a day in the life with 2 toddlers

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The last time I shared a ‘day in life’ post was when Zoe was just a wee little newborn baby.  A new day in life post is definitely due!  Now Zoe is almost 2 years old and Hunter is a few months shy of being 4 years old.  I snapped a bunch of pictures during our semi-normal Monday last week.   Hope you enjoy!

Wake somewhere in the 4 o’clock hour to the hubs getting ready and leaving for work. Try to fall back to sleep but can’t.
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5:30am Grab coffee and banana and head back up to bed for my daily bible reading. Once done I hop in the shower, dry my hair, make the bed, tidy the bedroom, snap a quick 36 week pregnancy picture and head downstairs.
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6:30am Get breakfast cooking on the stove, take out garbage and recycling and grab the infant car seat from the shed.
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6:50am Hunter comes upstairs, does some silly face pictures to send to daddy and then helps me clean the infant car seat.
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7:15am Hunter and I begin eating and I feed the dog. Custard oatmeal/quinoa cooked with coconut milk, banana, vanilla and cinnamon then topped with peanut butter and fresh blueberries.
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7:30am Zoe wakes and starts breakfast, Hunter is done and gets cleaned up.
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8am -10am kids color, help me fold laundry, we put it away upstairs and downstairs, head outside to the garage (I clean the car while they draw with chalk in the driveway).
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10am Snack! They both eat 2.5 bananas, I munch on one while cleaning up the dishes from breakfast and prepping their lunch + my post workout snack.
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10:40am Grandparents arrive to watch the kids, I leave and have some extra minutes before teaching so I redo my hair with a braid (it doesn’t last both classes).  I also munch on some dates.
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11:30-1pm Teach 2 classes (fitness yoga and sculpt and tone) while the kiddos have fun at home.
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1:10pm Before driving home I eat some yogurt and granola plus an apple and then listen to part of an episode of the balanced bites podcast on my drive back home.
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Once home I help get Zoe to sleep, then do a quick shower while Hunter reads plays in my bed, then we prep dinner.
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Hunter helps rip up the kale for kale chips, I saute ground beefalo and add tomato sauce to it to simmer.  Olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic granules are mixed with the kale.
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2:30pm My second lunch of leftovers happens, then Hunter does stamping while I work on THIS blog post.  
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3:15pm Zoe is up from her nap and snacking on some grapes.  Hunter gets in on that action too.
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The afternoon is a blur of playing and finishing dinner prep + Jacob gets home, which we all love.
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He was given a selfie stick at work, so we have a little fun with that.
IMG_5669.JPG5:30pm dinner is served.  Monday night spaghetti and kale chip night!
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Clean up the kiddos then they play.
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While they play I prep Jacob’s food for tomorrow and clean the kitchen.
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7:15pm kids are down for the night, we finish picking up the living room, relax for a bit, then head upstairs to watch an episode of the new girl. And by 8:30pm we are done for the day, lights out!

afternoon tea time with lipton tea

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Afternoon tea time.  Raise of hands for those that love it? (ME!).  My kids also have a love affair with tea time.  They must have picked up on the tea love from me, because they both have so much fun pretending to drink tea.

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For Christmas we gave Zoe this adorable wood tea set, but even before that, she used other cups for tea parties and Jacob would build her a tea pot out of legos.  They’d have fun going back and forth sharing cups of tea and talking about the kinds of tea they are drinking.

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We not only do pretend tea parties, but they enjoy sipping on the real stuff with me too.  Since I’m pregnant I currently stick with decaf teas, and both of the kids most definitely only need decaf teas in their little bodies.  I was selected to participate in a campaign with Lipton Tea, which means we’ve been enjoying a new flavor together in the afternoons.  I chose three different teas to try out: Lipton Pure Green Tea, Enticing Chai Black Tea and Peach Mango Herbal Tea.  Check out the full line-up of Lipton Green, Black and Herbal tea flavors here.

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Once this baby arrives I’m excited to try out the green tea and chai tea, but in the meantime afternoon tea has been all about the peach mango herbal tea.  So much flavor.  We love that it is made with real ingredients combined with their best herbal tea blends to awaken the senses.  Something so calming like tea totally refreshes me and wakes me up for the rest of the afternoon.  I love sharing the quiet moments with the kids where we sit together snuggled up on the couch, sipping a warm soothing drink and talking about whatever is on their mind.

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I am definitely guilty of living a busy life.  Our calendar rarely has an empty day on it, most mornings we are off to either a kiddo activity or I’m teaching a class, and even when we’re home I have a long list of items to work on around the house.  Tea time with my kiddos really lets me sit down and enjoy the slower moments.  You can’t rush through tea time, you just have to be present and enjoy it, something I can get behind any afternoon.

