Family Festival 2010

I have to be honest here and say I am not a huge Halloween fan in general. I’m just not into the whole “scary” factor that it brings, blah blah. In fact, last year we had our cousins over for dinner and let Jake and Maddie pass out candy to the trick ‘r treaters….
….the first young {as in like 7 years old} door knocker was dressed up as Freddy Cougar and scared the dickens out of the kids.
Really parents? Was that really necessary?!?
Ha.
Anyway, I just hate that whole atmosphere that most neighborhoods in Stockton seem to have on Halloween AND we hate the overabundance of candy {that seems to last for months and months} so we don’t go trick ‘r treating here. Instead we really enjoy the Family Festival that our church puts on. Usually it happens Halloween eve, but since this one falls on a Sunday, well….they did it on a Saturday instead.
And the kids have a blast!
This year Jake wanted to be Captain Hook so badly. I told him the costume was just waayyy too expensive, so NO WAY JOSE. But he immediately got on the phone and called Mumsy and sure enough, the costume arrived on our doorstep a couple of days later courtesy of the Disney Store shipping. 
Sheesh, he’s one lucky kid. I think we all need a Mumsy in our life! 🙂
And Evy was deemed to be a fairy by Jake. He said she had to be Tinkerbell, but our friend Emma Love was going to be Tink, so he said Evy could just be a fairy instead. So I did a little trade/transactions with my friend Jenni over at Dear Lillie for the tutu,  and one with my friend Prencie over at Princynparis for the headband, and finally with my friend Jessica over at Joyfolie for the furry boots {which she only got to wear for a minute and then it was clear they were going to be destroyed by the mud so they were quickly replaced by the old Uggs 😦 } and then picked up a fun little faux leather jacket from my fave shop Target….
And finally I enlisted Brandon to make the wings. Did he not do a FAB job?!? We followed a tutorial form this site…it was super easy. After he fashioned them together I glittered them up.
And then we tried to get them to stand still for a cute little pic in front of the fire place before we left. Uh…right. No can do.
And here is a very good example why I am on a diet…ummhmmm….

Best shot out of the million we tried to take…
No matter…we got a great one {well, as great as great can be with 2 wiggling kids} at the end of the night. AMAZING that we got a decent one! Ha!
Here are the rest of the pics from the night…enjoy!
Me and Auntie Charity getting Evy’s wings on….

The Miraflor family came over for dinner in a pumpkin! So fun and a blessing that Grandma Lydia {Brandon’s paternal Grandma} could be with us, as well as Uncle Abel and Auntie Judy and Auntie Rachel!

Evy LOVES her cousin Lincoln. She kisses him all the time!! So cute!

Lincoln and Evy
Kisses from Auntie Bryony

Jake and cousins Angel and Scout

So excited to see Jude the Cowboy at the Festival. Isn’t he handsome?

Daddy and Evy

Breakdown moment. Several of these! ha!
And lots of these faces too!

Tractor and hay ride around the church campus

Jeffery Klee making a silly face. Him and several other young people led the kids in song while on the hay ride.

Dawson, Alexis and Caitlynn. Alexis and her mom were both Pippi Longstockings. So cute!

The singers.

Jake found a pirate friend!

The Britt kids. Are they not adorable? Their mom Melanie always dresses them in coordinating costumes.

Happy Hollween everyone! I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend!
PS I am REALLY proud of myself that I managed to blog so quickly! In my defense, the kids were in bed by 8, so wowsers, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. 
My husband however …he’s one funny guy. While I was blogging he came hopping in the room tucked inside of his sleeping bag. He said he just wanted to feel like he was camping for just one moment?!? 
Seriously, we might need a little therapeutic intervention! ha.
xoxo
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Food Friday- Dinner in a Pumpkin

