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What No One Tells You About Motherhood

You won’t find the answers in this article about how to sleep train your baby or potty train your toddler.  I’m writing about those hidden lessons that you learn as you become a mother that no one warned you about.  And I promise you that I don’t have all the answers!  Let me share:

It’s so easy to lose yourself.

In the beginning you get so wrapped up in that little one and making sure you are doing what’s best for them.  Suddenly you find yourself with three inch roots, eating lunch over the sink and your workout consist of running up the stairs when they wake up crying.  These little people become our lives but here’s the secret…. YOU are also living yours.  Your life doesn’t have to stop just because you have kids.  There is a way that you can co-exist peacefully, somewhere in the middle.

You must find support.

When my oldest kids were very little, we didn’t have family close.  And it was very, very hard.  While my husband and I relied on each other as a team through that period, I also had an “adoptive grandmother.”  When I was at the end of my rope with my two oldest, who were 18 months apart and getting out of the house very little, I reached out to an older lady in my church to ask if she knew of anyone who would be willing to watch kids a few hours at a time during the day in case I needed to get out.  And she offered herself.  Having her, even if it was only a few hours one day a week helped me immensely.  Not only for errand running purposes but also for some sanity.  I often joke that older ladies who retire need not get a part-time job, they can make great money being “grandmas for hire.”  My point isn’t that you simply need a babysitter, but you need people who you can rely on to help you, especially when there’s no family.  This lady was often my emergency contact for school, after my husband and I, simply because I didn’t know who else to put!  Find a friend, a neighbor, a church member, someone who can help you when there’s no one else.

Learn to trust yourself.

Everyone has advice for you- your doctor, your mother, your friend and even the lady in the checkout line.  And there’s never been a more stressful time to be a mother because there’s seven different articles that conflict on whether or not the “science” supports your decisions or not.  

Because OMG what if you are wrong in how you are raising them and they don’t get a good job or end up living in your basement until they’re 30.  If you let them eat that Oreo they will probably have Type 2 diabetes by age 20 and if they quit the soccer team at age eight their sports career will be over.

You have to learn to trust your gut.  You know your kids and your family.  The heck with the rest of them.

It’s all a balancing act.  

At first it’s diapers and nap schedules and feedings which leads to pickup/drop offs from school and play dates.  And before long it’s soccer practice and sleepovers and then they’re driving.  IT HAPPENS THAT FAST.  It seems like just when you feel good about parenting, your marriage suffers.  Or your career.  Something.  Everything is not going to go fantastically all at the same time.  As a mother, you have to pour your energy into so many different areas that you can’t possibly cover them well simultaneously.  You have to just do your best to balance it all.  Sometimes that means cereal for supper, not making it to the baseball game or hearing them cry when you leave for a date night.

Enjoy every stage.

This is a big one.  No one tells you to stop waiting until you no longer have a baby or a toddler to do this or that.  Or you are convinced that when they stop teething or they sleep through the night life will get better.  Or after they start school, they’ll be such a fun age.  THE FUN IS NOW.  Even when they are total nightmares, you must find something to enjoy about the NOW.  Even when they’re teenagers and they can’t stand you, enjoy the NOW.  Because you cannot wait until ____ to be happy.  And it truly goes so fast.  

No one is doing it perfectly.

I don’t care if you’re Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker, no one is doing this perfectly.  No one knows the “right” answers.  Hopefully we’re all just doing our “best.” Generally we all love our children and want them to grow up to be self-sufficient members of society.  Don’t worry about the days you take your kids to school in your jammies or when they all get lice or they fail art class.  Life isn’t perfect and neither is your family’s.

The hardest part is letting go.

Insert big sobs- you spend so much time doing x,y, z that suddenly your babies are all grown up.  And they don’t even need you anymore!  Now after all the sacrificing you’ve done, they’ll be gone!  It’s such a terrible, awful part of motherhood that no one tells you.  But it’s what we’ve been working for all these years.  And the love you’ve dumped every day into their buckets will dumped into their spouses buckets and their kids’ buckets and your grandkids’ buckets.  The love you gave them freely will be passed from one generation to the next.  And that’s beyond amazing.  I truly believe Mother Teresa said it best, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

You’ve got this mama.  Take these truths and know that we’re all there at some point. I wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Author Holly Jirovsky 

Holly Jirovsky blogs at Style from the Sticks, a blog for real moms just like you.  Before becoming a mother, she worked in advertising as a writer and also in the publishing industry.  Now she is a work-from-home mom who lives with her husband, four children and dog in rural Iowa.

