13 Years a Mama!

My babies are turning 13 today! I officially have two teenagers! I could not be more proud of the funny, brave, strong, caring and sassy young ladies they are becoming. They are each other’s best friends and for that I am thankful every day! They still like hanging out with us too, which I’ll hold on to as long as I can!

Every year at their birthday I find myself reminiscing about my pregnancy, how much I loved it, and the day they were born. The girls were 5 weeks early and after 25 hours of labor and a c-section, our two little chicks were with us and it’s been a wild ride ever since! Weeks of them being in the NICU, health issues, not being able to hold them whenever we wanted to and having to leave our babies at the hospital and go home without them is by far the hardest experience I’ve ever had to go through but our little family is stronger and closer because of everything we’ve had to go through together.

Having twins is definitely a unique experience and one I am so thankful that we were blessed with. It’s had some very hard moments, especially when they were babies and Zach and I worked different shifts and had different days off, but watching the two of them together now, how close they are, and how much they love our family makes all of the hard stuff completely worth it. I am proud of the girls we are raising. They are my greatest accomplishment.

I am very much looking forward to celebrating them today (and all weekend) and celebrating the anniversary of me becoming their Mama. The biggest blessing in our life! 💕

Another Year Older (and hopefully wiser)

Sunday was my 38th birthday. 38!

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to spread my birthday out and celebrate as much as possible. We joke that my birthday is a National holiday in our house. This year was no exception and Zach and my girls’ spoiled me like no other!

Friday I had a tattoo date with my (almost) birthday buddy Jen. Happy Birthday today Jen! I absolutely love my new tattoo and can’t wait to get my next one! I have been wanting one that was visible for the longest time and could not be happier with what I chose. It is the birth flower for each person in our family.

Daffodil = March (me)

Daisy or Sweet Pea = April (Grace & Madison)

Larkspur = July (Zach)

Saturday was an 80th birthday brunch for Zach’s Nannie. We were very happy to be celebrating her 80 years with her. She’s such a special lady.

Saturday night was our belated St. Patrick’s Day dinner with our friends! Corned Beef, cabbage, snacks and time spent catching up with people we don’t get to see as often as we used to made for a great night.

Sunday (my actual birthday 😉) was spent doing brunch with Lauren and Joe, relaxing in the sunshine and then a BBQ with Chad, Nat and Eli and Jared, Vee and Otis. Having two of my smallest nephews here for my birthday made for an extra special day. They bring so much joy to our lives 💕.

It was a weekend filled with gifts and food and most importantly laughter and friendship. I am beyond blessed to have all of these people in my life to spend my birthday with. 38 feels pretty amazing from where I am sitting and I can’t wait to see where this next year of my life leads.

Sunday Reflections

This week was full of family and celebrations and I am feeling so blessed to have our family happy and healthy!

My parents are away and enjoying the sun and sand and my nephew and his girlfriend went to visit them for a few days. I’m very happy that they got to have that family time and some fun in the sun! ☀️ super jealous!

Wednesday was my nephew Eli’s 3rd birthday! It was so nice to spend some time with my brother and his family. Eli is such a ham and he brings so many smiles to our life!

We got to celebrate Joe’s 60th birthday on Saturday with family dinner, an amazing cake, and time together. It’s been such a long year of being separated from doing the things that we love and it was a great day of (almost) normalcy. Otis snuggles and smiles all around made it a great celebration. 😊

Today was a coffee in the quiet morning, some family errands and spending a girls’ day on the couch watching reality tv with G&M to end off our weekend and get ready to start a new week.

I have a big birthday weekend coming up next weekend and I can’t wait to get it started!! 🎉 The big 38! 😬

I hope everyone has a great Sunday night and an amazing week to come!! ☮️❤️

Counting (some of) My Blessings

I’ve been in a writing slump lately and just not feeling inspired to write about much, but I’ve promised myself I would stick with it.

I think that this COVID craziness is starting to catch up with me. Some days are great, and other days I just go through the motions.

I know that I am happier when I take the time to do things that I love and give thanks for the blessings in my life and remind myself of things I’m excited for so here is my list of everything that I am thankful for today:

1. Grace & Madison have been getting along and this makes Mom’s life easier. ✌️ They have truly handled this past year more gracefully than I could have possibly hoped for and I am so impressed by them.

2. I’ve started focusing on my health again. I started intermittent fasting a week or so ago and I’m loving it! I am starting to feel better already. 💪🏼

3. I made my birthday tattoo appointment with my friend Jen. So excited and nervous! 😬

4. Zach’s days off are coming up and I’m always grateful to spend time with my best friend! 💕

5. Taking a trip with family in the Spring! A change of scenery is so good for the soul! 🏖

6. Travel softball practices are starting and we are always happy to get back to watching our girls do what they love. 🥎

7. I’m thankful for in person conversations with friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough right now.

8. I’m thankful for the good health of all of my family and friends!

There is always something to be grateful for and sometimes I guess I just need to take a break and truly count my blessings. Life is good!

