Chunky Peanut Butter Granola

July 24, 2019

Over the last year I learned that one of Joe’s favorite breakfasts is yogurt with granola and fresh berries. I don’t know when I came to this realization – I believe it was on vacation when he mentioned one time while eating yogurt, berries and granola – that he could eat that breakfast every day. And suddenly I realized that I hardly ever had that very combination on hand at our house.

Since then, I’ve been working on sampling and subsequently creating a stellar granola recipe that is worthy of sharing over here and today is the day that I think I finally have something that’s more than worthy. It contains peanut butter – because we have a strong love affair for peanut butter in our home – and makes the most perfect, crunchy yet soft granola clusters. Granola clusters are a must in order for granola to really be granola, IMHO.

Here’s to many more breasts of chunky granola, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, friends!

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola
Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups old-fashioned oats

Directions
Heat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

Place butter, honey and peanut butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until ingredients are hot and butter begins to melt. Remove from microwave and stir until butter is melted completely and ingredients are well combined. Stir in salt.

Stir in the oats until oats are evenly coated. Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 75 to 85 minutes or until oats are just beginning to look slightly toasty. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Break into pieces once cooled and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.



Uncategorized

My Maternity Favorite Favorites

July 17, 2019

Now that I’m nearing the end of this pregnancy, I thought it was time to do a recap of the items of clothing that I’ve worn and truly loved throughout the entire pregnancy. Sometimes it takes a full pregnancy to really look back and figure out which items of clothing were the best purchases and investments along the way.

So, with that said, here are the favorite favorites that have stood the test of the last 36 weeks!

1. Kindred Bravely Sublime Support Nursing & Maternity Sports Bra
This has been my hands-down favorite nursing bra I’ve ever purchased. It’s made out of the world’s most comfortable material and is a great blend of supportive yet comfortable. I find myself making sure I’m on top of our family’s laundry just to have this clean!

2. Madewell Over the Belly Maternity Jeans
It’s not secret I’m not a huge fan of maternity jeans but these have been the pair I found myself reaching for time after time over the many other pairs I have. Note: Size down!

3. Isabel Maternity Inset Panel Midi Jean Shorts
I’ve really loved these jean shorts for much of my pregnancy! Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and my belly is getting a lot bigger I find I’m reaching for my full panel maternity shorts (below) more often, but for most of my pregnancy these have been a favorite.

4. Gap Maternity Full Panel Denim Shorts with Raw Hem
My favorite full-panel maternity jean shorts! These are so comfy and as I’ve gotten further along in pregnancy I’ve appreciated the full panel.

5. Old Navy Dolphin-Hem Run Shorts for Women
These aren’t maternity workout shorts, but I’ve found them to work great for pregnancy when sized up! I’ve lived in them all of this summer – like I do when I’m not pregnant, too!

6. Hatch Collection The Slouch Dress
Make no mistake, this was a total maternity splurge and in all honesty I haven’t worn it a ton but it’s been nice for a handful of occasions to have it on hand and know that I have a dressy yet comfy option as the need has present itself.

7. Gap Maternity Ruffle One-Piece Suit
I have LOVED this maternity swimsuit – and trust me that’s not something I would have ever imagined myself saying about a maternity swimsuit. I ditched the option thin strap and actually ended up wearing the straps like normal on my shoulders vs. the off the shoulder look and it worked great + was super functional for mom life at the pool!

8. LOFT Maternity Mixed Media Shirttail Tank
I have this tank in two colors and LOVE it. It’s worked great throughout many stages of pregnancy and I love that it doesn’t look maternity in the least bit, making it something I could see myself wearing in the first few weeks postpartum, too. I’ve also tossed it in the dryer on accident and it still fits great. Total win!

9. LOFT Maternity Fern Mixed Media Shell
Another LOFT favorite this pregnancy – I’ve worn it so many times and love how comfortable it is and, yet again, non “maternity” looking.

10. Carly Jean Los Angeles Stella Half Sleeve Dress
I’ve worn this dress all throughout my pregnancy and LOVE it. I just sized up one size and it still has plenty of room for this growing bump.

Fashion

Summer Clean Beauty Round-Up

June 20, 2019


Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer //
This is a must-have year-round in my book, but especially so in the summer months! I appreciate the SPF 20 protection it provides along with lightweight coverage to make your skin look flawless but feels like you’re not wearing any makeup at all.

Cote Nail Polish //
My husband treated me to some new Cote nail polish for Mother’s Day! Cote is a clean polish line that is formulated without the major toxins found in most conventional nail polishes. When I first tried Cote a few years ago I wasn’t a huge fan, but I think their formulations have gotten SO much better in recent years, making them a new favorite.

