Thriving With Hashimoto’s – Self-Care & Supplements


IMG_4164 It’s been almost 6 months since I last wrote about the treatment of my Hashimoto’s, and almost a year since my initial diagnosis. Because I’ve been asked lots of questions, and because I’m just pretty darn excited, I wanted to give you all an update on my health and what I’m currently doing to manage my thyroid condition. Note, that I’m managing my Hashi’s symptoms, I’m not curing myself. The good news is, I feel great, and I hope the next couple of posts will help answer questions and maybe even give some of you suffering through this, hope that it can get better. I’m splitting this into 2 posts just to keep them brief, and because there’s been two important components to managing my Hashis, which each deserve their own space; self care & supplements, and diet. Let’s start with the supplements and self-care portion.

So far, I’ve been very fortunate to not have to be treated with any medication, and I hope to preserve my thyroid for as long as possible, and delay the eventual thyroid burnout. You can read a refresher on my original diagnosis in this post, and my initial treatment protocol from my Integrative Doc, in this post. Quick recap though, my Anti-TPO levels, which is what they test to detect for the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s, was at 136. These levels were still pretty low so that my endocrinologist didn’t feel the need to treat me with any thyroid meds. Her approach was to just sort of wait it out, until the autoimmune response eventually burnt out my thyroid, which we would then treat with a synthetic at that time. This approach didn’t seem to make sense, so I went to an Integrative Doc who put me on a treatment protocol. So far it’s working out great for me.

Daily Supplements I’m Currently Taking
Selenium – 1 capsule daily to support thyroid function.
A-Drenal – 2 capsules before breakfast to help build up the adrenal glands and support adrenal hormones.
Vitamin D – 1 capsule daily
Focus DL – 1-2 capsules before breakfast to help with brain fog and mental clarity.
Magnesium and a Simple single-strain Probiotic – 1 capsule each for gut health and to balance out bowel movements.
DoTerra Lifelong Vitality Daily Vitamins

Supplements I Only Take When Necessary
Calm PRT – 2-3 capsules before bedtime to help lower my cortisol levels.
Travacor – 1 capsule 30 minutes before bedtime to help build up the serotonin levels.
I initially took these 2 supplements for about 8 weeks and saw an immediate improvement in sleep. Literally overnight I was sleeping better. I forgot them on a trip, so didn’t take them for a few nights and I was still sleeping well, so I stopped taking them. My guess is they did help my body get into a healthy sleep cycle and I no longer needed them. I take them now on the rare occasion I have a couple of bad nights of sleep, and they help me get back on track.

*A note about supplements: I cannot say this enough, but do your own research when taking supplements! I know there is a lot of skepticism in regards to supplements, as well as quite a few worthless products out there. I detailed all this out just because I wanted to share with you my specific treatment protocol, but I am not endorsing this specific treatment for anyone else. To be honest, I cannot tell you all with 100% conviction that it was supplements, and supplements alone that helped get my health back on track. In all truthfulness, it was most likely the multi-thronged approach of the supplements, along with diet and self-care, that has me feeling better. A friend who was dealing with some health issues of her own, and was also taking supplements, concurred that these supplements may be having no other effect on us than that of a placebo, but having both been in a such a rough place, we agreed that placebo or not, something was working and that was good enough for us! With that being said, I have scaled back on my original doses and eventually will phase out of these all together, hopefully by the end of the year.

The main thing to emphasis here is that I’ve had to learn to  take much better care of myself than before. Sleep is absolutely without a doubt essential. I aim to get 7-8 hours nightly, whereas before I would skate by on 5-6 hours of sleep. And it needs to be quality sleep, so I go to bed between 10-11 pm, when I am naturally drowsy and can fall asleep easily, and stay asleep. I don’t do a sleep song and dance routine, but just the usual necessities, like making sure my face is washed, contacts out and teeth are brushed, so I can comfortably relax in bed either watching TV or reading. I essentially prime myself for sleep. And I really feel that using the 2 supplements above, in conjunction with a healthier approach to sleep, completely solved my insomnia issues. I was able to easily fall asleep, but could not stay asleep, and at least 4-5 days a week I started my day between 3-4 am. That’s enough to tire anyone out, no matter what medical condition they have. Bottom line, I cannot stress the importance of restful sleep enough! This includes the occasional, or even routine daytime nap.

Alcohol intake has been another area where I’ve had to become very calculated and controlled (not that I was out of control before, but you know what I mean), so that at times it’s not even that enjoyable to drink because I’m so concerned about how it will impact my sleep and health. Bottom line, my tolerance has had to become significantly lower than before, and I have to watch that I don’t drink too close to bed time either. When drinking, I must eat and drink plenty of water, and I can’t really go beyond 2 drinks before I start feeling the negative affects of it. Overall, I guess this isn’t a bad thing, and as long as I can still enjoy a glass of wine while I’m prepping dinner at the end of a long day, I’m good.

Dietary Guidelines
Like I said, the diet part will be discussed in the second post, but for the most part I’ve continued to maintain a 80/20 gluten free diet, and I try to eat as clean as possible, most of the time. If I eat well, I feel great, but like most people who eat an overall balanced and healthy diet, if I have a few days off the grid, I definitely notice it. I’ll get into the specifics of the eating plan that helped me feel best in Part 2.

I was talking with some friends a couple of weeks back, and overall, we all have to take much better care of ourselves than we did when we were younger, even in the beginning of our motherhood journey. We all have to get more rest, we all suffer from more sensitive stomachs, and we all wake up with a hangover if we drink one glass too many. Our stories are all so similar that it can be hard to tell when you’re truly sick, or you’re just suffering the effects of getting old.

All I can say is to listen to your gut, and really take the time to monitor your symptoms. For me, I knew something was wrong when I was continually getting sick, and I could never feel like I had recovered from an illness in terms of fatigue and feeling better. I was always exhausted, I was down in the dumps, I had no motivation or drive to do anything other than get the kids to school and survive until bedtime. That’s it; at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I really felt like I was just working to survive the day. With some patience and attention to self-care though, I’m truly feeling like I’m thriving once again. Now, I’m just like any other busy women and mother in her late 30’s – easily tired and a cheap date. I’ll happily take it. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll update this post once I get the 2nd part published.

