The One with the Mom Truth

You know that famous poem from 10 Things I Hate about You: “But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all?” Well, that can definitely be applied to motherhood: I don’t know anything. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all. With your first you THINK you know what you’ll do, how you’ll handle a situation, what you’ll feed them. You obsess over any and every decision: doctors, diapers, car seats, wipes, going home outfit, the crib, the sheets, the wall color, when to feed solid food, is that a normal poop, why is she sleeping so much. The list goes on. Then you get the bright idea to have another kid. You obsess a little less because your false sense of security is telling you “You got this! You’ve already have a kid.” But nobody warns you that going from one kid to two is so.unbelievably.hard. You wouldn’t think so but, suddenly, you have two tiny dictators with different personalities, temperaments, wants and desires. And if you’re like me, they’re only 16 months apart so you basically have two babies that need you all.the.time. Things settle a bit and then when you’ve reached a period where you think “Two is good. I don’t need to have another. I’m happy with these two”….and you find out you’re pregnant again. Now, don’t get me wrong, he was very much wanted and loved but it’s HARD. The older two are more independent and want to do all the things while you have to hold the baby because he can’t do anything. There is constant chaos, sometimes good, sometimes bad, always loud and crazy. You don’t prepare as much, ok you don’t really prepare at all, because you’re still thinking “I got this! I’ve had two kids” and you’re still just as wrong as the second time. Now I’m not perfect, or mother of the year, but here are six things I’ve learned in the 4+ years I’ve been a mom.

1. You learn how to groom yourself quickly.

There isn’t time for the teenage ablutions that take hours. The perfect coif or carefully applied makeup. This is a Mission Impossible set-up. Get in. Get out. Move on. You get 5 minutes in the shower before all hell breaks loose on the other side of that curtain. The baby starts crying. The older two are fighting. Someone is yelling. You end up naked, dripping wet, consoling a baby or refereeing who gets to play with the Paw Patroller first.

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2. The “mom cut” makes so much more sense now.

As a kid I wondered why all the moms had short hair. Cute pixies, stylish bobs, wispy fringes. Now I get it. If you’re blessed with thick, luxurious, gorgeous hair like my sister and can go to bed with a wet bun and wake up with flowing mermaid hair–I hate you. I have “in between hair.” It’s neither straight nor curly and, if allowed, air-dries into this half wavy-half frizzy-half straight concoction that is not cute. So, I’m forced to either use my time straightening it into some semblance of order or scrunching it and letting it run free. Enter: the mom cut. For me, it’s a cute bob that allows me the freedom to complete in 10 minutes so I don’t look as haggard on the outside as I feel on the inside. Also, it fits into the chaos mentioned above.

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3. You learn how to eat on the go.

If you think your grooming habits become Speedy Gonzalez-like, then you’ll be sad to know that eating becomes almost non-existent. You either eat standing up and military-esque aka as fast as possible or you don’t. I’d like to think I’ve mastered the one-handed-eating-with-a-baby-on-my-hip. You’d think this technique would help you lose weight, what with holding a 20 pound bowling ball as you eat, but sadly it does not.

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4. You learn how to cook easy meals.

Speaking of eating, you learn how to make 5 or so really good meals. And you eat them all.the.time. As an adult you like the variety of dinners available. “I had that 2 days ago” becomes a quest for something new and amazing to dazzle your taste buds with. Kids have no such desire. They will eat the same thing, every day, every meal for the rest of their lives and be completely happy. As a parent, you WANT the same things because you know that means no fighting. You know that means the kids will eat it. You know that means relative quiet while you eat. And so, I have learned that repetitive meals for dinner, while boring for me and my hubby, are vital and important for the tiny dictators. If you need some ideas for quick meals, check out this blog or this blog.

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5. You learn your Mom was right.

All the times you complained and rolled your eyes and thought that your mom was just.so.ugh. Sure, you think you’ll do things differently, and maybe you do but then you open your mouth and something you loathed hearing as a kid comes flying out and you realize: you are your mother. There’s no escaping it, denying it, running from it. You tell your kids that you made that dinner and they’re going to eat it. You hear yourself talking about the poor kids in Africa or Ethiopia, or whichever country has become the rack on which to hang the hat of choice this generation. And the scary part? You even agree with her. You totally understand why she got up at 5 am to read a book, or left to go shopping every Saturday morning. It was her sanity to come back refreshed and ready to handle all the people pulling on her. And so, you learn how to make your own little escapes to come back with a cup that is a little less than bone dry so you can give back to everyone else in your family.

