emma noelle: five months


It’s so hard to believe that our Emma is five months old already! I know it sounds clichĂ©, but babies just grow up so fast. 

//the details//


we’re weighing in at 17.5 lbs and measuring about 26 inches long. so basically she wears 9 month sized clothes and has rolls for days. chubby babies are the best. (although she’s heavy… this mama needs to start lifting weights!)


she loves smiling and is a world-class drooler. our favorite toys right now are Sophie, the Very Hungry Caterpillar (similar), and the Oball rattle


current gear fav is our Tula baby carrier. it’s so comfortable and cute!


her favorite time of day is somewhere around 5:45 pm, a.k.a. the moment Dad walks through the door. she lights up like the fourth of July as soon as she sees him! it’s so fun to watch.


she loves bedtime stories (currently the Jesus Storybook Bible and The Going to Bed Book are in frequent rotation), rolling over, and laughing, but recently hates nighttime car rides. (any tips, veteran moms?)


nicknames include chubs, chubster, chubby bubby, and emster.

Cookbook Review: Whole Grain Mornings

For a long time, my recipe discovery was largely dependent on Google. Craving chicken fried steak? Find a blog with a recipe! Search Pinterest boards! Check Bon Appetit or the Kitchn! But in an interesting turn of events, I’ve come full circle and begun cooking out of paper (well, sometimes Kindle edition) cookbooks again. Of course, many of these cookbooks are written by food bloggers whose blogs I’ve come to love, so it’s all totally meta in the best sort of way.

With that in mind, I’m planning to review some of my new favorite cookbooks and share them with you. First up: Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon. 

whole-grain mornings


Even in the Kindle app, the layout and design are lovely. I do love a cookbook that looks as good as its recipes taste. It’s organized by seasons, a feature I appreciate as someone who attempts to cook mostly local, seasonal food. Sub-level organization breaks recipes down into Busy Weekdays, Slow Sundays, Brunch, and Spreads and Toppings, making it easy to guesstimate how much time and effort is involved in each recipe. As one might expect, recipes are based on whole grains. The book goes beyond the standard whole wheat and oats to include Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Bulgur, and a few other not-so-common grains.

Recipes I’ve Made:

    • Whole-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes, p. 37
    • Make-Your-Own Signature Granola, p. 34
    • Strawberry Rhubarb Quick Jam, p. 71
    • The Very Best Oatmeal, p. 30

The Whole-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes are quite delicious. In fact, there’s half a jar of the mix in my cabinet right now. They go perfectly with Megan’s Strawberry Rhubarb Quick Jam. Making jam is one of my kitchen loves, but often I don’t have the time or the patience for the canning process. Small batch freezer jams for the win! The addition of rhubarb gives the strawberry jam just a little something extra.

Meg’s Make-Your-Own Granola recipe is one I’ve made several times, always with good results. I love being able to mix and match different fruit/nut/seed combinations. So far, hit combos have been blueberry-almond-macadamia, apricot-pistachio, and hazelnut-cacao-fig. My husband loves that the granola is almost savory and not too sweet. I sent a jar with him to work on a particularly hectic morning, expecting at least half of it to come back. Let’s just say I never saw it again! 

I had the Very Best Oatmeal for breakfast just the other day, and it was a lovely change from my usual microwave-for-two-minutes bowl. It’s not a recipe I would make every day, because it uses two pans and takes a little more time than my microwaved version, but I’ll keep it in mind for days when I have a little more time and want something different.

Whole Grain Mornings is full of delicious, hearty breakfast and brunch recipes. I highly recommend it! I’m looking forward to the days when I’ll be able to eat gluten and dairy with abandon again so I can try the Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffins and the Honeyed Ricotta.

things we love: newborn edition

We’re long past the newborn days, seeing that our sweet E is almost five months old now (WHAT? HOW?), but I thought I might share some of our favorite things from that stage. I spent hours agonizing over our registry- reading reviews, comparing products- and in the end it’s true that all your baby really only needs warm clothes, diapers, a safe place to sleep, something to eat, and YOU. That said, there are a whole lot of things out there that make your life easier in some fashion or another. These were our favorites!

newborn essentials

1. Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottle – We’re breastfeeding successfully now, but because of Emma’s time in the NICU the beginning of that relationship was rocky. I pumped and bottlefed for a few weeks. We still use these occasionally, but not as much as we anticipated since I ended up not going back to work. I love the fun colors and the fact that they’re made of glass.

