babyganics [giveaway!]

It’s time for our third annual month of posts devoted to new mamas and those precious new babies! It couldn’t have come with better timing, as Jenna delivered her sweetest baby girl Lolly Kate just yesterday early, early morning(!!!) We are DYING for you to hear her amazing birth story, but in the meantime we wanted to kick off the month with an amazing giveaway!

We’ve been testing out Babyganics safe and organic products all year long and are loving so many items. Whether it’s their all natural sweet smelling detergent, or the all natural teething pods, flushable wipes, mineral sunscreen, or cold relief chest rub they are all safe for baby, effective and smell amazing! Babyganics

But, if there’s one thing baby needs most (besides milk and mama) it’s diapers. So Babyganics has so generously offered up six months of free diapers to one lucky winner! You can enter on behalf of a deserving family, or enter for yourself, but enter away!

See all their products here, and where you can buy both online and in store here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a new us

In January of this year my little family took a turn for the different which caused this year to be a bucket full of firsts. I’ve recently stumbled upon a couple quotes that interestingly seemed to define the last year for me perfectly. Both by M. Scott Peck. While reading The Road Less Traveled this one stopped me dead in my tracks:

Benjamin Franklin said, “Things that hurt, instruct.” Peck goes on to say “It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread, but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.” Now I’m not saying I am wise, and if this is the definition of wise, then most of us are not. Who welcomes problems with open arms?

End of 2014, Thoughts on divorce

However through 2014 I have seen problems come and go. Some much harder than others, and although I’m not happy to see them, I have found it easy to quickly see the blessings that have come to my family from each, taking them, learning from them and letting them go. I’ve seen people around me become stronger through these trials and hardships, and I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel for everyone involved. In a sense, it has taught me to embrace tribulation, because we have only come out better people.  The hardest part of these trials has been watching my little ones suffer. I have spent many hours on my knees praying for their happiness. I’ve been given strength to be strong for them, and that has helped them to stay positive, happy, innocent and full of love for life, even when that life got hard. This brings me to the second life changing quote, which says “If my parents are willing to suffer, then suffering must not be so bad, and I should be willing to suffer with myself.” Boy, did this hit me hard. Our family has most definitely suffered together this year. I have done my very best to be strong for the little ones, but they undoubtedly have seen and felt my pain. And felt very real pain themselves. I do feel, however, that pulling each other through and watching one another work through the hard times has made us quite the team. I have learned a lot of self-discipline through it all. I’ve learned the value of facing problems head on, really going through it, and the value of doing so when I see those problems and trials resolved successfully. Successfully hasn’t always meant that what we want to happen actually does. But it means that somehow we have bettered ourselves and the world around us through it.

I am wrapping up 2014 in gratitude for my family and all the people in my life. Every last one of them. Grateful for the joy and the pain and welcoming a new year and all it will bring, with big open arms and a kiss. Happy happy New Year everyone!

another chance

By Emily.

Earlier this month I found myself staring at a big screen TV’s image of my empty womb. “Where is the baby?” I trembled, expecting to hear that horse galloping heartbeat and a tiny adored bean. I went to my 9 week appointment solo, as I insisted, because I avoid being high maintenance at all costs, and assured my husband that he was more needed getting our boys dressed and fed at home (instant regret on that one.)  As the OBGYN and Midwife talked at me of next steps, possibilities, statistics, its-not-your-faults, my mind drifted off. My thoughts were dark and treacherous, and then in an instant shards of light broke through.Thoughts on a Miscarriage

Like those montages in movies, a slideshow of events shuffled in front of my eyes. While someone, I believe to be a loving Heavenly Father, whispered to me, “I could not protect you from this, but Emily, look at your life.” My little family’s happy and healthy smiles, our able bodies working hard toward learning, goals and dreams. I had taken for granted something so basic yet critical as my family’s health and safety for the past several years. Families all over the world fight for the things I rarely gave a second thought to. I was instantly filled to the brim with gratitude. I stifled back sobs not just for this empty sac, a Blighted Ovum, but for the miracle that two healthy children, ages 3 and 4, truly represents. I can’t conjure up a memory where I have felt more loved or protected than at that moment in the most unexpected of situations.

