One of the best scenes in Peter Pan is at the beginning when Peter is trying to catch his shadow. When he finally catches it, he tries to attach it with soap, but everyone knows you’re supposed to sew your shadow back on. Silly Peter!

I wanted to teach Chloe about shadows so we first watched the Peter Pan clip. Then I attached a shop light to a door. Chloe turned off the lights and I turned on the shop light. At first, she didn’t know what we were looking at and was more interested in the shop light. But then I showed her how her bunny has a shadow and she got it. This activity was for Chloe while Vincent was in school but I’m pretty sure Vincent would enjoy playing with shadows, too.



Whenever we had a birthday party growing up, my mom would always let my friends and I make our own pizzas. My friends still remember making the pizzas 25 years later. Haha
Tonight, we decided to let Vincent and Chloe make mini pizzas for dinner. They had fun making their own and were excited to see how they turned out when done.
To make mini pizzas we used English muffins, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. They baked at 375 for 10 minutes. This isn’t something we will do often but for a fun dinner the kids loved it…. ok Anson and I enjoyed making them too.

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IMG_0279I don’t know if you are like me, but I love to find projects on Pinterest that I can actually accomplish. I don’t care for projects that take too long because with three kids at home, who has the time!?! But as soon as I saw that someone pinned the oversized ruler that can track your kids heights, I knew I had to make one. I read several blogs that described how they made it then took a few hints from each of them to make mine. It was cheap (which is a bonus) to make and hardly took any time(double bonus).

My husband, went to Lowes and bought the supplies. A 1-inch thick, 8-inch wide and 6-feet tall piece of wood and a package of large D-Ring  Hangers.



The first thing I did was sand the edges of the board. If you have little kids like I do, then you know they love to run their hands on all surfaces. I wanted to save their little hands from any possible splinters so I made sure the board was nice and smooth. Some people choose to leave their ruler the natural wood color but we decided to stain ours. I tested out a few different color stains I had around the house on the back of the piece of wood before applying it to the front side. It took about 5 hours for the stain to dry.

Once the stain was dry, I did what my 9-year old son would call “the tedious part.” I used a ruler and a pencil to mark one inch increments up the left side of the board. I drew a one-inch line for every inch, two-inch line for every quarter foot and a three-inch line for every foot. After all the lines were measured out and drawn with pencil, I used a black paint pen to retrace my lines. Instead of using vinyl or a stencil for the numbers, I freehanded them. If I were to do it again, I would probably find or make a two-inch stencil so that the numbers look better.


To finish the project, Anson attached 2 of the D-Rings to the top corners of the board so that it would hang straight. We made sure to hang the board 6 inches off the floor so that the ruler would be accurate.


The finished project came out great and I was able to do it all in one afternoon. Vincent and Chloe love our new ruler and already want to get measured. I hope these instructions help anyone that is wanting to make one, too. You and your family will love it!



Alright alright, some of you might be giggling and making jokes about a certain kind of herb, but those of you who know me, I LOVE to cook.  So much so, we regularly have events for friends and phamily just so I have an excuse to cook something I normally wouldn’t.

After living in an apartment for so long, I was ecstatic to finally live in a house again.  What did that mean?  It meant a spacious kitchen and a backyard to get a propane grill.  Grilled foods are wonderful…everything from a rack of lamb to fresh locally grown squashes.  Of course that wasn’t enough for me even though our guests thoroughly enjoy my wannabe culinary efforts.  I wanted to get a proper smoker.  I’m super grateful for my in-laws who gave me a smoker for my recent 37th birthday.  Thank you thank you Ma & Pops!

Smoking meats requires much more attention than I expected.  Here I thought I would “set it and forget it” for 6+ hrs.  After reading numerous blogs and forums on the art of smoking, I’m obsessed.  I constantly think of different things I could try next.  So far pork (both fatty and lean) is my favorite and I haven’t smoked fish yet since it’s not safe for our baby on the way.

Conclusion, smoked food tastes AMAZING.  It’s a chance for me to slow my thoughts, hangout with the Phamily all day while leisurely checking temps and adjusting heat sources to make sure everything is smoked perfectly.