Style from the Sticks is a combination blog of fashion, home decor and lifestyle/parenting.  You can follow her on Facebook here.

 

Pulp Muffins

I want to share an awesome recipe for you juicers out there! Pulp Muffins! I have been juicing a lot more lately and when I am done juicing, I end up with soooooo much pulp …

I feel like I’m wasting food when I just throw it in the trash. I did some research of what others do with their pulp and I came across baking it into breads and muffins. What a great idea! Especially when you have some picky eaters (like Monte) he is getting some veggies, in what he calls “cake” and has no idea! 🙂

I came across this recipe and I had everything on hand, but did change it up a bit. Here are the ingredients I used …

Ingredients

  1. 1 large banana
  2. 2 cups Juicer pulp
  3. 4 Tbsp Honey (I estimated, probably used a bit more)
  4. 1/2 cup applesauce
  5. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  6. 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  7. 6 eggs
  8. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  9. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  10. 2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  11. 2 tsp baking powder
  12. 2 tsp baking soda
  13. 1 tsp nutmeg
  14. 2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix!
  3. Spoon into muffin tins that are pre-sprayed. Fill them half way full.
  4. Bake about 17 minutes. Each oven varies!
  5. Let cool before removing from pan.

These are super tasty with a bit of peanut butter on them. Monte loved them! I also took about half and froze them. This recipe yields about 24 regular size muffins. If you do not think you will eat them all right away, make sure to freeze them and pull them out as needed!

What do you do with your leftover juice pulp?

 

 

 

2013 Holiday Organizer

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Holiday music has been playing on a local radio station, since November 1st! And the stores have had their holiday decorations out since school started! So, pretty much if you have not started organizing and planning for the 2013 holiday season yet, you are way behind! 🙂

Last year,  was my first year to celebrate the holiday season with a kiddo and I created a Holiday Organizer. I must admit, it was VERY helpful! Whether you have a LOT of holiday planning, gifts to buy, things to bake, or just a few things to do; either way a Holiday Organizer will be helpful.

The great thing about creating a Holiday Organizer for yourself is you can determine what check lists, organizers, etc. YOU want to include in it.

This year I looked to Pinterest to get some inspiration and FREE printables to create my Holiday Organizer.

Here are the resources I used to create my 2013 Holiday Organizer:

1. 2013 Christmas Planner

  • Includes a cover page to put on the front of your organizer and LOTS of FREE printables!

 

2. Christmas Gift Tracking Printables

  • Colorful, fun printables to keep track of gifts you need to buy for your loved ones.

 

3. Printable Holiday Planner

  • Includes a 2013 calendar, binder cover, and budget form!

 

4. 2013 Holiday Planning Workbook

  • I printed this whole thing! I love the fun colors and there are a lot of useful sheets to help plan

 

5. Thanksgiving Planner

  • Since the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving, I created my very own planner for Thanksgiving. It includes items I will make for breakfast and what dishes I will be bringing to Thanksgiving dinner.

 

6. Holiday Bucket List

  • The front page of my planner is our 2013 Holiday Bucket List! (which I will be sharing soon). This way I can keep track of all the fun things we have done!

 

What things would you include in your Holiday Organizer?

Honey Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Alright let’s talk about a vegetable that I do not think gets enough attention … Brussels Sprouts!

According to Livestrong.com brussels sprouts carry several health benefits including …

  1. Low in calories and low in fat! 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts is about 28 calories, there is just a trace amounts of fat, and about 2 g of protein!
  2. Source of digestive – regulating fiber. This helps with preventing constipation and to help lower cholesterol.
  3. They have 20 essential vitamins and minerals.

