Baked Salmon + Mango Salsa

Well today was the Monday-est Tuesday ever. I never thought my workday was going to end and I was so glad to get home. I’ll be honest I did not want to cook what I had planned, but my cilantro was looking rather lifeless and I felt bad for the poor thing. I tend to gravitate away from heathy choices (and towards the Oreos) when I have a stressful day, but after tonight’s dinner I was glad I didn’t skip this meal. I threw this marinade together a few weeks ago when I was getting creative (aka desperate because we were low on groceries) and it was so good it’s now my go to for salmon. I love fruit salsa with fish and my Moms mango salsa is always a hit in our house! This was such an easy meal to throw together on a busy night! We didn’t sit down to eat until 8:15 but not because it took me long to cook but because I’m still trying to figure out how to balance life as a working/nursing mama slash farmers wife during planting season. Every day is an adventure round here. Which also explains why I forgot to post this last night when I wrote it. But hey most of you probably don’t know what day it is anyways, right? 🤷🏼‍♀️

I mixed the marinade when I got home then poured it over the salmon filets and threw it in the fridge while I did all the things — fed Soph, unpacked and repacked my 12 bags I take to work everyday, spent time with my girls (while trying not to do chores — I’m working on this *laundry can wait, repeat*), gave SJ a bath, trimmed her nails while simultaneously having a panic attack because cutting baby nails is terrifying, and somewhere in between I made mango salsa. I didn’t attach the recipe because there really isn’t one— it’s mango, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, lemon or lime juice, and a dash of sugar— I don’t measure anything, I just mix it all together taste it then adjust. I didn’t measure the ingredients for this marinade either, this is approximate measurements, so play around with this until it makes your tastebuds happy.

Baked Salmon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
* 3-4 Salmon Filets
* 1/8 cup honey
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp of each : paprika, garlic salt, onion powder
* Dash of cayenne pepper + salt
* Juice from 1/2 lemon

Instructions:

* Mix ingredients
* Place salmon in ziplock bag + add marinade. Marinade for 1-2 hours
* Preheat oven to 350°
* Bake 25 minutes
* Broil for 5 minutes

I baked my salmon on a cookie sheet with broccoli tossed in olive oil + garlic salt with a squirt of lemon juice, added a side of my favorite wine currently: Pinot Berry from Urban Vines Winery and I enjoyed every last bite (and sip).

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

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Life Lately.

Happy Friday! Don’t worry I haven’t disappeared again, our lives have just been a little busier than recent months. I started back at work this past week so the last few days have been quite an adjustment. All sorts of emotions in my household. I am so thankful that I have a job (and coworkers that I love ) to return to, and that I got an extra month at home with both my girls but I hate being away from Sophie. I had separation anxiety with Kenz when she was little and it doesn’t appear I’m going to be any different with Soph. All is right in my world when I’m with my babies.

Until this past week we were enjoying some beautiful weather! Spring has arrived and we took full advantage of the sunny days. So did the farmers. My husbands busy season is upon us so we got to introduce SJ to farm life— lunch in the fields, quick stops to say hi, and tractor rides. I got my garden planted and love having my little helper with me when I water. Sophie loves being outside almost as much as she loves her big sis so I see a lot of summer nights spent in our backyard!

Miss Sophie Jo turned 4 months last week and she has such a personality. She is the happiest little girl and is always smiling (even in her sleep). She did really well at daycare this week and all the playing wore her out — I think we are going to sleep and cuddle all day today. We went to the doctor last week for her 4 month check and because of some skin issues and belly issues her pediatrician suggested I eliminate dairy from my diet to see if it helps. I’m a week in and doing a lot better than I thought I would! I cry a little every time I see the Nutella jar but aside from that I’m handling the change rather well.

In other news, Kenzie just finished drivers ed so next week she gets her permit. Anyone know if it’s possible to install a passenger side brake in my vehicle? I don’t do well when other people drive let alone my teenage daughter, so if you are reading this —please send prayers … and wine.

life lately in pictures.

