An Uncomplicated Life Blog: July 2018

Monday, July 30, 2018

6th Month Twin Bumpdate

I've completed six months of pregnancy and got these babies to the age of viability! And now, the fun begins

Can you sense the sarcasm in that subheader? I wrap up the 6th month of my twin pregnancy TODAY (hello, 7th month and third trimester!) and things are starting to get hard: Hard to take a full breath, hard to walk, hard to bend over, hard to get dressed, hard to shave my legs... You get it. Well, you get it if you've had a baby before, if you're a dude you're clueless, bless your sweet little heart. I'm still not miserable, but things are sure moving in the "this is going to be really uncomfortable" camp faster and faster each day! Let's take a look at how this month shaped up, shall we?

Just about to be 22 weeks here
Number of weeks gestation: 27 weeks - and 10 weeks away (provided all goes well) until we meet these two boys (if they don't come on their own sooner!) I'm going to be a twin mom in less than three months. OMG.

Cravings: Food. All the food. Anything, as long as it's food. I just love all food. Seriously, nothing in particular, nothing weird like pickles and ice cream (that actually sounds pretty nasty) but all food always sounds good. Berries. I fully took advantage of cherries being in season. If you follow my InstaStories, you saw just how many bowls of those things I ate. Pineapple. Oatmeal. Cheeseburgers. Potato chips fried in avocado oil. Tart frozen yogurt. Yeah, all of it.

Aversions: What's that? People don't like food? Y'all are crazy.

In all seriousness though, the only thing I've got going on that counts as an aversion is portion control. My stomach is now so smushed, I can only eat a little bit at a time or I pay for it BIG TIME by feeling overly full, miserable and slightly nauseous. If I eat anything that resembles a full meal, even a portion controlled meal, I'm miserable 20 minutes later. I can't tell you how unfun it is to eat a tad too much (it's not even too much - it's what a normal stomach would consider a regular meal!) and then get so full, I can't even drink water because I can feel it coming up the back of my throat. This never happened with any of my singleton pregnancies, and is a huge bummer! Especially because us twin moms are HANGRY... There's just not enough room to eat!

A full 22 weeks in this shot... It's like I grew dramatically over the course of a few days from the previous photo, right?!

Weight gain: 16 pounds. And it's seriously all boobs and belly! My hips have gotten a tad wider - in fact, I had to go buy some new maternity shorts in the next size up because my prebaby size just wasn't cutting it anymore, even with the stretchy sides. But mostly I carry straight out in front. Which makes walking fun! When I first found out I was having twins, I had a wave of people tell me their horror stories or stories of close friends who put on 60, 70, 95 pounds with twins. I was terrified! Knock on wood, but it looks like I avoided that hot mess and will keep my weight gain just below the recommended amount for twins, or on the low end of normal. That's not by chance - I'm purposely eating insanely healthy and only allowing myself treats several times a week. I know damn well how hard it is to lose baby weight. It's not worth the binging while pregnant, not that I have the room for that nonsense anyway!

I never got a stretch mark from my first two babies, but I'm starting to get one where I stupidly pierced my belly button at the wise old age of 14. My mom was so mad at me when my dad took me to get it done, all she could do was tell me how much I was going to hate it when I was older. Guess what? I took out my jewelry by the age of 20 and have hated it since! And now at the age of 33 and pregnant with twins, it's by far the stupidest thing I've ever done to my body. Those sentiments are escalated by the fact that had I NOT done that at 14, I'd likely still be stretch mark free now. Way to go Paige. Dumba$$.

A dress and my hair is down?! 23 weeks in my gifted Isabella Oliver maternity dress. If you're a work in an office mama, you've got to check them out - fantastic business clothes for pregnant mamas, and some great casual pieces too like this cotton dress!

Workouts: Proud to say I'm hanging in there strong at three workouts a week! But just barely. I'm still doing normal classes (not prenatal or "gentle yoga" or anything like that) but that's only because I'm familiar with prenatal modifications and I do every. single. one. for moves that are remotely challenging. And as I head into my 8th month, I think it's time to start to add a Hatha yoga class to replace one of my barre classes, and will slowly start to sub out all my classes this month. That's ok! I'm so happy I made it as far as I have, and I'm ready to slow down.

