Spring + Summer Baby Items Haul

It’s Bethany and Tera here on the blog today, and we’re so excited to share our favorite baby and toddler items for the Spring and Summer! Baby stuff can get so overwhelming because there’s so much, well, stuff. We are proud thrifters + D.I.Y.ers , but we thought it would be really fun to share our favorite special items, and we’ll save our thrifting list for another time (although we couldn’t help but to add a couple). Whether you’re searching for some new brands to follow, fun items for a friend’s baby shower, registry ideas, or you’re just doing some digital “window” shopping, we’ve narrowed it down to some our favorites!

spring and summer baby haul

◊ MEET THE MOMS + LITTLES ◊

Bethany (@bethanympoteet)

If we haven’t met before, I’m Bethany, and my husband Denver and I have an infant boy named Oliver Finn. I’m a work at home mom (which gets a little bit crazy) and I enjoy taking Oliver on little weekend adventures. I’m figuring out this whole boy mom thing, and it’s such a fun and crazy ride!

Tera (@terapianalto)

Hello, and to all the newbies here on Oak and Earth, I’m Tera! I’m a wife, homemaker, and mom to two little gals, Norah and Elsie. This stage of life is a lot of messy bun and t-shirt days, coffee breaks, and peanut butter bread crusts for lunch. We’re embracing this new season of crazy and having a blast along the way!

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◊ HATS + BOWS ◊

Madrenido Bonnet: Ash (Bethany’s pick)

We use this bonnet, or as Denver likes to call it, hood, all the time! I love it because Oliver doesn’t have much hair, and it’s provided sun protection without having to have on a hot beanie. I love this small shop, and they have both boy and girl options. I hopped on the boys-can-wear-bonnets trend pretty quickly and I haven’t looked back!

Little Green Radicals Sunhat: (Tera’s pick)

This bonnet has been one of my favorites for Elsie, mainly because really, who can resist a baby in a bonnet? I love it because aside from it’s practical functions, it’s such a cute design, the fabric is lightweight, and of course, #baeinabonnet. C’mon.

Kinship Cap Co: Infant cap (Bethany’s pick)

This is one of my favorite items on my list. I searched long and hard for an infant 5 panel flat bill cap. This one can be used through 12 months of age, so I decided it was worth it for me to purchase. I have NOT regretted it one bit. We use this every day on walks and especially on weekends when we are out and about. It provides eye protection as well as head protection, and I finally found one simple enough to match so many of his outfits.

Amelia Hand-tied Baby Bows:  (Tera’s pick)

I was on the hunt for some cute hand tied baby bows for the girls, and I stumbled upon Ames + Olivia Etsy shop. She has lots of sweet hand tied bows in tons of colors for some really reasonable prices, and you have the option of ordering them as a one size headband (SO soft and comfy), or as a clip! I ended up ordering some of each, and we wear them nearly every day right now.

◊ SHOES ◊

Starry Knight Design: Sea Glass Sunrise Sandals (Bethany pick)

Tera and I both love this brand.  These moccs are really well made + they have breathable cutouts for spring and summer, and it’s the best pair I found for boys (as many boy moms can attest, not an easy search)! It’s so hard to choose a color with their massive selection!

Starry Knight Design: Mint T-strap Sandals (Tera’s pick)

I love these little baby moccs for Elsie! They are so comfy and soft, they’re versatile, and the design is adorable and perfect for spring! Plus, there are so many color options available for them–I’ll probably order another pair for fall!

Pretty Brave (Bethany’s pick)

Oliver was gifted a pair from a shop I collaborate with, Minted Method Shop, and we absolutely love them. It’s another great brand for boys!  I’ll admit that before having a babe, I never understood why babies need shoes. Oliver’s feet are pretty much always ice cold, and he likes to put leg pressure on surfaces, so I like having his feet protected. These are on the higher end of a shoe budget , but again, they would make for an investment piece (like sandals for all summer), or a splurger registry gift! The cutest stinkin leather shoes you ever did see.

Salt Water Sandals  (Tera’s pick)

So Norah’s little Sun Sans sandals were a consignment find, as is much of her wardrobe, but I added them to our list because she wears them All. The. Time. They’re comfortable on her feet, great quality, and so versatile! I’ve linked toddler’s salt water sandals because they are very comparable in price, and almost identical in style!

◊ PLAY ◊

Hazel Village: Oliver Mouse  (Bethany’s pick)

This was also gifted to Oliver by Minted Method Shop. Oliver the mouse (a beautiful coincidence in names) quickly became a favorite of ours for many reason. From day one, Oliver loved playing with all the skinny limbs, it’s small enough for us to put in the travel pocket of the diaper bag, it’s made of organic cotton fleece, and it has stood the test of time of Oliver’s biting + pulling.

Wooden Sensory Rattle + Lexy Pexxy: Wooden Teether – The Baily  (Bethany’s pick)

These wooden teethers and rattlers are fantastic for on the go entertainment! Oliver loves shaking these and chewing on them when his gums are sore. They’re practical and can double as a nursery decorations as well. I get asked on a daily basis where I get them both, so here you go!

◊ MOMLIFE GEAR ◊

Solly Baby Wrap (Bethany’s pick)

This is my practical pick! I love the Solly Baby wrap for spring and summer because the material is light and I take a lot of walks! As a mom you really need 16 arms, and I feel like this is as close as I’m going to get.

Milk Snob Cover (Tera’s pick)

These little multi purpose covers have been a staple for us since Elsie was brand new (one of Bethany and Oliver’s favorites as well). We still use it almost daily, only now, if I’m not using it for a car seat cover, Elsie is using it as a lovey (don’t worry, it’s constantly being washed)! It’s so funny how it’s become a security item for her after being around it since day one. I love these covers, and almost 9 months later, we’re still getting daily usage out of ours!

Plum and Sparrow Moses Basket (Tera’s pick)

Another piece that we are still using a ton is our Moses basket! We ordered it for Elsie to sleep in during her newborn stage, and though she’s since been upgraded to her crib, we still love to use it during the day as a play place! She loves sitting in it when we’re outside for a picnic, or more likely watching big sister do “super good gymnastics,” as she calls it. I love how portable it is, and it’s still one of my favorite baby purchases I’ve ever made!

Tadpoles Palm-Woven Moses Basket (Bethany’s pick)

I wanted a simple basket for Oliver, and I couldn’t be happier with this thrifted find. We found this basket at a consignment shop for a $15 steal, but it’s less expensive than most Moses baskets, even at full price. We use this for picnics, and when Oliver was a newborn we used this as a napping basket. When he’s not in it, we use it as a really cute storage basket in his nursery.

◊ BLANKETS ◊

Muslin Swaddle Blankets – Modern Burlap (Bethany’s pick)

Our organic cactus muslin swaddle is probably the most “fun” item I had on my registry, and it’s been a favorite of ours! We have a few of their swaddles, and I can’t say enough about them. We used it for newborn swaddling, and now we use it for play and a light blanket to pack for travel. I LOVE these for spring and summer because they’re so light. Oliver loves the black and white patterns, and I also use them for decor in his room. Win, win, win, win… you get it.

◊ THREADS ◊

L’oved Baby via Minted Method Shop (Bethany and Tera’s pick)

We love these because they’re great for all seasons! They’re soft and come in the sweetest muted pallets. We have footed ones as well the kimono body suits + the long sleeved ones come with built in mits (cue hallelujah chorus). A fantastic gender neutral registry gift!

