Joan of Arc retreat recap

Friday, October 20, 2017


The pictures from this post are from a couple weeks ago, but if you were to come into my home this week its pretty much the same. We've been rolling knee deep in fevers and coughs, balanced out with some extra snuggling, movies, and chicken noodle soup.

 Post nap grumpiness

Nothing a marshmallow can't fix around here

Last weekend, I was able to spend all of Saturday away from my family and selfishly indulge the day with my best friend at a women's conference (even snuck in an estate sale too along the way). The theme was St. Joan of Arc's "I am not afraid, I was born to do this." It was so good in many many ways for my fearful little soul to listen to the history of St. Joan of Arc, along with so many other talks on the topics of modern day visions/roles of a Catholic women, to down right living out that vocation with heroism.

I've been thinking so much about fear and anxiety lately. In my own life, in the world (I hate watching the news anymore, so depressing), and even one of my daughters is struggling with it right now. What brings about all these fears/anxieties? Why can't I freaking be brave?! I think my lack of trust and even perfectionistic tendencies probably create more fear than needed in my own life. I love this quote "This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections" by St. Augustine. I tend to plan ahead a lot and bargain a lot with God. But, I realized that God isn't going to give me the graces before they are needed. Repeat, God will not give me the graces before they are needed. No more bargaining with God but time to put on the big girl pants Diana, and walk through fear and realize that you will NOT walk alone. Not ever, ever, ever. And I know through trust and taking those leaps of faith and combatting fear, the graces will come. It always does. So thats what I took away from the women's retreat. Typing it all out so when fear does crept in, I can go back and reread this. ;)

One of my girls have been struggling with fear for a couple of weeks too. To be quite honest, I don't even know how to deal with it. Its hard to see my child be so scared of something so irrational, but obviously not so irrational to her. At first I talked to her about it, tried to reason and make sense of its silliness but it still wouldn't shake off of her. I'm realizing this a problem I will be not be able to solve for her but something she is going to have to solve on her own. Its so hard as a mom to sit and watch, but I'm making my daughter go through this fear so she can on conquer it herself. I want her to feel empowered at the end when she conquers this fear. I'm already slowly seeing the graces come as she is walking through this and totally ready for her to be over it so we can celebrate with some ice cream. :)

Have you ever really read the story of St. Joan of Arc before? I haven't, but I got a really good abbreviated one at the retreat from Kendra. She shared this book being one of the best, which I'm totally getting and reading. A quick funny story about Mark Twain, so whenever he caught children reading his other books (Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer) he would tell them to stop reading those books about about naughty little boys but to read about the real hero, St. Joan of Arc. (favorite book that he wrote). Love that.

Anyways, St. Joan of Arc, pray for us! Hope you all have a great and restful weekend, or one full of adventure!

A picky children's book list (Poetry)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


A couple of weeks ago I went through and uncluttered our overflowing children's bookshelf. Our girls have so many books and our collection all started with my very first baby shower with Sophia being a "bring a children's" book theme. As much as I love a bookshelf full of books, I love a bookshelf full of selective and the best kind of books. Its more important to read good books than just a lot of books.

Sophia and Zelie are blessed to go to a classical education school that shared with me a great list of books (a 1000 books to be exact!). I feel so fortunate to hold and know such a list. The best thing about classical literature is that you can read and reread them a dozen times and it never feels old. I feel like those are the best kind of books, the ones you can read and reread from your first baby to your last baby at home, and then maybe hold onto to read to grandkids one day. This summer, I went through this list and ordered one after another on amazon as Sophia finished them. She loved them and I secretly loved it even more.

Once a week Sophia and Zelie go on a small field trip to the public library with their class (its just literally right across the street, how lucky is that?!). They get a private story time from the librarian and then they get to borrow a book or two. Last week was the first time they got to borrow books and Sophia came home and asked me for some ideas on some good books to borrow for next time. I was surprised that she didn't want free range to borrow anything she wanted (especially those awful barbie books). A girl after my own heart.

Now onto that great big book list! I will break this book list up into a couple different blog entries sharing picture books, easy readers and chapter books. But first, poetry!