I'm still seeing my chiropractor twice a week and will for the rest of pregnancy. She's helping a TON, but I still have significant tailbone and sacrum pain. It's really bad if I've been sitting for a while then try to stand up quickly - it's like all the muscles that support me have relaxed and when I get up to move, my bones just slide all over the place and over each other! Once I'm up and moving I'm back to normal pretty quickly, but those first few movements and moments are horrible. I don't know if this is something related to twins and having a massive surge of the hormone relaxin running through me or it's because I'm on baby 3 (and 4) or the fact I'm 33 and getting older for this pregnancy or what, but this never happened with my singletons and first two babies.

24 weeks and a fresh chop job of my hair - the 5 inches my hair lost, my growing belly found

I also caught myself just straight up holding my pregnant belly at the grocery store this past weekend. Absolutely no shame whatsoever. Just holding this massive thing up while I used the other hand to put stuff in my cart! I have a pretty lame maternity support belt I used when I'd walk and run with Otto so I'll give that a try, but I just don't think that thing is supportive enough for twins. If you've got one you like, holler at me. I basically need the strength of a human arm that can lift the multiple pounds of multiple babies my poor ligaments are trying to carry nonstop.

Still, I don't have many complaints outside of the beginning of a stretch mark and the tailbone/sacrum issue. I'm sleeping great, although I do get up often to use the bathroom. I always waddle back to bed, cause a mini-earthquake getting in and comfortable, and am back asleep in just a few minutes. I only have occasional heartburn. Nothing two Tums won't cure immediately. No swelling, even in the July Texas heat - still wearing my wedding rings without any issues and all of my shoes fit my feet, no problem. No kankles here!

Oh look, a different mirror for a selfie! 25 weeks on our beach vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC

My OB told me at my last appointment that I'm one of the most blessed and lucky pregnant twin moms she's ever seen. She said, "You're smiling! You seem calm and content! Most of my twin moms are groaning and ready to be done with pregnancy by now but you're just carrying on. You are a rare one!" And it's true. There's a few common pregnancy issues I wish I wasn't dealing with, but overall, I'm pretty content and happy growing these babies. Who, believe it or not, are in the 65% for size and are my biggest babies yet. Both of them! They're just a few grams apart, with baby B slightly larger than A. Henry was always in the 50% for size and Otto was down in the 30%, so I don't know what I'm doing right this time around (besides eating for three and generally loving all food) but watch me go to 40 weeks and pop out two 8 pound twins, even with a history of preterm labor and 6 pound babies. Ha! That would happen to me.

Over 26 weeks and feelin' it

That's been my 6th month! Still not too bad, all things considered. I'm healthy with good blood pressure, good weight gain, good muscle tone and strength to carry this load and generally pretty content. But I know I'm entering the hard phase... I think month seven, eight and hopefully nine (as long as I stay pregnant!) are going to be a different story than the easy breezy time I've had with these twins so far. Time will tell right? On to month seven and my third trimester!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My Go-To Protein Packed Breakfast

Jimmy Dean Simple Scrambles® is ready in minutes, has at least 20g of protein and is portable in it's own cup

This post is sponsored by Jimmy Dean® Brand, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
07/09/2018 10:15:54
An Uncomplicated Life Bl
My Go-To Protein Packed Breakfast
This post is sponsored by Jimmy Dean® Brand, but the content
and opinions expressed here are my

Admittedly, I am not a breakfast person. When I'm not pregnant, I can easily go until 2 or 3 pm before I even remotely feel hungry, provided I have a good strong cup of coffee to run on. As a pregnant mama, especially pregnant with twins, the half a cup of coffee I can actually stomach just doesn't cut it! I'm irritable and grouchy by 10 am. Enter Jimmy Dean Simple Scrambles breakfast cups! My go-to protein packed breakfast that's, you guessed it, REAL FOOD.