House Update – Bathroom & Kitchen Design


house-remodel-1 We are slowly but surely making headway on our home renovation, and the completion date is looking to be somewhere around early November. To get a refresher on what we’re doing, you can visit my original home remodel post and you can follow along on Instagram and see my #howereno tag for real-time construction updates.

At this stage in the remodel we needed to have the shower and bath valves ready for the plumbing crew. I’m learning a lot through this process and so when our contractor said he needed our valves, he didn’t even mean he needed the entire tub and faucet handles, but just the back-end of the plumbing fixtures. Because they’re all different though, we still needed to get the overall design of the bathrooms (and subsequently the kitchen too) squared away so we could order the right valves that went with our faucets and shower heads. Make sense? Don’t worry if it doesn’t, minor details anyhow 😉

So when it comes to “designing” a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms from scratch, my fear of screwing it all up is way more prominent of an emotion than actual excitement. I had dreaded the moment that we would have to start getting down to picking finishes just because I didn’t want to choose wrong and I knew I’d get overwhelmed with it all. Sure I have specific tastes and wants/needs, but when I see a room I like on Pinterest, I don’t feel very sure of being able to design and execute the design in a way I’d love enough to live with for the next 20-30 years. I guess you could say I don’t lack confidence in my taste preferences, but I do lack confidence in my ability to execute my taste preferences. That, combined with the idea of running around to different stores to pick out tile and fixtures, just doesn’t sound all that fun to me. Maybe I’m in the minority here.

In the end, I decided to have my friend Shelly of Van Rozeboom Interiors help me out and steer me in a clearer design direction. I sort of have varied tastes, and while I definitely have strong opinions on what I like and don’t like, I knew I could trust her design aesthetic to get us to a place we’d be happy with, otherwise I was afraid I’d end up designing a house that was all over the place. Because she’s recently moved, she’s doing e-design for us, which is an affordable option for those who just need a little hand-holding through the design process. I wasn’t looking for someone to take me around and spend hours shopping with me, or even show up at the house and oversee product installs. I just needed someone to narrow down what seems to be endless options, and so far I’m so happy we made the decision to go this route. With e-design she basically creates a story board for inspiration and then helps us pick out all the fixtures, tile, counter-tops, lighting and other necessary accessories. Because we’re friends she’s a bit more flexible with how she helps us out, but for the most part I believe she provides a client with a story board and then provides a couple of different options in each category to choose from. She typically gathers info from a client questionnaire, and looks at your Pinterest board. Just from our conversations, knowing me personally and looking at my Pinterest boards, she gathered that I was going for a modern day Santa Barbara Spanish style design aesthetic. Sounds great to me! Here’s where we’re at so far.

Master-Bath In the master bath we’re going for a bold statement with the floor in a painted concrete tile, which is a much more affordable option than traditional painted ceramic tile. We’re waiting on samples to make sure they won’t be too slippery in the shower, but if it passes the slip test the tile will run through the shower as well, and that vertical rectangular tile will run along the shower walls. To offset the black and white flooring, we’re going for brushed gold fixtures and a reclaimed wood cabinet. The countertops will be some sort of quartz in a white/light gray color. Key words in here were warmth, cozy, graphic and modern. I’m really, really excited about this room. house-remodel-2 A couple of progress pictures of the master bedroom and bath. This used to be the boys room, so they are being transplanted to the front master bedroom, and we are added a new bathroom back here. You can see the fresh concrete is where we added about 3 ‘ to the existing bedroom, and then the 8’ bathroom addition. It was really important to us not to encroach too much on the backyard that we love so much, so with that in mind we’re going with the basics. No soaking tub, just a shower, and no walk-in closet. The build-out in the photo above, to the left of the window, is where my closet will be, with just a standard sliding door, nothing fancy.

And the photo above is the one design risk we did take with the remodel. Using this bathroom as design inspiration,  we went with a huge picture window that overlooks the backyard. The posts will be wrapped/stained to match the cabinetry, and the mirrors will hang right on the posts. We will install a very sleek linen shade up top that can roll down for privacy, but otherwise we will keep it open to let in light most of the time. I’m excited and nervous to see how it all comes out.

Taylor's-Bathroom Taylor’s bath is still a bit of a work in progress. Because this bathroom will primarily be used by a tween girl, but also serves as the guest bathroom, we wanted it to be fun and modern, but also sophisticated. I’m still deciding on the mirrors and for the flooring we are either going with a light blue color as shown, or maybe even an orange sherbet color. We definitely want some pops of color in here to offset the white. The cabinet will have louvered doors but in a more modern, sleek style than the one pictured, and the shower/bath tile is going to be a very basic white subway tile to keep costs in line. Counter top will most likely be the same or similar quartz that we use in our bathroom. I love the lights we chose, but like I said I’m still not sure about the mirror, and this is already the second option she’s thrown out. I may keep looking. Key words in this room were fresh, light, fun, modern and sophisticated.

Kitchen-Design Finally, the kitchen will be the main center-point of the house, since when you walk in the front door it will be staring right at you. The new house design will be a completely open concept, so while the first room of the house is technically the living room, you pretty much see the kitchen when you first walk in. I wanted the kitchen to be bright and warm at the same time, and not super duper white, which is why we’re going to paint the 10′ island deep navy blue, and go with an alternate counter-top for the island as well. For the rest of the counter-tops, we’ll continue with quartz since it is so durable and there are so many beautiful options these days. Those pendant lights are amazing and I want them so bad, they’re just a wee bit out of our budget, so we may hold off on them or keep looking.

The photo below is of my new and improved kitchen window, which measures close to 5 glorious feet and opens up nice and wide to let in lots of fresh air. Our old window was a small garden box which had 2 teeny tiny vented side windows that let in no air. I’m really so excited about this new window above the sink and can see myself happily doing dishes here for years to come.  house-remodel-4

While the design of the kitchen is of course important, the main beef of the room revolves all around the appliances. Shelly answered some general questions for us, but really in the end choosing the right appliances for our needs and budget was really left up to us. We have decided to go with a Thermador 6 burner counter-top range, a Bosch double oven, dishwasher and microwave, and a Samsung fridge. This past weekend I went to 3 different stores and spent lots of time researching online and scouring Consumer Reports. While I initially went in thinking we’d go for a Thermador package (buy a range and oven and get a dishwasher free), when push came to shove it just didn’t make financial sense, and we really wanted to stick with our budget. We’ve quickly found out that going over budget here and there quickly adds up, and with appliances things could easily get out of control. Bosch makes a great product that rates well and is very affordable compared with the other high-end appliances. Plus, Thermador now owns Bosch, and I would have went with Bosch for all the appliances but they don’t make a 6 burner range top, just a countertop stove.

