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Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

June 25th, 2014

We spent last week in sunny Litchfield, South Carolina, and it was wonderful.

Having Andy around all the time, spending each day at pool and beach, eating delicious food, getting dozens of hot Krispy Kreme donuts, reading book upon book and soaking up all of the warm southern weather and hospitality were just what the doctor ordered.

It’s like a little taste of heaven on earth down there.

It might even be one of my favorite places ever.

And if you know how much I love New York City, that’s really saying something :)

We talk about how we should probably branch out and vacation other places…see new towns and beaches.  But Litchfield has a piece of our hearts and we just want to go back there year after year.

I’d love for my girls to have memories upon memories of summers spent there playing on the soft sandy beaches and doing all the traditional things we do.  Eating crispy hushpuppies at Lee’s Inlet Kitchen, getting a dozen hot donuts after spending the evening at Broadway at the Beach, browsing around the Hammock shops, picking out an annual family Christmas ornament, dining at the Island Deli, walking on the boardwalk by the Lazy Gator, looking for sharks teeth along the beach, having breakfast at Eggs Up Grill.

I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to see other places, but this is one that I want to revisit year after year for sure.

Vacation is always weird for me. It makes me want to change my whole life around.  Come home and repaint the whole house, get rid of everything and downsize, take more day adventures with the girls, spend more time exploring the pretty places in Michigan, disconnect forever from social media and quiet my life down.

It’s like being somewhere else opens my mind up to all these options that I forget exist when I’m tucked away inside my little house everyday.  It makes me feel like more is possible than I realize and the limitations I place on myself and my schedule aren’t really real.  I can’t even explain it, but I feel exhilarated by it.

I’m glad to be married to a man who can keep me grounded but who is also up for the idea of repainting the whole house ;)

We’re not repainting by the way.

On our very long car ride I thought a lot about the blog.  Trying to figure out why I don’t feel inspired to write much these days.  I still love writing, I still love cooking and I still love taking pictures.  I just don’t feel like blogging it out.

And this is SO WEIRD because I’ve been passionate about blogging for nearly a decade.  I’ve loved the creative element of it, I’ve loved the connection with other people and I’ve loved the documentation of my life.

But lately I’m all, “Who really cares? Why am I doing this? What kind of blog is this anyway? Do I want to be a food blogger?  A faith blogger?  A mommy blogger? Am I afraid of leaving it behind?  Am I afraid of moving it forward?”

I really don’t have answers to any of it.

I’m still wrestling with the shift that occurred a few weeks ago.  From feeling alive and purposeful everyday to wondering what the heck happened to all that and feeling ambivalent and frustrated instead.

I choose to believe that God has just as much purpose for me when things are feeling awesome as when they feel murky as all get out.  I know He has good plans for me and that this time and space isn’t wrong it’s just different.  I’m trying to stay open-minded and more importantly open-hearted.

I’ve been wanting to listen more than I talk to Him.  I’ve wanted to be more open and willing than stubborn and self-assured.

But boy is it uncomfortable not knowing.

This week I’ll keep thinking and praying and maybe even journaling to see if there’s anything that is stuck that needs to come out.  Writing does that for me which I love.

I’ll also replay the sweet memories of last week over and over in my mind.  It was such a sweet reprieve from the regular grind.

landscape

leaf

matching

dock

beach

girls

avery silly face

andy

grace and me

grace with makeup

avery grump

avery smile

grace running

avery

 

grace in hat

andrew

rebecca

grace ellen

avery jane


Greek Tacos with Grilled Fish and Tzatziki Sauce

June 6th, 2014

I’m back with a recipe!

And I have to say that as uninspired as I’ve been to cook and take pictures, this was so much fun to make and eat.

I only had time to snap a few photos with my fingers crossed before sitting down to eat, but a little editing made it work.  I love when that happens!  Thank you Picmonkey :)

These tacos are the perfect summer dinner!  Healthy, fresh, and delightfully flavorful.

If you’re not a fan of fish, you could easily substitute chicken breasts and if you’re a vegetarian I think tossing some great northern or cannellini beans with the meat marinade would be a delicious vegetarian alternative!

I was also really happy with how quickly they came together at dinner time.  I marinated the fish, prepped the veggies and whipped up the sauce in the afternoon and come dinner time it was just a little grill time and assembly and we were ready to eat.

Another thing I love about these is that you don’t really need any sides.  You’ve got protein, plenty of fresh veggies and a whole grain tortilla.  It’s a one stop shop.

Without further ado…

Greek Fish Tacos

Greek Tacos with Grilled Fish and Tzatziki Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (juice of approximately 1-1/2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • lemon peel from lemons used to get juice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 fish filets of your choice (I used tilapia) or 2 large Chicken breasts or 1 can white beans
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium sweet red pepper, julienned
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • handful pitted Greek olives
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • ½ medium English cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas, warmed or grilled
Instructions
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, lemon peel, 4 garlic cloves, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the fish, chicken or beans; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, onion, red pepper, cheese, olives and parsley; set aside.
  3. Place the yogurt (or sour cream), cucumber, dill, coriander and remaining garlic and salt in a food processor or blender; cover and process until blended.
  4. Drain fish or chicken and discard marinade. (IF USING BEANS LEAVE THEM IN MARINADE - NO NEED TO COOK) Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill fish, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Grill chicken for 5-6 minutes per side depending on size of breasts or broil for same timeframe. Let rest before slicing.
  5. Place a portion of fish (or chicken or beans) on each tortilla; top with cabbage mixture and sauce.

 


Let’s Catch Up

May 30th, 2014

It’s been a week, so I figured I better post something before I just drop off the face of the earth.