I really thought no one noticed that I haven’t done a Food Friday in oh…about 4 weeks, or maybe more? But apparently there are people out there who actually read this blog because in one day alone I got two facebook comments asking where my Food Friday went? And then I’ve had several emails….Well, anyway, I haven’t done one in a really, really long time. My excuse? I have been SO VERY BUSY and am ashamed to say that I haven’t even really cooked much lately unless it SUPER easy and fast, fast, fast. Otherwise its been fast food….in the form of In-n-Out or salads from Panera. And I’m sure none of you are really interested in all that junk!
And yes, that is probably attributing my lack of weight loss, thanks for pointing that out. ha.
{and I did lose one pound. Then I gained it back. Ugh. I’m hitting the treadmill right after this, I am SO SICK of this weight!}
If you have been following this blog since last year you will probably remember this one. It’s a family tradition for us now and if you haven’t done it yet, I promise you will love it. It’s not that gourmet but its just so festive and the cool factor is really the plus here. Trust me you will make everyone oooh and ahh when you pull it out of the oven! 🙂 We had a little dinner party last night for 8 adults and 3 kids and everyone was surprised at how good it was.  I doubled the recipe which I should NOT have done. Trust me this makes a lot!
I had several people email me and ask for a step by step…so here you go. And yes, I did change a couple things from last year.
Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 1/4 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 C. uncooked rice
4 Tb butter
1 tea. salt {add more to taste}
1/2 tea. pepper {add more to taste}
1/4 tea. crushed thyme
1 large can of tomatoes, with liquid {I prefer chopped}
2 small cans of beef broth
1/2 C- 1 C. grated cheddar cheese

1 pumpkin, seeded and cleaned. {My pumpkin measured 12″ from top to bottom, not including stem and was wide since I doubled the recipe} 


Excited kids are a must…


Hire a nice young man to clean, gut and prepare the pumpkin….don’t forget to have him spray your kids while cleaning the pumpkin, ha!

Curious little Evy LOVED it.

Preheat oven to 350. Cook onions and garlic in butter on med heat until translucent. Add seasonings.

My husband really felt it was my duty to share with you how messy my drawers are. So in tribute to all you unorganized folk out there like me….

ANYWAY…Add beef, cook until brown {browner than this}


Wash rice, then add it and the remaining ingredients to the mixture, except cheese. 

Cook mixture over med – med/high heat until rice is done {about 15-20 mins}. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. Pour mixture into cleaned pumpkin. 


This year I cooked with the top on. I added a bit of tinfoil to the top so the stem wouldn’t burn. Cook for 1 1/2 hrs.  
And again, hire somebody to lift it into the oven because it will be HEAVY!

Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture last 10 mins of cooking. Pumpkin should be soft, fork should prick easily through meat of pumpkin when tested.

And a little note….I actually cooked this on 375 because I was late and I had a bigger pumpkin than usual…BIG MISTAKE! the pumpkin almost collapsed. ha. You live and learn I guess! 🙂

Unfortunately this year my son was not too crazy about it for some reason?!? He loved it last year, so what changed who knows, but this was the look we got most of the night.
And Evy, well….we had to pry it off her face. Pretty typical for her and food! ha.
And because I was so busy being hostess I forgot to get pictures of my guests. The only picture we got was this….
Little Jude Rivas and Evy. It was late and WAY past their bedtime, but they were so cute playing in the book pile and reading to each other. I love it!
Hopefully you all get to cook your pumpkin this year!
xoxo