Sparrow Designs (Bethany’s pick)

About 90% of Oliver’s wardrobe is consignment based, but I added this to my onesies’ list because this material is super light and soft for spring and summer, and they’re perfect graphic onesies for minimalists! I get asked about these frequently, and they’re some of my favorites for sure!

Old Navy: Cami Rompers  (Tera’s pick)

These little cami rompers have legit been a staple at our household! I love how easy they are–I mean one piece for a whole outfit–PLUS not to mention how stinkin’ cute those little baby rolls are in them. They’re just cute, simple, trendy, and a score.

Toddler Jersey Shorts +Toddler Sleeveless Swing Dress (Tera’s pick)

Modest is Hottest, right? Well, that’s my motto. I’ve added these shorts because we really have gotten a ton of wear out of them this season, because A). You can wear them with t-shirts and tanks, and they come in dozens of colors and prints…so cute! And, B). As I said before, with Norah constantly wearing dresses, I usually always have her slip a pair of these shorties on underneath for a little underwear coverage, and they work perfectly! Go on and flip, spin, run, and twirl to your heart’s content, Norah.

So, I don’t typically buy my girls a lot of “new” clothing–we find a lot of our wardrobes for them at consignment sales and hand me downs. Ain’t no shame in my game. BUT, when I do “splurge” on them, it’s most usually at Old Navy! They just consistently have the best sales on kids clothes! These little swing dresses are a huge hit for my dress lovin’ little gal. They come in lots of colors and styles and they have a great price point. These have by far been Norah’s favorite for her spring and summer wear.

◊ SWIM ◊

Grovia Swim Diaper – Onyx (Bethany’s pick)

I wanted a really simple swim diaper for Oliver, and this one has done the trick + it has appeased my stripes addiction. It keeps all his messes contained, and then we can wash it when we are done!

Swim Zip // baby + toddler suits (Tera’s pick)

Okay, so I found Swim Zip on Instagram a few months back, and when I checked out their site and browsed their suits, I knew right away I’d be ordering some for the girls! We got ours in the mail a couple of weeks ago and they’ve both already been in them multiple times! I love the patterns, they have different styles, and the price point is really great. We’re leavin’ on a jet plane (aka in my super cool mom van) in a little over a week for the beach, and these will be perfect for protecting their sensitive skin from the harsh sun rays!

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We hope you enjoyed our spring + summer haul for our fun items! We want to reiderate that we are very real moms with very real budgets, and these are some of our special pieces that we mix in with our thrifted items and these are pieces we get asked about frequently! You asked, we answered! We have a few ideas in mind for our next tag-team #momlife posts, but we would love to hear from you! What would you like to see next?

To keep up with our crazy motherhood adventures you can follow us at @BethanyMPoteet and @TeraPianalto. We would love to keep in touch!

XOXO

-Bethany + Tera

 

Fast, Furious, and Natural Labor: My Birth Story

This post is written in collaboration with The Honest Company. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

At 12:00 A.M. I felt my first contraction. At 4:10 A.M. I was holding my child. I’m a first time mom, and I had a 4 hour natural labor. This is my story.

Let me preface this story by telling you that every labor is hard. Natural, epidural, cesarean section, fast, dreadfully long, hospital, home-birth, water-birth, and everything in between. It’s emotionally taxing, and it tests every physical part of you! Sometimes there is the assumption that fast is synonymous with easy. I can assure you that this is not the case.

So it begins.

Denver and I were expecting to have little Oliver on December 31st, 2016. As the new year came and went, I knew he had to be making his appearance soon. Being 40+ weeks pregnant is incredibly uncomfortable. We were SO beyond ready to meet our little boy and every hour past our due date felt like ages.

In the weeks leading up to his arrival, I had been walking 2 miles a day, climbing a set of 99 steps up and down, and I had been using an outdoor gym. Anything to spur on labor!

natural labor exercise

I used an exercise machine that my husband and I have now deemed “the contraction machine”. Essentially, it spreads your legs apart and you squeeze them together (no weights attached). On New Years day, I did rounds of the above listed exercises. That night came and went and I didn’t feel anything progressing.

Bummed out and getting impatient, I decided that the next night (January 2nd) Denver and I should have a date to distract ourselves and to celebrate our last days as a family of two. We grabbed a coffee and walked around town, went out to eat, and then decided to go to the theater. When Denver and I were at the movies I legitimately felt like I was sitting on Oliver’s head. Little did I know, I was in early labor as I was chowing down on popcorn. Oliver had been low for quite a while, despite not being dilated at all at my previous exam (which is not what you want to hear at 40 weeks).

We had so much fun on the date, and we ended up getting home at about 10:30 P.M. We had decided to watch Vine compilation videos on YouTube because we are still mourning the loss of Vine (R.I.P.), and at this point the night felt like any other. At 11:45 P.M. Oliver was kicking around as per usual, but I had a little bit of back cramping. I had back pain my whole pregnancy, so a little back cramping was pretty normal to me at this point. I grabbed a heating pad and we continued watching videos.

Midnight.

I started to notice that my dull back cramps were coming and going in waves. It hit me. This might be the start of something! I told Denver, “Hey, I might have him in a couple of days!”. I texted a few of my friends to tell them that labor could be starting in the days to come, and upon hearing my symptoms, they all agreed it might be possible!

About 10 minutes later the cramping got worse. I felt like I just needed to live on the toilet. But nothing was coming out. Denver and I had been to a birthing class so I knew that this was a sign of early labor. I informed Denver and he was excited and started to pack up our toiletries into the hospital bag. I told him to calm down and that it could be days before we go into active labor. Then I realized my cramps were coming in stronger waves. I texted my friend Kylie (a nurse and a recent first time mom), and she said, “Time those. They could be contractions.”

I felt excited.

Now, I knew I would have back labor. Every hormonal occurrence I have had leading up to labor has been carried in my back. What I didn’t know is that with back labor, you might not ever feel one single contraction in your stomach. I didn’t feel any tightening, but I started to feel a lot of pain.

While standing in the bathroom with my pants around my ankles, I tried to determine whether I wanted to sit on the toilet or walk around. Denver came in, and asked if I was okay. I said, “I need to braid my bangs back, I think things are happening!”. Denver threw off his house shoes and put his tennis shoes on. I told him to take them off because we wouldn’t even go to the hospital until the next day. He looked at my face and said “Okay, but I still think it’s going to be sooner.” Silly boy. Didn’t he remember our class? Our instructor had said that in many instances, early labor can last hours and hours or even days before it transitions into active labor!

Early labor was likely with my symptoms, and I knew it was time to put our birthing class knowledge into practice. Move, move, and keep moving. I grabbed a microwaveable corn bag so I could start walking around the house. I told Denver to grab the timer and I would tell him when I needed him to time the “contractions” I had felt.

At this point, I had only felt a few waves of pain. We timed my waves of back pain for about 15 minutes. Denver said “Babe, these are 3 minutes apart and lasting close to 1 minute long”. We were confused. In our class we had learned that a good time to go to the hospital was known as 4-1-1.

Contractions 4 minutes apart.

Contractions are lasting around 1 minute long.