 

Pretty much, if you are not eating brussels sprouts now, then START! 🙂

There are many ways you can eat brussels sprouts. You can season them with a bit of salt and pepper and saute them with olive oil, or you can doctor them up with much more! I created this recipe the other night for dinner and LOVED it! Check it out!

Honey Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3-5 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1/2 – 1 cup you favorite honey mustard dressing
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

1. Place olive oil into a pan at medium heat, add brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper

2. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Cut up your turkey bacon into small pieces and add it to the pan!

4. Cover and cook about 10 minutes.

5. When bacon is done, take pan off stove, let cool 2-3 minutes.

6. Add your honey mustard dressing.

7. Mix it up and serve!

The other great thing about this recipe is you can eat this as a side dish or as a meal!

What’s your favorite way to eat brussels sprouts?!

Essential Oils for Colds

Since we have talked about Elderberry Syrup and other alternatives to using over the counter medicines, let’s talk about another thing I LOVE … Essential Oils!

Essential oils can be used for anything and everything, like cleaning and also to help us feel better.

There are quite a few of essential oils out there to help with cold like symptoms. Here are a few of our favorites we use at home!

1. Peace & Calming 

This is an oil that can be used for more then just sickness, but is a great support when you or your little one is not feeling well! This essential oil is a blend of several oils and promotes relaxation and peacefullness. It’s perfect for a young child who may have trouble sleeping. This blend is only available through Young Living Essential Oils.

It can be used as a topical or aromatic (in a diffuser) use. I have used this oil for both uses and I love the scent! I most commonly rub this oil on the bottoms of Monte’s feet. It can also be applied onto the wrists and outside of ears.

2. R.C. 

This oil is a blend of several essential oils that help support the respiratory system. It’s a great oil to have on hand to help with congestion and seasonal allergies. Hence, R.C. = Respiratory Congestion! This blend is only available through Young Living Essential Oils.

It can be used as a topical or aromatic (in a diffuser) use. I have used this oil several times for Monte. I first apply coconut oil then place a few drops into the palm of my hand and apply it to his chest, back, and bottoms of his feet.

3. Eucalyptus 

One of my favorites! I purchased a rub called Tea Tree Therapy Eucalyptus Chest Rub, at Whole Foods which has Eucalyptus oil in it. It is similar to the well known Vapo Rub, but it’s a bit safer.

It can be used as a topical or aromatic (in a diffuser) use. I generally diffuse this oil, because I apply the rub that has Eucalyptus oil in it, to Monte’s chest and back. You can make your own rub, at home, by mixing coconut oil and a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in a glass container.

4. Thieves

Oh how I love Thieves! So many uses!! This essential oil is known for its cleansing properties. Remember all of the things I use it in to clean the house? Well, I use it to fight away colds and flus! Thieves is a blend of several essential oils. This blend is also only available through Young Living Essential Oils.

You can take this orally, by placing a few drops into a capsule to promote immune function. You can also diffuse this oil to help eliminate germs in the air. The smell of this oil is wonderful! So, diffusing is my choice!

What essential oils do you most commonly use to fight off colds and flu symptoms?

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Cold and flu season is just around the corner or in some places has already  hit!

I hate being sick (I know I am not the only one), but I also hate seeing Monte sick. Having sick kids is no fun! It’s especially hard when they cannot really communicate what the problem is, but you just know there is an issue.

I am not a fan of the flu shot, which I will not get into details and a debate about, but I do not find the flu shot worth it.

I believe to stay healthy we need to do more natural things like live a healthy lifestyle! Yes, I know it’s hard this time of year. We start off with Halloween, loads of candy. Then comes Thanksgiving where we fill our bellies so full we cannot move. Then comes the Holiday season with baked goods, candy, sugar, more sugar and more baked goods! Of course, it’s also cold, dark and dreary outside. No one wants to get up and move and we all want comfort food.

We need to remember that what we eat fuels our body, so having these not so healthy items every once in awhile is okay, but we need to make sure we eat plenty of fruits, veggies, good fats, proteins, etc. We also need to get up and MOVE! If we exercise we will just feel better and it will allow us to make healthier choices.

I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it pretty much sums it up! LOVE IT!

