let's go to the zoo

Dan had the day off yesterday and at 8:10am I woke up to "Tiff, let's go! Let's go to the zoo! It opened 10 minutes ago! Let's goooo!" And no, this was not my {almost}-two year old son begging me to get out of bed to go see the animals and ride the choo choo train. Porter was still sound asleep too. This was my husband, who had already showered and was putting on his shoes at the time. So Porter and I stretched and yawned and grabbed some coffee and milk and granola bars for the ride. Although I was a bit apprehensive about starting the day without having the dishwasher unloaded and a load of laundry started, I have to say, once we got to the zoo, I understood why Dan was so anxious to get there. For starters, we were one of maybe eight families there. Not kidding. We had the zoo to ourselves. It was a gorgeous cool and overcast day, perfect weather for a pregnant mama and busy bee toddler. We rode the train and the carousel and fed the goats and the deer. We saw kangaroos, tigers, polar bears, penguins and a BABY GORILLA. Talk about adorable. We ended the trip with burgers and fries and moseyed our way home for a looong mid-day nap. It was the perfect start to the weekend. Now if I could just figure out a way to get Dan to have Fridays off every week.


essential oils // and pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Porter, I followed every single "rule" out there. I didn't eat lunch meat or hot dogs or soft cheeses and even stopped having my morning cup of coffee *gasp*. I slept on my left side and freaked out if I woke up on my right. And I never used or ingested anything that said "if pregnant, consult with physician." Heck, I was even scared to squirt a little saline nose spray up my nostril when I had a bad cold. I mean, IT'S WATER AND SALT. But you guys, I was extra, extra cautious with Porter being my first. And I think that's totally okay. You have to go with what your gut tells you. My gut with Porter said to be extra cautious. But now? With this pregnancy? Now I tend to sneak in a hot dog or two and I never ever skip my morning cup of joe. I always start off sleeping on my right side because that's what feels comfortable to me (sorry baby). I have also continued to use essential oils with this pregnancy and have felt completely comfortable doing so. But again, it is truly a personal choice. I'll let you know if this baby comes out with 29 toes.

So here's the scoop with essential oils and pregnancy. I always recommend using oils from a reputable company like Young Living. And even then, almost every bottle of essential oil will still say on the label "if pregnant, consult with physician ...". As I'm sure you know, most everything out there does say that now because everyone is protecting their rear ends. I mean, rear ends are very important these days, so I hear. Although most people will agree that most essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy ... the following oils have been mentioned as oils to avoid during pregnancy:

Cinnamon bark
Idaho Tansy
Lavandin (not to be mistaken with Lavender, Lavender is safe)

Now let's talk about my favorite 11 oils because I know a lot of people already have a starter kit containing these 11 everyday oils. First off, none of the single oils provided in the starter kit are from the "cautionary list" above. So you don't have to worry about those unless you're scared of salt and water up your nose like I was. Then you might just choose to stay clear of everything. So the following single oils from the starter kit are said to be safe to use during pregnancy:

1. Lavender
2. Lemon
3. Peppermint
4. Frankincense
5. Copaiba

Now let's talk about the oil blends. The blends included in the starter kit are the following:

6. Thieves - clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, rosemary cineol
7. Purification - citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, lavandin, myrtle
8. Panaway - wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, peppermint
9. RC - eucalyptus, myrtle, pine, marjoram, eucalyptus radiata, eucalyptus citriodora, lavender, cypress, tsuga, peppermint
10. DiGize - tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise, patchouli
11. Stress Away - copaiba, lime, cedarwood, ocotea, lavender, vanilla (fruit extract)

Above I included the single oils that make up each of the blends and also red-flagged any oils that are included in the "cautionary oil list" mentioned above. Keep in mind that there is a fairly small amount of this oil in each blend, and then if you dilute the essential oil blend with a carrier oil, as we do in our family, there's even less of the cautionary oil going onto your body. I personally have used diluted Thieves and Panaway during this pregnancy and have felt completely safe doing so. But again, do what you feel is right. Do what you think is safe based on the research you've done and what you and your doctor decide on. Now go forth and grow those healthy babies!

P.S. If you have an oil blend that is not part of the 11 everyday oils that I listed above and want to know if it is safe to use during pregnancy, you can use your reference guide to look up the oil blend to see what different oils it contains. Or just shoot me an email and I'll let you know. :)


happy day to you sherman

Happy National Dog Day Sherm Dog! 
Thanks for putting up with us crazy humans as your family.
We sure do love you.

Now let's eat some peanut butter!


honey blueberry muffins

So I've been trying this new thing lately. Well, two new things really. The first new thing is called baking. Who knew baking could be kind-of-sort-of fun? It would be really fun if someone would come clean up the mess afterwards and also teach me how to keep butter from exploding in the microwave. One day you guys. One day I'll get it right. Porter wakes up right around 7:30am most mornings and by 7:32am he's running around the house screaming "hung hung hung" which really means "hungry" which really means "get me some gosh darn food woman!". So in order to experience one less toddler meltdown for the day (one less is still 293 meltdowns total), I've been trying my best to make sure breakfast is at least somewhat thought out, and sometimes even made, the night before. Muffins are great make-ahead items, not to mention you can tell your toddler they're "cupcakes" and they miiiight just believe you. So on to the second new thing I've been doing ... eating less sugar and more honey. And trying to find any and all recipes that call for honey instead of sugar. This kind of happened by accident when I ran out of sugar and saw fourteen honey bears staring at me from the kitchen counter. But it certainly does make sense for our family. Our favorites so far have been honey ice cream (Dan's in charge of that), honey cinnamon banana bread and these yummy honey blueberry muffins ...
Honey Blueberry Muffins (Porter approved)

2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted 
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (I think I used closer to 2 cups because I had them, turned out just fine)

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and honey. Whisk in the eggs and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Stir just enough to mix wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


plain jane

I'm pretty sure Dan still thinks I'm nuts for painting our bedroom white. And putting up white curtains. And keeping our white bedding. Sure, we have a messy toddler who likes to sneak cicada exoskeletons in the house and prefers not to wash his hands more than once a day. And yes, we do still have that big, hairy brown dog (his name is Sherman) who prefers to lounge and sleep in our room over any other room in our house. Ooooh the dog hair you will find. Our white might not be very white for long, but I sure do love Porter's sweet face in these pictures. I really don't care if my walls stand out, and the color of our bedding is completely irrelevant. I'm not gonna give a hoot about what my house looked like in 30 years. I want my kids to stand out. I want their little faces to be the photo. Not the walls or the decorations. They are the stars. So give me all the white. And all the cute kids too. :)