August 19, 2016 by Sarah
I had the idea pop into my head to start a regular post series to share what we’ve been eating around here. One of the most common conversations I have with other moms is about what we’re making for dinner! It’s hard to keep up with meals with little kids underfoot. I’m hoping these posts will spark some ideas and also remind me of what to cook when I get in a rut.
Here are a few things that we ate over the last few weeks.
French Toast , topped with maple syrup and banana. Before school started, we had a lot more time in the mornings. I love making french toast with day old bread, and it’s surprisingly pretty quick.
Red Lentil Soup over rice, we also tried it over acorn noodles and it was my favorite. Soba noodles would be great too, even your favorite pasta. This is one of my go-to lentil soup recipes, it’s so easy and has a surprising amount of flavor.
Spaghetti with my beef bolognese recipe. I really need to share the recipe soon!
Somen noodle salad, I had a great big beautiful head of lettuce from the farmers market that I tossed the noodles with and I also added julienned carrots. The link is to the dressing I used, I prefer white vinegar and you can sub honey for the sugar.
Bibigo potstickers from Costco were a big help this week (and lately in general) and we ate out 2-3 times.
I try to make one, fun treat each week. This time, it was my favorite chocolate chip cookie.
What I Bookmarked
Sanity Saving One Pot Pasta, anything to save time, right?
The dressing from this Korean Chicken Salad looks so good.
Rhubarb season is over now, but for next year: Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars
I’m intrigued by this Palak Paneer recipe
To use up all that zucchini, Summer Squash Pizza.
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August 12, 2016 by Sarah
Eliza turned 11 months old yesterday. I feel like I should have it totally figured out by now, but in many ways I’m still finding my bearings as a mother of three little ones and learning what this new normal is for me.
The transition from two to three kids for us was really hard for us. There have been a few times this year when a pregnant-with-her-third-child mama will meet us and see that we have 3 too and ask excitedly and a little nervously, “how is it?!?” And Pat and I will exchange glances and say very honestly that it’s been hard. But we are also quick to say that a lot of it depends on the baby, and, oh yeah, we did a house remodel in the midst of it all, which involved moving in with my ‘in-laws at the beginning of my third trimester and then moving back in 5 months later when Eliza was 2.5 months old. And the house wasn’t completely done so there were people in and around our house for another month or two after that, hammering and making loud noises. Whew, does that sound tiring? It was, we don’t recommend it, ever.
The last 11 months I’ve been sleep deprived and have felt anxious, and frustrated, and angry many times. I’m not always present with my kids and there are days when I get into bed in the evening, feeling sad that the kids didn’t really get to have their mama, the mama that I want to be. Looking back over this last year, there are a few key things in my spiritual life that have kept me afloat. They are practices I’ve done even before having Eliza (single, married, with my first baby), but in the harder months and years, I have had to be more disciplined in making sure they have their place in my weekly rhythm. Through them, I’ve been able to experience moments of deep joy and gratitude in the midst of all the hard.
Weekly Solitude, Reflection, and Prayer
This might be the most important thing for me in my life as a mama, which I figured out in my first year with Caleb, my second. I have to get away, ideally once a week. These days I go to one of my favorite coffee shops with a great outdoor patio, I order a chai tea, put in my headphones, pull out my journal and book, and I sit with God and all my thoughts. Right now I’m slowly going through Sacred Rhythms, it’s my second time reading it, and every time I open it, I feel the presence of God meeting me and bringing life to my spirit. It’s a great book for seasons of transition.
In the months when Eliza was very young, these times away would look different. Sometimes I would only get 45min-1 hour before I’d have to come home to nurse. In those early months, I would use a journal to write down everything I was grateful for in the past week. It was so helpful to get perspective on the week and to recognize moments of God’s provision and joy in the midst of crazy times. A lot of gratitude would result.
The Daily Examen
Pat made me a bookmark with two different forms of the daily examen, a reflection exercise to increase our awareness of God with us. These days, I try to do it every 2-3 days right before I go to sleep. I usually only get through the first one or two questions before falling asleep. Although I’ve mostly memorized the questions/prompts, I still like to have the card in front of me, it helps me focus when my mind inevitably drifts off.
