0 In Beckett/ Declan/ Family

Our 5 Day No TV experiment

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On Monday, I decided to try eliminating the TV from our daily routine.

I know, some of you are already there – with no cable or TV, or super limited screen time. We had been there once upon a time, but little by little bad habits grew and grew and pretty soon I realized I was relying on the TV for way too much. And on top of that, my kids were throwing such a royal fit when I would turn the TV off that sometimes I let them watch for too long to avoid the battle.

YES I KNOW THIS IS BAD PARENTING.

I knew that I was using the TV as a crutch and to avoid arguments and just to get some peace and quiet but ultimately it would end every time in an epic battle of the wills and I. Was. Over. It.

Not to mention, a certain little 5 year old who shall not be named was demonstrating some really obstinate, mouthy and at times downright disrespectful behavior. Little brother was quickly following suit so I knew I had to make some adjustments to our daily schedule. I suspected TV was at the root of a lot of issues.

Even when the TV was off, they seemed almost incapable of playing independently and were horrified at the idea of being outside – to the point that there would be great weeping and wailing and screaming if I shoved them out the door to play in our beautifully landscaped, fenced in and flat backyard. SERIOUSLY y’all. I’m kind of surprised my neighbors haven’t called DSS to complain about the little boys who screamed like they were being tortured.

You see my point…I know there are children who can use screen time moderately and don’t put up a huge fight when screen time is done. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, so I know those kids are out there. But those are not my kids. My children (one in particular) absolutely cannot be moderate with screens and will not turn them off without a huge huge HUGE battle.

I wanted my kids to be KIDS again. I wanted them to enjoy the feeling of dirt under their feet, to experience the joy of collecting treasures from the backyard. I wanted them to pick up the trains they love so much and use the train table that has gotten dusty, to find their little imaginations and use them.

5 days of no TV and we have survived it. And you know what, for the most part it hasn’t been too bad. The biggest struggle (for me) was what to do with them when I needed to shower or put Harper down for a nap during the day. I used to plunk them on my bed and turn on the TV so I knew they’d stay put and not get in trouble.

On Monday we went to Target and picked up supplies for activity boxes. These boxes ONLY come out when I need to be doing something else in another room or during quiet time (1pm-3pm) We picked up dry erase flash cards for writing practice, a travel sized dry erase board with washable dry erase markers, a matching game, washable crayons and a big pad of paper, a sticker book with reusable stickers. Then I filled 2 boxes with cars and trains to pull out as needed. It’s been so helpful when I need to shower to pull out those boxes and know they’ll stay occupied while I can’t keep an eye on them.

And the attitudes? Have VASTLY improved. They’ve been playing relatively well together, and pulling out their cars and trains. I found Beckett the other night on the couch with a book and a snack and the biggest shock of all? Once their little brains weren’t constantly being bombarded with the flashy television, they have BOTH voluntarily laid down during quiet time and FALLEN ASLEEP.

You know how many times my boys generally nap? Basically never. I actually thought they might be getting sick, but nope. Just CALM.

Calm. They were calm. We went for a walk the other night as a family and my normally wild man Beckett was thoughtful and quiet as we walked. So thoughtful and quiet that I asked him several times if he was ok. He said yep, just wanted to be quiet.

I was like WTH IS GOING ON AND WHERE IS BECKETT.

And it’s been a great motivator for me to get up and out the door with them before 9am so we can have the playground to ourselves for awhile before it gets busy and too hot.

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It has been a huge eye opener to me just how much television affects MY kids and how much better we are without it around. I told the boys we’d try to reintroduce a little bit of it this weekend, because I’d like to use it OCCASIONALLY but I’m a little worried about being able to actually use it moderately so I came up with a summer schedule to hang on the fridge! This way they know that TV will start and end by a certain time. Fingers crossed it helps. If not, we plan to say bye bye permanently!

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Beckett is really into reading and telling time lately so I think this will be a hit around here. It’s good for him to be able to see what time he can do certain activities and he is already loving being able to help move the magnets around depending on the day.

I am probably the least likely mama to ever create a daily schedule for my kids – I hate rules, I hate routine, I hate having to follow schedules but even I recognized the need to get a little stability in our lives. I guess by the time child #4 comes around you kind of have to accept a new way of things.

