Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Recipe - Golden Granola


I am an avid granola lover. However, I am not a lover of added sugars. Thankfully, making granola is SUPER easy and you to control how much of each ingredient you use. Now I can feel incredibly confident sprinkling this golden goodness on my littles greek yogurt for a sweet and crunchy treat. 


I love this recipe and always double everything BUT the sugar. The honey makes it sweet enough so there is no reason to add more brown sugar...unless of course you want to. No judgement from me!



Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two edged baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt.


In a separate bowl, mix honey, vegetable oil and vanilla.


Pour the honey mixture onto the oats mixture and stir to coat evenly.


Spread out the covered oats thinly across your baking sheets.



Bake for 15 minutes, then use a spook to stir oats on the baking sheet, bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

Add dried fruit and/or nuts.

For this recipe I used golden raisins and a chopped nuts mix (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews).



When it is all mixed up and cooled, store in an air tight container and enjoy morning, noon and night!




This recipe can be modified to include your favorite fruits and nuts and makes a tasty go-to treat. Lately, we have been all about dried blueberries!

As I said before, I am always doubling this recipe which means I am able to share. This granola makes the perfect start of school teacher gifts. The boys just gave them to their preschool teachers this week!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Preparing for Preschool - A Summer of Firsts


I have been incredibly (let me stress that again), incredibly lucky that my boys have only been cared for by myself, my Thriving Husband or Thriving Mommy. We have never had to face the financial and emotional struggle of day care and we are so grateful for that. My Thriving Mommy applied and was hired as my full service assistant back in 2014 and I am so lucky to have her.

While having the boys with us each moment has been amazing, it has made the natural progression of them going on without me that much harder. And now the time has come...preschool. They are only going for three half days a week, but the fact that they are going to school at all turns me into a puddle. 

My bbbaaabbbiiieeesss!


In preparation for their newest transition into big boyhood this was a big summer for them, a summer of firsts!

In June, they went to their FIRST baseball game. We surprised daddy and took him to see his favorite team, the Oakland A's. Lucky for me, they were playing my (and my Poppa's) favorite team, the New York Yankees. We rode BART into the city and enjoyed the game with family on what was quite possibly the hottest day of the year...that part was awful.


In order to help these little men adjust to being away and feeling comfortable at their new school we signed them up for three day camps throughout the summer. The FIRST day of camp was a Dino Dig day filled with artifact hunting and lots of scooping...their favorite!


The second week of June kicked off their FIRST session of swim lessons. Despite swimming at home with us nearly every day, the idea of not getting in the water with mommy was a bit scary. Thankfully, by the second day they were loving splashing around with their teacher and new "friends".


To keep up the familiarity of school, the boys went back for their second day of camp which was all about bubbles! A real life "bubble lady" came for a full showcase on soap filled fun!


As their 3rd birthday quickly approached, it seemed only right to finally take them to see their FIRST movie, Cars 3.  I was so impressed with how well they sat and watched the movie and of course shared their personal thoughts about each scene with the nearly empty theater (thank goodness)!


With their FIRST day of school coming fast they had one last day of camp. The "Lizard Wizard" came to their school to teach them all about slimy creatures and creepy crawlers. While the drop off seemed to be a bit harder this time, I am hopeful that the fun day in their classroom, with their teacher and new friends will make their first day easy as ice cream...and of course we will be celebrating their big day with my favorite tradition...after school milkshake date with Dude, Mommy, Daddy and Maj!


While I know growing up is all part of the deal when becoming a Thriving Mommy, it sure doesn't make it any easier. They are such little boys now and sometimes I can see a 16 year old staring back at me and I nearly fall to the floor in an emotional heap of despair. They just grow so fast

So now, I will channel my courage, strength and pride as I walk my two angels to Room 2 and kiss them goodbye for the first of many, many days to come. 

My sweet Clarke and J.R. I look forward to sharing each coming moment of educational excitement with you!!

When do your littles start school? How did you prepare for the FIRST of first days?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

5 Ingredient DIY Lavender Sunscreen


**This recipe has NOT been tested by a regulatory organization and therefore cannot with certainty make any claims to the SPF content***

*Use caution when using zinc oxide and do NOT inhale powder*

As a Thriving eco-mommy I am always looking for healthier ways to live. From cloth diapering, to making my own cleaning products and even getting into making my own beauty products I love trying to make more natural choices for my family. 

Thankfully, my girl Wellness Mama is an endless resource for all things natural and DIY. As usual she came through again with a natural alternative a product we use multiple times a day... sunscreen!

With little ones playing outside most of the day I am quite serious about sunscreen and the constant reapplication of said sun protection. However, I want to make sure that what I am continually covering my littles skin in is safe and as non toxic as possible. Katie, aka, Wellness Mama shares a ton of research on the harmful effects of most sunscreens and smart ways to stay sun safe.


I was amazed to learn about the suggested SPF of individual ingredients and how when combined they could provide just the sun protection we needed for playing outside...before I applied more an hour later...

This simple 5 ingredient recipe is natural, cost effective, easy to make, feels good on skin, smells amazing and keeps the bugs away (did you know lavender is a natural repellant to moths, flies, mosquitos and fleas?!)