I Am…

…On a diet. It’s official. I have been carrying around at least 6 lbs over what I am usually since I quit breastfeeding Evy almost 6 months ago. It’s so crazy, when I quit breastfeeding Jake, I lost 5 lbs immediately…so strange how pregnancies are different.
Anyway, yes, I am on a diet and it’s called “The Candy Corn Diet”..opps, did I say that? I meant the eat smaller portions, whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies and an occasional Candy Corn mixed in there. 
Right. I’ll let you all know how its goes… ha.
{Note: my friend Emily will tell me to exercise more, so since I know its coming, I will put it out there…I was on the treadmill this morning. Got my cardio in. Now for strength training tomorrow. Yes, I haven’t forgotten! 🙂 }
On to other really important things like, the Comcast man. Yes, we are switching to Comcast as apparently their unlimited long distance phone service and high speed internet are only $35 {plus tax of course, which I’m expecting to be at least $20! ha} compared to our current ATT plan which is $89…
So I digress as usual…
The Comcast man came this morning {quite early I might add} and informed me that TODAY was the DAY that we was switching us over. UHH… yeah, I was still in my PJ’s {not a huge shock}, the kids were running around like hoodlums with drippy noses like faucets, but all that could have been avoided until he informed me that he needed to get into the phone box. 
Oh, THAT box?!? Well….
You see that box is on my side of the closet…which hasn’t really seen the light of day for oh about, 3 months{my poor neat freak husband has been very kind about this and just kicks everything of mine that has creeped over to his side back to my “pile” ugh}. And creating a trail for the poor man to get through would take a few minutes and I really did considering doing it, but seriously, I just was WAY TOO EMBARRASSED to allow him access. He kindly offered to reschedule for tomorrow and I jumped at the chance.
Is this bad?!?
So tonight after church I ran home threw the kids in bed {not literally of course} and starting working on my closet, and do you know it only took me an hour to get all those things hung up and organized? What is wrong with me that I have avoiding it like the plague? Ugh..I heard on the radio yesterday that there is such a thing called Messy Anonymous… I sooo need to find where that group is meeting and join because my poor closet NEVER looks good. The rest of the house is fine, but my closet {and bathroom too} is always bombed. 
I really dislike myself for this! Which brings me to my next {and final subject}….
Right, my kids. They just have a way of making you feel like “whoa, where’d I go wrong?!?” Because seriously when I say…
“Take a nap”, apparently Jake hears “Go to your room, strip your bed down, and surround yourself with every toy possible, dress up as a pirate and pretend you are on a pirate ship”.
And my precious little girl, well, she has literally NO BOUNDARIES. She thinks every thing is hers and finds ways to get into everything. Like I always lock the dishwasher, but apparently not tight enough because the other day I walked in and found her with a peach rind from the garbage, a knife from the dishwasher, and Jake’s plate. I figure she was trying to “cut” herself some peach. 
FAB.
So anyway, tonight at church, Pastor was talking about how our God is Master and Lord and my mind started thinking about that Scripture that talks about “I Am” and how I have NO IDEA what that really means {yeah, ok, my mind was wandering} and then it hit me. I started playing a little word game in my mind and I came up with “God is” which is basically what I think that scripture was referring to…
And I realized, God is EVERYTHING. He is what you need at certain times in your life. Sometimes he is a husband, a father, a friend, a peacemaker, etc. 
I started crying because I thought about all the above that I just described…the candy corn diet, the lack of cleanliness, the out of control and crazy kids and I realized I need God to be GRACE to me. I need to feel loved and accepted and knowing that He cares about me regardless of the mishaps in life. 
And I love that.
So God is Grace today. Tomorrow probably something else, but today, grace. 
And right when I realized that my Mexican Jumping Bean camp running into the sanctuary from Little Lights. Sheesh…THANK GOD for grace! ha.
xoxo

Share the Love

A couple of weeks back I got an email from a blogging friend, Amy, over at Buggie and Jellybean, asking if I would like to donate to a worthy cause. Her friend Emily, who blogs about her family over at The Anderson Crew and her husband were adopting a little girl from Ethiopia and they need to raise $12,000.00 to do it. The story she shared with me was just so touching and when I hopped over to her blog and checked it all out, I realized I really wanted to help with this cause.
So I sent over two hoodies, a Mini Ronnie and Pink Lemonade Brilla. And Emily packaged them into bundles and has them now posted on her blog, where you can donate to enter the giveaway.  These bundles are seriously cool and I feel actually very honored to be included in this. I hope it does so much good for her family and I hope they get that precious baby home before Christmas.
Click HERE to check it all out, including the rules.
And HERE is the Ronnie hoodie
And HERE is the pink lemonade hoodie.
I hope you run over RIGHT NOW and check it out as the giveaways close on Sunday.
xoxo

