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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DIY Wooden Washi Tape Decor


Again, no secret, I loooooove me some Washi Tape. Making my own stationary, Christmas cards and party straws... just the tip of the iceberg. I pretty much use it for everything and may start my own clothing/jewelry/handbag line out of the stuff.  But for now, I will share my latest quick craft I lovingly refer to as "Wooden Washi".


With age, my decorating stye has gone from fast and furious to slow and steady.  Gone are the days when I would throw crap up on the walls as quickly as possible only to dislike it a few months later and start again...gone.

Now that I am in my "forever home", I am loving the wide open wall space and filling it with only things I am obsessed with. Any time I have to ask my Thriving Husband to get out his tools to mount something, I want to make sure it's a keeper.


As we continue to transform our house into our home I am always adding a little something here, making plans for a little something there or my personal favorite the never ending rearranging/reorganizing.

I've even headed downstairs. Currently our lower level features the laundry room (always used), playroom (often used) and two guest rooms (rarely used). While the guest rooms are furnished and always clean/ready for friends and fam...they are sparsely decorated.

One of our guest rooms features a set of twin beds, a few key vintage furniture finds and a closet full of Costco overflow items...aaaand that's it. Aside from one pop of color (teal hutch) I dare say it is barren. White curtains and white bedding make it clean and fresh looking....but it was finally time to add a little something to the walls. I immediately wanted to do a huge empty frame above each...but I realize I have a problem with large empty frames and wanting them everywhere. I get it.


So, I popped into Michaels one day just to see if there was anything that caught my eye... of course...I had a coupon. I had been looking around at vintage stores and and garage sales but had yet to find a set of anything I really liked.

I headed to the sign section to check out decals and other random things to get some inspiration and tumbled upon these little stamp-esque wooden cut outs. I thought about buying some pre-made design/stencil for them and then I remembered my amazing Washi Tape collection. I had the perfect tape for the job!



When I got home I pulled two patterns...a gold polka dot and a floral.




I measured, cut, scalloped, stuck, smoothed and trimmed...soon I was D.O.N.E.


I loved the contrast in patterns and the sheer/aged look that the combinations provided. As a certified floral fanatic these were JUST what I had been looking for. Dainty, subtle but added just a touch of warmth...#boom.


Gotta love a cheap, easy craft you can bust out while the kids watch the same episode of Mighty Machines...

I may add a few more and make more of a gallery per se, but for now, they are a great start!


Any other wonderful Washi crafts I need to try?!

Strive to Thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cloth Diapering for One


I knew long before I had babies I was going to be a cloth diapering mommy. With the twins I was all about diaper service. I loved not having to worry about anything more than setting out a bag of dirty diapers each week and that. was. it. 

Before Mac was born we did a potty training trial run in hopes of getting the big boys out of diapers before we had THREE kids in diapers. No such luck. However, I did end our service knowing that the boys would soon be in "big boy chonies" and I wanted to save even MORE money (and the Earth of course) by doing Mac's cloth diapers all on my own. That's right, poop and all.

I had tried some All In One diapers (AIO) through my service and decided try something new and purchase those instead of the pre-folds I had been using for the past two years. They were ultimately like a disposable diaper in that there weren't multiple parts (as opposed to the pre-folds which are set inside a diaper cover) but rather than throw in the trash, you throw it in a pail until wash day.



As there are seemingly endless brands of cloth diapers out there, but I went with Thirsties as I had used their covers with the boys and liked them well enough. I knew I would be making an investment up front which would pay itself off in just two months from canceling my service. I spent $300 for 18 diapers and of course bought through Amazon. Two days later, they arrived..gotta love Prime!


I pre-washed and prepped making sure to follow all the directions (you need to pre-wash the diapers to make sure all oils are removed to they are as absorbent as possible) but after a week of my boys being constantly soaked...I wasn't sure I had made the right choice. The company was great in helping trouble shoot possible issues, but I was struggling to keep up changing them every hour on the hour while taking care of an infant....so....I sent them back. Have I mentioned my love of Amazon?


I decided to go back to what I knew. Trusty, old school pre-folds. I had everything I needed except the actual diaper, so back to Amazon I went. After doing a bit of research I decided to go with Humble Bebe. I bought two 12-packs for $50!!! What a savings!!!


I followed their step-by-step washing instructions and saved this handy cheat sheet in my laundry room for later reference.  Once they were washed and ready, on those big tushies they went! And they were great!! I was so thankful to have something that worked and knew these would make it through until they were fully potty trained (thankfully just a couple months after the baby arrived) and then I could start using them on my little one.

The great thing about these pre-folds is they work for newborn to toddler so my $50 was going to go FAR!


Now The Dude is the only one in cloth diapers and since everything is easier with one, doing only his diapers is a breeze!

His changing table has two bins; one with covers and one with the diapers. My all natural, DIY wipe solution is within arms each as are my reusable wipes. And just like that I have no waste!