You’ve had these consistently for 1 hour.

Well. I had contractions less than 4 minutes apart lasting 1 minute long, but I had only had them for 15 minutes. We were confused. Why did my contractions start out at the point you’re supposed to be heading to the hospital? Don’t you usually get to work up to this point? The pain was getting stronger with each contraction and I was practicing everything I had learned. I was breathing through them, moving around, squatting, leaning over the bed, swaying, and making low noises to push through it. While leaning over the bed, I felt a really horrible wave of back pain. I popped up and told Denver, “I think we need to go to the hospital, how many have I had?” To which Denver replies, “You’ve had 8 contractions”.

That’s when I felt fear.

Only 8 contractions had occurred and I already felt like I had been in a mild car accident. I have a high pain tolerance, so thinking we were probably in the earlier stages of labor was devastating to say the least. “How do people do this for 18+ hours?“, I wondered, not knowing I was already in active labor. I decided to try to labor for at least an hour at home so that it would be consistent with the 4-1-1 instructions. The pain started to get really intense, but I still never felt any tightening in my stomach or abdominal area. I hated this. Why was my labor so strange?

After an hour and a half had passed, I allowed myself to go to the hospital. Then I saw it. The car. How was I going to have a contraction in that thing. I found myself thinking, “Why do we have a Prius? It’s so small.” We got into the car and I felt a contraction coming on as soon as I got in. I pulled back the passenger seat and straightened my body out and took a big breath and groaned it out. Denver drove to the hospital and I had two contractions in the car and one in the hospital parking lot. We only live 7 minutes from the hospital (now so thankful for this), so I knew they were close together.

We walked into the hospital lobby at exactly 1:30 in the morning. The nurses politely asked me how long I had been in labor. When they learned that it had been just over an hour, they looked a little calmer and said we had time to get things together. I was breathing through the contractions but felt like I was going to vomit all over the lobby. I began pacing around and felt incredibly embarrassed knowing it could be a possibility that I came in too early. They wheeled me back to see how dilated I was.

I was terrified. What if I was barely dilated? I couldn’t imagine going back home.

When the first nurse came in to check me, she told me that she didn’t know how dilated I was because she couldn’t reach my cervix. I knew my cervix was far back because my doctor had told me the same thing in prenatal appointments. The nurse brought someone else in to try. I’ll never forget the pain as I looked up at the florescent lights in the little holding room while someone struggled to reach my cervix. This nurse couldn’t reach either. They said that Oliver’s head was in the way of checking.

I was freaked out. I’m a Type A personality! I like to know what’s going on.

The nurses came in and told me that they would check me in 30 minutes, and that I might not be far enough along for them to feel the dilation. I looked at Denver and I felt the panic in my heart. 30 minutes sounded like a lifetime. It felt almost impossible to breathe through the pain at this point. I hadn’t told them how much pain I was in, and I felt really alone. Why was this happening? Why could no one tell me how far along I was in the process? Denver sat there clutching my purse, and he and I exchanged silent glances of frustration.

After about 20 minutes had passed I had started grunting and holding the rail of the tiny bed I was on. When are they coming back? I told Denver someone needed to come in and check me, because I felt like I was going to poop him out! They sent in an entirely different nurse. She was tall, and strong, and she told me she wouldn’t leave until she knew how far along I was. As she was putting on her gloves, I felt a rush of warm fluid all over my legs. It was at this point that I realized my water had broken.

When this nurse checked to see if I was dilated, I screamed. It felt like it would never end. She took her glove off and got the other nurses. They started speedily wheeling me into the hallway and they told me that I was dilated to an 8 and progressing very quickly.

Two thoughts went through my mind almost simultaneously. Relief and fear. Relief that I was justified in my pain, and fear that I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural.

Going into labor, Denver and I had decided that we would listen to my body. I would like to try naturally, but if I felt like it was too much to bare, that I would get the epidural. In our birthing class, someone had asked how far along you have to be to not get the epidural. She told us that it was incredibly rare to be too late for an epidural your first time, and that you can even get it when you’re 10 cm dilated, so not to worry.

As they wheeled me into an actual labor and delivery room, I asked this question: “Am I able to get the epidural?”. They all looked at each other, and one sweet nurse looked at me and said “We’re going to try.” Did you hear that? Try. 

Every ounce of pain that I was feeling was in my back and my rear. It was excruciating.

The nurses quickly hooked me up to an I.V. and told me that they didn’t have time to move me to the nice delivery bed. That’s when I remembered, I wasn’t even admitted to the hospital yet! They started the I.V. drip, and I asked again about the epidural. The nurse looked at me and told me I had to get I.V. fluids for an hour before they could administer it.

An hour.

I looked at the clock and I felt defeated. I was clinging to the fact that it might happen and relief would be right around the corner. At this point I was starting to get light headed and I felt like I could simultaneously vomit and pass out. I wanted to push him out so bad. But all I saw was clip board after clip board of paperwork being handed to me. Signing agreements  in between frequent contractions was not my idea of a serene natural labor experience, but it’s exactly what was happening.

Although I had been breathing through contractions thus far, this is when I started screaming. I never thought I would scream! Why couldn’t I hold it together?

Denver looked at me and mouthed that I was doing well. I couldn’t even think about doing well, nor did I feel like I was doing well. I felt like I was screaming and was embarrassed to be doing so. The nurses told me that I was the only one in the wing and to let out whatever I wanted to. So I did.

I clung to the rail and laid on my side. My arms were shaking. I felt like I was on a ride and no one was letting me off. Denver moved over close to me for support. That’s when a labor and delivery nurse came in. This nurse would be my saving grace. She was confident, to the point, and supportive. She looked at me and told me that I had to breathe. That it wouldn’t get better until I could breathe.

I felt like my back was breaking.  I knew I would need to look into the eyes of the nurses and my husband, because  they were going to help me through this. The delivery nurse told me that it was time to push. I asked her about the epidural. “Can I please get the epidural now?”. She looked at me, and I knew. “Sweetheart”, she said. “You’re not getting the epidural”. I said, “Is there any way?”. That’s when she gave it to me straight. “If you sit up to get the epidural, your body will start pushing. He’s coming”.

I looked at Denver and I said “We got here too late.”

This is when I had to make a decision. I was either going to be strong, or I was going to crumble. As I grabbed my husband’s hand, he nodded at me in support. This made my decision easier. I chose to be strong.

Denver called my mom to tell her that we were close. They rolled my body over to push. I held my legs up to my chest, grabbed the back of my thighs, and listened to everything the nurse told me to do. Through pain and exhaustion, I asked the nurse a very important question. “Is he going to break me in half?” Although my husband and I laugh about this question now, at the time it seemed valid. She grabbed my feet and put them on her arms and assured me that he would not break me in half.

“He has dark hair.”, she said.

I could feel my eyes get big. That one statement made it all so real. I looked at the clock. It was 3:40 in the morning. I couldn’t believe it was all happening so fast. I had to grin and bare it. There was no turning back. I was going to have this baby with no epidural, and I was going to have him soon.

I began to push. It was the best feeling I had ever had. Pressure relief.  I pushed for a while and the nurse was assuring me that I was doing well. I kept asking the nurse how many more pushes she thought I had. She said that if I brought my legs up to my chest more he would come quicker. That’s when I got down to business. I was desperate to meet my son and wanted the agony to be over. I relate this feeling to the likings of pushing a watermelon out of a straw.

