Wednesday, October 14, 2009

happy birthday, Mom.

We love you like crazy...
(turn off music player at bottom of page before you click PLAY)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Christmas memories + traditions.

It's week 2 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas. If you'd like to know more about the 12 Weeks of Christmas event, be sure to click the link. I LOVE participating in blog-hosted events, ESPECIALLY when they are holiday-related in any way.

So, this week's entry is focused on the memories and traditions of Christmas. One of the most beloved of our Christmas traditions is focused on our family and our faith. For us, the Advent Wreath is at the very top of our list of favorites...

photo taken December 2007 in our home

I treasure the quiet moments each Sunday when a new candle is lit and we spend a some time together for prayer and reading scripture and talking a little bit about how we wait for Christ during the Christmas season. It's a good reminder, especially for the little ones in the house, that Christmas should be Christ-centered. It's hard to remember that when you're little... we understand.

I also believe it's so beneficial to children to celebrate traditions like the Advent wreath from year to year... We've had an Advent wreath in our own home for at least the last 10 years, probably more. I believe that the tradtion will be passed down through our daughters to their children someday and it makes me feel like we will be sharing a bit of what is meaningful to us today with our loved ones in the future.

I love tradition. What's your family's favorite tradition?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

small world.

Back in May, Wendy and Tyler of Blue Lily Photography took the most beautiful portraits of our five girls in Old Town Temecula. Of course, we think our children are the most gorgeous ever, but isn't the photography equally amazing?

Well, Wendy and Tyler travel all around the country taking beautiful pictures of all kinds of people and families. It just so happens that they have also taken photos of Stephanie Nielson and her family... (Stephanie survived a terrible airplane crash and is recovering from her injuries, going strong I might add!) In fact, you could see Blue Lily Photography ALL OVER Stephanie's home when she appeared on the Oprah show yesterday.

Wendy blogged about Stephanie's appearance ... click here to see her post and be sure to click the link for the Oprah video clip. What a story.

Small world.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Week 1 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas


Image from Country Living

I’m participating in Red Writing’s 12 Weeks of Christmas… Yes, it’s only the second week of October and I’ve got “Christmas on the Brain” already! As of last Sunday, we are a little under 12 weeks from Christmas, hooray!

This week's theme is "Christmas List"...

I’ve decided not to post my Christmas wish-list, just because I don’t want to seem like I am asking for things… but believe me… I have one! Mom and Dad will get that list for sure… (Maybe I’ll post it at a later time, we’ll see!) Instead, I’ve decided to put together a list of things that my family and I love to do during Christmastime.

25 Things We Do During The Christmas Season:

1. An Advent Candle Wreath, observing each night during Advent.

2. Make Christmas Cards.

3. Go to the Festival of Lights in our area.

4. Bake and eat as many Christmas cookies as humanly possible.

5. Have Christmas movie marathons, including movies like Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Story.

6. A Cookie Exchange. (yum)

7. Create handcrafted gifts of one kind or another.

8. Burn spice scented candles in the house.

9. Check everyday to see their Daily Deal.

10. Decorate the house like crazy.

11. Scope out the local craft fairs for holiday stuff.

12. Play Christmas Songs 24/7.

13. Make a new Christmas ornament or two for the tree.

14. Attend the triplets’ Christmas Recital.

15. Christmas gift shopping, of course.

16. Read The Polar Express.

17. Drive around local neighborhoods to see Christmas light displays.

18. Write letters to Santa and mail them.

19. Keep an Advent Calendar that is updated daily.

20. Donate food to a food pantry, usually at our church.

21. Drink GALLONS of hot cocoa and hot apple cider.

22. Visit the public library for story time during Winter Break.

23. Open ONE gift on Christmas Eve.

24. Do our best to teach our little ones about the true meaning of the holiday, Christ’s birth.

25. Spend as much time with family as possible.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I am a winner.

Last week, the fabulous Jessi had another one of her fabulous giveaways on her blog... and guess what?! I WON!

Here is the photo Jessi took of the goodies she was sending me...


It was all beautiful, pretty stuff! Perfect for me cuz I love ALL things feminine (and PINK), and as the mom of 5 daughters (and ZERO sons) it was well suited for me. Made me so happy opening this package when it arrived Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, I do not have my own photo of the prize in its entirety. This is due to the fact that the SECOND I opened my awesomely decorated package from Jessi, these little ones...