If you want to use our summer schedule, you can find the printable here! I printed mine on magnet paper that I found at Michaels and just cut out each magnet. Easy! I even left some blank so you can write in your own. We laminated a few, which makes them dry erase friendly! 

0 In Healthy/ Nutrition/ Pathways to Wellness

My 21 Day Program

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On June 20th, I’m starting a 21 Day Health RESET program for those interested in improving their overall health. I thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most commonly asked questions I’ve been getting before we get started!

Will I lose weight? Probably, although the intention of this program is not specifically geared towards weight loss. There are so many other factors to being healthy that don’t start and end with the number on your scale or the size of your jeans. Things like feeling tired all the time, being foggy headed, struggling with acne, headaches, migraines, eczema or rashes, having digestion or tummy problems, weird and unexplained aches and joint pains – all of these things are very often directly related to the way we nourish our bodies. That said, there is a good probability you’ll lose weight during these 21 days.

How much does this cost? Just $25!

Will I need to be a millionaire to pay for the foods required? NO. I just sent out an email to everyone who has already signed up to address this fear. While there are some instances where organic is best, this is not allowed to exclude ANYONE from this group. I’d rather you eat conventional produce than no produce at all. We are going to be talking about this more as we move forward. Please do not let this idea keep you from making changes to your health.

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Can I do this if I’m pregnant and/or breastfeeding? Health coaching services should NEVER override the advice of your physician so always check with he or she first. You will not be restricting calories on this program, and additional snacks or portions can be added to help those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding but always check with the doc first. This program only uses real, whole foods and will not use processed foods, shakes, pills or supplements so in that way it is perfectly safe.

So…are you sure there is nothing special I will have to buy after I enroll? You may have to look for foods at the grocery store that you’ve never purchased before – but I am absolutely not going to ask you to purchase anything from me. Sometimes I may suggest something like a probiotic or multivitamin but I am not selling anything or working with a company. You are free to pick and choose what/who you buy from and I’m happy to offer guidance on how to read labels but the only money I’m making is from the $25 you pay when you register. I PROMISE.

Am I going to have to join a gym? Nah 😉 We will be incorporating some movement into this 21 days – but it’s really your choice what you want to do. I recommend 20-30 minutes a day of activity at least, whether it’s a walk or jog or a video in your living room. We’ll also have some fun little challenges each week but you don’t need to worry about unrealistic fitness goals. Right now we are focusing on how we feel and making changes to feel better by the end of the 21 days.

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I want to join, but I can’t this month. Will you be doing this again? Yes, that’s the plan! This is the only round that I can guarantee the $25 registration fee, but I will always work to keep the cost low so as many people as possible have access to education and information about their health.

I want to learn more about nutrition, but it’s so overwhelming to me.  Hey, I get it. The field of nutrition is always changing. In my eyes, that’s a GOOD thing. Our bodies are complex and miraculous in so many ways. I love that there are experts in the field of nutrition who are continually learning and adjusting. My job for these 21 days is to help you through this process and offer up my coaching services at a fraction of the cost. I’ve told the current participants to take advantage of that!

What is Pathways to Wellness KIDS? When I became a certified health coach, I went through training specific to helping families with children eliminate processed foods and make better choices. My kids and I have started a YouTube channel where we share some kid-friendly and healthy recipes, and I thought it would be fun to include your kids for this 21 days. I created a program for them that incorporates L.E.A.N. principles (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition) and includes 21 days of ‘challenges’, a sticker chart and a sticker printable for only $5. It’s a great way to give them small and healthy goals for a few weeks this summer! My kids are going to be joining me!

Please join us! It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait!

For more information please visit my website or click here to find the program download.

 

 

0 In Just For Fun

Snapchat Tutorial

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I promised my sister I would make her a snapchat tutorial since you know, I am somewhat of an expert these days on Snapchat.

Kidding, kidding.

I have to credit my friend Shaunna for getting me hooked on it – I didn’t get it for a long time. I couldn’t understand why anyone would prefer making 10 second long videos instead of texting? I mean, huh? And the app itself is not at all user friendly so it (seriously) took me playing around with it off and on for like 6 months before it finally clicked. I even mentioned it recently in my favorite things post. So what is Snapchat? It’s an app that allows you to post or send pictures and videos in 10 second long increments. Once they’re viewed, they disappear forever. (Supposedly) You can replay a few times if you miss something, but then Snapchat will ask you to pay for replays.