On The Road Again

…Can’t remember why I’m on the road again?!?
Ha
Seriously.
I have traveled enough the last couple months. I miss my babies.
BUT….this time, its a tad different.
Even though I am gone from my little lovies, and away from my home, I am in the only place I don’t really mind going, L.A. with my husband, all alone in a lovely hotel room with, get this: 
JUST THE TWO OF US.
Yes, you heard me, just us. Ha! Can you believe it?!? And I know, I’m spending the time blogging! But its so quite,  and we are enjoying the quite so much. It’s just so nice doing something in peace without having one of our precious ones crawling all over us.
We still miss them though, don’t get worried. ha.
Anyway, we are in L.A. because Brandon is taking part in the Hyphen Tour, a tour for college age students offering two days of empowering sessions and time of fellowship. Brandon is speaking tomorrow night. He also spoke in Florida, which you might remember I never made it to that one, so I am excited to hear him speak. He was actually a last minute addition as he was just working with the team this time, but was asked to fill an empty spot and I am sooo glad they asked him as I was wanting to hear his lesson and was so bummed I missed it before.
Anyway, I came for two reasons, well, maybe three…
1. To hear Brandon speak
{To get away and enjoy a road trip}
2. To go fabric shopping!!!!
I ran out of some of my popular fabric, so when Brandon said he was coming to L.A. he had planned on flying, but I told him I wanted to come to shop, so could we drive? So this morning at 5AM we jumped in the car and drove the 6 hour drive to do some shopping.
Bless my husband’s heart. 
He drove the entire way on about 4 hours of sleep and wandered around the garment district for a couple hours with me. Don’t really think he was thrilled with that and spent most of the time eating Bacon hotdogs off the street {they are actually really good, ha!} and managing to get a boatload of pictures of me on the phone. 
Like this one:
and then this one….
and this one…
all of them taken with his ultra cool Droid X which I want soo badly.
Anyway, who was I talking to? 
My dear friend Monica who is my partner in crime when it comes to material shopping. And since she couldn’t come with me this time, I spent a lot of time on the phone trying to shop for her. And not to mention that she makes all my beautiful brooches, so it was the least I could do since most of what I was buying was for Evy’s Tree! 🙂
Anyway, thanks Babe for coming with me and putting up with me shopping…and carrying bolts and bolts of material for me. I love you and I’m so glad I get to spend this weekend with you. It’s been such a nice and relaxing time! 
And if any of you are here in the area and would like to check out the Hyphen Tour…come on over!! Hopefully I’ll see you there!
xoxo

