Announcing the arrival of
Jude Macgregor Ervin
Born February 21st, 2013, 8 pounds 8 ounces, 21 inches.
We are so thrilled to finally meet our little man and are loving being a family of three now.
This Saturday I will be 36 weeks. One month away from my due date. 4 weeks. 30 days. Yikes–where has the time gone?
Frankly, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. Not that I expect you wouldn’t at this stage, but I feel like I’ve been very busy and scattered these past months–just trying to get through the afternoons I worked, get dinner on the table, plan and teach class at church, keep the house somewhat in order and all the other things that came up was plenty to cram my day full of activity until I would crash since I would be so tired.
I’m sort of a one thing at a time gal and my goal was just to get through each week and I didn’t think very far ahead. I looked forward to January when life would (hopefully) slow down a bit. And it has. I’ve had many more full days at home to get things done but since I put everything off until the end, I have a lot to do! And like zero energy…before this week I had not taken many naps…now I can’t get through the day without one. I’ve just been kind of getting through the pregnancy part before and now I feel like there is is a ton of preparation to do…not only housework wise but in terms of thinking about labor and caring for a newborn and this next phase of life. Phew! So yeah. Kind of overwhelmed, but you know what? I’m trying to just start each day fresh, turn my worries over to God and just do what I can during that day. Learning to trust His provision and that things will work out even if everything doesn’t satisfy the perfectionist in me…He’ll give me what I need when I need it!
So yeah, some more serious thoughts today. Not quite sure how to tie this in to my previous ramblings, but I make this homemade salsa and we think it’s pretty awesome! So I thought I would share the recipe. Maybe…if you’re stressed, make a batch and it will make your day better? I know it has that effect on me! This stuff never lasts very long in our house. It has sort of turned me into a salsa snob, too. Nothing quite compares. I’ve got the recipe exactly how we like it, so you can start there and tweak it to your preferences! More heat, less heat, more cilantro, less cilantro–its up to you.
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds and ribs removed for mild heat) or a few canned jalapeno slices (you might have to make this a couple times to figure out the amount of heat you like best. Remember, you can always add more but not take away!)
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5 ounce) can original Ro-Tel
1 very generous handful of cilantro
1 Tablespoon fresh or bottled lime juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin
Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro to food processor. Give it a pulse or two. Add whole tomatoes, Ro-Tel, lime, vinegar, sugar, salt and cumin and pulse until you get the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Refrigerate for a few hours for the best taste but if you can’t wait that long, eat it up right away!
These are really popular in our house…Derek is a peanut butter + chocolate guy, so it is no wonder that no-bakes are his favorite cookie. If you want to make his day, whip up a batch of these cookies!
Growing up, the no-bake recipe I had almost always turned out cookies that didn’t set and were sort of grainy. So, no-bakes were never something that I was excited about.
Enter Florence Brady, otherwise known as “Mammaw.” When I met Derek, he raved about his great-grandmother’s recipe, and he is right–these are the perfect no-bakes! Rich, chocolate-y, delicious when eaten warm out of the pot (your kids will fight to be the one to lick the spoon) and they set up great! They are almost too easy to make.
So here is Mammaw’s recipe for no-bake cookies. She passed away when Derek was little, and often I wish I could have known her–but in some ways I feel like I do, because she was so beloved by her family and is still talked about very fondly and often. She sounds like she was a very sweet lady and a good cook…so, enjoy her recipe!
Mammaw’s No-Bake Cookies
½ cup butter (1 stick)
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup milk
2 cups sugar
½ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3 cups quick oatmeal
Melt butter, cocoa, milk and sugar in a pot, whisking until smooth. Let boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and add in peanut butter. Stir until dissolved. Add oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let set until firm.
Derek making a batch of cookies to satisfy a late night craving
This is where I share what I’ve been pinning this week. These are ideas to tuck away, beauty to be enjoyed, words to inspire, projects I’d like to do, or things I’ve made. You can follow me on Pinterest here.
We painted Jude’s bedroom doors this red. I remember years ago loving the color that designer Sarah Richardson painted on her farmhouse doors. Turns out, this couple did too! They got a sample from Canada and had it custom mixed at Home Depot. They were awesome enough to share the formula on their blog, and it is the perfect red we were looking for!
A great reminder.
Some awesome digital downloads. I love love love these papers! I might print a few out to use in Jude’s room, and I used one of her papers to design my blog header.
I thought this was a really helpful article. Derek and I grew up eating quite differently and as I try to make healthier changes in our eating lifestyle, the balance between honoring his tastes and taking care of our bodies is tricky. I loved how Stephanie pointed out that using nourishing ingredients in familiar dishes can be really effective for both honoring and pleasing our husbands, instead of trying to go overboard and serving him lentils and quinoa every day. Unless, of course, he loves to have those every day!
Made this side dish for potluck at church. It was so yummy! I love the cornflake topping (potato chips sometimes seem a little soggy to me) and that without much work at all it could be made without the canned cream soup. This is a keeper.
My kitchen could use a little bit more “homey” and I’ve been wondering what to do to dress up the window above the sink. I think I’ve found my solution! I need something with height since we have tall ceilings, but a valance wouldn’t be able to be closed at night. A shelf above the window with simple curtain panels hanging down would give me height and practicality! It’s going on my home decor to-do list!
