Family

Baby #3 // All the Details

January 22, 2019

Those of you who follow along over on Instagram and Facebook have probably seen our news that we are expecting another baby in August! We are feeling SO thankful for this sweet baby and blessing and as someone who knows what miscarriage is like, we never take the gift of new life for granted. For me, the first trimester always brings its fair share of worry and fear, probably more so than others, and while I can’t say that ever totally goes away, we’re trying to take it day by day and feeling so thankful to be nearly through the first trimester.

I got a lot of questions on Instagram and in personal conversations about this baby and pregnancy, so I thought I would give all the details in one post!

1. Were you trying?
Yes! We had been trying for a few months. Unfortunately, because of my history, we either need to be “in” or “out” in terms of trying. It’s one of the things I’ve grieved in the past, because it feels like it’s such a decision to make and sometimes I wish we could just “see what happens” like some couples talk about, but for us we need to make sure our medical ducks are in a row before trying.

2. What medical intervention did you have to take with this pregnancy?
As I’ve shared before, with both Ainsley and Collins I took progesterone in the second half of every cycle we were trying to conceive. It didn’t seem to be enough to wait until I got a positive pregnancy test to begin supplementing, but rather I needed the supplementation in-cycle for both girls.

This time around, we had been trying for a couple months and I told my doctor I didn’t feel like myself on the progesterone. I usually have ZERO PMS symptoms and while on progesterone I was feeling crampy/gassy/generally off. He suggested testing my progesterone levels in an un-medicated cycle. So we pulled the supplementation and tested the cycle we conceived. Of course, we didn’t know that would be the case, but my un-medicated numbers were in the optimal range – something that’s never happened for me before – which was incredibly encouraging for me to see this change in my hormones.

Once I got a positive pregnancy test, I started supplementation with progesterone injections as a precaution given my history. We are monitoring my levels every other week and I’ve continued to ride the “optimal” or slightly below optimal level at each draw. We recently reduced the amount of progesterone I’m getting and will test again in two weeks. If it’s another optimal level, I may be able to stop the injections. Otherwise we will continue to take the progesterone until I get two consecutive draws at optimal or above optimal. With Collins I was on injections until 32 weeks!

I also continued my regimen of a daily baby aspirin, a bio-available B-complex vitamin, my prenatal (I’m taking this one this time around because it’s tasty and easy to remember to take), fish oil, iron, Plexus Bio-Cleanse, and probiotic.

The cycle before we conceived, I also started to take a series of herbs prescribed by my acupuncturist, and once I got a positive pregnancy test, I started the same custom blended herbal drink 2x per day that I took with both the girls.

3. Are you high risk for this pregnancy?
Some people have asked if we are “high risk” for this pregnancy. The answer is no, and we weren’t considered high risk for Collins’s pregnancy, either. Ainsley’s pregnancy was miraculous, tumultuous and just generally a wild ride, but not something that was deemed likely to be repeated, hence no need for a high risk diagnosis.

4. How/when did you find out?
I took a pregnancy test one morning a couple days before my period was due – it was negative – I took another that afternoon and saw the faintest line. When I went in to have my blood drawn that afternoon my HCG level was a 6 (anything 5 and under is technically not considered pregnant) so we were VERY cautious while we waited two more days to test again. We were so excited when my levels more than tripled and continued to do so for another test. We’ve had one early ultrasound and heard baby on the doppler at the doctor one (and about a hundred times at home on my own doppler, too).

5. When are you due?
August 11th! (If you don’t like to do math, that makes me just shy of 12 weeks right now)

6. How have you been feeling?
Horrible! I mean, definitely could be worse and could also be better is the better answer. I guess it’s just worse compared to the pregnancies I had with Ainsley and Collins. I remember so many days with both girls that I felt SO normal that I would be brought to tears fearing something was wrong. But this pregnancy, while I’ve still had days when I’m worried, I haven’t had many moments when I wasn’t fully aware that I’m pregnancy-sick.

7. Is this pregnancy different than past pregnancies?
Yes and no!

One of the biggest differences this time around has been my relationship with food. I remember specifically craving lots of bread, salty carbs, and generally bland food with both Ainsley and Collins. I craved orange juice and eggs like a mad woman early on, too, and could hardly look at coffee for 14 weeks.

This time around, I’ve been drinking coffee the entire time. While it doesn’t sound AS good as it used to, it still appeals to me. From weeks 5-8 I could hardly stand to eat ANY food. I wasn’t grossed out by the idea of food, I just didn’t want to eat. I would often go until 11 am without eating and probably survived on 1,000 calories a day for a while, which is probably why I was down a few pounds at my first appointment.

