Mango Parfaits with Rose Honey


Friday, April 24, 2015

In keeping with my theme this week of simplicity, and as promised, here is another easy recipe (can you even call this a recipe??!) or better yet -- a small meal or snack idea that John Shea and I love. I start with a layer of frozen mangos, then greek yogurt, granola, fresh strawberries and whatever other fruit I find at the farmer's market (today there were amazing peaches! blackberries and blueberries) and top with rose honey for something special.

Cam and I had the most delicious rose honey at Yafa in Carmel by the Sea (highly recommend it!) and I've been making it at home and adding it to our yogurt ever since.

Mango Parfaits with Rose Honey

Begin with a layer of frozen mango chunks, then top with greek yogurt, your favorite granola (I like making mine! Recipe here) and top with fresh seasonal fruit. 

For the rose honey, add 1/8 teaspoon of rose water to 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of honey (depending on how strong you want the flavor to be) and drizzle on top. Poppyseeds also add a nice crunch.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Uncle Matty's in Town! + The Gift of Community


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One of my three brothers came up from Santa Barbara on Sunday night, and since showing up has been totally serving us, unasked. Monday morning I woke up to him cleaning our house and then he took it upon himself to take care of John Shea, took him to the park for a few hours to run around and play, rocked him to sleep for his nap, offered to go to the grocery store for us, brought me back these AMAZING peonies !!!!! (my favorite!!!) and macarons, has been doing all of the dishes and letting me keep my feet up for our little girl's sake. And today all over again. He has been a total dream. And not to mention, we absolutely love the guy and love getting any chance to hang out with him. If you ever need a good laugh, you should spend some time with my brother. He is hilarious and also has the best laugh. I think John Shea is going to ball his eyes out tomorrow when he leaves!

When my doctor first told us that I need to keep my feet up the majority of the day and no carrying John Shea, I immediately thought about the burden it was going to put on Cam. He already does so much with all day long intensive language school, studying at night, getting in playtime with John Shea in the afternoon... and I thought, oh noo, this is going to totally exhaust him to add my role ontop of his. He is amazing and would never think that himself, only what he needs to do for his family, which is why I am soooo thankful the Lord has been refreshing us with loved ones stepping in, and blowing us away by their help.

It started with Nana Beth (Cam's Mom) when she was out here for nearly two weeks. She took over literally everything for me since I was on full bed rest then. She even made sure to cook us a meal to freeze before leaving and did all of our laundry every day, and took the time to get out stains and fold it all. That one task alone is huge for us because have you ever seen how fast our dirt loving boy goes through clothes?! She graciously helped us in every way and we are so, so grateful.

And then there's my friend Lindsay. She lives in our neighborhood and has been coming by almost every day just to sit on the couch and have a cup of coffee together while our boys run wild in the backyard, which has been just as much a blessing to John Shea. One of the mornings she came over, she made me stay on the couch and cleaned our entire house! And she doesn't even like cleaning, haha! She said that it had to have been God giving her a cleaning bug and as if she knew that it was driving me crazy that I haven't been able to. The other night two of our friends brought by an insane home cooked dinner (she is from Okinawa!) of real, true curry, something we've missed since moving. My friend Sommer came by today and just sat on the couch with Matt and I while John Shea was napping and brought flowers. I've started writing snail mail with some really sweet ladies from church (!) who are praying and offering help if we need it.

I'm reminded again how huge community and fellowship are and what a crucial and amazing part of life it is. I've been reminded too of the importance of being vulnerable and open. Family, friends, neighbors, even strangers... it has been such a gift to see how people have wanted to step in and help. I hope we will always do the same for those around us! I'm curled up on the couch right now next to Cam with Matt on the other one, drinking tea and feeling so thankful. God is so good.

For a Season of Simplicity

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good morning and happy Monday! Springtime is really here, hallelujah! How beautiful are these sweet peas and haricots verts? And tomatoes on the vine over rockfish? This is a season that makes me want to cook the most simplistic meals and let the flavors totally shine. And this beautiful time of year is coinciding with a simple season of life personally.

I've been quiet on the blog the past week or so because I've been quiet in general: concentrating on keeping my feet up and not stressing about anything or pushing myself to "just get that one thing done!" so that my body can rest and not cause our baby girl to come prematurely. I know that after she arrives (we are soooo excited to meet her) and we're back in the newborn exhaustion stage and moving abroad to Croatia, that I'll think back on bed rest as a dream in a dream and slap myself for not enjoying every second of it. I think God is giving me a really sweet gift. We are so thankful she's made it to 32 weeks and there's been zero signs of her making an early move!!

We have been cooking very simple meals lately and I have a few of them to share with you this week! Our neighbors went on a fishing trip and caught a ton of rockfish off the Monterey Coast, which they generously shared with us. I took herbs from our garden and tossed them with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, garlic and white wine to bake these filets in and topped them with tomatoes on the vine. It was incredible!

John Shea has become my little helper. His favorite task is stirring, but especially tasting, and re-tasting. We tossed the sweet peas and haricots verts, which are thin French green beans, in sea salt and olive oil and sauteed them for just a few minutes to keep their full flavor and crunch, and served them over risotto, next to the rockfish. It's such an easy meal but one that floored us by the amount of flavors.

