Category Archives: Parenting and the like

Food Education


Here’s a list Matt and I compiled a couple months before Olive was born.  These are foods or food experiences that we would like her to eventually have.  There’s no time frame on these (especially since some she can’t enjoy till she’s 21) and this list will grow and grow, as she does.  But this list is full of items we have felt connected to in one way or another.  Some items are really high class.  Some are junk food.  Some are sophisticated, some are comfort food. Whether it’s simply outstanding flavor (Kow soy soup) or a memory (Granna’s Christmas eggnog), or even just the SMELL of certain things cooking, we want Olive to enjoy as many foods as possible and to create a list of her own some day.  Here’s our list; ever growing:

  1. Pad Thai
  2. Fish Cakes
  3. Kow Soy
  4. Thai Tea
  5. Vietnamese Coffee
  6. Seared fresh tuna in Hawaii
  7. Wasabi
  8. Eggs Benedict
  9. French fries from Bouchon
  10. Sourdough baguette
  11. Isaphan from Pierre Herme
  12. Cassoulet
  13. Ragu
  14. a ripe summer tomato
  15. Matt’s homemade bacon
  16. duck confit
  17. fresh baked bread with cold butter
  18. homemade ice cream
  19. caramel (also homemade)
  20. bananas foster
  21. Macaroni and cheese – Keller
  22. warm banana bread
  23. homemade chocolate chip cookies
  24. grilled cheese sandwich
  25. tomato soup
  26. Granna’s eggnog
  27. Double Stuff Oreos
  28. Potatoes Sarladais
  29. Potatoes Gratin
  30. Almond cake
  31. Buttered popcorn
  32. Onion Rings
  33. Yeasted waffles
  34. apple cider
  35. potato salad
  36. deviled eggs
  37. Black’s bbq beef ribs
  38. avocados
  39. guacamole
  40. corn pudding
  41. Sticky Toffee Pudding
  42. Creme brulee
  43. brownies
  44. apple pie
  45. chess pie
  46. blue cheese and honey
  47. pears
  48. Zinfandel from Napa Valley
  49. Chex Mix from the oven
  50. Cheese ball and crackers
  51. sausage balls
  52. chicken fried steak
  53. challah
  54. cinnamon rolls
  55. brown sugar bacon
  56. soft scrambled eggs
  57. cheddar cheese souffle
  58. poppyseed chicken
  59. carrot and ginger puree
  60. properly roasted chicken
  61. Brussels sprouts with bacon
  62. thumbprint cookies
  63. Reese’s Peanut Butter cups
  64. chocolate truffles
  65. truffle risotto
  66. cheesy polenta
  67. grits cakes with tomato marmalade
  68. summer strawberry
  69. fresh whipped cream
  70. chili and cornbread
  71. BLT – all homemade
  72. baklava
  73. lamb gyro
  74. hushpuppies
  75. fish and chips with tartar sauce
  76. mashed potatoes with beef gravy
  77. meatloaf
  78. beef wellington
  79. chili cheese hotdog
  80. tater tots
  81. sopapillas and honey
  82. chili rellanos
  83. garlic naan
  84. chicken tikka masala
  85. pizza
  86. fried mozzerella
  87. chocolate malt
  88. Gin and Tonic
  89. beef stroganoff with marsala cream sauce
  90. cheese burger from the charcoal grill
  91. charcuterie
  92. manchego
  93. nutella
  94. peanut butter banana sandwich
  95. spinach dip
  96. pina colada
  97. crab cakes
  98. crab legs in butter
  99. crawfish etoufee
  100. The smell of mire poix in butter
  101. Bbq brisket
  102. Pork Ribs in Memphis
  103. A good apple – Sweet Tango, Honey Crisp
  104. Truly Fresh Coffee
  105. Fresh pineapple
  106. Roasted green chilis
  107. Buffalo wings
  108. Fried rice with fried egg
  109. Tacos al pastor
  110. Gumbo
  111. Lasagna
  112. Chips and salsa
  113. Macarons
  114. Cheesecake
  115. Croissant
  116. Stuffing
  117. Corn on the cob
  118. Pommeau
  119. Carnitas
  120. Cream soda
  121. Root beer float
  122. Red beans and rice
  123. Pulled pork sandwich with vinegar sauce
  124. Bread and butter pickles
  125. Raw honey
  126. Gougere
  127. Chipotles
  128. Pesto
  129. Roasted garlic
  130. Caprese salad
  131. Old fashioned donut
  132. Ramen
  133. Crepes
  134. Jalapeno pretzel
  135. Mufaletta
  136. East Side Kings pork bun
  137. Homemade apricot jam
  138. Toasted marshmallows
  139. S’mores
  140. Beef Burgundy
  141. Breakfast burritos
  142. Fish taco with crunchy cabbage
  143. Spaghetti Carbona
  144. Bagel and cream cheese
  145. Queso
  146. Shrimp and grits in Atlanta
  147. Biscoff spread
  148. Jerk chicken
  149. Creamed corn
  150. MomMom’s orange cake
  151. Dutch Honey Syrup
  152. Pigs in a blanket
  153. Salt and Vinegar kettle chips
  154. Osso Bucco
  155. Seared scallops
  156. Maple blondie ice cream