Believe it or not, choosing the fridge took the most time. We originally designed a built-in fridge for the kitchen, but when we learned that built-ins start at $7,000 and don’t really give you all that much extra storage space, we scrapped that idea. Instead, we decided to go with a counter-depth fridge to get the same sort of look as a built-in but at a fraction of the cost. Yes, you sacrifice some storage space (about 5 cubic feet depending on the model), I figure a smaller fridge just helps me keep things more organized in there. I routinely clean out our fridge every week, so a little less storage shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Plus, we do have a back-up fridge in the garage. Bosch makes a nice counter-depth fridge, but in the end we went with Samsung because it had a couple of extra cubic feet as well as some extra features we were looking for, and was very energy efficient, so much so that SCE is giving us a $75 rebate!

Now that we’ve got the design thing figured out and we’ve chosen the appliances, I’m getting really really excited and very anxious for this to be done! I can’t wait to move past this bare-bones look and start seeing some more progress, like insulation and drywall hehe :) Thanks for your patience while we adjust to a new living situation and I find it a bit more challenging to share in this space. I can’t wait to be back and settled in and return to more regular posts here. Talk soon and keep in touch on IG!


What I’d Buy From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale


The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale started last Friday and because we were on our road trip, I haven’t had a chance to go in and do any damage, which is probably a good thing. I did some browsing last night though and found a few things I plan to order up, and because of the great free returns option, will just send back what doesn’t work. I rounded up a few items I either want for myself this year, or very similar/identical items I bought last year that I absolutely love and continue to wear. Because I know the fit and quality was great, I’m making a few recommendations for you just in case browsing through pages and pages of their website isn’t all that feasible for ya.
anniversary-sale-vest-picks Left – Faux Leather Trip Drapefront Vest $59.90; Right – Shawl Collar Vest $49.90

At $60, I’m definitely ordering the wool boucle vest on the left, and I’ll style it probably just back to a T-shirt as shown here. And the vest on the right reminded me a lot of the vest I wore earlier this year, but about half the price I paid for it. Embrace the vest friends!   anniversary-picks-jackets Left – Angelina Zip Leather Moto Jacket $199.90; Right – Caslon Drape Collar Leather Jacket $218.90

I had a leather moto jacket on my wishlist last year, but opted to buy a more practical jacket instead. Seems only fair then that this fall I invest in something a bit more fun, but still classic. Both of these leather moto jackets look like fun options, with a bit of a more sleek and feminine feel to them, minus the buckles and zippers you usually find in a moto jacket. The one on the left reminds me a lot of my silky moto jacket I bought earlier this year and got a ton of wear out of.  anniversary-sale-denim-picks Left – AG Cigarette Jean $149.90; Middle – Rag & Bone Dre Slimfit Boyfriend Jean $175.90; Right – Paige Denim Skyline Jean $124.90

Last year I bought one blouse and a pair of designer jeans during Anniversary Sale, in addition to a couple of pairs of shoes for the kids. I showed restraint if you ask me 😉 I bought the slim cut boyfriend jean from Rag & Bone, seen center, and I absolutely love them and wear em quite often. The other pair of nice designer jeans I picked up, not on sale, were the Paige Highline, seen right, in dark denim and they are the perfect skinny jean. Higher rise at the waist, and super comfortable, they are offering a slightly lighter wash for Anniversary Sale and I think if you’re going to invest in a great pair of skinny jeans, these should be it. Super stretch too so no harmful accidents should occur! The ankle denim on the left are just too cute so had to add them in. anniversary-sale-picks-tops Left – Split Neck Top $29.90 also available in solid colors ; Right – Plaid Blanket Poncho $38.90

I bought this exact same blouse, just in a different print, last year during the sale and I LOVE it! Lightweight and very flattering on, it looks great back to denim or slacks/pencil skirt for more of a work look. Available in a variety of prints and solid colors, and a fantastic price. The blanket poncho on the right is also a great price and so cute.
anniversary-sale-handbags Left – Vegan Leather Pocket Tote $31.90; Right – Heidi fringe boho bag $305.90

The infamous reversible faux leather copycat Madewell tote bag got a style refresher with added pocket for the Anniversary sale, and the price makes it a no-brainer. Dying over this fringe leather bag by Frye. Probably won’t take the plunge here, but someone definitely should have this bag! anniversary-sale-picks-athletic-gear Left – Nike Cool Breeze Running Tank $22.90; Middle – Nike Free Flyknit $96.90; Right – Zella Live In Capri $33.90

Let’s not forget about sportswear because Anniversary sale is always a great time to stock up. When we were in Portland I mentioned visiting the Nike employee store. While there, I picked up this tank in white, and my first pair of fly knits, and oh my gosh I love them both. The tank is really lightweight but also loose fitting so it’s ridiculously comfortable. Our friend who we stayed with while in Portland is a shoe engineer for Nike, and he told me these shoes are designed to feel like you’re just wearing a sock, and that’s pretty much accurate. Really lightweight and unobtrusive, you hardly feel like you’re wearing much at all. And the Zella leggings will last you year after year of sweaty use, and fit like a glove. I have them in solid black and a couple of prints, but am really digging this one. anniversary-sale-girls-shoe-picks Left – Ruby & Bloom Josie Flat $32.90; Right – DV Savina Bootie $54.90

Lastly, the only one who will get a new pair of shoes (or 2) from the sale will be Taylor. Syd burns through tennies so fast these days, no matter how high quality they are, means that I’m sticking with cheaper pairs. And Hayden is at that fickle toddle shoe stage (most of you can relate, right?), that one day he’ll love a pair of shoes and the next day he finds they’re too tight, too lose, too “hurty.” So that leaves us with Taylor, who is content to wear 2 pairs of quality shoes that are comfortable all school year long, and whose feet grow super slow. Last year I bought her both of these shoes and they lasted most of the school year. She got the ballet flat in gold and the elastic heel made them much more comfortable for kiddos, plus they help to keep the shoes on so you can go up 1/2 size and they won’t slip off the way a regular ballet flat would. This makes them of course last longer. I’m going to get her 2 pairs of these she loved them so much. And she wore the heck out of these same DV booties (although in plain brown leather) and I finally threw them away just a couple of weeks ago. With dresses, jeans, shorts, whatever, she loved them and found them to be made very well and were really comfortable. I don’t love the metallic pair as much, but they’re still cute.