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Do you have any tea time rituals?  What is your favorite flavor of tea? 

Heather

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

january highlights

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I hope your week is starting out great!  Here’s a little look into what our January was like.  As always, so many kiddo pictures to share. :)

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We started the new year in Seattle for Christmas with my family.  Matchy-matchy sweater love.

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We ended up leaving Seattle a day earlier than anticipated which I am super thankful for, because we were home for the snow that started in the next morning (when we had planned to drive home)!  After naps we all bundled up and went out to play in the snow.  Snow ball fights, snow angels and snow men.  Such fun!

IMG_1847After snow play reading and warming by the fire.

IMG_1914I shared my post on five simple habits that bring me more happiness.  Read it HERE.

IMG_1930That top knot.  That flannel.  Those remote control car skills.

IMG_1975 IMG_1997 IMG_1993 IMG_2022We went on an unplanned outdoor exploration one chilly morning.  Zoe was not dressed for the mud, but boy did we have fun!

IMG_2026I am so happy to have farm fresh eggs back in the house!  The local source I was buying from before wasn’t an option anymore, so (thanks to craigslist) I found a lady that has 180 chickens she cares for at her home (with llamas and alpacas too) and they lay beautiful eggs that taste so, so good.  They’re less expensive than the ones I was buying at the grocery store, way more fresh and the quality is great!

IMG_2023The only time Hunter naps now is if Jacob or I lay with him in our bed to help him to slow his body down.  He’s adjusted well to only napping 1-2 times a week when we really needs it, but I have to say, the afternoons I lay in bed with him to give him extra rest, I totally soak the rest in too.

IMG_2047 IMG_1885Fun in the kitchen making nutty cacao coconut energy balls.  Find the recipe HERE.

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IMG_2094Just a quick and simple lunch I love to have when we need something fast and nutrient packed.  Canned sardines smashed with a little mayo and old bay seasoning, cucumbers rounds, rice crackers and homemade apple sauce.  All foods I pretty much always have on hand for those lunches when leftovers are sparse.

IMG_2095Stumptown is our fav.  Decaf for an afternoon treat with allllll the half and half.

IMG_2099THE most adorable first full french braid.

IMG_2122I taught one last body combat class mid January.  It is such a fun class, but at 33 weeks the intensity was leaving me a bit more tired than I like to feel the rest of the day.  Cannot wait to get back to combat after baby though!

IMG_2146Pregnancy heartburn is no joke, but this has been such an amazing cure.  A little shot of ACV when heartburn kicks in and it keeps it away so much better than other remedies I’ve tried.  I think it’s actually helped with my stomach acid levels because since I started using it I’ve noticed my heartburn decrease to only a few times a week now instead of once or twice a day.

IMG_2177My go-to no-cook breakfast we all love on Friday mornings.  Read more about it HERE.

IMG_1967Curious kitty checking in on Zoe’s art.  Also, see those undies?  Potty training happened this month too and Zoe’s done so well!  We aren’t 100% yet, but we are also just 2 weeks into it.

IMG_2236Almond-pecan-coconut butter.  Yes.  Used this on some nut butter coated roasted parsnip fries.  Amazing.

IMG_1978Very sleepy Saturday morning of coffee, kids, cuddles and a show on the bed together.

IMG_2242Some freezer meal prep – pumpkin ricotta gnocchi in the works (so good).  To get the link to the recipe and read more check out my 1 month count down to baby #3 post HERE.

IMG_225735 week midwife appointment – kid free and oh so relaxing.

IMG_2263Our families favorite combo for Monday night spaghetti night with loads of kale chips.

IMG_2266Both kids started gymnastics classes a couple of months ago and this is pretty much Zoe during most of her class – a blur from one activity to the next.

IMG_2290Girl day to the Polish Pottery Store in Portland!  Three generations together with my mom along with us.

IMG_2286Then my mom and I enjoyed some decaf coffee while Zoe had a ball on the stairs.  Up, down, up, down, up, down.

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New for the collection.

IMG_2029While the girls were out the boys had a fun dude day in town hiking around, going to the local hardware store and getting breakfast together.  And Jacob shaved his beard!

IMG_2309Having a little table in the office for the kids to color at whenever they want to was a genius idea, if I do say so myself.

IMG_2319Twin snacks.

IMG_2335Rain doesn’t stop us from getting outside.  Big puddles to splash in makes it even more fun.

IMG_2323The staycation adventure hike.

