Our First Snowball Fight

I know it may be difficult to believe, but we have never had a snowball fight as a family. Mostly that’s because our youngest kids have never seen snow! Our last 3 children were born in Southern California where the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees. Dean and I decided that this was a good year to take the hour-ish trip up to Idyllwild in the mountains and have some fun frolicking in the snow. Here are the pictures.IMG_2643 IMG_2650 IMG_2651 IMG_2664 IMG_2672 IMG_2674 IMG_2682 IMG_2686 IMG_2689 IMG_2692 IMG_2693 IMG_2695 IMG_2696 IMG_2701 IMG_2702 IMG_2705

Thanks for following along on another brilliant adventure.


A Brilliant Year

Ok.I know that I haven’t posted anything since the beginning of December, so I’ll catch you all up with what’s been going on in our brilliant home.

We had a lot of fun getting dressed in our winter clothes to go see the Christmas Tree lighting in the park.IMG_2528 IMG_2530

We made some yummy chili.


We decorated our family Christmas tree.


We enjoyed some Holiday lights.


And we made some delicious cookies.

IMG_2566 Merry Christmas and a Brilliant New Year!

How was your Holiday?

How To Paint A Metal File Cabinet


This is a project that I have been wanting to do for a while, so the other day, I jumped in and just started painting this ugly beast. Here’s what I did. I had this monster black file cabinet that I inherited when we moved. I’ve been using it to store my homeschool/preschool stuff, but I wanted it to look prettier so I could keep it upstairs in the loft instead of in the garage. This is before (obviously).
IMG_2383 IMG_2384I really didn’t want to take off all that hardware, so I just taped it up.

IMG_2385I decided on a shiny, fire engine red. I’m sorry I forgot to take a picture of the can of spray paint, but I bought two cans of Rustoleum for Metal paint. I wiped the dust off of the surface of the cabinet, but I didn’t sand it down or do any primer. (I am very new at refinishing furniture, so I know I made some “rookie” mistakes 🙂 )

This is after the first coat.IMG_2387IMG_2388

I let it dry for about an hour, then I did another coat. IMG_2389It really needed another coat, but I was out of paint and patience. (Like I said, I’m a rookie) So after it dried for a couple of hours, My Hubs and First-born took the beast upstairs, where I positioned it where I liked it, reassembled it, and Voila! IMG_2525 IMG_2526 IMG_2527Shiny, red, and matches my new, chevron pattern pillows.  What do you think?

A Brilliant Anniversary

In November, Dean and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. I am often amazed that I have lived with Dean longer than I lived with my parents. This year, we decided to go to Las Vegas. It is just a 4 hour drive from our Southern California home, so we  joined up with some friends and drove to “Sin City”.Las-Vegas-united-states-of-america-697061_770_576las-vegas-sign_1

We pulled out all the stops and just had FUN! We checked into the Trump Hotel. Let me tell you, that Trump guy knows how to deliver luxury.

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas-1

Trump International Hotel Las VegasThey were so awesome! When they found out it was our Anniversary, they gave us a little surprise when we got up to our room.

IMG_2368IMG_2367When we went out to eat, we decided to “do it right”, so we went to Mario Batali’s Restaurant called Carnevino.



And afterward, we had dessert at Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay’s restaurant.


What a wonderfully decadent night!  Isn’t it amazing how much good friends add to a fun night out?

The next day, after doing some fun sight seeing, we saw the new James Bond movie. Then, Dean and I went to see “O” Cirque du Soleil.

imagescirque-o-addAMAZING!!! I’m so glad we saw this show. I highly recommend it.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. We really enjoyed being together without the kiddos. It’s nice to play the part of a grown-up once in a while. 🙂

A Brilliant Countdown Idea

Every year in December, I buy the kids those chocolate advent calendars as a sweet way to count down the days until Christmas. This year, I wanted to improve on our tradition, and added another countdown idea.

I printed a template of an envelope from this website http://www.allcrafts.net/crochetsewingcrafts.htm?url=houseofstirfry.com/chia/templates/4x4env.html

I printed a template of an 4″x4″ envelope from this website: http://www.allcrafts.net/crochetsewingcrafts.htm?url=houseofstirfry.com/chia/templates/4x4env.html

Then I cut the envelope out of scrapbook paper

IMG_2499envelopeAfter that, came the fun part, deciding what ideas to put into the envelopes. I wanted to do something fun every day, but I know that the Holidays get really busy, so I made sure the things I came up with were easy and quick enough to do in a day. Some of my ideas were easy, like make Gingerbread cookies, cut paper snowflakes, and watch a Christmas movie as a family, as well as some that take some planning like, go to a Christmas tree lighting and buy toys for Toys For Tots. I typed the ideas up on slips of paper that fit into the envelopes.



It has been so much fun to open up the envelopes. The kiddos get excited to see the next activity.

Here the little ones are helping me make gingerbread cookiesgingerbread cookiesIMG_2518

What are some Advent traditions in your family?

A Year of Thanksgiving

For those of you closest to us, You know what a difficult year we have had. At the beginning of this year, we moved out of a large, comfortable house, due to financial difficulties and into a small, three bedroom, 1200 square ft home that a friend let us live in while he tried to sell it. We were grateful to have a roof over our heads and tried to “grow where we were planted”. But it was still really hard for 7 people to make such a big change. Our faith and sheer determination got us through. We had several milestones pass in that little house.

Our oldest son, Joey, went to Senior prom with a friend

Our “baby” Adam turned 3.

Joey graduated from High School! What???!!!

Joshua had a Chuck E. Cheese party for his 6th birthday.

In August, Emily started her first day of Kindergarten.

We had a few weeks of falling on our knees in prayer when the little house sold and we had to move for the 2nd time in a year. 😦  However, as you faithful readers may remember, I began this blog writing about my new, awesome house, so you know that we ended up in a fabulous, 5 bedroom house with wonderful neighbors. God answered our prayers and now we are making new memories in this amazing house. We had a brilliant Thanksgiving and are already preparing for new Christmas memories. What are your favorite Holiday memories?

Brilliant Thanksgiving Tablescape

With five children (three of whom are under seven years old) running through the house, I rarely get to enjoy any of the beautiful WHITE decorating ideas that I so often see and pin on Pinterest. However, the other day I ran across this beautiful tablescape and I thought, I can totally do this!

So I looked around my house, and found a white tablecloth that I could fold into a runner.

Then, I got some white votive candles from the dollar store (in a box of 4 for $1) and put them into some votive holders I already had.

Then, I put some popcorn kernels to add some interest/color. (For Christmas, I could add cranberries.)

I kept looking for white things to decorate with throughout my house. Then, I found this beautiful white pitcher and bowl. Perfect!

I added candle sticks and some berry picks from Hobby Lobby…hmm, what’s missing? Ah, yes. The white pumpkins!

For Halloween, I bought little pumpkins for the kiddos to paint. We washed them and scrubbed off as much paint as we could, then, we painted them white.

I played around with things for a bit and finally settled on this. What do you think?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: This morning, Adam spilled grape juice on my white tablecloth/runner. Sigh! Well, it’s still a brilliant life! 🙂