Fun 4th of July Recipes!

Independence Day is nearly here!

Since we’re moving tomorrow, I won’t be around the blog much between tonight and Monday, and who knows when we’ll get internet set up at our new place.
(I may or may not have just thought about this whole internet setup thing while typing this paragraph…whoops.)

Growing up, my sister, mom, and I always made a red, white, and blue dessert to bring to our big family picnic.  With a few days to prepare, I thought I’d share some fun 4th of July-themed recipes I’ve seen floating around the internet.

Easy & Healthy Fruit Dessert Pizza

from Happy Healthy Mama

(can someone please make this one for me?)

healthy 4th of july fruit pizza

Red White & Blue Sangria

from Punchbowl

Red, white and blue lemonade

Patriotic Taco Salad Recipe

from Taste of Home

patriotic taco salad recipe

Blueberry, Strawberry, & Jicama Salsa

from Two Peas & Their Pod

blueberry-strawberry-jicima-salsa

Patriotic Watermelon & Feta Flag

from Wenderly

(so easy and fun)

watermelon and feta flag

Lattice-Topped Blackberry Cobbler

from My Recipes

1007p113-blackberry-cobbler-m

or maybe a

Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust

from Epicurious

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and last but not least…

Red, White, & Blue Blondies

from Pink Cake Plate

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Let me know what foods you’re making for/eating this weekend!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a happy Independence Day!

July: Seasonal Produce

Happy July 1st!

This means we’re halfway through 2015 already.  How crazy is that?!

A new month means I have a new list of now-in-season produce for you.  This is quite possibly the best time of year for fresh produce.  Let’s take a look at what’s available in July…

When you eat fruits and veggies that are currently in season, you consume produce that contains an even higher nutritional value.  The produce is also more flavorful, fresh, and cost-effective!

farmers' market strawberries

Be on the lookout for the following fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market and area farms, food co-ops, and grocery stores this month!

Fruits:

  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Plums & Pluots
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Veggies:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions
  • Greens (various varieties)
  • Kale
  • Lettuce (various varieties)
  • Mushrooms (various varieties)
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

**if you’re searching for a farmers’ market in your area, check HERE – this is also a great site for learning about local-to-you produce since the above lists can’t be completely accurate for every geographical region**

Enjoy!

Thoughts on Yesterday plus Our Ultrasound Results

Thank you so much for the comments you made on yesterday’s post – whether it was right here on the blog, in an email, or in a text message.  I loved being able to discuss this topic a bit further with so many of you!  I found that a lot of people could relate and many of you had excellent things to share with me.

I was asked if that post was about something that just happened to us or even a particular someone, and goodness no – it wasn’t even about one “issue.”  Truthfully, the more intense feelings/thoughts on the topic was triggered by the Supreme Court ruling on Friday, but what I wrote about yesterday wasn’t even about just that – the whole “internal battle” (if you will) has been on my mind for a long time.

After sharing that post yesterday, I stumbled across this post:

This Is What I’m Going To Do Today (In Response to the Supreme Court Ruling)

Between that incredibly well-written post (I strongly encourage you to go read it) and the virtual discussions I had with several of you, I was graciously reminded of this:

  • It’s my job to LOVE other people, no matter what, simply because God loves them.  And that’s enough!
  • The “internal battles” I have are nothing to be ashamed of – it’s part of learning and growing closer to God and as a person.  I truly believe that if I continue seeking him and his truth, asking him (and listening) for the answers to my questions, he’ll respond to me.  Those are my struggles to deal with, and they should have no impact on my love and kindness of others.
  • There are some catastrophic, devastating things going on in this world – and I can’t let little battles override my attention to those big issues.  It’s vital that I do whatever I can to help, whether that’s through Compassion, a local shelter, Fair Trade Friday, interactions with the people I pass by in the store, or whatever venue it may be.  We’re called to serve!

I love having this blog, not only because it’s a space for me to share, but it’s a place for you to share with me as well.  I’m very grateful for that!

******

Moving on…

35 weeks pregnant

I’m 35 weeks today!  Holy buckets, people.  I think this is what they call the “home stretch” of a pregnancy.  It’s starting to hit me just how soon we’ll meet our baby!

We had an ultrasound this morning – I mentioned last week that our midwife wanted to verify the baby’s position.

These are things we learned from the ultrasound:

-He is in fact a he :)

-He’s head down!!!

