If you must know...

I felt compelled to write about the topic of badge of honor that it is birthing a kid. Let me clarify by saying it is always a badge of honor to birth a kid. Sometimes I feel though there is a certain level achieved in how you end up birthing your kid whether all natural, with an epidural and then a c-section. All natural you get the highest praise wow you did it all natural, you are a stellar person! Then an epidural is like oh you did good too but you needed something to cut the pain you couldn’t stand it as much. Then lastly a c-section, you simple get an oh you had a c-section. Guess what, every single birth was carried for 9 months!! That is no easy feat in itself, it is freaking hard. You are tired, you might puke a lot, the heartburn causes you to want to rib your esophagus out, etc. the list of issues as a side of effect of those wonderful *supposedly* 9 months goes on. Then at the end your badge of honor despite those previous 9 months is determined how you gave birth. 

With Caleb I had an epidural and guess what I will have an epidural again. Why? Because it made the whole process easier and I was barely tired afterwards. Yes I was tired still but I enjoyed the visits of our friends during our hospital stay. With an epidural I had the opportunity to text my mom before becoming a mom as I insisted my husband go get breakfast in him at the same time. With an epidural because I had to push for over 2 hours because Caleb was stuck on my tailbone and couldn’t pass, I barely felt it. With an epidural, I wasn’t screaming, cussing or yelling out things at my husband that I would later regret although I’m sure he would forgive him. With an epidural, I felt more in control because I couldn’t feel the pain, it was a relief to finally see Caleb when he came out but it wasn’t a relief of oh the pain is over thank goodness. With an epidural I got to sleep a few hours and felt more prepared to enter the new stage of life we were about to embark upon. 

I had a nurse friend tell me she got an epidural and it felt like a party because she got one and guess what it was a party, it was a birthday party for Caleb and as a very active participant in that party, I enjoyed it better.

Those are just some of the reasons why I got an epidural the first time and why I will get an epidural the next go around. So next time someone has a baby congratulate them on the hard task of carrying their son or daughter for 9 months more than focusing on so how did you do it all natural or not? C-section or not? 


Why blog?

I started my blog, henning love years ago after following and reading them myself for a few months. Then it dawned on me, why can't I have a blog and get to know other bloggers on that level? Also at the time of when I started my blog, I needed a creative outlet. I was working a 40 hour work week, my husband was an assistant coach at a university with weird hours and weekend hours so I needed something to fill my time and make my own. So that is what I started out to do, fulfill my need to create and to make a space my own, in which I would share the things that I liked, enjoyed or was important to me. 
My blog always included desserts I would make on a weekly basis for a small group through our church my husband and I attended. We couldn't eat all those desserts by ourselves every week after all. I enjoyed posting some of my favorite fashion finds although my fashion sense was evolving and becoming what I call today a capsule wardrobe if you have heard of the term. 
Through 10 months of unemployment, my blog remained consistent work, something to keep me excited, energized and give me drive as the rejections after interviews appeared. Eventually a job was offered but it was a brief period until Caleb arrived. Then blogging became harder as I was struggling to find out my new role as a mom but didn't want to allow my blog to completely become a mommy blog. There is nothing wrong with mommy blogs, I didn't want henning love to become a full-fledge mommy blog so I could still have my space as me before I become a mom. During some harder months when blogging became more frequent after becoming a mom, my blog was very helpful to my family. Slowly, I have returned to somewhat more full-time blogging. It isn't the 5 posts a week like I did when I first started, but it is becoming more frequent and my outlet between being a wife, a mom, owner of an essential oil business and all the other roles I fulfill on a daily basis. 
I love also seeing my former blog friends return to blogging as well. Or current friends start up their own blog! 
Blogging is enjoyable to me. It also has been and rarely did it feel like a chore or what am I going to write about today struggling staring at a blank page although yes sometimes that has happened in the past.
If you blog, why do you blog or what keeps you blogging?


Back to School munchies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NestleSchoolDays #CollectiveBias

While we don't have any kids going back to school this year, we are definitely a back to school family as my husband coaches cross country and track at a university. So we go from a slow summer to suddenly having to set alarms with early morning wake up calls, quick but healthy breakfasts are ideal and lunches must be packed again then family time is essential at dinner time. Having meal items that can be made in advance or can be quickly prepared or heated up help save time in the rush of the morning or making sure we have plenty of family time in the evening. Back to school can be hectic and chaotic but meals don't have to be sacrificed!

To get a healthy breakfast that can eaten on the run in case the alarm clock fails to go off, I made pumpkin zucchini chocolate chip muffins with LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin and NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels.

For my husband who usually eats on the run or quickly before morning practice, he eats a muffin with a hard boiled egg for protein. Since we have enough time in the morning, Caleb and I, to eat breakfast I made him scrambled eggs with a side of cantaloupe to eat with the muffins.
To make these muffins you need: 3/4 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin, 1 cup shredded zucchini, 1/3 cup honey, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of clove, pinch of ground ginger.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put muffin liners in the muffin tin. Shred the zucchini and squeeze out the extra moisture. In a baking bowl, add the pumpkin, zucchini, coconut oil and mix.

