Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Here and Now

First of all, thank you all so much for your incredible support for Sunday's post. It's been weighing heavily on my heart for a long time, and it's good to get it out - and to find that it's resonating with y'all too!

Something else that I've been mulling over (though not quite as heavily) is the intersection of motherhood and personal faith development. I blogged about that over at our MOPS blog on Monday, so head on over there to check it out!

And just for fun, because I'm a total and complete sucker for a couple cute little Addington boys, here are some recent videos for you:

Notice how he turns the cute dial up past maximum capacity on that final "pleeeeeease?" Yeah, he's good at that. Bats his eyelashes and everything.

Yes. His hair is red-ish. Yes, it shocked us too. Yes, there seems to be some red hair in the family, but it's back multiple generations in either side, and we haven't seen it manifest in anyone else along the way. Yay, recessive genes! Oh - and, in the right light, his eyes are green. He's gonna be a lady killer in his own unique way...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Not My Gospel

If you've been around here for a while, you know that I try to live and mommy in a pretty intentional way and that I'm happy to share with you what that looks like for us. You know that I have really loved using cloth diapers, eating whole foods, being a stay-at-home mom, travelling with our children, and having the occasional bout of craziness.

But I've noticed a trend lately. OK, I haven't just noticed it - it's been going on for a long time, but it's been nagging at me more and more. Now, I need to address it before I write anything else. I'm happy to continue sharing about our lives, but something important needs to be said before I can do that.

I have watched parenting and lifestyle decisions (especially mommy-ing decisions, in my context) become an all-consuming endeavor to the point that they are what people evangelize. I've seen people insult others for using disposable diapers. I've watched women publicly degrade other women for the health decisions they have made concerning their children. I've even heard that women would not come back to a church organization because someone there ridiculed their decision to use formula over breastfeeding. You see, this isn't just a secular problem - it's also rampant within Christian circles. It breaks my heart.

Whatever decisions I have made in these areas, whatever I may think of them on a personal level, whatever I may believe about the arguments behind them, I want to make something entirely clear right here and now:

These things are NOT MY GOSPEL.

You see, I'm happy to talk about them. If you ask me, I'll share with you why we've made the decisions we've made and how they work out in our everyday lives. It's one of the primary things I've used this blog for in recent years - because there are those of you out there who want to know. But if you know that I use cloth diapers or buy into a CSA before you know that I love Jesus more than anything else in heaven or on earth, then I am doing something wrong. And if I am turning you away from Jesus because I am pushing those things and not Him, then I have seriously missed the point.

Because when it comes to eternity, those things don't matter. It doesn't matter whether your kids are immunized or circumcised or eat junk food every day if they don't know that Jesus loves them. Your value doesn't come from those decisions; it comes from your Creator who has prepared good works in advance for you to step into (Ephesians 2:10).

Paul talks about becoming all things to all people so that he can best represent Christ to them where they are (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). For me, that means that if you have never heard of a CSA but you want to hear an answer for the joy I have in my life, I will gladly meet you and your kiddos for McDonalds to tell you about it (1 Peter 3:15). That means that I will use a cover or retreat home or to my car to nurse my baby so that no one can be distracted by even a perceived lack of modesty that would keep them from hearing truth from me (1 Timothy 3:2). That means that I will never think less of you, ridicule you, or shame you for your mommy-ing decisions, because I know that you have value as a child of God and because I am just as fallen from glory as you are (Romans 3:23).

I am willing to live and die by and for the Good News of Jesus. I am willing to span oceans and climb mountains to show you how much He loves you. I will insist that He, a perfect Savior, died and rose again so you can be reconciled to a Father who longs to be with you forever. All the rest is just details and I will never push them onto you. I think it is good and wise to enjoy the blessings God gives us and do the best we can to steward them as He leads - but they are not Heaven and Hell, and I refuse to turn them into such. They are just a breath; here today and gone tomorrow and only my spiritual legacy will follow me.