157. Scraping a vanilla bean and swirling the contents into a pot of simmering heavy cream.  Then licking the remaining beans off your thumb.

I just now added that last one 🙂


Filed under Eating Adventures, Food Stuffs, General Hoo-Ha, Parenting and the like

Thoughts on being a mom to a little girl

Found this draft that I wrote before Olive was born that I never finished:

Just feeling really blessed by my mom.  She is a woman of God and she calms my fears – not by telling me everything is going to be alright, because that’s a lie.  But by reminding me that God is walking beside me and hurts when I hurt and relishes in my happiness.  If I can be that type of reminder to my little girl, everything else will fall into place.

Things she will do because I do, and the best way to teach is by example:

Twirl her hair
Bite her nails
Close her eyes when she sings
Criticize …everything (gotta work on that one)
Be completely in love with Matt
Love to bake

I just wanted to get this posted because it was a nice thought and I never blog anymore.  In the middle of editing 1,000+ photos this week, I can’t help but be the most proud of this one:

Olive, dear, I pray for you every day that above everything else, that you have compassion for others and wisdom to help yourself and everyone you meet.   I pray that you care for nothing more in this life than to help those in need and show the love of Christ to the hurting, to friend the friendless and cook for the hungry.  I want all the other fun stuff for you, too, but ultimately, I pray for your character and your relationship with God to surpass anything I’ve ever known.  Maybe together, we can grow closer to Him.


Filed under General Hoo-Ha, Parenting and the like

Life Now

I used to look at people who had kids and think, “They only just pretend to be happy.  They couldn’t possibly be.”  Or I’d simply think that people with children had ceased to really live life.  That they’d made certain compromises and were now living with those choices.  I thought things like: parents wish their lives were different, parents wish they’d traveled more, parents wish they could eat at nice restaurants, etc.  And so I made it a point to go at least 5 years with Matt until we decided to cease living, or, have a child.  Matt even used to say about people who were “trying ” to have a kid, “Oh, so they’re done doing everything they’ve always wanted to do?” We weren’t being intentionally tacky, we were just reacting to the overall hostage situation that having a child seems to be.

And then I found myself last night, sitting under a tree with my new family.  The weather was perfect – early evening light streaming across the park, coming through the trees and giving everything a soft glow.  We spread out a blanket and pulled out our bread, cheeses, fruits and wine and let Olive stare up into the contrast of trees against the sky.  She only sees strong contrasting colors at this point in her development, so I knew the trees would be a good idea.  And they were, for a time.  Then, she’d had enough and got fussy so I whipped out the blanket and swaddled her and Matt held her and bounced her while we continued to eat until she got drowsy.  Then, she slept the rest of our picnic and Matt and I got to talk about life and projects we want to do this year and mostly, about how awesome Olive is turning out to be.