Anthologies & Poetry Grades 1-3 (but also great read alouds from a very young age)
1. A Apple Pie and Nursery Rhymes by Kate Greenaway
2. Aesop for Children illustrated by Milo Winter
3. Children's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Children's Treasury of Verses by William Bennett
5. Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Children by Walter de la Mare
6. Fables by Arnold Lobel
7. Favorite Poems of Childhood by Philip Smith
8. Happy Prince and Other Fairy Tales by Oscar Wilde
9. James Herriot's Treasury of Children by James Herriot
10. McGuffy's Primer, Pictorial Primer, & First Reader by William MCGuffey
11. Moral Tales by Maria Edgeworth
12. Best-Loved Fairy Tales by Walter Crane
13. Nonsense Poems and others by Edward Lear
14. Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
15. Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes by Marguerite de Angeli
16. Once On A Time by A. A. Milne
17. Parent's Assistant by Maria Edgeworth
18. Poems to Read to the Very Young by Josette Frank
19. Read Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright
20. Ruth Ainsworth Book by Ruth Ainsworth
21. Songs of Childhood by Walter de la Mare
22. When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne

One of the great things about Poetry is that kids love it and they memorize them so quickly! My girls learn, recite, and memorize a poem weekly at school. And they love it! Its so sweet to see them recite them at home.

Is there any poetry books that I have missed that you love? Please share them with me. We have several of these poetry books and when we were homeschooling I would read a poem or two while we ate lunch. It was always short and sweet and the girls really loved lunch and poetry time. I will be planning to share with you classical picture books and chapter books in another blog post.

*Links in this post are affiliated and I make a small commission off the sale but it will be at no expense to you. :) Thank you for supporting my blog and our family.

Friday Favorites

Friday, September 29, 2017


Happy Friday!! I don't know about you all, but this week felt awfully long for me. I think it was partially due to waking up Wednesday morning and completely believing it was Thursday, then later finding out that it was actually just Wednesday. I hate when that happens. Does that ever happen to you? 

We've been working on a new routine this week that is allowing Mike and I to both attend daily mass and even get exercise in with our kids! Its worked out for us this week, now lets just hope we can keep up with it! 

(when you ask your kids to all sit on the same step and smile but then they do this, but still cute)

Here are a few of my favorite things this week:

I baked this apple cake and it is SO good. Its super moist and gets better each day. Remember that apple peeler I talked about a few weeks ago? I got one and LOVE it. If you go apple picking this season, or just have a a few apples that need peeling this is really worth the investment. I instastoried it and so many of you commented about loving it, wanting one, or already loving yours. Go and get one if you already don't have it. 

Did you see Joanna and Chip's announcement this week for Fixer Upper? So sad to see the show come to an end but love where their priorities are. I've been on the hunt for a cute cross body bag for a while (no more diapers now, woo hoo!) and came across this one on Magnolia. I love the laid back boho look of the bag, but I'm wondering if I'll have to get the strap adjusted because of what some of the reviews says?

I really do love pumpkin everything. This season just makes me so happy. My friend made pumpkin chili this week and now I want to try the recipe soon. Gimme all the pumpkin everything right now. 

I've been on the hunt for some house plants and love these target planters! I saw a similar one at the Design Within Reach store a couple months ago that were triple the price so I couldn't justify paying for them. But, this one I can do. :) 

I really want to do carpool karaoke with these priests. So fun, right? Concrete mixers and JTT any day. 

Have a great Fall weekend!

tips that keep us moving along...[Marriage]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


I'm no marriage expert, but I have picked up a few things during our 9.5 years of marriage that help keep us moving along when life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. :)

1. Put your marriage first, always. We put our relationship above our children's. Yes, you heard me right. As life gets more abundantly joyful and fruitful (and crazy) with children, spousal relationship can easily be neglected but not intentionally. Our first daughter was born a month after our first wedding anniversary and we quickly got busy with raising a baby in our newlywed life. It was all a blissful time and a busy time, and we also fell guilty of neglecting our own time together of being a couple out of exhaustion from being parents all day, not really having a babysitter, etc. But, I think after the second child, I realized how important it was to reconnect not only for our sake, but also for our kids. When we love God first and then each other, we are also loving our children to our fullest potential because they find security and stability in seeing their parents love each other. Every time Mike and I say something sweet to each other, I always catch the girls giggling and smiling. Its good for us and its even better for them.

2. Carefully communicating when disagreeing. Arguing is fine in a marriage, in fact its acceptable and should happen. I've been blessed to have parents who witness a strong marriage to me. I remember as a little girl one day when they are were arguing and I said to them "stop arguing" and my mom instantly looked at me and assured me that its okay when adults argue and that everything is fine. That being said, when arguing be very very very careful about words, and bite your tongue if you need to. ;) Words are so powerful and so make sure you think twice or thrice before saying something you might regret. I've learned that when Mike and I apologize after arguing one of the first things we always say to each other is that we didn't mean what we said. Its always those irrational emotions in the moment that can make you say the meanest things. I'm still learning this one as I type it out myself.

