Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Recipe Rave Review: Sweet Crock-Pot Cherry Delight


Summer always brings out my sweeeeeeet cherry pie tooth. While I love a good slice of ooey, gooey pie, when I was flipping through my trusty Crock-Pot cookbook and saw this easy recipe that was sure to meet all my cherry needs!



All I did was melt the butter, mixed it with the cake mix, put it on top of the cherry filling and BAM... pressed start.  It was just too easy. Perhaps not the most healthiest of choices, but come on, every once in awhile is just fine!


I let it cook on low for four hours and kept checking to see when that cake had cooked. As the cherry delight finished up, I whipped up a batch of vanilla ice cream maker. Obviously it needed to be eaten à la mode!  Soon it was time!!

I grabbed myself a sweet schoop and topped with two fresh dollops of ice cream.



Ooooooohhhhhhh yeah. Now that, that was on point. I strongly suggest if you want to fulfill that cherry craving on the fly and without the pie, give this quick and easy recipe a try! I had to hide it to keep from everyone scarfing it down in one sitting!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Earth Mama Knows Best - Mother's Day Shopping!


It is nearly Mother's Day. The one day when it is required by the calendar to overly appreciate and openly adore your mommy. A day when your husband/partner and children should go above and beyond to ensure you know, without a doubt, that THEY know, you are the glue that holds the family together. The one day when you should be showered with homemade gifts, delicious treats...and my personal favorite...mommy, just me time. No that is not a typo. It is NOT mommy and me.  It's mommy, just me.

Get it straight. (Gasp) I know, I am a horrible person.


Well, now that my dark secret is out, let's get real about what we, as mommies, really need to be doing this weekend - treating ourselves and our bodies as the miraculous beings that they are. It's so easy to forget that our needs even matter when dealing with gaggles of children who require our unyielding attention. It's simple to deny ourselves in an effort to make sure they get only the best.

I get it. I am all about putting my little men above myself...well, unless it interferes with my monthly maintenance, I don't bend on that.

It seems as though each time I get pregnant, I again become hyper aware of what is going on and in my body. I feel an immense amount of pressure to provide only the best for the little human inside me. Now is just about the only time I can deny them crap and not get screamed at. I try to use the most natural products as I know what goes ON my body also goes IN my body.

I have been so honored to be a included in Earth Mama's Bump Squad during my final pregnancy and get to really explore ALL their amazing products. It has felt like a on going, upcoming retirement party for my uterus.

While I have been using their natural goodies for the past five years (I fell in love with their nipple butter after the twins and of course pounded milkmaid tea as I am a dedicated milk hoarder) and have always been more than willing to purchase their line of "grounded in nature, powered by love" products. I mean NOTHING spells out Mother's Day than a regular pampering session that makes you feel great and puts your mind at total ease knowing everything you are touching is the best it can be. Am I right or am I right? Bring on the belly butter!


Each sip of tea, soapy scrub, belly lather and daily does of  deodorant has been such a treat. I mean, the only thing I want more of is eevveerryytthhiinnngg. Please, Earth Mama, produce everything this mommy needs! I mean, bring on the self tanner, makeup line, hair care selections, sunscreen...you make it, I'll buy it!

Not only are the products natural, organic and absolutely amazing but they are also are committed to protecting the Earth and appreciating her resources. How could you not love that? From pregnancy and beyond Earth Mama really does know best and I am happy to listen!

To help you prepare for Mother's Day this weekend, you need to load up a shopping cart. Even if you aren't pregnant or nursing, you still deserve only the best! Here are my suggestions on not to miss items.

 

1. (ALL THE ) Deodorant(s). As someone who has battled with stank for years and finally found relief when making my own deodorant, this Earth Mama magic takes it to a whole new level. No irritation with this baking soda concoction! Made for super sensitive skin, you can slap this on after a fresh shave and have nothing to worry about but smelling like a dreeeaam. Don't feel any pressure to choose just one...I suggest the mini pack  -- try them all! I'm a lavender girl myself...one sniff and I'm as calm as a cucumber.


2. (ALL THE) Tea(s).  Who doesn't love a hot (or cold) cup of delicious herbal tea. Whether you are drinking to promote wellness, keep heartburn away, or remain calm/anxiety free, Earth Mama has got you covered. Perfectly blended, each organic herb combo will have you begging for another cup...so help yourself! I have been basically hooked to an IV of my Morning Wellness Tea and look forward to it each day.