On the way home I realized that we ARE living.  We haven’t ceased, we haven’t put projects on hold (well, maybe for a couple of months) but we haven’t said, “never again” to activities we did before.  Well meaning friends have said things like, “Oh, you’ll never do ____ again – you won’t have time!” or “Get sleep now because you’ll never sleep again” and I’m not sure why people speak in extremes like that, but it’s simply not true.  We’ve already enjoyed a glass of wine on our back porch, with our little girl in our arms.  We’ve already seen a movie (left her with a baby sitter) and had a nice meal out (again, babysitter) and have taken our daily walks around the block (sure, sometimes our companion screams) and Matt’s made bread every week and we’ve made nice meals for ourselves at home and I’ve kept the house nice and we’ve made our “fancy coffee” on Saturdays together and…the point is, if you want to keep up the things you used to love to do – just DO them.  Yeah, it’s more difficult.  Dinners are usually in shifts, sometimes one-handed, but we recognize these things are temporary while she is so small.  Olive is this new, fascinating creature that requires our whole presence.  And that is a beautiful thing because we’re already seeing time slip quickly past.  She’s already grown 3 more inches in length, and it won’t be long till those “newborn” sized clothes seem like a joke, while presently, they engulf her tiny frame.

Olive is astounding.  When people say, “Oh, she’s so beautiful”, I say, “thank you!” but what I really think is, “I know!  Isn’t it incredible?! I had nothing to do with it!”  It’s my privilege to nurse her about 10 times in a 24 hour period.  So, for 10 hours a day, I’m staring at her.  Well, I read a lot, too, but I stare at her quite a bit, and it never gets old.  Her soft, pliable ears, her long eye lashes, the way her nose scrunches up while she eats, her red rabbit-soft hair, and her hands…they’re my favorite part of her so far.  Her mouth is a close second.  I notice her perfectly oval fingernail beds, the way her pointer fingers on both hands are slightly double-jointed.  I notice the lines on her knuckles and inside her palms.  She’s complete.  There is no where for her to go but up and out.  I’m humbled to gaze at her and realize I was given her as a gift.  She is not mine and she never will be, ultimately.  She belongs to the only One perfect enough to create her.  She deserves no less than to someday know her Creator.  It wasn’t me and it’s not Matt.  I was just the vessel and I am thankful every day that her perfect hands were once pressed against the inside walls of my body, forming their perfect lines.

So I realize now, with new-found humility, that parents aren’t ceasing to live unless they just choose to.  That life is only bigger and greater with each new addition to the family.  A child is the perfect companion for the life God gave you.  A new love, a new face to point toward the heavens, to gaze at the trees together.  A new voice to teach funny songs, a new tongue to experience warm watermelon in the hot summer sun and a sticky hand to hold while walking around that same, familiar block, now reborn as a new adventure every single day.


Filed under General Hoo-Ha, Parenting and the like

Best Baby Shower Ever

So I have pretty amazing friends.  This Saturday, they threw me such a lovely, kind and thoughtful shower.  At one point I was afraid I’d never finish opening all the gifts.  There were so many awesome people there, so many friends from all different areas of life and if I could do anything over, I would have taken a pic with each guest who came.  Why didn’t I do this?!  I took a lot of pics of my own shower, because I knew a few gift-opening shots wouldn’t be enough for me.

Me and Blanche.  We worked in the trenches together at Gourmet Pantry 🙂 She is such a lovely person and I’m so glad she’s in our life!

The awesome corsage Kelle made me 🙂  She assured me that a corsage from her wouldn’t be stuffy.  It so wasn’t 🙂

Sweet little Olive cake that Cassie made!

Adorable owl cookies made by Louise

A “mommy advice” tree – so cute!