6. You learn to let things go.

You may not let all the things go but you learn which ones are important. So your kid’s clothing doesn’t match? They dressed themselves and allowed you to finish getting ready. So there’s toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror? Hopefully, some of it landed on in their mouth. Your kid needs some extra loving and stays up late rather than going to bed? That’s what nap time is for. The kids want to “help” cook and you end up with scrambled eggs that have a little crunch? At least they’re learning to cook. This leaves room for more important things to worry about like: connecting with your kids, teaching them new things, learning new pieces of their personality.

Motherhood is an ever-changing tide of emotions, worries, schedules and demands. Just when you think you have the hang of it something will throw that careful balancing act off-kilter and you’ll have to start again. It’s not easy but we keep doing it.

What are some things you’ve learned as a mother?

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The One with Guacamole

Trying to eat whole foods instead of boxed processed foods is difficult, especially with 3 kids under 4. I strive to make delicious meals that don’t take hours while also appeasing the tiny minions that have taken over our house. As you can imagine, this can make for stressful dinners and a harried cooking environment. No wonder my mom was always partial to 30 Minute Meals by Rachel Ray. I also find myself saying things like “you’ll eat what I make” or “there are starving kids in other countries that would eat that broccoli” or “be grateful for the food you’re given.” All things I heard growing up and all things I loathed hearing or would roll my eyes. {Mom, I’m sorry. I take it all back. I totally understand your pain now!}

One of the tried and true dinners that I can make where no one puts up a fuss is Taco Night. Everyone loves Taco Night: it’s quick, easy, minimal cooking and full of yummy whole foods. A favorite of mine and my hubby’s is Guacamole. I like the flavor burst it adds to the tacos and my husband loves dips of any kind, especially when chips are involved.

Enter: Lime Garlic Guacamole

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Ingredients:

2 small/medium avocados, ripe

1 Roma tomato

1-1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1-1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 drop Lime Vitality Essential Oil

Ingredients

Directions:

Cut and cube avocados into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until almost all chunks are gone. Dice the tomato and add to the mashed avocado. Add seasonings and essential oil. Serve with tortilla chips or as a condiment for tacos.

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Voila! Easy, peasy side dish or appetizer. Try it out at your next party or Taco Tuesday. Let me know what you think!

The One with Harmony

The New Year has come and gone but this is the time I’ve FINALLY decided to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) and write about it and my “resolutions”for the year. It’s definitely ironic considering what I’ve decided to do.

A few years ago a friend of mine did a business talk on finding a word for your year in relation to goals that you want to set and reach. At first I was totally confused.

What in the world does tying a word to your goals have to do with anything?

As it turns out, a lot! You see the idea was simple, you choose a word that you want to be the theme for your year–and then everything you do is a reflection of that. So much simpler than trying to make an endless list of things you resolve to do but, let’s face it, won’t do past January, if at all. So, in December I set out to find that elusive word that would carry me through the coming year. As I was 9 months pregnant a few choice words came to mind-impatient, exhausted, annoyed, stressed. But those were just the sarcastic musings of a tired mama and not really suitable for inspiration. I wanted something that would be strong, yet flexible and also reflect the coming chaos that was to be a family of 5 with 3 kids under the age of 4. And then a word came to mind that should be banished from the dictionaries of all mamas:

BALANCE…..

I’ve tried to do it all. You’ve tried to do it all. I’ve tried to keep up with everything. And for a while it worked–until we added a second child. Until I started working from home. Until my passion drove me to start my own business with essential oils. Until football season started. Until I got pregnant with my 3rd child. Then I was a mess. Who can BALANCE doing all.the.things. every single day? No one! And we shouldn’t put that pressure on ourselves to be a perfect version of ourselves. Or the perfect Facebook mom. I say that with my finger pointed directly at myself. My type-A personality balks at the idea of not having every hair in place, not having all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed, not having everything in its place. And my weary mama soul cringes at one more day in the same clothes, with unwashed hair and a sink full of dirty dishes while pictures float by on Instagram of women wearing REAL pants, with make up on and pretty hair. Of gorgeous clean rooms and perfectly draped curtains framing a picturesque window. But then reality sets in. In this stage of life, those things are not really attainable or realistic. My life is chaos and laughter, happiness and exhaustion, beautiful and messy. And in that I found my word:

HARMONY

I can’t make each day be perfect. I can’t always clean all the dishes promptly and the laundry may be overflowing-clean or dirty. But if I make the effort to do the best that I can FOR THAT DAY, to live THAT DAY in harmony then I can be happier. Maybe I clean the kitchen while the kids watch tv (gasp!). Or maybe we go to the zoo for the morning and I stay up late making up lost work hours. Maybe I haven’t washed my hair in 2 days but I put a puzzle together with the older two while the baby naps instead of showering. Maybe the kids eat boxed waffles for breakfast and Chick-fil-a for lunch but there are smiles on their faces. Whatever it takes to make each day exactly what I needed it to be–that’s Harmony.