And that’s all she wrote! Do you guys usually shop the sale and stock up for Fall?

Daily Style – 24 Hours in Portland


IMG_5973 Chambray Back Dress – Vince on sale at Shopbop; Sandals – Sam Edelman Garrick; Fringe Crossbody – Nordstrom; Necklace & Earrings – Stella & Dot

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may have noticed that we’ve been on a pretty ambitious road trip since last Thursday. We traveled 600 miles our first day on the road, to make it just a couple of hours outside the Oregon border. On our second day, we made it into Oregon, making a quick stop at Crater Lake before arriving in Bend, Oregon late in the afternoon. We stayed in Bend for 3 nights and visited quite a few places in our short time there, and on Monday we left the mountainous high desert to travel 3 hours into Portland.
IMG_5992 When we get home and settled in, I’d like to write up a whole recap of our trip, but for now I just wanted to do a quick check-in from Portland. We’re staying 2 nights here, and at first we figured 2 nights would give us a chance to get a good flavor of the city, but the reality is we’ve barely scratched the surface. We have managed to pack in several highlights while here though. IMG_5987 Last night after a long day on the road, we arrived famished so we just grabbed a quick burger along with truffle fries at Little Big Burger. We are staying with friends here in Portland (and in fact we’re staying with friends throughout our entire trip), and they live in the Alberta area. Alberta is a great little street with one delicious option after another of great food, beer, coffee and ice cream joints, with some retail shops mixed in. After a quick burger and beer, we crossed the street to Salt & Straw for a famous ice cream cone.

They are known for their made fresh to order waffle cones, and unique ice cream flavor combos. I ordered a scoop of marionberry goat cheese habanero, and oh my word was it amazing – sweet and creamy with a little kick at the end.

We were lucky to not have to wait in line too long, but either way it would have been worth the wait. The ice cream was so good in fact that tonight we went back for more, and this time I ordered a split scoop of the strawberry balsamic black pepper and olive oil. IMG_5978 Other highlights of the trip have been a tour of the Nike World Headquarters where our friend works as a shoe engineer, along with a trip to the Nike employee store where everything is 50% off and of course no shipping. We cruised through 2 coffee shops including Stumptown, and also had dinner at Hopworks, a great local brewery that is super kid friendly and has some great food.

We are back on the road early tomorrow morning, but first we’re going to hit up one last coffee shop which came highly recommended by some readers, and a gluten-free bakery. We’ve done nothing but eat and drink the last 24 hours, almost to the point of gluttony, but it’s been fun to make the most of such a short trip.

IMG_5996 By the way, these are the only shoes I’ve worn the entire trip, besides my tennies, and they’ve gone well with everything and have been so comfortable. I wore this dress for the first time today, and it was the perfect thing to get me through a hot and busy day. Ridiculously comfortable, and casual but also put-together. The fabric draped beautifully and the front panel didn’t wrinkle at all, as you can see since these photos were taken at 8 o’clock at night. The back chambray panel wrinkled a bit, but didn’t look sloppy. This was the perfect outfit to take me all day through this casual and fun city, and the dress is on sale right now! IMG_5988

Follow along on Instagram, either at my personal account @andreavhowe, or on my food account @howeweeat, to see highlights from our trip. I’ve lived my whole life in California, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make it up to our bordering state Oregon. It’s been a memorable trip and we’ve had such a great time so far. Here’s to another few great days on the road!

Supporting Mom-to-Be with healthy mama®


“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #gethealthymama disclosure IMG_5933 Two of the most exciting experiences of my life was when we bought our home, and of course, being pregnant and giving birth to my three kiddos. Exciting and wonderful experiences, but also both very stressful and exhausting. I can’t imagine going through both things at the same time, but my sister in law and brother are doing just that. When They recently purchased a home and my sis in law especially, is going through the challenges that come along with packing and unpacking and settling into a new home, while 6 months pregnant.

They are thrilled to be moving to a home with more space to accommodate their growing family of 5, but I know it’s gotta be a lot for them. I visited them at the new pad last weekend and helped unpack several boxes while I was there, and it barely seemed like we made a dent. I felt overwhelmed just looking at all there was to “get done”, so I can only imagine how my sister-in-law felt. Before we left on our week long road trip, I put together a little care package for her to send along with my mom the next time she visited. I assembled a basket of goodies I know she’ll love, featuring a couple of items from the revolutionary new company healthy mama®.
IMG_5923 healthy mama® is a line of products designed specifically for pregnant and nursing women, and is the first brand to offer safe and effective wellness solutions for some of the most common pregnancy and nursing related ailments. From lack of energy to heartburn and constipation, healthy mama® has a full range of products to fit almost every need, and a their products are what I built my care package around.I started with the Boost It Up caffeine-free protein energy drink, because we all know moving is exhausting, but moving while 6 months pregnant is a whole other beast. I should have bought her a case of this stuff, but we’ll start with one bottle of the mango flavor. I also bought her a package of the Calm the Crazy! peppermint tea, to help ease the nausea she continues to experience, and settle her down at night so she can get a restful night of sleep. IMG_5957 I found the line of healthy mama® products under the new maternal health section at Target, which is near the pharmacy, and right down the aisle from the feminine care products. Even though this new section came a little late for myself, I’m happy retailers like Target are working with companies like healthy mama which are working to create shelf space for prenatal care, so that women can more easily find great, safe solutions during while pregnant and nursing.

I also love that healthy mama® is committed to making products that are safe and pregnant women can feel god about using, without worrying if they include potentially harmful ingredients. Their products are all made in the US, are free of artificial dyes, sugar, gluten, parabens, and are non-GMO and when possible, use organic ingredients. The company’s social mission is one in which they are committed to being environmentally responsible and to giving back, partnering with organizations like March of Dimes, which are committed to helping mothers sustain healthy, full-term pregnancies. All these points made including healthy mama® products in my sis in law’s goodie basket a no brainer.

IMG_5959 The remaining items I included were all things I wish I always had a steady supply of when pregnant with each of my kiddos; snacks, water and beauty products that helped me feel a bit pampered.