Doing the examen has similar effects as my time away by myself, but in a shorter form throughout the week. My default is to want to turn off my brain completely and scroll through the blogs I follow before my eyes start to close, but having a few nights of reflective prayer centers me. The life of a mama is very chaotic and I’m pulled in a lot of directions, centeredness is a very important thing.
Here is my favorite version of the examen, adapted from here:
- Become aware of God’s presence.
- Review the day with gratitude: Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights.
- Pay attention to your emotions: Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Ask what God is saying through these feelings.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it: Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It my be a vivid moment or something that seems insignificant.
- Look forward to tomorrow: Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges.
Meeting with my Spiritual Director
My time with my director is like gold. Over the course of our time, I get to share whatever I feel like I need some guidance in. Oftentimes, it’s a messy outpouring of feelings and struggles and tears. My director asks questions, speaks words of truth and wisdom, encourages me, helps bring perspective of where God is and what he might be doing, and she prays for me.
I first met with my spiritual director late in my pregnancy with Caleb. The ideal is to meet with her once a month, but often that only comes in small clusters. In this last year, I email my director whenever I know Pat is taking some time off and I try to make a meeting happen.
I highly recommend having a spiritual director, at whatever life phase you are in. I think we can all use an older, wiser, outside perspective who can help point us to God’s presence and work in our lives. I leave my meetings experiencing greater peace and freedom, which I want to live with more of.
What are your lifelines in difficult seasons? Particularly if you’re not a person of faith, I’d love to hear what recharges you and pushes you forward.
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August 5, 2016 by Sarah
Some of the things that have been inspiring me lately.
Supernatural Everyday – I finally just bought the book because I’ve been cooking out of it so much.
Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon– I love the sauces especially in this one.
Art of Simple Food II– This book is all about vegetables! It’s a a great resource on gardening too, especially if you’re in the bay area where the author, Alice Waters, lives.
Maagnchi’s Real Korean Cooking– It took me a while to check out this popular you-tube Korean cook, but after watching some of her video on how to make doenjang (soybean paste), I realized she was the real deal.
Korean Food Made Simple – Love, love, love this one. Chef Judy Joo is awesome and makes so many dishes that I want to cook. She got me to try my hand at kimchi making again! Which, is a big deal given how crazy life has been around here.
My garden is my happy place these days. A few months ago I went to a plant exchange at my local library and picked up a few drought resistant plants, fennel, and celery.
Emily Freeman’s– I added her blog to my feedly a month ago and I am hooked. Emily is all about helping you create space for your soul to breathe, and that is exactly what I am so needing these days. I love and am inspired by this, this, and this most recently.
Smitten Kitchen– I love the new blog design!
It took me forever to listen to my first podcast! I love Jennifer Fulweiler’s and Fountains of Carrots. They stimulate me with interesting topics, encourage me in my mama-world, and make me feel like I just had an adult conversation. I turn it on turning random times of the day when the kids are playing or in the car.
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July 29, 2016 by Sarah
I’m so happy to have a summer garden again, we couldn’t have it last year because of our house construction and I really, really missed it. Gardening is one of those things for me that inspires, excites, and calms me. A real life giver. I think I got a little too ambitious this year, the garden is a little TOO big, which I didn’t think was possible! I’m also learning more and more about how important healthy soil is and that planning is also crucial if you want a steady flow of vegetables. The latter I currently don’t have the brain capacity for, so our garden is what it is. And, I love it.
Above is one of my favorite raised beds. We recently turned it over from fava beans and carrots, to beans, chard, beets, corn, and dakion radishes. I love watching the bean plants slowly climb up our teepees that we build for them. It’s so fascinating! Caleb has been especially noticing the growth each day, it’s fun to get excited about it with him.
Carrots are one of the things my kids love to harvest most from our garden. It’s a surprise every time when they tug at the greens and uproot the carrots. We plant orange, white, yellow and red carrots so it’s especially a delight for them to see what will come out. Their favorite are the red ones! One of the carrots escaped the kids harvesting hands and went to seed, I think the little white blossoms are so pretty.