-His heart rate was 142 bpm.  Perfect.

-The tech estimated his weight to be 5 pounds 4 ounces.

-He apparently has a big head.  Wonderful! ;)

I’m so grateful for all the good news about this healthy baby boy I could just cry.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers for his continued health!

*****

And that’s all I’ve got for now.  Hope you’re having a nice day!

Our last weekend in Berkeley and things on my heart

This weekend was our last one living in Berkeley.  We had a nice couple of days that included eating at our favorite diner, a long walk around the lake we live near, and packing up/cleaning the apartment.  We move at the end of this week and are really looking forward to just being in our new place.  Hopefully the move goes smoothly and we like the new location and apartment.  I especially can’t wait to start setting up baby things!

I had a lot on my mind (and on my heart) over the weekend.  I thought about writing a whole post on the incident that triggered it all, but honestly, I’m not even sure how to put it all into words.  So instead, I’m just going to start writing about what’s on my mind and see what happens…

Never before in my life have I felt so drawn to reading scripture daily.  Even compared to the year I read the entire Bible for the first time…lately, I’m just intrigued every day to dig deeper and deeper into the Word, to search for his truth.  I’m grateful to my core for this and I don’t ever want it to waver.

This song has been on repeat for me lately.

Really, this song and this song, too.

I know for a fact that it’s okay to disagree with people, that it’s okay to not see eye-to-eye on everything, and that it’s okay to believe something different.

I know for a fact that I’m called to love all people, all of God’s children, and to treat everyone with kindness and compassion.

What I sometimes struggle terribly with is how to love someone yet not love their sin – to show them kindness and love without condoning their sin.

Does that make any sense?  Do you see how fine that line is?

I mean, that’s how I want people in my life to be to me – love me, care for me, support me, but not, for one second, condone my sin.

So then where is the balance, the happy medium, the actions God wants me to make when it comes to other people?  What does it look like?

Because I just don’t know…I pray for answers to that more than you can probably imagine, I pray for guidance on how to show love like Jesus while not wavering to anything that isn’t God’s desire for us.

I do know though…no matter how much I may disagree with someone, that doesn’t mean they’re any less deserving of my kindness.

Maybe it shouldn’t be more complicated than that, but I’m telling you, my heart just doesn’t settle for that.  Maybe I shouldn’t care so much about others’ choices, but my heart doesn’t settle with that concept either.

This song is on repeat for me too, by the way.

I’m not looking to start a fight with anyone, I promise you that (I hate when anyone fights – disagreeing brings about learning after all).  I’m just trying to share what’s on my heart (which is more than I expected to share when I started this post).  I’d love to know any insight any of you may have, any advice, any scripture to turn to to help guide my heart, or just if you can relate…

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Bumpdate: 34 Weeks

Yesterday we had our 34-week appointment with our midwife.  This is an important appointment because it’s when she checks to see what position the baby is in!  She doesn’t do ultrasounds in her office – she feels my belly from the outside to feel how the baby is lying.  In my case, she also did a quick vaginal examination to try and help confirm her estimation.  In the end, she said she’s 95% sure he’s head down, and isn’t concerned that he’s breech and we need to act fast on that or something, but she suggested an ultrasound to make sure she’s right about his position.

We were totally fine with this – the last time we did an ultrasound was at 20 weeks, and while we were perfectly content not having any others, it’ll be fun to “see” him once more before we actually meet him.  So this coming Tuesday morning, we’ll find out for sure what position he’s in!  Prayers that he’s head down, particularly in time for delivery, would be greatly appreciated.

Other than that position business, all is well!  My weight was a bit surprising (I elaborate a bit more on that down below), but belly measurement, blood pressure, and heart beat were all great.

34 weeks pregnant

Here’s how things are going at this stage of my pregnancy…

Symptoms:

Off and on back aches and sometimes I get pinching and lots of pressure way down low, even in the upper part of my legs once in a while.  Those pinches are brief but painful!  There have been moments when it feels like the baby is just going to punch his arm out the bottom or something – sounds crazy yet that’s exactly how it feels – but when I described that occasional feeling to my midwife, she assured me with a smile that that was common to hear.  (She also knows at this point the baby isn’t that low so I don’t need to worry about this actually happening ;)
That being said, I had two separate chiropractic adjustments and an hour-long prenatal massage last week and my back has been a hundred times better since.  I can’t spread the message enough about how helpful good chiropractic care is during pregnancy!
*if you’re currently pregnant, ask your midwife or doctor for a recommendation – mine referred me to one who specializes in prenatal care and it’s been nothing but great.

