05-24-2016

Encouragement for when personal failures seem to abound…

{On those days when all I can see are my shortcomings & failings, this verse reminds me that ultimately my frailty is what gives God the most glory. I’ve expounded it out in my words. I pray these words uplift & encourage you when in dismay as you walk through your own life struggles.}

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For Jesus says: “My grace Jessica, the grace found in me, that grace IS sufficient for you and your needs.

It was enough yesterday, is enough for today, and it will be enough for tomorrow.

For my power, the power found in the divinity of Christ is made perfect in weakness.
You see, Jessica, my power is exposed when you are weak and cannot bring anything to the table.”

Therefore I, Jessica, mere human – mere speck of minuscule dust in this cosmic environment – will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses – of the frailty found in my impatient parenting, in the weakness of this in control seeking, people pleasing, perfectionist because the weaknesses of my shortcomings cause me to rely on the power found in Christ.

So for the sake of Christ to be glorified above myself, then, I am content with my personal shortcomings, insults against me and what I stand for, hardships I traverse, persecutions I have endured and calamities that never seem to end.

For the times when I am weak on my own, I am ultimately stronger because I have leaned on the power found in Christ.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12: 9  & 10 ESV

jessica

10-15-2015

Giveaway for a $500 Spending Spree!!!

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To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

jessica

08-28-2015

Dear Soccer Coaches {A mama’s diatribe on extracurricular activities}

{READ WITH LOTS OF SARCASM}

Hey Colleen! So you asked if I could get together next week. Well, here’s the thing…

Next week we start this thing called ‘soccer’.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before or not, but it {extracurricular activities} scares the crap out of me.

You see, I’m gonna have to be somewhere by 6:30pm three nights a week.

Oh, and not just somewhere. But on a field. Which means not in whatever crap I can pull over my head when I’ve reached the end of the day and would rather just be having a beer as I cook dinner in my pajamas.

And oh yes, let’s not forget that it’s not just me that has a dress code but really it is my son.

Those soccer organizers must have kids who just adore getting into new clothes.

My son informs me every. single. morning. that he is more than happy to go to school in just his underwear.

Which if you think about, I probably created that monster, since getting dressed in our house has always been optional. {I always did think a 1 year year old looked super cute slumming around in a diaper so I never got very good at enforcing dress codes.} So yes, the whole getting dressed thing is probably my fault.

But isn’t it enough of a feat that I get my son dressed and to school on time five days a week and then again on Sunday to church? Now, I’ve got to add evenings into the fray as well.

Oh crap, I just realize as I type this mess that he is suppose to be wearing cleats and I think some type of padding gear. And oh yeah, some type of soccer socks???? Guess I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend then. Seriously, how am I suppose to be figuring this stuff out?

So unfortunately, three of my week nights are being taken up by this thing called soccer.

This may be news to some people but I’m actually really done by 6:30pm at night.

Done being a mama.
Done putting a meal in front of my family.
Done doing anything besides telling my children they should just get along and please, isn’t it bedtime soon?

But I guess that doesn’t work anymore.

Oh, I also informed my husband that now we have to give up occasional Friday nights for this thing called soccer. Guess what my husband told me??? “Well, we don’t have much going on anymore on Friday nights, do we?”

Seriously, this from the man who at 25 threw quite an amazing after bar party. But no, apparently turning the ripe old age of 40 has made him ready to throw in the towel and succumb to this suburban thing called soccer.

And all because he thinks that maybe it will help our child get a college scholarship.

REALLY?
Has he seen our son play sports?

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His last attempt {at age 3} ended before the first practice even got started.

Within meeting the coach and learning he would have to follow someone’s directions, he promptly informed us “I’m not playing. I’m going to go inspect the grass and find some bugs”.

I wish I were kidding.

For some reason I didn’t believe him so I took him back to a second football practice and once again, it was my child in the grass discovering the long begotten beetle of kingdom come.