Adorable party favors made by Anna and Libby

My favorite cream cheese mints made by Louise.

One of the many GORGEOUS arrangements made by Kelle.  They were everywhere, but I sadly didn’t see them all till they came home with me that night.


The FOOD!  Made by Becky and everything was delicious.  I heard a friend say, “Best shower food ever”  I think Becky could be a caterer!

Libs helping Becky

Shannon’s cutie idea for the water bottles 🙂

GAH!  Some of my favorite people on the planet!  Look how good we color-coordinate!

Two of the sweetest women on earth.  I did Megan’s wedding a few years ago!  Her mom, Carol is master-quilter and an amazingly Godly woman that I am honored to call a friend.

Shannon and the unstoppable cuteness that is Lucy Mereness

Opening a blanket from my mom.  My sweet friend, Cassie writing everything down that we received.  A tall order!  Thanks, Cass!

The hostess gift – one of the coolest high chairs ever!  Doubles as an infant cradle of sorts.  Can raise to kitchen counter heights – very needed for Matt and me!

Look how gorgeous my friends are!  These are 9 of the most  giving, happy, helpful, Godly, protecting friends a girl could ask for and they were all my hostesses!  Not pictured is the equally wonderful Louise Shoemaker.  We sure missed her presence, but she had obligations at home that she had to tend to.  I need to photoshop her in here 🙂

The adorable sign Shannon had made.  We love you all!

Another sweet part of this day was Mom and Dad bringing the crib up from Portales that Dad made.  He and Matt installed it while we were at the shower.  It means so much to me that he has worked hours and hours by himself in his shop to build this for me.  I love you, Dad!  I am by NO means done with the nursery, but once I am, it will be its own post 🙂  My mom has also worked so hard on the bedding, so I can’t wait to get it all set up and pics taken to show off her work as well!  And gift pics are coming, too!  I just wanted to put up a few highlights from my shower.  All the rest of the shower pics are on my facebook page!


Filed under General Hoo-Ha, Parenting and the like

Future Project

I absolutely loved this idea that I found on the great blog, Better After.  Aside from the horrible hot pink and zebra stripes, I thought it was a genius project to get to do for a little one (heck, we know I’d be playing with this just as much as the kid.)  And depending on the sex, it could be girlified or more boyish with paint colors and the amount of fake knives 🙂

Imagine how affordable an old entertainment center would be at Goodwill or any of the other thrift stores in this town!  Those kitchen sets at stores, especially big ones are fun but all plastic-y and too many pieces to lose.  This way, you could fill the little kitchen with discarded items from your own kitchen (that I’ll teach TC to use on his/her own, of course.)  And one this size would be epic!  Just have to find room for it…maybe an outdoor grill version, haha.  Yay!  I can’t wait for our kid to be old enough to do cool stuff with.  I know, I’m rushing things 🙂  But seriously, babies don’t really do much for a few years.  I am very excited to see the personality and imagination that our kiddo will have.  I’ve mourned the loss of my imagination for years now – it will be good to get to see the world new again.



Filed under Crafty, Parenting and the like

Gifts and Phases

It’s really been exciting to receive a few gifts this early in our pregnancy.  It’s fun to know that a few people are just as giddy and having a hard time containing themselves.  One of the best parts of this being pregnant thing is how it brings people into your life in new ways.  People who have always been there, but are now there for you in new ways.  It makes me love my friends more.  Just to know of their support and excitement of how our lives are going to change. The first to give us a gift for Tiny Chef was our dear friend, Louise.  This little box came in the mail with these inside:

With a note saying, “I couldn’t resist – COULD YOU?!”  haha.  I love her.  These truly are adorable and highly impractical like all good baby fashion should be.   It made both Matt and me smile really big and get a little bit more excited.