... helped themselves to my goodies, but especially the sweets inside! Yes, she included exactly THREE candy treats in the box and the triplets spotted them before I had a chance to see what was going on!

Thank you, Jessi! I love everything you sent me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

goodbye, summer.

Today, September 22 at exactly 5:18pm- Summer 2009 will officially be OVER.

I was pretty much absent from my blog for the entire duration of my summer (as you can tell) because I was just having too much FUN. We had a great summer...

Hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping up with my blog now that the kidlets are back in school and we don't have any vacations planned for the upcoming months.

In celebration of these final few hours of the summer season, I thought I would wrap it up with a cute little Flickr slideshow featuring our Summer Fun! Hope you had a great one too!

Press PLAY.

I am tickled that FALL is almost here!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

for today.

July 8, 2009

Outside my window... my dog is resting against the screen, trying to get as close as she can to us.

I am thinking... about which tasks are the priority today, I always seem to run out of time and forget to do the most important things when I get distracted by little things that come up.

I am thankful for... family life these days; things are calm and easy, and I love that.

From the kitchen... the smell of homemade waffles lingers. The vanilla scent is so comforting.

I am wearing... jeans and a t-shirt, no shoes-- as usual.

I am creating... a little this and that. Disney layouts (again) and a mini book... and so many ideas floating in my head. Wish I had the time to put them all together quickly.

I am going... to take the girls to swim lessons this morning.

I am reading... "Happens Every Day" -- a book I picked up from the public library last week.

I am hoping... that burdens I carry with me lately will lift off my shoulders soon and that I can find a peace I haven't felt in such a long time.

I am hearing... the pitter-patter of little feet, running up and down the stairs; the triplets are home for the summer, won't be back in school until mid-August.

Around the house... there is so much laundry to fold. It's my least-favorite thing to do.

One of my favorite things... is spending a lazy day at the beach. Gotta plan more days like that before summer's over.

A few plans for the rest of the week... include a couple more days of swim lessons and another trip to the library on Friday. If we can manage it, I want to go to the movies for a matinee with the little ones, too.

A picture to share...

-- our adorable dog, Daisy --

Monday, June 29, 2009

so long, june.

The end of June, already. Can't believe it. We're halfway through the year now. Wow.

So I'm looking back at my calendar... My Google Calendar, to be exact. Have you tried this amazing tool before? I use Google Calendar DAILY and sync it with my Blackberry. It is definitely an everyday tool I use to keep my life in order. With 5 children and lots of activities, classes, appointments, etc... it certainly makes my life easier and I can't recommend it enough.

So... the month of June rolled in quietly for us. We started out with laid-back weekends including fun stuff like a bonfire-- along with roasting marshmallows! The girls got a kick out of it, for sure. The big sisters passed on the fun, unfortunately...


No big events at the beginning of the month, and then... BAM! Everything hit us at once mid-month. The main event of the month was the triplets' Spring Dance Recital. The girls did a great job, adorable I tell you!

Here they are at the recital rehearsal... (cute)


... and on Recital night.


Then there was the visit to the cherry farm, followed by the beginning of swimming lessons...


Wrapping up the month was Kindergarten Graduation, but watch for those pics and story in an upcoming post.

June was a busy, busy month for our family and just the beginning to a busy, busy summer!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


We stayed home this weekend... Pretty much anyway. Yesterday (Saturday) we did step out to take the girls to a birthday/swim party. Although it was hot, they had a blast! As usual, they took the opportunity to glam it up a little for the party. Aren't they adorable?


Just a bit ago, we dug into more of those sweet delicious cherries from our trip last week to the cherry farm.

Is there anything better in the summertime than a little bowl of cherries in the afternoon?

I don't think so.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

cherry farm.

We went to visit Riley's Farm last week, to pick our very own cherries at a REAL cherry farm.

It was the best time we've had together in awhile! Good family time!

Look at my sweethearts, checking out the orchard while we picked cherries:


... and this as we were heading out of the orchard back to the barn to pay for our pickin's!


If you have a cherry farm near you, our family recommends that you visit and pick some cherries... we had a great time!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

bento catch-up.