Even last year when I tried encouraging him to give baseball a go, he himself said, “Come on mom, have you seen me try to hit a ball”. “Yeah, right”, was my response.

Wouldn’t it be better for all parties involved, if we were just a bit more up front with our children’s potential.

I mean, it would be amazing if on Monday night we discover this amazing God given gift of unknown, unparalleled soccer talent.

He has shown some improvement in the last few weeks while playing at home. Which was after we told him we were forcing him to play soccer. I blame my husband. I was more than happy to put off this whole extracurricular activity thing for a LOOOOT more years.

{But in defense of my husband forcing him to play soccer, the conversation went like this…
Son: Can I play soccer?
Mom: Sure, as long as you do your homework prior to practice.
Son: Uhm, well actually, no, I don’t think I need to do soccer or homework for that matter.
Dad: You ARE playing soccer and you ARE doing your homework.}

But really, my son’s God given talent is a love of animals, legos, and taking things apart and putting them back together.

The next Einstein, next Edison, next discoverer of an extinct animal…that is my son. Not the next David Beckham.

{And yes, I do think my son is a genius. You would use that coping mechanism too if your son spoke in animal language every time he met someone new!}

But maybe I will be proven wrong. And my efforts to still be a mama post 6:30pm will be worth it.

Maybe one day he will get a soccer scholarship. But really, I will be proud of my son if he just listens to the coach and stays on the field Monday night. I don’t care if he runs in the wrong direction and I certainly don’t care if he touches that soccer ball with his hands.

So for the next 8 weeks my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings are taken up with soccer.

Feel free to join me out at the fields and cheer me on when we arrive fully clothed! I’m gonna be feeling proud.

jessica

10-09-2014

Swiss Chard, Quinoa, and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

While summer will always be my most favorite season of the year {I live at the beach ya’ll! And I love boating!} I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m really enjoying this cooler weather, the crisp air, and the slight chill & nip you get when you open your screen door each morning. With time spent at the beach on hiatus for now, we’ve had more time for in-shore fishing, walks in the woods, football games, apple festivals, and soups & chowders… Yep, definitely a lot to savor and treasure!

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When my good friend Lindsey introduced me to stuffed acorn squash last year I was all about it. The recipe she used features flavorful Italian sausage, which I loved. However, after my mother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer this year, I’ve turned into a bit of a pretty big health nut. Gone are the days of making cookies twice a week and devouring sausage for breakfast. My diet now looks more like this…green smoothies for breakfast, salad ‘bowl’ creations for lunch, and meat primarily only being served for dinner. And since the idea of a stuffed acorn squash wasn’t manly enough for Jared’s dinner, I decided to turn this stuffed squash into a vegetarian delight. I’m pretty excited with the results!

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Swiss chard is most definitely my favorite leafy green vegetable. It has such a unique flavor and I love the crunch that the end pieces provide. Plus, if you buy rainbow swiss chard {or grow your own, even better!} you get such beautiful variations of color. But swiss chard isn’t just around for asthetic purposes, it provides a lot of nutrients & vitamins…Vitamins A, C, & K as well as being a great source of potassium, iron, and magnesium. {And did you know, your body absorbs vitamins more easily from the foods you eat than the vitamin pills you take.}

Quinoa is of course everyone’s newest favorite ingredient and I love making a quinoa pilaf over the weekend so that I can throw a little bit of quinoa into different dishes as the week progresses. Quinoa is a great source of protein, fiber, and manganese {did you know that manganese was even a word?}. Mushrooms & the acorn squash aren’t idly standing by either. Mushrooms provide selenium, niacin, and copper {once again, this post is really teaching you some words you’ve forgotten since Chemistry 101!} and acorn squash provides many of the above nutrients as well as Omega-3’s and beta-carotene.

So with all that being said, this is a healthy & delicious meal!

