Wednesday, December 14, 2011


After a long, hard day, I was awarded this moment:


They were huddled together on Abigail's bunk as I took this stealth photo courtesy of a telephoto lens.

I may or may not have fought back a few tears. :)

They were reading a Caillou book together, to assuage Alyssa's newfound obsession with the whiny, yet endearing character.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My helpers

My daily sacred work involves a lot of repetition. Diaper changes, packing lunches, teaching the ABCs... laundry in, laundry out. Dishes in, dishes out. It's so easy to morph into a grump and forget just why I do what I do.

Well, thank goodness that the very little ones whose hands could single-handedly dismantle the homeschool room in mere seconds are starting to enjoy assisting me with the aforementioned duties. It's really fun to do things together.

Case in point: dishes!

After I remove knives and chopsticks, Alyssa slowly empties the utensil caddy in the dishwasher and hands the utensils to Abigail.




Little Alyssa gets a bit pushy at times, as if she's the one in charge.


"Ah dunnnnn (all done)," she declares.


While they're busy with the utensils, I quickly put everything else away. It keeps them occupied and focused, which equates to a good routine. They feel so empowered by this small thing too.

I'm glad they're so helpful - there will be a bit more to do once the baby comes!

The aroma of baking fills the air


Ron's apple caramel pie

and savory!



My husband makes his apple pie without a recipe, so there isn't a recipe to refer you to, but the "Quick and Easy" breadsticks are definitely worthy of sharing - here is the recipe for it if you'd like. The breadsticks freeze well too, so make two batches! I used cheddar because that's all I had in the house. Be sure to be generous when sprinkling on the cheese and garlic spread.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo sessions aplenty

It is true that one of the busiest times of the year for photographers is the fall season.

Take a peek at my latest on my photography blog:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

My girls and me, 5K style

Too much tomato pasta and I dropped off blogland. Actually, tryptophan-induced gluttony has gotten the best of me as of late, but that's another post.  :)

One event my girls and I have not missed the last five years is the the nation's largest 5K for women. The first year was in 2007, with 4-year-old Amanda and a 7-month-old Abigail, and Amanda walked with me while I toted Abigail in a Bjorn. Read about our first foray here:

2007 5K

In 2008 - read about our second year here:

2008 5K

In 2009, I made the mistake of emptying out my memory card without fetching the 5K photos.  What's worse is that I never wrote down the memories.  Oh well....

2009 5K

In 2010, I was but 2-1/2 months postpartum when the girls and I walked again:

2010 5K

Again, I didn't write down the memories!

So here I am, a few months behind, making sure that blogland knows I've taken photos AND written the account down for year number five!

::2011 5K::

With three little ones and their items to keep track of, I made sure to lay out all of our uniforms the night prior.


The morning of, we were up at an ungodly hour to get going - see how dark it is still?

It's still dark.

Here we are ready to go, all five of us (there's one nestled in my belly!):

ready to go

We met up with our good friends, Julie and Brooke, and we happily bugged other 5Kers for a group photo:

Group photo

Amanda sure had fun having a friend with her! Plus, I got smart (after several years of doing this) and signed up for the stroller wave, so my girls didn't have to endure looking at other ladies' backsides and legs for the opening ceremony.



Abby and Alyssa had the luxury of a stroller ride the entire time. Amanda was walking the entire thing at Abby's age!

Miss Abacus


It was a gorgeous day with no rain in sight. Julie and I had a lovely time chatting the whole way. It didn't feel like 5 kilometers at all! Even though this was Julie and Brooke's first 5K, you never would have known.

The finish line photo:


We all sat down and wolfed down our finish line breakfast!

Alyssa eats and eats

Looking onward to next year's event!  With four kids in tow....

2011 5K 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Roasted tomato pasta

If your garden's bounty has you knee deep in tomatoes, you can understand the challenge I face everyday.

roasted tomatos pasta2

roasted tomatos pasta3

roasted tomatos pasta4

It's a good problem, of course, with some good solutions too, I'm finding out. I was particularly inspired by Prudent Baby.

One such solution is this roasted tomato pasta. Yum factor is extremely high, and the smell-o-meter is off the charts grand. It was thrown together for an impromptu meal with a good friend.

roasted tomato pasta1

Alas, my dark kitchen doesn't produce photos that do this dish justice, but you get the picture (I'm so punny).

The trick is to slow roast your tomatoes. I used beefsteak, roma, and pear tomatoes, because that's what I have. Each imparts a subtly different aura that harmonizes well.

Cut up the tomatoes so they're half inch cubes. I used enough tomatoes to fill a baking sheet, because I wanted to make enough for eight servings.

roasted tomato pasta5

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add your desired amount of garlic. I used the garlic juice from this Costco monstrosity:

roasted tomato pasta6

Drizzle a good amount of extra virgin olive oil on the tomatoes, and toss them to coat evenly.

roasted tomato pasta 7

In goes the baking sheet into an oven preheated at 225. Roasting time will be between 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours. Trust me, it is worth the time.

