Saturday, December 26, 2015


Christmas day 2015 has come and gone. It's midnight now here in Oceanside, CA and I'm sitting in the living room of the beach house our family rented for our reunion, watching and listening to the waves of the ocean. There's something soothing about watching and listening to the ocean waves. It helps me reflect on my thoughts from the day.

And so tonight..I'm reflecting on the "Family". It's such a broad subject but here's what I've been reflecting on during the holiday season where you spend a lot of time with family. So as much as I love starting new traditions during the holiday season, I'm realizing that I want my girls to have a solid understanding of what family is. Here are some of my reflections. Please note these are not observations of what is occurring in my family. 

1. God orchestrated the family you are in. I know that sometimes it's not all hunky dorey  amongst ALL family members ALL the time (and if it is, I'd love to know how your family does it!). Hurt feelings, opinions, criticisms, pessimism, judgements, drama, the list could go on and on about all the negative things that occur within a family unit. And this all happens because we're all human and it's just plain hard to always "get along" and be "peaceful". is family and sometimes I just wish that the "truth" can be spoken in love and received with love so that we can live life together as a family that builds each other up and not puts each other down. 

2. Expectations in a family can sometimes be helpful but also hurtful. Sometimes, it's great to have expectations or some people might say "hopes" for people in the family because you want the best for them or for them to reach their highest potential. But sometimes, these expectations can end up being hurtful when the person in the family doesn't live up to the expectations. I hope that instead of having expectations, we have a heart of grace and mercy for others in the family, building each other up with encouragement. 

3. Give thanks for the people in your Family. I am very thankful for my family (this includes my own family, my immediate family, extended family, inlaw family, and extended inlaw family). I know that we are all not perfect human beings but these are the people who will always be a part of your life (whether you haven't spoken to them in awhile or seen them). Family is FAMILY...period. It is a blessing to be part of family. 

4. My hopes for my own 2 girls and their understanding of what family is. This list is a work in progress but this is what I desire for my girls as of now... 
  • Instead of judgement and criticism, we extend grace to each other in any circumstance,
  • We give thanks for each other.
  • Family is your earthly foundation that God placed in your life. Appreciate the people in your family and love them.
  • Speak truth to each other in love and mercy and receive the words with love.
  • Family will always be there for you. Cheering you on, listening to you, and loving you.
  • We build each other up with words of blessing and encouragement.
And so as the holiday season is winding down soon, I hope that you have had time to spend time with your family and enjoying each moment. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thoughts on being a SAHM

I really can't believe 2015 is almost over. I feel like as I get older, time seems to fly by even faster. It's late at night, the house is quiet and  I'm sitting here reflecting on this past year. A lot has changed and sometimes I am in disbelief at how much has changed. The biggest change this year was taking a leave from my teaching job to be a SAHM (Stay at home mom). Say what?! Who would have thought I would leave teaching (which I really do love!) to stay at home with my 2 little girls? I distinctly remember telling my friends that I would NEVER be a SAHM because I didn't think I would have it in me to be one nor would I like it. Well....let's just say that was 10 years ago and waaay before I had kids. So, now it's been 6 months since I left teaching to be a SAHM. So this begs the question: what do I think about this new gig of being a SAHM?

Here are a few things that I love and things I struggle with as a SAHM. I'll start with the things I love first (always start with the positive!)
1) I love being able to spend time with my girls. Even though I love routines and schedules, there are days where we just lounge around at home and just play or do a random outing to a park/zoo/etc. just the 3 of us. I love those moments.  

2) I love having the energy and time to spend on taking care of things related to our family and house. This includes chores, cooking, random errands, etc. 

3) I love having energy and time to spend with Dave and our friends (ie. Tuesday playgroup, other playdates, date-nights, dinners, hanging out, etc.).

4) I love having the time to be able to spend on things that give me joy (ie. crafting, decorating, and organizing ( gives me joy to organize)).

Things I struggle with as a SAHM cuz I gotta tell you, there are days when the STRUGGLE is REAL!  ("I'm just sayin" as one of my friends would say) Being a SAHM is the hardest job I've ever had!

1) I struggle with feeling appreciated. This is the biggest struggle of all because there are those days where all you hear are 2 little girls whining, complaining, or yelling at you. This is when it's hard to feel like all the effort, patience, and love you've poured out is appreciated by them. There's definitely no one patting me on the back saying "great job momma for handling that meltdown or tantrum with grace and love". 

2) I struggle with having patience because there are days when "I've had enough". PERIOD

3) I struggle with taking a step back and finding joy and appreciation for the little things that happen throughout the day. 

