Don’t Miss the Point

March 14, 2016


It’s no secret that Joe and I are a little bit like a 70-year-old couple. We like to go to bed at a decent hour, wake up early, watch the Nightly News after dinner and watch 60 Minutes on Sunday nights. I have no shame in my love for 60 Minutes – it always leaves me feeling a little more informed about current events and is a great conversation started for us as a couple since they frequently talk about topics that come with some degree of controversy.

Last night we watched a segment that talked about “Death with Dignity” (also called “Assisted Suicide”) for terminally-ill patients that have less than six months to live. I’m not interested in talking about the ethics of that particular topic since I’m not even sure how I feel about it personally, but it did get me thinking about death in a more general sense.

As Joe and I were laying in bed later that night, I told him that I’m deeply afraid of missing the point in this short bit of time we have on the earth. The point being that it’s not about me, but it’s about living a life that constantly points back to Jesus and our life in eternity. Thinking about death isn’t something I enjoy thinking or talking about, but I find that it’s necessary in order for me to keep life’s trials, tribulations and even successes in perspective. In a culture that is pushing, promoting, buying and marketing 24/7, I’m afraid that the true purpose of our time on earth can easily get lost in the noise.

“Be IN this world, but not OF it.”

What does that look like practically? How do you live life, make a living and pursue your passions while pointing it all back to Jesus? I’ve been mulling that over a lot lately with no great answers or resolution.

Below, I did a little “faith in the everyday” exercise to clarify WHY I do what I do, and HOW that can relate back to Jesus and my faith. If you’re struggling, like I am, with clarity of purpose in your everyday, I would strongly recommend doing the same. It was a good reminder of how I can relate the everyday back to what matters most.

Worldly Lens // I work in social media marketing for FLYJOY energy bars. My goal is to promote FLYJOY so they can sell more product.

God-Focused Lens // FLYJOY donates 10% of their sales to HOPE International to fund small-business loans in developing countries. Helping FLYJOY succeed also helps others who need assistance.

Worldly Lens // I do freelance recipe development for brands. My goal is to promote myself and my skills to make more money and get more jobs.

God-Focused Lens // God has gifted me with a passion for food and skills for recipe development. Using those skills is honoring to God. I can challenge myself to always be Christ-like in my business interactions and always hold myself to a standard of honesty and integrity they way Christ would.

Worldly Lens // I sell Beautycounter products. My goal is to sell more product to make more money.

God-Focused Lens // I believe in safer beauty products and using those products to help others live healthier, more fulfilling lives. I want to honor and cherish the body God has given me (and my family) by caring for it well. Not obsessively or excessively, but as well as I can within reason.

Worldly Lens // I blog and use social media. My goal is to gain more followers to grow my site and networks.

God-Focused Lens // My blog and social media can be a source of encouragement, so it’s my aim to use it as such. It’s my job to think carefully and be mindful of what I put on social media, making sure it’s something that is God-honoring, even if it’s about something trivial.

I’m not saying that I’ll perfect this mindset overnight, but I’m starting my week thinking about my work differently than before. Although some tasks may seem trivial or worldly or even unpleasant, even my attitude and how I approach those situations can be honoring to God.

Have a wonderful start to your week, friends!


Family, Food & Recipes

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date “Milkshake”

March 8, 2016

IMG_5086 (1)

As promised, I have another recipe to share with you in my “Easy Baby Eats” series. I’m hoping to make this a more regular part of Espresso and Cream, because feeding a baby is, well, a challenge sometimes. I’m trying my very best to feed Ainsley healthy foods and encourage good eating habits as she gets older, and at the same time it can be so frustrating when you spend a lot of time making a healthy meal only to have your kid want nothing but carbs.

Smoothies have been our friend for a while now. I eat a smoothie almost every day for lunch, and Ainsley has always had fun drinking my smoothie with me. I think it makes her feel so grown up! And I love smoothies because it’s an easy way to pack nutrition, fruits and even veggies into a single sippy cup!

This recipe certainly pushes the boundaries between meal and dessert, but since it’s sweetened naturally with bananas and dates, I feel like it’s a pretty acceptable treat from time to time. Added bonus? Adults will love this recipe, too!

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date "Milkshake"
Serves: 2 servings
  • Makes 2 kid-sized smoothies
  • 1 cup milk, almond milk or nut milk of choice
  • ½ of a medium banana, frozen
  • 1 medium pitted date
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in the blender and blend for 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until dates are completely broken up and mixture is smooth. Transfer to glasses or a sippy cup to serve.



Only the best for you, baby

March 3, 2016


If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you already know that I can’t stop talking about the new Beautycounter Baby line that launched this week. I’ve said this before, but when I was trying to get pregnant with Ainsley (and having some trouble) I became increasingly interested and aware of the impact skincare products can have on our health, hormones and more. It was around that time that I discovered Beautycounter and started using their skincare, and later their makeup, too.


When Ainsley was born I sort of assumed that Johnson & Johnson products were safe. I mean, they sort of just symbolized childhood and babyhood to me. How could something so familiar be unsafe for my baby? I like to think of myself as a wise and discerning consumer, but I really wasn’t in this area. Just this week Time posted an article about toxicity in the personal care products we use which was eye-opening to many.