The self contained cup holds all the ingredients you need to make your protein packed breakfast in about two minutes. Inside, you'll find a cup of two real eggs (the first ingredient on the package? Eggs! And yes, I checked) and a packet of breakfast meat and cheese. Flavors come in bacon, sausage and meat lovers. Pour the eggs into the cup, microwave for about a minute, add your meat and cheese and give it another 45 seconds or so and boom. Your hot, fresh, protein packed breakfast is ready to eat!

I love that everything comes ready to make in this breakfast cup. No need to add any of your own ingredients. This means you can make it at home before you leave for work, bring it in to the office, or pack it along with you. All you need is a microwave to have a hot and tasty meal that will keep you full for hours with all the protein. Perfect for long mornings with no lunch break in sight, post-workout fuel, or, you know, my fellow pregnant moms looking for a quick bite to eat that will help give their in-belly-babes the protein they need to grow!

When I say that this product is real food, I mean it's real food. You find it in the refrigerated breakfast foods aisle at Walmart and because it's eggs, meat and cheese, you've got to keep it refrigerated. Nothing is dehydrated, and no water is necessary to prepare it. It's not a boxed food that will keep for years on a shelf somewhere. It's good old fashioned eggs, meat and cheese (aka high protein foods!) with an expiration date that are easy to prepare by you.

Jimmy Dean Simple Scrambles breakfast cups are my go-to protein packed breakfast. It's ready in about two minutes and comes as a complete meal - no add-ins necessary, no water needed. Just real eggs, meat and cheese to kick start my day with a protein punch. The perfect breakfast food for busy people, typically-non-breakfast-people, and of course, pregnant women looking to get all their protein needs met for the day!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Must Haves On A Twin Baby Registry

If you're expecting twins, check out this list of must haves to put on your registry! All of the stuff you need, none of the stuff that will collect dust - from an experienced mom

This post is sponsored by Babylist. All opinions are my own.

A few months ago, I was helping my sister put together her baby registry for her first child. She's not into "stuff" anymore than I am, and didn't want a bunch of baby gear taking up her home. I crafted this baby registry list, which has all the basics of stuff you NEED when you have an infant, with a small section at the end with some "nice to have" items. This list still holds true for all the basics for twins, too! Of course, with twins there are a few more things you're going to want to add to your registry, or tweak a bit from this list of classic items, so I've partnered with Babylist to bring you the must have on a twin baby registry. Go to my first registry post for all the need to have basics (just times it by two!) and then add these items which are must have needs specific to twins.

Baby items and gear specific to twins; twin baby gear to make the first 6 months easier

Like it?! Pin it!

First, before you even start your baby registry, did you know there's an online resource that will let you pull items from literally any store and have it all in one place?! Where was this when I had my first baby and really went hog-wild with my registry?! It's called Babylist and it's literally the easiest thing in the world to use. No dumb in-store scanner that doesn't work, no going to multiple stores and having multiple lists/registries on your baby shower invites - just a one stop shop that you can add everything you need and want to. Want to support independent artists on Etsy or your favorite baby boutique? Yup, you can add items from their shops when you use Babylist!

It's insanely simple to use. When you go to the site to register, you drag and drop an "add item to Babylist" button to your toolbar that enables you to add any item from any store to your registry. When I created my registry for our twins that are due in the fall, I was able to add items from Babylist (they keep their own stock of baby items!), Amazon, PBK and Etsy with one simple click. Mega bonus!
Once you've registered for several items, you're eligible to receive a Hello Baby Box, full of sample goodies and offers for you and baby. So you can get all the things you want off Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Target, Buy Buy Baby and more retailers PLUS get the opportunity to be sent an awesome welcome box. Winning. Click here to start your own Babylist registry and the chance for your Hello Baby Box*! *For US residents only, while supplies last. Box contents may change monthly. Restrictions apply.