The house they purchased is charming and has a rather large backyard complete with pool, but the home is pretty much all original, built in the 50’s 0r 60’s, so my sister in law has a lot of plans for the house, some of which she plans to start on straight away. So between unpacking, setting up a nursery, and now adding in DIY home improvement projects, I don’t imagine she’s going to set aside a lot of time to cook and prep meals multiple times a day. So to help keep her energy up she’s going to need lots of quick snacks on hand, so I included several Kind bars, as well as a bag of popcorn to munch on when things get a bit stressful. IMG_5934

A huge insulated water jug in a pretty shade of pink will hopefully remind and motivate her to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, which is vital during pregnancy. And to pamper herself a little bit, I threw in some of my beauty favorites including rose water spray, body lotion and lip balm because I know my skin and lips were always especially dry while pregnant. Belly balm will help keep her continuously growing belly hydrated and itch-free, and makeup wipes provide the perfect solution when she’s too tired at the end of the day to shuffle over to the sink and wash her face.

A simple “congratulations on moving” card completes the basket, and it was ready to head up to surprise my sister in law, the next time my mom went to visit.

It’s the little things that make a mama feel special when pregnant, so I hope this basket of goodies will help her feel loved and cared for, even though she’s going through such an exciting, but stressful and tiring transition.

Daily Style – Walking Nude


IMG_5893 Caftan Maxi Dress – Lanston; Sandals – Sam Edelman Garrick Gladiator; Reversible Faux Leather Bag – Nordstrom BP; Nile River Necklace – Noonday; Hoops – Stella & Dot

So the MuTu program I follow highly encourages us to wear “barefoot shoes” in order to help with our walking form and alignment. Here’s a little bit of information on why it’s important, but basically, “when you walk properly (read ‘naturally’), the muscles of your backside, core and pelvic floor work properly too. As a result your glutes actually work as you walk and run, your core is effectively supporting your centre of gravity as you move and your pelvic floor muscles are at full length and doing their job of holding everything in.” And in order to walk correctly, you have to be wearing shoes that allow your feet to wiggle freely and which have a heel strap of some sort so your toes aren’t constantly trying to hold the shoe in place, as they do when you wear clogs and flip flops. The sole should also be soft and flexible. Most barefoot shoes are, to put it nicely, interesting looking, so imagine my excitement when I came across these pretty sandals by Sam Edelman, which for the most part fit the profile of a good barefoot shoe; secure ankle straps, open room for toes to wiggle around, and a fairly flat and soft sole.
IMG_5873 I was even more excited about these sandals because they are three shades of brown, making them really versatile. Plus, I’ve always had good luck with Sam Edelman shoes lasting a long time. My last pair of gladiators got multiple years of wear out of them and I was sad to finally toss them when the heels wore through. So in short, even if you weren’t intentionally looking for a good for your feet sandal, know that this one will benefit you, your feet and your pelvic floor. Women of multiple children, this is especially important to you and your life as it relates to sneezing and jumping.


IMG_5894 Now, let’s talk about this maxi dress, which I’m fairly certain I could live in 24/7. The material is soft and lightweight, but not so lightweight that it’s see-through. In fact the coverage of this dress was something I was a little concerned about because of the light color, but it turned out to be perfect. The lower neckline and side slits are a perfect balance of sexy without being toe revealing either. And the silhouette is loose but not boxy. I am in LOVE with this dress and you’ll be seeing me in it all summer long! It runs true to size, so the medium fit me perfectly, and is a little more blush pink than these photos reveal. The pictures on the website are more true to color.

IMG_5911 Hope you are all having a great week and are keeping cool. Our summer has yet to really start, as June gloom has moved into July. Of course it will get hot right when the kids are ready to go back to school but that’s just the way it goes. Have a good day guys!


Healing My Diastasis Recti


IMG_4849 I first discovered I had diastasis recti earlier in the year, towards the end of January. Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal walls and is quite common in postpartum women. In fact 2 out of 3 women with 2+ children have some sort of separation. Mine wasn’t completely severe at a 2.5 finger gap, but I was dealing with many of the issues commonly associated with diastasis just the same, including a weak pelvic floor, lower back pain and a bulging tummy that only seemed to become more pronounced the more fit I got or more weight I lost. In fact, the before photo above was taken the day I began the program to help heal my diastasis, which was also the last day of the 21 day cleanse I did. I had lost about 4-5 lbs, and was weighing in at 138, and the after photo was taking this morning and I currently weight 141. I also just started my period. So while the last cleanse I did certainly helped me feel better and trimmed up the rest of my body, it did nothing but make my tummy seem more pronounced. While I was by no means striving to achieve some level of perfection, it was more than demotivating to continue to work so hard on my fitness and eating right, and not see any improvement in my stomach.

Diastasis101Web image via MuTu System

I don’t even remember exactly how I had even learned about diastasis, but I remember feeling shocked that the condition wasn’t a regular part of standard OBGYN conversation either pre or postpartum, especially with it being so common. Once I found out about the condition and realized I had it, I learned that the ab exercises I had been doing were all in vain, and could actually be making the diastasis worse. Traditional ab exercises like plank, crunches and some yoga and pilates moves could cause more harm than good, and will actually do nothing to really help flatten the tummy out, if you have diastasis. I also quickly learned that you can either have your diastasis surgically fixed, but since mine wasn’t really severe that seemed out of the question. You can also perform certain exercises to help heal and close the gap on your own. This seemed more my speed. There were 2 main methods I discovered; the Tupler technique and the MuTu System. After some research, I went with MuTu because Tupler called for wearing a waist cincher and from reviews I read, the exercise count in the Tupler method got a little intense, upwards of 100’s of reps a day. No thanks.

MuTu is essentially a 12 week core and alignment focused program that includes a 7-8 minute core routine that you are supposed to perform twice daily, and as you progress in the program, you also add in a 20 minute “intensives” workout routine, which is to be performed 3-4 days a week. You are also highly encouraged to go on a 20-30 minute daily brisk walk to help with your alignment. Minimal equipment is needed, and in fact I already had a couple of dumbbells and just needed to get an exercise band which i found at Target. The focus of the program is to correct your alignment and to help strengthen your core, by beginning with the transverse abdominal muscles, which are the little muscles underneath the bigger ab muscles, which help to hold your tummy in nice and taut.