Baked Fish with Fresh Herbs, Tomatoes on the Vine & White Wine

2 filets of white fish (we used rockfish!) rinsed and patted dry
handful of fresh parsley, rosemary & oregano, about 1/4 C when chopped
tomatoes on the vine
1 lemon worth of juice
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
1/8 C white wine
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 teaspoon crushed garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the fish filets on parchment paper in a baking dish. Generously cover the tops with the sea salt.

In a small bowl, combine the EVOO, white wine, lemon juice, herbs and crushed garlic. Spread over the filets. Place the tomatoes on the vine on top. Give a nice drizzle of EVOO over the tomatoes and a bit of sea salt to bring out their flavor.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. The fish should flake easily when touched with a fork. Serve immediately with the remaining juices ontop and alongside the sweet peas & haricots verts.

Simple Sweet Peas & Haricots Verts

about 2 C fresh sweet peas
about 2 C fresh haricots verts
sea salt

Saute the sweet peas and haricots verts over medium high heat with a generous glug of EVOO and pinch of sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon) so that all of the vegetables are tossed in it. Saute for about 3-5 minutes to heat up and take in the flavor from the EVOO, but no longer than that, so they remain crunchy. Serve immediately over risotto or rice, alongside the fish. Enjoy!!

Retreat Weekend at Our House

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This weekend wasn't actually a retreat at our house, but it felt like it! We lived down the street from the Coopers and Kettentons in Okinawa, and this weekend, our families were reunited. You know you have true friends when they drive 6 hours to join in on your moderate bed rest and sit on the couch with you!! We were just so happy to be together. And our babes! They were all born on Okinawa and it was three days straight of play dates and their very own reunion. We cooked awesome meals together, roasted s'mores each night in the fire and just caught up. It was so good. 

This weekend made me think a lot about one of my favorite verses: They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46

It's so special what happens around a table when we're gathered together, praying together, talking, laughing, feeding babies, eating great food together, drinking wine (I'm almost there!!), friends stepping in to clear the table and do dishes. It's a wonderful, every day, magical part of life. I think our favorite meal together was our last night when Cam brought our table out onto the patio and we had chicken kiev with balsamic spinach, fresh tomatoes, melted mozzarella, crunchy bread to dip and hummus dips that Linds and Josh picked up at the farmer's market. I love eating al fresco with loved ones. I'm so thankful for such a refreshing weekend with these sweet friends and for a weekend of community under one roof!

I hope you all had a beautiful weekend, too!

30 Weeks!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Far Along: Right between 30 and 31 weeks! I'm so excited and thankful that we've made it into the 30's and are getting there. Just 6-7 more weeks until she's full term!

Baby's Size: According to my pregnancy app baby girl is about 16 inches long and weighs about 3 lbs or the size of a head of cabbage. A very cute head of cabbage.

Weight Gain: I was up to 20 total almost two weeks ago, so I'm sure I'll have added to that at my appointment tomorrow.

Cravings: You already know. Chocolate. Story of my life. And I love it.

Labor Signs: None thankfully, but Braxton Hicks have started here and there.

Placenta Previa Update: At my last appointment, my doctor just smiled and said we're growing a really healthy baby. Praise God. I can't do any type of exercise, including walking (when I'm up I stroll like I'm 100 years old!), or anything at all strenuous and have to keep my feet up for the majority of the day, which is not natural for me, but I am so thankful our girl is doing great and staying put, that I get to be home with my sweet boys and that apart from my placenta being so low it's blocking the birth canal, it looks healthy. Basically, I just have to be very careful and rest and do as little as possible. I keep reminding myself that those are luxurious doctor's orders for any mama! And Cam has been amazing with helping me obey them.

John Shea: He pats my belly often now, but I think for no other reason than it's getting huge :) He still doesn't understand why I can't pick him up and run with him but he's been really sweet about it. I spend a lot of time during the day with him laying on the floor or the couch reading books with him, or while he's playing with his toys and have been spreading out a blanket on the back lawn while he runs wild in the yard. Cam and I are also savoring all of these days with just our little guy!

Sleep: I'm entering the big and uncomfortable stage so not as well anymore. But the craziest, most bizarre dreams every time I do! That part of pregnancy has rubbed off on my husband, too. Sometimes he'll text me his from school and we both fall over laughing.

Kicks: All day every day! She does most of her sleeping during the night and I am praying and hoping and dreaming that that will somehow transfer over once she's born :)

Belly Button In or Out: Out!

Maternity Clothes: Now that it's warmer here, I'm back to my old maxi dress ways. Most of them are from when I was pregnant with John Shea and not maternity, but Asos and Old Navy continue to be my favorites for comfy and cute dresses.

Pregnancy Symptoms:
 Just hormones and emotions. Lots of emotions!

Excited For: Finally seeing her sweet face and meeting her!! Seeing John Shea love on (I hope, ha!) his baby sister and become a big brother, getting to see Cam as a Daddy to a little girl! And the bottle of wine that's waiting for me.

Thank you for sharing in our excitement and most especially for those of you who have been praying for our girl and for us. I can't tell you how much we appreciate it!!

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