Homemade Dill Pickles!

Oh. My. Goodness.

If you like homemade dill pickles, I’ve got a recipe to share with you guys. This is the first year that we grew pickling cucumbers in our garden and we have an abundance right now. Over the weekend I made two large jars of sliced dill pickles and 2 small jars of spicy relish. I had never made homemade dill pickles before last weekend, and this recipe was so easy. They’re tangy, refreshing, and so addicting that we ate an entire jar in one night.

Ahem.

Pickles

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13 Years of US

July is a very special month for me.

In May of 2002, I was 17 years old. I had just gotten out of a less than stellar relationship and so had Glenn. We were both looking to stay single, and through our naive friendship we decided that we would keep each other accountable. No dating allowed.

Little did we know, we’d keep each other single, alright… single from others.

That summer, our friendship blossomed. We fell in love big time. On July 4, I spent the day with his family while he had to go to work. I already had a relationship with his mom, sisters and little brother thanks to Jacobs Jacket (an old Christian-based coffee house hangout for teens), but was just getting to know his dad. As awkward as you’d think that day could have been, it really wasn’t. Spending the day with this family, I had no idea I’d eventually call them my own, but it felt so right.

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“Bringing Lucy Home”, a story of hope, heartache, and happiness

BLH Book Review

Disclaimer: all images used in this blog post are property of Jennifer Phillips are not to be used outside of this post without her permission.

All miracles begin with a crisis.

~Bringing Lucy Home

When author Jennifer Phillips asked me if I wanted to write a review of her book “Bringing Lucy Home”, it was an immediate “YES!” from me, no questions asked. I had the privilege of working with Jennifer as her marketing strategist at the original publisher of her book. Unfortunately, that also meant that I had to be the one to drop the news when the publisher was closing, not long after her book had gone live. She was the first author I thought of when I received the news, and the first one I wanted to personally tell as soon as allowed. Although that journey was really unexpected and rough at times, I don’t regret it because it gave me an opportunity to build a friendship with someone I’ve never met in person, and who lives on the other side of the world from me! Things like this are why I’m actually thankful for the internet. Friendships can blossom, even if you never get to be in the same room.

Getting to work with Jennifer in marketing her book also meant I got to know the book really well before it actually published… and I have to say, I could not WAIT to read it. In our first conversation, she shared with me a brief overview of what happened when they were trying to bring Lucy home and it was just shocking what they went through – legally, politically, spiritually, emotionally. Jennifer is also a blogger (a GREAT one), so I took time to go back through her blog (LittleLucyMei.blogspot.com) to really gain an understanding of what this journey looked like and to get more insight into who Jennifer is (not a stalker, I swear). About halfway through the publishing process, she sent me a video she made with pictures of their adoption journey, and of course there was music. I sat at my desk and cried like a baby watching that video.

Adoption is something that has always held a place in my heart, even though I don’t feel called to adopt yet. It’s something that does take a hold of me every now and then, and I love a good adoption story.

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Follistim: Where to Buy it the Cheapest

Our first Follistim + IUI cycle is coming up in just 4 months, and while that may look like a long ways away on paper, it’s really not that far off. On Monday, I had my consult with my doctor to discuss what my first Follistim cycle will look like. We still have a few things to figure out, like whether I’ll need to go on birth control temporarily to reset my body (shoot me now), or whether we’ll just skip it and see what my body does on its own leading up to that cycle. I’d rather leave it be, but I also know it’s common practice to do a couple of months of birth control to prep the body to be more receptive to treatment.

Again, shoot me now. If any of you remember how I bled for a few months the last time I was on birth control, you know how I despise it. But, I digress… moving on… stepping off the soap box… kicking and screaming just a bit.

Planning for a Follistim cycle means I’m also digging around the internet for the cheapest prices on the meds. My insurance will not cover a single penny of infertility treatment, so we’re on our own. There are a few discount programs out there, but their version of “discount” isn’t always good enough for the headache of paperwork you’re expected to fill out. Can I get an Amen?! Why is this all so expensive?

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Swing into Summer: Unique DIY Swing Ideas for Your Front Yard {Modernize.com}

I am so excited to share with you all a special guest post provided by Modernize.com. Since February, I have been dreaming up how to enhance our outdoor living experience at home, from new outdoor lights, to tiki torches, to bird feeders, to chairs. My favorite part of the day is sunset, whether gathered around the bonfire or relaxing on the porch swing. Modernize.com has some pretty great ideas for enhancing the outdoor living experience, and today they’re going to share some ideas with you! So pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee, and join us in dreaming up new ways to enjoy our own back yards on a budget!