I’m getting hungry just writing about this, I wish I can get to Costco right now to buy some food.



It’s funny the luxuries I used to have pre mom days that I didn’t even know I had. What luxuries am I talking about? Oh the ones like taking a shower without your baby crying while in a bouncing seat a couple feet away. How about the luxury of drinking a cup of coffee in silence as you wake up. Ahhh . . . those were the good old days.

Well I think this week I have discovered a way to get all those wonderful luxuries back. The trick is to wake up early! For the past three days I have woken up 45-60 minutes before Vincent and Chloe. I use that time to enjoy a quiet shower, get ready for the day, make Vincent’s lunch for school and get Chloe’s food prepared. The best part about this new routine is that when Vincent and Chloe wake up in the morning, I am ready to focus on them and help them get their day started. With my old way of doing things, I was being woken up by them and then all of a sudden needed to get things going while I was still waking myself up. These past three days have been so nice and the mornings have moved smoothly without any issues.

Let’s raise our cups of coffee to cheer bringing the small luxuries back!


As many of you have seen, Facebook has been going crazy with videos about the Invisible Children. If you haven’t watched the video about stopping Joseph Kony check out the link at the bottom of this blog. When Anson and I watched the video, we both felt the need to help the children in Uganda. Instead of just watching the video and saying “That’s a good video. Too bad for those kids” then moving on, we decided to actually do something and help.

Over dinner, I spoke with Vincent about the kids in Uganda and about how sad it is that they are forced to fight instead of do things like him and go to school. Vincent agreed that we should do something to help the kids. But of course Vincent related the kids in Uganda to an Indiana Jones Lego game. Apparently, one of the levels Indiana Jones has to rescue kids that were captured. After we talked about how he defeated the bad guy in the game, we talked about how people want to defeat Kony in real life.

Instead of quickly typing in our small monthly gift and moving on. I included Vincent by inviting him to type in our information. There are several teachable moments that come across us everyday. It’s important that we take the time to include our kids in them, too.



As I was folding laundry this afternoon I kept coming across pieces of tape and neon green post it notes on the clothes. I immediately knew who the culprit was because all of the papers said Vincent on them. Before I even had a chance to get bugged for pulling wet papers and tape off all the clothes, I realized something. These papers were from a scavenger hunt my aunt made for Vincent while I was away last week. One paper said “Go to the BBQ in the back.” Another paper said “Go to Granny’s swing outside her bedroom.” Looking at these scavenger hunt clues made me feel very grateful that even my extended family has chosen to love Vincent as if he were my own flesh and blood. They don’t see Vincent as “Lisa’s stepson” but instead as my son that they want to get to know. So instead of being upset about the papers in the laundry, I’m grateful that they were left in there so I could remember what an awesome family we have.



Sunday is our Phamily day. We try to focus on spending time together and do something that will be fun for everyone. Today, we decided to take our dessert outside for a picnic on the grass. Laying out a blanket didn’t take much effort, but it made our time together fun just because it was different. Vincent taught Anson and I how to play his new Lego game and of course Vincent won the first round. I was lucky enough to win the second round. Sorry, Anson better luck next time! :)


How is it possible for a 3rd grader to move in the middle of a school year to a new school and still achieve Student of the Month for his grade?  Does he have to try hard to meet his deadlines or does the effort come natural?  These were some of the thoughts I had as I was reading a letter from the school addressed to “The Parents of Vincent Pham”.  We were notified in advance of a special awards ceremony and given the option to view the assembly on school grounds. Vincent was rewarded for Perfect Attendance, Student of the Month for academic achievement and Math Wizard.  Apparently his math skills are at the 94th percentile of his grade.  How can we not be proud parents?!

One of the things I remind him about is although this may come easy (for now) is to be grateful for the brain he was given.  Maybe some other classmates need to try much harder to grasp concepts, but no matter what, Vincent needs to realize everyone is trying their hardest and to stay humble about his achievements but still be proud.