It didn’t always stay with me through the long weeks since, even walking from the exam room to the elevator felt bitter and lonely. Happy framed pictures of women with bulging bellies seemed to be mocking me with every step. That day I joined the quiet ranks of women, who 30% of the time they try, have to mourn the loss of what and who might have been. It scooped out another level of compassion and understanding that I could not arrive at any other way and will Take It With Me into 2015.

So now, saying see ya later! to a roller coaster of a year, there is definitely One Thing I’m Leaving. And that is the complacency I settled into that life is anything other than a wonderful miracle. An adventure I am so fortunate to be able seize every day. Living in a place with the freedom to do and say what I feel, to spend my time at home, to share my ideas with you, to feel safe in my own skin, is a luxury that I don’t want to take for granted in 2015.

a new year

By Jenna.

2014. In a way I can’t believe it’s over, in another I look back at these 365 days that felt at times like 30,000. It was the hardest year of my life but also the most blessed. Isn’t that how life works? It gives, it takes and in the end you’re left in a introspective balance that causes you to pause and humbly thank the trials that refined your heart.Image-1

I’m leaving in 2014:
Self Doubt. In a year of weaknesses, miss-steps, struggle and absolute bare bones humility I learned that we’re all just people. Real life people. Pushing through the muck of night to taste the sweet of the morning sunshine. None of us are exempt from the hardships of existence and so I no longer allow myself to believe that my trials are from lack of strength on my part. I may not handle all that’s thrown at me with grace, but I face it, and in 2015 I plan to give myself (and others) that credit.
I’m taking with me in to 2015:
Simplicity. I cut out much of the fat of my life in 2014 because I was forced to, but I ended up cultivating a real love for what is simple. The quiet moments playing with my children without a staged Instagram photo, a belly laugh with my husband while we cook in the kitchen, helping a friend even when I feel helpless. Those are the experiences I cherish. As it turns out I don’t really prefer wearing heels or attending large parties. For now anyway I feel more content at an intimate dinner with friends or an early night in watching food documentaries. I’ve always felt that way, but never accepted it about myself. Am I not the life of the party? Am I not fabulous? Should I wear more fur?? Nah. In 2015 I’m taking the real Jenna with me. She’s fun, cultured and happy, but she also rarely likes exiting her sweat pants.
I have much to be grateful for as I reflect on this past year and much to look forward to in 2015. I am thankful for our corner of the Internet, for the opportunities it’s given me to grow, change and evolve as a mother, wife and friend. Thank you for reading our little blog, for your support and friendship.
To my partners in crime, Nicole and Emily, you are two of my most prized 2014 gems. Without you it is fair to say I would have made it out beat to hell rather then just bruised and scuffed. You’ve saved me when I needed the most saving and all along encouraged me that I’m not doing so bad. I love you.
Happy New Year to all of you. I hope it brings a fresh start, insurmountable love, relief from pain & exciting days full of laughter.
xo
Jenna

cranberry bundt cake

We shared this tasty and super easy recipe over at I Heart Naptime but we had to share it here as well for those of you looking for an easy, last-minute, festive dessert! We also wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas, we hope it’s wonderful! We’ll be back here next week, we miss you already. Now, back to the recipe!

First you’ll need to start by taking 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries and cooking them down over a medium-low heat. cranberries

Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and watch as the natural juices will release and the berries will cook down and combine.

mascerate

Set the cranberries aside and start on the batter! One box of Spice Cake Mix with an Instant Vanilla Pudding package added for extra moisture.batter

Add the cranberry mixture:

mixPour batter in to a greased bundt pan – we can’t help but make everything mini, so we love this mini bundt pan! Then bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

bake

 

Once they’ve cooled completely you can drizzle icing over them. We love this recipe:

1 heaping tablespoon soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Add milk slowly to make right consistency; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of milk.

serve

Once they’re set, devour and enjoy! This is an awesome, quick recipe, and a great way to get the antioxidants of fresh cranberries without that bitter bite!

icing

 

CRANBERRY BUNDT CAKE

1 box spice cake mix
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 1/3 c water
1/2 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/2 c fresh cranberries
2 T sugar

Set aside cranberries and sugar. Mix cake mix and pudding in a bowl. Add in wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat cook cranberries and sugar for 10-15 min or until cranberries begin to pop. Stir frequently not to burn. Pour in to batter and mix together well.

Pour batter in to a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Icing

1 heaping tablespoon soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Add milk slowly to make right consistency; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of milk.