Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Must Try Recipe: Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie


With a holiday weekend coming up there is nothing you need more than a good pie recipe. Not only will this creamy pie keep you cool but the people will be freaking out. It da bomb...da banana bomb.

Now me, I LOVE me some banana cream pie, I mean LOVE.  So, when I saw this recipe for a black bottom banana cream pie, I was ALL IN!  Chocolate and banana...wait, AND nutella too? Done.



What you'll need...


With everything ready to go, making that tasty cookie crust is up first.


Crush those vanilla wafers in preparation for your crust of deliciousness.  Take two tablespoons of those cookies and set aside for later use. 


Mix the remaining crumbs with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and sugar in a medium bowl.


Grab your favorite pie plate and press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides (if possible) of a 9 inch pie dish.


Now...the chocolate..and Nutella. Melt your chocolate (I microwave for 15 seconds, stir, nuke again, stir, again...until it is melty and smooth) then add that creamy Nutella to the mix.


Once you have your concoction, dump and carefully spread evenly on the crust. Note - if you get too aggressive the cookies may pull up so gentle...gentle.


Next up, place the sliced bananas evenly on top of chocolate layer.


Take the prepared pudding (as directed on package) and pour evenly over bananas.  Once you have those lovely layers complete, refrigerate for at least four hours (I went overnight).


Then, before serving add a layer of cool whip and a dusting of those leftover wafers. Oh to the Yes.


Slice up that bad boy and get ready to have your mouth/mind B.L.O.W.N.


Make sure to be the hit of your weekend party with this sassy take on a classic pie. And try not to eat the whole thing before you make it out...trust, it is not easy.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Control


I am a notorious over thinker. I can replay conversations, situations and experiences over and over in my head until I have made myself sick with the what ifs. What if they thought I meant that? What if they took what I did that way? What if, what if, what if?! Well, what nothing.

Throughout the day I feel like I am either telling myself or others, "only focus on what you can control". You cannot control how others feel. You can cannot control what others do. You can only control how YOU feel and what YOU do. So instead of spending valuable energy on those around you, focus on only you; specifically YOUR attitude and YOUR effort. 

Attitudes are infectious. If you have a crap attitude, not only are others not going to want to be around you, but you will most likely infect them too. Gross. Why not focus on keeping a positive attitude. Seeing the good in what is around you and even when you are going to lose your mind, try and be happy about it. 

Put forth effort in not only choosing a good attitude, but in everything you do. Always strive for your personal best no matter what is standing in your way. There is more enough going on in the world to consume us all, but again, most of it is out of our control. So for this day, this week, this month...worry about only the two things you can control...attitude and effort.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

6 Reasons to Try Daily Burn




**This is not a sponsored post, even though I do kinda wish I was one of their trainers. Alas, I just wanted to share my latest obsession as I think other busy TWs could benefit.**


I once was a gym rat. I loved being gone for hours at a time, sweating away my stressors only to reemerge into the world a happier person.  Despite my best efforts, I detested working out at home; like, really hated it. I would always struggle to focus on my exercises and tended to find any excuse as to why I needed to stop for a second. Straighten a picture, dust the TV, fluff the pillows....it was bad.

However, once I had kids it became nearly impossible to get to the gym anymore for those long workouts. Taking an hour long class and doing adding in some extra machine work in addition to all the travel time meant I was gone for nearly three hours! That just wasn't going to work on the reg. I had to figure out a plan where I could fit in my fitness and not be gone for hours on end.

I dedicated myself to accepting my new workout status, SAHE (Stay At Home Exerciser). I did everything I could to keep myself motivated, focused and bang it out while I had the time.


I created a fitness space where I could escape during nap time or when the kids went down at night that was all my own and it works great. But I am a major creature of habit and end up doing a lot of the same things which in turn leaves me feeling unchallenged. Plus, I am very competitive and like to be motivated by watching others...and of course out working them.

I had heard of this site, Daily Burn, seen their ads a few times and decided to give it a try. Heck, it was free for the first 30 days anyway, so why not? I was bored, wanted to try something new and since I could do it from home, it seemed like a good idea.

I made sure to check their cancellation policy first so I wouldn't get suckered into paying for something I didn't want to continue doing. It was easy enough to cancel the auto-renew (yes, you need to put in your credit information when creating an account), so I went for it.