So despite my struggles..and when I take a step back to look at the bigger picture, I truly am grateful to have the opportunity to be a SAHM. It definitely is a blessing that I am able to spend this time at home with the girls. I do miss teaching and the students but in the meantime, family and being the best mom I can be for my girls and the best wife for Dave is my priority and I'm loving it!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Picture Book Preview #3

Happy Monday everyone or should I say..hope Monday wasn't too bad for everyone? Mondays always seem hard no matter what and as for my 3 yr old, Monday mornings are a difficult time transitioning back into the week routine of preschool. So, I've been reading this book to help her identify and understand her emotions she has. This book was a gift from her uncle and I absolutely love it!

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings  by Jo Witek is a wonderful book that introduces children to the different feelings their hearts can have. It explains what angry feels like, what silliness is like, what it means to be scared, etc. The illustrations are super cute and colorful and I love how they illustrate each feeling. 
This book would make a great gift for any child at any age! =) I definitely give this a thumbs up and a must-have to read with kids! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Picture Book Preview #2

Happy Friday everyone! TGIF! Thanks to all of you who are reading the blog and commenting on FB about it. I really appreciate it!

So, welcome back to Picture Book Preview #2. This next book is another great find from Powell's Books in Portland. Isn't the cover so cute?

The Wonderful Things You Will Be is written by Emily Winfield Martin, who is from Portland. What I love about this story is that it's written from the perspective of the parents and it portrays all the dreams and hopes a parent would have for their child as they grow up. What's even better is that these hopes are all about how the child will build his/her character. Example: "And the bigger your heart, the more it will hold." Then of course the best part is the end when the parent says "..And I'll love you, Whoever you've grown up to be." *sniff sniff* Seriously..what an awesome book! It's short and so sweet. I've been reading this book everyday to my girls! It's one of those books that you'd want to save until your kids grow up and keep as a memento. Here's an idea (a spinoff from one of my close church friend Mere): She has been having all caretakers and people that are involved in her daughter's life sign a special book, which for her is Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. You could do that with this book OR you can have your child tell you each year of their life one characteristic about themselves that they like and then write it in the book with the date and age. For example, if I were to ask my 3 yr. old, "Are you brave, strong, or kind? I think she might say "brave", but that's my guess. Then I'd write it in the book on one of the blank pages, date it, and write her age. As she gets older, I'd ask her to write it herself. Now, with my 1.5 yr. old, I'd probably do the same either with this book or with another book. Hmmm..something to think about! =) Hope you enjoyed this Picture Book Preview #2! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Picture Book Preview #3 next week on Monday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Picture Book Preview #1

As some of you might know, I love children picture books! It's a good thing I'm a teacher because I get to read some great picture books everyday to my students. =) Well, since I'm not teaching this year and staying at home with my girls,  I have my great collection of picture books from my classroom to read to them. However, I am always on the lookout for new books to add to my growing library! I could spend hours just reading and perusing through the children book section in a bookstore or even the library.

Nowadays, with my 3 year old, I've been looking for books that help build her self-esteem, character, and teach her life lessons. I really love stories where there is a life lesson to be learned from the plot or character and stories that just are plain encouraging and uplifting for the heart and soul! I'll be sharing one book at home in the next 3 blog posts. So stay tuned!

So, without further ado, here is one of my favorite picture books right now that I've been reading with my girls.

I discovered this picture book What Do You Do With An Idea? at Powell's Books in Portland while on a girls weekend trip. If you haven't been to this AMAZING bookstore in Portland, be sure to check it out! It's like a candy store for book lovers! =) I love this story because it's about this little boy who has an "idea". The author and illustrator portrays this "idea" as a type of thing (the little golden "egg" character) which I absolutely adore! It gives kids a great visual that an "idea" is like a living thing because an idea is brought to life in our minds! So the story takes the reader through the little boy's thoughts and feelings  about his "idea". He doesn't know what to do with his "idea" when it first popped into his life and wanted to it to go away but the "idea" kept following him around wanting attention and love. Then the story continues with the boy's acceptance of his "idea" and realizing that it's HIS "idea" and he's going to take care of it. He shares his "idea" with people around him and some like it and some don't. The boy learns that it's okay that some people don't like his "idea" because after all it's HIS idea and he's going to keep it around! In the end, the boy realizes that his "idea" can change the world! 