Here’s why I love it now:

  • it’s a real life look at what your friends are doing. There’s no perfectly staged and edited pictures like on other social media channels
  • I have 4 kids. Which means, it can sometimes be hard for me to text. But a 10 second video to get a thought out there and sent off to a friend? Yeah, I can do that
  • Ok I know that Snapchat is super popular with the young folk but us mamas have a need for it too. Some days we are stuck inside with kids and it is REALLY FREAKING NICE to hear other adult voices, even if it’s through a phone. Yeah, real life coffee dates and playdates are waaaaay better but that’s not always doable.
  • I follow a few celebrities on Snapchat that are REALLY funny. I mean really funny. And it’s been fascinating to me to see that hey, even celebs waste time on social media like us normal folk. Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon use the funny face filters too, which makes me feel basically like I’m practically famous.
  • The filters ARE fun and even my kids get in on it from time to time

Ok, now that I’ve rambled on long enough about why I’m a fan, here is a quick and hopefully helpful tutorial!

Step 1

Head over to the app store and download this bad boy.FullSizeRender (14)Step 2

Click Sign Up and enter your email address. It’ll then prompt you to enter your password and date of birth. Once that’s done, you’ll enter a username. Your actual username cannot be changed EVER (at least for now!), so make sure it’s something you will feel ok with for the long haul. You can change the name that people see on their screens, but the name people use to find you stays as is. (Mine is mirandahahn1 – come follow me!)

I used an old email address for the purpose of this tutorial. Don’t send me an email there, I never check it!

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Step 3

Snapchat will now ask you to verify your phone number. You can skip this, it’ll just ask you to verify that you’re a real live person by choosing images that contain a ghost.

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Step 4

You can find your friends who are currently using Snapchat by allowing the app to access your contacts. Then you can add the people you want to by tapping the +Add button to the right of their names.

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Step 5

Here is the ‘home screen’ so to speak. Don’t be scared, you’ll soon understand what each icon does. Ready?

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  1. This is easy, just the flash icon. You can use this to…turn on your phone’s flash. You’re welcome. That little moon icon next to it is supposed to make it easier to snap in the dark.
  2. That’s the icon that helps you flip your camera forward facing if you want to selfie the day away. You can also double tap your phone screen to flip the camera. I find myself trying this when I’m not snapchatting, just using my iPhone camera and yeah…it doesn’t work for the iPhone. haha. Get on that, will ya Apple?
  3. The ghost icon. You can tap here to add friends, see who has added you, check out your trophy case (we’ll get to that another day), update your settings, etc.
  4. This is your record button. Press once to snap a pic, press and hold continuously to record a 10 second video. When you let go, it will stop recording
  5. This is the notifications of how many messages you have from friends
  6. This icon takes you to your friends “stories” – we’ll get to that in a second!

Step 6

 Send your first snap to a friend!snapchattutorial

Ok, don’t be overwhelmed. It’ll get easier 😉

  1. This is pretty self explanatory. Deletes or closes your current screen/pic/video
  2. Tap here to get access to all of Snapchat’s emoji’s and stickers
  3. Tap here to add text. Tap a second and a third time to change size, center, etc. Play around with it!
  4. Tap here to use your finger/stylus as a pen to draw on the screen. You can adjust color here too.
  5. This is where you can set how many seconds you want your still pictures to be up on the screen. Choose from 1-10 seconds
  6. This downloads/saves whatever is on the screen to your phone’s camera roll. It comes in handy when you snap a good picture and don’t want to lose it into the black hole of Snapchat
  7. Tap this to add your current picture/video to the “My Story” function (still going to get to that!)
  8. Tap this arrow to send to a friend. This will bring you to your list of friends and you can choose here who you want to send it to.

Step 7

Add a picture/video to the “My Story” function

What is “My Story”?

This is one of my favorite features of Snapchat. All of the people you follow can add videos and pictures to their Stories throughout the day. It’s like watching a mini video of your favorite people! Stories are up for 24 hours and then they disappear.