Primally Pure Dry Shampoo //
I quit using dry shampoo a couple years ago when I learned how bad it is for scalp health and all the icky ingredients found in most conventional dry shampoos on the market. But my momma self really missed having an option to make it easier to go longer between hair washes. Thankfully Primally Pure makes a great dry shampoo – one for light locks and one for dark – that works well and smells great!

Overnight Resurfacing Peel //
Skin goes through a LOT in the summer – exposure to the sun, layers of sunscreen, sweat, and long days. I tend to notice that my skin needs more exfoliation in the summer months, which means I find I’m reaching for my favorite Overnight Resurfacing Peel twice per week to keep my skin glowing and combat clogged pores and blackheads.

Pearl Sheer Lipstick //
This is a new-to-me shade and it’s quickly become a favorite. It’s so easy to wear, and ultra moisturizing, which is a huge plus for me since my lips tends to be dry most of the time. It can be worn alone or on top of you favorite brighter lip colors for a more muted look.

Rahua Classic Conditioner //
My hair tends to feel a little more on the dry + dehydrated side in the summer thanks to the trips to the pool, time outside and in the sun, etc. I’ve been using this Rahua Classic Conditioner for a few months now and really love how soft and smooth it makes my hair feel. Note: I haven’t yet found a shampoo of theirs that I like, but the conditioner has worked well for me!

Goop G. Tox Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo //
Piggy backing off what I mentioned above, my hair basically needs more TLC in the summer months. I LOVE this salt scrub shampoo from Goop. It’s not designed to be use daily, bur rather an occasional use product that I work into my hair care routine about once per week. It helps remove build-up and leaves your hair and scalp feeling SO lightweight and clean. My husband calls it “the good shampoo” and loves it just as much as I do. 😉

Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass //
This is my favorite for sloughing off dead skin cells! It leaves skin feeling SO good, smooth and hydrated. I can’t say enough times how much I love this stuff.

Family, Pregnancy

Emotionally Challenging Pregnancies

June 17, 2019

I’ve had this post brewing in my head for quite some time, but finding the words to write about something so joyful yet so challenging has felt nearly impossible. How do you find the words to write about something that feels so real, yet so self-indulgent at the same time?

As a momma who has walked through miscarriage three times, I know as well as most what it means to long for a big, round belly. Each time I’ve been pregnant, I’ve counted down the days to various milestones. Twelve weeks – out of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. Twenty three weeks – when baby is considered viable outside the womb. Thirty weeks – a baby born after thirty weeks generally has the same long-term outcomes for health as babies born at full-term. There is a certain holding of the breath that happens in each pregnancy after experiencing the loss of a baby, and my heart knows this well.

And while I’ve been overwhelmingly thankful for this baby, and every baby God has blessed us with, one side effect of experiencing loss is feeling horrible every time you aren’t eternally grateful for every aspect of pregnancy. I mean, what kind of person complains about something they’ve longed so deeply for?

Yet here I am, writing about my emotionally challenging pregnancy. Because when I quit powering through and really sit with my emotions, I’m faced with the reality that it’s been incredibly difficult for me this time around.

As was the case with my other two pregnancies, the first trimester brought with it a certain sense of melancholy and exhaustion. It was a familiar feeling, triggered by extreme nausea and fear about the what-ifs ahead. I knew enough about my previous two full-term pregnancies to know that after the nausea and exhaustion subsided I would likely come out of the emotional fog, too. And then, instead of 12 or 13 weeks of nausea, I found myself sick through the first 21 weeks, much longer than I had experienced with the girls, with the magical second trimester burst of energy nowhere to be found

Extended nausea gave way to both a 20-week anatomy ultrasound scare, followed by increased muscle reactions to the progesterone injections I take throughout pregnancy, which led to physical therapy and chiropractic. All the while, feeling a strange mix of exhaustion, sadness and irritability, made worse by everything listed above.

In the back of my mind, since the day we found out about this baby’s August due date, I’ve felt fearful. The transition to two kiddos was NOT an easy one for me, and while I look back at those early days with two kids fondly now, I still distinctly remember how stretched and maxed out I felt much of the first three months of Collins’s life. Knowing we will be adding another sweet baby to the mix, at the very beginning of football season (my husband is an assistant HS football coach on top of his regular work schedule) while entering a busy season for my own work has left me with so may fears about my own capacities.