We are soooo behind on bento Fridays! Well, here's a quick catch-up:

Here's bento lunch from 3 weeks ago... We actually made these for the girls on Saturday at home because I totally forgot to make lunches for school on Friday:


... and from two weeks ago:


... and finally from this past Friday:


We are a little over a week from the last day of school for 2008-2009, so we still have one more school bento lunch coming up this Friday. After school's out, I'm not sure how often we'll be making these adorable little lunches, but I'm pretty sure we won't be giving it up completely. There will be plenty of reasons to pack a pretty lunch this summer, I'm sure!

Friday, June 05, 2009

8 things.

A play on the "8 things" quizzes, sent to me by a friend...

8 things I look forward to:

1. Swim lessons for the triplets this month.
2. A visit from my favorite aunt this Sunday!
3. Taking a vacation of one kind or another this summer.
4. Scrapbooking all the layout ideas I have in my head.
5. Going to the Aveda spa and having a massage; I don’t do it often enough.
6. Working on the many projects around our home.
7. Spending plenty of time at the beach in the next few months.
8. Reading a few books on the bestseller lists!

8 things I did yesterday:

1. Caught up on lots of blog-reading.
2. Cancelled the recording schedule of my favorite TV shows on DVR; they’re in re-run mode for the summer.
3. Cooked Mexican food for dinner, it’s my fave.
4. Bought the triplets the organic cotton bed sets I’ve had my eye on!
5. Ate potato chips after midnight with my 2 oldest daughters.
6. Talked on the phone with my favorite aunt for about an hour.
7. Researched twin size beds & mattresses online for most of the afternoon.
8. Fell asleep reading a book about “green living”. But it was late, I was so tired!

8 things I wish I could do:

1. Find the time in my busy days to exercise.
2. See my good friends more often.
3. Pay off my mortgage and be 100% debt-free.
4. Return to college.
5. Move back to Hawaii but still be able to fly to Tucson monthly to visit my parents.
6. Eat as much as I wanted and never gain weight!
7. Be a photographer for a living... and actually make GOOD money!
8. Hire a permanent housekeeper.

Oh yeah... forgot to mention... no bento today. Bento Friday ruined due to low supplies on-hand. Must go to the grocery store this weekend and replenish pantry. Bummed.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

bento friday.

Yes, I realize it's Wednesday and I'm posting this almost a week late. Don't know what happened... life, I guess. Don't worry, you didn't miss much... it was a pretty boring bento last week. It's okay, I can admit it. I'm aiming for a little more of the cute factor this Friday.


Let's see... Nutella sandwich (always a favorite), teddy graham cookies, fresh blueberries and some Keebler club crackers. Just the right amount of food for my little 36-37 lb. kidlets...

More coming soon, I have more to share but I'm short on time today. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day.

Not much time to write, it's Mother's Day and I'm really enjoying this day! Just wanted to share my flowers with you all, aren't they beautiful? They're from my girls!

Just one more good thing from today... an adorable video of the triplets doing a little song and dance for Mother's Day! If you decide to click play to watch, don't forget to shut off the music player at the very bottom of my blogpage!

Hope you all had a great one!

Happy Mother's Day from Christine Arrocena on Vimeo.

Friday, May 08, 2009

bento friday.

Today's bento lunch for the triplets was a flower-shaped grape jelly sandwich (cut with this great Daisy Sandwich Cutter from Williams-Sonoma) topped with a heart-shaped fruit leather cutout, sliced fresh strawberries and square mini-pretzels. Good thing the little ones have such small appetites right now, they're only six years old and in kindergarten. If their tummies require bigger lunches anytime soon, I'm thinking the bentos might not work anymore... they're just so compact! Or I suppose we could always upgrade to something bigger, a double-decker like this one.

After a month of doing this, I worry that my creativity with this "Friday Bento Project" is losing some of its steam. So I'm going to start doing some online research for inspiration and ideas... I want to see what other people are doing, how they are doing, etc. What I am always aiming for is a happy surprise when my girls open their cute tidy lunches at school... a smile that lasts throughout their lunchtime. So anything new and fun I can learn to do will be so helpful! If you have any suggestions, leave a comment, please. (note to Pat, if you're reading this: thanks for emailing those 30+ bento pics you found, I'm overwhelmed by the bento skills!)

One unexpected effect of all this Friday cuteness is that the girls have become the object of bento-envy at school. Other kids want to touch their lunch, ask for tastes, one has even borrowed (without asking) a silicone muffin cup when one of the girls wasn't looking... (thank goodness her mother brought her to our house to return it when she found it!) Doesn't mean I'll stop doing this... I just thought I'd share. Guess I need to work on teaching the girls how to keep their lunches from others!