Our life lately has been a little hectic and overwhelming with me trying to adjust to our new routine, but it’s made me appreciate and look forward to the little things more— my days off, weekends, coming home, listening to worship music on my way to work, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and quiet slow days like today— with the ones that make every minute of this life worthwhile.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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hey kenzie jayde.

So often these days I catch my self staring in awe at you. Who you are and who you are becoming literally takes my breath away. The other night you reminded me that in just a few short years you will be going to college, and my mama heart filled with such pride and excitement for what I know will be such a great chapter of your life. Yet, the thought of you not being here every day to laugh with and talk to makes me want to curl up in a ball and sob. This extra time I’ve had with you these last few weeks have made me realize how special our bond really is and I am truly blessed and thankful that God chose me to be your mama. We like to say that we are the Gilmore girls — you are my Rory. Except you are totally more like Loralei and I’m definitely more of a Rory. But the relationship they have couldn’t be any more like the one we share.

Our journey to where we are now wasn’t without its challenges, and there were a few years in between that weren’t this easy. I wasn’t always your favorite person, and I spent many moments in tears over the fact that every day with you felt like a battle — one I was always losing. We argued, and pushed each other’s buttons, and tested each other’s patience and we disagreed on everrrryyyyttthhhing. We laugh about it now, those days you were convinced I was the devil and I was convinced you were the spawn of satan. I don’t know what or when things changed but all of a sudden we seemed to just get each other. We stopped the push and pull and formed an understanding of our unique and very opposite personalities, and through the process we learned we actually really liked each other. I learned to loosen my control of who and what I thought you should be and allowed you to bloom the way you were intended to —and bloom you did. Into the most beautiful, unique, creative, kind yet fiercely strong, and wise beyond your years, young lady. Your smile and confidence is contagious, and your kindness and love for others is evident in all that you do. If you were a color you’d be yellow, like the sun. You are light and warm and you glow so bright. (Are you so proud of my analogy?)

These last few years have been some of my most cherished with you, and to be able to share Sophie (or Jo’s as you call her) with you has been nothing short of a dream come true. I told you the other day I don’t know how I could do this without you—from the calm you exude when I feel overwhelmed to the way you are so quick to help with her without me having to ask— and can we just talk about the way that she lights up in your presence? *cue the puddle of tears.* I hope that she grows up to be just like you, well maybe not like years 4-11 but you know what I mean 😉.

I know they say you aren’t supposed to be friends with your children but there is no denying you are one of my greatest friends. I love so much our daily chats, sharing stories with you, talking about boys and your plans for the future. I love that we laugh together every single day and that you give the best advice. I love that you tell me everything and don’t get too annoyed when I turn everything into a life lesson. I love that you inspire me to get out of my comfort zone, to be confident and to not care what other people think. I love that you still like to hang out with me even if my obsessive compulsive picture taking drives you nuts. Mostly, I love the person you are and thank God every day I get to share this life with you.

The greatest of bonds is that of a mother and daughter.

— The Gilmore Girls

Thank you, Kenzie Jayde, for being you, for being the best daughter and sister to Sophie Jo’s, and for being my Rory. I love you more than Oreos.

Posted in family, hey kenzie jayde | 1 Comment

PB + Nutella Energy Bites

Y’all we are starting to go stir crazy over here! Thankfully we’ve had some beautiful weather so we’ve been able to get outside and enjoy our patio, and my husband has started planting so we’ve had an excuse to leave the house and go visit him in the fields. Lately, I’ve been trying to make it a point to do something each day that makes me feel creative whether it’s writing, taking pictures, updating/up-cycling things in my home, or making a new recipe or recreating an old one. My passion lies in creativity and I always feel like my day is more meaningful when I do something that puts my right brain to work. And I’ll be honest, some days I have to really work at doing anything other than snuggling my sweet babe, binge watching TV and eating all the food.

Today, I made these PB + Nutella Energy Bites. I’ve made these many times before but with peanut butter only. I threw in a spoonful of Nutella this time, in hopes that these will keep me from overindulging in my favorite chocolate-hazel-nutty treat. They turned out really good!