IMG_4850 The results I’m showing here were from following the program loosely 3-4 days a week for the last few months. For a couple of reasons including my ADD brain and the amount of enjoyment I get from actually exercising outside of my house with my group of friends, I did not exclusively stick with the program. But I can easily say that even just by adding in the core work and being very mindful about my alignment and posture, I was able to achieve these results. Had I stuck with the program as directed, by doing it everyday for 12 weeks, I’m sure my results would probably be better, but I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now. My butt seems to be a bit higher and my obliques are definitely firmer too.

And guys, the core work is so EASY! Like, zero planks or crunches or sit ups. In fact so easy that when I first started I figured there was no way this would actually work, especially since I was already pretty active and fit. But oh my gosh I feel such a difference in the tightness of my core muscles, and the most amazing part?! My pelvic floor is working so much better now! I can jump rope and run without fear of peeing my pants! My back aches haven’t improved much to be perfectly honest, but I’m taking what small victories I can! The intensive routines do provide a challenging workout and plenty of them left me feeling sore, but they’re only 20 minutes long and I believe, totally doable for any fitness level.

Oh, my diastasis recti is also down to a 1 finger gap! That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

Because the program is meant to be followed pretty concretely, I’ll tell you how I modified it a bit to suit my lifestyle, without compromising what I had learned in the program.

  • I did increase my amount of walking as directed, to almost everyday. And when I walk anywhere now I concentrate on proper alignment and heel to toe form. Walking with proper form, I’ve learned is so important to our overall spinal and core health.
  • I keep proper alignment and posture in mind now when I’m also standing and sitting. The program includes a lot of information and training on proper alignment, how to achieve it and why it’s so important to our core strength, so if this is confusing to you, don’t worry. I don’t always hold proper alignment, but I’m mindful of it a lot more now, and just gaining better posture alone has helped improved the physical appearance of my tummy.
  • I stopped doing all planks, crunches and basically any ab movement that stresses the outer abs and makes your stomach “dome.” I did continue to run, however, even though she advises against it, just because I love it and felt good doing it. I have now achieved enough core strength to go back to planking during my bootcamp workouts, but I still don’t do crunches or sit-ups, mainly because I just hate them haha!
  • I perform the MuTu core work about 4 days a week, twice a day. I did the 20 minute intensive workout routine for a few weeks, either at home or at the gym, but because it was similar to exercises I was already doing with my bootcamp, I’ve pretty much dropped doing those.
  • When exercising with my bootcamp though, I keep proper alignment in mind, and do not lift heavy weight that I don’t feel I can support.
  • I’ve continued to eat great, but have changed up a few things which I’ll share in another post because it deserves a post of its own!

The thing I loved most about this program is that it gave me a starting point and provided plenty of direction and helpful information. I felt comfortable modifying it because I was already in pretty good shape, but if I wasn’t and was just starting out on my fitness journey, I would have just stuck with the program 100%. For me, the MuTu core work was just another wonderful addition to an existing routine I already really enjoyed. Does that make sense?

Another wonderful aspect of the program is that you gain lifetime access to a very active Facebook group exclusive to members only, where you can go on and ask questions, read past threads on common issues, and also see inspiring before and after photos. These success stories are always really motivating.

Bottom line, MuTu, along with eating right and doing other exercises helped me achieve these results, but I think whether you follow the program to a T or modify it a bit like I did, good results are achievable.

You can purchase 2 different programs; either the 12 week program, which includes the intensives, or a scaled down version called Focus, which is just the core and alignment portion. Looking back, I probably could have just purchased the Focus program since I didn’t take advantage of all the intensive routines, but it was enlightening to see what Wendy developed as a safe postpartum exercise routine, and get confirmation that I was pretty much on the right track with my exercises. It was jut the core work I was doing wrong.

And sale alert! I just found out today that both programs are 44% off, which is why I kinda wanted to finally get this post published today! The sale expires at midnight though, so jump on it if you’re thinking of giving it a try.

By the way, you don’t have to have just had a baby to get benefit from the program. Some women in the program have babies who are 20 years old (even mine was over 2 when I began).

I think I’ve covered everything, but please let me know if you have any questions!

Week In Review – Doing What Comes Natural


IMG_4699 Well hello there friends, how is life treating you? Have any fun plans for the 4th of July weekend? We will be spending the day at my sister’s house where she lives on a quiet but fun block, and we’ll be grilling and watching the kids have the time of their lives in one of those giant water balloon slides/bouncy houses. Hopefully no one gets hurt. As you know, we’re doing a decent size reno on our home, and this week things got way real when the roof was ripped off and the framing began. We also chose our windows and I’m hoping in 5 years I don’t get sick of them – black frames for the front of the house, and to save on costs, standard white for the sides and back of the house.

IMG_4745 While things progress at the house, the kids have each enjoyed going to camp last week, and I’m still heading into Art’s office 2 days a week to work on CIU office related tasks. When things are busy for Art and he doesn’t have time to direct me, I’ve been working on blog posts here and there, and also spending a bit of time doing Beautycounter socials, one-on-one appointments and drop-offs. If you follow along on Instagram, you may have noticed a bit more Beautycounter love in my feed lately, and I wanted to share a bit about why I chose to actively pursue the business a bit more. Who knows, some of you may be wondering what gives, and some of you may be genuinely interested in the product or the business.

When I wrote about my revamped safe makeup collection, I told you about signing up as a consultant for Beautycounter. At the time, quite frankly I was mainly excited about the 25% product discount afforded to all consultants. Plus, I figured when I occasionally wrote about skincare and beauty products, I’d link to the items and would make some affiliate income. I had no intention of pursuing the business through actual in-person sales.

But then I began using more and more of the products because I genuinely loved how they performed. And then a few friends starting asking about it, and then I had the opportunity to host a “social” with Melody, the owner of my fave local bakery Sweet & Saucy Shop, and my business just sort of took on a life of its own.

In the month of June, I had the opportunity to come into the homes of 8 different women, some strangers and some friends, and share information about the personal care industry and why it needs reformation.  It was an awesome experience and it made me realize how much I missed being in front of people, engaging and interacting like that. In my previous life in the fashion industry, I was rarely behind a desk, but was usually out training sales associates, meeting customers, working sales, and educating about the products I represented. It was a fun and interactive job and the thing I loved most about it was being around people. In short, doing business this way comes natural to me, and is something I enjoy and feel happy doing.