But after week 8, food sounded neither good nor bad. I haven’t had ANY foods that specifically sound bad, and have been thankful to enjoy vegetables the entire time thus far, though baked potatoes have sounded particularly good and I’ve found myself snacking on lots of protein!

8. Do you have a preference for gender?
I do not. I am thrilled about the idea of three girls (yay sister club!) but I would love to experience what it’s like to have a boy, too! It’s so not a cliche for me – I really am just so thankful to be pregnant and to even have a third baby and gender hardly seems important to me.

That said, I know my hubby would love to have a boy! And I totally get it – because having a child of your same gender is fun – so for his sake maybe a boy? But really, I rest in the fact that God has already decided and will give us the perfect addition to our family.


Creamy, Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese

January 18, 2019

Happy Friday! We are waiting for a snow storm that’s supposed to hit our neck of the woods sometime today, long-overdue since we’ve hardly had any snow and very mild weather all winter thus far, and I’m over here baking pasta dishes and prepping for a weekend spent indoors watching football.

I’ve been planning/dreaming of making this dish for over a month now – ever since I made a similar dish with butternut squash from Food & Wine for a Christmas party in early December. While I enjoyed the process of peeling and cubing and cooking the butternut squash before actually making the sauce, for a weekday meal it was hardly an approachable method. It seemed obvious that I could swap out the squash for canned pumpkin and get a similar result with less fuss – and while the flavor profile was slightly different I was shoveling hot bites of this in my mouth the second it came out of the oven. So I think it’s safe to say it was GOOD.

One thing to note: This dish (similar to the original I made in December) is best served hot. It’s fine re-heated, but for maximum creaminess and best texture, making it straight through is best. Additionally, I wouldn’t suggest prepping this in advance and baking it later. I did that for the Christmas party I hosted, and I felt that the pasta had absorbed too much liquid while it sat in the fridge, so once again, making it straight through being optimal. It doesn’t take long to assemble and with the help of a high-powered blender (Yay Vitamix!) the sauce becomes incredibly creamy. Enjoy!

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese
Makes one 13×9-inch pan (6 to 8 servings)

Ingredients
1 box (16 oz.) penne pasta (I used Barilla Plus high protein penne)
20 oz. pumpkin puree
3 cups chicken stock (not unsalted)
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour up to 4 hours, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Crushed red pepper flakes, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions, removing from water when the pasta is very al-dente and has some bite to it. The pasta will continue to cook in the sauce and you don’t want it to be mushy. Drain; set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a large high-powered blender combine the pumpkin puree, chicken stock, cashews, garlic, salt and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Blend until very smooth and no lumps or texture remains. Note: You may have to work in batches depending on how big your blender is.

Combine the pasta and sauce, stirring until pasta is evenly coated. Transfer pasta mixture into a 13×9-inch greased baking dish. Spread evenly in dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

Bake pasta, covered, 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until bubbly around the edges and the top is golden. Remove from oven and top with crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.

Variations:
I think the flavor profile of this dish lends itself to adding in some type of protein, specifically some ground sausage or chopped chicken, which could be added to the dish before baking.

Alternately, you could add a drizzle of basil pesto to the top of the dish before serving or top with some toasted walnuts after baking for a little crunch.

Fashion

Palm Beach Outfit Recap

January 16, 2019

Hi friends! I’m back from a trip to Palm Beach last weekend with Beautycounter. While my everyday life is rarely glamorous and the only reason I have to regularly get dressed up is going to Church on Sundays, Beautycounter trips give me an opportunity to pull out some dresses and clothes I wouldn’t otherwise wear! I got asked to recap where I got everything I wore, so here you go. A full run-down of the outfits I wore and where to get them.

Shoshana Micaela Shirtdress via Rent the Runway

I’ve used Rent the Runway a number of times for Beautycounter events but this was the first time I rented a dress on the more casual side of the spectrum. I loved this dress! In fact, I’m still debating buying it because it was so comfortable, cute and easy to wear. I highly recommend Rent the Runway’s “Unlimited” service if you are planning to need a few different outfits or having multiple occasions in a month that require special attire. It’s much more economical and less wasteful, in my opinion, since many of the dresses I’ve rented have been things I wouldn’t have a reason to wear often.

Cynthia Rowley Inverness Mixed Metalic Fish Dress

This dress is just so gosh darn fun I can’t handle it. It has a fun mix of patterns an and exposed back that shows just the right amount of skin. I love the fit, the length, everything about it!