So it’s safe to say that I care deeply about what I put on my skin (and consequently into my body) but I care even more about what goes onto Ainsley’s skin and body. To me, it’s so much more than a marketing ploy or an effort to drive sales, it’s about helping inform and enable moms to make safe choices for the littlest members of their families.

Although Beautycounter kids has been around for a while (it’s what I’ve been using on Ainsley the past few months) the baby line was highly anticipated. Now that I’ve had a chance to give the products a try myself, I can safely say that they are amazing. They’re unscented for baby’s delicate skin and made with many organic ingredients. Plus, I love knowing that Beautycounter has some of the highest quality and safety standards in the beauty industry, banning over 1,400 ingredients from all of their products. Plus, how pretty is the packaging? Finally a baby product that looks pretty in my bathroom! 😉

If you’re interested in placing an order for yourself, use any of the links provided. And as always, don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you want to talk about the products in greater detail. (



When Worry Wins

March 2, 2016


When Ainsley was born, the first thing that the doctor said was “She has such a beautiful little body!” And me? “Oh my gosh, Joe, she’s perfect!” was quickly followed by, “Are her ears funny?” We laugh about that now, but at the time it was anything but funny for a first-time momma. You see Ainsley was born with little skin tags on the outside of her ears; her ears were completely normal, except for these funny little tags on the outside, right in front of the ears. I would show you a picture, except I spent so much time obsessing about them and hiding them with headbands for the first eight weeks of her life that I don’t think I have any good photos on record.

Soon after noticing the skin tags, our doctor pointed out that she had a small gap in the corner of her lip where the top and bottom lip come together. It was hardly noticeable when she was itty bitty, but that tiny gap caused latch issues, bottle feeding issues and gassiness because of the extra air she would gulp while eating. The doctors didn’t really address either issue in the hospital, simply saying that we would need to see an ENT at some point to get the ear tags removed.

When Ainsley was four days old she landed herself in the NICU for a low temp that turned out to be nothing, but the great benefit of our stint at Children’s Hospital Minneapolis was the fact that we were seen immediately by the director of ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery. He diagnosed Ainsley on the spot, explaining that the ear tags and lip gap where related – that they went hand-in-hand with a non-genetic syndrome that’s very rare and caused by a disruption of blood flow to the baby during the early weeks of pregnancy.

He quickly assured us that this had no impact on intelligence and that it appeared she was minorly impacted. Still, we were sent through the “doctor gauntlet” to check the boxes, making sure there were no other issues we weren’t seeing. Her ear tags were removed and her lip gap was skillfully repaired in a 2-hour surgery when she was 8 weeks old. We had an ultrasound of her kidneys, we bypassed the heart ultrasound because she had an in-depth heart scan during pregnancy, we saw a pediatric eye doctor and the pediatric genetics team to run genetic testing. Ainsley had test after test; we held our breath through each and every one of them and prayed our baby girl would be healthy. All the tests we performed checked out just fine, and what was suspected all along: She is doing pretty darn well.

But you all? The worry doesn’t stop. We just recently went to visit with her new ENT in Sioux Falls, mainly to talk about tubes, which she is getting next week, but also to establish a new doctor to monitor her as she grows. Just talking about the what-ifs left me in a puddle of worry, fear and stress for the two days following. Last night I broke down to Joe, telling him that I had let the worry win and get the best of me – something that I hadn’t done in quite a while. I was reminded that we’re not 100% out of the woods, but are we ever as parents? Doesn’t a large degree of unknown always hang over our heads as we think about their development, the choices they’ll make and more?

Last night after Ainsley had her bed time bottle, I scooped her up in my arms and she let me rock her back and forth as I got ready to lay her down in her crib. I kissed her forehead and said, “God, she has always been yours. Thank you for giving us such a precious, happy life. Thank you for making us her earthly caretakers. Her life has always been yours and always will be. I turn it over to you.”

This won’t be the last time worry wins, I’m not naive enough to think that’s the case, but I know that the only chance I have to winning the battle over worry is to turn it over to God time and time again.

Dear God, I give you Ainsley. I surrender my illusion of control. Not my will, but your will be done.


Family, Food & Recipes

Ainsley’s First Birthday Party!

March 1, 2016


Last Thursday Ainsley turned one! And we celebrated all weekend long with a party on Saturday, family in from out of town and a baby dedication at church on Sunday. It was a busy weekend filled with truly special memories that I’ll carry with me forever. I thought I would be much sappier, but honestly I was just so excited to celebrate one wonderful year with Ainsley and the fact that we survived a whole year as parents!

Ainsley’s party was open house-style in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, so I kept the menu simple with a dessert buffet (aka: easy to prep in advance!) along with coffee, Champagne, orange juice and water with lime and mint. It was really a no-fuss party that made it easy for me to enjoy the event without stressing about keeping food at proper serving temperatures or lots of dirty dishes.

The theme was pink and gold, which I sort of just stumbled into since we had some decorations that worked well and it was easy to pull together. I didn’t want to go crazy with the decorations or do anything to kid-like, even for a one-year-old’s party.

Recipes and resources are at the bottom of the page!







One-Bowl Strawberry-Covered Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate-Covered Graham Crackers
Rainbow Chip Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
Fresh Strawberries
Chocolate Chip Cookies (made by my sister-in-law, Ali)
Orange Juice
Water with Mint + Lime Slices

Ainsley’s Dress // Gap Kids
Madison’s Dress // Anthropologie 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...