{Emotionally} Fit Friday: High-Low-High

I’m just going to jump right in and say yesterday proved to be a rather emotionally-exhausting day.

{HIGH}

For over a week, I’d excitedly anticipated Thursday, for that’s when our 36-week appointment would occur. Doc said we’d check baby’s position to make sure she’s not breech, conduct the Strep-B exam (not that having a swab stuck up in my lady parts got me all excited, but the prospect of finding out the results definitely did), and look over the birth plan together.

Needless to say, I sprung out of bed yesterday morning, excited to experience all that…

 

{LOW}

After finishing up what he needed concerning the Group B Strep test, Doc proceeded to measure my fundal height. The result? Three centimeters less than what it should be at this point. Considering that, plus the fact that my weight hadn’t budged in a few weeks, he suspected growth issues with Baby Girl. He whipped out the ultrasound gadget, and a couple measurements later, decided to send us on to the hospital for a fetal-growth ultrasound. Cue the fear and worry…

He explained that, since neither Nathan nor I are large people, she could simply be a small baby. Or, something’s blocked the cord, inhibiting nutrients from getting to her and, thus, stunting her growth. Nathan asked what we’d do if that were the case, and Doc replied, ‘you’d be having a baby today’. Whoa! (especially considering I just realized last night I’ve not done one thing to pack for the hospital).

I held it together until he left the room to order the ultrasound… then broke down sobbing as the wave of thoughts and emotions that swirled in my head seconds before surfaced and bubbled over.

  • Fear that they’d have to take her early
  • Uncertainty over what any of this means for her health
  • Guilt that I caused this, that I didn’t eat enough, pushed myself too hard, and on and on with the not-yet-a-mommy mommy guilt (who knew it started already?!?)

 

{Starting to feel better}

Thankfully, my (very patient) husband listens well, is super-encouraging, and knows just what cheers me up. With an hour to kill before the ultrasound, he drove to a local park, so we could walk and talk (quality time’s my love language, if you couldn’t guess). As we made our way around the loop, we prayed together and talked through our my feelings and the possible outcomes.

 

{HIGH}

Praise God, the ultrasound test proved my fluid levels and placenta are good, the cord isn’t blocked, and Baby Girl’s growing fine.  According to the tech, she’s on the small side, in the 14th percentile. But only if she measured below the 10th would they be concerned, order more testing, and possibly intervene.

 

Upon knowing the results, Doc called me to follow up. In regular Jaclyn fashion, I asked (more than) a few questions. He advised that I pay attention to her movement, up my protein intake, and…

“stop with the exercise for now” … Definite {LOW}

That’s right, for the second time in two years, I’m on exercise restriction. The first self-imposed, this one doc’s orders. The timing’s almost comical, because I embarked on my journey to recover from hypothalmic amenorrhea at the end of July exactly two years ago, which meant no exercise, and here we are again. Thankfully, this restriction’s on a week-by-week basis, meaning Doc recommends I not workout for the next week, then we’ll see how things are and go from there.

While the timing’s funny, not being able to lift anymore (I’m still allowed to take walks) bums me out. For one, staying active in late pregnancy’s super-important to baby’s health. But way more than that, honestly, my struggle with pride is what makes this so difficult. I wanted so badly to meet my goal of staying active 3-4 times each week of my pregnancy, to be that woman who worked out until the day she went into labor. Yes, being able to lift and keep up my CrossFit-style workouts truly is a huge blessing, but admittedly, pride often blinds my ability to see it as the gift it is. I make it about my accomplishments, what I have been able to do. Not a good thing.

“The utmost evil is Pride… Pride has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began…”

C.S. Lewis, such a wise dude. It’s so true that, without pride, not being able to exercise wouldn’t bother me. But now that God’s smacked me in the face with just how real my pride struggle is, I know just how to spend some of my now-free time, what I would’ve spent at the gym.

Heavy? Kinda. Fortunately, my emotional-rollercoaster day ended with a couple {HIGHS}

  1. My brother-in-law moved in. This is a good thing; we get along well. Plus… built-in babysitter ;)
  2. Nathan grilledphoto (58)

 

Here’s to hoping the weekend’s a little more emotionally-stable for this pregnant lady. Enjoy yours!!

 

 

 

 

photo 5 (32)_2

{MIMM #3} What’s Your ‘WHY’?