At about 4:00 A.M. she said it was time to go get the doctor. The doctor sat down in front of me and I began to push again. That’s when I felt it. I had heard about it.

They call it the ring of fire. That’s exactly what it is.

I could feel Oliver crowning. I remember in all that pain all I could say was, “Ow”. And that word felt so funny. I let out the tiniest laugh, the word “ow” had never held so much weight before. The doctor looked at me and Denver, and he told us that the baby had come so fast that I wasn’t stretched out enough.

This is where a fast labor has a downfall. I felt so blessed that I wasn’t worrying about him days on end or having contractions for hours and hours with slow progression. What people don’t often think about with this quick of labor is that your body goes from 0-60. The severe pain was coming from my body not having enough time to work up to it. And since every one of my contractions were in my back, my stomach and abs couldn’t help push him along.

The doctor told me that he never does these anymore, but that he suggested I get an episiotomy. I was surprised. Basically they wanted to make a small incision to help things along. He calmly looked at me and told me that I would rip badly, because of how quickly I progressed, but that the decision is totally up to us and to only do what we felt comfortable with. I looked at Denver and we agreed.

Let’s get him out.

I was scared. I didn’t have an epidural and I really didn’t want to get cut. How scary is that! He gave me a topical numbing shot and made the incision without me even noticing. There was too much pressure to feel a cut! He told me to push. I shut my eyes and pushed as hard as I could. I felt the worst burning and pain of my life, and I remember yelling, “I feel him”. That’s when I saw him cross over my knees and onto my chest.

He was here. If this moment doesn’t make you sing “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce, I don’t know what will!

We had done this. Denver stood over us and I felt blessed beyond belief. He had dark hair and I immediately knew that he looked just like my husband. They took him away to wipe him off and Denver went over to give our son a closer look. The doctor stitched me up and then I was handed my son once again. Being able to breast feed him right away was an unforgettable experience, and I couldn’t believe what was happening.

I was expecting to be bawling, and I was expecting my over-emotional husband to be bawling along with me.

What I felt was shock.

I had just been through a blur of the most unbearable physical pain, high adrenaline of my life, and then I had the emotional reality of holding my first child. I looked at Denver and said, “Well, you better text your family and tell them that he’s here.”

It had all happened so quickly and in the middle of the night, so we didn’t even have time to tell people we were at the hospital! We sent out our texts and pictures to family and friends and my mom came back to visit us.

The nurses came in and told me that it was an incredible delivery, and they hadn’t seen a first time mom deliver that quickly before. They also congratulated us because Oliver was the first baby of the new year born in our hospital! It was all so unbelievable.

I started to see light pour through our blinds. As I looked at my son, I said a prayer. A thank you to God for giving him life. A thank you for allowing me to be the vessel. He was my baby. He was my joy. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I felt like I had just won a battle. My heart swelled with the greatest and rarest love I had ever known. I was holding the embodiment of the love between my husband and I.

I was holding family.

Tears are rolling down my face as I write these words in a coffee shop, because I still can’t believe God’s gift to me and Denver. A four hour labor from start to finish was never what I expected. But I love it because it’s our story. Be it genetics, all the working out leading up to it, or by chance, I still don’t know what I can attribute the fast delivery to. But believe me that I will go to the hospital right away with our next!

While Denver and I still can’t believe his epic travels to get here, our journey as a family is just beginning! At three months old, he has the sweetest personality and is a reflection of the love I have for my husband. To keep up with our adventures as a family, you can follow my personal Instagram at BethanyMPoteet and our blog Instagram at OakAndEarth (my co-writers have lovely adventures as well).

Thank you so much for reading my story. We feel so blessed for our healthy little one. Every story is unique and special. The Honest Company is sharing many birth stories to unite us all in this beautiful journey we call motherhood. You can view their video about it here! Go celebrate other moms!

Until next time,

Bethany

Natural Labor

Downsizing: The Simple Life

My husband and I began talking about a pretty significant idea back in April of last year: downsizing. (Side-note: I cannot believe 2016 is now past tense…where does the time go?!) It was our 4th anniversary weekend, and we had sent our oldest with some family and had a mini stay-cation at a nice hotel here in NWA. Being just the two of us, we had all the time in the world to discuss things that are many times otherwise interrupted and pushed aside these days. On our last morning “away,” while we ate our breakfast, we flipped our hotel television on to our favorite channel: HGTV. Of course a show popped on that we didn’t ordinarily watch, but it was immediately intriguing to us so we kept it going; it was a show on ‘tiny living’. “That is so cool, but I just don’t see how these families do it. Especially with kids!”

I remember saying this to Jer a few times while we watched these families (some with kids, some without) take their belongings and their space and condense it all into a space of about 400 sq ft or less. We marveled at the idea, and slightly envied the people who nipped America’s stereotypical house in the bud, dropped 80-90% of their belongings, and headed straight for the simple life. It was a concept that we just couldn’t get out of our heads.  “What if we did this?”

At first we thought it would just be too hard. After all, we had one toddler and had recently found out we would be having a second baby in the fall. How in the world would we make the (lack of) space work? We lived in a decent size home, about 1800 sq ft, and we had “stuff” in every room! I should also note that we had only moved into this nice home months before, adding even more insanity to our scheme. But what we finally realized, was that much of our living space was not utilized; it was just holding all the stuff we’d accumulated over the course of our marriage, much of which we could certainly live without.

The idea of simplifying our lifestyle grew more and more compelling to us, and the more we researched and read, the more we loved it. Not just for the mere fact of getting rid of “things,” though that was a large portion of it. We also loved the idea of taking our girls out of the cycle that we tend to get caught up in of not being content unless we have the latest and greatest, the nicest, the biggest and best, [insert ‘thing’ here]. Taking them out of this cycle and raising them in an atmosphere that was safe, promoted creativity, created closeness, and of course was always truly ‘enough.’ We were sold.

Downsizing Simple Life

A few days after listing our house for sale, we placed an offer on a small home in my childhood hometown, and were accepted. A couple weeks after our house was on the market we were under contract, and thus officially began our downsizing! “Simplify” quickly became our word for the remainder of 2016. Bit by bit we sifted through our things, donating a substantial amount of our belongings that we would no longer have the space for. A few weeks later we packed up what was left of our things and moved into a home that is just under 1000 sq ft. Of course, this was our version of a big downsize, and we didn’t move into a truly tiny home. But those of you with kids know that moving a family of four into a very small, 2 bedroom home is quite a feat! Simplify.

It is in no way an easy thing to accomplish, especially with kids, and we are still in the process of slowly downsizing more of our things even 6 months later, but as we’ve moved into 2017, we haven’t once looked back! I believe our word to live by this year is “intentional.” One of the biggest things we’ve had to do in our downsizing process has been to be so intentional with our space and how we utilize it. Do I love this piece, and does it make me smile? Like (Emily Gilmore, anyone?) Every piece we own must serve a purpose, and if it can serve for more than one purpose, even better!

