Wednesday, February 10, 2016

7 Eco-Kid Products Em Can't Live Without

It feels like just yesterday Nic marched me into Buy Buy Baby to complete my baby registry. I remember walking in and promptly turning around to walk back out as it was far too overwhelming for this first time mommy. Fast forward to nearly two years later and I actually enjoy going in there. The chance to analyzing their endless variety of products thrills me, especially when I get to choose the right eco-friendly supplies for my boys.

As my littles are now approaching the 18 month mark (excuse me for a moment while I dry my eyes), I felt I had to share the products that I have come to be obsessed with as they now navigate toddlerhood. As children grow it seems as though they are always needing something new to assist them as they conquer their next milestone. Weather drinking from a baby bottle, eating on their own or potty training, there is always more to buy. This eco-mommy loves to shop, so I welcome the chance to vote with my dollars and give money to companies that support a healthy world and healthy child. Here are my top seven obsessions for the environmentally/health conscious mommy.

1. Eco Vessel Water Bottle -  I love, love, love these and was so thankful when Nic asked what I wanted the boys to have for their first birthdays. They are stainless steel and easy for little hands to carry. We take them everywhere and they go through at least three full bottles a day!

2. Eco Vessel Snacker - Same company, same great idea. These stainless and silicon snackers are perfect for when we are on the go and need to keep tantrums to a minimum. I can give them to the boys and they are perfectly content digging for goodies while we are out and about.

3. Re-Play Products - While I try to stay away from plastic, this brand makes plastic feel good to buy. All their products are made from recycled milk jugs and are perfect for families who care about the Earth. Since my boys refuse to be fed and much prefer dining with their plates and flatware, we can't get enough of their dishes and love the colors too!

4. Pura Kiki Bottle - Once my boys stopped using a baby bottle at around 10 months, they went straight to breast milk in a sippy cup. At one year, they were over that and ready to take on a straw. I had originally purchased these Pura Kiki's for them to use when they were younger, but they were just a bit too heavy for them to use on their own. As soon as they were stronger, it was simple to order their silicon straw set and get them in our rotation.

5. Cloth Diaper Service - Disposable diapers were never an option for me. I knew long before I was even pregnant that it was cloth diapers or bust for this eco-mommy. While many moms have no problem taking care of their own stash, that was not something I was ever interested in doing. Setting out bags of dirty diapers on my porch each week only to have them swapped for a clean set is well worth the cost. Only $24 dollars a week (for one that is) is WELL worth it to know that you are not adding to the billions of tons of waste that goes into our landfills from disposable diapers.

6. DIY Wipe Spray - I love making my own solutions as often as possible so I know exactly what is going in our home and on my boy's skin. That goes for wipes too. I started making my own wipe solution and cutting up old shirts to use instead of disposable wipes...except for massive poops, that gets a Costco wipe for sure. Otherwise, I use my little wipes then throw them into a bag to wash each night.

7. Handmade "Zoom Zooms" - My boys were given these amazing handmade wooden toys by a neighbor a few months ago and my TM and I fell in instant eco-love. We purchased 50 more!!  Not only are these completely natural and safe but they are indestructible! The boys love their "zoom zooms" and I love them even more since I know they were made with care and are the safest for my little dudes. Taking buying local to a whole new level!

With my favorite and oh so perfect Vera Bradley backpack I can load all these amazing products easily inside as it is now my go-to diaper bag. It has more than enough space to hold water bottles, snackers, a couple cloth diapers and covers, wipe spray and even Re-Play forks for the boys to carry around...heck I can get two zoom zooms in there too! Watch out Mary Poppins!

What are you favorite eco-friendly products for kids?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Make Your Mondays: February 8th

While at times it may seem impossible, the fact still remains: you choose how you feel. A wise Thriving Mother often reminds a certain Thriving Wife of this great power and how to use it. We all get to decide how people, situations and circumstances affect us. Someone say something downright rude to you? Who cares? Not you, if you put your mind to it, that’s for sure. Why would you allow negativity to infect your good feelings? So when the time comes, make the right choice...the one that feels good. You can be happy, angry, frustrated, exhausted or joyful; you have the power to pick your emotions. So why not choose the ones that make you feel good?