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Swiss Chard, Quinoa, and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, roasted/cooked
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cups swiss chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 scallion/green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Using a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes until softened and browned. Add swiss chard, quinoa, onions, cranberries, and spices. Sprinkle just a bit more salt and pepper on as well. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, just until swiss chard has begun to wilt. {Take a bite to check/alter spices as needed.}
  2. Divide mixture evenly between the two acorn squash halves. Top each serving with nuts & cheese as desired.
  3. I used goat cheese yogurt as a topping.

Enjoy!

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06-14-2012

Sharing the inspiration…

FS Nominee for Excellence in Storytelling (150x172)

I am humbled, and so excited, to have been nominated for the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling by Janet at trkingmomoe. Thank you so much Janet, you have some neat looking recipes on your blog that I’ll have to try out.

To complete the nomination I need to provide you a random tidbit about myself and share with you some of my favorite blogs….

For my random tidbit, I’ll share a secret confession… I easily get intimidated when I read other blogs. I wonder how these people have it all together, their sites look amazing, they make daily posts and their pictures could win numerous photo awards, etc. etc.

But more often than not, they probably are just like me…have preschoolers running around pretending to be transformers and yelling at the top of their lungs, their dishes are piling up in the sink, and it remains to be seen when their mound of clothes on the recliner will be put up.

So you see, its simply all about perspective and where one chooses to focus its attention.  I remind myself often, I shouldn’t be looking at their site, or a person, for comparison, I should be looking for inspiration!

So here are some of the sites that inspire me, although it was very hard to limit it to just the following….and I give a huge shout-out for food bloggers everywhere because until I started this blogging journey, I had no idea how long it took to write & compile recipe posts.

In Sock Monkey Slippers

Our Best Bites

In Her Chucks

Eat the Roses

Smitten Kitchen

Joy the Baker

The Pioneer Woman

Momastery

A Work in Progress

A Holy Experience

So scroll over to these other sites to check them out, I’m sure you’ll be just as inspired as I am!

Happy Thursday,

Jess

03-27-2012

Who’s special day is it really?

HIP HIP HOORAY!!!

It’s my kid’s birthdays today and I am SO estatic!!! It means that I’ve somehow survived the last 4 years intact….or rather, the kids are still intact. And I’m sure you’re asking yourself…I didn’t realize she had twins. Well, I don’t….they just happen to have been born on the same day, 2 years apart! Crazy, right?

So if you don’t know me personally, let me explain what I think of birthdays…I think they are the most awesome, most wonderful day in the entire year. It is a day devoted to YOU and you get to do WHATEVER you want. So naturally, I love my kids birthday…almost as most as mine. It’s a day for cupcakes, popsicles, balloons, playing at the park, and favorite dinners…oh wait, that’s probably pb&j,and  not the roast chicken I had in mind.

So here’s to a preschooler & toddler who light up my world, drive me crazy as often as they make me smile, but who I wouldn’t give up for anything in this world.

Happy Birthday to all the birthday kids out there today!

Jess

03-10-2012

I can hear!

Hello! I am sure you’ve all been so worried, wracking your brains as to where I’ve been…Well, after two weeks of strep throat and double ear infections with complete hearing loss, I am finally back in the land of the living and hearing!

Before this hearing loss, I always thought it a bit trivial to thank God for birds tweeting or water twinkling through a stream. Well no longer! These are precious sounds that I give huge thanks to God for and even includes the shrieks & shrills of young kiddos.

I’m also hugely thankful for my mom coming to stay with me for a week. I seriously was in tears last Sunday morning trying to figure out how I was going to make it by myself with two Danish Papoose’s running ramp-id thru the house. My wonderful fisherman had already taken care of the kids for a week by himself, and understandably, was chomping at the bit to get out of the infirmary and have conversation with people who weren’t constantly saying, “I really can’t hear or understand what you’re saying.”  So my mom cleaned my house, washed my dishes, and read books to kiddos. And I have the most wonderful friends who brought me meals, tasty treats, and ferried me to Dr’s offices. Even if I couldn’t hear, I was very much taken care of.

