Category Archives: Uncategorized

happy anniversary {expectations}

Disclaimer: This post contains no recipes, unless you want to call them “recipes for a better marriage” (joking…I mean, if this helps someone out there, that’s great, but I’m not trying to prescribe solutions to anyone other than myself at this point).

weddinghug

My husband and I are about to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, and this year I’ve really stuck to my guns: HE gets to plan our anniversary.

In years past, I did all or most of the planning for our anniversaries because:

1) I’m a planner

2) I have more free time than he does

3) I was concerned that if I didn’t plan it, nothing would happen -OR- I’d be extremely disappointed or underwhelmed by whatever it was he planned

Those first two reasons seem simple and reasonable enough, right? But what about the third? Upon self-reflection (crucial in any relationship), I find some deeper issues that need addressing. Issues of TRUST, and most of all: EXPECTATIONS.

With everyone so linked to one another’s personal lives through social media, even blogs, photo sharing, etc., I run across pictures and posts all the time of women who post things like:

“My hubby surprised me with a trip to (insert exotic getaway)!!”

“This morning my husband brought me breakfast in bed and a dozen roses!”

Usually these are followed by some photo that confirms that their statements are true, as well as some mention of how “he always treats me like a princess!” or something to that effect.

My husband has never surprised me with a trip. He has never brought me breakfast in bed. He has never bought me a dozen roses. Not even (GASP!) for an anniversary.

But here is what my husband DOES do:

  • He cooks amazing meals for our family any chance he gets
  • He helps clean the house (of his own will) daily
  • He rubs my back or my feet every night – all I have to do is ask!
  • He gives the best bear hugs every day when he comes home from work

More importantly…

  • He’s a hard worker and enjoys working
  • He comes home every day from work
  • He is a great listener and advice-giver
  • He loves his children and puts them to bed every night
  • He is faithful to me, he’s truly my best friend

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

I love the idea of a simple life. I’ve never been one to desire outrageous adventures. I just wanted to settle down with someone who loves God, who loves me, who has a good sense of humor and is a loyal friend. Guess what? That’s exactly who my husband is! My dream man! Rather than basing my expectations on what I see around me, I need to remember who I am. And who he is. And respect that, and be SO THANKFUL. There’s a verse in the bible about how “they comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (1 Cor. 10:12), and this really hits home in this circumstance for sure.

I’m not implying that men who do more exotic/romantic things DON’T do the things my husband does. Maybe they do all of those things, and good for you if you snatched a man like that! But the man I fell in love with, the man I befriended and dated for several years before we married…that man is the perfect man…FOR ME.

So even if he forgets to plan something for our anniversary this year, and we end up grabbing something to eat at a food truck with three kids tagging along, I will be grateful that God granted me this wonderful relationship. Simply wonderful. 

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light and lightly sweet {ginger ale}

i’ve gone over 10 years without drinking sodas on a regular basis, and i honestly haven’t missed them much. i don’t miss the immense sweetness, and i definitely don’t miss how i felt after drinking one. but i do sometimes crave the carbonation. it seems like most carbonated drink alternatives are either completely unsweetened, or have a HUGE dose of some alternative sweetener, such as stevia, or fruit juice and honey. so i decided to set out to create a lightly sweet version, and this was the result:

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light, refreshing ginger ale! (serves 2)

{ingredients}

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks * see NOTE below

2″ chunk of ginger root, peeled and sliced

{directions}

bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. reduce to low simmer, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid reduces and fruit is soft. place contents into a fine-mesh strainer fitted over a glass bowl, and strain, mashing the pineapple pieces until you’re able to get as much juice from them as possible. toss remaining fruit/ginger. pour about 2-3 tablespoons of your syrup into the bottom of a drinking glass, and add sparkling mineral water. obviously, feel free to adjust the ratio of syrup to water according to your taste. drink up!

*NOTE: have fun trying this with other fruits! another i’ve tried: a combination of apples, cucumber, and rosemary – delicious!

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intermission {birth story}

 

i’m taking a break from my usual posting to record a pretty special event from my life: the birth of child #3.

after some long months of waiting (she was 11 days overdue), rosalie sage was born into this world on november 19.

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rosalie’s birth story is especially…special to me for several reasons:

  • she wasn’t “planned.” this was a big deal to me, mostly because of our history of having trouble conceiving our second child. we tried and tried, conceived, then miscarried, then after several months finally conceived baby #2. so THIS baby coming completely effortlessly was a total shock (i learned later i should have reacted with profound thanksgiving!). we found out we were expecting her at a stressful time in our lives when my husband and i had just listed our house for sale, were both working while he was also going to grad school, all while raising our other two children. needless to say, we both sort of freaked out when we found out i was pregnant. it was a rough, but luckily brief time filled with tears and frustration, but with the help of lots of prayer over time, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (phil 4:7) guarded our hearts and our minds.
  • during this time of fear and stress, i began bleeding and cramping. since i had miscarried once before, i just knew that’s what was happening. i took a bath and cried for a good half hour, praying that the baby would be safe. after an examination, i learned the baby was indeed safe, and that was the turning point for me – i embraced the fact that i was pregnant, and was actually EXCITED.
  • one of the main reasons i was so stressed out by the news of my pregnancy is because i dreaded having a third c-section. i had attempted a natural, drug-free, vaginal delivery with my first two children, but ended up with cesareans in both cases for the same reason – failure to progress. the first time, i had used a traditional practice, and they seemed very pushy very early in labor about administering pitocin and then, of course, having a c-section. i was uneducated, and although we tried to negotiate with the doctor some, we gave in pretty easily in the end because i was so exhausted. with my second, i used a less traditional practice – one with doctors and nurse midwives who utilized the same hospital where my first child had been delivered, and they were completely on board with my attempts to VBAC. in the end, they were much more patient, but i still felt that we had to negotiate our way through the process. this time, after much research and study i decided to attempt a home birth VBA2C. i found an amazing midwife (referred by the helpful doula i’d used in my second child’s birth) with tons of experience who supported my wishes for a home birth.
  • in the end, i was fortunate enough to experience a long, pleasant home labor on one of the most beautiful days of the year. my water broke on monday night (the 18th) around 10 PM, and contractions began about an hour afterwards. they increased in intensity and frequency all through the night, and when the midwife checked me early tuesday morning, i was already 3-4 cm dilated (which was the most i ever got to with my previous two). i was definitely hopeful at that point because of how quickly that portion of labor had progressed compared to my other two labors. once the sun began shining, we started working to make those contractions keep coming – walking, using the exercise ball, squatting, etc… but around 8 AM or so, the contractions just…STOPPED. and they never really returned. i still had a few every now and then, but they were nothing like the ones i’d had the night before. so essentially, we were facing the same scenario we had with the previous two labors – failure to progress after my water had broken hours before. sometime that afternoon (maybe around 4 or so), my midwife suggested we consider some options and some risks and benefits to continuing an attempt of labor at home. for one, i was dehydrated..so much so that she wasn’t able to hook me up to her IV fluids b/c my veins wouldn’t cooperate. she had always told me that she “doesn’t wait for an emergency,” and i could see in her eyes that she was concerned we could have an emergency on our hands if we kept pushing for our labor/birth at home. she very gently and genuinely explained her concerns, and gave my husband and me time to discuss our options together. we went for a walk outside and took our time talking and praying about our choices. when we came back we were convinced that a repeat cesarean was the best/safest route. NO NEGOTIATIONS REQUIRED.
  • our midwife had developed a relationship with an OB/GYN from the nearby hospital who had agreed to be on back up for me if needed. when we got to the hospital and met him, i was so impressed by how supportive he was of my decision to attempt a VBA2C. during the surgery, he talked me through everything he was doing and what he was finding (noting observations about my scar tissue from the previous c-sections, the baby’s position, etc…). as soon as rosalie emerged, i heard that sweet first cry, and cried tears of joy. the pediatrician took her and handed her to me, placing her on my chest as i had requested, and she immediately stopped crying. i felt such an intense bond right away. i had no doubts about my decision, because it had been MY DECISION 100%, and i felt SUPPORTED 100% through the entire process.

i know people say, “all that matters is that you and the baby are here and are healthy,” and i understand and agree with that sentiment to a point…it matters a great deal. BUT, it’s not really all that matters. after my first cesarean, i felt totally defeated and now know that i was experiencing postpartum depression for the weeks after my son’s birth. i had suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and had a really rough time bonding with my son for several months. after my second cesarean, although i was much more supported, i still had doubts and a lot of “what if” questions took over my thoughts in the months/years to follow. for this third (and final) experience, i have felt totally at peace with the whole experience, and haven’t felt any doubts or depression creeping in. this is the first time i’ve been able to completely enjoy my newborn baby in these precious first days/weeks of her life.

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whole30 endings. baby beginnings {and soup}

consider this an intermission of sorts from my regular blogging.

speaking of intermissions, i must confess that i didn’t finish the full 30 days of the whole30 because at some point toward the very end (maybe day 27 or so), i started to feel really crummy. my energy level crashed, and i was completely fatigued all of the time. about a week or so later, i discovered the cause = surprise: a baby! so there must be something to all of these claims whole30 makes about boosting fertility… 

even without completing the 30 days, i lost 8 lbs and had a ton of energy (til the end, of course), so i strongly recommend it!

now i’m stuck in that first trimester, nauseated, low-energy rut. you know, where you’re hungry all the time, but nothing quite hits the spot, except for the occasional (usually unhealthy) strong cravings? my best (worst) ones so far have been: chick-fil-a’s spicy chicken sandwich, and taco bell’s double decker taco. luckily, i have a thoughtful husband who loves to cook, so he made his own rendition of the double decker taco, which obviously was much healthier, AND tasted better. 