IMG_2363Oatmeal/almond biscuits.  So good at breakfast time with a little fig jam on top.  I’ve been making them 1-2 times a week lately.

IMG_2373Afternoon art.  We usually do paint, stamps, a paper craft or play dough when Zoe is napping and Hunter needs some calm time.

IMG_2378I picked up a bunch of seed packets and am getting excited to plant the garden in a few months!  Still a few more varieties to purchase, but I’m really excited about these finds.

How was your January?  What are some highlights from the month?  Happy February!

Heather

Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

1 month count down to baby #3

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I cannot believe I am due exactly a month from today!  Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went in a flash, which also made those couple months of pregnancy fly by even faster than I had expected.  I had mentally made a date of Feb 1st as the ‘start to get things ready for baby to arrive date’, but for the past 2 weeks I’ve been hit with a major nesting mode.  I want to clean and organize everything, and I’ve been doing just that!

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My office/sewing room was the biggest disaster ever.  It needed items to find homes in other parts of the house where they made more sense, and also some more organization to actual office and sewing items that were just left laying around.  I also removed the curtains from the 3 large windows.  They were never by style and blocked the natural light more than I’d like. Plus there are blinds in there as well so it wasn’t a necessary thing to have right now.  The room was becoming my catch all place and now it feels so much more open, light and it’s nice to be in there!

Three more spots that I tackled were the laundry room,  Zoe’s closet and the pantry.  The laundry room was another spot that clutter seemed to build up quickly in, so it also got some reorganization done to it.  Zoe’s closet still had 3 big boxes of clothes and blankets that I hadn’t uppacked yet, so I went through those and washed all the blankets for when this baby arrives.  Lastly, I reorganized the pantry.  Now I have more space in there, and everything is categorized together and looks so much better.

And if that want enough, I did some things very unlike me.  This week I cleaned 2 of the bathrooms, scrubbed our shower, vacuumed the main floor and top floor plus swept and mopped the main floor.  Organization I can get behind, but normally I’m just not big into actual cleaning, so I’ll take it when inspiration hits!

I am itching to get into the boxes of baby clothes to sort through and wash up some newborn clothes.  Unfortunately they are hiding somewhere in the garage so it’ll be a project for the hubs and I to tackle together hopefully this weekend.

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I am slowly starting some freezer meal prep. I made 3 crustless quiches that went unbaked into the freezer.  Two of them are sausage, cheese and green chilies, and the other is sausage, cheese and mushroom.  They’ll be nice to pull out of the freezer the night before to defrost, bake up in the morning and pair with fresh fruit.  I also made a triple batch of coconut pecan bars (recipe here).  They are cut up and individually wrapped just waiting to be eaten.  It will be hard to resist them, they are so good!  Last weekend I made a double batch of pumpkin ricotta gnocchi (recipe here).  The single recipe actually makes enough for 2 meals, so I used one portion, then have 3 more meals of homemade gnocchi ready in the freezer.  The gnocchi + bratwurst + spinach is a dynamite combo.

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Daily the kids and I talk about the new baby coming and I am getting more and more excited for this little one to arrive.  When we just had Hunter, it was hard to imagine loving another child that much, but then it happened so naturally. Now that we have both Hunter and Zoe, I cannot wait for my heart to expand even more for the love I know I’ll have for this baby.  I cannot wait to see Hunter take on the role of big brother again, but at 3.5 years old this time.  Zoe is going to be a little mama I’m sure.  She cannot get enough when it comes to babies and I see her wanting to spend all her time loving on this little one.  It is going to be such an amazing adventure as a family of five.  So so soon!

Do you have any favorite freezer friendly recipes?  Please share the links!

Heather

my go-to no-cook breakfast 

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One morning a week I wake and leave before the kids are up for the day to teach a yoga class.  When I first took on teaching the earlier than usual class, I used to either make breakfast the night before or cook something quick up in the morning.  No matter how simple the breakfast was to cook, it still felt rushed.  It was more work than I wanted on those morning.  That went on for a while, then one morning when I was out of eggs (which I eat one way or another almost every morning), so I put together yogurt bowls.  It was fast, simple and a major hit all around.  Ever since then yogurt bowls have been my go-to no-cook breakfast for those earlier Friday mornings.  Plus after a week of cooking breakfast, it’s such a treat taking a morning off from it!

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Here is the anatomy of our yogurt bowls, broken down into three parts.

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Yogurt

I always go for plain whole milk yogurt for the kids and I, something we all enjoy.  Organic and grass-fed are pluses too when I have the option.  I tend to buy two different brands: Maple Hill Creamery and Dreaming Cow most often.  Dreaming Cow has a more mild flavor whereas Maple Hill Creamery has a bit more tang.  Both are cream top and delicious!