What are you feeling blessed because of? ❤️

Sunday Supper 🥘

I am obsessed with spaghetti squash right now, so our Sunday supper is Italian spaghetti squash w/chicken. I make this dinner all at once in the Instant Pot and it’s so easy and good! Only one pot to clean when you are done!

The ingredient list:

2 tsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts

1 spaghetti squash

1 Tbsp minced garlic

2 medium tomato

1 tsp dried basil

1 cup chicken stock (I used low sodium)

2 handfuls of baby spinach

1 tbsp capers

Salt and pepper to taste

Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and heat up the olive oil. While you wait for this, cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Once the oil is hot put the garlic in to sauté for a minute or two and add the chicken, salt, pepper and basil into the pot. You want the chicken to brown a little. This takes a couple of minutes. You aren’t looking to fully cook the chicken, just brown it.

While you are waiting for the chicken to brown up, dice up the tomatoes and set it aside. This is usually when I cut the spaghetti squash in half and take the seeds out (the seeds go in our compost bin. 😊

One cup of chicken stock goes in with the chicken and put the trivet for the Instant Pot on top.

The spaghetti squash goes right on the top of the trivet, the top goes on and the Instant Pot gets set for 3 minutes on high pressure.

Then we wait…

After the instant pot comes to pressure and cooks for 3 minutes, you let it naturally release for 5 minutes.

Carefully release the rest of the pressure after 5 minutes and take the lid off. You can remove the spaghetti squash at this point and use a fork to shred it from the skin.

Drain the excess liquid from the chicken and tomatoes in the pot, add the spaghetti squash, spinach and capers back into the pot and sauté until the spinach wilts. Stir it all together and enjoy!

The girls’ like theirs with some parmesan cheese sprinkled in but I think it’s just as delicious without it (especially the bites you get with the capers. Yum!).

I hope you all had a great weekend and have a wonderful week ahead!

Homemade Potpourri for the Win!

I found a fun and easy way to hold on to those flowers that you love a little longer!

Grace and Madison got beautiful bouquets from their Nan and Pop during our quarantine and we wanted to find a way to keep and enjoy them a little longer even though they were getting past their prime. I looked around on Pinterest and saw some ideas to turn flowers into potpourri. Perfect! It was so easy and turned out so well I wanted to share it with you all.

First preheat the oven to 200 degrees. While the oven was heating up I cut the flowers off their stems just below the buds and put them on a baking sheet. I read that you should use parchment paper, but I didn’t have any and it worked fine without it.

Once the flowers are all laid out in a single layer, I threw in a 5-6 whole cloves and then used 10-15 drops of my Sage essential oil, but you can use whatever scent oil you like. You can also slice up some oranges or lemons and throw them in to dry with the flowers. I would have liked to try that too, but we are out of citrus fruit today. Next time!

Then it’s time to to put it in the oven. I put them in for 2 hours at 200 degrees and they came out perfectly dried.

Throw it in a cute bowl and add a little more essential oil if you need it and it’s a beautiful and fragrant little reminder of the bouquets we loved so much!

I’m so thankful to be able to hold on to the things that bring us joy for as long as possible…I even kept a couple of the flowers that had a little life left in them and made a little bouquet to remind us that spring is getting closer even if it doesn’t feel like it on this -3 degree January day!

Happy Friday, everyone! Stay warm and enjoy the weekend!

Sowing Seeds Update!

We have some baby herb plants!

I have not so patiently been peeking and checking on the seeds I planted every day, and this morning I found that a bunch of them have sprouted!!

This is a major accomplishment and labor of love for me, because I was born with my mother’s lack of a green thumb. No matter how hard I try, my plants usually don’t fare so well. I think I might over-love them sometimes.

I am determined to make these little plants grow and thrive until spring when I can get them outside in the new herb boxes my handsome husband is going to build me! 😊. If anyone has any tips or tricks I’d love to hear them. I need all the help I can get!

So far we have:

Little Chives
Little Basil
Tiny Baby Oregano and Little Mustard

This is the perfect distraction from a very chilly weekend in January. I think I may need to grab some coffee and start looking up some recipes to use these beauties in when the time comes! I’m thinking pestos, and salsa and marinades and maybe some tea! If you have any favorite recipes using these herbs I would love to hear them!

Has anyone ever grown Mustard before? I’d love some suggestions on how to use it!