PB + Nutella Energy Bites

  • Servings: 12 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
* 1 cup Quaker old fashioned oats
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 2 tbsp Nutella
* 1/4 cup ground flax seed
* 2-3 tbsp honey

Instructions:

* Mix all ingredients together in mixing bowl
* Place bowl in fridge for 10 minutes
* Form mixture into balls
* Store in fridge

Now, since this post took me half the day to complete, it’s time to start dinner— one of my husbands favorites: grilled ribeyes with blue cheese sauce, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman.

Here’s to doing small things everyday to keep from going insane … and to keep me from eating the entire jar of Nutella.

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What is Essential?

FISHERS CHURCH TO REOPEN FOR WORSHIP

I typically avoid anything controversial, and keep my opinion off social platforms. But this I can’t sit back and keep quiet about. Not when it’s a decision being made by the church I attend and the Pastor I have listened to and trusted for so many years. This isn’t just a little decision that impacts few people. This has the potential to negatively impact hundreds of people. And it’s been heavy on my heart since last Sunday when I sat on my couch with my jaw to the floor completely appalled at the message Pastor Dave was preaching. I had to turn it off. Never have I been so confused and frustrated. And then the bomb was dropped on Facebook with a self righteous, self seeking post about opening the doors of the church this Sunday, when the state of Indiana remains on a stay at home order, and all non essential businesses including churches are to remain closed for the safety of the community.

Pastor Dave claimed our religious freedoms were under attack and being stripped from believers; that he could stand no more, and people needed to worship in church. He went on to explain how he was going to do this “legally” only allowing 10 to gather every hour — he failed to mention that this number was excluding himself, his wife, the tech crew, the cleaning crew, the parking crew, and the worship team. Add those together and you are looking at 20+ people gathering in the same building every hour for 30 services. That’s 600 people in 2 days and you want me to believe that in the 20 minutes between services they are going to be able to eliminate any germs that are carried through the door by asymptomatic carriers? And before you come at me about how grocery stores are worse I have not been inside a building other than my home since March 9th. I am staying AT HOME like I was instructed to do. Because to me, there is nothing more essential than the health and well being of my family. 

I am also reading my Bible, FREELY. I am praying everyday multiple times a day, FREELY. I am worshiping in my living room and in my car and in my kitchen, FREELY.  I am attending church service every Sunday live-streamed on my computer, FREELY. My religious freedom remains intact. My relationship with God is stronger than it ever has been, all at the cost of staying home to keep my neighbors, my family, my friends, and community SAFE.

GOD does not care about WHERE I have a relationship with Him, all He cares about is that I DO. 

This virus is serious, and these 10 people an hour can potentially infect hundreds of people. Why take the risk? Sure there is a chance no one will get sick, but there is a much larger chance someone will. And unfortunately, I know all to well what it is like to watch a loved one fight a serious, and very similar virus as that of COVID-19. 

This is my 11 day old baby fighting to breath because of RSV. Another respiratory virus that is MILD in comparison to COVID-19. When our baby girl was moved to the ICU the doctor informed us that if things did not progress the next step would be a ventilator. This occurred only two months before COVID took the hospital by storm – so whether or not a ventilator would be available had she needed one, was never a question. Today, it would be. I sat beside my daughter every single day for the 10 days she was in the hospital. We watched as she struggled to take her next breath, and we held ours as her oxygen saturation’s plummeted and the respiratory therapists came in to raise the o2 levels on the machine that was pumping air into her nose so that her tiny lungs continued to work. Now imagine that this was your baby or your mother or your husband and you couldn’t be there with them. Imagine you couldn’t hold their hand when the nurses came in every 30 minutes to check vitals. Imagine you couldn’t look into their eyes when they were scared, or tell them you love them when they were fighting for their life. 

THAT is why we are asked to stay home, for people with compromised immune systems who this virus attacks rapidly and unforgivably. For patients that are struggling to take their next breath -and because of the surge in patients at the healthcare facilities- don’t have access to the medical devices they need. It’s to protect the healthcare providers that are taking a risk every single time they step into one of these rooms with a positive COVID patient. It’s to hopefully avoid any of our family members having to fight the hardest fight of their lives, ALONE. 