I use a plastic garbage can lined with a large wet-dry bag to toss in the dirty diapers. Before he started solids it was SUPER easy as breast milk is water soluble and requires no pre-rinsing. However, now that he is eating everything in sight if he has a big poop I knock it off in the toilet and take it down to the laundry room to soak before throwing it in with the others. Yes, that step is slightly annoying, but I only think of dollar signs being saved to get me through.


Every two days I take the bag downstairs, dump out the diapers while turning it inside out, drop it in the wash and grab my large plastic container of rinsed poop diapers. Then I toss everything in the washer, add a scoop of my cloth diaper detergent press a few buttons to make sure the water is HOT and add an extra RINSE.  Just like that...I have a new batch of clean diapers, nearly no waste and lots of saved cash, Whooo hooo!


While cloth diapering your little ones can seem like an incredibly overwhelming task, I think it all starts with a mindset and commitment. I knew I wanted to stay away from disposables as much as I could and I was dedicated to the cause. Here I am, three boys later and 100% self sufficient! I couldn't be happier and am flying that eco-mommy flag high!

Have you considered cloth diapering? If you want to learn more PLEASE leave a comment or email me directly! I'd love to help you make the switch from disposables to cloth!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blog Crush of the Week - College Housewife


Want to be totally inspired while also in utter awe of this young 20 something who seems to be the most Thriving Wife of all?! Elizabeth aka College Housewife has done it and makes me wonder, why the heck I didn't have it together at that age?...hmph.


The best part about my latest obsession with this lovely Thriving Lady (aside from all her great ideas), is that blogging isn't even her full time job...she just does it for fun and is an utter and totally unicorn rockstar whom I long to be as my three young children crawl all over me, wipe their snotty noses on my shoulder and scream, "Mommy" in octaves that only dolphins and myself can hear...while I am writing this...like right now.


Elizabeth is hands down the hostess with the most-est and knows just how to set up her space and shine with her amazing recipes. Did I mention that she is kind of my idol at nearly TEN years younger?! (insert old lady groan here)...


I have decided that this summer I will be going through her amazing cocktail list and trying them all. I mean, who doesn't want to do that?! 

From her Kentucky Derby themed gathering...ugh, so cute.

With an abundance of amazing tips, tricks and treats for hosting the perfect gathering, she is sure to be teaching this Thriving Wife a thing or two and I am ready and willing to learn. Any party that doesn't serve goldfish crackers is where I want to be.

Make sure to follow her on Instagram and check out her blog to start planning your next soiree. I know I will!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Recipe: Lemon-Berry Icebox Cake


Happy FOURTH OF JULY!!!

Are you in need of a patriotic treat to share today? Then look no further!! This lemon-berry icebox cake courtesy of the Food Network is sure to dazzle! If you do it NOW you will have it ready in time to bring to that evening BBQ....get moving!


To start, toss 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup "other" berries in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, set aside to macerate, 3o minutes.


While those berries get sweet and tangy, puree 1 cup of the mixed/ "other" berries in a blender (or magic bullet if you are me) until smooth.  Refrigerate the remaining 2 cups of strawberries as well as the left over "other" berries for topping.


With the puree done, set it aside and prepare to make your whipped topping. Beat the cream cheese, confections sugar, vanilla and zest of both lemons and the juice of 1 lemon in  a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy; about 4 minutes.


Add the heavy cream and beat for another 2 minutes.


Take half of that delicious lemon zested whipped cream and transfer it into a separate bowl.


With the remaining half of whipped cream, fold in the pureed berries.


Now, its time to build this lasagna-esque icebox cake.  Before you layer, start by lining a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting it hang over on all sides.

With the plastic in place, start by spreading 1 cup of the plain whipped cream mixture in the bottom of the pan (refrigerate the rest for later).



Next, add a  layer of lemon cookies.



Then, spread one cup of the berry puree whipped cream over the cookies.


Add one half of your macerated berries.


Top those fresh berries with yet another 1 cup of berry whipped cream.


Repeat with another layer of cookies, berry whipped cream, remaining macerated berries and the rest of the berry whipped cream.

End with one last layer of cookies, don't worry if you have some left over...you can always snack on them like I did.

Once you have the final layer in place, cover with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, (I went with overnight).

Before serving this amazing cake, toss remaining 2 cups each of strawberries and "other" berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and juice of 1/2 lemon in a large bowl, set aside to macerate 30 minutes.


Then it is time to uncover this beautiful cake.

Grab a platter, and flip your loaf pan upside down on top of the platter. Remove plastic and see the gorgeous hunk of heaven you created.


Next up, cover with remaining plain whipped cream you'd been saving.


Once the cake is fully covered, take those freshly macerated berries and add your pop of patriotic color!



Not only did I find this icebox cake to be absolutely amazing, but so did all who tasted it...even the hardest critic I know, my Thriving Mommy.  Who is ready to show up to a party this weekend with this delight in hand?!


Do you have any favorite red, white and blue treats you love to make?

Strive to thrive, 
Em