This word and resolution may sound easy to some but, for me, it is a challenge. You see, my mind works well with starting a task and working on it until I’m done. Point A to Point B. A straight line. Motherhood has taught me, sometimes kicking and screaming with my fingers in my ears, that I can’t always do everything in order or from start to finish. That I have to do what I can, when I can. Each day this year has been a challenge but I’m trying and striving to implement more Harmony into my life and mind. Sometimes my rigid brain takes over and I start to panic about the long list of things that should or need to be done. Then I’m reminded of my word: Harmony. I make a conscious effort to let it go. I just can’t do everything.

So, what will your word be for this year?

The One with Fried “Rice”

It’s no secret that I love to cook or bake but I get stuck in the same food rut, much to the dismay of my husband. It’s easy for me to fall into that rut because of all the other things on my plate, dinner usually falls to the lowest rung on my priority list. This makes it so easy to get stuck in old patterns and meals that I know will go over well. Meals that go over well in our house include spaghetti, tacos, hamburgers and chicken nuggets. To be honest, by the end of the day I’m tired of fighting with the mini-dictators in my house and just want to eat a meal in peace. Or relative peace. And not having to count how many bites of peas/rice/green beans/carrots/mashed potatoes until they’re done.

This year my husband has FINALLY joined me in the organic/whole foods/eating healthier routine which makes it FUN to find recipes that are not only healthy for us but will go over well with the whole family. My talented friend, Jessica, over at My Own Little Circus has a delicious recipe for Cauliflower Fried Rice. I tentatively addressed my idea for this recipe with my husband and, much to my surprise, he was all for it.

I’m happy to announce that the recipe was a HUGE hit and had TONS of flavor. The kids even put up minimal fuss about the “rice” and I was happy knowing that I snuck in an extra vegetable. Jessica’s recipe was a great starting point for me but I love to experiment. I made a few tweaks to the recipe that I think you’ll love as well. Try it! You’ll thank me later!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1.5 TBSP Coconut Oil with Butter Flavor
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Power
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 spritzes Liquid Aminos
  • 1 lb chicken or steak (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat cast iron skillet on medium-medium high heat.
  2. Scoop Coconut Oil onto heated skillet and allow to melt.
  3. Add in Chicken or Steak and stir to coat.
  4. Sprinkle Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt & Pepper on meat.
  5. Allow meat to cook until done, about 3-4 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and steak has reached your desired temperature.
  6. Remove meat from skillet and set aside.
  7. Add bag of riced cauliflower and cook in remaining oil until lightly browned and tender.
  8. Add bag of frozen vegetables and cook until heated through.
  9. Move mixture to one side of the skillet and add an egg. Combine the cooked egg with the vegetable mixture. Add the meat back to the pan to warm.
  10. Serve immediately into bowls and spritz with Liquid Aminos or dash with Soy Sauce.

 

*Makes about 4 servings.

 

 

The One with Lip Balm

Have a few spare minutes today? Want to try your hand at an enjoyable and easy DIY project? Read on!

This project is a favorite of mine because it combines two things I love: essential oils and lip balm! Seriously, it’s almost too easy! Why spend money on overpriced lip balm that contains chemicals you can’t even pronounce? {Now, don’t get me wrong, some days I just don’t have time for a DIY with all the littles in my house. On those days, I have a back-up Burt’s Bees lip balm lying around.} This recipe will give you about 14 lip balms so you can save one for those busy days or gift a few to friends and family.

 

Recipe:

  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBSP Beeswax Pellets
  • 1 TBSP Shea Butter
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 10-12 drops of Essential Oil of Choice
  • About 14 lip balm tubes

Directions:

  1. Use double boiler to melt coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter until liquid.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add Vitamin E oil and stir.
  4. Add Essential Oil(s) of Choice and stir.
  5. Pour into lip balm tubes.