Also because I feel like Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox can give us so many life lessons, I'll leave you with this quote: " I was able, for the first time in my life to say the exact thing I wanted to say at the exact moment I wanted to say it. And, of course, afterwards, I felt terrible, just as you said I would. I was cruel, and I'm never cruel." I feel like I can write a whole other blog post about some life lessons I'm learning from these two.

3. Free. Love is free and there is free will in it. Mike and I are for the most of the time pretty chill people and things don't usually bother us too much. But, every now and then there are things that aren't perfect and bother us. We talk about it but at the end, our decisions are always free for one another. We don't try to control one another nor change one another. You can't change someone nor control someone, but when your love for your spouse is greater it makes changing habits or vices a lot easier.

4. Kindness, Gratitude, and Appreciation: I think this is self explanatory but it is something that is huge and it never goes unnoticed. These three huge things practiced in so many little ways daily can change your day and lifetime with your spouse. :) I always appreciate the way Mike thinks of me before him, especially when brewing the first cup of coffee in the morning for me. When we moved a few months ago, our dedicated Keurig coffee machine broke so since then we've been making our daily cup of grind with our Moka pot. We love the taste even more, but we can only brew one cup at a time. In the mornings when there wasn't enough hours of sleep during the night, theres nothing like saying "i love you" and serving another like brewing the others cup of coffee before yours. Right? So grateful for that one. Another huge thing that I can think of is chores. We share the task of doing household chores, we just do them when we can and trade off. I'll fold Mike's laundry and he always thanks me for them. It really is no big deal but he notices that I did it and appreciates me for it. I always get so confused when he thanks me for the little things like that, but i love that he appreciates it.

Hope these little tips that help us will help you too. Also if you have any tips, I'd love to hear them! :) The more the "marrier", hahaha. :) (so cheesy, i know).

*For those of you who are wondering, we got married at the San Juan Capistrano Mission
*We also had a Korean tea ceremony at our reception, hence the last picture of us wearing the traditional Korean "Han bok"

First day of Fall QT

Friday, September 22, 2017


1. Happy first day of Fall! Since our summer weather felt pretty mild and actually cold to us, I feel like I've been anticipating Fall since like July. Although, I do hear that temperatures are supposed to warm up again by next week. This is my favorite Fall outfit lately. I love this top because of its bell sleeves and open knotted details along the side. Also Fall shoes are the best shoes, aren't they? I snatched up these boots a little while ago during the summer but I knew they would be my go to for the Fall. I'll link up my outfit details below if you are interested. 

2. So many of my friends gave birth last week! It was like all those Christmas conception babies being born the same week. ;) Anyways, one of my favorite things to do is to spoil family's with new babies with a hot dinner and some freshly baked dessert. My friend Jenna gave birth to one of thee sweetest and cutest newborns, of ever. Hop over and read her birth story because its kind of a dreamy one. 

3. So even though I took one of those Myer-Briggs tests a few weeks ago and my results were ENFJ, it showed that I was borderline between a INFJ and a ENFJ. I feel like the younger Diana was more a ENFJ and the current Diana (the mother of 3 children Diana) is more of an INFJ. Anyways, my homebody self had a wild week (jk) with quite a few weeknight evening plans this week. On Tuesday night, there was a girls night at one of my friend's house and I seriously don't remember laughing that hard in a while. If you follow my Instastories you saw some of the girls breaking it down with Karaoke. I feel like I struck gold in finding this new community of friends. Really the best people live here in Ventura. 

4. The new school that the big girls are attending throws a big fundraising gala in November, and a new friend recruited me into joining the committee with her. I was super hesitant because I know the workloads of these type of events is a lot and being new a family to the school (INFJ) makes it a intimating project. But I committed and this week I attended my first gala committee evening meeting. Its going to be a lot of work (as i imagined), but I'm really excited about it. It kind of brought me back to the high school days when I was on Student Council (the old ENFJ Diana) and planned all the school dances and activities. Introvert D turning into Extrovert D?? 

5. Give me all your favorite cozy and warm Fall recipes? I've been thinking about making chili soon. Chili with a side of homemade corn bread. Always feels like Fall when I make a big pot of Chili. Also, I need to learn to make some homemade kimchi. I never pay full attention or write it down when I watch my mama do it. :( I always feel like I need a side of pickled something when I eat (Korean problems). I don't have a jar of kimchi in my fridge right now, so I'm thinking of pickling some jalapenos to hold me over until the next run to the Korean market). Do you follow Umma Lim on IG? She always makes me so hungry. I want to try to cook up that Shabu Shabu on her latest post. 