Let me be the first to say, I am in love.  Why you ask? Well, let me tell you.
  1. Ease & Access. Anytime, anywhere. No matter where I am or how much time I have, I can squeeze something in. I can log on to my computer/device and choose from gads of classes. I can choose essentially anything I am in the mood for and can opt for no equipment if I am not at home. I can pause my workout if one of the kids wakes up, then pick right up where I left off. I don't have to worry about making it to a fitness class on time if something should go down as I am walking out the door...I make the class times.
  2. Variety. This bad boy has everything you could possibly think of. Whatever your goals/limitations/interests are there is something for you. I am constantly amazed at how many different programs there are to choose from and love mixing it up each day depending on my level of soreness (I cannot remember being as sore as I have been lately and I absolutely love it), level of mommy exhaustion and how desperately I want to kill it that day. Even better, you can filter workouts based on the time you have (range from 10-60+ minutes), equipment you have available and even the trainer you like! Not to mention each program has a weekly class schedule you can follow based on your fitness goals. It is pretty impressive.
  3. Price. As many of you know, gym memberships can be costly.  Well, with DB, the gym is in your home and their basic package starts at $14.95/month. To me, that is a steal. You can upgrade to a premium plan for an additional $10/month and get even more with access to archived workouts and nutrition support. Whether basic or premium, both offer an annual plan which will save you anywhere from $5-$10/month. Not bad considering most gyms start at double that cost.
  4. Community. While I don't necessarily utilize this aspect as I am highly self-motivated, a lot of people love it. DB has a built in community of followers which basically serves as a monster support system. You can interact regularly with trainers/other users or just read their posts by yourself...either way, you can stay motivated and connected with others who are embarking on the same healthy journey.
  5. Personalized. Following each video, you are asked for feedback regarding the workout style, trainer, time allotted and overall enjoyment. Your information then suggests alternative workouts based on your results (think of Netflix..."because you watched_____ you might like _____). Many workouts feature interactive challenge sections in which you record your reps and you can track your improvement through your profile. Additionally on your home page you will find the next workout in your program (if you decided to do one), popular workouts and you can even favorite workouts so they are right there when you are short on time (as I most often am).
  6. Something for Everyone. I have been sharing this little gem with basically everyone because there is literally something for everyone to do. Just getting back into fitness? They have beginner workouts. Want to be long and lean? Take your pic, Pilates, yoga, they got it all. Pregnant? They've got a whole program for that. Recovering from an injury? Don't worry, there is a program for restoration/prevention. I mean, no joke, there is something for the psycho cardio/insanity obsessed (aka, me) to the low impact strength lover.  Whatever you are, whatever goals you have, there is something for you. 
If you are a busy Thriving Wife/Mommy like me who wants/needs to be active but struggle to stick to a fitness routine, then Daily Burn just might be worth a try. At first I was worried I might not be able to make the time for me to justify paying for it, but it is rather the opposite. I can't seem to get enough.


I look forward to trying a new workout each day. I love getting to take that hip hop class I have been desperately wanting to do only to follow it up the next day with an Inferno workout that makes me want to die. Being so sore I can barely pick up my baby has been such a treat. I have been loving mixing it up with yoga, Pilates and Barre classes on my between days and keeping my muscles guessing. This has really been such a great investment for me and I strongly recommend you give it a try!

What is standing in the way of your healthy lifestyle? I know you have a computer, so head over to Daily Burn and check it out!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To the Thriving Mother's


Mother's Day is this weekend! Are you ready to be spoiled, adored, appreciated and admired for your unyielding selflessness? Good, you should be.

For me, becoming a mother has been hands down the most amazing thing that has ever (and will ever) happened to me. While I knew I was destined to fill this role, the experience has been greater than anything I could have ever imagined. Everything that I do is for my babies. They are my entire world and I live only to see them smile. Their happiness completes me. I work tirelessly to take away their sadness, pain and sickness and replace it only with more joy, love and excitement. They are not only the center of my universe, they are my universe.

Not only am I lucky enough to be a mother to three wonderful boys, but I also have had the greatest honor of being the daughter of a truly magnificent mommy. I learned everything I know from her and owe everything I am to her. She has always put me first and never allowed me to forget I was (and still am...well ok.., maybe after my boys now) her happiness. I grow to love and appreciate her more each day.

