Family

Our Girls, Lately

October 17, 2018

It’s been a while since I did an update on the girls, hasn’t it? I was laying in bed just last night, thinking about how BIG sweet Ainsley is! I swear I was just blogging about her pregnancy with you all, and now she is inching up on four years old and suddenly seems so much older now that she is in preschool. And, as mommas of multiple kids know, the second kiddo just doesn’t stay a baby quite as long as the first did. Collins always has Ainsley to push and pace her, meaning this momma is always amazed and a little sad about how very grown up my baby is becoming, too.

So, in case you’ve been wondering what the girls have been up to lately, here’s a little Hofmeyer family update!

Ainsley //
-Attending preschool two mornings a week and LOVING it. She asks every day if it’s a preschool day. It’s a faith-based 3-year-old preschool and I can’t say enough great things about the decision to send her and all that she is learning about faith and the world around her.
-Participating in her first year of dance! I said I would never be a dance mom, but like all things in motherhood, you tend to eat your words in favor of what your kids want and desire.
-I know all parents think their kids are smart, but I’m always amazed at this kid’s power to reason. She is so curious about the world around her and how things work and I LOVE her little mind and the way it works!
-She is TALL. I suppose that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me + Joe in real life. We’re both tall so our girls are following suit, always in the 90+ percentile.
-Loves to eat mac and cheese, drink milk, make homemade graham crackers with mom, and prefers jelly sandwiches over peanut butter sandwiches. As you can probably tell, her nutrition is something we’re working on and have plenty of strides to make. 😉

Collins //
-Wishes she was attending preschool like Ainsley. Ha! But seriously, I think this kid would happily attend preschool if they let mom come with.
-Which comes to my second point about Collins. She loves people, but she REALLY loves mom, which makes things like leaving her in church nursery r with a new babysitter quite difficult. Thankfully we have a handful of trusted caregivers that she loves and that I can easily leave her with without major tears.
-She is a climber! Ainsley was not a climber, so this is new to us. She climbs on EVERYTHING. She is very content to climb onto the dining room table and sit there for the longest time, just happy to be on the table. See also: She has a lot of bruises from trying to climb on all the things.
-Collins is also a pretty physically advanced kid (see above point) and does well keeping up with her sister, running/walking everywhere and trying to track down Ainsley.
-She understands nearly everything we say to her, but doesn’t talk a lot yet. Her vocabulary has grown since getting tubes (yay for passing her hearing test!) and she currently clearly says “Mama” “Dada” “Pippa” (sounds like Bopa), “Ainsley” (sounds like Cece), “Mimi” “Nana” “Papa” and more.
-Loves milk as much as her sister always has/does, eats nearly everything we put in front of her
-Has a general love for life and love for people and is such a happy little baby-toddler, can be needy at times and can never decide if she wants to be held by mom or running around

This season of life with the girls, while busy and crazy, is just SO incredibly fun. I find that I always feel I’m hitting my parenting stride in any stage when I’m getting SLEEP. So now that both girls are very consistent sleepers (though very early risers) it’s much easier for me to enjoy their ages and stages because I’m well-rested, too. We are able to up and go so much more easily than we have been able to in the past, and they are great travelers. Both our girls really love being “on the go” so I’m thinking it’s their way of telling mom and dad that they want to travel to more places. Noted, children!

I’m so thankful for their joyful spirits and what a gift these two are to their parents! We love you, Ainsley and Collins!

Family

How I’m Finding Mom Balance in a Crazy Season

October 11, 2018

The last couple months have been really crazy for our family. I try not to allow our schedule to get too packed during the weeks and weekends – particularly trying to avoid back-to-back weekends when we are away from the kids or traveling for work, or any number of things. And yet somehow our fall ended up much more chaotic than I had hoped or planned.

It started with me traveling to Nantucket for work for five days, followed by a weekend trip up to Minneapolis for myself and Joe, my birthday weekend, and another trip up north for a wedding. Add in Joe’s busy schedule with work and football coaching, the beginning of my busy season with Beautycounter (holiday collections and events!), Ainsley starting preschool and dance, Collins starting music class and trying to have any semblance of a social life. Well, you get the idea. It’s been busy. And I don’t, in any way, like to glorify the pursuit of busy. Because I think our culture’s obsession with being busy is gross. But somehow we’ve found ourselves in a little bit of an unusually fast-paced schedule as we’ve navigated these new roles, responsibilities, and activities.