6. Camping is on my mind this week. We are going camping next month to my favorite place in California...Big Sur!! I've never gone camping in the fall, so I'm a bit nervous with how cold it will be sleeping at night. Any advice?? I feel like I have so much to prepare for before we leave because its actually going to be a three day camping trip! It was supposed to be four, but I just don't think I can hang that many days giving up on my creature comforts. One of the biggest things I am excited for is to be unplugged completely for that many days (because no wifi) and just to have good ol' fun with friends. 

7. Lastly, does anyone have a mild obsession with rearranging furniture? I've always loved moving furniture around and Mike thinks I'm totally nuts for wanting to move things around every now and then. ;) So Monday I completely rearranged our room and flipped it around while he was at work, lol. We have the worst mattress on our bed and since things got flipped I have to now sleep on Mike's old side of the bed which turns out to be even worse than my side. They say the mattress is the most important furniture in the house and I might have to look into getting it replaced soon, or I'll have to rearrange the room back, lol. 

Outfit details: 

Sunglasses : So, i never ever buy sunglasses without trying them on first but broke the rule for these. Thankfully, it worked out great. I took them to Nordstrom afterwards to just have someone tighten the sides for me because I always need sunglasses tightened. Only one left! 

Shoes: Best boots and they literally go with everything from dresses to jeans. 

Top : This is the most perfect Fall top! 

Jeans :High waisted jeans for life, until its time to eat. 

Bag: love this bag because it actually comes with two separate pouches inside, a similar one here.  

Fall in our home

Friday, September 15, 2017


Fall is my favorite season of the year. Its the only time of year when i want to trade my southern california roots to possibly the East coast and maybe, maybe even the midwest. Don't get me wrong, I love the east coast too (my husband is from Maryland), and I went to college in Ohio but nothing can replace the year round sunshine that California delivers.

This is our first Fall in our new home and I'm so excited because the temperatures are a lot cooler here, especially morning/nights and it kind of feels like a shift in seasons. Here are a few things we've been doing around here to feel more like Fall in our home.

1. Apple Picking. We always go apple picking with our girls every fall. We were going to Julian the last few years while we lived in San Diego and getting their tasty MOMS apple pie afterwards. Its always the best bringing home a big basket of apples and a box of pie or two. :)
This year, we have been blessed with a few apple trees in our very own yard. The apples have been going out of control and dropping by the dozen (daily!) so I spent a few days picking with Clare. We baked apple pie and the house smelled so wonderful. I would bake an apple pie everyday of Fall just for the smell. I've decided to turn the rest of the apples into pie filling and freeze them until the holidays. I'm planning on gifting pie to some neighbors and friends, and then of course gobbling them up during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've got my eye on this apple peeler because I have about a 100 apples looking at me, and one small half broken wimpy peeler that probably can't hold up to the job.

2. Fire pit + s'mores. It was on our backyard bucket list to get a fire pit built for our yard. My handy husband built us an amazing fire pit last week. We then strung these lights around the edges to bring more light and make things more magical. As soon as the sun went down and the sky dimmed we lit a big fire, played music and the girls had a blast roasting a marshmallow or two for s'mores.

3. Chicken pot pie. Warm and comfort food come to mind when I think of fall. Trading the grill for the oven now. This week I tried this new pinterest recipe because there seems to be a lot of shortcuts compared to my old recipe. It actually turned out pretty good.

4. Fall movies. I've been a little obsessed with this movie lately. Just seeing fall in New York city gives me so many of the cozy feels of what I dream of fall to be.

I'm planning on continuing with the Fall festivities through October (which is one of my favorite months of the year), can't wait to take the girls to a pumpkin patch, decorate my front porch, drink some apple cider and maybe even light our fireplace to get more cozy.

What are some Fall things you have been doing that makes you happy? Wishing you all a happy Friday and wonderful weekend! We will be celebrating Mike's birthday and a little baptism for a sweet baby boy who was born just yesterday! :)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017


The past couple of months I've been discovering so much about myself. I guess when you are moving and under so much stress and stretched beyond capacity, you get to know yourself real quick. I had this little epiphany that I am sort of a perfectionist.  Since realizing this about myself I'm realizing that perfection isn't needed for me and isn't for me. That's what faith is for. If we were all perfect, we would miss the biggest piece of our lives which is our reliance on God. Its been such a good realization for me because now I'm working on letting go, letting God, and working on being okay with being imperfect.

