15 Weeks

How Far Along: I’m 15 and a half weeks and can’t believe how fast the time is going! I remember the weeks going by so slow before we announced and now it feels like our babe will be here before we know it! We heard babies heart beating loud and clear at our midwife appointment this morn. The twins were so excited to finally be able to hear it, and of course I was too!

Size: The baby is the size of an apple and definitely growing every day! My belly is pretty small when I first wake up in the morning but get a good breakfast in there, and I am SO pregnant.

Weight Gain: Ok guys. I feel really hesitant to post this here because I’m slightly embarrassed by it but I’ve already gained 12 lbs just in first trimester :S :S ugh. See I think I’m frustrated because I had worked so hard the past year to get in shape and was so ambitious and excited about having a fit and healthy pregnancy. I had planned to keep up with my workout routine and maintain a healthy balanced diet. Well that worked out well for the first 5 weeks? And then it went downhill from there. And Christmas didn’t help. As I mentioned in my last pregnancy post, I had aversions to most veggies, meat and even some fruits for the longest time. Things are starting to get better so I hope everything balances out (including my weight ha!) I’ve been slowly getting back into a workout routine a few times a week and trying to bring all the healthy greens back into my diet because I know that’s important for both me and baby. But it definitely hasn’t gone the way I planned and I just have to be ok with that.

Sleep: I’ve been sleeping fine (except when the twins still wake me up once and while). And then I sometimes have trouble getting back to sleep.

Symptoms: I get morning sickness the odd¬†day here and there but I haven’t actually been sick yet. I’ll just feel super nauseous while putting on my makeup or making the twins breakfast and I’ll have to grab a glass of water and just lay down for a few minutes until it passes. Sometimes the smells of certain foods make me feel sick but again not the point of actually being sick. The biggest thing I’m still battling is the migraines. I seem to get about one a week that lasts around 3 days. ūüôĀ We think it’s mostly tension related as I have A LOT of tightness in my neck and shoulders. So I’ve gotten two massages this week in hopes that it will start to relieve some of that and Ron has me doing a daily stretch routine as well. Hoping they let up soon because it’s not fun caring for noisy two three year olds while your head is non-stop pounding. I think that’s it for symptoms except for being exhausted. I’ve made it past 8 pm a handful of times the past couple weeks though so I think I may be starting to get some of that second trimester energy back woot!

Movement: Yes I’ve already felt movement! I started to feel little flutters for the first time around 12.5 weeks but wasn’t sure if it was just gas bubbles or I was just imagining it. But the flutters have been pretty consistent since then and my midwife told me today it’s totally possible as you feel it much sooner in your second pregnancy. Ron even felt a little kick on the outside the other night when we both had our hands on my belly in silence for a while. So surreal and probably my favourite part of pregnancy…feeling that little life inside of me move and kick¬†around.

Food Cravings: Mostly still sweet things. I was definitely having too much chocolate in first trimester so now I’ve started to replace it with a bowl of fruit or an apple and peanut butter. And ok total disclosure here: I went through a about 2 weeks of eating Mcdonalds. Like full out big macs and fries you guys…totally gross and not like me at all. I don’t even know what got into me but I literally couldn’t stop myself from driving through the drive through and ordering. Thank goodness that is over. Our family has actually been moving towards a plant based diet since then and I’ll be sharing more about that in another post!

Stretch Marks: Just the same old ones as last time, becoming more pronounced as my belly grows!

Names: We don’t have anything definite yet but we do have a running list which we will probably nail down as soon as we find out the gender…which is in just 3 WEEKS! EEEEK!!!

So I think that’s about it for 15 weeks. I’m so anxious to get working on the nursery and have been reluctantly resisting the urge to buy all the cute baby things. Can it just be July already?!?!

haha thanks so much for reading!!!

natalie-xo-1

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Minimizing the Kitchen

I promised I’d be sharing each room as we work on purging/organizing and living with as little as possible. With what we have gotten rid of already, it’s been so freeing and there is still SO much more to go. I had no idea how long the process would take. At first I’d be like “Today during naptime, I will do the kitchen!” Well 3 hours and 2 cupboards later….not so much. But then again, I was not only purging things but also transferring spices, cereals etc., to different bottles and containers as well as labeling them so it was quite a time consuming task. But SO so worth it you guys. I’ve found that as we’re purging, organizing at the same time has been KEY. I don’t want to just slowly replace the empty space from the things we purged with new stuff. That would totally¬†defeat the purpose. The idea is to live with LESS going forward so if everything has it’s own spot and we have everything we need, it will be easier to not buy anything more. Make sense?!