Happy Saturday!

Scents & Smiles

It’s amazing how something as small as a scent can change your whole mindset for the day and help relieve stress.

I was having one of THOSE days today. You know, one of those days where no matter how hard you try to stay on top of things, more things keep coming. One of those days where you didn’t even get one cup of coffee and now it’s almost 4pm and things aren’t slowing down. You know what I mean!?

I decided that I was going to take a 5 minute break and work on something that would help ground me, make the house smell amazing, and put a smile back on my face. I got this idea from a work friend, and I don’t really know what to call this, but it’s become a little self care ritual that I turn to when I need to take a pause and it’s made with stuff you all probably have around the pantry.

Oranges – I used one large orange and 3 clementines. (They were on their way out so it’s also a nice way to use fruit that your family didn’t get around to eating!)

5 whole cloves

2 star anise

4 cardamom pods

Around 6 cups of water, but you can add more as the liquid cooks off.

You can also use some evergreen sprigs or maybe some herbs if you have them laying around too. There are a bunch of different combinations you could do here. (I’d love to hear any ideas you have about other ones.)

Throw everything in a pot and turn it on low heat and I promise your house will smell amazing in no time! It’s so simple and quick and has such a peaceful effect on the vibe in our house.

Now I’ll grab a cup of tea and head back to the work that needs to be done, but feeling much more relaxed and happy.

Do you have any small rituals like this that you use to make yourself slow down for a minute?

Get Dressed Today!

I get up most mornings, make some coffee, have my breakfast shake, do my daily tarot reading and journal, check emails, check instagram and then read my horoscope. This morning my horoscope was spot on, whether I liked it or not! My horoscope just said “Get dressed today.”! We’ll ok then…

A little shocking, a little comical, but it wasn’t wrong! Our little family of four has been in isolation or quarantine in some form since December 28th when my husband tested positive for COVID. He and I both had a week or so where we weren’t feeling well and we have been mostly housebound. For the most part we have been loving every minute of the pause this has caused for us. We are homebodies and take a lot of effort and pride to make our home a place that we are comfortable staying for long periods of time, but I have been noticing that we have been staying in our pajamas a lot more than normal, lounging and watching tv more, napping more and making excuses not to do certain things more. Those are all things that are wonderful to do when you need a self care day, or aren’t feeling well, but I think we’ve hit a slippery slope of living there recently instead of just visiting. I’ve been finding myself hounding the kids to get changed and to put on real clothes even though they know they aren’t leaving the house, but apparently I needed the reminder too!

There is something about putting on real clothes that forces you to show up, be present and get things done in a way that doesn’t quite translate when you stay in your PJs all day. I definitely needed that reminder and need to pass it along to my kids for the 20th time this month. Wish me luck!

I am thankful for my horoscope’s reminder to “Get Dressed Today”. I did! In real clothes, too. Jeans and all, and you know what, I feel good. I feel ready to take on the day! Maybe now I will attack my list of things I’ve been putting off:

Getting the kids to get dressed and clean their rooms!

Laundry

Reading

Finishing an art project I started way too long ago.

Dusting

Maybe ALL of these things won’t get accomplished today, but even if I can check a couple of them off the list, I showed up today and did something productive. Thanks horoscope!

What does your horoscope say today? It might change your plans!

Cleaning with Intention

Recently I came across a book that talked about cleaning with intentions. This isn’t what you might think. Of course you have to have the intent to clean, but cleaning with intention is when you put a specific energy or vibe into your cleaning routine.

This can be as simple as using your regular cleaning supplies, but before you use them, take a moment to pause, take a few breaths, be mindful and present and put intentional energy into what you are going to do. Visualize your positive energy going into the cleaning agent. Do you want to promote happiness in your home? Health? Gratitude? Abundance? Put that energy into the cleaning solution mindfully and cleanse your space of bad or old energy as well as dirt and dust. It’s kind of like meditation for your cleaning routine.

It is important to use cleaners that don’t have toxic elements to them when doing this. You can make a simple all purpose cleaner at home using:

• 1 cup water

• 1 cup white distilled vinegar

• 1/2 a lemon, juiced

• 15 drops lavender essential oil

Put this all in a spray bottle and refrigerate when not using because of the lemon juice. (don’t use this on marble or granite surfaces)

I’ve also found some products I really like through Grove. Contact me and I’d love to discuss some of them with you!

This all might seem a little strange to you, and it did to me too at first, but really couldn’t we all use a little more intention in our life? So often we do things just to do them and cross them off our lists. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like cleaning feel more rewarding, purposeful and positive, and less mundane and like work?

What are some areas of your life that could use more intention? I’d love some ideas on where else we could practice being more intentional, mindful and present.