Our space is very intentional. One of the main things we wanted to fit into our small home was our full size dining set. We wanted to have a space to bring people into our home and have good food, good discussion, and close relationships. I have my reading corner, the girls have a play space…every part of our home has been thought out, and is utilized! As far as the girls’ things go, we haven’t cleaned them out of all their toys, and they have a substantial book collection in the making, but we do have regular “sorting” days where we filter through and weed out the toys that have since become unexciting, and make room for the new. I can tell you our oldest never misses a thing!

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Since downsizing and simplifying, we’ve decided we love it so much that we are working toward ways to simplify even more! There is such a freedom in knowing that there isn’t a wrong or a right way to “live,” and for us this lifestyle has been so rewarding! Don’t get me wrong, we see nothing wrong with consumption, and having “things.” We still have things, and we still love to buy certain things! But where I have seen a difference in our consumption is in the intent behind our purchases. Is it compulsory, or is it intentional and for a purpose? Let’s be real, in this small space we live in, there isn’t room for anything but intentional and purposeful–and I love that!

My favorite thing about downsizing has been that it consistently makes us reflect and consider the things that are most important to us, and then the freedom we feel when we condense down to only those most important things! Living small may or may not be forever for our family, but the idea of working toward more freedom with how we use and spend our time and where will be a theme that sticks with us wherever we go from here on out.

I am excited to share more about our downsizing, different projects that have ensued in order to make a small space the most efficient, and updates as we progress to an even more minimalist lifestyle. My husband jokes that our next downsize will be our wardrobes…okay, he’s only half joking (insert nervous sweating emoji).

For more updates and peeks into our day to day, follow me on Instagram ( @terapianalto ) and be sure to follow all of Oak and Earth’s social media accounts!

Here’s to a fresh start to your 2017!

Tera, xo

 

 

An Open Letter to My Unborn Child

This is Bethany here, and I wrote this letter to my son, Oliver.

I start the third trimester of my pregnancy next week! My husband, Denver, and I (that’s our family above) are so excited for him to arrive. This is a sentiment close to my heart, and I welcome you to peek inside our little family.

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Oliver,

As I sit down to write this letter, I’m overwhelmed with the thought that you have been in my tummy for almost 7 months. Even though there are times when you knock the wind out of me, my heart swells with so many wonderful emotions. When I found out I was having you, I was so surprised and happy! Even though I was excited, I was also a little bit scared.

My mind was abuzz with thoughts. Had I taken care of myself when I didn’t know that you were inside of me? Would daddy and I have to move, make more money, and would we be able to shuffle our busy lives to make enough time for you? As I looked at the positive pregnancy test, I realized that all of these little questions could be wrapped up into one heavy one. Would daddy and I really make good parents?

With these questions looming, I still had to do one important thing — tell the love of my life that we made you!

When I told your daddy that we are having you, he hugged me and cried. He was so surprised and so beautifully happy! This is one of our favorite days. What a special memory you made for us, Oliver. We made an appointment to see the doctor. You know, the guy you’re always shy around! As the doctor was searching for you in my tummy, all of those scary questions started flooding back.

Then we saw you.

You were nothing but a white speck in a sea of black. As small as you were, we saw the flash of your precious heartbeat. Oh my son, I will never forget that moment. Do you know what I found out? You are a strong and perfectly healthy baby. This made me realize that the love we already have for you overshadows all the worry! God is so good to remind us of how blessed we are to have you in our lives.

I want you to know a few things about your daddy. As soon as he found out about you, he started praying for you every day. I am always so grateful for how much he does for us. Daddy and I work really hard so that we can have a happy home, but daddy works especially hard. Aren’t you proud of him? He brings us food when we are hungry, and he even eats ice cream before bed because he thinks it helps you! That’s your silly daddy. He kisses you goodnight, and he waits by my side to feel you kick and roll.

He held my hand so tight when we went to a big check up to see how you’re growing. On this day, God gave us peace about you. Your daddy lit up when he saw your face and features in 3D for the first time! You were just 22 weeks old! He thinks you have my nose, and when you wake up from a comfortable sleep, I think you scrunch up your forehead just like he does! We got your picture taken, and he took it to the office and showed all his coworkers. He’s already so proud of you.

Most of all, I want you to know how much your daddy and I love and respect each other. In fact, we love each other so much that we asked God to bring you into our lives! When God said yes, He let us learn so much about you.

This is what we know about you so far — You like to roll around my tummy at work and hide away when we visit the doctor. You love it when I rest, and when I sing and play my guitar. The only time I feel you take naps is when I exercise! I even know a few things you don’t like. You don’t like spicy food at all. Don’t worry, your daddy doesn’t like it either. You must not like it when I try and bend over to tie my shoes or paint my toenails, because you stick your little feet in my ribs when I try. It makes me grunt and laugh. You sure are a stinker. You’re so active, and I love it when you circle around my tummy and play.

Do you want to know my favorite thing about you? You’re so sweet and loving to us! When I am sad, you dance around. When I am tired, you kick me and remind me that you’re there for me. And when daddy and I are overwhelmed with how busy we are, we pull out the pictures of your face and you remind us to slow down and to count our blessings. Thank you for all of that, little one!

Although your room isn’t all the way put together yet, and we aren’t rolling in a big pile of money, all that really matters is the love and time we share together as a family. We have to wait a little bit longer to share this time together. You’re due to be here very soon after Christmas! Don’t worry little one. Whenever you decide to come, we will make your day so special. I know right now you think somersaults are fun, but you should see all of the wonderful and colorful things of the world! Your dad and I like to draw, play music, hike around, and see friends. Some people have told us that we can’t do these things when you get here. But we will find a way to make our own special and fun memories with you by our side. We can’t wait to share all of this with you!

Oliver, whenever this day arrives, I want you to know the world you’re coming into. Not everyone in this world has peace in their hearts, and this world can be a scary place. Despite all of that, know that God is always holding you in His hands. I have a few important promises I’m making to you. I want you to remember them when the world seems too much to bear.

I promise to show you love and understanding. I promise to guide you when you’re unsure of what to do, and I promise to listen to what you have to say. I can also promise you that I will make mistakes. Some days will be hard, and on those days you might not like me very much. So when those days come (and they will come), know I still love you because you are my son.

Do you know how I can promise you this? You have already helped us know a kind of love we never knew we could feel.

We still have so much to learn about you, but we can’t do this until we meet you face to face! All of your cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are so excited to see you too! Some of your little cousins have been practicing your name. So be sure you answer to the name of “Obbaler” when you come out so that you don’t hurt their feelings.

Daddy and I are ready for the sleepless nights and for our world to be turned upside down. Because that means that you have arrived.

I can’t wait to meet you, son.

Mom

Thank you so much for reading! I enjoyed opening up my heart to my son, and to you as well. You can follow our family journey on Instagram @BethanyMPoteet.

-Bethany

3 Trendy Hair Styles for Fall

This post is written in partnership with Megaphone Influence and Soapbox Insights + Influence on behalf of their client, Thermaluxe, by Remington. All opinions are 100% our own.

Hello Oak and Earth readers, it’s Bethany and Tera here, and we are getting so excited about the Fall season! What’s not to love? Pumpkin Spice Lattes (oh so typical), changing leaves, cooler weather, yummy candles, and new fashion. We want it to hurry up and get here already! All of us girls at Oak & Earth love Fall hair and fashion.