So here’s what we organized/got ride of:

Cereals: Storage containers can be EXPENSIVE but you’d be surprised how much the dollar store has! Most of my mine are from there! ūüôā Putting our cereal, oatmeal, rice, etc., into containers has been so helpful! Just love how organized it is and we can easily see what we need more of for our grocery shop each week.

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Tons of mismatched glasses and mugs. How many do you REALLY need?! We each have our fav mug that we use on a daily basis, so why do we need like 10 more each? We basically cut our collection in half. And I got rid of like 20 mason jars that had just been collecting dust in another cupboard. I used them for punch for parties and such in the past but haven’t used them in so long and I don’t plan on pickling or jamming anytime soon so off they went! (Don’t worry, we have another cupboard beside with all the dishes we KEPT, not pictured! But those empty shelves in this photo were filled with all the ones we never used!)

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Tupperware. As you can see we now have a small stash in the photo below. It used to be stored in the huge corner cupboard. We had SO much we never used and a lot of it was mis-matched but we were just keeping it in case we found the right lid? Ron’s the only one that takes food to go on a daily basis and we just need a couple containers for packing away left overs. NOT a million.

blog-photos-8-of-12Canned goods/boxed foods. We had a lot of stuff that was sitting in our pantry cupboard that was expired and a ton that I knew we would never use. So for a clean fresh start, we donated the good stuff to a local food bank and got rid of the rest.

Again, all the jars and containers are from Dollarama and the plastic white bins on the bottom shelf actually come with little scoops! Perfect for flour, sugar, etc., blog-photos-5-of-12

And this is so super embarrassing but just to be real and show you what things looked really like BEFORE…maybe it will be a little relatable or maybe we were just living like complete slobs. Either way, below is the very same cupboard before we made the spice drawer pictured below and got rid of so many things.

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Extra serving dishes/pots and pans – we didn’t have a huge over supply of these but there were a few things we have never used sitting in cupboards collecting dust so off they went.

Dish rags and towels – don’t need a hundred of these. Thats what our washing machine is for. We kept a minimal stash in a small drawer.¬†blog-photos-7-of-12Spices – Our spice collection was so out of control. We had them all in the bags they came in stuffed in baskets in a cupboard (as pictured above). I used to actually think that was organized because they were all in one basket (the spice basket) but it was not a good system. We had quite a few doubles because we never knew what we had and would often accidentally re-buy things for new recipes. I had to do a lot of combining/throwing some of it out and Ron made this awesome DIY spice rack that literally took 20 min to put together. It’s in the drawer right beside our stove now so easy and accessible for cooking! The bottles are from the¬†Dollarama!

blog-photos-4-of-12The kids dishes – ok this was a big one! We had like 30 plastic spoons. What?! We run our dishwasher daily so we definitely could afford to lose some of those. Same with plastic cups, bowls, and plates. I don’t how that collection piled up so fast! (I blame it on all the cute dishes at Target when it was still here!) We kept the twins 3 plates and bowls each. Enough to go around if we have a play date with friends and enough to get through all meals and snacks on an average day. Same with the cups!

blog-photos-6-of-12This drawer used to be our “mismatch drawer” All this stuff was just in there loose and things were always getting stuck or tangled together. Now, everything has a spot. A basket for cookie cutters, a basket for clips, and two baskets for measuring and other cooking tools.¬†blog-photos-2-of-2

Appliances you’re not using –¬†There were a couple big things we hadn’t used in YEARS that were taking up so much space in our cupboards. One of them was a portable grill Ron used in university but never once since then (it took up a third of the space under our kitchen sink). We also had a old blender that still worked but was cracked (not sure why were keeping it…again, just in case? We have a brand new one!) Also a couple gimmicky items that had been given to us around our wedding or showers and we had never touched. Getting rid of those larger things gave us so much more SPACE!