Ok, back to the twin must haves. Again, all your basics are listed here - just be sure to register for twice as many! And here are the items you'll need (yes, need - I don't need my home overrun with baby stuff so I like to keep it simple) if you're expecting twins:

- My Breast Friend Twin Nursing Pillow
The singleton version of this is on my other registry list, but if you're expecting two, you'll want this plus sized version so that you can tandem nurse, do skin to skin while one nurses and the other cuddles, or simply as a way to more easily hold both babies at once. Since c sections are more common with twins, the back support of the Breast Friend will be essential! I've had a c section and a VBAC and the back support and wrap around feature of this pillow are what make it superior to all others, in my opinion.
- The Twin Z Pillow
This is basically a solid multitasking pillow for twin moms! If you're bottle feeding, you can prop both babies up in it and hold their bottles until they're able to do so themselves. It's great for tummy time. As your twins begin to learn how to sit on their own, this will be a great tool to keep them from falling over and teaching them how to move their weight forward to sit solo. For the first 6-9 months of the twins' lives, this will be your go-to set of "second hands" so that you're able to get through your day with two babies.
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
I knew from having Henry and Otto that a lightweight car seat is essential. That infant basket gets heavy quickly, and if you get a "fancier" car seat, odds are the seat alone is at or over 10 pounds (Britax, UppaBaby, Maxi Cosi, I'm looking at you!). That nullifies the benefit of the infant removable bucket seat REAL quick. What I love about this seat is that it's the most narrow seat on the market. You're having more than one kid, so you'll need to get everyone in the car, and narrow seats will become as important as it being lightweight! It comes in several models and colors so if you're in a cold weather state, you can get the zip on blanket to keep baby warm and dry (no babies in coats - makes the car seat ineffective). The Chicco brand is also synonymous with safety, quality and durability PLUS it's adaptable to just about any stroller you've got your eye on (the same can't be said of UppaBaby and some of the other brands previously mentioned). Hands down, this car seat beats out all the other brands for what twin parents need: affordability, lightweight, safety, adaptable to multiple stroller brands, and width for multiple children in car seats.
- Joovy Twin Roo Car Seat Stroller
Speaking of strollers, you're going to need something to hold those car seats until the babies are big enough to hold their heads up and sit up on their own in a regular stroller. I'm talking something lightweight that fits in your trunk and that you can snap open easily so that you can run errands - quick trips to the grocery or Target or Walmart for diapers - that kind of thing. When my husband is with us, we'll likely each grab a kid and baby wear (more on that later) but when I'm solo, I need something EASY and FAST to get my whole crew moving. The Joovy is a stroller frame that you click your car seats into. It's lightweight and folds compact to fit in your trunk. Best yet, it has a massive storage basket under it, so you can fit shopping items in it or pack it up with baby necessities for multiples for an outing at the zoo or aquarium.
- Baby carriers
I'm a fan of the ring sling type carriers for infants, and my husband likes something more structured like the Tula (they come in so many cool designs and colors!) There's benefits to both types of carriers. The ring sling is great for infants to keep them close to you and double as a nursing cover. They're super easy to put on and grow with the baby - you adjust it every time you wear it and can do it by yourself. The Tula is great because it offers support around your waist and via your shoulders, so the weight of the baby is distributed. After you get it adjusted to fit you and your babe, it's really easy to put on and load up with the baby. One thing is for sure, if you have other kids besides your twins, you WILL be baby wearing so that you have free hands for your older children!

- Cute Matching Outfits
Let's keep it 100 here. People LOVE to buy baby clothes, especially matching outfits for twins. You can either leave it up to the gifter's discretion on what they think your kids should wear, or you can go ahead and register for a few twin outfits. I'm a massive fan of Kyte Baby because they use organic bamboo. It's so soft and breathable! It's not cheap but that's ok - put the expensive clothes on your registry and let other people buy them, then you can buy the affordable clothes :)

- A quick note on diapers and bottles
Obviously, diapers and bottles are a must have and they're listed on my first registry with a little strategy from an experienced mom: Don't buy too much of one kind until you know what baby will take (in terms of bottle) and what fits and works best with your baby's build (in terms of diaper). That's still generally true for twins, however, I wouldn't register for nor offer too many bottle options to your twins. You'll want them to take the same bottle, or you'll be deep in bottle hell of trying to remember who takes what, what pieces go with which, which pieces were sterilized last, and on and on. No thank you! I'm only offering one type of bottle to my twins. They'll get offered that or milk straight from the mama tap and that's it. Twin moms aint got no time to play around with what their babies prefer - the babies will get what they get!