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Fruit

The fruit of choice changes weekly.  Bananas are a simple options since we always have them on hand, but this week raspberries were on sale so I loaded up on them.  Other favorites include peaches, which I defrost from the freezer, and whatever other berries we have frozen to defrost.  If I’m in a pinch I’ve used homemade jam before too.

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Granola

This maple butter nut granola has been a constant in our house for 13 months now!  We all love it and I make a batch just about every week, or whenever we run low.  I love that it is filled with so many different seeds (sesame, sunflower and pumpkin) and chopped almonds.  In the entire large batch (which makes 8 cups worth of granola) it only contains 1/2 a cup of maple syrup, but tastes plenty sweet to all four of us.  I’ve made it so many times now that the recipe is embedded in my head for life (which is a good thing!), but if you want the recipe, please go find it on Cookus Interruptus.  You will not be disappointed!

The ratios that make it into my bowl are usually 1/3 yogurt, 1/3 fruit and 1/3 granola.  I love to go heavy on the granola because it is just so delicious and my favorite part of the breakfast!

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I’ve been meaning to get back into making my own yogurt again in the crockpot, so for myself and anyone who is interested in seeing how simple crockpot yogurt is to make, check out these two posts:

Do you have a go-to no-cook breakfast?  What is your favorite kind of yogurt?

Happy weekend everyone!

Heather

nutty cacao coconut energy balls

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Over the weekend the kids and I had some fun in the kitchen making energy balls together.  They really don’t need any more energy.  For real (can I just tap into their energy source… maybe it’s the 12 hours of sleep a night they get…).  But we do like these balls for a sweet treat and I love the energy pick me up from the dates.  Natural sweetness is my favorite way to go, especially when I’m feeding little bodies like theirs.

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I made the afternoon a little less messy by pre-measuring out the ingredients into little bowls before we began mixing the ingredients together,  but normal I would have Hunter help me measure them out.

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At 3.5 years old he does a great job of scooping, counting how many scoops we’ve done and pouring it nicely into a bowl. Zoe, who is almost 2 now still pours pretty much all of the dog’s food on the floor when she feeds him.  I think she just wants more practice. 😉

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Hunter helped by pouring the ingredients one at a time into the food processor, then pulsing like a pro.  Zoe was on the counter sneaking as many bites of dates (which she kept calling sausage) and cacao nibs as she could before we got to those items.  When the food processor was running she’d cover her ears from the sound.  And then I captured this sweetness from Hunter kissing his sister and telling her that she would be okay.  He is so, so sweet.

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The date/nut mixtures comes together super simply, then the fun part of rolling into balls happens.  Hunter rolled about half of them, Zoe instantly ate whatever I gave her to roll, and I helped with the other half. We all loved these and are already sad about the batch being gone.  They are super tasty, chocolatey and energy packed from the dates.  Plus you also get longer lasting sustained energy from almonds, hazelnuts and coconut’s higher fat content.  So many wins.  Let me know if you try them out and how long they last in your house!

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Nutty Cacao Coconut Energy Balls

Makes 12-24 balls, depending on how large you make them

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups dates (soak in water for 1 hour to soften, then discard the liquid)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Add almonds and hazelnuts to food processor.  Pulse until ground evenly into small pieces.
  2. Add the dates and continue to pulse until the dates are broken down and the mixture is combined.
  3. Add the coconut, cocoa powder and sea salt and pulse a couple times to combine.
  4. Lastly, stir in the cacao nibs.
  5. Roll into balls and store sealed in the fridge.

Want more date sweetened energy ball recipes?  Check these out:

Do you make energy balls often?  What are your favorite flavor profiles for them?

Heather

five simple habits that bring me more happiness

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During the last half of 2015 I fell in love with podcasts.  I’m sure many others share my love for them.  They make mundane tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry or a solo drive back home so much more enjoyable.  I phase through different podcasts, but currently my two favorite are the Balanced Bites Podcast and Happier with Gretchen Ruben. Happier focuses on tips for creating healthy habits and learning more about your own personal tendencies to make habit changes simpler and easier to maintain.

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I am not big on new year’s resolutions, because for me if I want to make a change, there is no better time than to start it now.  I don’t want to wait for a specific day to begin making a change that I’m ready to implement.  One area that I wish I was naturally better at is homemaking.  Meal planning, cooking and budget keeping, I’m great with.  Cleaning, organizing and general house balance… I always need help.  However, I can say with certainty that because of the tips from Happier, I’ve created new habits that have helped me to work on my personal goal of being a better home maker, while being even happier too.