Workouts:

Less and less each week…packing is practically a workout at this point.  I get a walk in (20-35 minutes) a couple times a week if I feel up to it (aka if my back feels good), and I’ve been doing a lot of at-home yoga and stretching.  It’s a bit frustrating to me because I enjoy (need) exercise more for the mental aspect than the physical, but of course, I can make do.  Soon we’ll be in our new place and I’ll have daily pool access – I can’t wait to take this bump for a little swim!

Movement:

The baby’s movements are different lately – I can tell he has less room to flip around, so most of his movements are his bum (presumably) pushing out on either side of my belly button or a foot kicking or swiping across my stomach.  I still adore feeling every movement.

Food Aversions:

None right now.

Food Cravings:

  • Homemade Pizza
  • Fresh Peaches
  • (Coconut Milk) Yogurt
  • Homemade Granola with Fresh Blueberries and Almond Milk <–my breakfast for about 4 days in a row now

Sleep:

It’s good!  I don’t seem to be needing as much per night lately, which is probably because I’m less active during the day.  I wake up once to use the bathroom and each time that I need to roll myself over but always fall back to sleep quickly.

Weight Gain:

As of yesterday, I’m up about 22 pounds.  The strange thing was that my weight hadn’t changed since my last appointment 2 weeks ago.  My midwife said this wasn’t a concern to her – the baby is probably gaining the weight where my body isn’t as much anymore – but she still encouraged me to “eat, eat, eat!”  Oy vey.  I eat so much!  Seriously, our grocery bill has shot up the past few months.  Whatever though – I’ll happily eat more each day for this little babe.  Keep growin, kiddo!

Stretch Marks?

None so far.

Belly Button:

Flat.  And I have a feeling it’s going to “pop out” one of these days.

Miss Anything?

Longer, more strenuous workouts and having my nanny job to go to (I’m all finished now, and while I know it’s best for my body, I miss the routine of it a bit).

homemade burp cloths

Baby Items Purchased:

Since my last bumpdate 2 weeks ago, we’ve purchased:

  • 2 crib sheets (though we’re waiting to purchase the crib and mattress until we’re in our new place)
  • 4 cloth diapers
    (our little collection of about 14 is all we’re going to buy for now, just to get started with.  If all goes well with it, we’ll probably purchase a few more later on, if needed.)
  • a wet bag (for that cloth diapering system)
  • a hooded towel (we now have 2 for baby boy, and that seems like plenty.)

plus I MADE the rest of the burp cloths I bought supplies for (remember how I started this project months ago? ha).  The sewing machine was doing a great job cooperating last week and I think we have more burp cloths now then we’ll ever need.  Who’s having a baby and wants a couple as a gift?!

Looking Forward to:

-Our scheduled ultrasound this coming Tuesday (as mentioned above)
-Moving into our new place!  I’m excited to set up everything, especially all of the baby’s things in *his room*.
-Deciding on a name for this little bugger…it’s tough!

Just 4-8 weeks to go!  If I could have it my way, the very beginning of August looks like a wonderful time to have this baby… :)

Reading All the Books I Can Lately!

I’ve been on a reading binge this year, especially over the past two months.  There’s no doubting my love for reading, and I think that subconsciously I’m assuming that once the baby comes my time for reading will be drastically cut down, at least for a little while anyway.  I feel the need to read as much as I can now!

These are my thoughts on 4 books I’ve read recently.  Maybe one of them will make it onto your summer reading list!

Left Neglected

by Lisa Genova

synopsis

I loved this book.  Lisa Genova is such a great writer – makes me feel like I’m going through the same tough situation that the characters are going through.  She’s the author of “Still Alice,” which I also thought was fantastic (that’s one of my all-time favorite novels), and I plan to read her other books as well.  I definitely recommend this one.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

God Never Blinks

by Regina Brett

synopsis

I read 1-3 of these lessons each day until I completed the book.  I liked some of them more than others, but overall I didn’t learn anything profound.  The title is a bit misleading because it has very little to do with God – any related reference is about her not-so-good experience with the Catholic church growing up rather than anything Biblical.  It might be a good “coffee table” kind of book.