Em's selfie with the Bride herself! Congrats to the future THRIVING Mrs. S!

Em had a busy weekend dealing with the latest treat of 18 month sleep regression; apparently that is a real thing and she isn't going crazy. While challenging, her love of structure and routine has got her boys just about through the "dark times". On Saturday she took a small break from her struggle to head to her girl E's bachelorette under the cover of darkness...she was back before her boys woke up and knew she was gone. Sunday was spent recovering from double exhaustion and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather outside before the Superbowl.

Nic's in laws came for a visit, allowing her and TH to escape from BOTH children momentarily, for a long awaited movie date night. Sunday was a flurry of activity as her and TH tag teamed the things they wanted to do - Nic slept in, TH went on a bike ride, Nic got a pedicure and eyebrow wax, TH went to a friend's house to watch the first half of the game. Win-win!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love is Work

Whoever said that being in a relationship is easy is a lunatic. It isn’t just by default easy, you have to WORK to make it easy. You think spending almost every waking moment with one person is going to be a cake walk? Ha! Let’s see if all you newly in love people are still singing that same tune five, ten years down the road. But, that's just it, what great couples are made of; hard work.

I never thought I would find my one true love, I figured I would continue to be friends the girls who were always in love. Thank goodness all that wishing, hoping, dreaming and planning came to fruition, and in just 18 short years!!! My one true love walked into my life (well staggered, it was a college party after all), and the rest is history. While it was a rocky, loud and trying history, it is ours. We put years of sweat and tears into our relationship and just like all hard work, it paid off. If it's not hard, is it really worth doing?

Each day I make a choice to work on my marriage. I strive to be a supportive and patient wife. A wife who is compassionate and kind. One who consciously makes an effort to treat her partner as she would want to be treated. In all honesty, I am not always that successful, but that doesn't mean I stop trying. I take a moment, get my "Sally Sunshine"in check and try again. Each minute of each day, I try to slow down my inner crazy lady and be the best woman I can be....big emphasis on try.

So, take the challenge, work on your love life. Whether single or attached, you can always work on love. For you single girls, you have it made. Your life is YOURS! You can travel, keep your own schedule, eat cereal standing by the sink for dinner and not have someone comment your unshaven legs. Take this time to work on loving yourself. You are a strong, beautiful, smart and independent woman. OWN IT! I truly believe, to love yourself is to open yourself to the ability to love others. So do it.
You ball–n-chainers, remember who you are, first and foremost. Remind yourself of all the amazing reasons your partner is with you. OWN THEM. The person you love is clearly with you for a reason, so know that and trust it. I think we all (ok, maybe just me) question our relationships sometimes, but why? As long as we keep workin’ on love, we will only get better stronger and closer with the person we love most.  The partner who loves you for all your faults but inspires you to be better is the best kind of partner to have.  Consider yourself lucky if you've found your Thriving Love!

What do you do to keep you relationship thriving?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Creamy Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup

When the cold weather kicks in, nothing is better than hot soup. Especially when it is healthy, creamy, slightly spicy and delicious. And just when it seemed as though nothing could make me love this spectacular soup any happens to be a crockpot recipe! Anytime I can use my crockpot and have dinner make itself I am all in.

To make this soup requires only a few easy steps.

First up, Combine sweet potatoes, squash, onion, half of the vegetable broth and butter into your 4 1/2-quart Crock Pot.  Allow the veggies to cook for 4 hours on high or until tender.

Once the potatoes and squash are cooked through, it is time to get out the blender. Taking 1 cup at a time, puree in the blender, then return to the Crock Pot. 

Once all smoooooothed out,  stir in remaining broth, and coconut milk.

Once mixed, add in ground cumin, ground red pepper and salt.

Mix in the spice and cook on high an additional 15 minutes or until heated through. While the soup heats, cut up 2 slices (or a bagel if you've got it) of your favorite cheese bread (I went with asiago), and cut into small chunks . Bake at 350. When the soup is done, your tasty croutons will be too!

After the soup is creamed, spiced and piping hot, it is time to serve it up and enjoy! Don't forget those bursts of cheesy, bread-y goodness. 

Do you have any favorite soup recipes? What about Crock-Pot go-to's? Do share!

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