Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Gouveia Fave

Just thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes - it's delicious and healthy, AND all of the veggies in it are in season and can be bought at the farmer's market!! It's pretty easy and there are many ways that you can tweak it to how you want to eat it. Here it is:

Southwest Chicken Stir-Fry

1 1 to 1 1/2 oz envelope fajita seasoning mix

1/2 c water

2T cooking oil

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium yellow or green sweet pepper, cut into squares

1 small zucchini, sliced

½ small onion, cut in wedges

¾ c salsa

1 t chili powder

½ c frozen corn

½ c canned black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine fajita mix, water, and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Add chicken to marinade; stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Preheat a large wok (I use a regular old frying pan) coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add peppers, zucchini, and onion; cook 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Set aside.

Drain chicken, discard marinade. Add chicken to wok. Cook and stir 4-5 min, until no longer pink.

Return veggies to wok. Stir together salsa with chili powder. Add salsa mix, corn, and beans to wok. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes.

I like to serve this on brown rice with a bit of sour cream and cheese. You could also wrap it in a tortilla!!

Now, delight your family and friends with your culinary prowess.

For Maggie Soon-to-Be Davis

Mags!! Your wedding is four weeks away already!! Treasure these last few weeks in your parents' home, as you look forward to making your own with Matt. I remember when you were born, your little belly and HUGE blue eyes, and the first words I heard you say - "UH-oh, Jordy." I could spend all afternoon blogging my memories, but that's not the point of this post right now!! Remember my Trash the Dress session? I know you probably spent big bucks on that dress. It's probably dazzlingly beautiful. You dream of floating down the aisle to your betrothed.

But don't forget to trash it. Dare I say, it's way more fun than worrying if your makeup is perfect, your hair still's just fun. You'll never wear it again, and either you can stuff it in plastic, and let it suffocate for years, lonely and miserable, in a closet or under your bed...or you can trash it.

For those of you who have never heard of Trash the Dress, may I introduce you to the most way fun thing to do with a wedding dress EVER. Find a photog. Stuff yourself back in your dress. Do your makeup like crazy if you want. Let your hair do whatever it does. And go to the beach...immerse yourself in the water. Climb a tree. Jump off a dock. Roll in the sand. Because WHO CARES? Your vows are spoken, the cake is eaten, the party has been had...and now you can get some amazing shots that'll make your kids say someday, ", you are SO COOL."

Anyway, Maggie, as the last four weeks close in, even the most cool-as-a-cucumber bride gets a little freaked out about the details. So here's a reminder of some after-the-wedding fun that you can look forward to!

I did my trash the dress session with a friend and amazing local photographer, Amy Johnson. I was a primary nurse for Amy's twin daughters, Stella and Mya, in the NICU a few years ago. Amy did the session for me for free, as an "artistic license" afternoon. Everyone else who was supposed to participate chickened out and opted to keep their pristine dresses stuffed in the plastic drycleaner's bag. Not me, man. These were actually taken on our first anniversary! Matt was standing in the background with the dog. He didn't want to trash HIS dress. ;)

The following courtesy of Amy Johnson Photography

I have several more, but these are just a few of the highlights. Amy chose the locations (the old gas station, behind some buildings downtown Grand Haven, and Grand Haven State Park). Yes, I fully submerged in Lake Michigan in my dress!!! Yes, the water was fairly warm...and yes, I'm glad it was unusually calm. A wet dress + a current makes for quite a lack of control in your movements!

Gasp as you may that I took my gorgeous dress and sat on a greasy gas station parking lot, backed up to rusty gates, filled it with wet sand, and swam in it...after drying it on the porch overnight, shaking off the sand, and tucking it back in the plastic (*sigh*), it's still good as new and wear-ready! It's been stuffed in a box in the basement since we moved into the house. After so many friends' basements flooded last week, the first thing I retrieved from OURS to ensure its safety was my dear dress. And get the heck out of this...

...a year and a half post-trashing, and it's still as beautiful as the day I floated down the aisle to my betrothed!!

