Friday, March 29, 2013


It was this very weekend last year, we came home to tell our family we were going to have a baby.
And this week she learned to wave. 

One year ago we came to tell our family about Evangeline: "bringer of good news."
And this weekend two thousand years ago... the culmination of The Good News.
The best news for the whole world.
The Gospel.

Jesus came as a baby. 
Lived to show me how, and died to pay for all the times I mess it up. 
Then, Easter weekend, he rose. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 1 Peter 1:3

I love the Spring for all the new. 
And this little baby... she is absolutely a bringer of good new-s every day. 

And I am consistently reminded of Jesus and His new mercies every morning, in the Spring, and always.

And I am thankful.

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure... Here is my sweet girl, being a normal baby.
And as a side note... last year we made onesies to give all Evangeline's future grands to deliver the good news. Joe's dad, Biff thought we were giving them underwear, or "unmentionables" as he called them. :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

making the most.

Texas weather has been unbelievable this week. We've been out almost every day. Early Spring always reminds me why my heart loves the south so very much.

The Avett Brothers say it perfectly (of course they do):
"the sweetest surrender of winter, she put up a flag, it is waving, the thunder of summer is rumbling in"
 (A Father's First Spring)

So we make the most. We make the most, and I realize: we have so much. 

We are surrounded by encouragers, inspirers, challengers. 
Most of all, we are surrounded by people that love us. It's overwhelming.

1 John says, "No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." (4:12)
I understand this in a whole new way as a mama.  
I know these two love Joe and me. But then I see them love my child and I know, that is perfection. 

And I am thankful. 

Now, do yourself a favor and listen to the Avett Brothers song, mkay?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

good music

The relevant article describing this video says, "The guys from indie-folk band Wayfarer have done it again, putting their creative Fleet Foxes-inspired sound on another great old hymn."

They had me at indie-folk.

How Long (Love Constraining To Obedience) from Wayfarer: Repurposed Hymns on Vimeo.

Friday, March 15, 2013

bonus day. common grace.

My alarm went off. I snoozed twice, a common practice for me. The third sound I heard this morning was my phone ringing. The caller ID tells me it's JPS. Yes! The night charge nurse tells me to stay home until they call to say they need me, but our census is low so they probably won't .

Oh yes! Bonus day.

Please don't misunderstand. I love my job. I love the sweet girls I work with and the patients that teach me what nursing really means.

But I also love my family and a chance to hang with them on this beautiful day... I'll take it.

 So today we take advantage of bonus day. And give thanks.

 We recognize common grace.

The magnificent weather. The soft old quilt. Baby squeals. Good books.

Every good gift is from God through Jesus and undeserved.
If I look intently, I can see that everything is a gift. Common grace.

Even Evangeline feels common grace as she giggles gleefully, the Texas wind blowing warm air her way. We hope to teach her to see it. To know it. 

And this view... common grace for sure ;) 

The book we're reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. A gift from Honey, and so so good.
Also, if you're interested, Ann Voskamp has a beautiful blog, book, and devotional about counting gifts and giving thanks.
Want to know more about common grace, go here.
Side Note: Public safety announcement from the McPasties: wear sunscreen.
The End.


I'll be honest....

this made me very happy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

adventures in baby food

I am a granola-mom-wannabe. Let me just start with that. 

I made my own "Moby" wrap, we... ahem, occasionally co-sleep (as in, most nights) and I made my own baby food! It was simple and fun. Bonus: in one afternoon of cooking/preparing and for $45 I probably made enough small human meals for 6 months.

I decided that I was not going to give baby girl anything I wouldn't eat and these recipes all turned out delicious! There were hundreds of different combinations out there on the interanets... Some sounding really yummy and others not so much... beet potato and cheese soup, for example, described as "deliciously sweet and pleasantly earthy." I think that's code for dirt flavored. Pass. 

I stuck with simple fruit and veggie dishes and Vanny has loved them all. 

First up P.E.A. (Pea, Edamame, Apple)

1 bag frozen peas

1 bag frozen edamame (soybeans)

2 apples
 (I used Fuji)
8 ounces apple juice

 (not pictured, amateur recipe blogger alert!)

  Fill a medium pot halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. While water is coming to a boil get your “green veggie shocking station” ready. You’ll need a colander and a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. You want as much ice as possible.

Peel the apples and then remove the seeds and stems and cut into sixths. 
Pour the peas and edamame into the colander. Run cool water over them to get rid of any ice crystals (which will allow the boiling water to come back to a boil faster). 

Pour the peas, edamame and apple into the boiling water. 

Cook for 3 minutes on highest heat. Pour peas, edamame and apple into the colander. 

Run cold water over them and pour them into the ice bath. 

Allow to chill for 3 minutes. 
Pour back into the colander and pick out any remaining ice.
Remove shell from edamame. 
Pour mix in the blender, food processor, or magic bullet/baby bullet and add the apple juice. Puree until smooth. 

I left it a little "textured" just for added interest, but you could go totally smooth if you like. Pour into two ice cube trays and freeze, after allowing to freeze overnight I then transferred the cubes to gallon zip locks. 

Vanny was there every step of the way to oversee and taste test. 

Most of the other recipes were prepared the same, just without the "shocking."

The next one we tried was Carrot, Mango, Apple. 

1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped

1 cup mango, chopped

1 cup apple, peeled and chopped

Boil carrots in a medium pot for 3 minutes. Add mango and apple and boil for another 2 minutes or until everything is fork tender.

Put in a food processor until smooth. Cool, and freeze! Easy peasy! And so pretty too!

And now time for a taste test...

The initial response was... well, not what we were hoping for but she did go on to eat several bites without protest! 

Third recipe was by far the easiest and so very good! I ate many bites... to taste test, of course.

Spinach, Banana, Greek Yogurt

12 ounces fresh spinach, well washed and tough stems removed

2 bananas

1/4 cup plain whole-fat yogurt

1/4 cup apple juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. And try not to eat it all yourself! 

And... She loves it. 

Next up, enter: Potato and Butternut Squash Stew (seriously, add a little cream and simple seasonings and you could easily serve this to adults)

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded

6 small yellow potatoes, peeled

1 medium Fuji apple, peeled, halved and cored

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups water

Cut squash, potatoes and apples into 1-inch chunks. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, potatoes and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil; reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, 30-35 minutes. Mash or put in a food processor and puree until you reach the desired consistency.

The last one I was most skeptical about but turned out savory and splendid!

Green Bean, Potato and Kale
1/4 pound green beans

1 large russet (baking) potato, peeled and sliced

4 large kale leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 cup organic chicken stock

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a saucepan, combine the beans, potato, kale and stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat. Cook uncovered until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and add the Parmesan and olive oil. Puree until as smooth as you prefer. 

Just look at all that beautiful, healthy, deliciousness! 
Here are all the recipes I used plus more! 

Also I would highly recommend doing this with a friend or your awesome mom like I did. Makes the work easier and it's just more fun!! 

Try it out, your baby will thank you!

Love, Jess