Some tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a pan and bowl. Simply add a small amount of water to the pan and place the bowl directly on top of it. {See picture above} Use low-medium heat as the water can start to boil and will cause the water to splash.
  • After removing the ingredients from the pan, I will pour them into a glass Pyrex measuring cup with a spout. This makes it SUPER easy to pour into the small tubes without making a mess. Also, once the mixture starts to harden, you can place in the microwave and quickly zap it to melt it back to liquid form.

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For this recipe today, I used Lavender essential oil. However, the possibilities are endless! Feel free to mix and match to find a scent combo you enjoy. Some combinations that I enjoy are: Lime & Peppermint (smells like a Mojito!), Lavender & Lemon, Grapefruit & Orange and Lemon & Lime. {Please note that Citrus Oils can cause photo-sensitivity}

Click to learn more about the only brand of essential oils I use.

 

 

 

 

 

The One with the Birth Story

The birthing books will tell you to have a “birth plan”; to figure out the kind of birth you want, right down to the last little detail. Home birth or hospital birth, medicated or not, midwife or doctor. Then medicine, and nature, tells you that you can’t really plan a birth. That babies will come when and where they please, with little regard for any plans that you’ve made. Quite the contradiction…and a small taste of the foreshadowing that it is to be a parent.

It has been a month since my third precious baby was born. I’m finally at a place where I want to share that amazing experience with other people. I have taken that time to cherish every moment, ache and pain, scary and crazy moment of the birth that I was FINALLY able to have. It was exhilarating, terrifying and healing all at once. You see, I had c-sections with my two previous pregnancies. My first was “necessary” because of my high blood pressure and my second was grudgingly planned. I fully understand that c-sections are essential for the safety of some mothers and babies. This is not meant to be a post to debate the merits of a “right” way to give birth. This is just to share my experience and journey.

After 3 pregnancies, many years and tons of reading I realized that, for me, I wanted to have a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 c-sections). I wanted the experience of giving birth. While realistically I know that I gave birth to my previous two children it felt more like they were delivered from me versus me giving birth. A small distinction to some but to me was HUGE. So, here’s my story:

At 37 weeks my doctor informed me that he would be checking my cervix at the next weekly appointment and if there was progression in my cervix (aka dilation and softening) that he would go ahead and induce me. The 38 week appointment came and no dilation.

39 week appointment came and no dilation.

40 week appointment came and no dilation.

By 40 weeks and 3 days I had all but given up hope that I would get the birth I wanted. My doctor had told me I could go to 41 weeks but I had my next weekly appointment the following morning and wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I was very upset but trying to hold it together. I kept trying to tell myself that a safe delivery, no matter how it happens, was all that was important. However, it was a HUGE stress for me because, on the off-chance my husband and I wanted any additional children, I would need a c-section no questions asked. Well, I woke up on Monday morning (40 weeks and 3 days) and felt different. I was having contractions pretty regularly and then they would stop so I chalked it up to more Braxton Hicks. Then it started up again. So, I texted my husband and told him that I think I might be going into labor soon and he should pack his bag for the hospital. He didn’t believe me. That night I had dinner plans with some friends and got dressed up and put on makeup, all the while having contractions. The contractions continued throughout dinner and late into the night. I was still awake with my husband watching the SEC Championship game when I felt a massive cramp across my lower abdomen and tried to get out of bed. As soon as I struggled to my feet my water broke at 11:43 pm. I looked at my husband and he said “did your water just break?!” and all I could say was “I told you to pack your bag!!” My contractions were immediately 4-5 minutes apart and strong!

Fast forward a hectic 45 minutes while we figured out childcare for our two other sleeping kids and made the trip to the hospital (and I waited for hubby to pack his bag…..) and I was admitted. I was tested to make sure my water broke (how do people not know? it was definitely NOT like peeing on myself!) and my cervix checked–2 cm already! Then came the waiting through contractions….. by 4 am I was dilated 4 cm and in some serious pain as the contractions were not giving me any down time. Seriously, all you natural mamas? More power to you. I caved and asked for an epidural. I was shaking and could feel my stomach churning and knew that vomiting was on the horizon. I got my epidural and my dilation stalled and between 4 am and 12 pm I only dilated 2 cm.