2. Honest Company Diapers – We cloth diaper most of the time, but when she was first born our one-size cloth diapers were too big. Plus during the newborn stage there are a LOT of diapers, am I right? I love the cute patterns on the Honest Company diapers and the fact that they’re eco-friendly and chlorine-free. 

3. Happy Baby Wrap Organic Bamboo Baby Carrier – A lot of people swear by the Moby wrap for infants, but it was just too much fabric for me, especially with a summer baby. The Happy Wrap is made of stretchy, breathable bamboo and comes in great colors and adorable patterns. We loved it!

4. aden + anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket – These are stretchy, breathable, and huge- perfect for swaddling. Also perfect for covering a sleeping baby’s carseat, acting as an emergency changing pad or spitup rag… so many possibilities! 

5. Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator – I much prefer using this over the traditional bulb syringe. I would love to say that Emma prefers it too, but honestly booger-sucking time may be one of her least favorite activities!

6. WubbaNub Giraffe – Opinions on pacifier use are definitely widespread, but E started using one in NICU and really loved it for the first few months. The weight of the WubbaNub helped keep the paci in place so that when she spit it out it didn’t go flying across the room. A lifesaver for a tired mama in a dark bedroom!



This is our sweet baby girl Emma Noelle.


She made a rather dramatic entry into the world that included 60+ hours of labor and 6 days in the NICU. While I honestly could have done without all that, it’s her story and she is strong and brave and beautiful and I can’t wait to tell her all about it someday.

family 5:14
The first few weeks were somewhere in between a haze and a blur of eating, sleeping, snuggling, staring at her beautiful face, and listening to her baby squeaks and grunts. And occasional screams- we didn’t realize just how much those screams would echo thanks to the wood floors and tall ceiling in our old living room!

Emma is almost five months old now and we are having the time of our lives! It’s not all fun and games, of course, but we’re thoroughly enjoying this phase of her life.

When we told our friends that Emma was on her way, one of them said, “It [having a baby] will change your life forever- in all the best ways.” Such true words! We can’t imagine life without her- and we wouldn’t want to.

life update

So, um, a lot has happened since I last wrote here.

We moved to a beautiful townhome. seven weeks later, we had a baby.

Five weeks later, we moved (again) to a cute little house in Charlotte, NC.
It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least! we are settling into (another) new house and it’s slowly becoming home. We’re completely in love with our sweet baby girl (more on her later!), and we’re having fun exploring a new city.

I’ve been feeling the need for a creative outlet recently so I’m poking my head out of the sand and flexing my writing muscles again. More to come. 🙂

March Goals

march-typeSo I know February is the shortest month and all, but didn’t this February just fly by? I can hardly believe it’s March already! I’d like to start a new series of posts involving monthly goals. January, as usual, provided plenty of ideas and inspirations from all kinds of goal-setters that I know and I set some annual and monthly goals for myself. Now that it’s March, I’d like to share some of them here and perhaps even keep you updated on my progress. Because I know that’s thrilling for you.
Here are some of my March goals:

Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom is pretty amazing and she’s written a couple of books that I highly recommend. One Bite at a Time is a super-helpful breakdown of 52 different projects to simplify your life. I went through the book at the beginning of this year and designated months for each specific goal, usually putting similar goals in the same month so I can focus on one big area each month. March goals are all about cleaning so, uh, I’m definitely excited about that. *wince* But it’s timely, because we’re anticipating a move in late April so it’s about time to clean up and purge before packing anyhow. And, you know, spring cleaning is a thing, right??
Here are my One Bite at a Time goals for this month:

  • Clean as you go 
  • Clean your kitchen as you cook
  • Make your kitchen paperless
  • Switch to non-toxic cleaners

Do you set regular goals for yourself? What are some of your current goals? I’d love to hear about them!

Weekend Links


Source: etsy.com via Audrey on Pinterest


Happy weekend, everybody!! Here’s a little collection of the best things I found on the interwebz this week.

Double Spinach Pasta Casserole with Pesto and Asiago Cheese. We had this for dinner last night and, suffice it to say, I’m a big fan. Fortunately there are some leftovers in the fridge so I’ll be able to completely relive the experience.