Hi Friends!

I hope y’all enjoyed the past few days. We sure did!

And that enjoyment continues, for after a weekend of baby shower fun, we’re off to our 34-week baby appointment early this morning. We’re planning to talk to doc about checking baby’s positioning, to see if she’s starting to line up like she needs to. ‘Please, no breech baby’ has been my prayer lately. I’ll let you know how that goes Wednesday.

Since Nathan’s family and friends showered us so generously, plus I’m sharing photographic evidence of all the fun, I’d call this a Marvelous (in my) Monday, wouldn’t you? MiMM

Snapshots from Baby Shower #2

photo 2 (66)

My best friend drove through torrential rain to get there... she's amazing!
My best friend drove through torrential rain to get there… she’s amazing!

 

This cake might have had all blue flowers on it at first. We're having a GIRL, cake lady!
This cake might have had all blue flowers on it at first. We’re having a GIRL, cake lady!

 

Sisters-in-law
Sisters-in-law

 

Little owls everywhere
Little owls everywhere

 

Nathan was super-stoked to get Blackhawks onesies for her to wear around all our Blues-fan friends
Nathan was super-stoked to get Blackhawks onesies for her to wear around all our Blues-fan friends

 

Evidence of the ever-growing, ever-rounding bump
Evidence of the ever-growing, ever-rounding bump

 

Leave it to one of Nathan's engineer/frat brothers to stock us up with child-safety gear
Leave it to one of Nathan’s engineer/frat brothers to stock us up with child-safety gear

 

The food was delicious! One of the women made my Summer Cucumber-Onion Salad, how cool is that?
The food was delicious! One of the women made my Summer Cucumber-Onion Salad, how cool is that?

 

Dad, Mom, and Baby :)
Dad, Mom, and Baby :)

 

Cute, right? My mother-in-law and her sweet friends put together a memorable shower.

What’s Your ‘WHY’?

Today, I have to come clean about something that was not-so-marvelous last week. For the first time in the past 34 weeks, minus the whole first-trimester nausea-and-fatigue thing, I. FEEL. PREGNANT. That’s right… big, tired and uncomfortable with sore hips and a tight lower-back.

This isn’t me complaining, believe me. I’m beyond fortunate to have had such an easy, feel-good pregnancy so far. No, I’m sharing this to be real about the fact that feeling super-pregnant can cause your exercise motivation to tank – it did for me. Despite this lull, I managed to stay fairly active (one day of hardcore nesting, one trip to the gym, a short WOD in my in-law’s basement, and a jaunt around our neighborhood), all while listening to my body (because movement does boost my energy and help me feel less achy), but that proved no easy feat.

True story, the thought of throwing in the proverbial towel – swearing off exercise for the rest of my pregnancy and subsisting on a steady diet of pop-tarts and beef-n-cheddar sandwiches – crossed my mind a time or two. Thankfully, I ran across this study a couple days ago that emphasizes the importance of staying active during third trimester. While I’m more-than-familiar with the plethora of ways both mom and baby benefit from exercise during pregnancy, I needed a little reminding.

But, is that reminder, is this study, a strong enough motivator to push me to lace up my sneakers or get my butt to the gym most days of the week for the next couple months? Sure, I want to do all I can to help Baby Girl avoid weight problems in child- and adulthood, but I can’t say with 100% confidence that these benefits are strong enough motivators to pull me out of bed (and a mountain of pillows) and into workout clothes each morning. I believe that requires a more-compelling ‘why’.

After feeling lousy about my lack of motivation and then stumbling across that study, I’ve contemplated this notion of a strong ‘why’ over the past few days. Pregnant or not, I believe each person must discover a solid ‘why’ in order to adopt (if you’re just getting started), maintain and lead an active, healthy lifestyle. When the people I coach come to the exercise portion of our journeys together, we explore this question deeply. We walk through a series of questions together, which I’ve adapted for you to answer on your own…

1. What’s your why? – What’s the true motivating reason that you want to be active/exercise? What’s your purpose for doing so? What’s your cause?

