Family

let me stay in this season

December 12, 2017

Last week I was sitting with a handful of moms a few steps ahead of me in the parenting journey – moms who have kids who can stay by themselves for a few hours at a time, who don’t wear diapers or take naps and spend the whole day at school. Who dress themselves and can go to the bathroom without assistance.

As I listened to them talk, for a second it sounded really nice. On the hard, long days I dream about my children becoming more independent. I’m only about three years into this parenting journey and I’ve already forgotten what it feels like to have any semblance of independence or freedom with my time, my body, my head space.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how very at home I feel in this stage of life. What once was foreign and difficult now feels familiar and comfortable – the physical exhaustion, the frazzled mind and disheveled hair, the expanding and contracting body stretched and changed from having babies. Juggling all the things all the time. Squeezing in workouts, quiet time, and trips out by myself in the margins and fringes of time made available to me when possible.

Oh, I’m sure the more seasoned mommas out there will be quick to tell me that the best is yet to come and there is so much more fun to be had as our girls get older, and for that I’m so thankful. But right now I want to stay in this thick, heavy, physical season of motherhood. Because while there are some days that I’m not sure I’ll survive, parenting a toddler and a baby is really the sweetest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s demanded so much from me, revealed so much selfishness and yielded equal amounts of personal growth.

My baby is seven months old and it’s gone so fast. Faster than the first, for sure. Collins is perhaps the most kissable, cuddly baby I’ve ever met. I want her to stay a baby forever, and at the same time I can’t wait to have conversations with her and know what she’s thinking.

My toddler is lanky and lean, talking all the time and having real conversations with us. It’s amazing! And yet I could be brought to tears wondering where my first baby went, realizing I will never be able to get that little baby Ainsley back again.

And that pretty much sums up motherhood, doesn’t it? Loving every season, anticipating the next, mourning the loss of the season that has passed. If I go on to have ten kids, you’ll know why!

Madison

Family, Food & Recipes

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

December 5, 2017

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This post is sponsored by Tyson as part of the #JimmyDeanSausage campaign. All opinions are my own and I so appreciate you supporting the brands that make Espresso and Cream possible. 

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day as an adult. Perhaps because it’s accompanied by lots of coffee with half and half, or because these is a level of comfort and ease around our breakfast table that doesn’t exist other times of the day. I wish I could say I loved dinnertime as much as breakfast, but my early-rising kids are in a much better mood first thing in the morning than when 5 pm rolls around, and most dinners are spent bouncing a fussy baby and bribing a toddler to eat a bite of everything on her plate. A struggle that doesn’t usually exist at breakfast.

Joe works out at the gym and eats his breakfast on the road most weekday mornings, but Thursday mornings when Joe is home a little longer than usual, I make a little extra effort to make breakfast special. We’re not talking elaborate and time-consuming – just something savory and hot like eggs with toast and bacon or sausage (Joe and Ainsley’s favorite).

Like I mentioned above, Joe and Ainsley both love sausage so when an opportunity to work with Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage came across my desk, I really had no choice but to accept! We’ve purchased Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage from the refrigerated section many times on our weekly grocery trips to Walmart; I love that the patties only require quick heating through and are sealed in smaller sub-pouches in the box. For a family like ours, who only has hot breakfast together a few times per week, this cuts down on food waste – something I can fully get behind.

This week’s breakfast went above and beyond our usual scrambled eggs, sausage and toast, because who doesn’t love a good restaurant-style breakfast sandwich? Toasted Ciabatta buns filled with sunny-side-up eggs, sharp white cheddar cheese, sausage, and fresh mixed greens. Because I had to get some greens in there. It’s a compulsion. I just can’t be helped. In full disclosure: Ainsley didn’t eat the greens because, “I don’t like that salad!” But we’re working on it. 😉

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shaved
  • 4 Jimmy Dean Fully-Cooked Sausage Patties
  • 1 cup mixed greens
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange rolls, cut side up, on baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter. Crack eggs into the skillet one at a time. Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Place one egg on bottom half of each of the four rolls. Top each with some of the cheese. Prepare sausage patties according to package directions. Place one sausage patty on top of egg and cheese. Bake 5 minutes to toast rolls slightly and melt cheese.
  3. Remove from oven and top with some of the mixed greens. Top with roll top and serve immediately.