Eggs Benedict con Queso. Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite brunch foods. And with queso on top? Get in my belly! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

An Infographic to Help You Cook Almost Any Grain. Such a handy chart! When I try to cook grains, I always have to frantically google on my phone for the correct proportions and times… I’m gonna print this and pop it on the fridge with the rest of the handy kitchen info.

Creating Simplified + Organized Personal Reference Files. This post is awesome, and it’s just what needs to happen to my personal files. I mean, they’re preeeeetty organized, but they’re not like this.

The Most Offensive Verse in the Bible. “We have only two options. We can discover the true value assigned by the Creator and revealed in His Word, the Bible; or we can rebel against that meaning.”

The History of Music in One Draw. Um, this is pretty awesome. I realize that not everyone in the world is as much of a music nerd as I am, but if you’ve got even a little bit of music-loving inside you, you’ll appreciate at least some portion of this video.

What are your weekend plans? We’re doing a little house-hunting and hanging out with some friends- a perfect relaxing weekend!


As I was getting ready for a little Instagram recap of February, I checked out my feed and realized that I’ve kinda been slacking in the Instagram department. As in, I only posted four pictures during the entire month. FOUR. Of course, February is the shortest month, but that’s not really any kind of excuse, is it?? So anyway, it’s a new month and I’ll definitely be taking more pics in March! That said, here’s a little recap of our February:


I made a disastrous but delicious batch of caramel corn. It really did taste delicious, but i was chipping caramel concrete off the side of that bowl for what felt like days. Fortunately, I’ve got a new recipe to try out next time I’m ready to tackle the caramel corn monster. I’ll let you know how it goes.


James and I spent a week in Houston hanging out with my little brother while my parents were on a ski trip. Truthfully, we just went for the food. (Okay, that wasn’t truthful. But it’s always a fabulous fringe benefit!) I may been to Berryhill for fish tacos on more than one occasion.


I also made a few trips to Central Market, aka my favorite grocery store in the entire universe. And these grapefruits? Out of this world. You can’t get grapefruit like this anywhere else in the world. We may have brought home two extra suitcases to accomodate the 5 pounds of grapefruit, a few Meyer lemons and large quantities of Ikea frames that I bought while we were there.


Look, a Valentine’s Day instagram! Now that James is spending his afternoons dissertating, I take advantage of pretty much every opportunity for a quick coffee date. And on February 14,  vanilla spice lattes were buy one get one free! But Starbucks was so crowded that I ended up waiting almost 30 minutes for those two drinks. Yikes!

So that was our February in pictures- can you believe it’s March already?

Weekend Links


I’m excited to try this crockpot steel-cut oats recipe! I’ve made a few other recipes in the past,  but none of them have been quite what I’m looking for. Perhaps this one will be?

We had this Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo for dinner last week and it was fabulous.

Source: paulferney.bigcartel.com via Audrey on Pinterest

I love the beautiful Cake giclee prints in Paul Ferney’s shop! Wouldn’t these be fun in a kitchen or office?

Source: etsy.com via Audrey on Pinterest


Crave, one of my favorite local shops, just released these adorable ceramic magnets. They come in sets of three, in your choice of some great colors. And they’re available on Etsy if you’re not local!

Ann Voskamp speaks beautifully of Gospel and grace and Jesus in her post When You Need the Very Best Valentine.

What’s in store for your weekend? We’re headed out for a special post-Valentine’s day dinner tonight and just working around the house until then. There’s a half-painted dresser sitting in the middle of the kitchen that I’m hoping to get a little closer to finished- painting always seems to take a little longer than I anticipate! At least I have plenty of episode of Alias on Netflix to watch while I sand and paint. 🙂

Shop Update {New Printables for Valentine’s Day!}

Happy Monday, everyone! We had a great time in Houston but are glad to be home. I did a monstrous grocery run this morning because our fridge was quite bare. After I finish the rest of the laundry, I think we’ll be back to normal again!









We have some new Valentine’s Day printables over at James & Audrey Jo Design. I’m excited to incorporate these into a little holiday decor this week. My favorite is definitely the “You Belong with Me” print.

Do you have big Valentine’s Day decor plans? I love putting up a few simple things- something about the red+pink+hearts combo makes me smile!