Diapers are the same in theory... Until/unless your twins are in two different sizes or one develops an allergic reaction to the chemicals in traditional diapers or one brand is great for one twin and leaks like crazy on your other twin! I had my Irish Twins in two different brands of diapers, and it was easy enough to keep them separate in bins monogrammed with their names on it. Henry used Babyganics and Otto was allergic to everything but Honest Co, and since all you do with diapers is put them on and throw them away (no parts! no sterilizing! no milk ounzes to remember!) it was a pretty easy process to have them in different brands. So, I'd register for the small packs of several different kinds to see what works best overall, or what works best for each baby and rest assured from this experienced mom: Having two in two different kinds of diapers isn't too much to handle, and is pretty easy to keep straight. Definitely easier than endless laundry from forcing your babies to wear diapers that don't fit them properly and cause leaks!

One of the most fun - and potentially overwhelming! - things about having a baby is creating your registry. There's so many options, so many brands, so many colors of products and gear to chose from. Make your life easier by creating one universal baby registry that supports items from every store by heading over to! They even have consultants to help you and to answer your questions. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mini Summer Vacation!

Taking the week to enjoy some of the weeks of summer! We had to do our annual summer vacay early this year since I won't be allowed to travel come August (too pregnant with the twins) so we're soaking up some sun and fun while we can... And while I can still walk (albeit with a massive waddle) and don't need one of those motorized carts to get around! I'll see you back here Monday, July 23 with a whole bunch of fun new content.

And now it's time for... VACATION MODE! No fishing for me though, thanks. Fish gross me out. So slimy and stinky.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Current Snarky Confessions

If I were Catholic, this would be my Thursday confessional of impure thoughts

It's been ages since we just sat and caught up, no? That's somewhat intentional because my monthly bump dates are pretty close to my current thoughts and happenings. If you haven't read those, even if you're not pregnant or a man or don't care, they might amuse you, so check them out here and here. This post, however, is dedicated to all the impure thoughts I've had recently - the judgmental, the snarky, the not so nice stuff - you know, the kind you need to confess to and seek forgiveness. Read at your own risk of being offended. Or amused, if you're well adjusted and know how to properly let things go.

Is there anything worse than when your manicurist leaves your nails too long?! I get dips, so my nails don't break or chip, they simply grow out until I get a new color put on. If they're left too long, they turn into straight up CLAWS. I spent most of last week struggling to use my phone and typing on my laptop, they were such eagle-like-daggers. First world problems? Sure, but I paid $47 for this vampire botch job mani, so I'll cry about it if I friggin want to. And suck your blood if you're rolling your eyes at me right now. Better sleep with one eye open, cause these nails can kill.

The Target maternity tank I bought that will fit me for maybe one more week. I sized up.

The inability of clothing manufacturers to consistently size women's clothing the same blows my mind. Bought two new tanks at Target. Bought a sundress from the same designer. The sundress was an XS and too big for me, the tanks were S and too tight. I know it's crappy and cheap Target clothes, but seriously! Can they not do their job right? Can they not cut patterns correctly from cloth? Do they secretly get enjoyment from pissing women off with all these weird sizes?

What is with pregnant women comparing their gestational diabetes tests to the likes of facing a dang firing squad?! It's not that bad, it's not that hard, you chug a drink that tastes like off-brand Powerade and get pricked by a needle. Settle the heck down. It's nothing compared to birth.  It's nothing compared to when things *actually* go medically wrong in your pregnancy. You don't even have to fast anymore. You literally just have to chug a drink and get pricked by one needle. That's it. One thing pregnant women are known to do is taking advantage of every "opportunity" for special treatment they can get (myself included here - I feel like I can say this as a current pregnant woman!) and they're taking full advantage of complaining about this test. Eye roll. So hard.

How we roll when it's super hot out. And by super hot, I mean well over 100 degrees.

