Clean Eats | Raw Pad Thai

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We’ve still been eating pretty clean/whole foods only in our house. It’s more just our way of life now a days. Which is what I wanted anyway. I really don’t love fad diets, I’m much more a supporter of healthy food choices that last a life time. I was watching a food documentary the other day and the guy said something along the lines of “instead of thinking ‘I can’t have it’, we should be thinking ‘I can have it, but I don’t want it.'” It’s so simple but so true. I feel like when we try to diet, it’s so hard to stick with the mentality of deprivation. We get stuck on all the things we can’t have. That sucks and it will never last. Becoming more informed about my food choices and what each food I eat is doing to my body, has made it so much easier and rewarding to make healthy choices. I can see things like processed food and think “I can eat that if I want, but really I don’t want to”. Knowledge is power! School House Rock really knew what they were talking about. It’s been fun actually to find recipes to make sweets and bake goods that use better, whole ingredients. I made a chocolate pudding the other night from Sidesaddle Kitchen and oh man, it was good.

My other go to lady is Angela from Oh She Glows. If you are looking for a killer cookbook. HER’S.IS.IT!! Her blog is just as amazing. Her Rad Rainbow Raw Pad Thai is one of my favorites. I am telling you it is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I decided I had to share with you guys. I’ve had a julienne peeler for a few years now and have never known what it was. My mom had given it to me in my stocking and I thought it was just a crappy peeler because it never worked when I tried to use it on say, an apple. hahahaha. Doh! Then one day it clicked.

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Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini, julienned or spiraled
2 large carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Ingredients for dressing:
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup raw almond butter (or try peanut butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons water
2.5 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Directions:
1. Cut up all vegetables. Add the zucchini, carrots, pepper, and cabbage into large bowl. Toss to combine.
2. Prepare the dressing. I just add all ingredients to a tupperware. Cover with a lid and shake. You could always use a food processor. Dressing does thicken as it sits.
3. Top bowls with non-gmo edamame, green onion, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds. Pour on dressing and enjoy! Hemp seeds are my jam. I love them so much.

*Recipe from Oh She Glows

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And We Wait…

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Our foster care class ended the day before we left for FL. All our visits were done, fingerprints taken and the piles of paperwork finished. We flew out the next day and I was emotionally ready. Ready to start the foster care journey as soon as we got back. It all felt like the right timing. Class end, family time happened and we came back refreshed and ready for our placement. Well, here we are almost 5 weeks after we’ve gotten back from FL and no word yet from our case worker. I know families who adopt (especially internationally) wait such long times and I am in no way saying I have waited a long time because I haven’t. But. I am realizing rather quickly that nothing in this process really goes according to your plans. It’s a system that needs families to rise up and help. Yet is so understaffed and busy trying to find homes for the children that need to be placed right now, they can’t find the time to finish certifying the new families. It feels like we are in this weird limbo stage. When we were in our weekly class it felt real, like we were working towards something. Now we just sit, and wait, and wonder when that phone call will come. I have to actively be in prayer over all of it because the waiting let’s the fear creep in. The questions build up with all the what ifs that could happen. So many scenarios, so many children, so many opportunities to help these families. But it can feel scary and overwhelming to me at night when I am alone with my thoughts. I know with out a doubt this is what we are supposed to be doing, but this stage of unknowns is very hard. If you can remember back to my Hillsong post last year. I wrote how going to that concert really changed a lot for me. And since than, the Zion cd has been one of my favorites. Especially the acoustic version! I’ve heard a lot of worship songs in my life and have really been moved by many of them but honestly, I can not even begin to express the power the song Oceans has on me. It literally makes me weep. The words. Oh the words. They just run deep into my soul. My most favorite lines are…

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

I feel like I am living this song right now and it’s scary and wonderful and oh so beautiful. But oh man, it’s a leap of faith.

Our dear sweet friends had their adoption finalization court date last thursday. It was just the sweetest day to celebrate. We were honored to be in the court room with them as their son was declared theirs forever. Sitting there in the back row listening to the judge, it was hard not to picture ourselves down the line. Of course with foster care we want the families to succeed first so it is different. However, if that isn’t the case, I know one day we will find ourselves in that same situation. My heart was filled with so much emotion watching Danielle and Caleb love on Abram that day. We will love each and every child that comes into our lives like they will be with us forever, but I know I have to keep praying and trusting that if/when a child goes home that it really is the best for them. It will be an honor for me to be their mama for however long they are with us.

Untitled^^ at the court house

Untitled^^ The kiddos celebrating at lunch (minus Story)

* Side note: Rowan still trying to understand all of it asks “are we going to take care of their baby?” every time one of our friends give birth (and there actually has been a few births lately). Every time I have to explain that no, it’s not this baby but it will be another baby hopefully very soon.

Our Everyday Style

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Are you guys into the whole cropped top thing happening right now? I held off because honestly, I was annoyed at the whole trend. Call me old but all I saw were teen girls wearing them with low cut shorts and I kept wanting to scream “that is not how you are suppose to wear that!”. However, I did end up grabbing a few cheap cropped tanks at Forever 21 and I have to say, I kind of really love them. I’ve been in love with pairing them with a high waisted pencil skirts, jeans or shorts. My rule of thumb is there should be little to no skin showing. I am all for a little skin. Just not a whole belly. I think the key is to have the right proportions with everything else you are wearing. Here are a few pins I liked using a cropped top… 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Also, no one can quite rock a crop top like Julie can!

annnd… my sister left a comment below with a good point!