So please take anything else I share or explain or talk about with a grain of salt. My mommy-ing decisions don't define me, and I won't define you by yours. I decline to be labeled by that gospel, and instead run after The Gospel.

**I have only shared a few examples here of how these priorities affect my life and decisions. If you would like to know more or have specific questions, I'm happy to share - just leave a comment and ask!**

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From Mommy's POV

I've been totally absent lately. Sorry about that. I do still love y'all. 

I've been chewing on something - something important. Something I need to organize and put into words before I can keep writing about other things. I'm working on it. Promise. 

In the mean time, here are some fly-by pictures from my phone in the last couple of months. Just so you can see what we've been up to. And because my kids are stinking cute!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Catching Up and Passing Through

I've known my friend Lindsey since third grade. We played softball together for three years, we were crossing patrol partners in fifth grade, we walked to school together every day in middle school, rode the bus together in high school, and pretty much lived at each other's houses for a long, long time. I stood in her wedding, and she was the Matron of Honor in mine:

She's probably really glad right now that I didn't pull out any more pictures. I have lots of us growing up!

A couple weeks ago, Lindsey and her husband Curt were driving through our area on their way home from visiting family in Georgia and Florida. We were super excited that they could stop and stay for a night! It was a little crowded in our small space, but we made it work pretty well. It was also super fun to see all our kiddos together. 

Declan (2 months), Gavrel (2 years), Natania (turned 3 shortly after they were here), and Jadon (1 year). 

It was definitely a little interesting trying to get a good picture of all the kids, but that's real life!

I guess I know in my head that my boys are pretty big, but it was funny to see that Gavrel is one year younger than Natania - but taller than her. And Declan is one year younger than Jadon, but they were wearing the same size diaper. The comparison amused me.

Oh, and here's proof that Curt and Lindsey were here too, not just their kiddos:

So fun to visit with friends and catch up a little bit. Don't you love those friendships that move through life? Have you caught up with anything recently?

Monday, July 08, 2013

Branching Out

I know I've been a little intermittent (funny how a bitsy baby will do that to you...), but while I've been pretty quiet online, I've been loving my CSA at home! I mentioned when we got started that I was hoping it would help us branch out, be more adventurous, and try some new things. So far, so good! Here are a few of the things we've tried:

Back when I first searched for green garlic recipes, I came across this one for a ricotta pasta. I decided it sounded good enough to violate a major rule of hostessing and make it the first time for company. Luckily, I learned the difference between turnips and green garlic the night before our company came, and this turned out great! It's almost an alfredo-like effect. I made it along with this salad, which also got rave reviews by everyone around the table. 

Swiss chard was also a new vegetable. I'd heard of this one, but never used it. I came across this pasta recipe during my quality time with Google, and it was a major hit with Jonny. Can't go wrong with bacon, eh?

And to round out this roundup, who doesn't love a freebie? I love finding that I have everything on hand for a meal without it actually being on my meal plan! Here's what I came up with:

Bacon-wrapped chicken with salad and brown rice risotto.

I had some chicken leftover from our company (I cut up some chicken into our pasta) and bacon leftover from our Swiss chard pasta. I topped our chicken pieces (each one is about 1/4 of a breast piece) with some jarred pesto and wrapped the whole thing in bacon. I baked it on a wire rack over a baking sheet at 350 until the bacon was crispy. Alternatively, you could fry it in a skillet, turning to crisp the bacon on each side.

Brown rice risotto. Worked on this while my chicken was in the oven. I started with this recipe, but altered it based on what I had on hand. Namely, I didn't have any white wine, so I just skipped that step. I also used part parmesan cheese and part feta (along with some heavy cream) to help match flavors with the rest of the meal.

This salad is CSA lettuce and cucumbers, sliced almonds, feta cheese, and more pesto thinned out with some extra olive oil as dressing. I stumbled on this combination accidentally the previous day. I was looking for whatever I had around, and the result was awesome! I decided to recreate it for our dinner.