{Side note: I’ve heard before that an epidural can slow down the dilation but I was afraid if I waited too long I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural at all. My doctor had already informed me that should I stall in delivery I would need to have an emergency c-section and, with no epidural, be put completely under. That was my worst case scenario so between having an epidural and missing the birth completely? I opted for the epidural. Now, in hindsight, I would have waited a little longer on the epidural. I had read that standing and walking helps with enduring the contractions but in the heat of birth I completely forgot that little nugget of information and stayed seated in the bed. I would have gotten out of bed to handle those contractions a little better and waited on the epidural….but no matter.}

Between 12 pm and 3:15 pm I had progressed from 6 cm to 10 cm and fully effaced. The nurses rushed to get the doctor and within 15 minutes I was prepped for delivery. 15 more minutes of pushing and, at 3:45 pm, I got to witness the delivery of my handsome baby boy!!

It was, by far, one of the best experiences of my life.

The labor and delivery nurses were amazing and a great support system. They kept saying what a brave and strong mama I was for having my VBA2C. My mom was there to witness the birth and take all the awesome pictures that you see. My aunt was there to come visit me while I labored and happened to walk in right as they prepped me to deliver! My husband was there to witness the entire birth.He didn’t understand my need to have a vaginal delivery but supported my decision. After comparing all 3 deliveries, he was in awe of the whole thing. He marveled at how he could see our baby coming into the world, how he was able to cut the umbilical cord while our baby rested on my stomach and how we could all be together immediately after giving birth (versus waiting for me to get sewn back up with the c-sections).

Within 30 minutes of giving birth, big sister and brother got to meet their new baby brother–another first since usually everyone had to wait to see us while I was in the recovery room. They were so happy and amazed as well! They even brought sweet presents for their brother: new clothes!

All in all, I would wait those agonizing, stressful and hard 40 weeks and 3 days all over again just to experience the amazing birth of this sweet baby again.

It’s been a month and I’m still in awe.

The One with the Muffins

I love to bake and try new recipes. My latest obsession is with the recipes from my Fast and Fabulous cookbook by Lisa Leake. She’s the inspiring author and mama behind 100 Days of Real Food. Her recipes are easy, yummy and whole foods.

Today I decided on her Whole Wheat Lemon Raspberry Muffins.

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My oldest has become quite the little sous-chef lately. She’s very proud of the fact that she can crack an egg on her own. I love the fact that we can share something together and not want to pull my hair out.

Since I didn’t have any lemons on hand today I substituted my Lemon essential oil. In this recipe I used about 7 drops but you could definitely use more if you want a bigger punch of Lemon.

These were such simple ingredients which is makes it so easy for Harper to help out. I love that I can show her how to bake–with a few adjustments to accommodate her.

  • a small muffin tin to make it manageable for her small hands to fill. (Plus, it makes it a perfect snack size for the kids)
  • an ice cream scoop for her to fill the muffin tins.
  • a chair to reach the counters

The One with All the Discipline

Let’s just be clear: toddlers are little dictators.

There’s a reason it’s called the Terrible Two’s and Threenagers. They are angry, impatient, demanding, hot little messes. They bring me to my breaking point, sometimes daily…or hourly. Sometimes they push me right over the edge. And the worst part? They are minions of my own creation. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces! But when you see your character traits (um, flaws) manifested in the little people you love dearly it can be a little disconcerting.

I’m the first to admit that I have little to no patience, I like things done a certain way (read: my way) and can be completely and utterly stubborn. Maybe it’s my OCD, type-A personality, maybe it’s because I can only hear so many requests for Paw Patrol and water refills in one day or maybe it’s just God’s way of putting me through refining fire. Whatever the reason I have had to learn to deal with my own flaws in my children.

It.is.not.easy.

I fail….all the time.

Enter the aforementioned Type-A personality. There are times when being supremely focused, disciplined and head strong come in handy! Refusing to raise uncontrollable and disrespectful children is one of those times. I scoured Pinterest for ideas on disciplining toddlers and found that it mostly consisted of chores and schedules.Perfect! I have already given my kids chores and age appropriate activities that they complete on a day-to-day basis. They must:

  • Put their plates and utensils in the sink when they’re done eating.
  • Feed and water the dog.
  • Wipe up their messes.
  • Put their laundry away.