What an amazing and encouraging story that teaches kids that their ideas are meaningful. I also really love how the author portrays not just the positive things but also the difficult things that a person would encounter when they have an "idea" and want to share the "idea". In addition, I thought the illustrations perfectly portrayed the storyline. It's hard to explain it in words so you'll just have to get the book! =) I promise, it's a keeper that everyone in the family (young and old) will enjoy! Feel free to leave comments on what you think of this post and if you have any suggestions of new or old picture books that you love! I always love hearing picture book recommendations! Stay tuned for another picture book suggestion coming out this Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

For the Love of Community - Jen Hatmaker

Been really pondering what it means to be in community with others around me. Getting to and creating that depth in a friendship/relationship takes time. As I was perusing my Facebook feed I came upon this video that someone from our church shared and I just love how Jen Hatmaker describes how community begins. I love how she says "it just takes a table or a porch and food...just invite others around a table...conversation can just start with talk about trashy TV but eventually as you gather together more and more, the conversations itself become more meaningful and you begin to share your heart.." <3 this. Thank you Lord for speaking through this video.  Thought I'd share this as well with you all.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Being in Community...

Our church has been focusing a lot on discovering what it means to be "in community" with others around us through Scripture. I guess I wanted to share my thoughts and hopes because I really appreciate this journey that my church is going through during this season. 

First off, I really appreciate being in Community with others, no matter who you are or what you believe. I firmly believe that God has placed each individual in our lives for a reason. So for that, I am so grateful and blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

After today's sermon from our pastor, he challenged us to think about our relationships/friendships and how can we move from a notion of  being "friendly" to having deeper relationships/friendships with each other. So that brings the question of what does it mean by having a deeper relationship with others. Well, my hope is that by being in community with others, I would be able to share freely my  joys, hopes, fears, and struggles, listen to others with a heart of grace, mercy, love, laugh together through life's joyous moments, and cry together during our most difficult times. I know for me at least, it's sometimes hard to "open" up and share life's deepest moments (happy or sad) because I feel insecure about what others might think. But as I've been learning how to share with others, it's been amazing to hear others share their lives with me as well! 

I guess this topic of "community" has been really hitting home for me because of my recent life change in being a SAHM (stay at home mom). I've come to realize that being a SAHM can be lonely at times even though it's the most rewarding job ever! So I am grateful to the community of friends that God has placed in my life (I know I said this earlier above, but had to say it again!). With that said, I am really looking forward to what God brings in this season of life in terms of community and the relationships that I already have with all of my friends and family. What does being in community with others mean to you? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kon Mari'ing Kids Clothes

Summer has come and gone and boy was it a fun-filled summer in our house! At the beginning of the summer way back in June, I had one week all to myself while the kids were still in daycare. So..what did I do with my free time? ORGANIZE of course! Who doesn't love a clean, organized, and tidy space? I certainly do!

So, a friend of mine introduced me to this newest tidying book that everyone has been reading and obviously I'm late to the bandwagon. Anyone else reading this or have read it? 

I have to say, this book is actually entertaining to read and the way Kon Mari talks about tidying up is different than anything I've heard before. Basically, the premise is "Choose and keep things that brings you joy." Well, duh, how come I never thought of that? SO SIMPLE! 

Okay, so as I'm reading this book, I was reading up on one of my favorite blogs iheartorganizing and she had this Four Week "Wait-No-More" Organizing Challenge! What great timing to get myself started on decluttering, tidying, and organizing my house one space at a time! So what space did I choose first? THE GIRLS CLOSET!

We recently just moved back into our house after remodeling our bathrooms and the bedrooms. After moving in, we decided to have the girls finally share a room. Hooray for me cuz now I get my office back! This meant I had to combine two girl closets into one, which was daunting to me because they both had so much clothes! So in comes the Kon Mari Method! 

Step 1: Purge! Take everything out...Seriously, look at all those clothes. How could a 2.5 yr old and a 16 month have so many clothes! I had to do a panorama to get it all in and to be honest after I took the picture, I found two more bins of clothes hiding in another room!
Before Purge
Step 2: Organize clothes. I kinda went overboard in organizing and I think I could have done it in a more efficient way but in the end, it all got done. I first grouped everything by type of clothing (pants, short, dresses, jackets, etc.). Then within each group I organized by clothing size (0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, etc). Here's a snapshot of what I did.

Organizing by clothing type..look at how the bins are overflowing!

Step 3: Folding the KonMari Way! I had to view several youtube videos on how to fold the KonMari Way.  I folded all the girls' clothes including socks and bibs. Here's a snapshot of their drawers. I used empty shoeboxes to hold the smaller items such as socks. This was a suggestion from the Kon Mari Method book. 