3. (ALL THE) Balm(s). I love me a good balm and these are da bomb. Smooth and so natural you don't mind biting your lip a bit and kinda eating them...hey, it happens...but now you can feel GOOD about it! Coconut Smoothie has me island bound and I love a second long vacation!

I mean I could really keep going, but I am going to stop there as you should check out their products on your own and shop away. It is your weekend after all so get on over to Earth Mama and see for yourself!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thursday's Thriving Thought - What You Say


As a mommy I think it is fair to say we all do our best not to judge other moms. But I think we can also honestly say that we often compare/contrast/analyze and question what we are doing versus those "other moms". I know having a brood of my own has made me more aware of other parents and their interactions with their own children.

We all flip out. We can pretend that we don't, but I am pretty confident you are lying. Sometimes it is too much and the nonstop screaming can break a mommy in mere seconds. But I also know (from experience) that after it happens, I often end up hating myself more than anything...I mean they are kids for goodness sake.

So, I make a great effort to always "keep my cool" under pressure. Amongst the fighting and unrelenting hysterics; I constantly strive to stay calm and speak to my boys in a way I want them to speak to others.

When I overhear parents speak down to their children or be flat out rude, my heart breaks. Newsflash, they are kids. They are supposed to be crazy, not listen and make constant mistakes. It is how they learn. Granted, we may be overtired, under-appreciated and often running on fumes, but that surely isn't our kids fault.

Everything we say and how we say it sticks in those sweet innocent minds and shapes who they become.

I strive to always speak politely as I in turn expect them to speak politely to others. I choose language that teaches them while also making them feel empowered, intelligent, kind, responsible and most of all loved. I want my children to truly feel the weight of my words and know that behind every redirection, questioned behavior and disciplinary action that their mommy loves them, knows they can do better and believes in them. Always.

Take a minute to reflect on how you speak to your little people - remember what you say matters. Notice how they speak to you and to others. How you shape their world is how they will see their world. So let's all strive to make their worlds kinder, brighter and full of more love than they can handle.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

{Guest Post} Oily Spring Cleaners for the Thriving Home

  
Spring is here which means it is time to GET CLEANING! Last week we were getting organized...now let's get brewing some natural, sweet smelling supplies!  My Oily SIL is back sharing her favorite recipes to help you get started.  Let's do it!

Hello again, Thriving readers! I'm excited to be back and share more tips on how to bring essential oils into your home. This time, let's start with your cleaning routine!

Last time, I shared my favorite all purpose cleaner made with only water, vinegar and the fabulous essential oil, Thieves. I only hope you remember how all those "natural" commercial cleaners, weren't all that "natural at all. Today, I am going to share my favorite, homemade cleaning products for around the home. Not only are these products safer, work better, smell better and more cost effective but they also make cleaning simple! 

ALL PURPOSE For instance, this all-purpose cleaner...I use it on everything! Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, sinks, tables, toilets, showers, the floors when I mop, you name it. My kids love to help me clean (hooray!) and I don't have to worry about the chemicals they're being exposed to when handling the cleaner or touching the freshly sprayed surfaces.  Double win for this Thriving Mommy! 
     
      
GLASS
Now, my go to glass and mirror cleaner. I always suggest starting with glass spray bottles (especially if you're using any citrus oils as they can leech the plastic).  If you aren't in the mood for investing in a collection, you can just go to the store and buy a glass bottle of club soda (with a standard size mouth), make yourself a drink...(or dump it out), and screw on a nozzle from an old bottle of cleaner. Works like a charm! Then whip up the recipe below and you are set! Y
ou'll have sparkling clean, streak free glass... and best of all, it smells great!
     

CARPET

Next up, carpets. Have you looked at what's in that commercial carpet deodorizer you buy?  Be prepared to be horrified. Here's an easy replacement to keep your carpets fresh and not stress over what your family is breathing. Some oils I like to add are Lavender or Purification. Simply store in an airtight container (mason jars work great!), shake well before each use and sprinkle over carpets before vacuuming.  You can even poke holes in another lid and swap it out when you use your cleaner to make sprinkling easy!