Here are my five simple habits that bring me more happiness.  Be sure to check out the Happier podcast, it is nothing but great!

Habit 1: make the bed daily

It may seem so simple and little, but it actual brings me a lot of joy to have the bed made.  It brings order to our room and is such a simple task to turn into a habit because it only takes about 30 seconds to do.  I find on the rare day when I haven’t made the bed, I miss it.  I told Jacob about my new habit and how making the bed actually brings me happiness and because he is so sweet and thoughtful, he’s started making the bed too if I get up before him.  Now that brings me even more joy because I know he’s doing it for me!  Love.

Habit 2: the one minute rule

If there’s a task that takes one minute or less, then I’ll just do it immediately.  I use this all the time and I feel it helps keep the clutter a little more in control.  Actually just last night I was picking up Zoe’s hair brush from the ground in the living room and where I would normally just put on the kitchen counter because it’s quick and easy, I took the extra 10 steps to put it away in the bathroom drawer where it belongs.  It took 5 extra seconds, maybe, but had I put it on the counter with all the other items that find their way there, the task of cleaning up the counter would be a bigger project.

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Habit 3: leave a clean kitchen over night

There is nothing more annoying than waking up already behind on dishes.  As someone who cooks pretty much all of our meals, dishes are always stacking up.  If I start the morning behind with dishes from the previous day, I’m just setting myself up for failure.  But if I can start fresh, and even better with an empty dishwasher, I’m making my life even easier.  When all I have to do is rinse the dishes, add them to the dishwasher and hand wash a few pans, cutting boards and knives after a meal is done, I’m way more likely to actually accomplish it and feel less overwhelmed about it.

Habit 4: put coats and shoes away right when coming inside

This habit is yet another simple quick one that I actually have my kid’s implementing too.  I know it could easily snow ball into a bigger annoyance of clutter around the house if I let it go.  It takes just a couple minutes to get all the coats and shoes put away when we come inside, and it instantly makes me feel good to not have the clutter of things laying around on the floor or hanging on chairs.  I really like that most of the time I don’t even have to tell Hunter to put his shoes away, he automatically starts to take them off and put them in the closet right when we come inside.

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Habit 5: have a specific spot for everything

This is one I’m still working on throughout the house, but the general idea is that if items have a specific place to go, it becomes way easier to put them away in their place.  It also makes the job of finding something easier.  Jacob and I used to joke all the time at our last house that when something went missing, it got sucked into the house’s vortex.  Sometimes things were never found, and I think that’s because instead of setting up organization for everything, items would get shoved into closets, drawers and boxes with no real reason as to why it was put there, except to not be seen.  Thankfully our new house is much larger, which makes it easier to set up places for specific items. The kid’s toys are a good example – there are boxes or baskets specific for most toy category.  Pictured above we have a separate basket for the tea set, pig popper, small block books and bigger books/puzzles.  It makes it easy to clean up and to also know where things are.  I’m slowing working that habit through other areas of the house, but it’s definitely a big task!

The biggest and most helpful switch for my own personal habit change was in my brain.  I really had to think about making these habit changes as something that brings me more joy and happiness, because they really do.  I just hadn’t pinned that thought down before.

One saying I absolutely love and agree with is this: Outer order brings inner peace. 

So true for me.  When things are messy and unorganized it creates this sense of chaos, but when things are organized and where they should be, I feel calmer and more relaxed.  Believe me when I say this, my house is still no where near perfect.  At all.  Pretty much daily things are left on the counter, clothes find their way to the floor and my desk I’m typing at right now is a mess of sewing projects and paperwork, but for now, it’s about the baby steps going in the right direction.  Taking these little steps to bring some control to the chaos, even if it isn’t perfect right away.  It’s all about the journey and enjoying the process, and I sure am.

Have you implemented new habits lately?  Are you a new year’s resolution setter?  What podcasts have you been loving lately?

Heather

december highlights and 2016 blogging intentions

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The highlights continue on today!  I’m excited to share our December and more about my blogging intentions for the coming year.  Pictures first, then read on at the end of the post for what’s to come 2016.

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When your sweater matches a tile background, you have to snap a picture.  Even if it’s in a bathroom at the vet’s office.

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I made homemade pork ramen for the first time ever.  Loved the addition of soft boiled egg and cucumber slices on top.  The recipe came from the blog How Sweet It Is.

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One afternoon the kid’s and I cut out trees (okay I cut them), got a glue stick and some string and made a little Christmas craft.  I love the simplicity.  It may still be hanging up there with no intention of coming down anytime soon.