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Our kitchen makes me so happy now instead of stressing me out! I would always get so flustered when cooking dinner because I could never find things or nothing fit when I was trying to put it back. I was convinced we had outgrown it and I needed a much bigger one. But nope, just needed to get rid of a whole lot of un-used items and make sure that EVERYTHING has a spot.

Sooo if this has inspired you in the least bit, happy kitchen purging/organizing! Thanks so much for reading!

natalie-xo-1

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

This muffin recipe is one of our absolute favourites! It’s one a friend sent me a while back and it’s right from the Ambitious Kitchen¬†! They’re so moist and delicious and the best part is that they’re HEALTHY (minus a few chocolate chips of course!) Like most toddlers, the twins LOVE to bake with me. They’re always asking me what I’m up to in the kitchen and whether they can help or not so I try to intentionally plan a few meals through the week that they can help with. We had a play date yesterday afternoon so we made a batch of these muffins together in the morn!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 small to medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 1/2 cup mini or regular chocolate chips (I like mini)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and generously spray inside of liners with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Squeeze shredded zucchini of excess water with a paper towel! This is an important step.
  3. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside.
  4. In bowl of an electric mixer, add mashed banana, oil, honey, vanilla and eggs; mix until smooth. Add in zucchini, applesauce, and yogurt and beat again until well combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Remember not to over mix the batter — we want moist muffins! Gently fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Evenly divide batter into muffin cups. The batter will probably reach the top of each muffin liner, but that’s okay — we’re making big muffins! Alternatively you can reduce the size and bake 15 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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Enjoy!! And thanks so much for reading! xo

natalie-xo-1

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Minimizing Our Home || Some common clutter piles to get rid of TODAY

I love our cozy little bungalow. It’s small but during this season in our life, it’s been just right for us. I love how close it forces us to be as a family. We always know what the others are up to. We try and keep it organized and tidy for the most part but we do have twin toddlers, after all.

Right after Christmas, there was¬†stuff EVERY WHERE. Piles of new toys and clothes all over the living room, chocolate wrappers, trinkets from stocking stuffers, remnants of wrapping paper etc., etc.,. Pretty typical post-christmas scene I do believe? In a home the size of ours though, it can get overwhelming (for me anyway) when there is extra mess on top of the normal everyday mess. ¬†My husband thinks I’m slightly OCD when it comes to having a tidy and organized house¬†and that particular morning, I was completely convinced we had outgrown our home. Convinced that there was NO WAY we could possibly fit another human in this small space. Convinced that we HAD to get a larger place asap or I would not be able to function on a daily basis. My husband knows how to handle me when I get going on one of these rants. He doesn’t argue my points, but he doesn’t agree. He just helps tidy and clean until I feel better and come to my senses. He’s really the best.

After we spent the whole day cleaning and tidying and putting all the new stuff away, ¬†you’d think I would feel better. But I didn’t. Our closets and cupboards were exploding after trying to fit all the new stuff in. And the strange part is I thought I prepared for this. I purged a “bunch of things” (especially toys) leading up to Christmas to make room for all the new stuff that was coming. Yet, it still didn’t really seem to make a difference. I was still convinced at the end of the day, that we needed a bigger home before baby comes.

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A few days later, I picked up a book off my bookshelf that I had bought last year “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”¬†I bet you’ve already either read or heard of this book but if you haven’t, it’s a MUST READ if you’re looking to declutter and minimalize but don’t know where to start. I’m not gonna lie…there are a couple strange parts where she talks about her clothes and items having feelings (not so into that) but for the most part, life changing. I read some of it last year when I first bought it, but I never finished and was much too busy at the time to apply a lot of what I was reading. This time, I’ve been reading it¬†desperately, ready to follow everything Marie (the author) is telling me to do because realistically I know we can’t manage a move before July (when the baby comes) so¬†I have to find a way to make our cozy 3 bedroom bungalow work for a soon to be family of 5. (gah! that sounds crazy to say out loud!!) ¬†I decided I am ready to make some drastic changes. If you read my post back in the summer about minimalizing, I truly did get rid of a TON around that time. Minimalizing has been a goal of mine for the past 6 months or so. But the thing I didn’t realize is that you have to constantly be on top of your game. Stuff accumulates and it accumulates FAST! Especially when it’s not just you but three other people’s stuff as well. And here’s the other problem. When I got rid of things in the past, (even this past summer when I was so determined ) I got rid of all the stuff that was EASY to get rid of. ..clothes the boys had outgrown, clothes that didn’t fit me right anymore, dated house decor that was sitting in the basement, etc., etc., That was the¬†extra¬†stuff that shouldn’t have been there in the first place but I was keeping it in case. That stuff was all (except for a few of the boys baby clothes) pretty easy to take in bags over to the local goodwill.