So, to all you Thriving Mommies and future Mommies out there, Happy Mother's Day. We have the greatest job on Earth and today we are celebrated...now let's pop that champagne and be spoiled!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, May 4, 2017

5 Menu Must-Haves For Cinco de Mayo


Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year...why you ask? Well, it is on this 5th day of May I can wear my hand made dress, blast Latin music, sip a skinny marg and eat Mexican food until I burst.

Wait, wait...I do that all the time. Well, I guess then it is this day I don't have to apologize for it. How's that?!


What will be going on at my Thriving Home you ask? You mean besides the insane salsa dance party I will be having with my toddlers? Well, these are just a few items that I am sure to showcase!

1. Let's first address what I will be sippin' on while I cook...a homemade skinny margarita. This recipe is easy, low cal while still packing that tasty n' tart limey goodness.


2. Of course, we will be enjoying homemade salsa prepared by my Thriving Husband to get things started. And I will most likely eat too much of this and be too full to eat anything else, but alas, we shall see.


3. Warm weather = BBQing outside on the patio. What better way to enjoy a tasty cob than my personal favorite, , the Spicy Mexican variety...


4. Hey, while the BBQ is hot, might as well throw on some of these diiii-vine stuffed Anaheim Chiles as well. Grill up those cuties and top with fresh pico and sour cream...mmmmmmm.


5. With all that deliciousness going down there is only one thing left to enjoy...dessert! Of course for me there is NO question on what would be on the menu, homemade ice cream. The flavor? Mexican chocolate. Oh to the Yes.


What will you be serving at your fiesta tomorrow? Do share!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

4 Ingredient Protein Bites


I tend to buy any/everything that Costco has to offer if it is organic. Well, when I spotted organic dates in the produce section, I bought them and then got home wondering what on Earth I was to do with all those damn dates.

Thankfully I happened upon the easiest most delicious recipe for protein balls using only a few ingredients. I decided to give them a try and I will assure you...I am beyond obsessed.


As a busy mom of three under three and a devout vegetarian (unless I decide to break my commitment on a spicy tuna roll every year or so...) I not only often forget to eat, but I also forget to eat enough of the good stuff. Granted, I am a naturally healthy eater, but making sure I am getting enough protein is important, especially when sustaining the life of one fat little man too.

These are not only easy to make, taste like heaven, but they are the best thing for me as I can grab them, pop in my mouth and get back to whatever I am doing. Whether I am rushing out the door or chasing after kids, these are just what this mommy needed in her life!

The best part? My kids love to help me make them and eat them too!



Simply throw the ingredients in a food processor and you are ready to roll...literally!

Since I use a small Ninja for most things (I have yet to bust out my wedding gift of a monster food processor...I am sort of scared of it for some reason...?) I broke my batch into two doing the cashews first. If you have no fear of a large processor and have one that can accommodate the whole load...GO FOR IT!


My boys LOVE to help me in the kitchen, especially when their are buttons involved, so naturally they each got a turn...hi-ya!



With a bowl full of crushed cashews, it was time to add the dates, plant based vegan protein powder (I use Vega from Costco as recommended to me by my clean eating SIL) and organic coconut oil.



When you are done you will have a bowl full of soft, quasi sticky, protein filled goodness that is ready to be balled up and popped in your mouth.


I tend to have my little handed assistants help me with the rolling so we have protein bites of all sizes. Some for busy mommy, some for busy boys.



Before you know it you will have balls for days. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and eat them within ten days...well let's see if yours last more than two...mine usually do not.


I cannot say enough good stuff about these suckers. You can use any nuts, protein powder or added super seed you like. They are tasty, good for you and will surely save any busy mommy in a pinch or on the verge of passing out (this tends to happen to me a lot). Post late night feeding, pre-work out...I mean, really, anything. Can you tell I am obsessed?


Hope you try them today and please tell me what you think!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Navigating Mommy-hood - 6 Months with #threeunderthree


SIX MONTHS!?! How is this possible? It was just yesterday I was experiencing pure magic as I birthed Mac into this world and became his mommy. Now, this baby beast is weighing in at 20 pounds and 28 inches...basically blowing up that dumb growth chart. 

Look here Father Time, you need to slow your roll a bit. I can't stand how fast you are making my babies grow up!