Once you have your ingredients (if you aren't into lavender, just make sure to not go with a citrus essential oil as they increase sensitive to the sun) it is time to get cooking!


Combine all ingredients BUT the zinc oxide in a pint size mason jar (or larger).  I have one on hand that I reuse for making other natural beauty products too...that wax is tricky to clean...


Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the lid loosely on the jar and put it in the water.


As the water heats the ingredients in the jar will begin to melt; stir occasionally. 


Once the ingredients are completely melted (carefully) add the zinc oxide powder and stir well.


Pour sunscreen into a jar or tin for storage...I obviously went with my go-to, the all mighty Mason.


Stir a few times as it cools to make sure the zinc oxide is evenly distributed and store at room temperature. 

Hit it with a Washi label and you are ready for some safe fun in the sun!


I absolutely love how this sunscreen feels and smells. And most of all, I love knowing EXACTLY what I am slathering alllllll over my babies bodies! Thank you Wellness Mama for always providing me with great natural alternatives for well...everything!

What is your favorite sunscreen?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Recipe Review - Blueberry Rosé Lemonade


Remember that blog crush I shared a couple weeks back? The College Housewife? Well, today I want to share one of my favorite new drinks courtesy of her! So, get ready to make this your new warm weather go-to...Blueberry Rosé Lemonade. 


One of my favorite drinks ev-ah is lemonade...and lately, rosé. So, if you are mixing the two, with a shot of vodka and some antioxidant rich berries, is there really any more to say?


In a small sauce pan, combine ONE cup of the berries, sugar and water on high until boiling. You will be able to see the berries start to soften.


In a pitcher, add rosé and prepare to add the other ingredients to the mixture.


Strain the berries from the juice and add into pitcher.



Add in the lemonade.


The vodka.


The lemon slices and additional cup of berries.


Stir it up and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving over ice.  Get ready to have your mind BLOWN! Thank you College Housewife for my new favorite cocktail!

What are some of your favorite summer drinks?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Navigating Mommy-hood - 40 Weeks In...40 Weeks Out


It's official. Mac has now been in my arms as long as he was in my body...40 weeks!! And BOY has it flown by.


As I enter the last month of #threeunderthree (the boys actually turn 3 in August), I am in utter awe of how my babies are now a pack of men. Two running...and one crawling quickly to try and keep up. Melt. My. Heart.

Here is the latest and greatest about Mac & Mommy:


MAC

It is rare to find Mac without a big smile on his face. He is honestly the happiest baby I have ever seen. He only cries when he is saying something, "Mommy, I dropped that", "Mommy, I want that", "Mommy, I'd like a snack" and as soon as I respond to his request he is all smiles again. Love that!

This Dude is literally massive. Like 25 pounds, massive. He is barely squeezing into 2T clothes and I am constantly going into the storage bins to pull out the next size. Wearing/carrying him is an enormous workout in itself and often leaves me more sore than my regular strength sessions.

He is 100% on the move and as soon as I set him down he is GONE. He is either chasing after his brothers, trying to get his hands on the one thing in the room he can't have or following me to try and stay under my feet. Mac recently has been flirting with pulling himself up onto things which terrifies me as I am pretty sure he will be walking soon in an effort to not be left behind.

The Dude and his older brothers continue to form an unbreakable bond that leaves bits of my heart on the walls. The big boys run to tell me immediately if they hear him waking up and ask to go in his room, the ensure he only has "mommy approved" toys when playing together and swoop on any chance to give him a hug and kiss. I. Die!


Now that he is movin' and groovin' I wonder if he is going to start to slim down a bit....? He continues to breastfeed whenever he likes and I am still producing milk like your local dairy cow. And the "real food"? Man, does he eat. Whatever the family is eating, he eats and then some. Mac uses his four teeth to power through pretty much anything I put in front of him. He is going to be a biiiiigggg Dude.

He continues to be a rockstar sleeper, always on his tummy, most nights sleeping 8-10 hours. Some nights he wakes for a quick power snack while he is half asleep. I don't mind those one bit as they give me an extra cuddle session...and I too am half asleep.

As we embark on the last few months of his first year I plan to enjoy my fat baby all the way into toddler-hood...ahhhhhh!!!

MOMMY

Reflecting on the past 40 weeks just leave be baffled that it has already been 40 weeks. It seemed that him being out of my body went a lot faster than when he was inside. But here we are!


Along with regular nursing (best workout ever), I have been doing a lot more strength training through my obsession with Daily Burn. I also started including extra cardio in because, well, I just felt like I needed it.  The most exciting thing to happen to my fitness routine is the fact that I am FINALLY going to start teaching again...YES!!!


I embrace the daily chaos with open arms and love every screaming second of it. I constantly remind myself to smile and enjoy the moments as it will be a blink before they all grow up and want nothing to do with me (insert ugly cry session here). Whether we are out and about or running around at home, we are loving our summer!

The boys start school in a few weeks and then Dude and I will have tons of solo time together...what a different experience a single baby post twins has been...and such fun!


So here we go, the end of three boys under the age of three. Is it time for baby #4?! Ha....do NOT repeat that to my TH...our secret.

Strive to thrive, 
Em