Spring + a short playlist

Albemarle County has just dipped into the CDC “medium risk” aka no masking required level which throughly excites me. As a long time mask hater, (but vax lover!) I am thrilled to think about returning to church without a mask. Church being pretty much the only place I was still required to wear one.

Tomorrow is supposed to be very cold and wet, a not-so-subtle reminder that we’re still in the season of winter, but the great number of warm days has been such a treat.

The fact that I found ranunculuses (my favorite flower) at my local Trader Joe’s tells me spring is well underway.


Today is mine and Robbie’s 5 year anniversary! We’re not doing anything big to celebrate – just dinner at Marigold – but while the celebration may be small, the love is big! Looking at these photos from our wedding 5 years ago is so so sweet, but knowing soon we’ll be a family of three is even sweeter!

Today has me looking way less formal than I did at our wedding 5 years ago. Much of today I’ve spent working, doing some chores, nesting (I ordered our stroller!), and reading a book: At Home by Bill Bryson.

the bump ❤️

Now, as promised a playlist!

I’ll be adding to this as I find songs that fit the mood. I’d love some new recommendations – please tell me what you’ve been listening to!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

Jen

Things making me happy

Just a list of fun things making me happy these days! I’m at week 32 of pregnancy and moral is low! Mood swings are V real and annoying. Sleep isn’t great. And nesting / getting the nursery ready feels like it’s moved from whimsical and fun to *panic*!

Thankfully my parents will be here next week! Plus our shower will be happening on the 18th so everything will come together soon, but for today I just need a list of everything making me happy!

1. My new Soda Stream!

2. Lots of quality time with friends

3. The blooming daffodils

4. My cats

5. Our 5th year anniversary is this Friday!

6. Blueland laundry tabs and oxi booster powder!

7. The book At Home from Bill Bryson

8. My new makeup haul from Honest Beauty

9. The Lenten devotional Bitter & Sweet by Tsh Oxenreider.

10. Warm days! ☀️

Xoxo

Jen

Alice Waters + Wal-mart

We currently find ourselves in the season of Lent, the 40 46 days leading up to Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrected Christ. Lent is typically associated with fasting, although almsgiving and prayer are longstanding Lenten traditions as well.

For myself this year I decided to give up processed foods and to try and put good thought in to where my foodstuffs originate. I was heavily inspired by Alice Waters and her cookbook The Art of Simple Food. In this book, on the back cover she has written out her food rules. I made a poster to hang in my kitchen as a reminder of them.

To celebrate my newfound passion for slow, local, organic foods I decided to throw a dinner party. Tonight I’ll be making Carla Lalli Music’s Fat Noodles with Pan-Roasted Mushrooms and Crushed Herb Sauce and Alice Water’s Almond Cake.

I set out making my pre-dinner plan on Thursday. I wrote out my usual notes: to-do’s, what I need to buy, time table for cooking, house-work chores to be done before people come over.

At the top of my to-do list was farmer’s market. This was key to having a true Alice Water’s dinner party experience.

So, this morning (Saturday morning) Robbie and I headed out to our local farmer’s market. I was so excited to support local farmers and to stick to my Lenten Goals. Only, it was a dud. Winter is obviously a tough time for produce, and I knew that going in. I had thought to shop seasonally but other than some great mushrooms we were sorely let down by the pickings at the market.

No matter, I would go to a local health food market I had heard friends talk about. This would help me buy organic, avoid Whole Foods (another goal of mine after reading this article), and – I thought – avoid plastic and shop locally. This was not the case. This store was very well stocked, but the prices were insane — for products that still had plastic containers and didn’t come from anywhere local.

We walked out empty handed and I dropped Robbie off. I was headed to Wal-mart.

Frustratingly they didn’t have quite everything I needed, but they did have almost everything.

Would I go back to Wal-mart for my future Lenten shopping?

No probably not – but I do find the whole situation hilarious, and slightly infuriating.

Robbie and I had a great talk later as I was expressing my annoyance. He reminded me that I can’t singlehandedly fight corporations or avoid all plastic, some of that falls on the manufacturers. But I can control what I put in my body.

In order of importance, what I put in my body trumps where that food comes from. A good reminder for when I am feeling like I have to stick to a strict ideology.

It’s also just a great reminder of the futility of Lenten Fasting; the goal is not perfection, only to point out my imperfection and need of a savior.

No one, not even Alice Waters, could ever attain true perfection. As much as I’d like to live my life like Saint Waters, at my base I am a Wal-mart shopper.

California Trip | February 2022

Back home after a wonderful trip to Southern California. It took me a couple days to share any more photos or updates because 1) I was tired and jet lagged and 2) I wanted to post on my new WordPress Blog!

I wanted to move away from Micro.blog because, as simple and easy as it is, (and I still recommend it for folks,) I decided I’d rather have even less “social” interaction online. I wanted a space that’s mine and mine alone.

So, my debut post on my new site will be a variety of photos showcasing the time we had in OC! Enjoy!

Coffee in San Clemente
Mural outside our motel, Casablanca Inn, San Clemente
Lunch at In-N-Out in Costa Mesa. This exact booth is where Robbie and I had our first date 5+ years ago!
I wish I could include the wonderful fragrance of the orange blossoms! Taken outside the Packing House in Anaheim.
Frozen Lemonade Slush at Modern Times, Anaheim
Mockingbird Magazines proudly on display at Bad Coffee, Costa Mesa
Also, a book of sermons from my Pastor Paul Walker

Loved the baby poster. I look forward to taking baby Etta out with us to breweries in the future!
Last night in town. Drinks with friends at Green Cheek, Costa Mesa

South Orange County | Memory Lane

We spent Wednesday driving around South OC exploring our old neighborhood. We saw the school I used to work at, we had coffee with a friend, drove past our old apartment & [@robertsapunarich](https://micro.blog/robertsapunarich)’s childhood home, lunch at our favorite place – Board and Brew, bought some Trader Joe’s brand liquor to bring back with us, drove through Trabuco Canyon, and walked Lake RSM. Then, an evening by the fire with friends. Catching up has been so nice! We all remarked on how natural it felt to chat after years apart. Sometimes it’s nice to skip the “so… tell me, what have you been up to for the past two years?” and just skip to the familiar companionship of being old friends. It’s been cold and wet here, but in the afternoon it was so clear we could see all the way to Catalina Island.

Thankful for some wonderful meals with friends the past couple of days. I’m excited to leave bright and early tomorrow for a combo Texas + California trip but in my heart I’m already looking forward to being back home in Charlottesville ❤️

Started Simplicity Parenting this morning and, after getting about 15 pages in, I can already say I think I’m going to be very moved by it! | “Every stage in a family’s evolution can benefit from a little more space and grace, a little less speed and clutter.”

Approaching Romans 1 & 2 with boldness! I find it so hard to approach this text with all the baggage I bring to any scripture regarding judgement. Reminding myself that “…for Paul grace creates faith and faith creates obedience.” -Scot McKnight