  • Sit quietly with a pen and paper and brainstorm a list of ‘whys’, getting past all the cliche answers and/or reasons you’ve been told you ‘should’, until you come upon one or a few that really resonate and connect with you.
  • On the drive home from our baby shower, I posed this question to Nathan, and he responded with:
    • Improve as a triathlete
    • Be the leader of an active family, setting an example for our children
    • Keep up with me :)

2. With your ‘why’ list, ponder each statement by asking:

  • Is this strong enough to compel me to (insert chosen activity here – run, lift, etc.) each day?
  • Will this get me out of my big, soft, comfy bed each morning?
  • Will this scream louder than the laundry list of excuses I can come up with not to exercise?

3. Lastly, ask yourself, ‘Does my ‘why’ have longevity?’ In other words, can it be something that motivates you for years to come.

Be careful not to confuse goals with your ‘why’. Goals are what you want to accomplish, why is your purpose behind that. See the difference?

So WHY do I strive to lead an active lifestyle? For now, my main reason is to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. And now after writing this post, I feel much more firm in and motivated by that.

When not working out for two, health remains the big motivator, with becoming more physically fit (stronger and faster) and able to energetically explore and enjoy creation being major components of that. And, like my husband, I hope to set an example for our kids, that we can be a family that hikes, plays tag, and more together some day.

Don’t worry, we’ll give Baby Girl time to figure the whole walking thing out first :) Until then, that’s what baby carriers and strollers are for.

 

What’s your ‘WHY’ and how has it evolved over the years? For too long, mine was all about being skinny –> then exercise became something I actually enjoyed and looked forward to doing, so the sheer fun of it motivated me 

What fun and interesting things did you do this weekend?

Where you’re from, do people serve full meals or lights snacks and/or cake at showers? I always knew showers to be cake, nuts, and punch, like at the one my sisters threw. Not so just 4 hours north. Come to those hungry, ready to eat a meal.

photo 1 (64)

Friday Favorites: Summer Cucumber Salad

Happy Friday, Friends!

Guess what… I have big news…

photo 1

I joined Twitter! 2014, I’ve arrived  ;)

Follow me on Twitter

A couple months back, I had the privilege of meeting my now-Blend (blog friend), Brittany. She let me pick her brain a bit about all-things-blogging, and joining Twitter was one thing she urged me to do.

I hesitated hard-core due to my love-hate relationship with social media. Sure, it’s great for staying in-touch with people, seeing pics of my niece and nephews, and connecting with other bloggers, but I have a tendency to spend way too much time on Facebook. Over the years, I’ve deactivated my account at least 5 times. And while giving up Facebook for lent 5 years ago gave my now-husband the little nudge he needed to call me for the first time (and the rest was history, as they say), I’d prefer to be able to use social media constructively not obsessively.

Day-by-day, I’m (very slowly) learning to navigate and use Twitter. Accept my apologies now (and feel free to gently advise me, please) for any flubs you see.

After a stellar week, I’m linking up with Heather for Friday Favorites to share what made this past week so sweet.

Friday Favorites Image

#1 Chris Kresser’s podcast, ‘Why You Need a Digital Detox

After my social-media confession, you can see why this podcast spoke so strongly to me.

Do any of these resonate with you?

  • Have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks - sometimes
  • Have difficulty listening when someone is speaking to you directly - occasionally
  • Have difficulty organizing tasks and activities - occasionally
  • Avoid or dislike or are often reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort - at times 
  • Often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli, like an incoming email or text message or something like that… and said thing often distracts you from what you were doing – sometimes

If so, according to Chris, you might need a digital detox. If you have time, listen in. He explains the huge problem that losing the ability to focus our attention, due to digital overload, is, and then outlines his personal experience with and tips for carrying out a digital detox.

Since I’m still learning Twitter, I don’t plan to take on a full one just yet. But I am contemplating his idea of setting aside one day each week where I don’t go near my computer or phone or anything. Anyone else up for that challenge? 

#2 Good(ies) Mail

My Mountain Rose Herbs order arrived yesterday! All the essential oils we need for labor, plus a few for Baby Girl. I can’t wait to crack into them!photo (53)

Curious about using essential oils on your kids? This article helped clarify a lot for me: Essential Oils for Babies & Young Children

I also ordered more herbs to make this uterus-prepping, tasty pregnancy tea from Mommypotamus I’ve been loving.

#3 Freezer-Cooking

After nesting hit the other day, I’ve cranked out more freezer meals for after little one arrives. So far, our freezer contains:

  • Enchiladas
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Thai Beef Curry
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • & a whole lotta Bolognese sauce to put over spaghetti squash

In the near future, I hope to post about my experience freezer cooking in preparation for a baby.