During the first 2 years I was with Beautycounter and running my freelance business, I didn’t have many reasons to travel outside of the home. My work could nearly all be done from the computer and comfort of my home office or kitchen. But as my team and business has grown, and other opportunities have come my way through blogging and freelancing, I’ve found there are more and more occasions calling me outside of the home and on the road.

I shared about the tension of work and mom life briefly on Instagram stories the other day, and so many of you expressed that you had similar feelings of push and pull, of loving your babies more than life itself and yet feeling called to embrace and pursue opportunities outside of the home, too. I’m SO thankful that my work is so flexible and allows me to be around for preschool drop-off and pick-up most days and putting dinner on the table at 5:30 most evenings for my crew, but I’m also stepping into different roles. The opportunities that sometimes mean I’m not at preschool drop-off and that take-out pizza is the most viable dinner option. Sometimes it means dad puts the girls to bed while I work or travel occasionally.

While I’m certainly still learning the balance for our family and figuring out how to make it all work, there are a few things that I’ve found which seem to ease the crazy seasons and travel for everyone in our family. Here’s what we’re finding works for our family:

  1. Make the Plan Clear
    Since Ainsley was really little she has always felt more secure knowing what the plan is for our day or days to come. We frequently talk about “the plan” for our days together, and it’s especially important when I’m going to be away for any period of time longer than usual. She always does SO well while I’m gone, but I want to make sure that I do my part to make my travels easier on her.

    We talk about who will drop her off and pick her up from preschool, who will be with her at night (dad!) and who will take care of her during the day. Joe usually tells Ainsley how many sleeps it will be until mommy gets back which also seems to help her get a feel for the length of a trip and when she can anticipate mom being gone.

  2. Anticipate Challenges
    It’s always hard for me to leave my crew! Although I’ve found it’s gotten a little easier with more practice and reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. That said, it’s inevitable that there will be challenges, such as lots of tears from Ainsley or that feeling of guilt when I leave or ask Joe to take vacation time for me to be gone. I’m not the type of person who likes to burden others with my needs or ask for special schedules or allowances, so it’s hard for me when I have to do any of those things. But I’m thankful for those around me that push and encourage me when they know how hard it is for me to leave.
  3. Be Intentional
    This is something that I’ve been working on doing a better job of even when I’m not traveling. I’ve realized that it’s so easy to be “with” your kids without really being present, meaning that I’ve found plenty of times when I’m physically around my kids but mentally absent – thinking about my to-do list or checking my phone or just up in my own head. So especially when I have a crazy week or limited time with the girls, I’ve been laser focused on spending time with them in a very intentional and focused way. More play time together, a few extra books at bed, really looking at them and listening to what they are saying, doing less multi-tasking. It helps me to really focus on deep connection when I’m with them and not feel guilty when I’m away or even just off at a coffee shop to work.

This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, just a few of the big things that come to mind. Of course, I should also add that PLANNING and COMMUNICATING as a family and as a couple is crucial. I’m not necessarily the most organized individual (ha!) but it’s an area I’m working on improving upon out of necessity.

That means very clearly noting who will have the kids when, putting out clothing for school and what Ainsley will bring to show-and-tell while I’m away, and making sure the house is stocked with easy meals, snacks, prepped lunches, etc. While Joe is an exceptionally (emphasis added) capable parent and navigates my absence with such grace, I try my best to make my leave as smooth as possible by being prepared and helping the day-to-day to run well while I’m gone.

Madison

Healthy Taco Casserole

September 23, 2018

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m doing a little slow Sunday morning meal prep and planning for my weekly meal planning newsletter and this is one of the recipes that will go out in a bit! If you aren’t signed up yet, each Sunday I send out our family’s meal plan to serve as inspiration for you in your meal planning efforts. It’s nothing fancy, but I hope it’s helpful, and it certainly keeps me on track! You can sign up HERE if you’re interested in getting a meal plan sent to your inbox each week.