I'm thinking of you and praying for you, Mags, as your day approaches. Just don't forget to trash that dress!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Our house is dry and our basement is not flooded!! We spent the better part of the night bucketing out our friends' basement (it re-flooded almost as soon as we got it under control). Spent the night at another couple's house because A) the guys wanted to stay available to help again, and B) our Alero was no match for the flooded streets. Thank God that everyone stayed safe!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We didn't realize we were so far out on the water when we were walking on the frozen beach!! What a difference a few months and a good thaw will make!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sorrow and Celebration

I know I just wrapped up a post two minutes ago (see below!), but my mind/heart have been chewing on this...

Is anyone else just so dismayed at the news of the Air France plane that disappeared? I don't know why...perhaps because we just flew a couple of weeks ago...but my heart is so broken for the people who were on that plane and for the families who are missing them.

Sometimes it just seems like, will this stop? Will the hurting and tears just STOP?

So many cups are overflowing with sorrow. Right in my little world, I hardly have enough fingers and toes to count the number of people I know whose own lives seem to be going down in flames.

...the wife who is trying to hold her marriage together, work three jobs, and raise her daughters.

...the mom who is in a despicable custody battle.

...the nurse who lost her daughter suddenly.

...the other nurse who lost HER daughter suddenly...during her own wedding reception...and the newly-minted husband who went from celebrating with his bride to making end-of-life decisions for her.

...the nurse who has a mysterious illness that the doctors cannot diagnose.

...the widow who feels like she is drowning in debts her husband left behind.

These are just the ones that came to mind right away. Again, will it stop? How long...?

Jesus assured us that we would have troubles in this life. He never promised us a life free from fact, it is in this pain that His glory is made magnificent. I don't believe the saying, "God never gives us more than we can handle." (No, that's not in the Bible!) He DOES give us more than we can handle...because He wants us to hand it to HIM to handle. Our burden is His. He's not sitting on the edge of His throne wondering what will happen with your health, with your marriage, with your sister, with your finances. He's sovereign, He is in control, and He is more than enough.

He eases the burdened, comforts the grieving, and takes up the cause of the oppressed.

I'm working through a workbook on spiritual disciplines that Renee gave me. The topic I'm chewing on right now is the discipline (yes, discipline!) of celebration. Be encouraged with the wisdom the author offers regarding celebrating in the midst of sorrow:

The world is filled with reasons to be downcast. But deeper than sorrow thrums the unbroken pulse of God's joy, a joy that will yet have its eternal day. To set our hearts on this joy reminds us that we can choose how we respond to any particular moment. We can search for God in all circumstances, or not. We can seek the pulse of hope and celebration because it is God's reality. Heaven is celebrating...Every small experience of Jesus with us is a taste of the joy that is to come. We are not alone - and that in itself is reason to celebrate.

Yes, there will come a day when the sorrow will end, and every tear will be wiped from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). There IS hope in all of our sorrow.

The Update

I'll post something provoking and insightful soon (when the writer bug bites!), but for now, may I interest you in an update of the riveting Gouveia lifestyle??

#1 My birthday...

I feel like when I turned 30, it was more like 20-ten. NOW, though, I'm in my thirties. Kind of creeps me out, kind of makes me feel cool. I don't think I look "in" my thirties. I sure don't act like it. Nor do I think I dress thirties-ish. So I guess I'm cool with being in my thirties after all.

There was no official party, soiree, or anything of the like, but I did have some tidbits of fun here and there. First, my sweet friend Mary made my fave - fruit pizza - for our Bible study group the night before my birthday.

My mom met me for lunch in Muskegon on my birthday, and then Matt met me at the Apple store in GR to get me an iPod! We went to the Piper (favorite restaurant) the next night for dinner. Great birfday overall. (In case you haven't caught on, "birfday" is a family term. I'm not that bad of a speller!)