Reflection: This process ended up being a week-long project. It was very freeing to purge and clear up space in the closet and dresser. It's been 2 months since I've completed this project and it's been really easy finding clothes and putting clothes away because everything has its place. Sorry for the long post but hope you enjoyed reading my process of organizing my kids' clothes. What have you been organizing lately? Anyone else trying out the Kon Mari Method?

Yes those are post-it labels! I love labeling everything!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

ShareEats with me!

So when there's something new that sparks my interest and curiousity, I'd be willing to give it a try! Along comes ShareEats!  A new community food app that I'm helping to Beta test! So would you like to ShareEats with me while I'm testing it out? I'll be posting just a few things I enjoy cooking on ShareEats. My first food that I'll be sharing is my finger-licking baked Honey Soy Sauce Chicken Wings! You can pair it with some sauteed green beans and a starch and it's a healthy full meal! If you're wondering what ShareEats is all about, come and check it out! Here's the info below. 

I'm inviting you to a community food app that I'm helping to Beta test called ShareEats. With ShareEats, you can order and pick up my home-cooked Honey Soy Sauce Chicken Wings (for pick-up this Tuesday)! Download the iPhone app here:

All members are personally invited to join. Please email me or text me for your private invite code to join!

Important: Be sure to allow the app to access your location so you can instantly find my food listings. 

Also, if you are open to providing feedback, let me know and I will have Carol (one of the app designers), reach out to you after you give it a try. 

Thanks in advance to those who are going to ShareEats with me!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A New Chapter..

I've been a teacher for the past 10 years and I have loved every minute of it! Teaching is truly a passion of mine and even though there are some "rough" days, I still enjoy it in the end with all the laughter everyday and the funny student stories that I'll have for a lifetime!

If you were to have asked me 10 years ago if I'd leave teaching, my response would've been "heck no, I'm always going to be working full-time as a teacher, even when I have kids." Okay, fast forward 10 years later. I'm a mom of two little girls and after working full-time this year, I've decided (drum-roll...) to take a "break" from teaching and enter into the world of being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM)! Say whaat?!?! I know, kinda crazy that I'm making this change. Thankfully, I have an awesome supportive husband who has made it possible for me to take a year leave from teaching so that I can try this SAHM business with my cute girls. So, I've packed up my classroom and said my "goodbyes" to the wonderful staff, students and parents that I've known for the past 10 years. Here's a picture of my empty classroom, a full trunk of the mini van, and my "teaching" home for the last decade!

So, a new chapter begins! Stay tuned in for whatever shenanigans I'll be getting into with these little cuties!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Geeking over Google Drive!

I absolutely love Google Drive! I use it for my work and at home to organize my electronic files and ideas. I definitely use it more in teaching because I have tons things that I use and collect. When I first started teaching, I had loads and loads of paper files. Then after moving classrooms several times, I realized I had so much paper files that I ended up not using those files because it was so hard to find things! So last year, when I had to move to a new grade level and move classrooms, I decided it was time to chuck those files for good. But wait! I didn't just throw everything out, I decided to scan as much as I could and start saving into my Google Drive!

So a year later, I have now my electronic file system on Google Drive. I just love how organized all my teaching ideas are and it's so easy to find because I can use the search engine to find what I'm looking. Super easy and efficient versus flipping through a load of papers. 

Well, how do I organize my electronic files? That's a great question! I decided to start with subject folders: Math, Writing, Reading, Phonics, Grammar, Science, Social Studies. Then as the year progressed, I added other folders such as: Field Trips, Report Cards, Team Meeting Notes, Lesson Plans, etc.

Now, here is where it gets a little "Type A" crazy organization. I made sub folders within each subject folder. Here is a picture of what I did and I absolutely love this way of organizing all my electronic files for each subject. 

Now whenever I get new ideas electronically, I can automatically save it into the right google drive folder, which makes searching for things much easier! My 1st grade team got use to me asking "can I get a copy of that to put into my Google Drive?" or saying "I have that on my Google Drive and I can send that over to you." Oh and the best part of Google Drive is the sharing feature! You can share a file, a folder, even your whole drive folder with anyone you like! Happy filing and organizing with Google Drive! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I "Plan to Eat!"

If there's one thing I do enjoy, it's cooking and trying new recipes! I am definitely not one of those "let's throw these ingredients together" kind of a cook because I wouldn't know what to put together! I am such a rule/direction follower that I need recipes!