We had been talking about potentially going out for a date that night, but Jonny decided it would be better for his schedule to go another night. As we were wrapping dinner up at home, he said, "Well, I'm really glad we didn't go out tonight. Because this was all delicious!"

Have you been trying any new foods or recipes lately? Have you been pleasantly surprised by a "freebie" meal on hand?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bed Head

Gavrel is like his parents - he rarely does anything half-heartedly. He even walked in one day (woke up exclusively crawling, took two steps about noon, and was walking around the house by the end of the night)! So I suppose it's no surprise that even his bed-head would be pretty epic. As evidenced:

He was pretty out of it when I went to get him up from his nap, but he didn't waste any time hamming it up when he realized Auntie Pammy and I were cracking up at his hair!

And now, some gratuitous pictures of a really cute Monkey Man with awesome hair:

And what, pray tell, was my baby doing during all this? Why, being really stinking adorable, of course!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Gavrel wasn't a big fan of tummy time, but eventually got used to it. Declan may be giving him a run for his money, though. He's really not a fan at all, in fact. He would much rather just be held. So I've been trying to keep him distracted enough to at least get some time clocked. 

And hey, a very serious-faced baby staring down a book makes for some pretty great pictures!

You can actually see me using the same trick with Gavrel here, albeit on a much lower quality camera. (Side note: I'm so thankful for our new home and more space and I'm trying to use it for all it's worth, but the big windows in our last little bitty house were pretty awesome!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Be Still My Heart

Ok, ok, I use that phrase a lot (exhibit A; exhibit B). But for real, there are times I look at these boys and just absolutely lose my breath. And nothing is better than a smiling baby - especially one quick to smile. It doesn't hurt my feelings any that it's usually his mommy he's so happy to see!

Check out Gavrel at the same-ish age/stage. Twins? I think yes!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

City Girl

We're now four weeks into our CSA share, and so far I'm totally in love. Not only do I love the box of veggies every week, but it has turned into a fun mommy-and-boys field trip every week. We drive downtown Knoxville to the Market Square farmers' market. There's an interactive fountain in the square, so I take Gav in his swimsuit and let him play for a while before we pick up our box. He tells me every week, "I want to go play in the water!" And yes, he's speaking in complete sentences - that's new since about a week ago.

Another fun effect is that I'm stretching myself to find recipes to accommodate the box and learning to cook new things. I generally consider myself pretty adept in the kitchen and adventurous with new foods. But recently, I made myself look rather silly - and hilarious.

I mentioned that I had never heard of green garlic before, much less how to cook it. (I've since learned that it's just garlic that hasn't been cured, so the skin is still soft instead of papery and you can just chop the whole bulb up rather than separate each clove - for those of you wondering along with me.) Well, I went to pick up my box a couple weeks ago and Isaac, the very polite young man who mans the booth on Wednesdays, indicated that green garlic and bok choi were both in the box that week and generally the only vegetables that most people didn't recognize. Now, I love bok choi (I did marry an Asian-ish kinda guy), so I noted the other unrecognized vegetable as green garlic.

After spending some quality time with Google looking for recipes, I came up with this one for cream of green garlic potato soup. Doesn't that just sound like some good quality comfort food? It calls for three cups of chopped green garlic. So I pulled out my veggies and chopped away, putting them it into the pot to cook. As the soup cooked, I started on this recipe for spinach and kale turnovers using CSA kale. I decided to use a CSA green onion bulb in place of the onion in the recipe, and pulled it out of the box as well. I noticed that it didn't look quite like the green onions had the week before.

When I stopped to examine it more closely, I realized with a sinking feeling that it wasn't a green onion. It was garlic. Wait, if this was green garlic, what had I just put into my soup?! I quickly flipped over to the forum page on the Colvin's Website to check their "in the box" update. And the mystery veggie in my soup?


You can see turnips in the right of this picture and green garlic on the bottom. No, they don't look anything alike. Having never seen, eaten, or cooked with either one, I had no idea. My city girl was showing - big time.

