Wednesday Catch Up

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

...but it's actually our Thursday today! Yep, we're those jerks who took off an extra day on a holiday weekend. Memorial Day just happens to fall right after B's birthday this year so we decided to take Friday off together before heading up to the mountains with family. I have some fun things planned for him, and I can't wait to give him his big gift, but for now it's locked away in the spare room.

In other news (this is really an excuse for a photo dump and random ramblings btw), Ivy's been a trooper on my runs and I think I found the reason she's been pooping out so early on me - pavement! It's tearing up her poor paws. I found some longer paths that have grass alongside them and she's been keeping up better with me and even pulled me pretty hard on one of them. It's definitely one way to work on faster mileage. I've also been seeing this stuff a lot recently but it's hard to justify the price and I'm pretty sure she'd lick it all off anyway.

Although we've been focusing on outside projects, we did manage to finish making over our Craigslist dining set to something more our style. All the furniture we have is rustic/dark so this blonde oak stood out like a sore thumb. I love it now :)

And our first dinner at the table was (vegetarian) eggs Benedict. I haven't mastered the art of the poached egg yet so I lightly fried the eggs and put them over toasted ciabatta with some high-grade Swiss and homemade hollandaise sauce. And of course, roasted asparagus. I've been thinking about doing a weekly series on vegetarian eats (more for my own catalog than anything else) because I feel like I whip up  these awesome dinners and then forget to make them again down the road. Anyone else do that?

And with that, we're one day closer to the long weekend! Happy Wednesday...Thursday ;)

Friday Favorites: Al Fresco

Friday, May 8, 2015

I always forget how nice that lingering afternoon sun is until it's finally here. It forces me to put away my to do list and focus on just relaxing outside and soaking up the quiet. Some pictures while we waited for B to get home from work . . .

forever my shadow
Sunday rest spot

And here are two of our four gardens below. I plan to get everything else planted this weekend and then I want to do a full post on what we plan to dry, can and freeze this season. I'm surprised at my green thumb but so happy for a hobby that both keeps me outside and active and feeds my family healthy food! Now if Ben would just let me get some farm animals (for pets ;))...
red & white onions
two types of tomatoes and four herbs
from bottom left, clockwise: basil. cilantro, rosemary and oregano
Dinner was oven roasted sweet potato wedges, grilled asparagus and portobello sandwiches. 

Topped with sauteed onions, rhubarb BBQ sauce and goat cheese, so good! 

Hope you all get a chance to enjoy the sunshine and warmth this weekend with the ones you love!

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, May 7, 2015

For me, the start of each gardening season is marked by bags and bags of fresh rhubarb dropped into our breezeway from our amazing neighbors, Lee & Nancy. Last year, I frantically tried to use it up making pies and crumbles and even bringing it into work to dole out, but I was still left with more than I could handle.

To be better prepared this year, I did some research on ways to use it up (that aren't all desserts) and I stumbled upon some pretty amazing barbecue sauce recipes. Driving home from work and smelling everyone grilling up a storm has me craving my favorite BBQ bean sandwiches which I can't wait to make using this homemade sauce. This recipe makes about 3 cups which can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks, if it lasts that long...

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
by Heather Kulp
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (3 cups)
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 T stone ground mustard
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Boil the rhubarb and onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Immediately drain and then blend until smooth
Add puree into large saucepan with all other ingredients, stirring until blended. Season to taste and then add back to blender and pulse until smooth.
Use immediately or let cool and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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TTC Resources & Recommendations

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's talk baby making! Or "TTC" - trying to conceive, for those of you in the baby forums. When we first decided to start trying, it's like my body heard me speak the words aloud and it went absolutely haywire. I won't get into the nitty gritty details, but it resulted in a lot of frustrated tears, tons of research and eventually - understanding and peace with the process. Since I'm not one to sit idly by waiting for something to happen, I thought I'd share some things I'm doing in the meantime to help things along and to also spread some knowledge for anyone reading who is thinking about TTC!

Prenatal Vitamins

I started taking Nature Made prenatals initially, but they made me really burpy and queasy for hours after taking them, even with food and water in my stomach. I would be sitting at my desk just staring at the wall concentrating on not throwing up while my coworkers were talking to me . . . not fun. Considering my mom was sick as a dog with all three of her pregnancies, I figure I'll have plenty of time to to deal with that down the road. I spoke to my expecting friends and they all recommended Rainbow Light Prenatal One. Although they're a little bigger in pill size, I love that they're completely vegan and they don't make me sick at all. I highly recommend them!