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I had been attempting homemade sour dough bread for a few weeks and the flavor just wasn’t right, so I did a side by side bread test.  My go-to crusty yeasted no kneed dutch oven bread versus the sour dough bread, and the go-to yeasted bread was the winner hands down.  So my attempts at sour dough bread ended and now I’m sticking with that we know is amazing every time.  Find the recipe for the fail proof no-kneed bread HERE.  We think it’s even better than store bought bread.

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I’ve been super into yin-yoga at home to ease my pregnancy aches and pains.  This pregnancy my left glute/hip is really a bother, but taking the time for self care really does wonders.  I feel new and refreshed after every session.

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28 weeks pregnant – welcoming the third trimester here in between teaching classes.

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On a kind of rainy morning I was driving not too far from our house to go pick up eggs and spotted this pink recliner with a free sign on it.  I instantly loved the look and shape so I put it in the back of my car with the intention of getting it reupholstered.  Well, that turned out to be way more expensive than I wanted it to be, so instead I painted the fabric instead!  I love how the chair turned out and it is amazingly comfortable.  It reclines soooo much. A favorite spot in the living room to relax and maybe fall asleep in.

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I got the chance to try out and review the latest for two fitness capris and shared some of my favorite yoga poses this pregnancy.  Check out the post HERE!

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The beginning of Christmas present wrapping.  Brings me so much happiness!  I went with brown paper, lots of string or yard, wintery stamps and greenery this year.  Simplicity.

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Hunter helped me make a batch of oatmeal almond jam filled thumbprint cookies.  We brought them to a friend’s house and they were such a hit!  I used Maryea’s recipe but subbed butter for the oil and made them a bit bigger than she did.

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You can see a bit of the finished mural Jacob worked on last month.  There is a buck, doe, owl, rabbit and squirrel along with lots of trees.  His own little wilderness.

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I made a batch of broccoli cheddar patties and had plans to share the recipe, but the person who liked them a ton was me, not so much the kids and Jacob didn’t even try them.  So really it’s just a Heather friendly recipe.  I thought they were super tasty little snack bites!  Interest in the recipe?

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Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie making with Jacob.  These kids love being in the kitchen, and of course, taste testing.

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Impromptu starbucks date before doing some grocery shopping.  Zoe takes her steamed milk serious.

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Hunter is such a sweet kid and cannot wait to meet his baby brother or sister.  The baby gets daily kisses, hugs and snuggles.

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Avocado, banana and cocoa make a delicious and oh so messy combo!

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Hunter got his first real chore – helping me fold towels.  He is really good at it!  And as long as he doesn’t get distracted, he finishes the job and has lots of fun doing it.

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Zoe got her first lesson in knife skills.  They both chopped up their banana snack.  It is so much fun seeing them learn life skills and being super into it too.

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This dinner was amazing.  I made pumpkin ricotta gnocchi with bratwurst and spinach plus thyme roasted green beans.  Will be making again for sure!

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How to contain a child while coloring.  Put them in a box!

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Zoe’s gold tutu finished for Christmas.  Love-love-love it.

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On Christmas Eve Hunter earned a ribbon for a great torpedo swim solo.  So proud of that kid!

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Another Christmas gift finished for Zoe!  Kitty, fox, mouse and doe wool softies.  Fully dressed and with their own special knit items.  Did you notice the fox’s shirt and Hunter’s shirt one picture up???

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Christmas morning we had a special breakfast: eggnog crepes with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and cinnamon apple pork sausage.  Ahhhhh-mazing!

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Zoe actually got sick in the evening on Christmas Eve and most of Christmas day, but after opening all the presents she still had fun in her new tutu with Hunter’s backpack and a whole lotta boxes to dance on.  Christmas day through the weekend we spent at home, not leaving for anything.  Jacob and I agreed that it was our favorite Christmas yet.  We loved just being together, relaxing and enjoying the excitement through the kids.

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My aunt Carol came into town from Australia for a week so we got her to ourselves for a day.  We went to G6 (an indoor trampoline park), showed her the best coffee in town (Stumptown at Rivermaiden) and my mom joined us for thai food at Ginger Pop.  Such fun!

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My final handmade Christmas gifts were for my niece Abigail and her newborn baby sister Hailey.  I sewed them matching roller skate dresses and then also made a matching dress for her new baby doll, plus this bunny-ish doll for Hailey.  We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family in Seattle the weekend after new years.