God Never Blinks by Regina Brett

The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

synopsis

I rarely read suspenseful/mystery novels, mostly because they just get in my head too much.  I get kind of consumed with what’s happening and then, depending on the content, I’ll be unnecessarily paranoid about things, have crazy nightmares, and that just becomes not worth it.  Also, most mystery novels I’ve read had poor endings, and then I just feel like I spent all that time and energy for nothing good.
THIS book, however, has a good ending.  It kept my attention throughout (and not in a crazy way like I described above).  I had a tough time predicting what would happen and there were so many twists and turns, all the way up to the end.  It was a good book and would make for a good summer/beach/poolside/vacation read :)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

synopsis

I totally missed the boat on this one – I realize it was popular a few years ago now – but a book never expires, right?  I know there are a wide range of mixed opinions of this book, but I enjoyed it!  It didn’t come across as arrogant at all to me, it was just a refreshing memoir of a woman trying to improve her (and her family’s) life.  Wanting to learn and grow is certainly something I admire.  I learned a few things, snagged a few good ideas that could be applied to my own life, and it was a pretty quick read.  I’d recommend it!

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

***

Have you read any of these books?  If so, what was your opinion of it/them?

What are you currently reading?
(I’m in the final pages of The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman)

Unexpected Lessons I’ve Learned During this Pregnancy

I’ve learned a great deal over the past 8ish months.  And if I were to go back in time to before this pregnancy started, these are some of the things I’d love to tell myself about how it’ll be…

positive pregnancy test

-this is really, truly happening.  your lifelong dream of becoming a mother is coming true.  it’s okay to be both elated and terrified at the same time.

-you’ll have a lot of strange symptoms – they’ll come and go, sometimes by the day, sometimes by the hour – everything from insanely sore boobs and stretching feelings to discharge and headaches.  it really is all “normal.”  no need to panic.

-people will stare at your belly when you’re out in public, and it’ll be terribly uncomfortable.  there’s really no polite solution for this so just let it go.

we're having a baby!!!  Pregnancy Announcement Picture :)

-maternity clothes are overpriced.  buy a few staples you know you’ll wear a lot, wear the maternity clothes your friends give you, and make due with the rest.  do what you need to to be comfortable, but there’s no need to go overboard.

-you’ll be blown away with a new appreciation for your body.  it was designed by the most perfect Creator, after all, and it just knows what to do!

-pregnancy exhaustion and pregnancy hunger are REAL.  this will be above and beyond anything you experienced training for (or running) any of those 5 half marathons.

pregnancy workout

-your body is creating another human being!?!  this concept doesn’t become any easier to wrap your head around (except maybe once he’s in your arms).

-the second you find out that little peanut is a boy and you look into Jesse’s eyes to see his pure joy and excitement upon hearing the news, you’ll both have tears in your eyes and huge smiles on your faces.  it’s a moment you’ll want to remember forever.

-your personal application of “healthy eating” will fluctuate.  it’s really okay – just do your best!

May farmers' market haul - strawberries and peaches

-feeling your baby move in your belly is incredible.  every. single. time.  (it’s also the perfect time offer up a prayer of thanks that you get to grow that little blessing)

-as you suspected, your body will gain weight (and just generally be softer) all over – your arms, thighs, butt, and boobs will grow too – that’s supposed to happen.  your body needs it to grow that little human!  be thankful for it and tune out all of those shallow voices (especially in the media) who tell you you should look toned everywhere but your growing belly.  remember, your body knows exactly what it’s doing.

-buy a Snoogle ASAP!

-you’ll have some wicked crazy dreams.  (let’s hope the ones where the baby is born with the same dimple chin as Jesse comes true!)

pregnant - danica - reading

-pregnancy books are mostly useless.  weed out the bad ones (which are some of the most popular ones), and soak up the knowledge from the few good ones (holistic, natural birth books – your Bradley class and natural birth mentors will guide you in choosing these).

-Ina May Gaskin will pretty much become your new “celebrity crush.”

-you’ll now love hearing every single detail of any birth story anyone is willing to share with you.  learn from every one of them!

-also, every woman has an opinion of what’s best for your birth.  some will be encouraging, some will be negative and discouraging.  take it all in and do what you know is best for you and your little family.