A long time ago, a good friend of mine had a recipe book that was given to her as a bridal gift. It was a great and fantastic idea that I decided to start one of my own! That was 8 years ago and now my binder is outdated with old recipes and it's become a pain to flip through the binder and write down all the grocery items I would need to buy for each recipe. I needed something that would automatically put together my grocery shopping list and also save my meal plans that I would do for each week! Bascially, I needed something more efficient because being a mom of two little girls and working as a full time teacher, I didn't have the time, energy, nor the brain power!

So, what did I discover that has literally saved me this year? Thanks to a friend's Facebook post earlier this year about Plan to Eat! This meal planning website is so great, you have to check it out! (disclaimer: this review is from my personal experience) 

Here is a list of the things that I love about Plan to Eat:
  • Saving recipes - All my recipes are saved in one place. They're all organized by categories (lunch, breakfast, dinner, sides, desserts, etc.). I can also tag each recipe by type of cuisine as well so that when I want to just see my Italian recipes, it will just show me those! How great is that!
  • Adding recipes is super easy! - You can add the "Add to PTE" button to your web bookmark bar and anytime you find a recipe on a website, just click on that button and it will automatically take all the recipe information and save it into your recipes. This was super awesome because all those Pinterest recipes now have a place and I don't have to search my Pinterest food board anymore!
  • Weekly Meal Plans saved! - I absolutely love this because I save the weekly meal plans I've done and choose it again for the future! This definitely makes meal planning easier in the long run. 
  • Grocery Shopping list - An automated grocery shopping list with all the items you need for each recipe! Wait there's more too! You can edit this  shopping list as well. So for example if you don't need that spaghetti sauce because you already have it in the pantry, you can delete that item from your list. Also, you add items to the list as well. Another great feature is you can add your stores that you shop to and move grocery items to the store that you would buy it from. And here's the best can access this grocery shopping list using your chrome web browser on your phone! The only thing I wished they had was an app version of this but so far using the chrome browser on my phone while doing grocery shopping is great! Once you buy an item, you can check it off and it deletes off your list! No more paper and pen grocery shopping lists!
So check Plan to Eat! I highly recommend it! They have a 30-day trial and sometimes around Black Friday time in November, they might have deals on the subscription fee. Happy Meal Planning everyone!

End of the Year Student Gifts

I've been teaching for 10 years now and every year, I always ask myself "what would be a good end of the year gift to give to my students?". Here are some things that I've done in the past: books, class t-shirts, class dvd with a slideshow of the year in pictures, and a journal. This year, I wanted to do something different that would be meaningful to my students and parents as well. And where do I go to find my ideas? Pinterest of course! I really love finding ideas on Pinterest for just about everything! So, this year I found this great Pinterest Student Gift Idea.

What do I love about it? I love that it's personal, memorable, and encouraging for each student. Did it take some time to think of words for each student? Why, definitely! But I also found a list of positive personality character traits that helped me find the right words for each student. This took me a good hour to type and print each one out for my 23 wonderful 1st graders.

So, how did I make these cute and awesome gift? Well, here's what I did:
1) Go to (I have a MacBook Pro and I could only use this website using the Safari web browser)

2) Click on "Create" (if you don't have the latest Java update then you'll probably have to install that onto your computer).

3) In the box where it says "Paste a bunch of text:", I typed the student's name 3 times in a line so that their name would show up bigger than the rest of the words.

4) Then I just typed 8-9 words that described each student's personality (one word per line).

5) Finally, click the "go" button.

6) Wordle will automatically create a layout of your words with a font and color. I chose to have all my words be "mostly horizontal" and to make it easy, I went with the already prescribed color combinations. To adjust any of these, you can click on "Layout", "Color", "Font".

Here's the final product and what it looked in the end for me. I think it came out really cute and I hope my students will love them! I'm planning on spending the last 30 minutes on the last day of school presenting them to each student by reading each one out loud. Happy end of the school year! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

And so the Blogging begins...

It's official! I have finally started my blog "Acorn Avenue". Thanks to Dave for the crafty name for the blog. You can read more about the meaning behind the blog on my "About Me" section. Starting a blog has been on mind for awhile and I just haven't had the time nor energy to actually begin on. I've always tried doing a journal in the past and it's never stuck with me, hence why I have a couple of unfinished journals lying around (eek!). 

So, here's my attempt to keep myself accountable for archiving all the wonderful things that Dave and I do with our girls and the home. It'll definitely be a work-in-progress kind of a blog and might look like a mix of random stuff. So thanks to those who'll join me on this fun adventure! I swear I'll try to keep it somewhat entertaining. ;)