OK. Enough about cropped tops. Let’s move on to Rowan and Finley. These 2 are giving me a run for my money lately, yet have me laughing to no end all at the same time. They are becoming just the sweetest of friends. No one can make Finley laugh quite like Rowan can. Kev and I were doing some yard work on Sunday while the 2 of them were on the trampoline together and it was hysterical laughing from the both of them for like 30 mins. Finley can be such a bully sometimes though and Rowan with her sweet little heart won’t fight back. The laughter eventually seems to end with some hair pulling and tears but the laughing, oh the laughing. It makes my heart 10x bigger.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

JEN:
Tank: Forever 21
Denim Pencil Skirt: Old Navy
Birkenstocks: Nordstorm
Necklace: Jenloveskev Etsy

ROWAN:
Top: Target
Overalls: c/o GUESS Kids (on sale!)

FINLEY:
Romper: c/o GUESS Kids (on sale!)
Moccasins: Freshly Picked

p.s. Omgosh. Rowan is soooo into posing in front of the camera with that remote. hahahaha!

Summer Essentials

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I’ve seen quite a few “Summer Essential” type posts with favorites listed out of sunscreens, sun hats, snacks, bathing suit picks, etc… and I do love those posts. I do. Who doesn’t love a good round up? But you know what our summer essentials are? Water and fun field trips. That’s what summer is all about for us. Pools, splash pads, lakes, sprinklers, you name it, we want to use it or swim in it. Add a zoo, hike or ice cream (always ice cream!) and we can call it a perfect summer day.

What are your favorite things to do in the summer?

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Finley’s bonnet is from Urban Baby Bonnets and tally mark onesie is from Little Hip Squeaks.

A Simple, Intentional Life.

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I’m not quite sure how to start this post. There have been so many thoughts running through my mind lately. Plans for our future. Goals for our family. Reasons why I blog. I’ve just been feeling unsettled. I keep coming back to this idea of a “simple life” but I am not quite sure what that is yet. I know I feel most at peace when I am away from my phone, this computer, enjoying life with my family. We sat the other night in the darkness of the Adirondacks, in front of the warmth and crackle of a fire. We were hand in hand talking about our day hiking and being all together as one and I thought, “how do I take this home with me?” I don’t want to leave this moment. It felt simple. It felt real. It felt like what I have been longing for. I don’t think the answer though is to sell everything, swear off technology and move to the woods. It sounds appealing but a little unrealistic for us. So how DO you find this simpleness right where you’re at? I don’t have the answer yet, but I do have some thoughts on how I hope to work towards that. I’ve been pulling away a bit from social media. I see the fun in it, I do, but at this stage in life I just don’t need the distraction. I’ve cleared out my Feedly account as well. Left only who is uplifting, inspiring and who I truly love. And really, this is where the internet can shine in my opinion. I love reading blogs with heart, worth and something to say. 2 blog posts that have really hit home for me lately (and were oh-so timely) were by my dear friends Monica and Lesley. Ooooh those posts were meant for me to read. I love those ladies so much.

I’ve also been reading Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider and I really love what she has to say so far.

“Living slower requires living with intention. And to live with intention means to make little daily choices that resonate deeply in our souls-that make sense deep in our being and ring true.”

Even the forward is good (of course, hello Ann Voskamp):
“Simplicity is never a matter of circumstances; simplicity is always a matter of focus…To realize that the real hidden cost of everything you buy- is how much life it cost you to get it. That life is not an emergency but a gift to slow down and savor. That it glorifies God to spend your extraordinary life paying attention enough to the moments you enjoy God. That the moments all matter. The daily decisions add up to the sum of your life. And a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.”

Word. Doesn’t that just stop you in your tracks?

I want to live with intention and I don’t want to waste moments. I don’t want to be jealous of what others have or achieved. I don’t want to multitask my way to the top while pushing everything else that matters to the side. I want to be present in the tiny moments with my husband and children. Now granted, I know that we all need to work to make money. We can’t escape that fact but I think there are ways to live simple, work hard and be successful too (although success may be different than what the world sees as successful). Kev has worked so hard over the years for our family, but he has also worked real hard at letting work just be work. When he is home, he is physically and mentally here with us. He loves what he does but he loves us more. A job is not what defines you. And for me, I’ve always had very big dreams for this blog. It’s taken me since Rowan was born to realize my job as being a stay at home Mom is much more important than my goals for this blog/business. Letting go of that internal struggle is very freeing.

Tonight I got to swing on a swing (one of my most favorite things) by myself for like 15 mins while Kev and the girls played on the playground. I didn’t check my phone, I wasn’t counting down the minutes till we had to leave for the next thing, I was just there. Swinging in the setting sun, watching the girls laugh as Kev chased them. The breeze felt warm and I prayed that God would help us find our way. That He would lead us into more of these simple moments and that I would appreciate them. Because I think that is a key piece to all of this. I think we need to be grateful for the things we already have, the places we already are and the moments we already live out. I think we need to start with thankfulness. I also prayed that God would help keep my focus on Him. Jesus is what truly matters at the end of the day anyway, focusing on him will always lead your path straight.

So. I don’t really have an ending to this post. It was more like a stream of conscience of what I’ve been thinking about/working on lately. The girls are going to have a sleepover with their grandparents this weekend and Kev and I have big plans of cleaning out/simplifying the house. Garage sale here we come! To end this all- Here are a few pictures of a day this past weekend where I had that same “at peace” feeling. Being on top of a mountain can really clear your mind and put a lot of things in perspective. Whiteface mountain you were good to us!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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