I can't help but laugh when I see people up north complaining about 90 degrees. I haven't felt air that cool since May! Heat warnings for a mere 90 degrees? I mean, for real? I don't even run my car AC for 90 degrees. That's windows down kinda weather! For the record, I think the same thing when I see people freaking out in Texas over 30 degrees, all decked out in every single piece of winter gear they own. Except at 30 degrees, your pipes can burst and destroy your home, your landscaping can get destroyed to the tune of thousands of dollars and if there's ice on the road, you're not going anywhere... But 90 degrees? Sounds like a pleasant day to me! Pour yourself a lemonade and get outside and enjoy it. And know that everyone across the South, but especially in the Southwest, has daggers in their eyes at your "heat advisory" and "heat index" nonsense.

Gimme all the pumpkins! Cannot wait to decorate and do all the fall things.

I will absolutely not apologize for starting to get excited for all things fall. Yes, it's July. But bloggers run on retail calendar, so this means I can already start to plan and pin and schedule fall content, and it gets me SO EXCITED. Frankly, thinking about and creating fall content in the hellish months of Texas summer make this place bearable! Don't like it? Stay off Pinterest and out of any and all retail stores until you're ready to face the coming season! I'm happy as a clam over here planning my fall content. In July. Not even sorry a little bit. I cannot WAIT to pull out my seasonal decorations and get this party started! Also, does this paragraph makes sense immediately after a paragraph telling people to stop complaining about heat? Meh, probably not, but I thought it was funny.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Early Morning Hacks For Back To School

Back to school means early mornings! Use these hacks to make them as efficient and smooth as possible

If I haven't said it here before, allow me to announce it to the world now: I am NOT a morning person. I hate mornings. I wish nothing happened in the world before 8 am and it that it was required for all people to sleep until AT LEAST 7 am. I'm sure to a college student or even a 20 something year old, that sounds like the early morning, but to those of us who are parents or hold down typical jobs or worse yet, both of those things, you know that those hours are indeed considered sleeping in! Henry has one more year of preK preschool left, and after that, we'll need to be in the carpool lane by 7:15 am, Monday through Friday. Just pull my hair out now, please. That sounds like death. I'm going to pretend like that's not my impending future because getting four kids out of the house by 7 am is too much for my despise of morning hours self... However, through this hatred of early hours, I've developed a series of hacks that honestly make the mornings bearable! Not likable, but tolerable. If you're anti-mornings like me or you just need some tips on how to use your time more efficiently, check out these early morning hacks that are great for those back to school rushes.

Morning hacks and efficiency tips for the early back to school mornings to curb chaos

1) Make lunches the night before and make them in bulk
Everyone knows this one but so few do it! Trust me on this one and just do it. I like to make them after dinner but before I've done the "final clean" of the kitchen for the day. If your kids go to school everyday, make them two at a time! This is a super efficient way to do it - you've already got the bread and peanut butter and jelly out, make two sandwiches instead of one. Then store it in a paper or plastic bag in the back of the fridge, and swap it out when your kids come home from school and you're cleaning out their backpacks and lunch bags.

Breakfast #1 gets set out on the counter, ready for the kids' early wake up time

2) Set out your kids supplies the night before
This is for everything: Outfits, special supplies like an art project or a towel/spare outfit for a field trip, homework in folders, tuition checks/lunch money/etc in the right spot - whatever your child might need for school the next day, have it set up and ready to go for the morning. Make sure it's all in one spot so you're not chasing it down when you should be getting in the car! The only thing I don't set out the night before is the kids' lunches, which stay in the fridge until we zip up and put on backpacks.

We're a two breakfast kinda family (or at least my kids are) so I set out their first breakfast the night before. They like to wake up early so I shove cereal bars at them because these kids wake up hungry! Then I usually heat up pancakes that were made the day before, scramble a few eggs, or give them yogurt and fruit closer to when we leave for school. The first breakfast is the super early one and therefore needs to be made as easy as possible! You could set out cereal bowls or partial supplies for breakfast if your kids eats from the fridge. Get out whatever you can to make it as easy as possible!