Here is the latest and greatest about Mac & Mommy and the last six months of navigating mommy-hood with three boys under the age of three...#goodtimes


MAC

The Dude as he is known at home, is nothing short of a huge hunk of perfection. Despite that slow start the first couple weeks of his life, once we got into our nursing rhythm he has showed NO signs of stopping. At his six month check up the doctor was amazed at how big he had gotten and was rather impressed with the power of my milk (I of course LOVED that feedback as I too am obsessed with breast milk). We both love our nursing sessions above all else and they are the highlight of our day. Just us, connecting and cuddling as we stare into each other's eyes...except when he feels the need to pop off to give me a big gummy smile...mmmmeeellllttt.

The fourth greatest love of my life is most often found smiling and giggling at everyone/everything around him. He loves his big brothers and could watch them all day. Thankfully, Puss and Peanut feel the same and are always asking to hold him, found kissing him, talking to him and showing him their collection of trucks. Needless to say, my heart is on the verge of complete explosion all. day. long.

Mac LOVES to be in his "jumpy jump" and moving like a mad man when he is awake. He rolls around and kicks his feet as often as he can and is sitting up with support. I know it is only a matter of minutes before he is sitting, scooting and crawling so I am cherishing every second of his development. 


Since he is such a big man, he quickly grew out of the mass amounts of cute clothes I had for him to wear (all hand me downs from his brother's of course...but most of it barely worn) and is already in 18 month clothes. I know, insane. He's got rolls and chunk all over and I couldn't love it more!

Dude is strictly a tummy sleeper who has transitioned beautifully from sleeping on my chest to his crib at 3 months. I was terrified about this process and my "momnesia" left me drawing a blank about how it went with the boys. I thought I recalled it being easy, but was I remembering that right? Thankfully it all went great!  Mac now goes to bed around 7pm, wakes up for a dream nurse/"fourth meal" between 10-11pm and then back to sleep until morning. While all mother's know the whole sleep thing is touch and go with all the growth spurts/teething and other changes, I take it day by day and am thankful for all the sleep I can get.

After only 6 months of having this amazing little person in my life, it is hard to comprehend a life without him. He is honestly the. best. We have such a special connection that I didn't have with the boys because this time around it is just us. Having two babies means you are constantly pulled in two directions. One baby? Man, that is a breeeeze. However, add in two busy toddlers and that is a challenge I face on the daily. And I wouldn't have it any other way!


MOMMY

Since October things have really changed. Dude is obviously at the mercy of his older brother's routine and I have had to really get creative (and a bit more relaxed) to ensure his needs are being put first. Thankfully, I am home with the boys more often than not so it is easy to try things out and see what works best for everyone.

While I haven't been able to get out to get fit necessarily, I have taken a whole new approach to working out at home. Since it is rare that all kids are sleeping at once, I tend to either workout with just The Dude or when the trio goes down for the night. I set up an extra bedroom as my little home gym and teach myself classes, sprint on the treadmill or lift weights. I have also recently become obsessed with Daily Burn and have used it to really start mixing up my fitness routine. That paired with eating healthy, keeping my house clean/tidy while racing around with the boys I was thrilled to see my scale declare I had gotten back down to pre pregnancy weight. Now, I just need to focus on toning it up and getting strong again...I welcome the challenge!



I have started to get out more now and embrace the fact that having three littles ones is my life and I need not fear going out into the world alone with them. If they melt down, they melt down, whatever. I have things to do and these guys are my crew...so out we go!

My big boys are pretty much well oiled machines when it comes to most things in their life. They know their routine, they know what is expected of them and for the most part they are very well behaved. Granted their have their moments, but since I have a background in behavior I love to use my professional skills at home. Because they are such gems it makes having ONE baby seem almost too easy. I can breastfeed him anywhere at anytime so that's easy. I can throw his crap in my purse and go anywhere at a moments notice,  that's easy. I can wear him and hold the boys hands when we are out, so that's easy....hey, this one baby thing is kind of a breeze...and I must say, I love it!

I look forward to the following months to come while also dreading them as it only means more of my angels' precious childhood slipping away. Watching them interact, hugging them and playing our silly games has proven to be the best years of my life. I know we have lots more fun to come and I am determined to live in the moment and hold on to them as long as I can. 


As I continue to navigate mommy-hood and encounter new challenges each day, I always take a moment to remember what an honor it is to be a mommy to these three boys. They have given me purpose, more joy than I could have ever imagined and are my everything.  So here we go...the second half of the first year...can't wait to see what is in store for us!

Have a new baby in your life? How have you been adjusting to mommy-hood as it constantly changes?

Strive to thrive, 
Em