It’s always fun to see the newest Fall fashion trends, and we did our best to research and find some of the cutest Fall 2016 hair trends (before they overtake our Pinterest pages and our favorite magazines) so that we could share some of them with you! A big thank you to Thermaluxe, by Remington for aiding us in selecting some great hot tools to get #RemReady for these Fall looks!

Trendy hair styles for fall 2016

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← T E X T U R E D   S T Y L E →

Textured hair is in for Fall, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Whether it’s straight, wavy, short, or long, all hair types can be textured! Even better, this look takes almost no time at all. To achieve texture, you can use a small curling wand for short hair, and a larger wand or a straightener for longer hair! Lightly wave a few chunks or pieces and leave the others how they are naturally! Another fun way to create texture for medium to long hair is to keep the ends straight and blunt while tousling or waving the rest. The final touch for this look is to add some sea salt spray or dry shampoo. This creates tackiness to your hair so that you can kind of rough it up for your free style! For shorter hair, use a little bit of hair paste to create a fun, tousled look, and a finishing spray to make it last all day! Check out the captions to see what hot tools we used to create texture!

 

We used a 1” slim Thermaluxe straightener on Bethany’s mid length hair for blunt ends.

We used a 3/4”-1” Thermaluxe wand on Tera’s short hair to give it body.

← K N O T   I T   U P  →

Who doesn’t love a good knot in the Fall? This can be a top knot, mid knot, or even a half knot! If you wear your hair textured the day before, throw it up the next day into a knot of your choice! These knots pair amazingly with a big fall sweater and a scarf. A fun little Oak and Earth tip is to create the textured style on day one, do a half knot on day two, and a top knot on day three! This gives you three different looks, and only one day of using hot tools on your hair! Even better, all of these looks align with the Fall 2016 hair trends.

← B I G  W A V E S →

Big waves are on trend for a Fall look! You can use a curling wand or a straightener to create big waves. Because of the high heat, wands allow you to do a wrap-and-go technique. This gives you a loose and natural wave without having to rest your hair on a hot tool for an extended amount of time. Instead of curling it to perfection, run your fingers through it to give it a more natural wave! Short hair is so fun to play with on this look! You can create a soft, beachy wave for a more natural look, or create a bigger curl for a more dramatic ‘do’! Check out our captions to see which hot tools we used for our waves.

Tera and Bethany waved their hair with the 3/4”-1” barrel Thermaluxe curling wand. You can use the larger 1”-1 and ½” barrel for longer hair or bigger waves!

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What are our favorite brands and products to use to achieve each of these looks?

Since us girls of Oak and Earth are real women with very real budgets, every product we mention in this post can be purchased at Wal-Mart and on Walmart.com!

Texture Spray

Getting your hair to be tacky is imperative for your textured look! We both use Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray. We love the texture it gives without weighing your hair down, and the bottle lasts such a long time! If you’re wanting that textured look, this is such an easy and inexpensive way to achieve it. For a pixie, a waxy hair paste is a great way to create the same tackiness that the sea salt spray makes, making it easy to use for almost every style. Here is a brand that has some great reviews!

Hot Tools

As mentioned before, we used a few hot tools to achieve these styles. If you’re going to use hot tools on your hair, we highly recommend products that focus on keeping the integrity of your hair! This is what we love about the Termaluxe tools. We loved that the tools were so smooth on our hair, making the styling process easy and quick! With the curling wand, the base of the iron is hotter than the tip. This keeps volume at the root of your hair where you need it without frying your ends! We also love that there are different sizes of each tool, giving variety for different hair type and length. Since the Thermaluxe tools reach high heat, you only have to do a one pass wave over your hair. The high heat also lets your style last longer and can be used fewer times throughout the week. Spray your day old waves with your favorite dry shampoo or texture spray, and your hair is just as trendy and cute as the day before!

Dry Shampoo

Not washing your hair every day helps retain hair health and moisture. But what about the excess oil and flat texture it leaves behind? Dry shampoo allows you to go a couple days without washing your hair, and also gives you root volume and texture! Since these particular Fall looks will be able to last a couple days, skipping a few washes also keeps down the damage! Here are a few dry shampoos that we have found work well for us: Dove, Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo and Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo.

Which one of these Fall 2016 looks are you looking forward to the most?! If you try any of these looks, we want you to share it with us! Tag us on Instagram @OakAndEarth! We’ll be using the hashtags #OakAndEarthBlog and #RemReady for these posts, so be sure you’re following along on our social media accounts! You can find these on the side bar or in the footer. We would also love to see you following on our personal Instagram accounts at @BethanyMPoteet and @TeraPianalto. Now to go snatch a Pumpkin Spice Latte in hopes that drinking one will make the humidity drop and the cool weather roll in! Makes perfect sense, right?

Happy Fall, yall!

Bethany and Tera

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Our New Normal

As my second pregnancy comes to the finish line–nearly 36 weeks and counting–I suddenly feel the reality hitting me of going from a family of three to a family of four. I anxiously and excitedly prepare for and await the arrival of our second daughter, and though I daydream about how incredible it will be to watch our little girls growing up together and the bond that we pray and hope they will share, tears come to my eyes at the thought of our sweet Norah going from our baby to our oldest daughter as we welcome our newest little one into the family. So many blessings that await our nearly family of four, yet such a bittersweet-ness to saying goodbye to our budding family of three.

These thoughts that have been on my heart recently have me truly soaking up every bit of my Norah that I can before our new love is here. Not because I feel I am losing anything by adding a sweet new blessing, but because I know that my care, my time, my attention, my energy are all about to soon be divided.

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Soaking up even the long, hard days of raising a sassy toddler because I know that soon, the moments of just Norah and mama will be a rarer thing. Our every day routine will be shared with our new baby. Though I know this will bring even more special moments with my girls, my heart clings a little bit longer to Norah’s hugs. I will myself to remember the  special and tender moments of holding my first girl, the countless times I’ve read “Where are You Going, Smitty Baby?” as she sat on my lap begging for just one more book, and the undivided attention that allowed me to cave in (most times). The endless hours I’ve sat on the floor with her and played with her dolls, and the extra time (mostly from saying: “the dishes can wait”) that I had to sit and marvel at how creative and sweet she was (is) as she plays with her toys and brings them to life. The extra snuggles at night that make my heart swell as I listen to her say her sweet and innocent prayers, and sings her favorite songs. I want to cherish these times more than ever before because I know these last few weeks of just she and I will be fleeting, and they’ll all feel like just a few moments.

I know these moments won’t be totally lost on me; I’ll make time for my oldest treasure, and she and I will continue to have special memories together. But another part of me realizes that these moments will have to be fought for. That our new little love will become a part of our new normal, a part of our story time and our play time, a part of our nighttime prayers. Life with two babies will be a whole new ballpark and learning experience for me, and Norah’s role will go from being our only baby, to being an older sister. My heart bursts with anticipation and pride as I picture this new normal, though I realize the changes and adjustments that Norah and I will have to make may not be as easy for a while. I am so excited to grow our family and begin a new journey, but also so nervous about this transition.

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I look at Norah, and I picture how big she will look standing next to our newborn, but also how much of a baby she really still is. How dependent on her mama she still is, and how I hope (and to be transparent, worry a tad) that she never feels like she can’t depend on me. How she was entrusted to me by the One who gave her life, and how much I rely on Him to help me raise her (and our next) with grace. During my last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m seeing how God is doubling my love. How much love I have for my sweet Norah, and already the love I have for our unborn daughter. How I would do anything for Norah, and already could say the same for our littlest. Though there are moments with my first born that I will miss, there is nothing that I anticipate and look forward to more than becoming a family of four. The bittersweet-ness it is to say goodbye to one season that holds so many memories so near and dear to my heart, and to trade it in for even more love and more precious memories to be shared together.