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  1. That’s where all your video clips/pictures will go if you tap the + sign to add them to your story
  2. This is where all your friend’s stories are!

And finally, if you want to use filters – you can swipe to the left/right on your screen AFTER you’ve taken a picture but BEFORE you’ve sent it along to a friend or uploaded it to your story. There are some different colored filters, a filter for the time, the temperature, maybe your location if you’re special, a fast forward and a slow motion (My boys really love that one) and a reverse.

To utilize the face filters (not sure if that’s the technical term…pretty sure not) you’ll want to tap the screen and hold your finger down on the image of your face for a few seconds. Once it focuses on your face, you’ll see a row of face filters to choose from at the bottom of the screen. (You’ll do this BEFORE you take a picture or video, which is a little different than the filters you swipe to access)

This one is maybe my current favorite. Look at that fantastic highlighting and contouring job! Nice one, Snapchat.

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This one is pretty good too though. Haha. My kids looooove these.

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There are a few other features Snapchat offers, but this tutorial is getting long and should be enough to get you up and running! Are you on Snapchat? Did I forget anything major?

0 In Dairy Free/ Nutrition/ Recipe

Homemade Cashew Milk

 

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I have always hated cows milk – even as a child. This is going to sound crazy, but it just always reminded me of…cows.

Ha.

But seriously, it has always grossed me out! Now, knowing what I know about dairy’s inflammatory properties we are a mostly non dairy home. I do like to have something on hand to throw into smoothies or give the kids if they’re bored with water. I generally purchase an almond milk brand that I know has decent ingredients because it’s quick and convenient but making non dairy milk is actually pretty easy.

It has been awhile since I’ve made my own and these days our favorite non dairy milk is cashew milk. When I saw a couple of cashew milk recipes online I knew I wanted to give it a try because it’s much simpler than making almond milk.

In truth, making milk from nuts is not complicated really, but cashews get soft enough that you don’t need to strain the pulp – which makes it even faster and easier and right up my alley. And I get to see exactly what I’m putting into this milk which ALWAYS makes me happy. #foodnerd

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Cashews are one of my favorite nuts to snack on, and cashew milk is really yummy. It’s creamy and flavorful and full of good nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and good healthy fat. Give it a try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

If you don’t have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, and can’t get the cashews blended well enough, you can strain with cheesecloth to get the small pieces out.

Homemade Cashew Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 c. raw, organic cashews
  • 3-4 c. filtered water
  • 1 T organic maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Start by soaking your cashews in a bowl of water. I use just enough water to cover the cashews, cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in the refrigerator over night. You'll want to soak them for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
  2. After soaking, strain cashews with mesh strainer and rinse with cool water until the water runs clear
  3. Place cashews in blender with 2 cups of filtered water
  4. Blend slowly and increase speed until cashews are blended well (Takes around 2 min in a high powered blendered)
  5. Add 1-2 more cups of water (Less water will result in creamier consistency)
  6. Add sweetener, vanilla, salt + cinnamon
  7. Store in glass container in fridge for up to 4 days
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Enjoy!

3 In Just For Fun

Friday Favorites

I thought it would be fun to share a few things I have been loving lately. FridayFaves

 

  1. Snapchat: Ok, I was late to the party on this one. When my friend Shaunna suggested I get it, I tried it out for 3.7 seconds before deciding I hated it. It wasn’t user friendly at all and I didn’t understand why anyone would choose video over text. Thankfully, I persisted (I’m stubborn like that) and it’s quickly becoming one of the most used apps on my phone. Instagram is my favorite social media because I love beautifully curated accounts BUT Snapchat provides the most real and up to date look at people’s lives. It’s in the moment, as you are, messy house and crying kids and all. So if you’re on the fence, try it out. And follow me! (mirandahahn1)
  2. Burts Bees Citrus + Ginger body wash: It smells so good, y’all.
  3. Frankincense oil: I am not recommending YL or any other brand of oil here, as I don’t understand fully the ins and outs of the oil world and I do my own research and make decisions based on my own levels of comfort BUT I personally use YL brand of Frankincense on my face. It’s pricey, I’m not going to lie – but I use just a drop or two of it mixed with a pump of Acure argan oil every night before bed. I love it. I ran out of it for a few months, and finally got around to replacing it and I realized pretty quickly how much it helps my skin.
  4. The new Oh She Glows app: also kind of pricey for an app (4.99) but Angela’s food photography is gorgeous and her recipes are on point. I’ve been following her blog for years, and have her first cookbook so the app was a no brainer. And if you’re like me, you’re not lugging out cookbooks for cooking anyway – you’re squinting at recipes on your phone. That can’t be just me, right?
  5. The Good Wife: I’ve just been so taken with this show. I binge watched it last year to catch up, because people have been talking about it for so long. This isn’t a show for little ears or eyes, but the development of Julianna Marguiles’ character Alicia has been so fascinating to watch. She starts out as this mousy little housewife thrust into the spotlight by her husband’s scandal and emerges as a tough, powerful and respected attorney and political figure.