 

Family, Pregnancy

Mind and Body After Baby (The second time around) // 6 Months

November 29, 2017

I can’t believe we are here, six months postpartum with Collins! I remember thinking about when I would write a six month postpartum wellness/fitness update and thinking it seemed SO far out, but time has passed so quickly.

My hope in writing these updates is that I can be an encouragement to those who are perhaps not quite so far along in their postpartum recovery. I remember looking at my body in the hospital and being both in awe of what it was capable of and in dismay because I felt so very unlike myself. Recently, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to give your body grace in the transition and appreciate small victories along the way.

Mind Update //
Months three through six have been pretty uneventful! After making the switch to formula I really felt an overall emotional leveling out and an improvement in my mental health as we finally got into a good groove with sleep, naps, and general schedule. Although I try not to live and die by the schedule, I find having predictability in our routine helps our whole family function better. For me a schedule actually creates MORE freedom in my days.

I’ve also felt myself making huge strides in terms of my overall body confidence and satisfaction – something that I’ve struggled with on and off for years. For the first time in a very very long time I feel so good in my own skin. Strong, healthy, capable. And while I know there are things about my body that aren’t perfect, becoming a mom the second time around has really pushed me past focusing on the imperfections and embracing the here and now in regards to my body.

Fitness & Body Update//
In terms of actual fitness, around the 5 month mark I started to really feel like I was back in pre-baby shape in terms of my fitness and endurance. As you probably remember, I started working out about two weeks postpartum with Collins and it’s been a LOT of hard work and sweat equity over the past five+ months. Last week I ran my first 5K post baby – and my fastest ever time. And although I felt like I wanted to puke after, it was fun to see how far my body has come in the last five months.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on Instagram about what workouts I’ve been doing. I run once or twice per week when the weather is nice, go on lots of long walks with the girls and doing workouts at home with my Beachbody on Demand subscription. I’ve done a lot of different workouts through BOD – 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Shaun Week, Shift Shop, 22 Min Hard Corps, etc. – but my favorite continues to be T25. The workouts are hard, fast-paced and can be done in 25 minutes. That said, I do try to mix things up so my body doesn’t get too comfortable with any one workout. And I think I’ll be doing the new 80 Day Obsession when it launches in January!

Eating and Food//
Since I’m no longer breastfeeding, and haven’t been for quite some time, I am able to eat with a little less thought about calories and overall intake. I had been curious about intermittent fasting for quite some time but it wasn’t good timing while pregnant and nursing, obviously. I’ve been dabbling in intermittent fasting for over a month now and have LOVED it. If you’re curious on learning more about the science behind IF, I would recommend this podcast to start. This article is also a good intro to the concept.

Basically, I try to fast for somewhere between 14 and 16 hours per day, with a minimum of 12 hours. I’ve tried not to be too legalistic about any of it, because life happens, but it’s really encouraged me to NOT mindlessly snack or eat after dinner. Additionally, as an early riser, I was finding that I would eat a snack after dinner, around 8:30 pm and then get up and have breakfast early, around 5 or 6 am, which meant my body’s digestive system wasn’t really resting much each day. The more I read about IF, the more convinced I was it was worth trying. And so far so good! I’ve noticed that my body has leaned out a bit, I have more energy and it feels good to give my system time to rest without eating around the clock.

You can read my other postpartum recaps below:

Mind and Body After Baby // 3 Months
Mind and Body After Baby // 3-6 Weeks 

Family, Food & Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Dates

November 28, 2017

This post is sponsored by Tyson as part of the #TysonMadeWithLove campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Espresso and Cream possible! 

We’re just starting to get into the swing of holiday parties and events over at the Hofmeyer house. The introvert in me has mixed feelings about lots of holiday engagements, something that is entirely lost on my extroverted husband. Anyway….

With two busy kiddos, general schedule craziness and holiday commitments on top of it all I’m always happy to have a handful of easy, go-to recipes I can whip together without a lot of extra stress or effort. Extra bonus points if the ingredients for those recipes can be kept in the fridge throughout the holiday season so I don’t have to run to the grocery store when I need to bring a side dish or appetizer.

These Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Dates are downright addictive. The perfect blend of sweetness from the dates and brown sugar, savory from the Natural Hickory Smoked Wright Brand Bacon and goat cheese and spicy from the hit of cayenne and black pepper. If you live in the Midwest where people’s spice tolerance is pretty low or you’re serving them to kids, I would suggest dropping the cayenne all together.

As you already know, we’re pretty loyal Walmart grocery shoppers in this house. I’ve just been waiting for that email letting me know Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is available at my store. Until then, we are still doing our grocery shopping the “old fashioned” way. With a baby in a carrier and a toddler asking for all the candy as we speed through the aisles hoping to avoid anyone melting down. (Click here to find out if Walmart Grocery Pick Up is available in your area.)

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering appetizer to take to your holiday parties, look no further than the recipe below!

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 16 pitted dates
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 8 slices Wright Brand Bacon - Natural Hickory Smoked, cut in half widthwise
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper and cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut a slit into the tops of each date. Stuff each date with some of the goat cheese. Wrap one of the pieces of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Roll bacon wrapped dates in brown sugar. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and cracked black pepper to taste.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, turn over to one side, bake 15 minutes more. Turn once more and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

 

Family

Holiday Gift Guide #1 // Books + Paper Products

November 21, 2017

In the last year I’ve re-committed myself to reading books. I’ve always been an avid reader, but once Ainsley was born, reading got pushed to the back burner, something I felt sad and a little guilty about. So this year I’ve made a conscious effort to read, even if just a few pages of a book each day, and my life is undoubtedly richer because of it. Personal development, fiction, non-fiction, even books for kids. The list goes on and on.

I’ll be posting a series of holiday gift guides in the weeks to come for those of you who are doing your Christmas shopping in hopes that I can share with you items I genuinely love and products that have made my life richer, starting with books!

  1. A Simplified Life by Emily Ley (pictured above)
    I put this one first because my dear friend Emily’s second book launches TODAY. I’ll be honest and say that my pre-order hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s due to get here tomorrow and I already know I’m going to love it. Tactical tools for intentional living? Yes, please. Emily is a fellow business-owner, wife, mom and very busy woman and I have a feeling any mom in your life would be blessed by this book.
  2. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
    Another good one for busy moms who are trying to sort out and prioritize what matters (do you sense a theme here?) this book has been such a wonderful read! It’s a beautifully designed book and Erin’s words always thoughtful and compelling. I’ve been reading it slowly, chapter by chapter, savoring and thinking about each section before moving on to the next.
  3. Write the Word Journals
    A dear friend gifted me one of these journals that has been on my wish list for quite some time. Each journal is topical (joy, gratefulness, etc.) with scripture prompts on each page, encouraging you to write out each prompted verse and other thoughts you may have in the process. They are beautiful little journals and the perfect stocking stuffer.
  4. Kids Legacy Prayer Journals by Val Marie Paper
    I just bought two of these – one for each of our girls – and they are beautifully designed and made. I’ve been wanting to be more intentional about praying for our girls and these journals leave a beautiful legacy for keeping those prayers in one place. I’m so excited to see how God answers the prayers written in these journals over time and imagine they will be special keepsakes for the girls as they get older.
  5. 2018 Power Sheets – Intentional Goal Planner
    I don’t personally own these but I have friends that do and RAVE about them as a way to goal set intentionally and mindfully in the new year. What a great gift to give someone to start 2018 off on a focused, thoughtful note.
  6. Emily Ley’s Baby Book 
    We have two of these and I can’t tell you how much I love them. As someone who isn’t very crafty and doesn’t really enjoy that aspect of motherhood, these books made me feel craftier than I actually am. There are plenty of prompts to help guide what you write down and spaces for you to put photos with suggestions on what type of photos to include. I also love that it’s a binder so you can 3-hole punch important documents and paperwork from each child.
  7. Chatbooks
    We love these little photo books to archive our family memories. I wish that I was even better about organizing and archiving things like this, but having our favorite photos at least printed and in our house makes me feel like I am taking a step forward. Bonus? They are currently offering 20% off photo books and prints and have some really cute gift-able covers and designs!

 

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