The Perfect Club

Confession: I am a perfectionist.
{Sorry, random, out of no where, post ahead}
For those of you who know me personally, this might not come as a shock to you…or maybe it does?! ha. Anyway, I like things perfect, and even if I never attain what I deem “perfection”, I am always holding myself up that idea in my brain of what is “perfect”. It’s been something I have struggled with my whole life.
For example:
A “perfect” mommy always disciplines her child in a calm, cool and collective manner. Never screaming or   threatening to paddle their behinds, or running after them when they are attempting to escape their discipline, or threatening to give them away when times are tough. Nope. The “perfect” mommy never behaves that way.
A “perfect” friend remembers every birthday, every exciting event in your friends life. Their kids birthdays, their anniversary, their celebration of when they got engaged, etc. A “perfect” friend would never call a friend on their birthday, blab away about their life and it’s frustrations, hang up and go about their day and never even wish their friend a happy birthday. Right.
A “perfect” wife always loves and cherishes her husband. She remembers what time he is arriving home and has dinner set on the table. She folds his clothes the way he likes, she makes sure the whites have been washed so he can have clean undershirts and the darks are also clean so he can have clean underwear. A “perfect” wife would never give her husband a blank stare when he walks in the door and wonder what in the world he is doing home. A “perfect” wife would never suggest that her husband go commando for the day because she forgot to put the darks in the dryer after she washed them last night. Right again.
A “perfect” Christian prays daily, for at least 30 mins. She fasts at least once a month. She reads several chapters a day. She smiles at church at the right moment, raises her hands at the right song, claps at the right time, and always prays for others at altar call instead of herself. She never seems overwhelmed or tired. She never confesses to lack of faith, frustration, feeling alone, wondering where God is, or professing to not understand His will. A “perfect” Christian never shows her weakness but always portrays her faith and victory.
See, when you are a perfectionist, you always have a higher goal than what you are attaining bouncing around somewhere in your mind. You can never be satisfied with who you are or what you are doing. You always think you should be better, that you aren’t good enough, or that, as I like to say, you are a “loser”.
That’s what being a perfectionist means, at least to me. 
Last month I attended my church’s Ladies Retreat. I went with a couple friends and we stayed together in a room. It really was so much fun, I enjoyed every minute of it. But at one service in particular, we were asked to gather in groups of three and confess things that we felt we needed prayer about. We were supposed to be HONEST. Hmmm…something a perfectionist is taught they are NOT supposed to be.
When it got to my turn, I thought, “What do I have to lose?” so I blurted out, “I feel like I am a horrible youth pastor’s wife. Please pray for me.” As I said it, all the youth services I have missed, the girls I have promised to get together with but never did, the youth functions I skipped out on flashed before my eyes.  Never mind that I missed all of those things because of sick kids, my now very busy job, or just the conflict that daily life brings….the perfectionist in me has been kicking myself for it for months.
We prayed together for a while and then off in the distance I saw a group of my young youth girls in a circle praying for one of the younger girls. She was crying and weeping. She was bent over practically double and giant tears were dripping off her face. I went over and put my arms around her. I knew why she was crying. She was so young, but had given herself away to another guy at school. I knew what she was thinking. She was not tiny and together like the other girls. She is tall, about twice the size of her friends. Her hair was never perfect, clothes always a little off. I understood.
She was feeling like she was not part of The Perfect Club.
And boy could I relate.
At that moment I started crying. I saw how much God loved her, JUST AS SHE WAS. I understood that He was standing in front of her with His arms out and was saying, “I love you just the way you are. Why are you not allowing Me to get close to you just because YOU think you aren’t perfect. You are perfect in MY eyes.”
I stood there in the aisle and held her. We cried together. We prayed. And we thanked God. That we didn’t have to be perfect. That sometimes life hands you things that you don’t think are meant to be, but God knows why they are there. Sometimes we aren’t meant to be the best, or the most ideal. Sometimes not being the best or ideal IS the best and the ideal for us.
Why say all this? 
Well, the last couple months I have felt so frustrated with myself. I wish I could do so much more as a youth pastor’s wife, a mother, a friend, and a wife. I wish that my house wasn’t always a wreck, or my hair disheveled, or the laundry never done. I wish that I didn’t have to miss youth staff meetings on Sunday so that my kids could nap. I wish I didn’t have to stand in the hallways with my kids while my husband preaches. I sometimes even wish I didn’t have to work on hoodies 24-7 and take young girls out  to coffee instead, or visit their schools and hang out, or maybe even just have a phone chat with them.
I wish.
But that is not what God wishes for me. 
Right now God is ok with my house, my kids, my ministry, my marriage. Because God knows that He has put me right where I am for the perfect timing. And the worst thing I could do right now is run. Because whatever I THINK is perfect never really is. 
So I encourage you, if you are out there, and you feel like me. Perfect is not about how much you pray. How perfect you dress. How perfect your hair is. How impeccable your house looks. How well behaved your kids are. How wonderful your marriage is. If you are out there and you feel like you aren’t perfect because you look around and see all these people who are TRYING so hard to be perfect, stop looking.
Perfect is being in the PERFECT WILL OF GOD. And when you find that place, don’t fight it. Relax in it. Enjoy it. TRUST. Because someday down the road y
ou will look back and realize that it really was the perfect thing for you at that time. 
Because God doesn’t make mistakes.
Thank you Jesus.
And here is why I know that God doesn’t mind imperfections…my precious girl Evy. I gave her a handful of frozen blueberries, silly me, not thinking the damage they might do. She is definitely not perfect in these pictures, but she is soo sooo darling. Perfect in every way to me. 🙂