     
BATHROOMS - SOAP SCUM
Hard soap scum driving you crazy? Here is a great, quick, one use scrub recipe. This is intended to be used right away, so whip it up, scrub it down and watch your shower sparkle! If you want to store some for next time, make it the same as the carpet cleaner and then add the water to the specific amount listed. Don't forget to test a small spot for possible scratching before using. Once tested, use a soft brush or cloth to clean any desired scummy surface.


     
Who needs Goo Gone when you have Lemon oil?! I always get so frustrated when price tags and stickers leave that residue behind. Not anymore,  just put a drop on a q-tip or cotton ball and rub that goo right off!

AIR FRESHENING     
Not sure if you've seen, but there's some pretty scary information about air fresheners and candles out there. Previously, I was an avid candle burner but now, my diffuser is constantly freshening up our home with wonderful, safe scents. Purification smells like citrus heaven and is great for neutralizing odors. My favorite? To diffuse it in the kitchen. Another great trick to freshening up your garbage cans, is to put a couple of drops on a cotton ball and set in the bottom. You can even place these cotton balls in the vents of your car, smelly shoes, really, anywhere you want to freshen up the air!
     

As you can see, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to transforming your home with essential oils and getting ready for that Spring Cleaning...ok, all cleaning!  I can't tell you how much they have changed my family's life. I have such peace of mind knowing that I'm on my way to creating a healthy environment for my family to thrive in!

I'd love to help you get started on your new and improved cleaning routine! Getting started with basics is my speciality! Plus, I promise I won't be creepy and sales-like...Em can vouch for me!

Email me at happyoilerlife@gmail.com and I would love to help you get started.

Thank you Nat!!! Let me say, I use ALL of these, love them and ask Nat about 1 million questions a day regarding oil usage...she is the best! 


Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How to Prepare for Spring Cleaning


I love to clean. I look forward to it, it makes me feel good and I am open about how anal I am.

From an early age I learned how to do something "the right way". Rushing through and trying to cut corners didn't fly in my house. My mommy would make me do it again...and again if needed.

I was taught when cleaning you had to move everything, get underneath and work from top to bottom.  I developed a deep passion for order and love a dust free, fresh smelling, counter wiped, vacuumed/mopped home.

Is that so wrong?

I can honestly say Spring is one of my favorite times of year, just because I love any excuse to organize/clean. I mean an entire season that dedicates itself to gutting closets, dumping drawers and redecorating rooms? I am IN!

With Spring upon us, it is time to make a plan.  When creating a cleaning routine, it is important to break down what needs to be done daily, weekly and monthly.  If anything, start with the basics; cut down on clutter and always leaving each room at "start".

Feel free to save/share our handy printable cleaning plan below!


free printable daily weekly monthly cleaning plan

DAILY:
  • Make the bed
  • Put dirty clothes in basket, clean clothes away...start a new load.
  • Wash dishes and put away or in dishwasher
  • Wipe down counters in bathroom and kitchen
  • Wipe down stove after cooking
  • Rinse out sink
  • Put all "clutter" away (keys in basket, wallet in your purse, remotes in bin...)
  • Leave every room at "start" at the end of the night
  • Sweep/mop (that is dependent on if you are a shoe-less household like my own, have dogs or just like to be barefooted and not have things stick to the bottom of your feet...yuck).
WEEKLY:
  • Dust
  • Sweep/mop/vacuum (don't forget to move things around and get UNDER!)
  • Laundry (I do mine daily, but I have lots of littles)
  • Change sheets
  • Scrub bathtub/shower
  • Scrub sinks
  • Deep clean toilets
  • Replace all towels (if not done already, I do mine every two-three days)
MONTHLY:
  • Dust blinds and windows
  • Dust baseboards
  • Clean ceiling fans
  • Reorganize closets and drawers as needed
  • Wash quilts and large bedding
  • Reorganize fridge, throw out old/expired foods and wipe down shelves
  • Clean out recycling/garbage cans
  • Wipe down cabinets and switches
How to start? TRY and do at least some of these. I would start with cutting out clutter. It is the Devil's handiwork.

Now, while this surely may seem daunting to some, I assure you even if you make a small plan, it is a good one. Take on the season and get cleaned up for the warmer weather ahead.

Trust, you will feel like a million bucks when you are done!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

5 Ways to Get Those Early Morning Workouts DONE!


I have never been much of an early riser and I have definitely never been a sweetheart in the morning, (my TM can verify the "morning monster syndrome"). When it comes to waking up, I can pretty much make up any excuse to sleep in longer...even 20 minuets seems like a lifetime. 