I LOVE guacamole. I could eat it
probably every day. Often times I just go simple with some avocado, onion, salt and lime juice, since that’s all I have on hand. But whenever I have the extra ingredients I make guacamole almost exactly the same as this recipe with the exception that I haven’t tried the cumin (and never include the tomatoes–guacamole should be all about the avocado, people!! Don’t dilute it with globs of sour cream either). I can guarantee that this is a killer recipe right down my alley.
I adore Tracy Larsen’s clean and simple Project Life style–it is super inspiring to me. I am seriously considering not only doing Jude’s baby book but also a 2013 album for our family. If so, this is the look I’m going with–lots of white, emphasis on pictures and clean text. No pressure to include everything, in fact, sometimes I think less is more and can be better appreciated. I’d like to do lots of white with maybe a pop or two of color that brings the feel of whatever season we’re in.
I stumbled across this free downloadable workbook and it looks like a gem. Perfect for reflecting on the last year and being inspired to move forward in the next. I think this would work really well with thinking about some places where I want my one word to take me this year.
I love the feeling of pause after the rush of the holidays…taking time to sit with a new journal and pen. Reflecting on the past year and its ups and downs…and then the hope of a fresh start, turning over the page of the calendar to January and looking at all the blank squares, wondering what the next year will bring.
I am definitely a resolution maker–I can’t help it. I love lists, planning, setting goals. Making New Year’s resolutions is irresistible to me.
However, this year I’ve been wanting something more than a long list of goals that often only serves to overwhelm me. I get hung up on the details and the “rules” and usually don’t last long in my resolutions.
So I decided that 2013 will be a little different. I’m just choosing one word that has been pressing on my heart these past few weeks. I am seeing it come out as a theme for my life right now and a good place to focus for the next year. It’ll be a word to name the year, to meditate on, to shape me for 365 days.
And my one word will be…
This word means two things to me.
First, God is faithful. I really want to learn more about this aspect of His character and learn to rest in his faithfulness in a deeper way this coming year. And I think it will be needed since I’m anticipating challenging circumstances (my grandpa’s poor health, my dad’s fight with cancer, a tight financial situation, the challenge to adjust to having a baby).
Second, who I want to be can be summed up in this word. Faithful–this is my desire for myself. I want to be a “good and faithful servant” of God.
- Faithful…to seek God’s presence daily and feed on His Word like I haven’t before.
- Faithful…to bless my husband, to respect him.
- Faithful…to care for Jude and love sacrificially as a mom.
- Faithful…to be diligent in homemaking.
- Faithful…to encourage and serve others.
I could make a long list of resolutions in these areas, but instead I’ll just dwell on the word faithful and let it guide my decisions and the way I use my time this year. When I feel like getting discouraged, this will be a word to get me back on track. It will manifest itself in specific ways I am sure…but I’m going to lose the list and exchange it for some focus in 2013.
So here’s to a year of “faithful.”
May God be gracious by working through this word to teach and sanctify me this year.
These past few months have been crazy busy for me on top of being more tired with this growing baby boy inside. I’ve been telling myself everyday to “just do the next thing.” I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and just not able to think more than a day or two ahead. If I think too far in advance it has only stressed me out.
I’ve been learning some good lessons though…number one, you have to let some things go. It’s only in the last few days that I have even started thinking about Christmas. And I would love to say that my house is all festive but I only have the tree and very few decorations up…but I’m enjoying how the Christmas tree lights glow at night. Our budget is very small for gifts this year and while I would love to lavish my hubby with gifts, there are only a few simply wrapped gifts under the tree…but I’m thankful for him and the time we get to spend together this last Christmas just the two of us. I am bummed that I didn’t have money/time to make gifts for family and friends this year…but you are each very special to us and we are so thankful for your presence in our lives!
My focus this Christmas is going be letting go of all the self-imposed pressures I put on myself, and to just enjoy it. I haven’t had much time to prepare or get in the holiday spirit, and it only snowed just two days ago but I’m still going to slow down and have a Merry Christmas. I just need a few days of rest and peace instead of making things stressful for myself.
So this year it’s just going to be the the basics–the “bare bones”, if you will– a simple time of breakfast of cinnamon rolls (not the homemade kind on my pinterest boards) with the hubby, lots of fellowship with family, and dwelling on the amazing gift of God Incarnate–Christ Jesus. But that’s the stuff that matters more than anything else I feel like I “need” to be doing, like Christmas cards, homemade gifts, advent calendars, creative decorations, or elaborate food.
So, have Merry Christmas! Enjoy your loved ones this year and rejoice that our Savior has come.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
And if you need a simple meal to throw together this week–this is a great one! You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry or fridge. I made it this week and we brought it over to a friend’s house and enjoyed a good meal and a fun night of games. Maybe your family could do the same?
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from original recipe at Miller’s Musings)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 10 oz cans of Ro-Tel
2 Tbsp. lime juice (optional)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn or 2 cups frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
2 14.5oz cans low-sodium chicken broth (about 4 cups)
1-2 cups of water
1 packet Taco seasoning (I’m sure a homemade Taco seasoning would be great too)
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
Avocado, cubed (optional)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Put chopped onion, cans of beans, Ro-tel, corn, chicken broth, water, and spices in slow cooker and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they’re at least partly submerged in liquid. Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove the chicken breasts from soup and shred, if needed. Return chicken to slow cooker, stir to combine.
To serve put a few broken tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, ladle soup over chips, top with shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, avocado pieces, and a dollop of sour cream, serve with more chips if you like.