But, to Pastor Dave worshiping alone is the real problem. People need to be inside a church, gathering as a congregation because to him church is the most essential thing. 

I guess to some, dying alone is worth the risk to worship a God who loves to meet people right where they are. 

In their living room. 

In their car.

In their kitchen. 

In their rocking chair holding their sweet baby who got to come home.

…and in a hospital bed as they fight to take another breath or as the machine they are hooked up to does it for them. All while their loved ones are at home not knowing if they’ll ever see them again. 

iTown Church, Pastor Dave, you are making a mistake. And unfortunately it’s at the cost of so many peoples health, and for what? Publicity, fame, church growth? I am not naive enough to turn a blind eye to the very OBVIOUS coincidence that your controversial move was aired on the same television station where you just started iTown TV, or that one of the prominent members of the church is also a well known news anchor for WTHR, or that the story was aired only hours after you posted it on Facebook – tell me, did you hand deliver it to the news station yourself?

Your decision sadly is not about reaching people to advance God’s kingdom but rather to reach people to advance yours. 

And unfortunately many iTown church members, including myself, are now searching for a new church home. I am beyond disappointed in this irresponsible decision, and I am praying that God spares you, and the members that decide to gather in the next couple days, any negative consequences to your self-seeking actions. 

Yours Truly, 

A believer who opposes this decision, FREELY. 

 

Posted in faith | 17 Comments

hello sophie jo.

You are a week shy of 4 months old, and we’ve gotten in a groove the two of us. I can’t say a routine because every day is different with you, no matter how hard I try to keep you on track. You’ve taught me how to go with the flow, and when I start to question if I’m doing this all wrong your smile reminds me that I’m the best mama for you.

You are living in a time that will one day be discussed in your history class. And there will be a day when you are older that you will come home from school and ask me if I remember the time the world shut down. I’ll say yes—it’s a time I’ll never forget —and I’ll tell you what I remember.

I’ll remember getting to spend every day with you. I’ll remember the way you bonded with your big sister during that time. I’ll remember being able to see so many of your firsts. I’ll remember sitting on the floor with you reading books, or showing you toys or cheering you on as you learned to roll over. I’ll remember holding you as you slept and not wanting to lay you down because I missed you at night. I’ll remember our morning talks and watching you try so hard to mimic my words. I’ll remember the way you looked at your sister and your dad with such admiration that nothing else in the world mattered. I’ll remember my excitement when you reached another milestone. I’ll remember how easily your sister could keep you calm and how you would giggle when your dad kissed you because his beard tickled. I’ll remember the way you would smile in your sleep and your sister and I would make up funny things you were dreaming about. I’ll remember how you grabbed my hair when I held you and how much you loved when I sang to you (all my made up songs). I’ll remember the first time you rode in the tractor and took your dad food in the fields. I’ll remember how your little feet would start kicking because you loved seeing your mamaws and papaws and aunts and uncles on FaceTime. I’ll remember the way you would stare at me and wait for me to look at you, and the joy in your eyes when I did. I’ll remember how much I loved this time with you and how I never wanted it to end.

Sweet Sophie Jo, I know you won’t remember these days but when you are older I can’t wait to tell you all about them.

Posted in hello sophie jo | 1 Comment

Homemade Baby Food.

Happy Friday friends! I wish I could say we have big plans this weekend but like the rest of the world, we don’t. I’ve been trying to be as productive as possible with my time at home. I’ve been meal planning and trying different recipes. I’ve started using a new workout app (Fit52). I’ve rearranged decor throughout the house, pulled out all my summer clothes from storage, and I’ve been trying my hardest to get miss Sophie in a routine but so far, she’s just living her best life, switching things up on me every day. The hub has been busy with a project in our outdoor area so I’ve been getting ideas on landscape and patio decor. I’ve been playing games and having happy hour with the fam on FaceTime, and Kenz and I have been trying to keep each other sane.