While I tried adding in my workout during the day, I noticed I was always stressing about when it would actually get done. If it was during nap, someone would go on strike which means I couldn't focus on me and therefore was super annoyed. I tried to do it at night after the kids went to bed, but by that time I just want to sit for a minute...or go to bed.

One day I just decided enough was enough. I needed to get up in the wee morning hours, while the kids were fast asleep and just get it done. I knew from my previous experiences with early morning workouts (pre-kids when I went to cycle class at 5 am 3 time a week) that it was a total day changer. I always felt amazing after, alert, alive and SO accomplished. That and I felt like I had SO much extra time on my hands not having to stress about how to squeeze in a sweat session. 

I know what you are all thinking, "Em, you cray. There is NO way I am waking from the few hours of sleep I do get, to get  up, in the dark mind you, and workout". I get that, I really do. But, I assure you, if and when you make the choice to do these early workouts, you won't regret it. Not only is there the mental weight lifted about when you are going to make time for your healthy self, but you start the day off feeling energized and ready to take on anything.


1. Have a plan:  Know what you are going to do. Don't just plan to wake up and wing it, uh-uh. You will no doubt blow it off in a sleepy haze. Whether it be run, abs assault, tushy toning, power hour...have a plan. There are a ton of quick and effective workouts to choose from, so decide and commit. If you need an entire workout plan to stick to with and a no-brainer approach, then try Daily Burn. Great program schedules to try and it is free for 30 days!

2. Lay it out: Once you know what you are going to do, have all your supplies in your fitness space. If you are going to lift, get your weight set out and ready to go. If you are running, set your shoes by the door with your hand weights and tune belt (if you use those items as I do). Also, place the clothes you are going to wear in plain sight. That way, you can roll out of bed, throw them on, brush your teeth and GO! There is no greater shame than picking up all that healthy preparation unused....no greater shame.

3. Determine motivation: What will it be? Your favorite coffee after working out? Making and enjoying your go-to veggie scramble in peace? Getting a manicure after 4 early morning workouts? Whatever will motivate you, focus on it. Decide what will get you out of bed and active a few days a week and continue to look forward to whatever will do the trick. For me, it is drinking my favorite decaf/abeulita treat while eating a tasty post-sweat breakfast in absolute utter silence...and eating suuuuuper slow for once!

4. Set alarm(s): The more the better in this case...heck, put one across the room to force your lazy butt up for all I care, just GET UP. I have a bedside, phone AND Fitbit alarm, #boom.  When the three won't quit, I know it is time to get up or be guilt ridden and self loathing the rest of the day. Now that I have been doing this for months. I even naturally wake up at 4:23, hop out of bed EXCITED (yes that's right, excited) to workout...I never thought waking that early would have me excited. Never.

5. Get up and get it done: Do it for G sake. Get up, knock it out and feel the immediate benefits. Once you get going and those endorphins take over you won't regret your choice. You will be energized all day and ready to take whatever comes your way. Start stress free and look forward to the opportunity to exercise your mind and body before taking on the world. It takes 66 days to create a new habit, take it one day at a time and in a few months you too will be pumped to get up, get it done and be freeeeeeee all day! Plus, you will be amazed what you can get done when the kids are still sleeping!

Are you ready to make early morning workouts part of your weekly routine?

(PS: Follow Thriving Wives on Pinterest to catch all of my favorite fast, at home, start your day off right workouts!)

Stive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mother of Boys...Again!


Apparently, one should not write off "it will never happen for us", because just when we were in no way shape or form expecting it...it happened!

After two years of heartbreaking disappointments, one year of tests, trials and emotional decisions we decided to go through IVF to get our first boys.

Fast forward 18 months, I went through IVF again and got pregnant with our third boy.

Fast forward 15 months, I stopped breast feeding....and we discussed what was next. Even though I had always seen myself with four, my husband was perfectly content with three. We had the same conversation about 100 times (mostly because I basically needed him to say "absolutely not" before accepting it.


But, I also knew I couldn't go through IVF again. It was hell on my body and to be frank, I felt too old to go through it again.  I had three healthy, wonderful boys and they were enough. I accepted it, we were done.

I didn't worry about when my cycle would start up again, I knew my hormones were balancing out and my body was getting back into the swing of being free from people living in it or surviving off it.