Otto's packed backpack ready to go in the morning

3) Set our YOUR supplies the night before
I don't go as far as getting my outfit planned because I work from home and can wear whatever I want, but if I had an office job, better believe I'd plan that out! I do get my coffee set up. I make individual cups (don't use a Keurig because of the mold and mildew that grows in them and how wasteful the actual cups are... Seriously it's like getting a new plastic straw everyday for your drink - why are you doing that?! Plus, I think it makes sucky coffee and isn't strong enough hashtagsorrynosorry) when my husband is working or traveling and I get this and the kids' "first breakfast" all set up and on the counter at the same time. Takes less than 2 minutes.

My coffee station is ready to go for an easy morning cup

4) Wake up early enough to move at your desired pace and still leave on time
Seems like the wrong advice coming from a woman who hates mornings right? Like I should be telling you all of this so that you're able to stay in bed until the last possible minute for the most possible sleep, right? Here's something else I've learned: When you push your timetable, it makes early mornings WORSE. For example, I don't like mornings, so I don't like moving fast or loud sounds; basically, the general chaos of rushing is excruciating! I've started to wake up a half hour before I used to in order to move at a calm, reasonable pace in the morning. We aren't rushed but there's also no time built in for dragging our feet. It makes a huge difference on my mood not only while we're getting ready to get out the door, but also for the rest of the day for me! It might take you a few tries to get it right, but you'll find the sweet spot of time to get up that enables you to move through the steps necessary for the morning at the pace you need to be a happy and calm parent. For me, that was more than worth shaving off 30 extra minutes in bed.

Back to school time is always a crazy mess of figuring out new schedules, timing, and what all needs to be done to get everyone where they need to go. If you're not a morning person like me, this is especially painful! Use these early morning hacks to get you on track for a well planned, prepared, calm and efficient back to school morning schedule. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! May your day be full of BBQ's and cookouts, parades, fireworks, and everything red, white and blue. Taking a break today to celebrate with the fam, but I'll be back Monday with a some back to school 'successful morning' tips I've developed over the years. Can you believe kids go back to school so soon?! Third week in August for Dallas students. Cray cray.

Enjoy some adult bevvies for me and make sure to stay safe - don't drink and play with fireworks!

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Best Summer Mocktails

Whether you're pregnant or simply avoiding alcohol this summer, I've created some great mocktail recipes that are refreshing and fun to sip on all summer

I know some people are huge fans of sipping summer cocktails when the weather is warm. I'm one of the weird ones that actually doesn't mind forgoing alcohol in the summer. Day drinking on a boat was my JAM when I lived in Minneapolis, but now that I live in a city that is triple digit heat from June through September, alcohol just makes me feel more loopy and frankly - a tad ill in the summer. I truly haven't minded giving up booze for this summer pregnancy! Water and juices get boring day in and day out though, and I like to still be "a part of the group" when I'm with non-pregnant friends who can indulge by a pool or at lunch. If you're riding the sober bus for any reason this summer, I've crafted a list of great alcohol-free summer mocktails for you to enjoy. *Affiliate links used*

Alcohol free drinks and beverages perfect summer time drink recipes

Bubbly Bloody Mary
The key to this one is the mix. If you've got a bad mix, this will be a bad drink! I have tried mixes from here to kingdom come and hands down the best one is Zing Zang (available here and Target also stocks it). It's not too tomato-y, not too much horseradish or pepper, the perfect saltiness, and just a great, robust favor. In fact, if you think you don't like Bloody Mary's, try this mix and see! Now that you've got the mix, you need a vodka replacement. Topo Chico is a great way to cut the acidity of the tomato juice mix without the booze. While Zing Zang is the king of Bloody Mary mix, Topo Chico is the king of sparkling mineral water. Seriously try it. It's so much better than La Croix or Perrier, it's insane. Like, miles ahead of the race better.

Alcohol free drinks and beverages perfect summer time drink recipes #mocktail #alcoholfree #summerdrink #beverage

Bubbly Bloody Mary
- Zing Zang or your favorite Bloody Mary mix
- Topo Chico sparkling water
- lime
- salt and celery seed
- other accouterments to garnish as desired

Mix together a small plate of sea salt and celery seed. Line your glass rim by rubbing a lime wedge over it to moisten, then dip into the plate of salt and celery seed. Add ice to your glass and fill 1/3 to 1/2 full with Topo Chico. Top off the reminder of the glass with your Bloody Mary mix and garnish with a lime slice and whatever else you desire (Tobasco sauce, other hot sauces, olives, pickles, a celery stock or even a beef stick are all good choices!)