It’s the stuff that I have in my shelves and closets (the ones I open every day) that I have started to look at differently. It’s because some of the stuff, I do really still love BUT I don’t use it…I haven’t used it much too long for it still to be sitting there. So I’ve started to be completely ruthless with getting rid of things because I’m completely sick of clutter and STUFF. ¬†Anyone with me?¬†When reading through the book, Marie is actually a tidying consultant and tells stories of clients homes and shares some¬†of the most common stashes of things people keep. So for starters I thought I’d share a few BIG piles of things I got rid of right away after reading that part:

  • Piles¬†of all old magazines ( you think you’ll go back and look and them but you never do! never. Even the awesome House and Home ones I love. ūüôĀ I didn’t realize that until I read it. Out they went.)
  • Piles of manuals for small kitchen appliances, ¬†tools, etc., (we had a FULL kitchen drawer of these!!!! And Marie said it was ok to throw them ALL away so that I did!)
  • Books – she says if you’ve had it for a year,¬†and haven’t even opened it yet, chances are you never will. I had a handful of those! This was HARD because you always have that “what-if?” feeling but I¬†tried not to think twice about it and off they went. I also had a ton of other ones that I didn’t care to keep but was just keeping them because they were all together in my book stash.
  • Cosmetics – gah! ¬†I have this huge bin of old lotions, half used eye shadows, body sprays, old nail polish, etc., and it’s ALL going to go. I’ve never reached for anything in that bin for at least a year. No reason for it to be taking up all that bathroom space now is there? I’m just keeping what I use on a daily basis.
  • Box of electronic items – random chargers, cords etc., We totally have one of these! Marie says if you don’t know what it’s for, throw. it. out! Ha! Why did I think I had to keep them all in case? I don’t even think we have most of the items they belong to anymore!
  • Extra bedding and linen – We had so many spare mismatched towels and extra sheets and pillow cases that we don’t ever use! We just need one extra set for the spare bed and¬†a couple extra towels for guests. Everything else out!

Any of these resonate with you?!

So that’s a start. As I go through my home again, ¬†room by room, I’m going to be sharing more of the types of things we get rid of and why. I’ll share what our minimal bedroom looks like, our minimal kitchen, bathroom, playroom etc., So far, I’m feeling SO MUCH BETTER and it’s only just begun. I’m realizing that we’re really not growing out of our cozy little home quite yet, we just have too much stuff.¬†

 

Thanks so much for reading!

 

natalie-xo-1

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Saturday Road Trip

I mentioned in an earlier post, that we were planning to have a simplified holiday season. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to hold to our word and we would end up scheduling too many things like normal but looking back on the past weeks, I’m happy to report that we¬†really did do things different this year. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant and literally have no energy to do literally anything (ha!) or maybe it’s because we intentionally planned it that way… but regardless, it worked out really well. ¬†We didn’t want every day on our calendar to be filled in with scheduled events and¬†places we had to be. Instead we wanted to be able to wake up and plan fun spontaneous things to do with the boys, like tobogganing and baking and going on little day trips. Of course we wanted to spend lots of time with family and friends but we aimed to do that more spontaneously as well and it worked out great. We were able to say yes when friends invited us over for dinner the evening before, have a spontaneous games night with¬†other friends and plan a last minute day trip to see family last weekend.

Ron went back to work after New Years but the boys and I still felt like we were on holidays last week because there was no pre-school or anything else going on really so long lazy days for us is how the week went. This past Saturday, our friends Kara and Pete asked us to join them on a trip to St. Jacobs. We love this little mennonite town and since we didn’t have anything planned, we were excited to go along. It was such a fun morning, checking out cute¬†bakery’s, this amazing home decor shop where there’s tons of neat show rooms to look at, and of course the farmers market. It was the best way to end off the holidays and I went to remember this season and vow to every Christmas after just like it.

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Thanks so much for reading!

natalie-xo-1

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