Thoughts on Thirty [part 3]: 30 Things That Bring Out My Inner Kid

ThoughtsOnThirty

Earlier this year, I started reflecting on the fact that I am turning 30 this year.

Thirty!!!!

I shared those thoughts here and here. Glenn’s birthday is 8 months before mine, so he had the pleasure of turning 30 first. Age has never been that big of a deal to me, and today it still isn’t, but of course there are things I hoped to have accomplished before 30… ahem. Ya know, like expanding our family.

Anyway.

My 30th is in just two short months and I’m not bothered in the least bit. Besides the obvious desire to grow our family, I am so happy with my life. I thought I’d make this post fun by sharing 30 things that bring out my inner kid and make me extremely happy. Enjoy!

1. Christmas

2. Bonfires

3. The Legend of Zelda

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4. Pancakes from scratch

5. Jelly beans

6. Roller coasters

7. Weezer (The Blue Album)

8. Pink toe nails

9. Carving pumpkins

10. Skittles with Sprite

11. Napoleon Dynamite

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12. Homemade lasagna

13. Puppies

14. Pandas

15. Dr. Mario (no one can beat me)

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16. Mary Jane flats

17. Homemade chocolate chip cookies

18. Daisies

19. The Princess Bride

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20. The Cracker Barrel store (giant checkers, anyone?)

21. Hot chocolate stirred with a candy cane

22. Fresh cherries

23. Tetris

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24. Converse shoes

25. Anything lime green

26. Jolly Ranchers

27. The Labyrinth

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28. String cheese

29. Outdoor concerts

30. Freaks and Geeks

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What makes you feel forever young?

Thoughts on Thirty [part 1]

Thoughts on Thirty [part 2]

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Making the Most of my Garden

PreppedProduce

To say we’ve had a good vegetable season is an understatement.

After how poorly last year went, I can honestly say we’re growing an abundance of tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, and I am loving it! We’ve had several kinds of homemade salsas and dips, plus I’ve been freezing a ton to use later. I recently spent a Sunday afternoon dicing zucchini and filling freezer bags, so we currently have 3 1/2 gallons of diced zucchini to use. Two bags are gallon-sized that will be perfect for soups, and the rest is in quart-sized bags so we have smaller portions for stir fry. As for the tomatoes, I processed 4 quarts of the sun sugar cherry tomatoes to use for salsas and sauces. All I’ll have to do is thaw and process whatever other veggies and herbs we want to add to them. I’m so excited that our garden is paying off so well this year. It’s safe to say we’ve easily had more than 100 lbs of zucchini. I took a good 30 lbs to work and we’ve been eating our fair share, plus freezing it… I’m very excited!

We have had some pretty massive Cherokee purple tomatoes, but sadly some kind of pest is getting to them before we get a chance to eat them. I’ve started picking them while they are still green to save them for us, and we’ve enjoyed a few of them in salsa and bruschetta, especially with the purple basil. Our lemon boy tomatoes are doing well, too, but I’ve been very surprised to find that one of the plants is actually producing Mister Stripey’s, which are my FAVORITE tomatoes next to regular lemon boys. They are striped yellow and red – gorgeous for salsas and perfect for sandwiches because they’re not too juicy. I love them and it has been a pleasant surprise to see some coming in because I was honestly bummed to see the Amish farm didn’t have any this year… at least labeled. ;) Looks like I might have snagged one accidentally!

Rainbow Tomatoes

So, I guess my biggest disappointment this year is the Hungarian hot wax peppers. They’re not bad… but they’re not spicy either. They’re supposed to be on the same level on the scoville scale as jalapenos, but only our jalapenos have been hot… and they’re coming in reeeally hot, which is nice. The hot wax peppers are turning red, yellow and orange like they’re supposed to… I wait until they get a little wrinkly just like I do with the jalapenos (did you know that? Jalapenos are supposed to be wrinkly and even have some red in them to be really ready to eat). I guess they’re not bad, but I don’t think I’ll do them gain, mainly because I was expecting one thing and got something totally different. Maybe they just need more time or it could be an issue with the soil they’re in. Peppers apparently prefer more abusive soil, in terms of rocks and such.

The veggie that took the absolute longest to come in was the bell peppers. I have red and orange ones, and they’re really small… I’m not really sure if they are supposed to be like those baby sweet ones you get at the grocery store in a big colorful bag, but they look like they might be. I may just have to dive in and try one to see how it tastes. They just don’t seem to get much bigger… they get to a certain point and just stop. My poblano peppers are tiny, too. I might be missing something here… or perhaps organic ones are supposed to be smaller? Anyone know?

That’s it for now. So far I am very pleased with my vegetable garden this year. I do wish I had started some fall squash, like butternut or acorn, but I have a feeling that by the time fall rolls around, I’ll be sick of gardening. ;) As it is, I have a feeling we’ll end up with fresh produce until October.

If you did a vegetable garden this year, what did you plant? How is it doing?

