Written by my husband…


This Christmas message is sponsored by the letters:





I know it sounds strange.

With a recent shooting in an elementary school, a growing national socialism, runaway debt, a fiscal “cliff,” and double-digit unemployment, you would think this year’s message would be…


 But we tend to disagree.

This year, we have been blessed to see 3 children into a greater understanding that they are loved. Faith is 7 and serves as our resident expert-on-all-things and is becoming a budding ballerina. Jack is 5 and is becoming our math whiz and no-training-wheels mountain biking hero. And Dean is 4 and has turned into our resident hugger and Guinea Pig antagonist.



We have heard them ask increasingly detailed questions about God, how he became a man, what heaven will be like, and how Noah was able to squeeze all those animals on that boat.

We’ve seen them hug retirees in an otherwise abandoned veteran’s home; collect lizards, spiders, and snails to find out exactly what kind of detail God created; and learn how to count to 100…without notes.

One look in their eyes and you see hope – the conviction of things unseen – the belief that life will be better and even more fun when they wake up tomorrow.

Seriously, would we do without hope?

Not the here-today-gone-tomorrow lottery ticket kind of hope, but the real-life things-can-change kind of hope. The kind of hope that hopes in a God who comes through for his people – every time.



 We don’t know about you, but 2012 was a tough year for us. Like most families, finances were tight, life was moving too fast, and it seemed that everything we did took twice as long and worked half as well.

Can you relate?

But through the tough times, as a family, we have had this lingering hope that things can change…that things will change. And that hope is planted firmly in the simple belief that when you experience pain, eventually God comes through and changes everything. That he fights for you and he fights with you. That when you are struggling, God struggles with you. And when you fight alongside of him, he fights alongside of you and together you win.

It’s a very encouraging thought.

Here is a Biblical example of what we are talking about…

Abraham was a guy just like us. He had his doubts, failures, struggles, and sin. He had to wake up every morning grasping for a reason to live another day. He had relationship issues, business disputes, and sleepless nights. And, for some strange reason, the Bible uses Abraham as an example.


Let’s see what the book of Romans says about the Father of our Faith…

“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’” (Romans 4:18-22 ESV)

Ok, now here is the interesting thing. God speaks very highly of Abraham. It actually makes you feel like you are small beans compared to Abraham. But you need to know that (just like us) Abraham actually did some very bad stuff even after he professed faith in God. He lied about his wife (a couple of times), he failed to fight for his family, he laughed in God’s face, and to make maters really worse, he had illicit sex with his servant Hagar.

But despite all of the bad stuff, God commended Abraham because he “believed against hope” in the God who saves. At the exact moment Abraham did that, God took away all of his sin, failure, and purposelessness and exchanged them for righteousness, success, and purpose.

Abraham didn’t deserve any of that.

And neither do we.

It’s not even the point.

The point is that Christ died so that we might have hope.

–       Hope in a brighter future (in heaven as well as here on earth).

–       Hope for a better income.

–       Hope for stronger relationships.

–       Hope for children to grow to love Him and serve him well

–       Hope for more peace, rest, and joy.

Hope beyond all hope. Hope against all hope.  The kind of hope that makes you bolt out of bed in the morning ready for anything.



 Our daughter Faith is a 7-year old night owl. We are not kidding when we say that she often goes to bed after us. We tell her to go back to bed, but she just can’t fall asleep. She really can’t.

The problem with night owls is that they don’t wake up very well. And so on most mornings, we have to drag her out of bed with a crane.

But not every morning.

There are a few days that waking up is not a problem for Faith, specifically: the morning we go to Disneyland, Christmas morning, and her birthday morning. On those days, she bolts out of bed like she was shot out of a cannon.

That’s the kind of hope we as a family think we as Christians can live with every day…of every week…of every year. That’s because that kind of hope is not based in anything you have done or will do. It’s based in the fact that Christ did everything very well, and so now you can too. It’s based in the fact that your God is going to take you to Disneyland (or at least the spiritual equivalent of Disneyland: the new heavens and the new earth). It’s based in the fact that as a believer, every day is your birthday…and your Father is going to lavish rich presents on you (again and again) for no other reason then that he loves you…a lot. It’s based on the fact, because you are a friend of God, every day is Christmas…and God knows how to give good gifts to his children.