#4 First piece of NURSERY furniture

No, we don’t have a crib yet. But now we do have a changing table. So no worries, our baby should be changed and clothed, at least semi-regularly ;)

photo 2 (64)

My incredibly-talented Aunt Rita refinishes all kinds of old furniture. She took this ancient dresser and turned it into a gorgeous piece for Baby Girl’s room. Looks like new!

#5 Making my bed every morning

Anyone else detest cleaning a room only to find it messed up a few days later? Hate that! So after deep-cleaning our bedroom the other day, I’ve tried really hard to keep it tidy, and a big part of that means making the bed. After all, that’s the primary object you see in a bedroom.

I pinned this article, ‘Why I Make My Bed‘, a while ago. While I’ve yet to adopt her speed-cleaning, simply making my bed the past few mornings validates at least a few of the author’s reasons for keeping a clean house. Simple and cheesy? Perhaps, but whatever works!

#6 Reading for leisure

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve read sooo many books about labor/deliver, breastfeeding, babies, and on and on. I love to read, and in the past, I’d tend to read both a non-fiction and fiction book simultaneously. Well, in the same time frame, not that I’d read them together at the same time. I’m not that talented ;)

After first trimester (when, due to fatigue, basic fiction was essentially all I could comprehend – Hello, Nicholas Sparks), I read nothing but pregnancy- and baby-related material. It was enjoyable for a while; I learned a lot. But after months of that, I felt confident about the knowledge I gained and craved a little fiction; I needed it in my life again.

Ironically,  I chose the book, ‘The Midwife’. photo 1 (65)With baby on the brain, I guess I can’t escape it. But don’t worry, it has nothing to do with the technical ins-and-outs of birthing babies. So far, this book’s excellent. I don’t want to put it down at night and have fallen asleep with it open, me face-planted into the pages, more than a couple times.

#7 Fermenting Foods

You’re likely already familiar with my love for kombucha. But guess what… it can be made even better! –> BLUEBERRY Kombucha. For the first time, I experimented with ‘second fermenting’ my home-brewed kombucha. All you do is pour some of the freshly-fermented beverage into a mason jar, add blueberries (or your fruit of choice), pop a lid on the jar, and allow it to sit for another week or so. Super-easy!

Pretty Blueberry Kombucha
Pretty Blueberry Kombucha… kinda looks like Big Red soda, am I right?

I tried my hand at another fermented food this week: Sauerkraut. Meaning to make it for the past few weeks, I seriously bought two heads of cabbage only to let at least part of each go to waste. Not to mention the baby cabbage that came in our CSA. But yesterday, it happened. I’ve attempted homemade sauerkraut in the past… big fail! Fingers-crossed this time around proves a success.

photo 2 (62)

So why all this fuss about eating fermented foods anyways? My friend, Laura, happened to dedicate an entire post to that… 4 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods. Check it out!

Last but not least…

#8 Marinated Cucumber & Onion Salad (recipe below)

I adore summer produce. Corn-on-the-cob, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, and more… all incredibly fresh and, most importantly, tasty.

One summer ‘fruit’ (most people think of it as a veggie, but going along with the technicality) I’m not crazy about is cucumber. I’ll blend it in a smoothie or dip it in hummus or ranch, that’s fine, but to eat a cuke in isolation, not my thing.

BUT, one form I absolutely love cucumbers in is tossed with onions, then marinated in a sweet, tangy concoction of goodness. I recall my grandma keeping a bowl of this stuff in her fridge all summer long. And while I’m certain this recipe doesn’t match her’s (unfortunately, I don’t have a copy), the taste strongly mimics what she whipped up all those years ago.

photo 5 (31)Since signing up for a CSA, I’ve found myself utilizing this cookbook much more often. Confession: my sister-in-law let me borrow this a couple years ago, and since we live 5 hours apart, I’ve never remembered to bring it along back to her. I really need to do that, oops! 