Swing into Summer: Unique DIY Swing Ideas for Your Front Yard

By Ty Schmidt

For some people, it is the moments after the morning sun makes its first appearance. For others, the moonlight is something to dance in and enjoy. For me, it’s what those in the photography business call the “golden hour.” It’s a time illumined by the almost perfect amount of natural light around when the sun goes down each day.

That is the time when I would most enjoy being outside soaking up the natural beauty of all the great outdoors has to offer. As summer kicks into gear, I keep thinking of how nice it would be to have a serene place to enjoy this golden hour otherwise known as my favorite time of day. A place to escape the stress of the day, breathe in the summer air and relax.

When it comes to creating such a place it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Instead, here are some ideas for creating a do-it-yourself swing for your front yard.

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Why It Was So Quiet Last Week

This is going to be a drive-by post on why it was so quiet here in the Life Abundant blog world last week. I had intended to have a post up on Friday, as well as a couple of fun ones ready for this week, and then life happened.

A family member was put in the hospital on Thursday morning, so I pretty much put everything in my life on hold to be with this person. Now that things are calming down, I’ll be able to get back to normal fairly soon. It’s amazing how you can just be stuck in the normal flow of life, and then something big happens that makes you leave work at the drop of a hat, take a few days off, spend your weekend at the hospital visiting, then it all brings you back to Monday morning, back to work, and back to life itself.

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Product Review: FertilAid for Women {plus discount code!}

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-month supply of FertilAid for Women to try in exchange for this review. However, all opinions/comments are my own! I do not receive a commission from sales that result from this post.

FertilAid product Review

This product review has been months in the making! Literally, months. FairHaven Health first reached out to me last November asking if I’d be interested in trying one of their fertility friendly products and I was SO excited for the opportunity. However, as many of you may remember, I was still on my last 3-month stint of 150mg of Clomid, really hoping it would end up in a pregnancy. I decided to put the FairHaven offer on hold, but kept in contact with them in the meantime. When January came and I still wasn’t pregnant, I decided to take FairHaven up on their offer and try FertilAid for Women.

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My Vegetable & Herb Garden for 2015 and How I Plan to Use it!

I think some of you have picked up by now that I love to garden every year! Each year I learn something new and seem to get better at it. So far, this year my herbs are looking better than they EVER have. I literally have way more basil than I know what to do with and it has been absolutely wonderful. We’re eating it almost daily, along with some of our other herbs, and it has been so rewarding. I’m not sure what is so different about this year, but it’s working!

Each year I take my garden a step further in how it’s set up. This year, we decided to raise up the tomato bed by 2 more layers of brick, and we built a brand new wooden bed. We removed the brick bed that had zucchini in it last year to use the brick toward the tomato bed. I’m pretty thrilled with the results and look forward to reusing these beds year after year!

For the fun of it, I wanted to share with you all what I am growing this summer and how I plan to use it:

Herbs

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Basil

I have 1 purple and 2 green basil plants this year and they are getting HUGE. Last year I discovered the purple basil and loved it! It’s not as strong in flavor as the green, but it’s just a fragrant and makes some beautiful caprese salad, which is layers of fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then topped with sea salt and cracked pepper. It’s delicious and this time of year we’re eating it a couple times each week. Zoey will devour it every time! We tend to make pesto weekly when we have this much basil on hand, and so far we have done just that. When we get tomatoes in, I will make a tomato, basil, cucumber and lime salsa that is divine. Basil is also good in a fruit salad or a leafy green salad, so it’s a really rewarding, versatile herb to grow.

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Consider Donating: Research for ciHHV-6 Activation

“Because he was the only infant in the world to present with ciHHV-6 and cardiomyopathy, his doctors were at a loss for what to do. They decided not to risk a heart transplant for fear the virus would reactivate and attack a new heart. He passed away in my arms on his three week birthday.” – Diana Stone @ dianawrote.com

My heart hurts just re-reading this story.

Diana has been one of my favorite bloggers for a really, really long time. At least, it feels like a long time. She has a daughter Zoey’s age so when she writes about her, it pretty much feels like I’m reading about my own little girl. I’ve followed her journey since she was pregnant with her twin sons, who are now in heaven. When she lost her third son to a virus that attacked his heart, I wept for her.

Three sons. All in heaven.

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5 Ways Infertility is Different the 2nd Time Around

As the years of trying to conceive a 2nd child go by, I have realized just how much infertility the 2nd time around is very different from the first time around. Both are hard. Both leave you with a lot of questions and uncertainty. Both are a struggle of trying, failing, lab work, trying again, failing again, more lab work. While they’re so very similar in a big picture view, it has been a lot harder the 2nd time around for me personally. Here are 5 ways that infertility the 2nd time around has been different in my life and may be in yours as well.

5 Ways Infertility is Different

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