Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Easiest Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great healthy alternative for spaghetti noodles, but on top of that, it tastes really good. Since they are such thick skinned squash, cutting into them and preparing them to be cooked can be challenging. This is hands down the easiest way to cook them and you just need a crock pot.

1. Wash and place the whole squash in a crock pot.
2. Add 1-2 cups of water.
3. Cook on low for about 5 hours.

4. Remove from crock pot (I grab it with paper towels because it is hot) and slice in half the long way.
5. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and then use a fork to create the "spaghetti" noodles.

6. Place "noodles" on a plated paper towel to get rid of excess water.
7. Serve with pasta sauce & enjoy.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Weeks along: 13
Biggest Craving This Week: Doritos and Sparkling water - who knew I would ever love the stuff? My fridge is packed with La Croix
Morning sickness: Still in the morning but I can function through it so I'm getting out of this phase.
Other Symptoms: Headaches, tired, tightness and slight cramping at night, pretty emotional.
Currently Reading: All The Light We Cannot See
Exercise: Still jogging a little and going to my weekly kickboxing class (just pacing myself there).
Clothes: Just bought a super cute pair of maternity pants at Ross for $17 (HOLLA!) and I LOVE them. Comfort > Pride this pregnancy.
New This Week: We cleaned out the play room and moved all of Isaiah's stuff in there. I nest early. He loves his new room and his old room is currently housing the baby toys and awaiting its remodel in March/April.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Oh Baby!

That's right. We're having another baby! We are thrilled to become a family of 5 sometime around July 31st. We found out Thanksgiving weekend and I've been flying on autopilot since. (That is the only way we are surviving. Pregnancy is not my friend, y'all.)

Though I will say so far this pregnancy has gone better than I expected. But to be honest, I've been expecting the worst. Most people say their third pregnancy was the hardest, because, hello, there are two little people running around while you grow a human being. That on top of not being a good pregnant person, I was prepared to strug-gle for the next 9 months.

Sweet Baby at 10 weeks
(I've never had an ultrasound at this point in pregnancy and could not believe how much the baby was moving around - incredible!)

So far though, the kids have been very gracious when I tell them I'm not feeling well and I've even snuck in a few cat naps here and there. Maybe it's because I know I'll get through it, maybe it's because my kids are older this time around, maybe it's because I've been a parent longer than the previous pregnancies, maybe it's because Darren and I have been married longer, or maybe it's because we were prepared for catastrophic pregnancy, but it all just works better. When I'm getting tired and grumpy at the end of the day, Darren simply says, "Why don't you go take a bath or something?" Which is like, THE best thing you can say to grumpy, pregnant lady.

Pregnancy still isn't my favorite. I find myself praying: Dear Lord Jesus, help me get through these next few days, weeks, months. I mean, bless the baby and this family and help the baby grow healthy and all that, but Lord, please, hurry this process along. Make it quick and painless like ripping off a bandaid. OK, thank you, Lord. Amen.

And prayer works, y'all, because each week I find myself shocked that another week has already passed and I'm getting that much farther along and feeling that much better. Hallelujah!

Weeks along: 12
Cravings: Change all the time. Turkey sandwiches with pickles, wheat thins, nuts, sweet potatoes, French fries, burgers, steak, salmon, rice, Gatorade, sparkling water. Nothing sweet, lots of protein.
Morning sickness: YES! For the love, it is the worst. I definitely haven't been as bad as when I was pregnant with Maci and definitely worse than with Isaiah. Right now though, it's only in the morning until I get toast in my belly (and yes, it must be toast with butter and jam...and orange juice).
Other Symptoms: Headaches, slight cramping, acne, bloody noses, and tired.
Currently Reading: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
Exercise: Still jogging a little and going to my weekly kickboxing class (just pacing myself there).
Clothes: I love sweats and leggings. I cannot comfortably button my jeans and am about to go on the hunt for some fabulous maternity pants.
Kids: They are both pretty obsessed with the baby and my little bump. They are fully aware that mommy has a baby in her belly and ask each day how big the baby is. (Confession: when I break wind I blame it on the baby and the kids totally believe me. It's awesome and hilarious.)
Heartbeat: 164 bpm at our ultrasound two weeks ago.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where is God in this?

One of the questions people ask often after something bad happens is: Where is God in this? Why would God allow this? Why did God do this to me?

Sometimes my answer is a simple, honest one. "I don't know. I don't know what He was thinking. I don't get His plan. I'll just have to ask Him one day." The more I think about it and try to look for the logic and meaning in disasters and tragedies, the more I realize how quickly I forget this world is not my home. This world is a fallen world, made up of broken people with the freewill to do and say what they want. It's a broken world full of disease and pain and death. And until we fully realize the life we have in Jesus and Jesus only, will we understand how to cling to the promise that one day, there will be no more crying or mourning or death. That He will wipe every tear from our eyes [Revelation 21:4].

God promises us many things in this life and one of His promises is trouble [John 16:33]. Trouble with our children, trouble with our spouses, trouble with our jobs, trouble with our society, trouble with our health. Trouble on the streets and trouble inside our families. No one is exempt from hurt and trials and pain. Those things come with the territory of being a human.

In James 1, he talks about how we should delight in our suffering. I know, how obnoxious. I know when I'm angry or sad or frustrated or feel wronged, I don't delight in it and I don't want to. But the delight He's talking about isn't the cupcake with buttercream frosting kind of delight. It's the delight that brings us peace, hope, and, [for me, at least], sanity.

When bad things happen, many believers tend to say the well-meaning phrase, “It was God’s will.” While I absolutely believe in God’s will – He is the beginning and the end – we are all very capable of making choices and sometimes those choices lead to bad things happening. That is not God’s will. On the other hand, we have to go back to remembering this is a fallen world and we are broken people. Not everything is God’s will, sometimes it is just the bi-product of being a part of fallen world.

This past summer I had a miscarriage. After it happened, a friend of mine came over to talk it out with me and let our kids play. She said something that struck me: maybe one day when I get to heaven God will say, “You know what? That wasn’t my will for you. I grieved with you when that happened.”

God tells us to mourn with those who mourn [Romans 12:15] so I have no doubt He does grieve with us (even when it’s His will and even when it’s not). Maybe there was something wrong with the baby during that pregnancy that would have been harder had the pregnancy progressed. Maybe God said, no, I have something better in mind for you. Maybe He used this to draw me into Him, maybe He used this to test my trust in Him. Or maybe, just maybe, we are broken and fallen and God was sad with me when this happened.

While reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, she talked about bringing our struggles out in the open and into the light. In the dark, our fears and hurts and struggles can fester, take root, and grow deeper and taller, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and overcome. This is true on so many levels.
It’s also true that when we are struggling or hurting it's best to bring it to safe people. You know, the kind of people that won't feed it and fertilize it, but will pull you out of whatever sorrow or fear you're feeling. They will cry with you but they will also pray for you and carry you through it.

This is why I feel it wise to not air my dirty laundry at any and every given moment. For example, social media isn't anyone's whole life and most people know that. Some people choose to share everything - fights, stress, anger, politics, good times, bad times. Some people don't share anything at all. I mostly choose to share joy. Sometimes I'll share something funny or ridiculous but for the most part I choose joy. Even when I'm hurting or sad or stressed, if there is a moment of joy I can freeze and share, I'd rather do that.

Take for instance this picture.

The kids had been begging me to take them to see waterfalls all week so I had already planned on taking them to Tumwater Falls this day. They loved it. It was a simple trail with lots of dirt slides and rocks to climb. The kids had a lot of fun and I loved watching them have fun.

What you don't see is behind the camera. While this was a funny, joyful moment, I was also crying behind my sunglasses for most of this day because I found out I was miscarrying just the day before. I had a mix of joy for my babies growing into kids and having a great time and sadness from losing a pregnancy and not fully understanding why it was happening to me. I felt confused and sad and frustrated and joyful all at once.

So where was God that day? The truth is I still don’t know exactly where He was in the scheme of the whole thing. I don't know why it happened exactly and I don't understand God's exact purpose for my miscarriage. But what I do know He was there that day. I felt His presence in the days that lingered after. He was there when I put on a brave face each time someone asked me when we’re going to have another baby. He was there when I woke up in the middle of night surrendering my trust in God with whatever happened next. He was there giving me peace in my anger and hope in the midst of my doubt. Maybe one day when I see God face to face He will say, I had to do that because [blank] or maybe He will say I’m so sorry that happened to you, I grieved with you through the whole thing.

So when you’re in the midst of hardships and trials and the devastating parts of life, and you’re searching for God’s plan in this, remember God works for the good of those who love Him [Romans 8:28]. If you simply cannot see God in something happening to you and around you, remember how broken our world is and take heart, because Jesus has already overcome it [John 16:33].

Friday, January 8, 2016

Brown Sugar Salmon

I've had a bit of craving for salmon lately and this marinade I made for it this week made it taste even more delicious.

This marinade is good for about 4 salmon filets (breasts? I don't know the specifics, let's just say pieces).

3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Yoshidas teriyaki sauce (could probably use soy too, this stuff is just the best though)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. Garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste (I use about 1 tsp. Of each)

Let salmon marinate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, foil and grease baking sheet. Shake each individual piece of salmon off pretty good (the marinade that runs off the salmon will burn really badly. Your salmon will still taste fine, it just gets smokey).

Bake for 17-19 minutes and serve immediately with sage buttered rice. Or serve it cold on a salad. It's really good. Kid approved too. Holla!