There are so many pressures of being perfect nowadays. I think especially with social media being such a strong influence in everyday life, it can easily give people the wrong expectations of reality. Instagram for example can give a false sense of reality when everyone is always sharing their "perfect" picture in their camera roll. Instagram is my favorite way to connect to social media but I can see how it can be deceiving and discouraging, just as it can be inspiring and encouraging.

Recently a fellow mama sent me a message on IG asking me about my faith journey and how I find balance in my life. The truth is I'm still searching for the answers to that question as well. But, aren't we all? It may seem that my life or anyone else's looks pretty darn perfect sometimes in those little squares, but it really isn't. My life can look pretty "balanced" in many of my IG pics or blog only because I choose to just share the joyful and happy pictures rather than my sink full of dirty dishes, the girls fighting, the ever growing pile of laundry, and etc, etc. I definitely go through moments in life where I finally get my head above water, and then I'm back under again. Seasons, schedules, and just life in general, right?

So the past couple of months I've been working on being "imperfect". Being okay with a lot less control in my life. Being kinder to myself and taking a whole lot of pressure off of me. Being less critical of myself and being okay with being imperfect. It definitely takes more work sometimes to try to be okay with imperfection than perfection. I'm realizing to let more room in my life for God, I need to be okay with letting myself be imperfect so that I can rely on Him to become more perfect in me. Less of me, more of Him. Jesus > Me, right?

* since weaning Clare, her new favorite thing to do with me is to read books. It's about the best thing in the world to just snuggle with her on the couch with a bowl of snacks and some good old literature.

coffee chat

Monday, August 28, 2017


Have you ever taken the meyers briggs personality test? I took one yesterday and got ENFJ. I was sort of freaking out when I was reading about famous people that were also ENFJ and one of them was Pope John Paul II. He is one of my favorites so to even be compared to having a similar personality as him might be the highest form of flattery ever. I've always been intrigued with personalities and human psychology in general, and I don't know why it's taken me this long. I've been wanting to reread this book about temperaments lately too, and want to definitely read this one to better understand my girls. This is another good one on learning about other people's love languages. Last week I decided to ask my girls one night about their love language and what made them feel most loved. I asked Zèlie and Sophia the question, and they loved that I even asked. Zelie said she loves it best when I spend one on one quality time with her (of course you do, middle child!). I notice she is the one to always ask me to play cards with her, or read her a book, or play with her, or loves to just do chores with me like folding laundry. Sophia said she feels most loved when we do things together as a whole family, such as bike riding or an activity all together. So interesting, its been making me more mindful when I start my day with them.

Did you get to watch the big fight last weekend? If you saw my instastories, you probably saw that we hosted a few friends over. It was actually a really good fight, I even enjoyed watching. At the end of the evening we were talking about how some boxing matches are rigged! This fight could be genuine, but what if..i mean WHAT IF it was rigged, guys??! There's a part of me that wants to believe this. Such a bummer that Mcgregor lost (i like to root for the underdog), but the upside was that I made the best chocolate chip cookies of my life. I'm not much of a cookie baker, I've always preferred baking a cake instead but these might have changed me forever. I got this recipe from a friend a couple months ago after trying her cookies. I did tweak the recipe slightly by using half dark + half milk chocolate chips instead of all semisweet chips. They are the softest, chewiest chocolate cookies, almost seems toffee/carmel like. Do it!

This may be TMI but Mike is totally that guy in line at target at 10 pm embarrassingly buying the monthly feminine care products for me. #besthusbandever. Last month I decided to save Mike the trip and found this little brand. I seriously don't know why I never thought of using all natural pads?! The packaging is pretty and clean and I felt a huge difference in switching. I'm pretty conscious about using all natural skincare and health products and it only seems fitting that I should be using natural feminine care products too. I'm noticing now other companies like Honest and Toms have natural pad/tampons too. Have you tried? What do you think? Would you make the switch or are you committed to your tried and true? I don't think I can go back to my old brands.

First day of school is Wednesday for my other two girls and I'm in total denial that I have a kindergartener and a third grader! Every August it tugs on my heart to keep them home and homeschool them with the thought of how fast they grow up. But, we had a big school picnic over the weekend and the girls met their new friends and CANNOT wait to start. I cut the tags off their brand new uniforms and threw them in the wash today making it official that I'm cutting the cord again, and again, and again. I'll only have Clare at home with me now, and that might actually be glorious! ha!

The pictures are from a little trip to the farmers market last week. The girls and I really got into the honey testing. :)

Thanks for listening. Hope you all have a great week! Can't believe this is the last week of August!!