My mind has taken every uncertainty, every day where I feel totally exhausted managing just two kiddos, every sleep-disrupted night as we’ve transitioned the girls into a shared room and jumped five steps ahead to, “How in the world will I do this with a newborn in the mix, too?!”

My body has felt tired, my heart has felt fearful, and I’ve never been more keenly aware of my own human limitations. Any of my other momma friends feel me?

So, with all that said, what steps have we tangibly taken to manage the challenges of this pregnancies and the uncertainties of the next few months?

Joe and I have talked about August and beyond a LOT. And we continue to talk about it as I need to process the uncertainties and what-ifs. We’ve had a lot of great conversations about family priorities and how we will communicate needs once baby boy arrives and check-ins on how I’m doing with our crazy schedule.

I’m starting therapy. I really dislike the fact that I even gave a second thought to writing this, but there is still such a stigma about therapy and getting professional help, isn’t there? But Joe and I are both huge advocates of the value therapy can play to getting + keeping people in a healthy place emotionally. The only reason I put off therapy for so long was not having a great option I felt was a good match with what I was looking for. With a personal referral and the ability to see the right people remotely, I feel much more confident in who I’ve found and having a resource going forward.

I‘m accepting help. That means our beloved childcare provider starting back up right after baby is born, and asking my mom to help do evening kiddo duty with me one night a week, and being willing to tell Joe if I feel that it’s all just too much on my plate. (I’m still working on that last part…)

We’re setting the bar low. Low expectations for the first few months, and low standards for things like meals and schedules. If my kiddos and husband have to live on Jimmy Johns, cereal, and PB&J for the first two months of this baby’s life, that’s totally fine. And if I need to get my house cleaned every week to keep up, I’m going to accept that, too. Settling the bar low has always helped me in avoiding disappointment or unrealistic expectations about situations or circumstances.

And in the end, what gives me the most comfort is knowing that my strength and ability to parent these three little people does not come from ME at all, but from HE who has the power to create and sustain life. We are so thankful for the gift of this sweet baby boy and remembering where my true source of strength comes from gives me the peace each day to know that each day is one God ordained and will get us through.

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

New Baby Items

June 13, 2019


Snuggle Me Organic Newborn Lounger
Full disclaimer: This product isn’t designed for evening sleep, but I found having a newborn lounger of some type was great for daytime napping around the house. We used a different newborn lounger last time, but it was pink and covered in hearts so we upgraded this time around to something more appropriate for baby boy.

Owlet Smart Baby Sock
I thought about buying this smart sock monitor for Collins last time around, but at the time the only version was the first generation Owlet and I read a lot of reviews about glitches associated with the sock. This time around, the sock has been reworked in the second generation model AND the Owlet was FSA eligible so it was a no-brainer for the added peace of mind during those early months.

DockATot
Not entirely sure why we have both a Dock a Tot and a Snuggle Me Organic, but we do. Call it nesting the third time around?! It seems to me that one OR the other would be more than sufficient, but here we are with both! Baby boy is going to have options I guess!

DermaFrida Silicone Baby Brush
A friend gifted this to us and I thought it was such a sweet and useful gift! Collins had terrible cradle cap that we were always working on, so I’m excited to have this on hand to keep baby boy’s scalp healthy and cradle cap free.

Windi by Fridababy
Since I have a fast letdown and oversupply, I know that my babies tend to struggle with gas in the early days. I wished I had this with Collins, who had such an irritable tummy the first month, to help relieve gas and stomach discomfort. Such a silly looking yet practical baby item, right?!

Vava Night Light
I did a lot of scouring of the internet to see what came most highly recommended for night lights good for middle of the night feedings. I decided on this light because it has multiple brightness options and can be easily turned on and off/dimmed with the touch of your hand.

True & Co. Seamless Convertible Bra (as a nursing bra)
I’ve been on the hunt for great nursing bras since I never found any I loved the first two times around. And while this is technically NOT a nursing bra, the front hooks make it super nursing friendly while also being something that is comfortable to wear and doesn’t feel frumpy. I LOVE True & Co. bras so much! (click HERE for $25 off your first True & Co. order!)

HALO Microfleece Swaddle
This isn’t a new product for us, but it’s been one of our favorite swaddles with both girls so we bought a new one since our old one was looking pretty grimy and gross.

SwaddleMe Original Swaddles
These are a new purchase for me but I loved how easy they look to get baby in and out and secure baby in a good, tight swaddle. They are more lightweight than the HALO microfleece swaddles so I’m excited to use them in August when baby is born.

Madison

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