Happy Friday! What things have you been loving lately?

 

0 In Dairy Free/ Declan/ Gluten Free/ Nutrition/ Recipe

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Today was a big day around here.

Declan got his hair cut. This is normally such a traumatic event (think weeping and gnashing of teeth) that I put it off as long as humanly possible. As in, he begins to look like the child that life forgot when he’s out with the rest of our family. Completely disheveled and forlorn. He was genetically blessed (ha) with my thick, unruly, wavy hair so when it grows too long it starts to poof out like a big mushroom and we all affectionately refer to him as ‘mushroom head’

It really IS affectionately, but after awhile I start to feel bad about how ‘1974 hair cut with a bowl and a pair of scissors in Mom’s kitchen’ he looks. So today I put on my super brave pants and we got ready to head out to the salon. We live in a small town, there are no fancy kids salons like we were used to in Charlotte. I fretted and worried about what cranky stylist would call his name and then assume he was just a brat. I worried no one would understand how legitimately terrified he is of new situations, new people and especially those darn clippers.

I mean y’all. It gets me up in a panic. I get so anxiety ridden about it that I just pretend ‘mushroom head’ is intentional and trendy and stylish and ALL LITTLE BOYS WANT MUSHROOMS OF THEIR OWN.

But today was THE DAY so after a quick little prayer in the kitchen with Daddy, asking for a stylist who would understand Declan, his anxiety and his susceptibility for sensory overload, I braved the salon with Declan and Harper in tow.

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I shouldn’t have worried because our stylist was FANTASTIC. I seriously felt like she was a direct answer to prayer, and if you have a child with sensory issues or anxiety you understand where I’m coming from. She was sweet and kind, and chatted him up like he was a grown up client with important things to say. After she sprayed his hair with her water bottle, she let him spray her back and he thought that was the coolest thing ever.

She didn’t roll her eyes at me or dismiss what I had to say. She used the scissors when I explained his fear of the clippers…and Declan was a champ. He answered all her questions about his favorite color, food, and toy. He told her he wanted his hair spiked up in the front like his brother’s. Haha. It was pretty much the most charming he’s ever been in his life and I think he was pretty proud of himself when he was done.almondbars (1)

I don’t bake much anymore, but this – THIS – was a day for baking my friends. Since Declan can’t have gluten, it’s sort of a challenge to find things he can have when it comes to baked goods. Gluten free flours can be tricky (don’t even get me started on coconut flour) and he does better without oats which also really limits my options. Since we are mostly sugar and dairy free as well…

…you see where I’m going here?

But this is a recipe I think anyone would love. I wouldn’t call it “healthy” but it is definitely a health-IER alternative to many other baked goods out there and was a great way to celebrate Declan’s big boy hair cut. Hope you enjoy it too! This recipe is free of: gluten, dairy, refined sugar, eggs and oil. I used a combination of chocolate chips and cacao nibs (affiliate link), but you can do just one or the other if you prefer.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 T flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond butter, no sugar added
  • 1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Line a 8X8 square pan with parchment paper or spray it with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Mix almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce and salt in a bowl.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, flax seeds, chocolate chips and cacao nibs to the wet ingredients and mix.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and coconut. Press them lightly with back of a spoon.
  7. Bake at 350 F degrees for 20-25 minutes, till edges are golden brown
  8. Cool completely before cutting
  9. Bars will be soft but will harden over time.
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0 In Addiction/ Faith/ Family

A Day in the Life: Forgiveness (Addiction from the other side)

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Todd hit his year sobriety mark recently.