Along the same vein - what I'm eating/drinking. I'm still eating a plant-based diet with seafood thrown in about once/week. I have no idea moving forward if I'll need to/want to start eating meat again but I'm just going to listen to my body and as always, consult with my doctor to make sure I'm getting everything I need. Right now, I feel great eating this way. My blood sugar feels stable, I've lost a little weight and my stamina is way up.

I'm trying to cut back on coffee because I know once I am pregnant I can only have 200 mg or 2 small cups/day but since I'm an all or nothing person, I have a feeling I'd rather have none at all than such a small amount. What can I say -- the java runs through my veins! As for alcohol, I'm avoiding drinking during my fertile window and after (when I could get pregnant). Honestly, I don't miss it when I know there could be a little nugget in there to protect ;)

Reading Resources

This book was recommended to me by a friend who had been trying for a while (and is now pregnant, wahoo!). I can't say enough good things about it -- from the science behind the FAM method to the reassurance it gave me in regards to trusting your body's cues, I love it!

Tracking & Ovulation Predictor Kits 

After my pre-conception appointment, my doctor ordered blood tests (everything came back normal, thank goodness) and told me to track everything for 3 months, including using an ovulation predictor kit. I went with the ClearBlue Digital. Like a pregnancy test, you pee on the stick and it reads your hormone levels, indicating whether you're ovulating (smiley face) or not (circle). I do this daily along with tracking my basal body temperature, which also rises right before I'm ovulating. It's become part of my morning routine and it's actually kind of fun to watch the pattern....nerd alert.

Holistic Aids

Although I'm all for modern medicine, I'm also a little (?) psychotic about what goes in my body. If there's a more holistic and natural approach to something, you can bet I'm all over it. And thankfully, my friends share the same sentiment so a lot of the following are suggestions from them.

Maca root is known to help balance hormones and increase fertility and stamina. Although I enjoyed the taste of it and it definitely gave me a boost of energy, it also caused cramping and spotting that made me stop taking it. I could see taking it after pregnancy to help regulate everything but for right now, I made the decision to stop taking it.

A slightly less invasive hormone regulator -- Progessence Plus (you guys know I love my aromatherapy). A while back when I was going off all my medicine, I used Valor as an aid to help with my anxiety. It worked wonders and I attribute it to helping me be med-free today. PP has a nice scent, but it's hard to tell if it's helping with anything yet. Either way, I'm using it daily and enjoying it, if only for the pleasant scent!

I debated sharing any of this, but I think it will be fun to look back on down the road and honestly, if it helps anyone who is thinking about or actively TTC then it's done it's job.  With that being said, this is probably going to be one of the last TTC-related topics I write about until some good news comes along and we're ready to share. Right now we're just enjoying the flow of life and knowing that when it happens, it will be right when it is supposed to!

This month

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Every year I enter the month of May with a tight feeling in my stomach. It's like a ticking time bomb all month until that day hits and I have to face the grief all over again. No matter what they say, it doesn't get easier, and the memories definitely do not fade. 

I think perspective is really what changes. We keep moving forward as memories and events stay the same. After my dad passed so unexpectedly I had an irrational fear of losing my mom. Homesickness would overtake me at strange moments, nightmares trumped my dreams and my fear of being alone followed me everywhere. It wasn't until I entered my 20s and I finally faced the grief that I had hid my whole childhood, that I was truly able to come to peace with the past and face the thing I feared the most: being left alone.  

This is my favorite passage from Astrid and Veronika. When I initially read it, it sort of knocked the wind out of me because it felt like the words were being spoken directly to me. I know it's morbid to think "we're born alone, we die alone", but once you accept that this life and this time we have on earth is really very short, it puts things into perspective. For me, it has made me hyper aware of what's really important and it provides me with the grace to let sad things pass and to push on towards positivity and emotional growth. 

Where I'm at now seems like a completely different life than 5, 10, 15 years ago. I think that's my main take away from both this passage and the life events that led me here. Life can change in a minute and enjoying where you're at right now is more important than anything. Right now is so sweet for us. I feel like I'm on the outside looking in and this perspective I've gained is worth more than gold to me. 


Monday, May 4, 2015

Saturday morning we spent a good two hours hiking around Lake Nockamixon where we decided that yes, we think we'd like to sell all of our possessions, buy an RV and travel all over, living off the land. Who's with us?

 Ivy is our fisherman.

Friday Favorites

Friday, May 1, 2015

the sun being out long enough for early evening strolls with my man and our pup

my lunch break buddy 

who sleeps like a sheep


sweet potato, black bean & shrimp bowls #gimme

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!