carrots, and peppers. I'm enjoying just letting whatever the farm sends us guide our cooking. #csa #highgroundorganics #farmfresh #farmtotable

four. I’m on week 3 of getting a CSA box and I’ve been loving it. I thought that I’d have to supplement with more vegetables from the grocery store, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I have more than I can use in a week. One of the cool things already has been cooking with new-to-me vegetables! I’ve now cooked with escarole and collard greens, and both were great.

five. Has anyone else out there been browsing Target’s upcoming Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line? When I first heard of it, I was sure I would be wanting to buy the entire line. After looking through every single item (!), I was surprised to find my “want list” pretty small, which is probably a good thing. A few of the things on a list? This pitcher, this tree skirt, and this doormat.

Pregnancy, This Time Around


October 6, 2017 by Sarah


I’m 29 weeks pregnant! We are looking forward to welcoming our fourth, a baby girl, due Christmas Eve.  I had it in my head to write all about the first trimester, many weeks ago, to remember and capture it. But then all of a sudden, the third trimester started and this baby inside of me has grew to now be about 3 pounds and there’s tons of movement in there at all times of the day and night.

Pregnancy this time around has felt in many ways very familiar but pretty different in others. The first trimester nausea was a few degrees worse and lasted a week or two longer. Like other times, I had tons of food aversions, couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen, felt this low to mid level blah throughout the entire day, and just had to spend a lot of effort thinking of what I COULD eat. I don’t even know what I did eat or what our family ate these few months! I think I had a lot of bread and cheese and we did a lot of take-out. Somehow we got through it and week 14 hit and the morning sickness magically lifted, and I was so glad.

A funny thing this time has been feeling caught off guard by my seeing myself in the mirror. It’s changed now, but for a lot of the middle of the pregnancy when I was starting to show, I would see a reflection of myself and then suddenly remember that I was pregnant. With 3 kids 5 and under, I’m in so many different places all the time, that I’ve just felt a little more distanced from this pregnancy. Being pretty big now and having baby girl kicking and squirming inside of me now days though, keeps me reminded pretty well that I’m carrying with me a new little life.

Very soon, we will be needing to set up a bassinet, change around our van seating orientation, organize tiny clothes, and order nursing bras. We are excited for our Christmas gift on the way!


Homemade Vanilla Extract


September 15, 2017 by Sarah


I remember the first time a friend brought over homemade brownies. My mind was blown,  you can make your own brownies? Without the mix? Growing up, my mom cooked so much from scratch. So much so that I thought that from scratch meant that you actually milled your own flour or made your own tofu. But there were definitely easy pantry items that she always had on hand. That orange box of Japanese curry cubes, canned beans, and a Costco sized brownie mix.

Since that homemade brownie moment, I’ve been exploring other homemade pantry items, The Homemade Pantry cookbook is a fun resource for this if you’re interested.

One of the things I’ve been since experimenting with? Vanilla beans. Just this week I added them to my youngest daughter’s cupcakes and frosting for her birthday, and twice in the last month I’ve made homemade vanilla extract. Yes, you can make your own vanilla extract, and it’s very easy.


The process involves just 2 ingredients, bourbon (or vodka, rum, or brandy) and vanilla beans. You split the vanilla beans in half, place them in a bottle, add the bourbon, give it a shake, store it in a cool dark place, every so often give it a few more shakes, and in a month or two, it’s ready to use. I picked up the bottle for just a few dollars at Cost Plus World Market.


You can follow the recipe I used here.

Friday Quick Takes


September 8, 2017 by Sarah

one. I discovered a new podcast that I’ve really been enjoying.

two. I got a krinkle cut knife a little while ago for my young kids to use when helping me in the kitchen! It’s a great step up from a butter knife but not as scary as handing a sharp chef’s knife to a 4 or 5 year old. The other night, Gianna used it to help me make oven baked fries.


three. Speaking of time with Gianna, I’ve been finding that since she’s started elementary school, it’s hardest to find one on one time with her. Caleb and Eliza are home with me a lot more and time alone with them comes up more naturally and frequently. With Gianna, I have to be thoughtful of the week and schedule time. What’s been working the last two weeks has been having my father-in-law take the younger two during her gymnastics class, I take her by myself and then we have some alone time together before we rush off to get them. Last week was ice cream bars and an episode of Barefoot Contessa together, this time we went to the library then prepped dinner together. I love it, and so does she.

four. My favorite oven baked fries recipe that we made if you’re interested.

fiveToothbrushes made from recycled yogurt cups.

six. My bookclub book for this month. The title is a little.. spicy. I’m one chapter in so far. Has anyone read it? Another book that’s on my radar.

seven. My littlest one is turning two in a few days! I can’t believe it, she is still my baby. I spent the afternoon making a quadruple batch of these to celebrate.

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum.

A Day in the Life


September 1, 2017 by Sarah

I thought it would be amusing to record a typical day for us. I’ve always found it fun to hear about what other mom’s days look like, especially those who don’t work outside the home. What do we do anyway?? Here’s what yesterday looked like.