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Fertility Supplements on Amazon

FertilitySupplements

I have been taking fertility supplements since our canceled IUI in January. At first I was buying them from a local health store, but they were pretty expensive. I started looking around online and discovered that Amazon is a GREAT place to order supplements! Not only are they priced really well, but they offer free shipping when you spend $35 (which you probably will), or you can do a prime membership and get “free” two-day shipping anyway. They also have the option to sign up for shipment subscriptions, which is really convenient.

I currently take maca root, l-arginine and royal jelly, which I’ve written about many times. I take these to improve ovarian function (and hopefully ovulate) and to thicken/strengthen my uterine lining so it’s receptive to implantation. I also try to get red raspberry leaf tea in me during the follicular phase of my cycle to tone up my uterine lining, but recently found that I can take it in a pill format, which is sometimes more convenient. Here is what I’ve been buying:

Buying on Amazon has saved me a lot of money. Amazon makes it easy to get what I need at an affordable price. For me, it’s approximately two months worth of supplements for around $40, and considering that it’s four supplements I get for that price, I’d say that’s pretty good. Plus, I forgot to throw in that my husband also takes the maca with me, so we’re both covered with that one.

Here are some of my other posts if you want more info on why I chose these supplements:

Royal Jelly for Infertility: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Possible Ways to Thicken Your Uterine Lining and Improve Implantation

How to Thicken Your Uterine Lining – It Really Works!

More Natural Ways to Improve Your Uterine and Ovarian Health

Have you seen fertility supplements cheaper anywhere online?

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Tropical Fertility Smoothie: Kickoff the Two-Week-Wait

Tropical-Fertility-Smoothie

I’ve blogged about this before: Rumor has it pineapple aids in implantation because of the heavy concentration of bromelain within the core of the fruit. It’s said that bromelain makes your uterus more sticky and receptive to a fertilized embryo – that it increases cervical mucus, which can in turn promote implantation. There isn’t a ton of evidence to support this, but a lot of ladies in the infertility community swear it helped them, so it can’t hurt to try, right? After all, pineapple is good for you and is so delicious when fresh. The hard part is making yourself consume the core. Ick.

Late last year when I was going through infertility treatment, I was attempting to eat pineapple core from 1-5 DPO and it was horrible. You’re supposed to take one whole, fresh pineapple and cut it into five sections so you can consume it during the five days after ovulation – the meat AND the core. However, the core is so stringy and tough, I wanted to vomit just trying to shove it down. And I LOVE pineapple… but the core was just, ugh. No thank you. Some ladies don’t have any trouble with this, but I really struggled… big time.

So I decided to try something new, and while it’s said that you should try to consume only warm things after ovulation to keep your uterus warm, it’s 90 degrees in the south right now. I do coffee in the morning, but I am not about to eat warm pineapple. No thank you. I figured the only way to convince myself that I can eat pineapple core is to freeze it and put it in smoothies. It’s warm enough outside for my uterus, I don’t think a cold smoothie is hurting my chances any more than anything else. That said, here is the smoothie recipe. This is a single-serve recipe that I whip up in my new Ninja!

Ingredients

1/5 of a fresh peeled pineapple, meat and core (frozen), cut into small chunks

1/2 banana, peeled and sliced (frozen)

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or other milk of choice), plus extra as needed

1 T coconut oil

2 T shredded unsweetened coconut

1 small handful of baby spinach

Blend it up, add some extra ice if it’s not cold enough for your liking, and enjoy! The point of this fertility smoothie is to encourage your body to be receptive to implantation, so it’s best to enjoy this every day during the five days after ovulating. What a tasty way to kickoff the two-week-wait!

A few notes…

-When I first made this and prepared my pineapple, each section was just cut in half. BAD IDEA. It was so hard to blend up, ya’ll. This is what I recommend: when you slice the pineapple into five portions, cut up each portion into small chunks, especially the core. Store each cut-up section into a separate small ziplock baggie so it’s easy to grab and blend. This would also be a good time to add the sliced banana into the same baggie. Starter smoothie packs. ;)

-I use banana because one contains 25% of your daily value of vitamin B6, which apparently also increases cervical mucus to aid in implantation. B6 is tied with increasing fertility. Like pineapple, the increased chance of implantation is not 100% proven, but it can’t hurt to pair these together, right? (read more here) Plus, it’s a natural sweetener. I buy an entire bunch of bananas dedicated to smoothies, then go ahead and peel them all, break into smaller chunks and freeze.

-I personally use almond milk because it has some protein in it and doesn’t mess with hormones the way soy milk does. Plus, I’m personally sensitive to dairy so I limit it to cheese and yogurt, not milk. This would probably be really good with coconut water as well, I would just modify your other measurements to accommodate how watery it is.

-I add coconut oil because it promotes hormone balancing and supports adequate fat stores for pregnancy. This was something new to me in my research to create a smoothie recipe for hopeful implantation (read more here).

-The unsweetened coconut is optional, but I really like the texture added to the smoothie. I don’t really add it for any other specific reason.