So now what to do? I decided that if both turnips and potatoes are root veggies, surely they can play nicely in soup. I just added a couple cloves of regular garlic and about a teaspoon of garlic powder and made the rest of the soup as instructed. I was glad I had decided to make the soup and the turnovers together, because the turnovers were quite fantastic!

There was redemption, however, because Jonny liked it. He noted that the turnips gave it a decidedly Chinese flavor. "I'm pretty sure I've had this somewhere in mainland before, actually." He's very kind with my kitchen experiments, and he must have meant it because he ate leftover for lunch the rest of the week! If you're feeling adventurous, you can recreate our meal for yourself! Here are the recipes as I made them:

Cream of Turnip and Potato Soup

4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal-sized chunks
3 cups turnips, peeled and chopped (I think I used four small turnips from my box)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced + 1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz. bacon, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken broth or more as needed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Place turnips and potatoes in a bowl of water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook bacon until it starts to crisp. Add garlic and stir constantly while seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Remove potatoes and turnips from water and add to soup pot. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender and easily mashed. Add broth as needed. Blend soup in batches or with an immersion blender (love mine!). Stir in cream and heat through. Season with more salt and pepper and garnish with chives.

Spinach and Kale Turnovers

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups of chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 (8 oz) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
cooking spray
2 1/2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium-high. Add onion and saute until tender. Add garlic and saute another two minutes. Add kale and spinach and saute until kale is tender. Stir in pepper, salt, and nutmeg and remove from heat. Stir in feta. Spoon mixture onto crescent roll dough pieces and top with another roll. Pinch around the edges to seal. Place on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat with more cooking spray or olive oil and top each turnover with about 1 tsp Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for about 18 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Have you ever made a pretty epic kitchen mistake? Even better, have you ever made a kitchen mistake that turned out all right in the end?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

It's here, it's here!

If you've been around here for a couple of years, you know that I've been looking into joining a CSA for a while now. We even went and checked them out earlier this spring. But with a new start-up business, this just wasn't at the top of the financial priority list. This year, though, I was determined to make it a reality - and a reality it has become! Jonny texted me this picture last Wednesday while I was still in Wisconsin:

And I think I heard angels singing! After hoarding grocery money for months to make a down-payment, this beautiful little box of yumminess (yes, I just make that a word - get over it, spell check) from Colvin Family Farms was finally in our possession. The first week's box held kale, spinach, strawberries, green onions, and some red lettuce - pretty basic. So I mostly spent the week munching.

You'd better believe some of these beautiful strawberries got the chocolate-covered treatment. Gavrel might have appreciated them even more than I did!
Lunch at our house during the week is all about quick and easy. So lettuce, spinach, and strawberries drizzled with olive oil made a nice salad a couple days. 

One of my goals in joining the CSA, besides eating healthier and more locally, is to stretch myself and try new things. We all have our favorite recipes that we fall back on, but it's good to get out now and then! This is a whole-wheat tortilla with goat cheese, strawberry spread, and spinach. It was awesome!
I did catch myself starting to hoard a few things as the week went on. I think I could eat spinach at every. single. meal. in some capacity. I put it on my egg sandwiches at breakfast every morning last week! The only thing I didn't use completely were the green onions - everything else was gone by the time we went to get the next box.
We took some time to meet up with a buddy and play in the fountain once we had veggies in hand.  Gavrel was a big fan!
This week's box is stretching me a little bit more (I don't think I'd ever heard of green garlic before, much less cooked with it!). But I've spent some quality time with Google, and I have some cool ideas up my sleeve. And we're having dinner company this week! So it should be eventful. 

I started the week off simply, though. Lettuce, strawberries, and almonds with citrus dressing and a whole-wheat quesadilla for lunch:

Between baby, nesting, crafting, and travels, I haven't touched on our food, cooking, or meal planning for a while, so I'm excited to share some of it with y'all again!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Opa makes a pretty good napping buddy!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More