Anyways, where I was going with this post is Elderberry Syrup! Have you ever heard of it?! I had not heard of it until recently and I am super excited about it!

This is something you can take as prevention from getting a cold or flu. It’s also something to have on hand when you are sick.

There are recipes all over Pinterest. I chose to follow this recipe. Here is what I did …

  • Place 1/2 cup elderberries, 3 cups distilled water, 1 cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 Tablespoons in pot and bring to boil.
  • Once boiling, turn down heat and let simmer 20-30 minutes
  • Take off burner and let cool
  • Strain through cheesecloth and discard the berries and cinnamon stick
  • Add 1 cup – 1 1/2 cup raw local honey. Stir.
  • Store in mason jar, in refrigerator

This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Take 1 Tablespoon a day as preventative. If you feel like you are getting sick or achy, take several times through out the day.

Along with taking Elderberry syrup I also …

1. Take Emergen – C Vitamin C packets! I will take about every 4 hours

2. Remember my post about the essential oil Thieves? Well, here is another awesome use for Thieves! If you have a sore throat, take a spoonful of raw local honey, add a drop of Thieves, and swallow! You can also rub Thieves on your throat. Make sure to use a carrier such as coconut oil.

3. Hot water with raw local honey also helps soothe a sore throat!

 

What are your favorite remedies to fight off cold and flu symptoms?

 

Paleo Crock Pot Chili

It’s that time of year for … Chili! I am not sure what the weather is like where you are, but it is getting really “chili” around here. 🙂

I decided to make a HUGE crock pot full of paleo chili for the week. It’s perfect for this cold weather and it also crosses another thing off of our 2013 Fall Bucket List!

I came across this awesome “recipe”. I LOVE how it uses pictures and it’s so colorful!

Image Source

You can follow this picture recipe exactly or you can do what I did … use it as a guide.

Paleo Crock Pot Chili

Ingredients

  1. Sweet onion, peeled & diced
  2. (2) Green bell peppers, diced
  3. Red bell pepper, diced
  4. Yellow bell pepper, diced
  5. (2) cups sliced mushrooms
  6. (2) Tablespoons coconut oil
  7. (1.5) lb sausage
  8. (1.5) lb ground turkey
  9. (1.5) lb ground beef
  10. Can crushed tomatoes
  11. Can diced tomatoes with garlic
  12. Can tomato paste
  13. 1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
  14. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  15. 2 teaspoons sea salt
  16. 1 teaspoon hot chili powder
  17. 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika

Directions

  • Wash and dice/slice all of your veggies. In a large pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, cover. Let cook until veggies are softened.

  • Dump veggies into the crock pot. 
  • Break up and cook sausage, ground turkey, and ground beef until cooked. Leaving a little pink is okay. You may need to do half, place into crock pot, then the other half and place into crock pot. It depends on how large your pan is.
  • Open and dump in your can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  • Stir well!

  • Add in all of your seasonings!
  • Stir well, again! Place lid on and let cook 4-6 hours. Our crock pot cooks quickly so it took about 5 hours on low.
  • Top it with fresh avocado!

 

Note: I WAS going to add in the sweet potatoes as shown on the picture above BUT I completely forgot 🙁 I think it would add a lot if you add them in an hour or so before you serve. Again, our crock pot cooks quickly, so I did not get a chance.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite chili recipe?

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Another item has been crossed off our 2013 Fall Bucket ListMake Pumpkin Pancakes!

Since my Paleo obsession … I came across these Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes and thought we should give them a try! I cannot take all the credit for making these though … my wonderful father made these for us Sunday morning.

This is a doubled recipe from the original.

 Here are the ingredients and steps we used to make this Paleo fall favorite!

Ingredients 

1. 8 eggs, beaten

2. 1 can pumpkin puree

3. 2 ripe bananas, mashed

4. 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

5. 2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

7. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

8. 2 teaspoons cinnamon

9. Pinch salt

Directions

1. Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together, then add the canned pumpkin.