2016 Blogging Intentions

I remember when I first started blogging in 2008 and was eager to share all my thoughts, experiences and everything I was learning about related to health and fitness.  I posted almost daily and the blog was in the forefront of my mind. Then in 2012 I had Hunter and blogging took a smaller step back. Two years later Zoe joined our crew and it took yet another step back. One mama can only do so much. I still had these expectations I put on myself that I should do all the things blog-wise, while being a mother, wife and group fitness instruction. But reality is, I can’t do it all. Nor would I be any good at them if I put too much on my plate.  But what I’ve been learning about myself is that if I can change my own personal expectations, I can still do all the things I want to do, just at varying levels. Obviously motherhood (to almost 3!) and being a wife come first, then there is teaching and life living, and blogging finds a place after that. And while it is at the end of the list, it’s still important to me. Something I can’t and don’t want to give up, so what it needs is a shift.

I definitely have come to the realization that I can’t yet keep any kind of blogging schedule, and that’s okay.  It takes many, many broken up days to write a post, so when it’s finished, that’s when they tend to get posted.   I also see a shift in content, sharing even more bits of life as a mama with health and fitness only sprinkled in sporadically.  Healthy eating and fitness are still super important to me, but since it’s become just a natural part of my life, I don’t think about it as much.  It’s more of just who I am now, whereas years back I was in the making a change phase.

One area that I really want to increase sharing about is cooking with kids in the kitchen.  It is so much fun having the kids help me in the kitchen and to begin teaching them the importance of healthy food from a young age.  Learning how to cook is an important life skill, because it sets you up to create healthy meals at home, something I think is crucial for life. The more you can cook at home, the less you eat out or buy already made. There will definitely more to come on that area.

So to come for 2016…

  • more on motherhood
  • cooking with kids and kid friendly recipes
  • home life and homemaking
  • DIY/craft/sewing
  • healthy living tips
  • fitness (I see more on this post baby)
  • and wherever life is currently at and new things I’m into

I am so thankful for all my continued readers, the comments and messages I receive.  They always bring a smile to my face and mean so much.  I hope you enjoy 2016 as much as I am planning to!

How was the end of your year?  What do you have planned for 2016?  If you have a blog, how has it changed for you over the years?

Heather

Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

november highlights

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Hello!

Just like that, another year passes.  And as it looks, almost a month since I’ve posted!  Oh how quickly time flies.  It was a total unintentional step back with a busy December and end to the year.  Busy, but oh so wonderful!  I totally missed my November monthly highlight post so to share more of what we’ve been up to for the past couple of months, I’m still going to share that.  I was planning to combine November and December, but after writing up November I decided two months would be too much in one post, so I’m splitting it up.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about my blogging intentions and how my blog in general has changed over the past few years, so I’m sharing my thoughts on that along with my December highlights.  I hope you enjoy seeing our November.  December and blogging intentions to come Wednesday!

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We had a 4′ x 4′ window put into Hunter room (the prior one was super tiny, way up high and didn’t open) and since that project was done, Jacob got to work on Hunter’s mural after the walls got painted.

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I shared the recipe for this delicious chicken satay with peanut sauce.  Find the recipe HERE.

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After waking up on a random Saturday with no plans for the day we hopped into the car, drove to downtown Vancouver and had breakfast at Grey’s at the Park.  The food was perfect, service superb and the kids were happy the entire meal.  Plus they got these spill free cups which were a major win in my book.  Then we crossed the street and played at the park before heading back home.

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Zoe is all about buttons so anytime she gets to be up on the counter and help out she’s one happy chick.  We prepped homemade salt free bouillon (recipe here), then I used it in crockpot smothered chili colorado beef enchiladas (recipe here).

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Zoe got a tee-pee addition to her room.  It’s a bit large for her space but super fun.  And I made a pom-pom display for her wall and even shared the tutorial!  Check it out here.

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His knife skills get better and better each time he practiced, but we still stick to dull table knives.

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For the second year in a row Jacob took Hunter to the model train event in Portland.  Hunter loved the trains, pop corn, free model train magazine he gets there and then they picked up some new train books at the book store after.  It’s such a fun tradition that they have going on.

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And while the boys were away that day, Zoe and I sipped on smoothies and played around the house.

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A Christmas gift I planned to make for Zoe were the four remaining wool animal softies.  Step one – cut all the pieces out.  Not bad for a relaxing afternoon with some creamy chai tea.  The patterns can be found here.

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After this cold and kind of wet morning I hid Hunter’s sandals until warmer weather appears.

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I finished my second knit sweater for Zoe!  The pattern is called the sideways cardigan by lion brand yard.  It’s a free pattern and actually pretty simple to make, I only got stuck at one point but eventually figured it out.  I knit a 2T size and it definitely has some room for her to grow into.  My hope is that it lasts her two full fall/winter seasons.