A recipe within its pages inspired my version here:

Marinated Cucumber & Onion Salad

photo 1 (64)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T. sugar
  • 1+ tsp. salt, divided and to taste
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro

To Do:

  1. Cut peeled cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons.
  2. Toss cucumber with 1 tsp. salt and transfer to a colander. Set this aside for 1 hour to allow cucumber to drain.
  3. Meanwhile, combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Stir until sugar dissolves, then set this aside to let mixture cool.
  4. After an hour, pat the cucumber dry and combine it with the sliced onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle cilantro over the cukes and onion, then pour marinade into the bowl. Toss until everything mixed and covered with the marinade.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, to chill and allow all the flavors to marry.
  6. Enjoy!

 

And enjoy your weekend! We’re off to my husband’s hometown for baby shower #2 :)

–> Don’t miss my GIVEAWAY - WIN a box of SOYJOY bars <–

Have you ever given up social media and/or done a digital detox? Share your experience!
Any summer veggies you strongly dislike?
Read any good (fiction) books lately? I’d love to know titles!
Since my husband wasn't around to cook for me, I threw together a salad of mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, liver, and sauerkraut topped with homemade sriracha-honey dressing

{WIAW #4} Fuel Your Nesting (or Deep-Cleaning)

What’s the saying? ‘Sometimes the best-laid plans fail’? Well, friends, that’s what happened to me concerning my entire yesterday, in general, and, specifically, this post. I’d planned to kick-off my newest series–> Busting Pregnancy Exercise Myths <– today, but …my hormones had a different idea.

That hallmark of late-pregnancy, NESTING, kicked in and violently shoved blogging to the back of my mind (and agenda).

It all started innocently enough with a text Monday night from a friend. A mother of four girls, she informed me that all of her baby clothing from the (always-fashionable) youngest would be up for grabs this weekend at their garage sale. Would I be interested in getting first dibs by coming over Tuesday morning to take a look? Heck yes! I’m so happy I did, because I bought all of this for $20!

photo 2 (58) photo 3 (51)

  • 7 Outfits
  • 2 Sleeping Gowns
  • 3 Pairs of Pants
  • 4 Handmade Bibs
  • 2 Knit Hats
  • 6 Onesies
  • 1 Winter Carseat Cover/Blanket
  • The most adorable Bumble-Bee Halloween Costume

After bringing Baby Girl’s ‘new’ swag home and laying every item out to snap a pic for Nathan, an unexplainable urge struck me like lightning. I felt exactly like this woman…

clean all the things

A strange sensation for me, considering cleaning’s not exactly my favorite past-time. Sure, I clean our house fairly regularly (thanks, in large part, to our hosting a small group each week), and it looks tidy when company visits, but that, by no stretch of the imagination, means I look forward to it or follow one of the million cleaning schedules I’ve pinned. Who’s with me? ;)

So it was pretty obvious to me that, with just 6 weeks to go before Baby Girl arrives, this was true ‘nesting’ and not simply a strong desire for a tidy house. Plus, the following tipped me off…

  1. I started at the back of the house, in the room closest to the nursery (‘they’ say nesting’s all about creating a welcoming space for baby). My typical cleaning-spree starts in the rooms closest to the front door, where we do the bulk of our living (kitchen, family room, bathroom).
  2. I conquered my husband’s ridiculously-cluttered nightstand. Receipts, pens, work papers, business cards, and more lay strewn on his table for months. Occasionally, I’d remove them to dust but, not knowing what he needed, I didn’t dare attempt to organize it. For now, those things are awaiting his return home, just tucked away so I don’t have to see the clutter. photo (4)
  3. I vacuumed every corner and all the baseboards of every room I swept

    One of the rooms I tackled
    So nice to have a clean, dust-free bedroom. If only we’d have time before Baby comes to repaint and decorate it like we’d planned… oh well!

As I meandered moved energetically from room to room dusting, sweeping, throwing things away, vacuuming, and more, I realized a few factors, particularly in the nutrition department, enabled me to stay motivated and keep going, despite my third-trimester tendency toward fatigue. And you don’t have to be nesting to capitalize on these. Same goes for the days you deep-clean, spring-clean, or just find yourself bit with the cleaning bug. Lucky you!

Oh yeah, and I’m linking up with Jenn for WIAW, sharing exactly how I fueled my first nesting day.

5 Tactics to Fuel Your Nesting 

1. Start the day rested. Monday night, I racked up a full 8 hours of, for being 34-weeks pregnant, pretty restful sleep. I consider sleep one of the nourishing ‘primary foods‘ I learned about in my studies to become a health coach. Thinking out-load for a moment: I really should write a separate post on primary food. 