During the last 20 minutes of the roasting time, boil your linguine noodles, and lightly salt and drizzle some olive oil. They should finish right around the time the tomatoes are ready and they look like this:

roasted tomato pasta 8

Take a silcone spoon scraper and release all the good bits:

roasted tomato pasta 9

Set aside in a bowl.

Take your noodles and run them against the baking sheet so as to pick up every bit of the pan juices. Add more olive oil as needed. Then add the roasted tomatoes back into the noodles.

roasted tomato pasta10

Top with basil and serve.

roasted tomato pasta1

Heather's Roasted Tomato Pasta
Serves 8

-fresh tomatoes (I used three kinds: beefsteak, roma, and pear tomatoes)
-extra virgin olive oil
-minced garlic (I used garlic juice)
-sea salt and pepper to taste
-prepared linguine noodles

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
2. Wash and cut up tomatoes into half inch cubes. Transfer them onto a baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil, giving a good toss to coat evenly.
4. Into the oven it goes for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.
5. During the last 20 minutes of the roasting time, prepare the linguine noodles, timing it to finish with the tomatoes. Lightly salt and drizzle a bit of olive oil.
6. Pull out the roasted tomatoes and release the softened bits with a silicone spoon scraper. Set aside in a bowl.
7. Run the noodles against the baking sheet so as to pick up every bit of the pan juices. Add more olive oil as needed. Then add the roasted tomatoes back into the noodles.
8. Serve as is, or add basil and/or fresh mozzarella to kick it up a notch or two.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great reminder

It's easy to lose the way sometimes... thinking that a parent's chief role is to get a child to the best college --> to get the best career --> to make lots of money. I am totally guilty of this myopia.

This dad in the following video remembered to shepherd his daughter's HEART.

I needed this - thank you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Right now

1) Older two girls in Vacation Bible School
2) Alyssa fills the room with her zzzzzz's - the girl can snore!
3) About to tackle the mountain of laundry
4) Wondering how in the world I can put #3 off longer, grin
5) Grateful to have gotten Mandy and Kevin's photo session blogged

(Click on image to view)

6) Procrastinating Strategizing about getting faux curtains up in the family room this week
7) Thinking about all the changes coming down the pike for our little family

8) Choosing peace over worry...

...and curiously enough, joy comes to surprise me!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Surprises in the mail

A package arrived in the mail unexpectedly, and the contents spilled out to high-pitched squeals of delight... decibels only my girls can emit:

Hello Kitty goodies for Amanda!

And Pillow Pets for each of the girls? Wow!

Alyssa was too busy drooling on her favorite toy-of-the-moment to participate in the next photo, but she loves her hippo too:

Thanks to my Amanda's penpal, also named Amanda, for the love you sent us. Let your mom know that she rocks. :) Love you guys.

The fun thing about this whole penpal relationship is that the penpal's mom and I have been friends since 6th/7th grade, and we recently "found" each other again through my dear, dear friend Julianne. Both Amandas are half-Korean too. Eek, I can't wait to have the penpals meet!

Penpal Amanda, you have a letter coming soon -

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What a find -

Look at this vision of beauty I picked up a few weeks ago for my Alyssa:

Alyssa dress1

Isn't it just the most angelic Easter dress for the sweet Lulish?

Alyssa dress2

The details grabbed me instantly: Alyssa dress3

Alyssa dress4

The color is most consistent with the details photos. I'd call it blush pink.

Get this: I got it for pennies on the dollar, literally. How? I shop at a children's clothing consignment store, and it was listed at $6.99. Be still my beating heart. I just paid for tax after I used my trade-in credit. Moral of the story - don't poo poo consignment stores, because there are some gems in there for rock bottom prices.

A similar dress is selling for $80 right now. {Doing the happy dance} My girls and I love our consignment store clothing. Especially when they're as cute as this blush pink dress.

What thrifty finds make your heart go pitter patter? :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh no, she's snapping!

Well, snapping a shot with a camera, that is. :) At least that's what it was yesterday anyway, heh heh.

Jeremy and Cassie E-session
(click on image to see more)

I'm glad to be back at the helm again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Busy with school

We finally have a pretty good homeschooling schedule at the Lee household! Hurray! It only took, what, six months? {grin} Much of it had to do with the fact that homeschooling intersected with two major life events: the birth of Alyssa and the death of Ron's father. But some of it was due to the lack of a dedicated schooling area in the house. We've since fixed that issue. I'll share pics of that soon.

Here's a video that Amanda and her dear friend Emma made on water conservation. Call me biased, but I think they're so cute in it. {Make sure to play it on the highest resolution your internet connection can take, since it's a high-def video}


Pray for the Japanese....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Revisiting the joy

Happy New Year to you, wherever you may be.

It was a powerful experience to recount the events of 2010 as I put together our annual card. Moments of strength, of weakness, of many tears and laughter. We are extremely grateful for each one.

I do have some resolutions tucked away in my heart for this year, but the most prominent of them is to "lessen". Lessen the clutter, lessen the commitments, lessen the stress, lessen the "hurry up!" that I tend to insert after each pointed directive at the kids. So that in 2011 I can feel, hear, touch, share life in deeper ways.

New Year's Card

In joy, for joy, because of joy....

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