In fact, next weekend will mark one year from the day that I brought the kids to visit him in treatment and God started the arduous process of softening my heart. Even on that day, if you’d told me then where we’d be now I would have wanted to punch you in the throat. Reconciliation was NOT of interest to me, even remotely.

But here we are, and although it’s been over a year – I realize there are some things I’m still struggling with.

I was talking to a friend recently about her marriage and the forgiveness she’s working on for different reasons and she mentioned the story of Hosea and Gomer. Though the story involves Gomer’s repeated infidelity, eventually hitting her rock bottom and Hosea restoring her as his wife, it’s really an incredible tale of forgiveness and grace. A look into the unconditional love of Jesus.

I found myself feeling kind of prickly at first. All kinds of “yeah, buts…” rolled through my veins. I think I bristle up at the idea that people need to forgive mistreatment in the name of Christ. Being in relationship with someone in active addiction is deeply traumatic and I do feel strongly that in many situations it is necessary to seek safety or to leave tumultuous relationships. I mentioned this to my friend, who quickly agreed and then said, “Maybe you’re confusing tolerance with forgiveness”

I’ve thought about this a lot since then – at first I didn’t feel like I was. I now know there are things I don’t have to tolerate. I truly DO believe in extending forgiveness as I, myself, have been forgiven. I feel that pretty intensely in my head. I believe that deep in the recesses of my heart (ok, maybe not SO deep in the recesses…) is ugliness and sin and all kinds of things that I need to be forgiven for as well. In my head, I know that I can’t pull a trump card.

So I couldn’t figure out exactly why I was having a hard time reconciling my head with my heart. How come I can’t make my heart get to that place of forgiveness?

God is funny, the way he weaves people’s stories in and out of my life – the way he brings me to women who have such wisdom and insight and beauty. I’ve stumbled across a couple of stories this week that have really gotten me thinking and praying.

Yesterday it was raining here (again), so I piled all the kiddos into the car and we drove the 59 minutes to the closest Target where we wandered around for awhile. The little boys watched Peppa Pig on the DVD player and I was alone in my thoughts for the drive. I realized that my issue with forgiveness isn’t just about Todd’s sin or mistakes being worse than mine. Don’t get me wrong – sure, there are many times I have to fight the temptation to feel superior about my actions vs his actions and struggle with wanting to compare my behavior over the last 6 years to his. But it’s not that, not really.

I am scared to forgive.

I am scared because forgiveness and reconciliation require vulnerability. To forgive someone you don’t see often or won’t see again is one thing. But to forgive someone who you spend every day with requires the ability to put yourself directly in the path of being hurt again. It’s a terrifying place to be. I’ve realized that I don’t want to forgive completely because there is a deep rooted fear in me of being hurt again, of looking stupid, of realizing I was wrong.

If I keep my heart just a little bit hardened, and only knock down the very top of my walls – just enough so my eyes can peek out – it feels mostly safe there. If I can keep my grasp mostly tightened around the remnants of my anger, as justified as I am, no one can get to me. No one can hurt me.

To truly forgive someone is more than just saying it.

It means putting myself out there, vulnerable and exposed but confident in my identity as a daughter of God. It’s saying someone or something has no hold over me, because my identity is not found in those things or that other person. It’s giving my spouse the power to really mess me up and break my heart, but doing it anyway because I know God is greater and bigger and better and He can work all things for good.

To forgive Todd means to trust someone who will let me down, because he is human just as I am human – but doing it anyway because God is present in every second of every minute of every hour of my day and He is the one I must ultimately trust. We think that being a Christian and saying we love like Jesus will keep us safe. Like there’s some kind of protective Christian pixie dust that gets sprinkled on top of us and keeps us in a shiny bubble. But it doesn’t y’all. It’s not safety we should idolize. We are NOT safe if we love like Christ. Loving like Jesus is dangerous and radical and anything but safe.