Not to mention the fact that the company is truly one I believe in. Beautycounter has the most advanced ingredient screening process in the industry. They don’t formulate with over 1,500 known toxic ingredients, and they carefully and painstakingly screen every ingredient they do use for safety. They are also obsessed with performance: products have to perform to the highest of standards so that you don’t have to sacrifice high performance for safety. Beautycounter is also a Certified Benefit Corporation, which means they have a triple bottom line: Where most companies focus on revenue, they focus on people, planet, and profit, in equal measure. And because these things matter to some, the products are gorgeous: from the branding to the packaging, everything is done so tastefully.

So that’s where I’m at. Still blogging, still helping out Art as much as he needs me, still doing the mom thing a majority of the time, and now, adding another fun layer to the roster as an active Beautycounter consultant. Yes, you may see more pics of their products in my feed, but please know that I won’t inundate you all and when I do choose to write about their products, it’s because I genuinely love it. I won’t ever sacrifice trust for cash, and I never want to lose the trust of my readers and followers on Instagram, something I’ve strove to attain for the last several years.

IMG_4747 This weekend they are having a wonderful 4th of July promotion, where you spend $200 and receive an exclusive color cosmetic set valued at $75 – an eyeliner in navy, a color shade eye duo in slipper/slate, and a lip shine lip gloss. If you’re new to the products, first few things I fell in love with are as follows:

Shampoo & Conditioner – If I could give everyone a sample of their shampoo I would, because it is the best I’ve ever used. After failing to clean my greasy hair with the “best of the best” including Bumble & Bumble and Kerastase, this stuff has done what none of those could do: get my hair clean, keep it clean for 3+ days, and not strip it so I could still style it with some body.

Tint Skin (I personally wear Linen but now in the summer I’ve transitioned into Sand) – offers great coverage that is lightweight and build-able. Here is a “find your shade” chart, and if you’re still worried about choosing your color, don’t sweat it. They offer a 60 day money back return policy, so you could always order 2 shades and try them out at home.

Lip Sheer in Twig – perfect everyday color for just about every shade of skin.

Protect All Over Sunscreen – made with 19% zinc oxide and scented with blood orange, so it smells delicious, this sunscreen blends in beautifully and leaves no streaks.

Thanks as always for your support and encouragement. I appreciate it more than you know. And because a Week In Review wouldn’t be right without a few good links from around the web, here are some of my favorite reads of this past week.

I Made the NYT Pea Guac – “Finally, I did not sprinkle any sunflower seeds over the top; I don’t have those on hand because I’m not some kind of socialist.”

Hummus recipe from ‘Jerusalem’ – apparently mind-blowing hummus, or so I’ve heard.

Med Students Learning a Bit About Nutrition & Cooking – not a bad idea!

IMG_4659 These off-white denim shorts are amazing and have been a summer staple on my booty! And speaking of booty, they’re a bit longer in the back so you don’t show any of your booty. Perfect! And they’re 40% off so jump on it.

Loving these gladiator sandals and a great price at $78!

Another favorite summer staple is this lightweight chambray colored blouse from Target. Runs true to size, I got a medium and actually fits well, being long enough for my long torsoed body. Super cute and $20!

Crafting With Seedling


IMG_5804 Design your own tote bag project by Seedling

So how are things going at my in-laws? Well, we’re in our 3rd week and so far it’s going really well. We’ve been in and out of the house a lot since summer began last week, but when we are home I am trying my best to keep things as calm and collected as possible so as not to be too much of a burden. Keeping 3 young kids calm and collected though, can be a “challenge” to say the least. Taylor’s 10 and suddenly finds everything Syd does annoying. Syd is 8, and of course likes to annoy his sister. Hayden is almost 3 and is taking his role as the cute cuddly baby boy very seriously, pushing his limits on aggression and yelling as far as he can. Combine all this with parenting under a microscope, and things can get a little tiring. Needless to say, I’m sleeping pretty well, falling into bed exhausted each day.

But I promise there are plenty of bright spots each and every day, as we watch the kids bond even more closely with nana and papa, getting free reign to practice on the piano and play in their backyard, and I’m so happy that Art is getting to spend so much time with his dad each night, watching the baseball game or news. I really think papa Howe is enjoying the extra company, and doesn’t seem to mind the noise too much. Art even gave me a gem of a confidence boost when he told me last week how happy he was that after 20 years together his parents could finally witness first hand how great his wife is. Ummm, I didn’t delve too much further with that statement, not wanting to know what their current opinion of me is 😉

Since my role these days is to keep everyone happy and the volume at a reasonable pitch (while also limiting screen time so their brains don’t melt into a puddle of goo from inactivity), we’ve been spending lots of time outside, and the other day we spent all morning working on some crafts. I was thrilled beyond belief to partner with Seedling to try out some of their beautifully curated craft kits and share the results with you all.

Seedling originally began in New Zealand, they are now sold in over 20 countries, and they offer a beautiful selection of craft kits, toys and party supplies. The kits are thoughtfully put together and help to take a lot of the prep and planning work out of the crafting process, and allow you and your kiddos to spend more time doing the fun stuff. We picked out a few kits that I knew each kiddo would love, including the design your own tote bag for Taylor, wooden peg pirate guys for Syd, the modeling clay for Hayden, and a superhero max I thought any of the kids could do. Seedling-Products

Hayden played with the modeling clay for awhile, but then when he saw the tubes of glitter glue which came with the masks, he was all in. IMG_5731 I didn’t bring a single craft project with me to my in-laws because I didn’t want to overtake their house with unnecessary stuff, so aside from some colored pencils and paper, the entire contents of the Craft Cabinet are sitting at home unused. It was so nice to just grab a couple of pairs of scissors and we were on our way. It’s worth mentioning that these kits are great not just for middle aged parents living with their in-laws, but for any busy or non-Pinteresty mom who wants to inspire artistic expression and creativity with their kids, but crafting in general is overwhelming or even intimidating. Not to mention an investment (oh, all the money spent at Michael’s). Honestly, in the last year I haven’t had much longing to break out the crafts on the daily like I used to, and I know Taylor misses it and Hayden is missing out on experiences I gave the other 2 on a regular basis. But even for me, someone who isn’t the least bit intimidated by any level of craftiness, I just haven’t had the energy. Even more reason why I was so happy to try out these kits. IMG_5708 IMG_5737 Everything you need for your craft, with the exception of scissors, is included in each kit, and the quality and design aesthetic of the supplies were quite impressive. Beautiful and funky prints, and nice thick pieces of felt. The tubes of glue and paint all worked well too, because goodness knows I’ve seen my fair share of faulty tubes of glitter glue. IMG_5701 IMG_5718 IMG_5743 Complete instructions and an inspiration picture is included for each project, as well as some tips on getting your creative mojo going. Taylor never seems to need much inspiration though and dives head first into each project, a trait I greatly admire in her. IMG_5711 The boys finished up each of their respective projects in about 45 minutes, and after piling on loads of glue to his mask, Hayden determined it was too messy and wouldn’t wear it. Syd however, thought it was awesome and wore it the rest of the morning.  IMG_5767 IMG_5745 Taylor continued to work on her tote bag off and on throughout the day and finally finished before dinner time. She was over the moon excited about it. IMG_5784 IMG_5780 Seedling is having a great Independence Day promotion through July 6th, and the entire site is 40% off using the code FOURFUN! After the 6th, you can continue to receive 30% off your order site wide through July 17th, using the code seedling30. You’ll also receive free shipping on orders over $50.