The big question...How did I know? 

Well, I have had three bloody-ish noses in my life. One when I was pregnant with Clarke and J.R, one when I was pregnant with Mac and one when I was pregnant with this little man. While I had one in late December, my husband assured me it was just he weather changes. That made sense, the weather was rather odd lately...back to my sparkling rosé.

Mid January...again with the bloody nose. Enter also unexplainable exhaustion and a causal comment made by my bestie Mrs. G , "Maybe you are pregnant"...."Ha! I thought, fat chance"...yet something inside me flipped a little...apparently that was the baby.

I dug out a dusty old pregnancy test from 2013 trapped in the back of my bathroom cabinet and took it. POSITIVE.


I asked my husband to clarify the number of lines and compare to the box. He looked as if he was going to vomit.

Me - "Nope, this one is clearly expired, I'll go to the store on my way to work, Vons opens at 6am...it's fine, everything is fine...everything is fine...everything is fine".

Insert disbelief, panic, nausea, joy, terror...wait, is this what normal people go through?!?!

Keep in mind I had NEVER seen a positive pregnancy test aside from the one I took just to see a positive result for the first time ever after blood-work had confirmed our IVF treatment had worked. Needless to say, this was UNREAL. Those few years filled with negatives. Those few years of utter despair sobbing on the bathroom floor. Those few years of being an emotionless zombie with my heart cut out and a smile pasted on.

It. Actually. Happened. The odds were in our favor.

I know "they" say that lots of women get pregnant after IVF, but I was certain it would never be me. I mean yes, I had secretly prayed and dreamed, but never did I think it would happen.  That in itself made the news even that much more surreal.

Goes to show the power of manifestation is legit.


What was even more insane to me is that I had finally come to terms that we were done. My experiences being pregnant were over, my love of breast feeding would never happen again; it was on to phase two of mommyhood.  Or so I thought...

After two additional digital pregnancy tests, a confirmed blood test and an ultra sound it was confirmed. SIX WEEKS!

And now, I am in about to embark on my second trimester having my FOURTH son and my husband is already meeting with urologists...his decision.

Who would have ever guessed it. Not me, not even in my wildest dreams did I think this would truly happen. But it did, and I cannot imagine feeling any more complete than I do at this very second.


Now, here are the top 5 FAQ I've been getting -

1. Are you sad it isn't a girl? Yes and no. A girl would have been unchartered territory for me which if you know me, makes me rather anxious. The thought of it excited yet kind of terrified me at the same time. The main reason I always wanted a girl is because I am so incredibly close with my mommy and wanted a similar relationship with my future daughter. However, being a boy mommy is my JAM and I love it so much, so this is AMAZING news as far as I am concerned...plus I have everything I could ever need!

2. Are you going to keep trying for a girl? No. I am all done. Four kids in five years is plenty. I am ready to get my body back and just enjoy raising my crew of men.

3. What are you going to name him? Since I am 100% sure my Poppa sent this angel down from Heaven for me, I of course want to name the baby Poppa...just kidding...kind of. I want to name the baby Richard (after him) and call him Papi for short. Fingers crossed that gets approved by my TH.

4. Why were you so shocked? I mean, didn't you know this could happen? I think to go through what we went through kind of took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. I have been trying to explain it by comparing it to the Lotto. Yes, you play, but you never think you will actually win, so when you do it is hard to comprehend and takes time to process. I still sometimes pinch myself even though I am fully popped and there is no denying it. Another reason I had a hard time comprehending what was happening was I had mentally closed the door on that being a possibility as I decided to not undergo IVF again, which for my brain, made it harder to really grasp.

5. How is this pregnancy different since it was spontaneous? The best part has been medications prior to conception which means I avoided packing on those 15 hormonal pounds pre pregnancy which make me CRAZY! I have also been able to keep with my normal fitness routine which has also been such a game changer. I still felt like crap for six weeks with a sweet hangover about 18 hours a day. Still super tired and even found myself randomly falling asleep for minutes at a time during the day. Still same amount of crazy excitement, joy and amazement at the female body and it's ability to grow freaking human life. I mean how cool are we?!

So there you have it, my "Mother of Boys" title shall live on as we expect our little love to join our family this September.

Looking forward to keeping you all up to date and I grow my fourth and final little boy!

Strive to thrive, 
Em