If you are a mother, I wish you a very happy Mother's Day! I may or may not be spending my weekend in Las Vegas... we'll see!

bento friday.

Today's lunch was a flower-shaped grape jelly sandwich ( I cut the sandwich with a great sandwich cutter from Williams-Sonoma), sliced fresh strawberries and square mini pretzels. Good thing my little ones are such light eaters. I think we'll have to give up the bentos when they have bigger appetites, or else move on to double decker bento boxes like these!

Posting early because there's a chance we may go to Las Vegas this weekend to visit with family there. I've got to have laundry done and snacks bought, just in case. It all depends on hubby's workd schedule...

To all mothers out there, have a happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

20 happy little things.

Just a few things that make me smile, in no particular order…

1. A full cup of coffee first thing in the morning.
2. Fresh flowers in the house.
3. Clean laundry.
4. Jack Johnson music on continuous repeat.
5. Time spent with a good friend.
6. Taking photos of the people I love.
7. Super-premium ice cream.
8. Baby-teeth smiles.
9. Feeling close to God.
10. A tidy house.
11. Having daughters.
12. A pedicure and cute sandals.
13. A margarita, on the rocks.
14. Watching the sun set on the ocean.
15. Reading the Sunday newspaper.
16. A house that feels like a home.
17. An afternoon at Barnes & Noble.
18. Spa days.
19. Road trips.
20. Cupcakes.

This list was an idea from another blogger. Feels good to look at many of the things that make me so, so happy. Excellent idea for a blog post. :)

Friday, May 01, 2009

bento friday.

I don't know if it will still be Friday by the time this posts, but I wanted to share today's bento lunch with you all, since it's something we're doing every week:

bento friday

Today's Friday bento lunch for the triplets was a Nutella half-sandwich + sliced apples + Teddy Grahams + star-shaped fruit leather. It was mango, I think... (And everything was *times* three, of course!)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

so long, April.

April is over and I can barely believe it. It was a great month, albeit short… Or, it seemed to be, anyway, it just went by so fast! The real fun pretty much started with Easter. Egg coloring, Easter egg hunt, yummy treats. Fun! So thankful to have little girls all over again, it makes celebrating the holidays that much sweeter.

Easter Eggs



Not many pictures taken for the remainder of the month… But there were painted faces (the 20-year old, too) and bubble blowing…



oh, and we started making the CUTEST bento lunches for school on Fridays. It’s become a fun thing that we share and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a long-standing habit we’ll keep. Yep, the triplets won’t let me even CONSIDER letting that one go! Look at two of our bento lunches below… gotta try to come up with new and original ways to make lunch pretty, every week! What a challenge!

baby bentos


I hope there are lots of bubbles in our future...


I'm really looking forward to May, too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I don't usually share videos (other than personal) on my blog, but I was so excited to see this video on YouTube...

If you know me at all, you know that I'm a big fan of the Ting Tings (Shut Up and Let Me Go, HEY!) LOL I love this collaboration with Estelle at the 2009 Brit Awards.

So shut off the music player at the bottom of this page, and have fun watching! Such a brilliant performance!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Me. Today.

ME *today*

1. Stressed-out over things that are beyond my control. Like the rest of the U.S. population, I suppose.

2. Spending lots of time with the triplets lately, since they’re off-track from school the entire month of March.

3. Working through the clutter in our home. It’s amazing home much stuff a family can accumulate with 5 daughters!

4. Still on a “Disney High” after spending two days at Disneyland & California Adventure last week.

5. Haven’t had a single migraine since my Arizona Getaway to visit my parents… Mini-vacations are definitely good for me. That’s proof.

6. It’s making me feel so happy to have my home as tidy as it is right now… Now, how do I keep it this way without evicting my children? (joke)

7. Eating lots of candy the past few days. Is it my comfort food?

8. Hopeful that Spring will bring good news along with it…


Thursday, February 26, 2009

so very proud today.

Academic Excellence Awards from Christine Arrocena on Vimeo.

I was just gushing with pride over my triplets today...


(Don't forget to disable the music player at the very bottom of this page so you can hear the sound on this video! Just press PAUSE...)

Monday, February 23, 2009

babies and chilies.

So... I just popped dinner into the oven. About 20 more minutes and we'll be eating GOOD. Mmmm.

I decided to blog about dinner (or some aspect of it) while chopping up green bell pepper just a bit ago. I was shaking my head at myself because I was trying to chop up the bell pepper so very tiny. I mean really tiny. Ridiculously tiny. The reason I do this is below.


This is my daughter, Kaia. She's the cleverest little 5-year old girl you will ever know. Believe me. (BTW, she's one of three... the middle girl of my triplets.) And she tells me the most thought-provoking things... more on that later. But a while back, I served her dinner that included the yummiest bits of sautéed green bell pepper, which is one of my favorite veggies of all.

She REFUSED to eat it. I explained to her that the taste was sweet-like, not yucky. She shook her head at me and said so matter-of-factly, "You know, Mommy... Mommies really shouldn't feed their babies CHILIES. It's not a very kind thing to do."



So, since then, I've had to chop up bell pepper as small as I possibly can. Seriously. In the hopes that she will not notice it in her food, of course. No matter how good the food tastes, if she knows what those "little green things" are... it is all over. She will go to bed hungry if she thinks they are chilies. I have to tell her that they are something else... something like, "green healthy vegetables that help you grow strong!" Seems to do the trick, and she just gobbles it down.


So this was what was on my cutting board tonight. Practically PUREED bell pepper! It was pulverized. I really should have just put it in my blender instead of exerting all that energy! I just kept chopping and chopping and chopping, getting it as small as I could. Then it occurred to me that it was soooo silly. But necessary, at least for a while. I'm hoping that she'll grow out of this way of thinking very soon. But for now, a Mommy certainly cannot feed her baby chilies. It just isn't a KIND thing to do.

{BTW, I made Baked Spaghetti for dinner tonight... If I have time to post the recipe tomorrow, I will...} :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I completely forgot to share what I had whipped-up to celebrate the new President on Inauguration Day (January 20th)... {Remember, I said I was going to show you LATER that night? whoops!}

Now... I adore cupcakes; both baking them and eating them! So here was my little red, white and blue edible celebration:


Mmmmm... Devils Food with Cream Cheese frosting! We all devoured them after dinner that day!
And speaking of cupcakes, and my adoration of them... you know I had to whip some up for Valentine's Day, too! Look...

Red Velvet with a simple chocolate frosting! Heaven!
Here are a few more pics from that night... we had a Chocolate Party!





Wish you could have been there, too! LOL just one more thing...

The day after all this fun, I woke up bright and early and went with my good friend, Melissa, to the Orange County Scrapbook Expo. Oh my! Look at the loot that I came home with! Can't wait to dig in, I just haven't had the time yet!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Project 365 update + more.

It has come to my attention that I have not blogged in FOR-EV-ER (it's been more than a month, I think) so here I am. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will even notice, but then out of the blue, someone will ask me to update it. That's so nice... and it gives me the motivation to write another blog post!!! So here I am!

Project 365. Okay, so... it didn't work for me. I wasn't lucky enough to get a kit... Creating Keepsakes ran out of the January Kit of the Month in mere hours, and they apparently haven't been able to get it back in stock. So I lost my drive by the time February came around... Not exactly sure why. I knew I wasn't going to get the cool kit that Becky Higgins was praising up and down for what seemed like forever... Getting me all excited about it and stuff!!! {LOL} So I guess I knew this wasn't going to turn out the way I had planned so I pretty much just gave up.

So, I've moved on.

But I did manage to document the entire month of January 2009 in pictures, so I was considering making a mini album all about January. What do you think? I've got so many chipboard albums in my stash, not to mention my Zutter Bind-it-All... seems like the perfect opportunity for a project. And with Christmas and Valentine's Day projects now behind me... what else am I gonna do for some fun??? LOL

Well, one thing I DID manage to do was to follow the lead of the 3 Little Birdies and create a quick and easy fabric wreath to hang in my home for Valentine's Day. I'm planning to keep it up throughout February... what do you think?


I must have cut 100+ squares (seriously, I have no idea)... but it was fun! I think I'll use this technique to make other wreaths in the future! Thanks for the idea, Birdies!

In case you want to know how I did it, here are some pics of the process:





I'm keeping my heart up throughout February. Still another week to go.