I’m frustrated to no end about how little motivation and inspiration I have to blog lately.  It’s been a passion of mine for the better part of a decade, but lately I just can’t seem to bring myself to type out a post.

I haven’t wanted to take pictures or post on Instagram or type out any thoughts onto the blog.  In some ways I’m discouraged by that, but in other ways it’s kind of a relief.

Spending my days resting, watching the girls play, and doing things around the house when I have the energy to.

I do miss the creative outlet though.  The thing I do that’s just for me (well and all of you, I guess :).

I also hate knowing I’m not capturing tidbits of our life to look back on later.  I love to stalk my own blog and Instagram to remember days gone by.

It’s kind of hard to do that when I’m not capturing anything.

Oh well.  It’s just a season I guess.

I thought I was on the verge of a comeback after last week’s post, but the holiday weekend threw a wrench in my plans to get back to writing.

We did a ton of yard work on Saturday.  It was tremendously rewarding and exhausting, but we tackled tons of overgrowth from our neighbors yard and we weeded and mulched all the beds.  I seriously can’t believe how long it took us (7 years!) to discover mulch.

It makes the beds look so finished and it keeps the weeds at bay.

Win/win.

Photo May 24, 8 20 01 PM

I also can’t believe it took us 8 years to buy a little air conditioner cover up.  That thing was so grubby and nasty and it was a real focal point when sitting on the patio.  But now it’s outta sight!

air conditioner

Our yard is nowhere near where I’d like it to be, but in this stage of life it’s good enough :)

Sunday morning we went to church before heading out to my mom’s for the holiday.  Church each week is seriously like being bathed in a cool, clean stream.  Like a soul bath.  I really cannot explain it, but it’s by far my favorite time of the week every week.

Tethering my heart back to the God who made me and loves me and completes me.

The drive out to mom’s was gorgeous.  Sunshine, long stretches of country highway, and of course a bunch of quaint red barns.

barn

We had a great time with mom.  She treated us to incredible BLT’s when we got there and we feasted on fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs, homemade potato salad, baked beans and crisp asparagus for dinner.

We had Spotted Cow ice cream for dessert and were stuffed to the gills by the end of the day!

grace with cone

Grace had her first cone ever.  A baby size Orange Sherbert/Vanilla swirl.  She ate it without missing a drop.

It was pretty small, so she shared our Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion Flurries when she was done.

I somehow forgot to pack Grace a pair of jammies (even though I brought 2 pairs for Avery!) so Grace wore one of my mom’s t-shirts as a nightgown and it was freaking adorable.  Reminded me of wearing my Grandma Marilyn’s old t-shirts to bed when I’d sleep at her house :)

grace nightgown

Andy’s foot totally photobombed this shot.  Lol

The next day we ate delicious breakfast burritos and lounged around.  Grace helped my mom plant some flowers and both girls played kickball with her in the afternoon while Andy and I watched from the balcony.

gardening

After another incredible dinner of stuffed burgers and sweet potato fries, we hit the road.

Both girls were asleep within minutes of being on the road, so we came home and played in the backyard for a while to tucker them out again before bed.

It was a nice weekend…the perfect mix of work, worship, play and rest.

The next night was another story.

I went to my last Tuesday night Bible study (BOO HOO!) and struggled with abdominal pain through the whole meeting.  I figured I was overfull having had to try a bowl of the Pioneer Woman’s tortilla soup before I left home and then having a full Chicken Shack dinner with the ladies at church.

When I got home things just went from bad to worse.  I camped out in the bathroom for a while, seeking relief.

None was to be had.

I nearly crawled upstairs to the living room couch where I tossed and turned in pain.  Andy checked my vitals and everything seemed ok, but my pain was approaching an 8 out of 10 and I started to really worry.

Had I not been pregnant, I’d likely chalk it up to gas or something and just go to bed, but the pain was so intense I just couldn’t ignore it.

I called my sister in tears asking if she’d come over to stay with the girls (it was almost 11pm!) and once she got here we jetted around the block to the hospital.

After sitting for TWO HOURS in the waiting room, we were called back and I saw a doctor.  He checked my vitals again and then ordered bloodwork and an ultrasound.

Another FIVE HOURS LATER we were on our way with the knowledge that the baby was fine, all my tests were normal and it was probably gas or round ligament pain.

I felt like a hypochondriac drama queen.  ALL THAT TIME for nothing.

All those copays FOR NOTHING.

I left in almost as much pain as I arrived in.

Only now I had no sleep under my belt and a full day with two active little ones ahead of me.

By the grace of God I made it.  And so did poor Andy who was up all night with me even though he had class the next day.

I got 12 hours of sleep that night and was feeling much better by yesterday.  Pain is down to a 1 or 2 now and knowing everything is OK, I’ve just decided to take it easy and move on.

Yesterday we got out of the house for a while to drop off a bunch of jewelry to the ladies who came to my Lia Sophia party  (My sister is a new consultant and she’s incredibly fun and knowledgeable!  Hit her up if you want to host a party and get a bunch of gorgeous jewelry at deep discounts :)

Our errand running landed us at my sister’s office (my old office) where we ate lunch and visited with everyone.  Avery and Uncle David shared this precious moment at his desk.

How cute??

avery

Other than all that, we’re pretty much outside whenever we can be…

pool

taking more baths than the whole winter combined…

bath time

still eating the cupcakes I made for my sister’s birthday and Lia Sophia party…

cupcake

and taking pictures of every hairdo I give Grace so she can see the back :)

pony tail

How have you all been?

I’ve missed you :)

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