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We all bundled up for a trip to the zoo!  Hats, coats, warm drinks and we even got to see the rhinoceros – he’s never been out on any of the other trips we’ve made there.

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I sewed up this quick slouchy beanie for Hunter one afternoon.  He is not a big fan of wearing knit or any kind of fuzzy beanies, so after letting him feel a few different fabrics in my stash he chose this grey sweatshirt material because it was hard fabric (his way of saying smooth instead of fuzzy).  He’ll happily wear it out in the cold now!  Bonus, he looks super cool.

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Thanksgiving morning we set out on a super chilly walk through the wildlife reserve in Ridgefield.  There were just a couple other families we saw that morning.  It was absolutely gorgeous and I love that the kids can just run around and explore nature.  Later in the day we spent time with Jacob’s side of the family for a big Thanksgiving meal.

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The day after Thanksgiving we went and got our Christmas tree!  I found a mostly noble tree farm about 10 minutes from our house.  It’s family owed and all the trees grow around their beautiful home.  Hunter got to help saw it down and then we all enjoyed hot chocolate there too while Jacob got the tree onto the car.

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And the tree may have been a bit too tall when it got to our house.  Perfect after some inches were cut off the top!

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Thanksgiving weekend we were up north with my side of the family for Thanksgiving meal #2.  We spent some time in the morning making wreaths, our annual tradition.

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My mom made this adorable fruit turkey.

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Just some of the beautiful polish pottery we all collect and brought was on display.  Along with an amazing meal.

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We finished out the month by getting an impromptu family photo taken by my mom which ended up being the winner for our Christmas card!

Back with more on Wednesday!

Heather

Want more highlights?  Check out previous months:

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

for two fitness® capri & my top 5 yoga poses this pregnancy

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During this pregnancy my love for yoga has blossomed.  I began my on and off practice years back, then about 3 years ago I began teaching a fitness yoga class once a week.  Now I teach fitness yoga four times a week, love every minute of it, and have even incorporate some extra yoga of my own at home this post month.  I have to give credit to yin yoga taking my glute/hip/back pain away that I talked about in my 20 week update (read here).  The pain was bothering me and my daily living with no real fix that worked which made be extra thankful to have found a way to give my body the relief it needed and become pain free again.  I especially love this yin yoga by Travis Eliot.

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I am officially 28 weeks along and into my third trimester this week.  The bump is ever growing!  I try to dress in non-workout clothes whenever I can, but I’ll be honest, stretchy clothes are just so comfortable and hard to resist.  Recently For Two Fitness® asked me to try out and review their newly designed distance maternity active capri and I instantly jumped on that opportunity.  In case you are not familiar with For Two Fitness®, here is a little more about the company.

You are dedicated to the health of your pregnancy, and we are dedicated to you. For Two Fitness® is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand, offering performance apparel that functions and flatters like nothing else. We are committed to celebrate and support moms who are striving for healthy, fit, pregnancies. Discover for yourself why celebrities, professional athletes, and moms everywhere love For Two Fitness® performance apparel!

I already own two of their tops + one pair of capris from my pregnancy with Zoe, all of which are back into my maternity wardrobe rotation, so I was looking forward to seeing how the newly designed capris differed from the previous ones.  I am happy to report that they are amazing!  The material has been updated and has the familiar sweat wicking feel of other higher quality capris, the fit hugs the body more cloesly, the length cuts off right below the knee with no extra flair and the belly band wraps itself all the way around my belly.  I love that it’s long enough to go all the way above my bump with no awkward line showing halfway up the belly.  They are the most comfortable capris I have right now.  They did such an awesome job improving them!

Now onto my five favorite yoga poses this pregnancy!  Remember, every pregnancy is different and every body will have different limitations, so what works for me, may not work for you.  If you choose to try them, listen to your body (whether you are pregnant or not).

Pigeon :: feel good pose for my hips and glutes

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Crow :: keeps me feeling strong and challenged

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Triangle :: an amazing stretch all along the side of my body and through the hamstrings

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Cat/Cow :: not only a relief for the spine, this one helps to get baby into a good position for labor so I try and do this nightly before bed (but fail many times)

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Half lotus :: I especially love folding forward in half lotus to give my hips and glutes another great stretch

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For Two Fitness® has a promo code for you all to save on your own gear!  Use code HOLIDAY30 and save 30% off all merchandise (excluding gift cards) now through December 18th.

If pregnant, have you tried any For Two Fitness® workout gear?  Do you have a favorite yoga pose?  Please share!

Heather