-Baby spinach is highly recommended in any fertility diet! It’s loaded with iron, which is good for the blood, and as we all know, we need good, happy blood pumping to the uterus for implantation.

-Because I struggled so much with the frozen core due to my own absent mindedness, I blended the pineapple and almond milk first before adding anything else. I also found I’d end up needing extra almond milk because this would blend too thick. Play with the measurements, starting small and work your way up to the smoothie consistency you prefer.

That’s it, friends! I really enjoy this smoothie and I hope you do, too. Please let me know if you try it and if you have any suggestions for modifications. There are so many options out there, this is just one way to sneak in that pesky pineapple core. ;)

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Zucchini Recipe Roundup

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed that my two zucchini plants are producing like crazy now.

GiantZucchini_2

If I turn my back, they seem to “gogo gadget” two-foot-long zucchini like it’s a cake walk. They snuck up on me during VBS week after I neglected them for three days. My instinct told me that I needed to go check on them mid-week… so out with a flashlight I went, late into the night, very exhausted. To my surprise, there were five massive zucchini, ranging from 18-22″ in length. Whoops. I gave the biggest one to a co-worker of Glenn’s, which apparently everyone thought was hilarious and amazing because it was that big. It’s not pictured above, but if you go to my Instagram, you’ll see it… it’s the almost the entire length of my stovetop. I decided that I needed to think fast for the others, because I wanted to maximize use of our harvest and not waste it. We went on a zucchini mission and made zucchini bread to eat (and some to freeze), chopped a bunch to freeze for later using in soups when it gets chilly again, grilled zucchini “steaks”, and took some camping for campfire zucchini pizzas. Whew! In an effort to not get sick of all of this zucchini, I’ve been looking for a few new recipes to enjoy and I wanted to share them with you all in a little zucchini recipe roundup! In previous years, I always just sauteed or roasted it with a little olive oil and served with sea salt and cracked pepper for dinner. I would also just slice it raw and dip into hummus for a lunchtime snack, or make zucchini bread (of course). There is also a soup that is one of my favorites. This is why we chose zucchini over regular yellow squash ~ more options to choose from, both savory and sweet. All that to say, we needed to mix things up a bit this year. ;)

Here are some zucchini recipes that I’ve come across on the web. Some we have tried – others we still need to but they look ah-mazing. Links to the images are below.

Zucchini Recipe Roundup

 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

What are your favorite zucchini recipes?

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7 & 12 {anniversary}

Today is my wedding anniversary! Glenn and I have been together for 12 years and married for 7. I can remember the day he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. I was 17 years old. I thought it might be fun to share some facts about our relationship, so here goes!

We met in 1999 when I was a freshman in high school, he was a sophomore.

We hung out in the same circle of friends, but never saw each other as actual friends, much less dating material. We attended the same Christian coffee house on Saturday nights to watch live bands.

In May 2002, when I was 17 and he was 18, we both got out of unhealthy relationships at the same time. He had just graduated high school and I was entering my senior year. Our friendship started.

We vowed to help each other stay single (that turned out well).

We spent the month of June 2002 going to pool parties and softball games with our church, together.

July 5, 2002, he asked me to be his, and of course, I said yes.

September 2002, we watched a lunar eclipse together at his parents’ house and he told me he loved me and could see himself marrying me.

May 2003, he went with me to my senior prom.

We spent August 2003 – December 2006 in a semi-long distance relationship. We only saw each other on weekends. I was a student at MTSU (an hour from home), and he was home working.

He proposed on Mother Day 2006 in front of our entire church using a fortune cookie. Obviously, I said yes.

He customized my engagement ring. He hunted online for something unique and found a Celtic knot white gold ring. He took it to a local jeweler, bought a diamond earring and had them put the diamond into the ring.

We married on July 21, 2007 at Riverwood Mansion, a very old mansion in Nashville.

We honeymooned in Belize on Cocoplum Island. It was much cheaper back then.

Since we’ve been married, we’ve bought a house, gotten dogs and cats, changed jobs (multiple times), battled infertility, became parents, and have gotten stronger than ever. With all the changes we’ve seen in our lives and all the hurdles we’ve jumped over together, one thing has been constant: our love and patience with each other. I’m so thankful that God gave me this man.

Wedding Happy anniversary, honey. You turn me on to the idea of growing old.

 

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The Shameless “You Should Subscribe!” Post

I’ll keep this short and sweet, especially since it’s Saturday night and I never post on Saturday nights!

I get comments/messages all the time where readers say they will bookmark my blog so they can easily find it later, which is awesome! However, did you know you can subscribe so the posts go directly to your inbox? I just realized the other day that I didn’t make this easy for you. Bad, Jessi. Bad.

I have since moved the subscription box to the very top of the right column. I promise not to spam you. ;) I typically post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, unless I’m behind and then I might only do Tuesday and Thursday. Basically, I try to not post daily so they don’t get lost. ;)

Go ahead and subscribe, and if you’re interested in following on Social Media, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are great places to catch me.

Until next time…

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