Maybe that’s a little too structured for some people and that’s fine. Remember those character traits I mentioned? Well, my kids definitely have the “structure” part passed down to them. They thrive when they know what to expect. Now I just needed to fine tune those habits into a schedule of sorts. I decided to divide the day in two so they could get a treat from the Treasure Box to reinforce the good behavior. A full day seemed a little too unrealistic to expect a 2 and 3-year-old to wait. The chores I settled on were:

  • Eat Breakfast
  • Brush Teeth
  • Feed Daisy
  • Get Dressed
  • Clean up Toys
  • Eat Lunch
  • Be Kind
  • Help Mommy

{The only differences in the bottom part of the day are “Eat Dinner”, “Take a Bath” and “Put on PJs”. I added the “Be Kind” and “Help Mommy” as a catch-all for using their manners, playing nicely, following instructions, etc. They don’t always do so well with these but it gives them something to work towards and repetition is key.}

Once I had a plan in place, it was off to Target for the supplies I needed. A cork board was all I had in mind but I ended up with some Velcro fasteners and laminating paper as well. I figured this way I could easily print off another chore chart should the need arise (puh-lease, of course it will!) Also, the laminated paper would make it easy to wipe off the “stars” they received to check off each item.

One chart per child with their names on them. I figured that name recognition couldn’t hurt at this stage either. And color-coded paper to save the headache of fighting until they started to recognize their names.

The finished product turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! I explained what each picture meant and we practiced saying each one several times. Then I showed them the Treasure Box (crayons, coloring books, figurines, bubbles, pencils, books) and explained that whenever they completed the stars for each section of the chart they could pick one item.

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So far, so good! They love to complete their chores so they can get their stars on the chart, they race each other to complete them and ask for the next item and they LOVE to count their stars and make sure they get their Treasure Box.

Now if only Mommy could keep up with the charts while taking care of the newborn……

The One on Valentine’s Day

Let’s be real for a second, the hustle and bustle of motherhood makes love look a little different from what it used to. Now love looks like folded laundry, a nap, clean dishes, taking the kids for 30 minutes so Mama can just.have.some.peace. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be super expensive either; sometimes the simple gesture of a homemade gift or card can mean the world. It means you took a moment to think of me and what I would like. So, on this Valentine’s Day I give you a super yummy and satisfying dessert from 100 Days of Real Food. Simple recipe and the ingredients are probably something you have on hand (for those of you that need a last-minute Valentine’s Day idea).

I give you– 4 Ingredient Molten Lava Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 8 TBSP of butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 450 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan with liners. (I used my silicone muffin liners since they are non-stick and super easy for clean up)
  3. Melt butter and chocolate chips together over low heat until smooth. Let cool slightly.
  4. Whisk eggs and sugar together. Stir in the chocolate mixture until well combined.
  5. Divide mixture into muffin cups and bake until cakes are puffed up, but still jiggly in the center–about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Turn upside down onto a plate and garnish. (I used powdered sugar and raspberries like she did but feel free to experiment).

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The One with Essential Oils

Essential oils have become an increasingly hot topic lately but one that I wasn’t even aware of until March 2015. At that point I had a 2-year-old and an 8 month old and had been battling illnesses between them and my husband since November 2014. We had what felt like a never-ending revolving door or sickness–the flu, the stomach bug, a cold turned upper respiratory infection, the stomach bug…again, a cold turned upper respiratory infection…again, and a few more thrown in for good measure. I was exhausted and at my wit’s end. I mean, I cleaned my house regularly, we all bathed regularly and ate relatively healthy foods.

So, what was going on??

There are two women that I follow on their blogs–100 Days of Real Food and The Food Babe. Both of these women opened my eyes to all the JUNK in our food and, eventually, in our bath and body products. I started on a journey to rid our pantry (and bathrooms) of all the foods and other items with the extra additives and harmful chemicals. I began making as many of my own bath and body products as I could and researching cleaner/healthier alternatives to our family loved recipes. Now, don’t get me wrong, this was not an overnight occurrence. The kind of change that is needed is slow and tedious, even if needed. We still eat at places like Chick-fil-a and enjoy pizza that’s been delivered but I try to balance it out with fresh fruits and vegetables and less out-of-the-box foods. Balance, I found, has been  key for our family. It’s a slow process converting my family, and myself, to better alternatives when we are so programmed to what is considered “normal”. But that’s a whole other topic and one that both of these ladies have covered extensively.

What I found that was missing, and that I longed for, is a scent profile. Our minds are very much programmed and effected by smells (You can read more in-depth about that here). I wanted to add a pleasing but non-toxic scent to the products I was making. Thus began my research into essential oils. After months of research and back and forth I settled on Young Living essential oils. (You can see why here) 19 months later and I’m still just as in love with their philosophy and products as I was in the beginning. I love having something to use for the scent profile in my DIY products as well as immune support, stinky diapers, stress (hello, two toddlers!), digestive issues, headaches and so much more.

Thus, an oil addict was born.