Tomatoes are here! Tomatoes are here! We picked a small handful of three varieties the other night, red cherry, brandywine, and San Marzano. We really celebrate the first of every harvest around here. We cut them into pieces and slowly savored them together.
This is my first year of, so far, successfully growing winter squash. I’m so excited! My plants in the past haven’t survived due to our strange squirrels who love to eat our tomatoes (understandable), kale, squash blossoms… and then eventually the whole squash plant. All my squash are now protected by netting, which is a little annoying but necessary. All our squash are grown from Seed Savers heirloom seeds, my favorite is called “Thelma Sanders.”
And lastly, how fun is this? The other week we discovered a bird’s nest right outside the kids’ bedroom window. We’re looking forward to the baby birdies hatching soon!
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December 11, 2015 by Sarah
We’re officially cleared to move back into our house! After 5 months of not living in our home, including welcoming baby Eliza in that stretch, I am so, so ready to NEST. We have lots of work ahead of us though as things are super dusty from all the construction and we have to figure out where to put everything. I’m most excited about the new kitchen! I’ll give a little photo tour in the upcoming weeks.
I’m trying to be more intentional about observing the season of Advent this year. I’ve been going through an Advent journal (I’m so glad you shared, Sarah!) and got an Advent candle set (the kids got to roll their own beeswax candles, so cool). I’ve been thinking about all the money that flows out of our pockets during Christmas time and wondering what culture I want to set for how our family celebrates the season. I want our kids to become people who are aware of their resources and generous in thoughtful ways.
I was so inspired by this article (it’s such a great read) and now want to learn how to cook from this Korean Buddhist nun! I’m also currently reading In Defense of Food and both are challenging me to take my time cooking and to eat more slowly. Both feel really hard right now, I’m barely cooking, more like assembling and throwing things onto the table, and eating involves shoving calories into my face in any rare moment I have time.
It’s winter, but I’m already daydreaming about our summer garden! I blame the Seed Savers Catalogue which came yesterday. Seed Savers is a great organization that collects heirloom seeds. As a bonus, the catalogue is so fun to look through with the kids and talk about vegetables and to also use for collaging with them.
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November 6, 2015 by Sarah
I stayed true to my goal of postpartuming like a boss, and it was awesome. I extended my 1 week of resting as much as possible to 2. I stayed in my room with Eliza for hours, focused on nursing my new baby girl, let my body heal and rest, and I came out of those two weeks more rejuvenated than I had ever been with my first two children at 2 weeks postpartum.
Now Eliza is almost 2 months old, and I’m trying to figure out life with 3 kids. It’s crazy and hard and awesome all at the same time. Looking back at those first weeks, there were a handful of things that made those early sleep-deprived weeks a little brighter. I thought I’d share them and also try my hand at collage making. (:
2. The Honest Company Diapers. We’ve already gone through so, so many diapers with Eliza. Those middle of the night changes are particularly rough and it helps when the diapers are cute!
3. Loose Tee. There’s a whole market for maternity wear but no one really talks about the need for a different wardrobe when you’re nursing! I need tops that are loose and comfortable and also ones that I’m not too attached to since I’m also baby-wearing a lot (which just destroys your tops, especially in warm weather). These inexpensive H&M tees are great.
4. The Ultimate Diaper Bag. Pat got this for me this last year and I LOVE IT. There are moms who can somehow fit all their baby things in a small handbag, and there are moms like me who want to bring along anything and everything, just in case. After much annoyance with my previous diapers bags (1, 2), I stumbled into the dangerous world of designer diaper bags, and thought that the Marc Jacobs take on it would be perfect. And, it has lived up to my expectation for it.
5. Casual Joggers. I lived in these things for the first few weeks.
6. Kind Bars. Breastfeeding is no joke, I think my appetite is greater than when I was pregnant and my cravings are stronger. These bars are great to have around when hunger strikes.
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