#2 Memorial Day weekend

Whilst my family laughed and ate and enjoyed each others' company at the the Farm (family cottage), I was entrusted with the task of saving the world one baby at a time - Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Well, holiday weekends are typically slow on the Birth Center, so I saved (fed) one baby in the Special Care Nursery all weekend. While it was NOT the height of excitement, it WAS nice to be downstaffed (as in, dude, we don't need you) for the full 12 hours on Sunday, so we were able to enjoy a cookout at Jan and Mary's house.

I just have to say that Mary is SO good to us. She sets SUCH an example of hospitality, is an amazing cook, and supplies my husband with the best leftovers he's ever gonna get. ALL of the husbands drool like Pavlov's dogs when Wednesday night Bible study rolls around, because they KNOW a goody bag is coming home for them!!! hahahahahaha!

#3 The Fence

Enough said. We fenced the backyard (mind you, not along the side down the driveway between us and the neighbors, if you read that post), and it really is sweet to be able to toss Molly out there and let her patrol the day away (from the dirt bowl she dug immediately next to the house). Additionally, the garage is re-sided. It's a nice touch. I threw a fistful of wildflower seeds down on a patch next to the garage, am going to erect the fabulous center-post clothesline we got from CA Mommy for our birfdays (it just arrived today, Sarah!!), and am mediating the battle between the squirrels and the birds for feeder rights. Those squirrels are like mosquitoes with big, fluffy tails...just awful.

#4 My trying-to-be-green thumb

Someone did some great landscaping work in the front yard well before we bought the house. Unfortunately, it was full of ivy (darn English and their ivy - no offense, man), which we promptly ripped out. I tried planting a few thingies last summer without success. So I did some advice-hunting, got some good pointers from an old friend who is probably the most talented decorater/gardener I know (reading her blog is like curling up with a cup of tea in a peaceful garden - I highly recommend it!), and got to work.

This is the "Before" picture. A few little annuals in the planter box. The area of interest is this area to the right of the steps. The area to the left I'll shape up a bit, but there's a beautiful peony blooming there, and a nice row of daylilies, so it's not as ugly.

I went to a perennial greenhouse and had the dude help me pick some plants that would do okay in my little area. I felt like a complete idiot and the dude helping me wasn't really assuaging my feelings of idiocy, but I guess his job is to sell me perennials, not ameliorate my feelings of gardening inadequacy. Anyway, per my friend's helpful advice (my actual friend, I'm not sarcastically referring to the perennial dude as my friend), I prepped my soil.

And then I plopped my plants in. The plants in the back are supposed to grow to close to 5x5 apiece. I have no idea the names of any of these plants, which I am ashamed to admit, but you must refer to the above paragraph. I bought and ran. Will research the specifics later. All I know is that these plants, the dude assured me, should do well in the environment I have (part sun/shade, good mix of clay and sand, etc etc). I heard that if you talk to your plants, they do better. So as I was putting them in their holes, I talked to them...begging them not to die and make me look like a fool. (You think I'm joking!)

I completed my project by filling it in with some cypress mulch. I even tucked a rain gauge in there. It's been a week and they're still alive, so I must be doing something right so far!!!

#5 Surprise visit with Ginger and Ron!

This past Saturday we got a call from my aunt Ginger and uncle Ron, who were in GR for my cousin Haley's volleyball tournament. It just so happened that we were both off AND had no plans, so they came over to see our house and took us out to dinner!!! LOVE surprise visits, especially with family!!

#6 Church picnic

I'm not gonna lie: I love a church picnic. We had our picnic this past Sunday (it was BYO-Everything, which made me laugh) at Tunnel Park, by Lake Michigan. Good times. The last church picnic we went to was in Tucson, and it was a LOT hotter at that one.

Some good pics of the Lake...

I think that about wraps it up for now! This weekend my friend Renee and I were planning on road-tripping to Door County, WI for a good kick-back time of hiking, kayaking, and whatever else. But THEN, Renee broke her ankle. Badly. So scrap that plan!!! I'll head to Chicago to see her anyway, but our hiking shoes and kayaks will be replaced with a couple of Little Rascals toot-tooting thru the city (again, you think I'm joking)!

Happy June!! Enjoy the summer because it's gonna go FAAAST!!!!