Noah Aaron Edwards

I found this great book that we decided to write the name in and open as a gift at Christmas for family to find out.

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Noah is a name that we both had in our Top 3 list, and it grew on each of us more and more. We love the great story of Noah, the fact that it’s easy to spell, everyone knows the name, but it’s still unique and not strange. Aaron is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name and also a good Biblical name.

In other news, we have 10 weeks or so left?!?! When did this happen? Preparations are underway (maybe we should get together a nursery), and time is flying!

Pumpkin Bread – two ways


There is nothing like pumpkin bread to bring in the fall weather. Eat it right out of the oven when it’s hot, but it’s also just as good throughout the week toasted with some butter for breakfast or a snack. I’ve got two ways you can make it:  a traditional pumpkin bread recipe from my mom, and a slightly modified version that I’ve been tweaking for a while. It’s got some whole what flour mixed with cake flour, coconut oil and unrefined cane sugar (it would also probably be amazing with real maple syrup instead of sugar … I’ll have to try that one next!). The cake flour really lightens up the bread, making it more airy and “fluffy”. The whole wheat flour makes me feel a bit healthier, along with the coconut oil (which I believe has tremendous health benefits) and adds a nice flavor. Enjoy!
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Pumpkin Bread –  modified recipe
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream: 
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3/4 c. coconut oil (unrefined, virgin) – it’s solid at room temp., but heat it up just a bit to pour, measure and to cream.

Add:  2/3 c. water or orange juice
2 c. pumpkin – use canned real pumpkin, not the canned pumpkin pie mix, or better yet: fresh pumpkin if you have it!

Sift in:  3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. cake flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
Mix and pour into buttered loaf pans. Bake on 350, for 30 min. – 1 hour. This makes seven small loaves like in the photo above, or you can do a combination of big and small loaf pans. Baking time will vary based on what size you use, but you know it’s ready when the tops are browning and crisp, and a toothpick pulls out clean from the center of the loaf.

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Pumpkin Bread –  original recipe

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream:   2 1/2 c. sugar (original recipe actually calls for 3 c. sugar. Modify to your taste.)
4 eggs
3/4 c. safflower oil

Add:   2/3 c. water or orange juice
2 c. pumpkin – use canned real pumpkin, not the canned pumpkin pie mix, or better yet: fresh pumpkin if you have it!

Sift in:   3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
Mix and pour into buttered loaf pans. Bake on 350, for 30 min. – 1 hour. This makes seven small loaves like in the photo above, or you can do a combination of big and small loaf pans. Baking time will vary based on what size you use, but you know it’s ready when the tops are browning and crisp, and a toothpick pulls out clean from the center of the loaf.

Halfway there

That feels crazy to think and type out… halfway there … at the midpoint … 20 weeks (give or take) until we meet our sweet/rambunctious/busy boy. I already know he’ll be sweet, and I am pretty sure he’s rambunctious and very busy by the way he’s kicking away and moving nonstop. I started feeling little kicks at 17 weeks and really started feeling them consistently at 19 weeks- that’s when Jared could feel and see them then too. We had our 20-week detailed ultrasound last Thursday, and got some great pics of this little guy. Despite him moving, flipping and turning like a wild man, the technician lady commented on how he likes to pose for photos. Not sure what that means, but she was impressed! We counted five fingers and five toes on each hand and foot, four chambers in the heart, heard a nice strong heartbeat and just got an overall sense of peace that everything is in God’s hands. Now we just have to pick a name…

Before & After: front of home

May 2009: closing day

April 2011

We bought our first home in May 2009 after one year of marriage and have been fixing it up ever since. To say it was a “fixer upper” may be an understatement- depending on who you talk to. For us, it was a fun project that we could undertake together. We were so fortunate to have heard about this home through Jared’s mom who knew the daughter (a Baylor bear!) of the lady who was thinking about selling. The house was never officially listed. It was in a location that we assumed we would not be able to afford, it only had one bathroom and it needed some TLC. We definitely had our doubts. We didn’t love the house the first time we looked at it, but we were able to see potential past the cosmetic upgrades. After looking at a lot of homes that winter and spring, it really became obvious that this was the perfect first home for us. We were also fortunate enough to have my dad as our realtor who did not let us pay him, and we qualified for the first-time homebuyer’s $8,000 credit — the one you don’t have to repay! Literally, the government sent us a check in the mail one day, which I still cannot believe! That credit is what we used to make all of the initial upgrades before we moved in. We got the home for a great price considering what other homes in this neighborhood sell for. We had a little less than a month and a half from the day we closed (May 12) to the day we moved in (June 28) to make it “live-able”. We couldn’t have done it in that quick of a time period without Jared’s sub-contractor skills and without the help of our wonderful family who we definitely put to work. Jared coordinated all of the people we hired, and their timelines were down to the day. We did a lot ourselves like paint, peel wallpaper, remove tile, remove the styrofoam tile ceilings (yes, this could be another blog post!), take down wall paneling, remove bushes, remove window bars, and a lot more. We hired out the tape and float of cracks, drywall, texture, tiling, back door installation, raising of the dining room floor with wood floor installation, all the electrical work and the wood floor refinishing. Whew. I’ll post more before and after photos in the future. I can’t imagine us living anywhere else, and truthfully, a big part of me never wants to move again, even though we’ll outgrow the house eventually.

Baby Edwards is a …

BOY!!!!

We are beyond excited for this sweet baby boy coming in March 2013. I’ve had a feeling/hunch I would be a “mom of boys”, so this goes along with my theory. We went into the appointment on Friday and were told that the gender appointment was actually not then, but set for two and a half weeks from then. We were definitely a bit disappointed… a little bit of confusion/miscommunication between the office and us. I was going with it (after all, I am a “rules follower”), but Jared was not leaving there without knowing the gender. So, he worked his negotiation and sales skills, and the doctor was very sweet to say, “Well, let’s just take a look today.” It didn’t take any time at all after looking at the screen for her to say, “Oh, I know what it is!”.  I really have a hard time figuring out what parts I am looking at on these sonogram screens, but Jared saw a little something right after the doctor said that. “Is that … what I think it is…?”  And, yes, it was VERY clearly a boy. We’ve got the pictures to prove it.

First blog post

Creative title, isn’t it? After many years of reading friends’ blogs, it is time for me to start my own. It took expecting a baby to motivate me (along with friends’ encouragement), so here I am. Of course, I couldn’t start a blog without a good name. As I was reading one morning, I was led to Psalm 81:1 … “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.” This blog is my little outlet in living a joyful life aloud. It will follow our growing family and my journey in being a wife, mom, wannabe chef, photographer and gardener. Hopefully, friends and family will enjoy these bits and pieces of our life together and feel a little more connected. If anything, we’ll have a way to look back on these precious moments. I’ve never been good at keeping a consistent journal, so I do appreciate your encouragement!