2. Sift the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and pinch of salt into the wet ingredients.

3. Mash 2 bananas, then add to the wet ingredients and mix.

4. Melt 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and then add to pancake mixture.

5. Spray your skillet, then pour batter onto skillet to make the pancakes!

The original recipe called for coconut flour to make the pancakes thicker and firmer, but we did not use because we thought the bananas would do the trick! I would definitely recommend adding in the coconut flour, because it was hard to flip the pancakes and they were kind of flimsy BUT they tasted great!

This recipe makes 10 pancakes.

Serve with pure maple syrup, almond butter, fruit, nuts, etc.

What is your favorite pumpkin pancake recipe?

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I know it’s not Monday, but my week usually starts on Tuesdays 🙂

Anyways, I want to share another awesome fall recipe I found on Pinterest. I made it Sunday morning for breakfast. It was such a beautiful day Sunday that we sat outside and enjoyed our rolls out on the patio.

While I was baking Monte enjoyed himself, while reading a People Magazine 🙂

I found this recipe here. Of course I added a little something to change it up a bit!

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

2 packages/cans  crescent rolls

4 0z cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Frosting

4 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles. Pinch the seams together to create one large rectangle.

2. Place the cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon into the mixer. I also added some dried cranberries! Beat it until it is well combined.

3. Split the mixture evenly among the rectangles and spread until about 1/2 inch from the edge.

4. Starting at the long end, roll them up and then cut into 1 inch pieces. I was able to get 3 small rolls out of each rectangle.

5. Place the rolls around 2 – 9 inch cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray. Place them along the edges, leaving the middle open so they can expand.

6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix up the ingredients for the frosting in a mixer until well combined.

7. When the rolls are done baking, pull them out and frost the rolls immediately so the frosting can melt on top of the rolls. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

These cinnamon rolls are pretty small, but I really only needed 1 pan instead of 2. If it’s only going to be 2-3 people you can probably get by with halving the recipe.

I hope you enjoy them!!

Pumpkin Caramel Frosting Cake

It’s Monday!! How was everyone’s weekend? I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend and enjoyed the gorgeous temperatures.

I had a great weekend and definitely enjoyed lots of fallish things including: football, pumpkin beer, Crockpot Apple Butter Ribs (recipe coming soon!), apple cider, AND a homemade Pumpkin Caramel Cake …. which leads me to the story of my failed attempt of homemade caramel 🙁

Travis’s mom and dad’s birthdays were on Friday so everyone came over Saturday evening to celebrate. I decided to make a Pumpkin Caramel Cake I found on Pinterest. The actual recipe can be found here.

The first steps are to make the caramel cream cheese frosting.

FROSTING

  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  4. 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. 1 pound cream cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. (Don’t worry if the butter separates.) Discard the vanilla bean.
Seems pretty easy right? I started with combining the first three ingredients.
This was also my first time using a vanilla bean. Before this weekend I had always thought a vanilla bean looked like well … a bean? Nope, it was long and looked almost like a twig. You can see the two halves floating around in the pot.
After the sugar dissolved, I turned down the heat to medium and waited for it to turn a “medium-dark amber color”. The recipe stated it would be about 9 minutes, but it was much longer then that when I began to notice the change in color. I would say 15 minutes?
It’s hard to tell by this picture, but this was my final product. I took the pot off the stove and added the butter and cream and discarded the vanilla bean.
2. Transfer the caramel to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.
The caramel looked great, but it definitely had a burnt after taste to it. I added the cream cheese hoping the taste would go away, but it didn’t. So I placed it in the fridge and continued onto baking the cake.

CAKE

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  6. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  10. 4 large eggs
  11. 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  12. One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  13. 1/2 cup whole milk

 

3.Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Place one layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the caramel–cream cheese frosting. Top with the second layer and frost the top and side. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before serving.
The cake portion turned out great and I had no issues!
Saturday morning I ran out to the store and picked up another pound of cream cheese. I decided to just use a jar of caramel sauce I already had and mix in the cream cheese.
This frosting turned out a lot better and I felt more comfortable adding it to the cake!
I completely forgot to take a final picture of the cake 🙁 but it turned out great and everyone enjoyed it!
Check out the site where the original recipe was posted for an awesome picture of the finish product here!
Have you ever made homemade caramel before? What advice do you have for me so it doesn’t taste burnt?
 
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