6AM: Woke up on my own. Read the Blessed is She daily devotional, spent a few minutes praying. Got ready for the day, published a quick family blog post about Gianna’s kindergarten back to school night.

6:40AM: Pat leaves for work.

6:50AM: Gianna and Caleb are awake, happy, and fully dressed. They play while I make breakfast, reheated hard boiled eggs in a mug of hot water, quick hash-browns, and peach slices. I’m going to miss summer fruits.

7:10AM: Eliza wakes up happy, YES. Eat breakfast.

7:45AM: Out the door for school drop-off. I experimented with leaving a little later to get Gianna to school right when it was time to get into class to help with the mommy separation anxiety. She did great this time around.

8:30AM: Drop off Caleb at preschool.

9:00AM: Arrive at a friend’s house with a meal that I prepped the night before. Eliza and her daughter play while we get to catch up!

10:45AM: Back at home, throw some laundry in the wash, water the garden, prep quesadillas for lunch. Caleb is always starving after preschool so I always bring him a mini-lunch for the drive home.

11:30AM: Pick up Caleb from preschool.

12:00PM: Lunch, hang laundry out to dry, a neighbor friend drops off Gianna from school pick up.

1:00PM: Nap time starts for Eliza. The older kids play quietly, I read to them, and today I was able to get in a quick nap!

2:30PM: Gymnastics class for Gianna, my father-in-law meets me at the gym and takes the younger kids to his house while I get to watch class and get a few things done.

3:30PM: Gianna and I are home alone and have a spontaneous little date, eating chocolate ice cream bars on the couch while watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa. This was such a special treat, I’ve been looking for special time with my oldest girl and this was perfect.

4:30PM: Pick up younger kids from my in-laws house. End up hanging out for a while for the kids to play with their cousins who are staying there now.

6:00PM: Get back home and have leftover spaghetti and pesto pasta for dinner. Caleb has a major meltdown and I count down the minutes until Pat gets home.

6:20PM: Pat is home, I retreat to our room and take a short recharge break. Then it’s onto cleaning up.

7:45PM: Kids are down for the night! Most nights lately, I’m in the room with Gianna helping her fall asleep. I was glad to not do that tonight so I could prep for an upcoming trip.

8:15PM: Catch up with Pat, shower and get ready for bed. Work on this blog post, watch a show.

9:30PM: Read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to wind down.

10:00PM: Goodnight!

Friday Quick Takes


August 18, 2017 by Sarah

one. In case you missed it, I’ve been majorly happy with my new stylist and new, naturally curly hair routine. I feel like I’m finally really enjoying and embracing my curly hair and wanted to share it with the world. (: Especially since I’m always looking for posts like this out there but never found anything!

two. I ordered a number of things from the Nordstrom anniversary sale but am returning a lot it because of fit and style. I am holding onto two of these t-shirts, they’re super comfy and even not on sale, they’re a great price. I’m always looking for a good tee.


three. For the first time ever, we enjoyed a heavy harvest of beautiful, fat heirloom tomatoes. I’m guessing close to 30 lbs worth! I’m drafting a post (in my head for now) about how we’re using all those tomatoes that all come at the same time, but one of the most fun and delicious ways was that last weekend, we had friends over and had something of a tomato feast. Roasted tomato soup with BLT’s. I’m already daydreaming about NEXT summer when we can do it all over again.

four. Speaking of food, cucumber kimchi is hands down my favorite kimchi and I found this easy looking recipe for it. The same blogger behind that recipe has a Essential Korean Cooking Ingredients list which is excellent, in case you are interested in Korean cooking but don’t know where to start!

five. I’ve always been hesitant with technology which is ironic given we live in the Silicon Valley and my husband works in the tech industry. His company is behind the tech for this article written by a journalist using a chatbot to hold onto his dying father’s stories and memories. It made me think and appreciate creative ways to use technology.

six. My bookclub book for August, with school starting I don’t know how much I’ll be able to read. It looks good though!

seven. Some DYI inspiration.


  • On the blog getting ready for school lunches! My oldesthellip
  • Homemade tzatziki with at least one of the cucumbers fromhellip
  • On the blog today my naturally curly hair routine! Itshellip
  • We are getting our first ever harvest of figs!! Afterhellip
  • We grew a watermelon! Gianna picked out a watermelon planthellip
  • Our tomato harvest came and went really fast this summerhellip
  • Holding onto summer as long as possible! travelingwithkids beachlife dontgoawaysummer
  • Im so glad I didnt pull out these eggplant plantshellip
  • On the blog today bourbon vanilla extract! I love makinghellip
  • Im so excited to snuggle with the little one whohellip
  • Okay now it really feels like fall
  • We are on our second week of getting a CSAhellip

At a Glance

  • DSC_8242
    3 Easy Korean Sides
  • DSC_6022
    My Meeting with a Stylist
  • DSC_4938
    Capellini with Tomatoes + Basil
  • IMG_0751
    Cloth Diapering 101