Last week we took a drive to my parents country house in Alabama. We haven’t been since Harlan was a toddler and it’s so secluded from much of the outside world that it makes it very difficult to get to when flying. Since driving down to Florida this summer, I told my dad we could drive up and then I’d leave to start our journey back home from there.

When I tell you this place is secluded, it’s litearlly in the middle of nowhere. It’s in a town that’s named after my dad’s side of the family and there’s not even a stoplight in the town. The closest town with food, groceries, etc. is at least 20 minutes away. And cell phone service is non-existent, which forces you to take a step back and rely on one-another for entertainment.

It was just the break that we needed. The kids got down and dirty running around in the field and playing in all of the dirt. Even Avery, who is the ultimate girly-girl, put on a pair of shorts (which never happens) and slid up and down on the dirt hill. We had so much fun exploring the land and learning about our family history in the town.  It was a great way to end one of our last legs of this summer adventure.

That’s what makes me happy.

Now tell me something good. Something that’s made you happy. It can be big, it can be small, just something that has put a smile on your face. You can participate by sharing a photo on Wednesday with the hashtag #WhyImHappyWednesday and tagging me @laurenjimeson or feel free to write it in the comments below. I do read them all and am happy to reply back on your good news! You can also join in the conversation on my Facebook page!


Since moving to the Northeast seven years ago, I’ve made it a tradition to visit my parents every summer. It’s a nice break from our regular routine and the kids love getting to spend quality time with my parents.

Being with them and watching the kids interact with them brings me back to my childhood when I spent summers with my grandmother. She’d usually travel down to visit us and would make it a memorable trip every time. When she wasn’t talking to my mother and aunt in Spanish (so that we wouldn’t know what she was talking about,) she was cooking for us. Growing up in the Philippines she learned how to cook some incredible Filipino food and lumpia was one of her specialties.

Since my grandmother’s passing three years ago, it’s been even more important for me to pass on her greatness and share her recipes with my children. But it’s not me teaching them, it’s my mom. So they’re learning from their grandmother just as I did many years ago.

Last summer I shared her big lumpia recipe, and this summer we spent time making her small lumpias. These are a delicious appetizer or could also be a main dish with a side of fried rice and pancit (recipe for that coming soon.)


What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • small wonton wrappers
  • small bowl of water
  • oil



Mix ground beef through soy sauce ingredients in a large bowl.


Take your wonton wrapper and lay it down like a diamond on a plate.


Take a small piece of the mixture and form it like a little cylinder. Place right above the bottom corner of the wonton wrapper.


Wrap the bottom part of wonton wrapper over the meat mixture.


Dip your fingers in the bowl of water and press down on each side of meat mixture to secure wonton wrapper on the sides.


Bring both sides of wonton wrapper in. Dab a bit of water on the wrapper to secure.


Roll rest of lumpia and put some water on end of wrapper to secure.

Heat oil and fry lumpia until the outside wrapper is a deep golden brown.


We enjoy the lumpia with grandma’s sweet and sour sauce that’s a mixture of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and water (then thickened with cornstarch + water mixture.) My grandmother never measured anything, so I usually just add these ingredients and do a lot of tasting throughout.

Grandma loved the kitchen and loved cooking for us, so I know that she’s with me every time that I’m cooking her famous recipes. No one can make them quite like she does, but I know that with each time I make it, I get better. And I’m making  grandma proud.



I’ve never really thought about how important it was to monitor the kids on the internet and screen time, especially with them being so young and without a phone, tablet, or computer. That was until I let Harlan use my phone one morning to look up stuff for her birthday party and come back to five new apps downloaded on my phone. It made me think that, even at seven years old, I need to keep a closer eye on when she’s using my phone and how much she’s using it.

I try to be vigilent on the kids not spending too much time on my phone or the iPad. Sure, it’s fine when we all need a little bit of a time-out, but I’ve seen that when I give them an inch, they will take a mile when it comes to playing on my phone, especially with Harlan. Har knows just about everything there is to know when it comes to my phone and the family iPad. Even more so now that she can read. While I’m proud of her for being more independent, I don’t want her to rely on the phone as much as I do.


As I start to think more about how much screen time she gets and what she’s doing while using the internet, I thought it would be great to sit down and have a candid conversation with Har about what she thinks about her use of the internet.

Can I just tell you how proud I am of her answers? She did ask to play on my phone not even five minutes after this conversation. But an hour or so later, she asked about how much time I think is appropriate for her to use my phone, so I know it made a little bit of an impact on her.

I shared how much eero has made an impact in our home wifi. I’m still raving about it to nearly everyone I know because it’s improved our wifi significantly. But not only is it beneficial for our house wifi signal, it’s also a great tool for parents.


When you set up the eero network, you download the eero app to configure it. Not only does the app allow you to see the speed of the internet and who’s using your network, but the eero app allows you to create profiles for each member of the family and assign the devices on the network to the corresponding profiles. With these Family Profiles, you can tailor and manage your family’s screen time. The app allows you to set schedules, manage devices, and even pause the internet.

As Har gets older, she’s much more observant of my actions, including how much I’m on my phone or computer. I want to be the example for her. I want her to know that it’s okay to set down the technology to enjoy face time with one another. I tell her all of the time how much I love her and how much I love spending time with her.  And thanks to eero, now there’s nothing that can stand in the way of that.