Today’s project was making homemade baby food. In a few short weeks our tiny human will be 4 months old (insert tears) and we are going to start introducing her to the world of baby food! I scoured the internet and texted all my mom friends for advice on this topic because I might be a mom of two, but all this stuff feels brand new to me!

And let’s be real for a minute, I’ll probably be feeding my sweet cherub store bought food from a jar in a few months but since I have all the time in the world right now, I wanted to take advantage of it and try making my own. It was a lot easier than I had expected. I only got pictures of me making the apple purée but it was basically the same for all the other—prep, steam, puree, freeze.

My littler helper can’t wait to give them a try.

I am loving all these milestones and seeing Sophie grow and change daily, but man my mama heart aches at how fast the time is going. I’m just over here trying to freeze every memory … along with her food 😉.

Homemade Baby Food

  • Servings: 4 15oz cubes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
* 4 honeycrisp apples
* 1 bag baby carrots
* 2 avocados
* 1/2 bag frozen sweet potato
* 3 medium bananas
* Fresh breast milk (not frozen)

Instructions:
* PREP: clean fruits and veggies, peel and core if necessary, cut into chunks
* STEAM:
Microwave: place 1/4 cup water in microwave safe bowl, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes or until soft.
Stovetop: place 1 inch of water in pot cover and simmer until soft.
* PUREE: add small amount of breast milk (fresh, NOT frozen), or water, blend on high speed with an immersion blender until smooth.
* FREEZE: spoon purée into ice cube trays, place in freezer over night, put in Ziploc freezer bags once frozen.

* For bananas: slice and lay on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Once frozen put in Ziploc freezer bag.
* For avocado: if fresh do not steam.

I hope everyone has a good weekend —I challenge you to try something new, get moving, be creative, focus on what you have, and be thankful for another day that you’re healthy and safe at home. And share what you are doing because seeing other people’s accomplishments and positivity during this time is motivating and uplifting.

Posted in family, food | 1 Comment

Life Lately.

Me again! Our life lately has looked a little different than it did in months previous. It’s simpler, it’s slower, some days it’s harder than others to navigate our new normal—to not be able to run to the store when we forget a key ingredient, to not have weekend plans to look forward to, to be separated from family who are also our closest friends, or to learn to live on one income. The uncertainty of it all can be overwhelming and inconvenient to say the least. And there are days I can’t wait for our lives to return to normal (and for stores to have paper towel again), but more often than not, I am so grateful for the chance to spend every single minute of my day with my girls, that I don’t want anything to change.

Our life lately in pictures

This week we took a walk outside everyday. We stopped by the farm and let the animals check out the newest addition. We sat on a blanket under a shade tree and Kenz colored and I read and Sophie napped in the fresh air. We sat on the deck and soaked up the sun and rocked in the rocking chair and sat by the fire while the hub and Kenz played softball. One of our girls rode in the tractor for the first time and one of them drove the tractor for the first time, I bet you can figure out who did what. We stayed up late watching tv, and we all pitched in to get dinner on the table before 8pm. And a few times we argued and bit each other’s heads off because in the spirit of transparency, our life is not perfect ya’ll.

One thing I have noticed in our present life lately, is that we are enjoying the little things more. The sunshine, being outside, taking a walk, eating dinner as a family, taking drives and looking out the windows noticing things we’d never noticed before. I asked the hub the other night if, when this is all over, he thought our life would go back to normal and he said “I hope not.” And I knew exactly what he meant.

I hope that we still FaceTime our friends and family and say I Love You more.

I hope we still look out the windows when we go places.

I hope we still have conversations that inspire inquisitive thinking.

I hope we still appreciate what we have without wishing we had more.

I hope we still move at a slower pace.

I hope we still create, and color, and read and write.

I hope we still eat meals at home and cook together.

I hope we still take walks and play games and sit outside.

I hope we still live in the moment and worry less about the future.

I hope we still enjoy the little things.

And I hope in the rush to return to normal, we use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.

Author Unknown

Today, I’m choosing to love our normal now, and focusing on all we have instead of all we don’t — though I would really love a roll of paper towel 😉

Posted in family, farm life, mom life | 3 Comments