This jumpsuit is from Anthropologie and the brand is HD Paris. I bought it on clearance in a store in Boise last spring and wasn’t able to find it online anywhere but if you can track it down, I love it and have worn it many times!

The jacket is from Old Navy and a total steal!

The dress I’m wearing in the top photo in this post is sort of hard to see, but I didn’t get a good full-body shot that night. It’s from Baltic Born and the ruffles on the bottom make it SO fun to wear!

So that’s it! A quick recap and hopefully a little guide on where to track down the pieces. It’s always SO fun to get dressed up, but also super fun to return home and put on some more casual attire. 🙂

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

January 7, 2019

Chances are some of you out there made some type of resolution related to health, am I right? And while I’m certainly NOT one to make resolutions related to weight loss these days, I think health goals like having more energy, eating less sugar, eating more veggies, and moving your body more are all worthwhile and noble goals to have for the year to come.

With that in mind, I also know that I love to bake, my girls love to bake and we love easy, grab-and-go type breakfasts. So while I certainly DO want to help my kiddos enjoy fewer sugary treats, I am not about to give up baking and baked goods.

Our family’s solution? These Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins! They’re made with almond and oat flours, no refined sugar except for a few chocolate chips, and just a little bit of good-for-you olive oil in place of the butter or vegetable oil found in most muffins and baked goods.

My girls loved these from the start, and so did the rest of the family! Bonus: They can easily be stored in the freezer and re-heated for a breakfast on the go that’s quick and tasty!

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup oat flour*
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Stir until well-combined. Add in the banana, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla and stir until combined.

In a second bowl, combine the oat flour, almond meal, old fashioned oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until muffins bounce back when lightly pressed on in the center. Cool 10 minutes in baking pan. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.

*To make your own oat flour, simply process old fashioned oats in a high-powdered blender (like a Vitamix) until mixture forms a flour and is evenly processed.

Family

Green Cleaning :: What Works for Us

January 4, 2019

When you think about green cleaning and removing toxic products from your home cleaning routine, do you get a headache just thinking about it? Because it’s been a SLOW process for our family as we’ve attempted to clean up the products we use at the Hofmeyer house.

Note: While this might not be the case in all homes, my husband is our dedicated bathroom cleaner and because of that, he gets a big say in the products we use and if they cut-it in terms of cleaning power. 😉

One of my favorite brands for safer cleaning products is Seventh Generation. While I’m sure there are “cleaner” options available (and I’ve tried some of them) when looking for the best mix of safety and efficacy, Seventh Generation meets my standards for both.

It’s important to note that not all Seventh Generation products are created equal. Even the same product but in a different scent can have a different formulation and hence, safety rating. I’ve put the EWG score (A being the safest) behind each of the products I mention, if available.

Ultimately, the best green cleaning products are those you are actually going to use, vs. being tempted to go back to your conventional favorites. So even if you aren’t using the cleanest products possible, I’m in favor of progress not perfection and taking baby steps to getting where you want to go.

Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach (EWG Rating: A)

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Purpose Cleaner in Lemongrass Citrus (EWG Rating: A)

Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner (EWG Rating: A)

Everyone Hand Soap (EWG Rating: 2)
-This is more personal care than cleaning, but I’m putting it in the cleaning category since it sits in our kitchen and bathrooms as a cleaning agent. This is a super affordable and EWG verified hand soap I find at our local Walmart.

Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap (EWG Rating: C)
-This doesn’t get as good of a rating as the dishwasher packs, but our dishwasher doesn’t work well with the packs. When researching, I found their powder gets an “A” rating so we will most likely switch to that next.

Seventh Generation Lavender Laundry Detergent (EWG Rating: C)
-I also noticed that the Seventh Generation Powder Laundry Detergent gets an A rating, vs. this liquid version that gets a C. So we’ll likely switch over after we run out of our current supply.

Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Stain Remover(EWG Rating: C)
-Not the cleanest option and when I was researching, I realized that my Oxy Clean was actually rated just as well as this. So, a learning process for me because this is greenwashing at it’s finest and a great reminder to research each product even within a brand. (Safer alternatives: Biokleen Stain + Odor Remover, FIT Organic Laundry + Carpet Stain Remover – though I can’t vouch for the efficacy of either of these products)

Norwex Floor Mop System (large size)

Norwex Kitchen Cloths

So, as you can see, it’s not perfect! We’re definitely a work in progress, but as people who used to have items that were the worst of the worst, we’re making progress and I’m excited about continuing the process as it evolves!

Madison

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