So as you celebrate Christmas this year, take a short mental break from the roast, the wrapping paper, and the fudge to remember a God who reached down from heaven to bring…


Best & Blessings,

Ed, Bon, Faith, Jack, Dean

(and from the animal kingdom)…

Leonard, Peter, Woody, and Figaroa.



If you’d like to keep in up with our little fam, stick around and find us on:

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You can find Ed’s blog here:

Called To Victory

Pictures by Kristin Rogers



Help Create A Winter Wonderland For Sandy Hook!


We’ve sent prayers.  We’ve sent money.  We’ve sent letters.

My friend Rachael from Imagine Gnats came up with a project:

ABCs of Love: 26 Ways to Pass it On
“…a project to encourage all of us to find simple ways to share our love within our own communities and families. there is so much that we cannot control in this crazy world, but i know that we can absolutely find time and ways to show those around us that we care.”  Someone noticed that their were 26 people that were killed, matching with the same number of letters in the alphabet.  This project symbolizes the love we can choose to share in the names of those whose lives were cut short that day.
So, P is for…

Paper Snowflakes!

I was so excited when I saw that there was something more that we can do to help those who are grieving following the elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) of Connecticut has come up with this fabulous idea to welcome back the students to their school in January.  They are going to create a Winter Wonderland in the classrooms!

Few of us can imagine what these remaining children will have to deal with the rest of their lives.  The idea of returning to their school building will probably create some horrible memories for them.  Let’s help make their first day back to Sandy hook as joyful as possible.

May God continue to hold Sandy Hook in his arms and let them know he is close!

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:15-18

Send the snowflakes to:

Connecticut PTSA

60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103

Hamden, CT 06514

by January 12, 2013.

Funds are being received at this address:

Connecticut PTSA

60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103

Hamden, CT 06514

Original post on the PTSA website found here.


Make: A Succulent Teacup Planter



Last year after Christmas, I told myself to find something simple yet wonderful to make for my friends the next year.  I get caught up in so many projects and commitments, sometimes I end up leaving less room for the fun handmade Christmas presents I love so much.  My schedule has changed a lot the last two Christmas seasons with my attention turning towards homeschooling.  I am enjoying this school year so much but when vacations comes around, I am in much need of rest and time to finish projects…and go to seemingly endless rehearsals and performances for the Nutcracker.  I wanted a gift that would be easy, fun, inexpensive (although, good friends are always deserving of the best!), and beautiful.

I feel really good about these succulent planters.

Succulents are perfect for everyone because they look great and SUPER EASY to take care of as they need minimal care and water once established. Perfect for friends, your mother-in-law or mom,  the neighbors, or the UPS driver.

I started looking around estate sales and thrift stores for good English china to plant succulents in a few months ago.  I noticed that the Japanese and Chinese tea cups were always more.  How nice that the one I was looking for was actually less.  Yay, for me!  I got mine ranging from $.25 to $6.  If I was in love with the cup, I would buy it for $6, but usually not.  You could buy new ones as well.  A special monogram mug from Anthropologie is always a good idea for $8.


Required materials:

tea cup




Basically, I took the teacup, glued the bottom of the cup to the saucer (optional), filled it with soil, and added succulent clippings.  They survive for long periods of time with limited water, but make sure to keep the soil moist while they are developing roots.  If you have time, place the clippings in water, wait for the roots to form, then add them to the soil.  I’ve been propagating them for a few months now from my own yard.  It would be super easy for you to find a neighbor with overgrown neighborhoods (think retro 70’s neighborhoods where they will be prevalent, like mine).  I saw some down the street from me and will definitely ask them in the future since it’s a variety I don’t have.

That means they’d be FREE!