Add in the egg, honey and vanilla extract and mix again. 

Now you add in the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda and spices. 

Mix thoroughly. Lastly, add in the morsels and turn on the mixer briefly. 

Pour the batter into the muffin liners until about 2/3 the way full. 

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, checking them at 15 minutes with a toothpick in the center until it comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove from tin and enjoy!

In the evenings, after a long day of coaching for my husband and after a long day of mothering a very active 2 year old, dinner time can be the last time I want to think about or even make. With DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizzas, dinner can still make it to the table without having to drive somewhere or drive thru to get dinner.

Shopping for all these items at Safeway or Vons in Southern California makes it easy to get all the items I need in one quick shopping trip. Add a side salad and you have a perfect dinner!

All three products help me with meal solutions for breakfast, dinner and next day lunch if there are leftovers plus you can save money on these and other Nestle products here!


Blue Apron meals

I decided to get a bit smarter with all the traveling we had this summer, as a busy mom who runs her own business that sometimes results in the lack of properly planned meals for my family. Yes I do sit down most Sundays to meal plan and grocery shop but I admit sometimes I am feeling less than creative or grocery shopping is the last thing I want to do accomplish on a Sunday, you get the drift. A few weeks ago I tried Blue Apron for the first time. So yesterday shortly before dinner, my Blue Apron box showed up on a Tuesday with three meals for me to make that night, the next and Thursday. Last night it was basil fettuccine with zucchini and tomatoes and this is tonight's dinner, the empanadas in the below photo. I liked having Blue Apron to do my thinking of what is for dinner for me and the prepackaged ingredients. In the past I have tried HelloFresh once for free before. It was a bit ago so I don't feel I am remember well enough to make a decent comparison overall but I think recipe wise we would pick HelloFresh over Blue Apron. 
P.s. Not a paid advertisement for Blue Apron, just something I paid for to help make life a bit easier as a busy wife, mom and business owner.

This empanada recipe has been my least favorite of the Blue Apron meals we have tried. It wasn't very flavorful in my opinion and not something I could recreate again in the future. 


Mom friends

You know how I survive motherhood, well somewhat survive, besides coffee and solo shopping trips at Target, my mom friends. Seriously I couldn't get through this stage of life without them! However we meet, through story time at the library, at the Monday and Friday classes Caleb and I attend, or through church, they get me through the week to when my husband can be around a bit more during the day. There is nothing like having a mom friend who understands when you text her meet you at the park in 10 minutes or else I loose my sanity and she meets you there with her kid. Or just being able to get together as a group of moms with our kids at a park and let them run each other tired for over 2 hours. Or there is nothing like the mom with older kids who tells you everything will be ok, you are doing a great job. 
If you may as I did, it may take some time to find your mom friends, those you can rely on whether it is just to meet at the park for a bit or trust to leave your kid with them for a bit because you have an appointment or take a much-needed coffee break. 
Whoever is in your life as a mom friend, value them, cherish them, don't judge them, understand they are going through the same hardships you are in raising children, hug them when you feel they need it and offer to watch their children. These women can become closer than family especially if you don't live around any family. They are your lifeline, your dose of reality and sanity especially if you find those who will drop by when your husband is out of town with wine and dessert in hand because your kid is in bed for the night and you can't leave. 
That is my two cents for the day - I hope you hold your mom friends tight, don't use them but love them, hug them and thank you for what they bring in your life! 


Keeping Your Chucks (newish) White

This post has been one of my most viewed and most pinned that I thought it was worth pulling out of the archives!

Last year I bought my first pair of Chucks. Ok I take that back last year I bought my first pair of Chucks as an adult. I had a pair when I was younger, like middle school younger and I bought the high top ones. Looking back what was I thinking. Looking back in general to my fashion choices when I was thinking. Anyways before I bought my Chucks, I researched how to keep them white. So I went shopping for: Mr. Clean's magic eraser and Zout, or whatever spray stain remover you prefer.

Every few weeks, well maybe more depending on how often I wear the Chucks and how dirty they get. In between deep cleanings of my Chucks, when the rubber on the sides of the shoes get dirty, you erase away the dirt! 
To deep clean your Chucks and get them to being as new to white as you can. 
First, pull the laces out of your shoes.

With the stain remover, spray the white of the shoe, completely soaking it. After the shoes are soaked with the stain removed, stick the laces inside the bottle of the stain remover leaving the ends of the out slightly. Shake the bottle a bit to get the laces soaked too.

After about 5 minutes or longer depending on how dirty your Chucks are, you will throw your shoes and laces in the washing machine. Use the coldest water available and if you have a whitening detergent even better, but any laundry soap you have works.

After your shoes have been washed, DO NOT dry your shoes. Drying your shoes will heat up the glue holding the canvas and rubber parts together and you don't want this to happen. I usually deep clean my Chucks on a super sunny, hotter day. I dry my shoes and laces in direct sunlight. If there is any yellowness in your Chucks before washing, the sunlight will help remove it. After your shoes are completely dry, lace your shoes back up and enjoy your whiter Chucks.

Hope this helps!