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otherwise, soup has been first and foremost on my list of desirable meals. the problem is, i am no soup master. today i threw together some leftover veggies and chicken stock for a cozy cabbage soup, and that is exactly what i needed. i need more broth-based soup ideas, so this time, i’m asking that you share your favorite recipes. pretty please?

 

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the breakfast conundrum: solved {my top three}

my first thought, when told that i’m sensitive to: dairy, eggs, gluten, oats, and sugar, was “WHAT WILL I EAT FOR BREAKFAST?!”

seriously, i love breakfast. it’s always been my favorite meal of the day. if i had to choose one meal to “eat out” it’d be breakfast. my husband and i used to eat out for saturday breakfast, and it was always such a cozy, relaxing time together. to think that i’d have to give that up was almost heart-breaking.

breakfast

speaking of heart-breaking..no eggs?? i had become accustomed to eating an egg every morning for breakfast, and loved the versatility of that incredible, edible..ya know. but ever since i was a little girl i had trouble tolerating eggs, so to have my nutritionist confirm it was all i needed to motivate me to “lay off the stuff.”

moving forward, i researched, and surfed blogs, looking for an acceptable solution to my breakfast conundrum:

protein shakes? done, for about 90 days straight, thus burnout ensued.

“just view breakfast differently.” this is what i heard most, but for some reason it never satisfied me. maybe i have breakfast on a ridiculous pedestal, but i still believe it’s special, unique, and should be kept that way.

enter substitutions, trials, errors, and so on, and so forth, and so on, for many mornings. after hours and days in an effort to face my dilemma, i can confidently present my top three breakfasts (all three are free of all that business i can’t have):

1) the savory #1: nom nom paleo’s sweet potato hash, topped with turkey sausage 

to season my hash, i use:

start with diced onion (cook in ghee or olive oil til soft).

toss your grated sweet potatoes with these:

garlic powder

oregano

thyme

cayenne pepper (just a smidge)

paprika

salt and pepper

then add the seasoned potatoes to the onions, and cook according to nom nom paleo’s expert advice.

as for the turkey sausage, my recipe is taken loosely from this one.

{ingredients}

1 lb ground turkey (thigh is cheaper and has better texture and flavor, though obviously a bit more fatty than the breast, or you could use 50/50 breast and thigh)

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground pepper

mix all ingredients together, then saute in a pan on medium heat until the turkey is browned.

finally, put it all together (i like to add some greens whenever possible, so i put my hash browns and turkey sausage atop a bed of sauteed kale):

hash

2) the savory #2: sausage grits {comfort food}

remember that turkey sausage i just told you about? it’s also delicious mixed in with some corn grits (prepare according to package instructions, adding ghee, almond milk, salt and pepper to taste).  simple (and tasty) as that.

3) the sweet: butternut squash scones with butternut maple spread

yes, these are just as amazing as they sound. i stumbled upon this lovely recipe when i was looking for something gluten-free to do with some leftover butternut squash cubes. since my changes were extremely minor, i’m going to refer you completely to her site for the recipe. the only changes i made were that i used green lentils rather than red, palm oil shortening instead of butter, and maple syrup instead of honey. please, please, please make the delightful spiced butternut squash spread that she suggests — you’ll be so happy you did, i promise (i also used maple syrup for the spread, of course). i love these scones because they are quick and easy, and they are just a tad sweet.

butternutsquashscone

no more heartbreak here.

i see. i say.


hello. welcome to my blog. i am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a teacher, a friend, a crafter, a singer, a baker, a collector…probably some other things too, but those sort of sum up what i enjoy most, and also might shed some light on what you’ll find here. i’ve attempted to capture glimpses of the little things in my life that make me happy. i hope you’ll find some value or small joy in them too.

specifically…

{baking}

it has been nearly a year since i began my very own specialized diet, and i have found it’s a bit difficult to find a centralized source for recipes that i can actually use. i’ve finally been able to compile several recipes that i have tweaked (some more than others) to suit my diet, and i hope that someone, somewhere out there, may find my site helpful. although i’ve titled this section “baking,” some other types of recipes occasionally grace my site. i am ever-grateful to the amazing guys and gals of the world wide web who have given me something to work with, and i, of course, always give credit where credit is due.

{crafting}

a few years ago i spotted the best christmas tree skirt ever. vintage, scandinavian design, in mint condition. sadly, out of my price range. i thought, “why not make my own version?” so i tried, and tried again, and ended up with slightly sloppy, yet endearing soon-to-become-family-treasure. one thing led to another, and now i share my (now much more carefully made) tree skirts with the world. i’d like to share my creative, crafty journeys with friends who are interested. enter: blog.

{reading}

it occurs to me that although i am an english professor, i find my leisurely reading time spent mostly in juvenile fiction; specifically, vintage juvenile fiction. guilty pleasure? maybe. but in an effort to share my pleasure with you, and to ensure that these vintage treasures are not forgotten, i am sharing them here.