Build, imagine, play! Seedling helps bring kids’ ideas to life with beautifully designed, all-in-one projects that encourage children to follow their own creative initiative. Enjoy 30% off at Seedling when you choose your own adventure using the code Seedling30. Offer valid one per customer; discount does not apply to past purchases, packaging, applicable taxes, or shipping and handling. Expires July 17, 2015

This post was in partnership with Seedling, however all views expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies and brands, which help support this site.

A Bit About Our Cooking Club


IMG_4529 (pineapple beef kebabs – we prepped the veggies, beef and marinade at cooking club, and assembled into kebabs and marinated when we were ready to cook)

A few weeks ago, I helped the owner of my beloved boot camp, Happy Hour Fit Club, come up with a multi-dimensional meal plan for a new concept she wanted to get off the ground. She had toyed around with various meal plans before, including having participants swap recipes and even doing a few successful salad swaps, where ladies would prep big batches of their favorite salads to swap with others. But she wanted something new, which would hit a few goals including distribution of healthy meals, camaraderie and community, and of course making life easier for those participating. She came up with the Happy Hour Cooking Club.

The final concept reminds me a bit of Dream Dinners, but put a bit more power in the hands of the participants. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  • Groups of 3-4 participants are placed together to make up their own cooking club.
  • Each week a new leader is designated, and the leader is responsible for choosing the meals (with feedback from her group members of course), doing the grocery shopping for all members of her group, and hosting the group at her home to prep the week’s meals. Participants divide up the cost of groceries and of course pay back the leader that week.
  • The members get together at the host’s home and prep at least 2-3 meals for the week ahead.
  • Prep work involves chopping and dicing, and browning/braising meats where applicable. All members stay to help the host clean up the kitchen :)
  • Emphasis for our cooking club was on healthy meals, which were also family-friendly.

Each week’s cooking sessions lasted about 2.5 hours from start to finish, which when you think about it doesn’t save you a ton of time in the “meal prep” department, but it saves the mental energy that goes in to trying to figure out what to cook each night, and eliminates dinner-time stress. Since we’ve only been doing this for a month, I can’t say we wouldn’t get more efficient as time went on, but since the main objective wasn’t to save time, but to make access to healthy meals more achievable, I say we won big time.

A few words about choosing the meals, because it can be tricky. I volunteered to help develop the meal plan options because I have access to so many great, health-conscious cookbooks, and through all my research and writing, I’ve got a good grasp on truly healthy meals, versus those disguised as such. A challenge from previous healthy recipe swaps was that some would submit recipes that were for instance, low in calories, but quite high in processed foods like “lite” dressings as marinades and “corn flake” crusted cuts of meat, which were “gluten free” but still full of questionable ingredients. The objective therefore wasn’t necessarily low-calorie, but nutrient rich whole foods free of processed ingredients.

IMG_4675 (cooking club ideas I distributed each week. Notes on ingredients and make-ahead prep tips included to make things a bit easier, but not necessary)

When I assembled the meal plans, I broke recipes down into several categories; meat (beef & pork), poultry (chicken & turkey), seafood, slow cooker and vegetarian. Each week I included 3-4 recipe ideas for each category, so that participants could pick for themselves from the section. I deliberately chose recipes that involved prep work we could get out of the way during the cooking club. For instance choosing to roast a chicken wouldn’t be that great of a selection because it typically involves a simple basting then popping in the oven. But a stew that called for a bevy of chopped veggies, or a meat dish that required an involved marinade were all great choices. Does that make sense? Most of the meals were ones I’ve been gathering for years on Pinterest, have used in previous meal plans, my own recipes from the blog, and because it was a small private group (i.e. not for profit), I even photocopied a few fave recipes from my own collection of cookbooks to share with my group.

What should you do if you want to replicate something like this with your own group of friends? Easy! Here’s a few tips to make it more manageable:

  • Keep your group small, like 3-4 people, to keep things as simple as possible. This will make it easier choosing a date each week, and make the grocery shopping less cumbersome.
  • Pick a date each week and stick with it.
  • Not everyone in the group has to be a “star cook!” In our group of 3, two of us were very comfortable in the kitchen and performing tasks like quick chopping, while one of us declared themselves a “non-cook.” I tell you though, she did just fine and held her own. There were plenty of tasks to go around and she always found something to do which she felt comfortable with.
  • Shopping for 2-3 other people seems like a pain, but I promise you when it’s your turn to sit back and just show up, it is such a treat! While you each could do your own shopping, I highly recommend you first try the “leader shops” technique before dismissing it. It was really awesome.
  • Don’t agonize over choosing the meals to cook. Either put one of you in charge or just put a bit of trust and faith in each member and just go for it. Each week in our group, the leader chose the meals and just double checked that we were all okay with it, and then went for it. One week we made a salmon dish, and one member’s family didn’t eat salmon, so she just swapped the salmon out for chicken, instead of choosing a whole new meal. And of course, everyone’s idea of healthy differs so just choose based on what will work best for your group!
  • When deciding on a time, either do it at night when your significant other can be home to help manage the kids, or do it during the morning when the kids are at school (or summer camp considering the current season). It makes things a bit more hectic when kids are running around, so keep that in mind when scheduling.

Lastly, have fun! I think I’ve answered any possible questions you may have, but of course feel free to ask in the comments, any I may have missed.