I am so thankful to God that He extends His love and grace to us so that we can give it. Multiplying the love of a mother so that though her life may look different by adding a new baby to the mix, she doesn’t have to divide her heart and her love for them. Giving mama’s of multiples the energy to get through a sleepless night with one baby, and still do the ‘mama thing’ with the kiddos the next day and with a thankful heart. I am thankful that God has painted a picture of our family and that His picture includes both of our sweet babies.

My time with Norah as my only baby is coming to an end, and it is a precious season that I am thankful to have gotten with her. And though I will miss these moments with her, I am so blessed and grateful to begin our new normal.

-xo,

Tera

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My sassy, yet oh so sweet Norah 🙂

D.I.Y. No-Sew Pillow Covers

Hello Oak and Earth readers! It’s Bethany here on the blog this week. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for us Oak and Earth gals. In the midst of all this craziness, Denver and I have been doing a few home projects (more on this later), and I have decided to show you one that I did recently!

This project came about because we had finally decided to purchase a real couch. Now, when I say real couch, I mean not a passed down (but very comfortable) love seat that we’ve had since we were married. In fact, almost all of our furniture has been passed down to us. We have been so thankful for it, but it’s time for a furniture face lift! Most of it we have been painting or re-inventing.

Ain’t nobody got money for all new furniture (except for Kimye).

A new couch, however, is something we have wanted for a long time and felt the investment was worth it. We found one that we love, and it came with throw pillows! The throw pillows weren’t awful, but they weren’t anything I would have chosen. Instead of tossing them or putting them in a garage sale, I decided to re-invent these too!

I had remembered seeing a video on how to do no-sew slip covers for pillows, and this sounded like a perfect project for a busy girl like me. I had two of these pillows, and I chose a different fabric for each. Why do this project? Simple — all (yes all) throw pillows are expensive, and the fabric I chose is not. I also love that if we change our style later down the road, all I have to do is go grab a new set of fabrics! Win and win. Let’s check it out.

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STEP 1: Pick out fabric for your pillows. I was covering two pillows and chose one yard of white fabric, and one yard of navy fabric with white arrows (as pictured). I found mine at Hobby Lobby.

STEP 2: Lay your fabric pattern face down, and measure it into a square. Fold up excess fabric.

STEP 3: Rotate your fabric into a diamond shape.
STEP 4:
Fold the bottom corner onto the pillow.

STEP 5: While holding the corner of fabric on the pillow (see above), roll the pillow into the middle of the fabric.
STEP 6:
Grab the top corner of the fabric.

STEP 7: Pull that corner over the pillow.
STEP 8: Tuck the corner under so that it makes a straight edge.

STEP 9: Tuck the edges of the fabric in like you’re wrapping a present. This just straightens the edges.
STEP 10: Pull the two sides together in preparation to tie them. As you do this, make sure your fabric is pulled tight and crisp.

STEP 11: Tie the edges into a double knot.
STEP 12: Tuck the excess fabric into the side folds to hide them.

Once these steps are done, you can either display the knotted side, or the flat side (both options are pictured below). The white pillow displayed below is also a cover done the exact same way!

I enjoy having these on my couch or on my bed. Let’s take a look!

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This was a really quick and easy D.I.Y.! I am so glad I decided to keep the original pillows and turn them into something I can use in multiple rooms of my house. Being the D.I.Y. loving woman that I am, I can’t wait to experience (and possibly blog about) our next set of home projects! In the mean time, you can keep up with me on Instagram @bethanympoteet, and with our Oak and Earth accounts located in the side bar or footer.

Happy last couple weeks of summer!

<3 Bethany

Whole 30 Approved Sweet Potato Toast

How would you like a Whole30 sweet potato toast or two?

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Hello Oak and Earthers. So nice to meet you! I’m Lyndi, and I work with the wonderful Shelby who invited me to stop by and say hi.

Hi.

Like any good guest, I thought it only proper I bring along a treat or two. It had to be extra special since this is an extra special site. Their photos and stories are inspiring, aren’t they? And… to be honest… a little bit intimidating. I follow their Instagram feed religiously and swoon over the gorgeous photos and the mood that is set. No way could I just bring you a bowl of eggs or a regular old cup of java.

No way. Today I wanted to do something extra special for you and for the Oak and Earth gals.

So, two things.

One, have you heard about the sweet potato toast craze? I’m seeing it all over the internet. Which really means Pinterest.

Two, did you know that the Oak and Earth gals are going #whole30 this month?

If you have been intrigued by either of these two areas, I can help with the first one. And I can actually help with the second one since these recipes for sweet potato toasts are both #whole30 compliant.

Please help me in deciding which one tastes better. I am at a loss. They are both over-the-top INSANELY DELICIOUS and I may or may not have taken bites back and forth trying to decide. Help, please?

sweet potato toast - sweet (c)nwafoodie

Sweet??

SWEET POTATO TOAST = SWEET STYLE

Makes 2 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 10 pistachios, coarsely crushed
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • ½ banana
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt flakes

Instructions

  1. Cut sweet potato ¼” thick. If you go with a large sweet potato, you will have enough slices for both this sweet version and the savory version.
  2. Bake sweet potato in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Toast the sweet potatoes in a toaster oven or toaster on next to highest level to brown the toast.
  4. Remove cardamom shell and crush seeds to a medium-fine consistency and set aside.sweet potato toast - cardamon crush
  5. Remove toast from oven and butter two slices with coconut oil.
  6. Spread almond butter over toast.
  7. Slice banana and place on almond butter.
  8. Sprinkle toast with cinnamon, cardamom, pistachios, and sea salt flakes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

sweet potato toast - savory (c)nwafoodie

Or Savory???

SWEET POTATO TOAST = SAVORY STYLE

Makes 2 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 avocado
  • lime juice
  • ½ garlic, minced
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • pinch of dried cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of sea salt flakes

Instructions:

  1. Cut sweet potato ¼” thick. If you go with a large sweet potato, you will have enough slices for both this sweet version and the savory version.
  2. Bake sweet potato in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Toast the sweet potatoes in a toaster oven or toaster on next to highest level to brown the toast.
  4. Remove the meat from the avocado and mash coarsely with a fork.
  5. Remove toast from oven and spread avocado mash.
  6. Lightly sprinkle lime juice and evenly spread out minced garlic over avocado.
  7. Sprinkle toast with cumin and cilantro.
  8. Drizzle olive oil over toast and top with crushed pepper and sea salt flakes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

So what do you think? Sweet or Savory? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Eat well, my friends.

Lyndi Fultz

 

Arkansas Women Blogger member Lyndi Fultz writes about living and eating well inspired by life in beautiful Northwest Arkansas at nwafoodie. Much of her blogging inspiration comes from this gem of a place, which she refers to as the proverbial land of milk-and-honey. She doesn’t think you have to live in the big city to be a foodie. All you have to do is explore your own backyard. Light-hearted and approachable, nwafoodie is conversational with a healthy and simplistic approach to eating well. You can also find her on Instagram.