The boys are going through a phase of “I can’t…” right now. I started telling them, “You can do all things in Christ who strengthens you” in response. It was sort of a joke at first, mostly because they were saying I can’t to silly things. (Please pick up your toys. I can’t. You can do all things in Christ who strengthens you’) but it’s a good reminder to myself.

It requires strength to be vulnerable. And I can be vulnerable, because I am His.

I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.

Our 6 year anniversary is coming up. I spent last year pregnant, alone and sad. This year Todd suggested we celebrate.

I think we will.

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0 In Dairy Free/ Gluten Free/ Nutrition/ Recipe

Lemon Tahini Dressing

 

Lemon tahini dressing

 

I’ve been eating a ton of salads lately – like every single day for lunch – and it’s so hard to find a pre-made dressing with good ingredients that I often smash avocado up in my greens and then squeeze fresh lemon juice on top. And truly, I love this alternative to salad dressing.

But I have a serious obsession with tahini and we use it all the time for homemade hummus, so it only makes sense to put it to good use in a dressing too. I first started making lemon tahini dressing several years ago – I feel like it’s one of those things I do in short little obsessive phases. Tell me I’m not the only one like this? I was on a lemon tahini kick for months, and then I’ll move on. It’s probably exactly why I make something for dinner once or twice and then forget about it. I think we can blame Pinterest for that. Too many possibilities to be distracted by.

Anyway, this is a super simple variation of several dressing recipes out there but it’s my favorite – it’s got a great tang from the fresh lemon. I hope you like it too!

 

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tblsp tahini
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1+ T of water (depending on the consistency you like)
  • generous pinch of garlic powder
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Blend in blender or small food processor until creamy, add water for desired consistency. Garlic, salt and other spices to taste! Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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I love this recipe because it is so easy to customize and adjust to your liking. One of my favorite bloggers uses nutritional yeast in hers. I’ve seen some add red pepper flakes or cayenne. Play around with it!

 

 

 

0 In Just For Fun

My favorite hair tool!

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This post contains affiliate links

The NuMe curling wand is my go-to for quick and easy hair. I’ve got a couple great coupon codes for you guys! I use the Titan, which is a 3 in 1 but all of them are awesome.

Here’s some coupon codes for you!

Curling Wands: http://shrsl.com/?~cb73  Use: ITSONLY70 for 70% off + FREE shipping

Tools(sets) : http://shrsl.com/?~cb70  Use: MOMSALE for 60% off + FREE shipping

Mother’s Day Collection: http://shrsl.com/?~cb75  Use: GRATEFUL and get the $600 collection for only $190.

 

xoxo

 

0 In Healthy/ Nutrition

My Eat Fat Get Thin experience

EFGT

This post contains affiliate links.

I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone reading this post that I’m a nutrition junkie. Food has fascinated me since I first learned about factory farming back in 2007. Up until that point, I had not considered where food came from, how it was made or cared about nutrition in any way, shape or form. I was a single mom and Logan and I pretty much lived on Eggo waffles, frozen chicken nuggets, fast food and Cheez-its.

Seriously.

But one morning I was driving to work, listening to a local morning radio show and the topic of farming came up. People called in and I first learned about slaughterhouses and factory farms and was floored. As soon as I got to work, I started the big ol’ Google machine and from that moment on, my life has changed.

There is SO MUCH I have learned since then, and it would take me an eternity to relay it all to you, so today I am just hoping to share my experience with postpartum weight loss and how it relates to nutrition. Losing weight is something that doesn’t come easily to me, and I’ve had to do a little detective work over the years to figure out how my body responds to food and what works for me and what doesn’t.

After Harper was born, I gave myself 4 weeks to not think about food and then I got to work. I had gained a lot of weight, and wanted to lose that weight at a healthy rate. I am a breastfeeding mama – I didn’t want to jeopardize my milk supply but I also didn’t want to be completely miserable and feeling bad about myself either.

When I first got started, I found motivation and support through the FitGirls program. I found the nutrition advice fairly sound, although not perfect, but I loved the Instagram based group support and had really good success with it for several months. I hit a plateau in March though, and it lasted about 5 weeks. I wasn’t doing anything differently, my body was just stuck.