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Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Crackles

Do you have questions that you get asked a lot?  Like if your hair color is real or if “all of those kids are yours”?  I get asked both of those questions a lot, but not quite as much as I get asked:
“How do you cook so much with your kids?”
My first reaction is to say, I dunno…well…I just do.  However, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I realized there might be more to it than that.  I just haven’t really thought about it.  I try to be (and often fail at being) deliberate when it comes to letting the kids help.  I’ve learned to say yes when they ask to help and know ahead of time that there will be an extra mess when they do. Sometimes I’m excited about the help and sometimes I’m in a hurry and get snappy, but I still TRY.
I know other people REALLY REALLY want to cook more with their kiddos, so I thought I’d share how we have gone about it in a way that works for us.  Who knows?  Maybe your kids will be able to make breakfast for everyone in your family this week? :)
I asked my daughter Faith (7) if she would help me show other kids how to bake something.  She giggled and said “of course”.  This last year I have let her make more meals over the stove on her own so that she will be hopefully be self-sufficient by the time she’s an adult and then will be able to make yummy meals for her husband and family.  Hopefully.  When she started cooking when she was a wee one, she most definitely made mistakes, but how else is a kid to learn, right?
When Faith was little, I started cooking “lessons” with spreading peanut butter, grating cheese, washing vegetables,  mashing potatoes, whisking eggs, and rolling cookie dough.  Those can really be started around age 2 or 3, they will just be messy versions of the expected result…which is totally fine.  I am a perfectionist, to a fault, so I have had to work on setting reasonable expectations.
Once kids are old enough to use the stove, there is a world of possibilities!  Everyone really has to decide for themselves what age is best for this.
This Christmas, Faith made her first batch of Christmas cookies, following the recipe.  The exciting thing is, if we give our kiddos the tools they need to cook…they totally can!  If you don’t know how to cook or don’t like to, consider getting your little ones on the path to having those skills.  Remember their wives and husbands they will be feeding and even you later in life!  Letting them follow a recipe is an easy way to find out how much they actually have let soak in.
I’ve narrowed down some teachable moments:
  • K I T C H E N   S A F E T Y:  washing hands, not licking fingers, proper use of knives, hot things, etc.
  • Operating the oven and finding the correct temperature.
  • Talking about what degrees are.
  • Why we preheat.
  • Identifying measuring cup sizes and also the different measuring cup used for liquids.
  • What the abbreviation is for a cup.
  • Measuring using a recipe.
  • That there are 4 quarters/parts to a make a whole.
  • What it means to “pack” something in a measuring cup.
  • Proper use of salt (too much vs. too little and why both are bad).
  • Turning on the stove
  • Finding and using the right amount of heat
  • Stirring to prevent burning
  • Measuring while cooking at the same time
  • Breaking eggs into a bowl before adding them to your recipe to prevent eating egg shells.
  • How to get egg shells out of a bowl of scrambled eggs. :)
  • Telling the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.
  • Learning their abbreviations.
  • That there are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon.
  • Getting a smooth consistency when stirring.
  • Scraping a bowl clean
  • What it means to “level” something.
  • The difference between baking soda and baking powder
  • What it means to “chill” something.
  • Cleaning up after you cook!
(side-note: I didn’t stage this. She was talking about what her Nutcracker performance would be like, then she stopped to daydream!)
  • Rolling cookies
  • Setting a timer
  • How to take things in and out of the oven properly.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
(family recipe)
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 c. powdered sugar (for rolling)
Melt the chocolate in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat and combine it with the brown sugar and oil.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to the chocolate mixture.  Stir in nuts, if using.  Chill the dough for 1 hour or up to 3 days.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll the dough into balls a little larger than a whole walnut or really as big as you want(just increase the baking time).  Roll them in the powdered sugar.  Place them on a greased cookie sheet or a silpat.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!
Happy little lady with her first solo Christmas cookie baking!

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West Elm Holiday Entertaining Event


 I’m so excited to be sharing some great Holiday cocktails at West Elm San Diego!

Thursday, December 13th from 6-8pm

RSVP here.

I will have 3 drinks including one without alcohol for those inclined or even for the kiddos!

I’m so excited to use West Elm’s new TWIG bar-ware!


Check it out on West Elm’s site here.

Here’s one cocktail I will be serving (recipe here):


The evening will also feature holiday food ideas from BetsyLife and floral ideas from Leaf it to Lexi.

Should be fun!

Hope to see some of you San Diegans there!

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