2. Do at least one thing to energize yourself that morning.

  • Work out or take a brisk walk outside
  • Eat a hearty breakfast

    photo 1 (60)
    Started out my morning with soaked eggy oats with butter, strawberries, and a touch of brown sugar mixed in… all accompanied by my 1/3-caf coffee
  • Sip on a little caffeine
  • Pray for focus, motivation, and endurance to conquer the cleaning tasks ahead

3. Jam as many nutrients into your meals as possible to provide staying power & energy

  • With my hearty, nutrient-packed breakfast, I didn’t have to stop mid-morning to refuel.
  • Having a balanced meal with fats, carbohydrate, and protein enables us to stay full longer than any of those eaten in isolation. Think eating an apple vs. eating an apple with peanut butter… besides, nut butter makes everything better :)

    Hodgepodge 'veggie bowl' of leftover steamed beets and green beans, salmon, sauteed onions and beet greens, bacon, and avocado
    Lunch: A hodgepodge ‘veggie bowl’ of leftover steamed beets and green beans, salmon, sauteed onions & beet greens, bacon, and avocado (plus a little homemade mayo to bring it all together)

4. Have easy-to-grab food and quick-fix meals on-hand

Blueberry-infused kombucha... legit!
Blueberry-infused kombucha… legit!

5. If you have one, arrange for you significant other to be out-of-town or busy that night. I say this cheekily (and because Nathan happened to be gone yesterday), but honestly, keep anything that will stop your cleaning flow, like making dinner (or an impromptu run to Costco, oops!), to a minimum.

Snack #2: Costco samples - pretzel/cracker/chip thingies & an unphotographed quesadilla wedge
Snack #2: Costco samples – pretzel/cracker/chip thingies & an unphotographed quesadilla wedge

If you’re anything like me, getting started a second time’s much more challenging. Husbands, however, come in quite handy for making said dinner, especially (I’d imagine) if you have kids. So if he’s home, put your guy on meal duty next time you find yourself in a cleaning rhythm.

Since my husband wasn't around to cook for me, I threw together a salad of mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, liver, and sauerkraut topped with homemade sriracha-honey dressing
Dinner: Since my husband wasn’t around to cook for me, I threw together a salad of mixed greens, a few goodies from our CSA (cucumber, carrots, broccoli, & tomatoes), avocado, liver, and sauerkraut topped with homemade sriracha-honey dressing.
photo 2 (61)
Toasted soaked biscuit with butter and blackberry jam

 

So there you have it… I’m officially NESTING. Literally, I’ve been waiting for this day since pregnancy started, so pray for me that the motivation and enthusiasm stick around.

Night snack: the usual
Night snack: the usual

 

In case you missed it –> Monday’s post features my first-ever GIVEAWAY! Hop over there to enter before it’s too late :)

If you’ve been pregnant before, which signs indicated you were nesting? 
How do you stay energized and motivated on deep-cleaning days?
Sauerkraut – yay or nay?
Light up the night

{MIMM #2}: 4th Festivities + a GIVEAWAY!!

You know what’s nice? Taking a holiday ‘off’ every now and again. I’m not talking from your job; that’s one perk several people enjoy when major holidays roll around. What I’m referring to is letting others make the plans, cook the food, and entertain the guests. I enjoy hosting get-togethers and cooking tasty meals for others as much as the next health, fitness, and/or foodie blogger. But to be honest, I thoroughly relished kicking back as our friend, Russell, took care of pretty much everything. Can you tell third trimester’s here or what?

With so much relaxing and seeing college friends, our 4th of July weekend proved marvelous indeed. Thus, I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM.