xoxo

Branding, Blitzing….

Just a little update…
All boys and mens hoodies are listed in the shop. They are pretty cute, if I do say so myself, ha! 🙂
So I haven’t said much about it lately, but I am being rebranded. I love my little logo, but my husband put it together for me really quickly and we both felt that it didn’t quite capture the universal feel that I was trying to accomplish. I really wanted something a little low key and able to blend in with my clothes or in a boutique. Something a little streamlined.
I googled graphic design artists for days looking for someone who I felt could do what I was looking for. I found MANY talented people out there, but most of them were a little too busy for what I was looking to do. Through a bunch of random googlings {is that even a word?!?} I came across Brooke from RightLeft Studios.
Her website opening page was clean and just breathed “welcome” and I enjoyed looking at all of her work.  She has that minimalist, Anthropologie feel that I was looking for, so I wrote her an email, asking for pricing. 
Let me stop here and say, I love having an online business! I am a GREAT written communicator, in fact, I am probably better at writing out my thoughts than saying them, so emailing is great for me…BUT I really like to chat verbally every now and then, especially when I am trying to explain something that I don’t really know what I’m trying to explain…which is how I felt about my logo! ha.
So anyway, I wrote Brooke an email and she emailed me back asking if we could chat over the phone about my vision. That pretty much sealed the deal for me as all the other graphic designers had just sent me a generic email with pricing etc. I felt like Evy’s Tree would be safe with Brooke.
So we took off… and several phone calls and revisions later, Brooke came up with my new logo. I LOVE IT. I love that it looks very similar to my logo now, but cleaner, in my opinion.  Here is my business card, taken through a screen shot, so its not the best quality, sorry Brooke! ha!
oh yes, it doesn’t show up very good here, but the background is the pale blue like my others.
Isn’t it darling? 
And for those of you who might be like me and miss the tree, well its still there, and I’d love for you to see it, so here’s where the “blitzing” part of this blog comes in.
Brooke is helping me create a whole bunch of stuff for Evy’s Tree: business cards, hang tags, brochures, an etsy banner and the thing I’m super excited about right now is…
EMAIL BLITZING! 🙂
That’s right, Brooke has helped me create a great template to send out to customers, potential customers and boutiques an email blitz once or twice a month. Little tidbits of what’s going on over here at Evy’s Tree, special sales for subscribers only, offers to share trunk shows in your home, info about me and when I might be in your area doing a trunk show, etc. 
Would you like to be on the email list? 
Here’s the thing, I cannot just add anybody on the list. You have to give me permission by signing up. So if you would like to receive the first ever Evy’s Tree email blitz, which is basically just a welcome to Evy’s Tree and a little about us, then you need to comment on this blog, or on my facebook page with your email address and your first and last name. And when you get that blitz, you’ll see that tree I was talking about! 🙂
But do it quick, because the first one is going out late tonight! So hurry and comment here in the blog comments or visit facebook and comment there, OR you can send me an email at evystree@gmail.com with all your info if you don’t want it out there in cyberworld. 🙂
And lastly, if you sign up, will you do me a favor? Will you forward the email to all your friends, and use it to welcome them to Evy’s Tree? I would really appreciate that! Thank you friends!
xoxo