I’m always looking for more family-friendly recipes that aren’t terribly difficult to make and are pleasing for little kiddos. This recipe is just that – easy to make, pleasing for nearly everyone, filling yet healthy. If you are looking for a new casserole recipe to add into your rotation this fall as temperatures drop, I highly recommend adding this into your rotation.

This week I divided up the recipe into five lunch containers for Joe’s lunches this week. I’m also including some lettuce and sour cream on the side so he can top this with some traditional taco toppings before eating. While I doubt the chips will stay good and crunchy throughout the week, I’m hopeful it still tastes great!

Healthy Taco Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium orange, red or yellow sweet pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups hot-cooked brown rice (I like Trader Joe's frozen brown rice bags)
  • 1 cup mild or medium salsa
  • 1½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (not the "taco" cheese with seasoning)
  • 1 cup crushed whole grain tortilla chips
  • Lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream for serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until onions are browned and peppers are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, brown ground beef; drain. Return beef to skillet and add in ½ cup water and the taco seasoning mix. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the brown rice and the sauteed peppers and onions, along with the salsa and 1 cup of the cheese.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup of the cheese and the crushed tortilla chips. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

 

Family, Fashion

Fall Skincare 101

September 18, 2018

Hello, friends! Today we are talking about SKINCARE and finding healthy, safe options as we transition into the cooler temps. While it’s still summer-feeling over here in Iowa, cold temps are right around the corner and it’s important to make sure that your skincare routine adapts to the weather.

It’s also worth noting that if the recommendations below don’t fit your needs, I’m always happy to do an individualized skincare consultation with you! You can always email madisonjanemayberry@gmail.com and I’m happy to consult you more individually on your needs.

That said, today I’m sharing three different sets of “must have” products based on your skin type so you are sure to have all the hydration your skin needs going into the cooler months. Because when your skin is pale and your summer tan has faded, you better at least have skin that’s blemish-free and glowing, right?

*Please note this isn’t a one-size-fits all recommendation and your actual best fit might be different/varied from what’s mentioned above. This is a general recommendation only.

If you have….

DRY, SENSITIVE SKIN (not acne prone)
1. Countermatch Cleansing Milk
2. Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion & Recovery Sleeping Cream
2. Balancing Face Oil
3. Overnight Resurfacing Peel (used just 1x per week)

OILY, ACNE PRONE SKIN (not sensitive)
1. Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser
2. Countercontrol Matte Effect Gel Cream
3. Countrcontrol SOS Spot Treatment
4. Overnight Resurfacing Peel (used 2-3x per week)

DULL NORMAL SKIN (not sensitive or acne prone)
1. Nourishing Cream Cleanser
2. Rejuvenating Day Cream and Rejuvenating Night Cream
3. Brightening Face Oil
4. Overnight Resurfacing Peel (used 2-3x per week)

Personally, I follow the “Dry, Sensitive Skin” recommendation above and it’s been working SO well for me! My skin has literally never been happier. Don’t believe me? I’m wearing ZERO foundation or tinted moisturizer in the photo below. That glow? Well it’s the Overnight Resurfacing Peel in action!

 

Korean Beef Bowls

September 16, 2018

I’m always looking for new and easy ways to keep the meals that we make at dinnertime interesting. This is one of the newer meals we’ve been enjoying at our house, first inspired by this recipe from Damn Delicious and then tweaked slightly and adapted by me. That said, the recipe is so easy that once you make it the first time you won’t really need a recipe the next time. It’s simple, easy, and was extremely family-friendly. I was worried that the girls wouldn’t like the different taste but they both were happy to eat this meal – a total mom win!

A few other suggestions for adapting this Korean-inspired beef bowl would be to swap out ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef, or using another base like quinoa or faro in place of the brown rice. Like I said, it’s adaptable and works well any matter of ways! Add this one to your weekly rotation – I promise you won’t regret it!

Korean Beef Bowls
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 servings
 
Easy, family-friendly meal that even picky eaters (like my toddler!) will love.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • Hot cooked brown rice and steamed broccoli for serving
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and ginger until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add in ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until meat is browned. Drain; return mixture to skillet. Pour soy sauce mixture over meat and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes more or until heated through.
  3. Spoon rice and broccoli into bowls. Top with the meat mixture and serve immediately.