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Enjoy! Hubs and I had some one morning out in our courtyard. I like adding the bubbles so much, I might keep it as an addition even when I'm able to enjoy vodka again! I will say, this virgin option is a nice morning drink that keeps your head clear, unlike the traditional Bloody. It's also a great recovery drink after a good morning workout.

Strawberry-Basil MojitNO
See what I did there?! I know, but I'm not even sorry about it. There is nothing like warm weather and a good crisp, fruity beverage to tame the heat. This one has the fruity flavor from the strawberries, fresh basil and mint to brighten it, and coconut water that actually helps keep you hydrated by providing natural electrolytes. Win win win! I would CHOOSE to drink this on a super hot day instead of a wine spritzer to keep myself hydrated, that's how good it was. If you watched my IG Stories the day I made and filmed it, you saw I made myself three of them. Yup. That good.

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Just like with the Bubbly Bloody Mary, this drink requires QUALITY coconut water. I'll be honest with you: I don't like most brands of plain coconut water. When I first went "crunchy" and replaced Gatorade with it, I had to buy the fruit juice infused blends because the plain coconut water taste was just terrible! Turns out, I wasn't buying the right brand. My favorite is Zico (available here and at Whole Foods - it is NOT sold at conventional grocery stores, at least not that I've seen). This brand is smooth, not too nutty and not too bitter. By far the most drinkable brand I've ever tasted.

Strawberry-Basil MojitNO
- 3 to 4 fresh strawberries per drink you're making
- 2 FRESH basil leaves per drink you're making
- 2 to 3 FRESH mint leaves per drink you're making
- Zico coconut water
- 1 can lemon lime soda

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In a small bowl, rip up the basil and mint leaves and add the strawberries after you've removed the tops. Muddle the berries and the herbs until mushy. In a tall glass, add ice and the muddled berry mixture. Fill about 1/2 to 2/3 full with coconut water, and top off with the lemon lime soda. Mix together to distribute the ingredients. Enjoy with a paper straw to help filter out the berries and herbs or drink straight from the glass to get bits in your sips (it enhances the flavor!)

Peach Bellini MimNOsa
I'm at it again and I'm still not sorry. This is by far the easiest drink to make, so if the others were a tad too labor intensive for you (especially with no fun boozy benefits!) than this is more your speed. Two ingredients and one step. This pregnancy has made me in love with any and all things peach flavored, but you could easily use traditional orange juice or ruby red grapefruit juice too.

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Again, the QUALITY of the ingredients is key when you're not using alcohol. Do not buy cheap, processed junk that's only 10% juice and expect it to taste good! Save that for alcohol when you won't even notice it after your first drink anyway. Better yet, cut that garbage from your life. If it's only 10% juice, what the heck is the rest of it? Fake sugar and water that they're charging you an arm and a leg for. But I digress, back to the mimNOsa.

Peach Bellini MimNOsa
- DRY sparkling apple or pear cider
- 100% peach juice (or orange or grapefruit)

Get a champagne glass, fill it 1/3 full with juice and top it off with the sparkling cider. Boom! Mocktail express. This is an excellent option if you're expecting but haven't told anyone yet - nobody will know it's sparkling cider and not champagne. In the same vein, this is the perfect baby shower drink option for the mama-to-be and enables you to still serve the other guests real champagne. It's also a great brunch option if you've got a long list of things to do after brunch that a few mimosas will inhibit.

Just because you can't or don't want to consume alcohol doesn't mean you're stuck drinking water or soda! These fun mocktails are the best of summer booze-free flavors! If you're entertaining, they're great to impress guests and you could make some mocktail style and some traditional style by adding vodka to the Bubbly Bloody Mary, rum to the Strawberry-Basil MojitNO and champagne to the Peach Bellini MimNOsa. Just be sure to clearly label which drinks are virgin and which are traditional for your guests.