27 weeks pregnant - baby shower

-the love and support from your family will hold you up when you’re overcome with grief (being so far away from them will trigger concern many times).  remember that true friendship knows no distance!

-do not watch that birth vlog in public because you’re going to weep.

-if you’ve ever doubted your husband’s love and devotion for even a split second before, you won’t after you see how much he cares for you when you’re pregnant and growing the child you created together.  be sure to thank him and show your appreciation for his patience, love, and care.

Jesse & Danica - date night

-exercise will become more and more challenging over time.  like with eating well, do your best, listen to your body, and be thankful for your (and your growing baby’s) good health!

-you have no idea how you’ll be able to look at Jesse holding your son without melting into a puddle of happy tears.

-from the second you see that positive pregnancy test, you will do anything you need to in order to keep your little baby, whom you’ve never even met, healthy and safe.  you’ll also be astounded by just how much love you already feel for him.  sometimes just thinking about it will make you cry and praise the Lord for such a gift.

and finally, above all else:

-you will learn how to trust God more than you ever have before in your life.  you will learn to cast every last worry onto him, seek his strength, and believe whole-heartedly in his goodness.  you’ll pray harder than ever before, and you’ll be more thankful than ever before.

-before you know it, you’re going to meet your son!

A Fresh New Look

As you can probably see, “It’s Progression Not Perfection” was given a major facelift!

I’m loving the neat and organized, very different than before, fresh new look.  My blogging has changed a lot over the years, especially this last one with pregnancy at the forefront of my mind, and I know it’s going to evolve as we transition into parenthood, too.  In way in particular is that, eventually here, I plan to set some exciting fitness goals for myself, and I can’t wait to incorporate them into the blog.

I’m really excited to see where the blog goes, and a new design is motivating during this time of change.

For anyone interested, the design was done by Mommy Blog Designs, and Ro was awesome to work with.  She did a great job and I’d absolutely recommend her services.

so…What do you think?!

I’d love your feedback.  If you see anything that doesn’t seem quite right yet, please let me know!

Under Construction

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been absent from the blog this week (post-wise anyway) because things here are currently under construction.  There’s a brand new design in the works and, if everything goes smoothly, it’ll be up and running by this coming week.  So stay tuned – I can’t wait for us all to see the new look!

Five things Friday 6.12.15

Happy Friday! 

five things on my mind today…

1. In regards to the look of this blog right now…S.O.S!!!  Seriously, I need HELP.  I actually think something about my “control center” of the site is wrong right now or broken because not only do I struggle to know where to go to change design, nothing will load for customization of the blog.  It’s very frustrating.  I may have someone lined up to do an easy makeover for me, but nothing is set in stone yet.  If you know of anyone who could help me out and does blog design (for an inexpensive fee), please let me know!

baby and mama care package from swanson vitamins

2.  I received a care package from the company Swanson Vitamins* this week.  It was a total surprise and I was blown away at their generosity.  The gift, including this adorable basket, contained items for me to “pamper” myself (some of which I’ve already used this week) plus things for baby care.  This company is just so caring and thoughtful!

3.  The start to this week, health-wise was great.  That lower abdomen pressure I was having seemed to be gone and I just was feeling good overall.  Then Thursday came…when walking Zida, I started getting light menstrual-like cramps and my back, especially my lower back, hurt terribly bad.  I got really worried about this so as soon as I got home I rested on the couch to see if that would make the symptoms go away, but they didn’t.  Long story short, I was on the phone with my midwife several times, the cramps went away, but the backache intensified.  I’ve been “ordered” to continue resting (plus drinking lots of extra fluids) today.  I also plan to look into bumping up my next chiropractor adjustment and possibly booking a prenatal massage.  I’m realizing I’m at the point where I just have to rest a lot more than I think I need to.  Talk about scary though…so glad things are okay though.  And baby boy is as active as ever in there.

bombas ankle socks

4.  Have you heard of Bombas socks?  They’re my absolute favorite brand of socks to wear (love the ankles style).  Socks are the most needed/requested item at homeless shelters, and with every sock purchase, Bombas donates one pair to a shelter.  You can follow this link* to receive 25% off your first order!  #beebetter

Jesse and godson Noah

5.  It’s our godson Noah’s 1st birthday today!  His birthday party is this weekend and it’s things like this that make it really difficult to be living across the country…Happy Birthday, handsome boy!  We love you!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

*referral link – I appreciate your support!