My hearing still comes and goes, but all in all I am much improved from where I was. This experience was a great reminder to be thankful for those senses we (or at least I) take for granted way too often.

Love,

Jessica

02-08-2012

My New Year’s Resolution for Life

Yes, I know its February (and perhaps a little late for a resolution). Yes, I know most of you kept your New Year’s Resolution a total of 3 days, 16 hours, 42 minutes, and 38 seconds, but really, who’s counting? And yes, I realize the flu season is almost over. But here is my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 and for every year in the future.

GET A FLU SHOT!!!

Can you guess why I’m writing this? Cause I’m sick in the bed with a 103 fever. I know, cry me a river, right? I live near a CVS with a flu shot clinic. I drive by the local health department every time I go to the grocery store but can never ‘make the time’ to get that flu shot they are always advertising. Well I’m finally putting my foot down. Not because I was smart enough to be proactive but because sometimes reactive is better than nada.

There may be only less than 2 months left of the flu virus but that is still 62 (60 to be exact) days that I could contract this thing they call a virus again. So, as soon as this body is up and able – we’ll be trotting over to the CVS. And this coming September….you guessed right…we’ll be first in line (camped outside) anxiously awaiting that flu vaccination!

Hope you & yours are healthy and well! Jess

01-19-2012

A week well lived…

This past week I’ve been incognito on the blog so that I could spend some quality time with my kids. Sometimes its hard to balance it all and when I look back, I know it’ll be time with my kids that I’ll miss most. (Although, there are numerous moments every day when I wonder why I got myself into this mess called motherhood!)

So I thought I’d share what I’ve done in my time off…

In the summer the kids & I pick berries and sometimes we use them immediately. But often, I am so exhausted after berry picking that I freeze them for later usage. Well, that later available time on my hands finally appeared and I made berry jam and a berry crisp on Saturday.

June berries frozen for winter usage

Berry Jam made with local honey for a sweetener

Berry Crisp ~ Scrumptious!

And then last week I ordered an extra bag of carrots from the local farm grocer but had no idea how many was actually in a bag! So imagine my surprise when I saw all these carrots in my produce bags. Hence, we had to get a little creative…    Ta Da…salsa verde chicken enchiladas with roasted carrots. (On a side note…does everyone love roasted veggies as much as me? Tender and sweet on the inside and crunchy and salty on the outside.)

Carrots from a local farm

...like my new plates???

And to keep it all in perspective about what matters…here is what greeted me on the couch this evening! I am guessing this was some type of battlefield/dinosaur construction site. (A little almost 4 year old who should be sleeping but is now by my side has just informed me that it is pluff mud and they were ‘just stuck, mom’.)

A child's masterpiece

Do you enjoy eating playdoh? Random question to end with but can I just say – my daughter loves it and it is disgusting tasting. I made it myself hoping that the homemade version which is pretty much 100% salt would ward her off. Nope…

So here’s to playdoh masterpieces and spending time with your kids,

Jess

12-15-2011

Eating Crow

NOTE…this venting post is about stomach bugs…you may not want to read it! :)

There are lots of things I’ve judged others on and said, oh so naively, “That’ll never be me”.  But this one tops the cake… having a child who is a picky eater. I know, I know…you’re probably thinking…. ha ha, or every kid goes through this or ha ha…

I always thought if you fed them good food and ate healthy in front of them, that they’d like their veggies too. Not so much! My daughter’s so picky that the only thing she wants is MILK and she won’t eat any food that isn’t processed! It’s miserable because we’ve been quarantined in our house for the past 4+ days with a stomach bug. I’m sure you can imagine what happens when you mix milk with an empty upset stomach. It isn’t pretty!

So now I am trying to think of something, anything, she might eat tomorrow for me.

If you are at home with healthy happy kids who enjoy eating I am SO happy for you. For myself, I would just like to go through 24 hours without anyone regurgitating and to find something my 21 month old will eat besides chips and fries.

I know I can’t be the only parent out there like this, any suggestions???

Thanks for reading – Jessica