MiMM

 

Check out some snapshots (each with 4-word captions) from our 4th weekend…

Our ‘Patriotic’ 4th Eats ;)

Indian buffet for lunch
Indian buffet for lunch…
Asian fusion for dinner...
Asian fusion for dinner…
America, the melting pot
… America, the melting pot

 

Downtown Indy Fireworks Fun

Made new, pregnant friends...
New, pregnant friends and…
...reunited with the old
…reunited with some favorites
Light up the night
Light up the night

 

Saturday Shenanigans

What's that face for?!
Why so serious, Nathan?!
Eat ALL the veggies
My friends grill healthy
Now a sparkling-water convert
Now a sparkling-water convert
Reunion + cutest baby-face ever
Reunion + cutest baby-face ever
Wish we lived closer
Wish we lived closer
How we (board) game
How we (board) game
There are no words...
Strawberry + Dark-Chocolate + Coconut = Perfection

 

Sundays are for Sabbathing… 

Met up with Sarah (fellow mama-to-be & blend)
…& meeting up with Sarah (blend and fellow Hoosier & mama-to-be)
Throwing the disc around
Throwing the disc around…
More grilled, healthy eats
… & more grilled, healthy eats

I just have to mention that, for Sunday dinner, Russell threw together a killer Mediterranean & Bulgur Chickpea Salad, created first by his church friends over at A Couple Cooks. I was so impressed! He’s come a long way from the Cocoa Puffs that were his mainstay back in college :)

 

So aside from a beautiful, friend-filled holiday weekend, what could be more marvelous than a giveaway?

A few weeks ago, SOYJOY reached out to me, asking if I’d test out and host a giveaway of their bars.

**This post is sponsored by SOYJOY.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Truth be told, I hesitated to say ‘yes’ for a couple reasons.

  1. I’m super-picky when it comes to snack bars. Long lists of ingredients, especially ones I can’t pronounce, and dry, cardboard ‘flavor’ are just a couple common turn-offs.
  2. I’m a bit skeptical of soy, in general, and attempt to keep my intake low.

After reading a few reviews, I opted to give them a go. Let’s just say, I’m not sorry I did. The company sent me 7 different flavors to taste:

  • Banana. In case you didn’t get the memo, banana & PB is my all-time favorite snack. Plus, I’ve never met a loaf of banana bread I didn’t like. I couldn’t wait to tear into this one… loved it!
  • Berry. This bar contains goji & hawthorn berries. I’d never even heard of hawthorn berries (anyone else?); needless to say, I was intrigued… and not disappointed. 
  • Blueberry. Another flavor I couldn’t wait to test out. Tasted like a blueberry muffin… definite winner!

    Tasty accompaniment to a quick between-coaching-sessions meal
    Tasty accompaniment to a quick between-coaching-sessions meal
  • Cranberry. Nathan ate this one and, surprisingly, thought it tasted like a Quaker Soft Oat bar. I’d say SOYJOY’s the more-nutritious choice, if you’re looking for an alternative. 
  • Dark Chocolate Cherry. Brownies are another tasty baked good high on my favorites list, and this fudgy bar reminded me of denser ones I’ve eaten in the past. 

    Yep, my post-dinner 'dessert' for the evening
    Yep, my post-dinner ‘dessert’ for the evening
  • Mango Coconut . Since the combo sounded most-interesting (not to mention my adoration of coconut), I tested this bar first. Honestly, I would’ve enjoyed it more with extra coconut in there. 

    Mid-afternoon snack while blogging away
    Mid-afternoon snack while blogging away
  • Strawberry. While fresh strawberries and strawberry cake make me smile, this bar didn’t. The sweetness was a little too much for my personal tastes. 

    Travel-friendly, too. Held me over Friday until we made it to Indy.
    Travel-friendly, too. Held me over Friday until we made it to Indy.

You can’t win them all, but, in general, I enjoyed SOYJOY’s snack bars. Not only are the flavors very un-cardboard-like, I recognized every ingredient listed on each label. Things like raisins, butter, and eggs. Okay.

I appreciate SOYJOY’s commitment to using real ingredients, especially fruit and whole non-GMO soybeans. They utilize these to create all-natural, gluten-free bars that fuel us with a combo of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. With a growing baby crowding my midsection and draining my energy, little meals and snacks have become my best friend. Fuel AND nutrients packed in small bars like SOYJOY’s? Sign me up!

While I’m not abandoning my homemade lara bars, being able to grab a SOYJOY and jet without any effort rocked!

And my concern about soy-overload? Everything in moderation. We don’t really eat soy in our normal day-to-day, plus it took me a few weeks to finish all 7 bars. I’m pretty confident there’s nothing to worry about. Just don’t eat the entire box in one sitting.

Okay, enough from me. On to the GIVEAWAY!! The folks at SOYJOY want to give one of you, lovely readers, your very own sample box of all 7 flavors listed above. How sweet is that?! See what I did there? ;)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway