Filed In: Food

Henry’s First Birthday

I know it’s cliché to say, but it does feel like I was pregnant with him just yesterday.

Henry was born on October 27, 2016 at 2:39 in the afternoon, four days after my estimated due date, and 37+ hours after my water had broken. People say labor hormones cause you to forget a lot of it, but I remember his birth so vividly. And despite the difficulties, and the complications I nearly died from, it was infinitely worth it. Feeling him breathing on my skin was a little slice of heaven on earth.

He has brought so much joy and laughter to my life and to our marriage. I feel incredibly thankful that God brought him into our family.

Henry devoured the red velvet cupcakes I made, but they weren’t my favorite and I’m not sure I’d make them again. (Plus the toxicity of food coloring freaks me out.)

I also made my favorite vegetarian lasagna and simple salad. Henry would eat sliced cherry tomatoes all day if I let him–so suffice it to say, he enjoyed the salad.

I intentionally keep gift giving really simple (for multiple reasons but mainly my sanity), but I did get Henry this adorable reindeer with glasses outfit from Gap (on sale + 40% off + I had a gift card = how I shop), these cute socks from Target, and a pretty book to begin practicing to count.

Henry loved all of the attention from family. He’s such a social little guy! I was telling Nathan the other day how much I enjoy Henry’s personality–his giggles, his earnests demands for more strawberries, the way he rests his head on my legs when he’s tired, his attempts to get strangers at Target to turn and smile at him, his “dance” moves, and his love of singing. (more…)

7 QT: Creativity, Vegan Chocolate Bread, $1 Alarm Clocks

I’m trying to do a better job at keeping the promises I make to myself, one of which was to blog more, so here’s me keeping my promises.

The best worst photo from before we left for a wedding yesterday. Henry gets his squinty eyes skills from moi.


How Motherhood Affects Creativity. This is a longer form article in The Atlantic, and it’s worth the entire read. There are so many nuanced tensions about creative work and mothering. I love how the neuroscience suggests that women’s minds become more creative after childbirth and I’ve seen that in my own life. I love what she said here: “We live in a culture in which you are taught that what you do is who you are. But identity is far more complex than that, and like creativity, it exists in a state of revision and flow. The competition between raising children and creative output is real. It may be impossible to balance in the ways society expects us to. But I don’t believe that parenting is the enemy of the work.”


Nathan traveled all last week. And I made it! And so did Henry! This deserves a point of its own.


Fall Clothes at H&M. There are so many pretty things. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I like this flounced magenta tunic. It’d be perfect for a newly postpartum mom because the ruffles are right over your tummy area. I love this black + floral print and the structured sleeves. And if you’re not nursing, I bet this wrap around blouse would be amazing. And these black embroidered mom jeans? Yes.


This Vegan GF Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I know September is no processed sugar month but I’m allowing this to count because…coconut sugar. (Excuses, I know, but I’ll take my excuses and eat them this time.) Plus cocoa has magnesium which I’m probably lacking. This bread is delicious. Like cake but better.


7 QT: Podcasts, Sleep, and Sugar

It’s strangely humid here in Minneapolis but the trees are also beginning to change, so I’m caught between something I love (fall trees) and something I don’t love (humidity). C’est la vie. To be honest, there are so many posts I’ve been working on but I feel stuck at a weird place with all of them, so for the sake of posting something, here I am. Many of the bloggers I follow do seven quick takes on Fridays. It’s mostly a Catholic blogger thing, but today I’m going to follow suit.

So, seven things right now:


I discovered a new podcast that I love: Typology. If you’re into the Enneagram, check it out. I read the book The Road Back to You this summer and had a book club discussion with some friends about it. Fascinating stuff.


I’ve been getting more sleep. Now that Henry usually sleeps through the night (as long as I dream feed him before I go to bed), I can actually get full night’s rest. I’ve been going to bed between 9:15-10:15pm and I finally feel rested when I get up with Henry around 6:00am. It’s made me such a happier person. Good sleep habits are as good as kale.


Bye, bye sugar. At least for a little while. I’m taking a break from most refined grains and processed sugar this month. This is nothing compared to the likes of Whole30, but I wanted to reset my habits and cutting out sugar has been helping. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel after breakfast, too. I used to start my day with cereal or granola, but since I’m taking a break from processed sugar, I’ve been having either:

a green smoothie (something like spinach, peaches, banana, chia seeds, sunflower seed butter, and almond milk)

a couple slices of whole grain toast with avocado and eggs on top

oatmeal with walnuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, almond milk, cinnamon, and maybe sliced banana

If I’m in a hurry, I usually have a piece of toast with natural peanut butter and some berries.


Morning walks. This hasn’t happened every day, but I’m trying to get in the rhythm of going for a short walk with Henry after breakfast. Even though we live in the city, I find it most natural to connect with God in nature. I like letting my thoughts lead to prayer while I walk. (more…)

My Guide to Iowa City

“I can’t believe how huge these spinach fields are,” my roommate from Chicago observed on our drive through Iowa.

“Spinach fields?” my other roommate, from Iowa, glanced back from the passengers seat and looked at her.

“Yeah, there’s so much spinach everywhere!” my Chicagoan roommate continued.

The two Iowans in the car erupted in laughter. She and I did not know why.

“It’s soybeans! Not spinach. Spinach doesn’t grow in fields like this!” they explained, breathless from laughing.

Soybeans are things most Iowans understand. And I love them for it. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of big cities (Minneapolis and Austin), my agricultural knowledge is limited to comments I’ve heard and a few facts from books. Many of the Iowans I met during college grew up on or near farms and learned about the land experientially and from relatives.

The beautiful mural outside of Dulcinea.


Iowa City holds a dear place in my life. I arrived there when I was eighteen and left when I was twenty-five. It was the place where I found my love of words. The place where I struggled to integrate my creative passions–poetry and dance especially–with my faith. The place where I poured into others yet rarely knew how to let someone pour into me. The place where I floundered to know myself. Yet it was also the place where God always found me and brought me back to Himself. It was a place where I grew to depend on the Lord more than any earthly thing. I am grateful God brought me to Iowa City. I am grateful for the ballet classes and the writing workshops. The years as a writing tutor, a poetry editor, and a person learning how to be a friend. I am grateful for the years God gave me to work at church and pour into other women as a mentor and counselor.

A couple weekends ago, we drove down to Iowa City since it had been three years since I’ve visited. It’s both strange and grounding to return to a place after so much change has happened in my life: I’m married, have a son, own a house, and enjoy a calling as a stay-at-home mom who tries to write when my baby sleeps. (more…)


Copied this template from The Fisk Files (I love Britt’s blog).

making: decisions about paint colors (we bought a house on Friday!). I’m usually fairly decisive but paint colors have me going to Home Depot again and again for more samples.

cooking: do roasted veggies count as cooking? Potatoes and carrots drizzled with olive oil, salt, fresh pepper, and dried herbs. Yum.

drinking: Decaf coffee on repeat. #nursing

reading: I was reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity but I’ve already renewed it three times from the library and had to return it today. I’ll finish it at some point, fingers crossed. It’s pretty woo woo but I love her premise that everyone is creative.

wanting: to be done moving! Boxes and a general sense of disorganization are my life right now.

looking: like I’ve lost a lot of hair. Postpartum hormones did me in and my hair is T to the hin. (more…)

Pumpkin Chili Soup


Pumpkin is just too great to eat it only in pies and sweet breads. Not only is it healthy for you, but it’s also easy to add to basic recipes like soup.

I adapted this recipe from this one. Adding cinnamon to a savory soup might seem strange, but I like how pumpkin and cinnamon pair together. Several years ago, when I was in China, I discovered that cinnamon is sometimes paired with meats. In fact, several Chinese friends told me how cinnamon was never put in sweet foods, only with meats.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) died tomatoes, undrained
  • 3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cubed avocado, optional