 

http://nwafoodie.com

 

D.I.Y. Pom Sandals

Hey, readers! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the warm summer sunshine! My family and I have had a crazy busy few weeks, but we’ve managed to hit the water park a couple of times, and we’ve indulged in quite a few milkshake nights…it’s how we like to roll. If you follow my personal instagram or Oak and Earth’s instagram page, you may have seen that us girls of O&E have recently started participating in the Whole 30 meal plan (basically a diet eliminating grains, dairy, and legumes and of course any processed foods). We plan to share with you guys how each of our Whole 30 experience goes, but so far I can tell you it’s been a challenge on my end! I am keeping some dairy and tiny bit of grain in for pregnancy purposes, but for the most part, those things are not in my diet. I’m a lover of bread and pasta and cheese, so this has not been an easy feat! Aside from this lifestyle change, we have some big house news going on that I’ll share after things settle down a bit, AND not to mention we are on the homeward stretch to meeting baby girl (10 weeks left) EEK! Starting to feel a little bit of stress and a lot a bit of crazy, but we are trucking through. Nothing a fun little DIY project can’t distract me from for a bit anyway!

I’ve been so excited to share this post with you because I really love how these sandals turned out! It’s such a fun accessory to add to your summer wardrobe. These pom sandals are super trendy this season and they’re all over Pinterest and Etsy. It plays up any outfit, so you can be comfy in your boyfriend shorts and a tank, and slap these puppies on, and BAM! You’ve gone from comfy casual to super adorable in .5 seconds! The best part? If you go online to buy these pom sandals, you’ll see that many of them are selling for $100+…I was able to buy my supplies and shoes all for around $30! You can look super cute and trendy without it costing you an arm and a leg, which is always my kind of style!

These did take me a full day to whip up, mostly because it’s a bit of trial and error–especially for the first sandal you assemble. So this makes a perfect summer weekend DIY where you can either spend a Saturday creating them, or split it up over two days!

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Okay, now for the fun part! To make your own pom sandals, you’ll need:

  • Sandals  (Here are some similar ones to mine)
  • Pom Poms
  • Wooden Beads
  • Mini Tassels (if wanted)
  • Thread/Needle*
  • Scissors

* I chose to stitch my materials on to the sandals to make them a little sturdier, but there are some great Pinterest DIY’s for these that just use a hot glue gun!

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To assemble these, I started with trying the sandals on in front of a mirror and placing poms (with a sewing pin) in the desired areas. This part took some trial and error to get them where I wanted them! You can leave sewing pins in place or just make tiny marks with a pen to remember where you want them. Once you have an idea of where you want your poms, unlace the sandals and before making the poms permanently attached, string the wood beads along the sandal straps in desired places. I tried my sandals on during this process a few times to see where I wanted beads once the sandals were actually wrapped around my leg. It helps to do this so that you can see where the pom poms are, and where you’ll have some naked space on the straps! Here is a photo of mine about midway through my second sandal: (You can see I had the beads strung in place and the poms are temporarily pinned with sewing pins)

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After the beads are placed along the straps, then you can begin stitching or gluing your poms into their permanent place! I just did a couple simple stitches to secure them to the sandal, and voila! It was the easiest part of the process. For the strap around the toes, I bought some pom pom trim (from Hobby Lobby), measured across, cut, and stitched. Other than figuring out placement for the poms and beads, it was the most time consuming part of the project. I think hot gluing would do just fine for this part and would save you a good chunk of time!

The last thing I did was assemble the mini tassels to the ends of the straps for a cute added touch. I just looped them on the end of the strap and stitched them to make sure they were secured.

After this was done, I had some super adorable and colorful sandals! They look super cute gladiator style, which is how I wore them here, but they also looked super cute wrapped and bunched closer together! I deemed this to be a very successful DIY and can’t wait to wear them around town!

This was such a fun and cute DIY for summertime, and for the steal of a price, I’d do it all over again! I’m obsessed over this look right now!! We can’t wait to hear what you all think of these pom sandals!

Keep up with us by following our social media pages, and stay up to date with all Oak and Earth happenings! Until our next summery post, stay cool and eat ice cream!

 

Peace and Love,

Tera -xo

DIY: Summer Popsicles

Hello, everyone! It’s Bethany here, and I can’t wait to dive into today’s blog post. Mostly because it has to do with two of my favorite things – summer and ice treats. Once again, Pinterest scrolling has inspired this week’s post (also a touch of pregnancy cravings). I’m not a huge dessert person, but I cannot resist icy treats! My mom used to pour lemonade into our ice trays and add a toothpick for frozen little popsicles. You know, the 90’s kid way. As a child, I just thought that was coolest thing. With my pregnancy, I have found myself thinking about those ice treats all the time!

Why not make my own?!

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If you know me, you know my love of DIY’s. What I love about the making your own popsicles is knowing exactly what’s going in them! I found so many on Pinterest that I wanted to try. To narrow it down, I ended up trying one sweet and a one sour. They turned out so deliciously, and they definitely have my family’s stamp of approval!

Let’s take a look.

Lemon-Lime Popsicles:

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I found a lot of lemonade/mojito popsicle recipes on Pinterest, but I kind of wanted to scale it back for this one and nod to my mom’s classic little lemonade pops. This one is so simple and refreshing.

What you’ll need:

  • Popsicle molds **Note: I got my popsicle molds from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I researched what type of molds had good reviews. I also wanted to get the flat classic shape, so I went with these. They can be found HERE.
  • Lemonade
  • One lime
  • Mint leaves if desired

What to do:

I made a small batch of lemonade, and filled my popsicle molds half way. See my notes above to find out more about where I found my popsicle molds. I cut thin slices of lime (you can add mint leaves here if desired) and placed them in the middle of the molds. I then poured the rest of my lemonade into the molds, up to the fill line. The popsicle mold instructions said to freeze for 8 hours. I didn’t feel like mine were fully frozen, so I just left them in over night. Once they are frozen, run warm water over the molds for about 30 seconds. Then they are ready to eat!

Roasted Berry Greek Yogurt Popsicles:

Now that I had fulfilled my sour, I wanted to try some sweet! I absolutely love Greek Yogurt and berries! Why not try a recipe that incorporates both into a yummy frozen treat? I was so excited when I found this recipe, and it did NOT disappoint. I would rave about these all day long if I could! I found this recipe through Pinterest, and I couldn’t be happier with how mine turned out!

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Before I link this recipe, I want to note a few beginners tips.  Although the recipe says 4 hours for freezing time, mine took over night to freeze. This might be because of the materials of my molds (plastic). Be sure to run warm water over your molds for 30 seconds before taking the popsicles out.

What you need:

  • Popsicle molds
  • 16 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 lemon

The recipe and cooking instructions are linked HERE . This recipe was created and written by the awesome food blogger, Sprinkled With Jules. You’ll have to check her out!

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I absolutely loved both of these popsicles, and I already have materials to make them again. They were a hit with my family, and a few gasps and heart eye emojis came out when everyone tried the berry ones! Please let me know if you make these recipes, or if you have any questions at all! You can keep up with me on Instagram @bethanympoteet, and the rest of us Oak and Earth gals on our social media links in the side bar or footer.

Happy, summer!

Bethany <3