The second gift came from Cassie.  She has a sweet boy who is already 4 months old and just getting cuter every single day.  She uses these little stickers to put on onesies and take pictures of Nixon’s growth each month:

She knows I love birds so these little owls were incredibly appropriate.  It’s hard to fathom having a baby that will be 6 months old by this time next year.

And the most recent gift is from my mom.  She came into town to visit and give some sewing lessons to us this week (which was just a good excuse for me to actually have some time with her to do things we haven’t had the opportunity to do in a long time) and she brought us this blanket that she made:

Aaaaah!  Is that not the cutest thing you’ve EVER SEEN?!  She did the stitching herself and ordered the Remy applique but she actually made the hat herself out of satin.  I love it so much.  I squealed for a really long time when I saw it and it will be one of the most special things I receive over the course of this journey.  Thank you, Mom 🙂  I know TC will love it.


It’s interesting to finally be on this side of the fence regarding the having of babies.  Granted, I have not had mine yet and haven’t even felt him/her kick, but I’m thinking differently already.  When I see a woman holding a car seat, I want to go help her carry it (those freakin’ things are heavy.)  When I see a new baby at church, I rush over to see how big, how old, how cute (or not cute) they are.  I beam at the parents in an awe-struck way.  YOU did this!  You made it through!  You had a baby!  To me, right now, it still seems very impossible that I will do that and go through all that in just a few short months (insert silent screaming here.)

The other side of the fence had two phases. The first phase was when I was completely single.  I thought nothing of babies, families, and parenting.  I was frequently annoyed by screaming children in grocery stores as I recalled “never being allowed to act that way when I was a kid!” and my eyes would glaze over with complete disinterest when someone I knew starting talking about their children.  It was just on the other side of the moon from where I currently was and understood life to be.

Second phase: the single married person.  I say it like that because for those of you who got to enjoy a few years with your mate before children came along, you’ll know – it’s like the best parts of being single mixed with getting to live with your best friend with benefits.  This second phase regarding children started off completely adamant against procreation.  Matt and I could think of no worse torture than to have a baby up until we had been married for 5 years.  I’m talking, fetal position rocking back and forth at the thought of becoming parents, against it.  Both of us.  Then, one day, after we had settled into our new house and were enjoying a night of watching TV in our living room, we just looked over at each other and said, “Okay so having kids doesn’t sound like the worst idea ever.  Does it to you?”  “No.  It sounds okay now.”  “Cool.”  “Let’s go to France first”  “Yeah, good idea”  Priorities were in line, I think. 🙂

So my thoughts on the phases:  One, when you’re in the first phase, unless you’ve just always wanted to be a mom, when your friends have babies, you really don’t care deep down.  You say, “Yay, good for you” and that’s where it ends.  In the second phase you become cautiously interested in how other families do it, how  mothers maintain themselves and their interests while producing children, how couples keep time for their relationship.

Then the third phase of it actually happening to you flips you end over end.  You see priorities very different. You begin to notice frivolities for what they are and begin to want to be better.  I’m still not one of those gushing women who wants to talk babies/pregnancy all the time.  In fact, I get a little exhausted when someone wants to.  I haven’t even let it sink in fully.  My pet peeve is when other mothers say, “You just wait, you won’t EVER sleep and you will OBSESS over your child and you will WORRY all the time and YOU JUST DON’T KNOW IT YET!”  Oh fun, let me talk to you some more!  Maybe they say this because misery loves company?  Because they find it fascinating to watch what happened to them happen to someone else?  I don’t know.  But they should try to revamp their pep talks just a bit.  Try to focus on the positive.  I keep the friends very close who speak positively and realistically about their parenting journeys.  And I’d like to take this time to say that I will try my best to remain level even after baby gets here.  Start running again, keep up crafts, keep pushing to do better with my business, put Matt and our relationship as first priority over the baby.  Easier said than done, I realize and of course, I’ll need pushing and inspiration from everyone still in phases 1 and 2 and 4 (the been there, done that group.)




Filed under General Hoo-Ha, Parenting and the like