So when I read about Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Eat Fat, Get Thin it was like a little lightbulb went off in my head. The more I read about his program, the more all the little connections in my brain were going ding! ding! ding! I already knew this stuff, it’s EXACTLY what I would advise a health coaching client to do to get healthy and shed unwanted weight. But in my own brain, I was terrified of ‘fat’…hanging on to those age old (and false ideas) that low calorie is the only way to lose weight. I was eating low calorie – even though I was eating whole foods! I wasn’t using low calorie products, but I wasn’t fueling my body correctly.

I ordered the book and got to work!

Here’s the basic concept:

Fat is not the enemy. At least, not good healthy fats. Our bodies need this fat to work properly and be at optimum health. What are good fats? Avocados, nuts, seeds, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, grass fed butter, Ghee Organic Butter , etc. Dr Hyman suggests adding a serving of healthy fats to each meal and snack.

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His program is very similar to things like the Whole 30 and the The 21-Day Sugar Detox, so it made sense to me. But can I tell you, in the back of mind I was still a little scared!

So here’s what I’ve experienced – the first 3 days were HARD y’all. My body went through a detox period, which I’m familiar with because after Beckett was born and I cut out sugar and processed foods, I felt like I had the flu for 10 days. Yep, it’s not fun. In all honesty, I was not expecting this because we eat so clean as it is. Although I didn’t have the achy flu like symptoms, I had a killer headache (I never get headaches) and I wanted to kick puppies from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. My family was a little scared of me 😉

I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt so weird – I am not much of a sugar eater anymore. But I’ve come to realize that MY body is just extra sensitive to sugar and here’s what I was doing – eating a lot of natural sugars. I eat a lot of fruit – probably more than most people. On an average day for me I was probably eating 3-4 bananas, 1-2 apples, 1-2 cups of frozen pineapple and/or mango. Sometimes I would munch on grapes or oranges – you see what I’m saying? My morning smoothies, although loaded with greens, were heavy on the fruit.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think fruit is bad. Quite the contrary – I think fruit is great! And there are probably a lot of people who can eat a ton of fruit without it affecting their bodies the way it was mine. But once I cut out fruit, my body was like WTH? And although I don’t frequent coffee shops often (maybe once a week at most), when I buy coffee out I do add sweetener to it. Who wants to go to a coffee shop for black coffee? Boring! That’s what I drink at home, but when I’m out I want a special treat.

On top of that, as someone who knows just how sneaky sugar is and how many products it’s added to – I have no doubt I was consuming more sugar than I realized. Starting the Eat Fat Get Thin program helped confirm that. Detoxing off sugar sucks. Headaches, body aches, and extreme irritability are just a few of the lovely side effects.

Another thing I experienced for those first 3 days? Hunger. I felt hungry ALL.THE.TIME. I couldn’t really figure out why – I KNEW I was eating enough. Every time I felt like I was hungry, I would chug a glass of water to help. And if that still didn’t work, I would eat a handful of nuts. Eventually, on day 4 that all went away and I felt great. Energy returned, my appetite felt normal – in fact I felt full and satisfied without needing snacks until about 2-3pm, when a handful of nuts would get me through until dinner.

I am on day 15 and haven’t weighed myself in a couple days, but at my last sneak peek at the scale I have dropped 6 pounds. It feels great to get past that plateau and great to remind myself that healthy fat is not the enemy, but a friend!

Here’s what an average day of food looks like for me, just so you get an idea:

Breakfast: I’m loving sauteed greens (usually kale, chard and spinach) in about a teaspoon of grass fed butter. Then I’ll scramble a couple of pasture raised eggs in another tsp or so of butter. I usually throw all of it in a bowl with a little avocado, salt and pepper. This is a very yummy and filling breakfast!

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Lunch: Salads. Every day. I actually love a really good salad, so I’ve been filling a big bowl with tons of mixed greens. For toppings I use cucumbers, peppers, carrots, anything I have on hand for fresh sliced veggies. I top with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and chopped macadamia nuts. I usually whip up my own dressing in my little NINJA blender (2 T of tahini, 1 T EVOO, juice of one lemon, salt, pepper, garlic to taste) If I have half an avocado laying around, I’ll slice that up for my salad too.

Dinner: We eat anything from grass fed beef to chicken breast or chicken thighs and tons of steamed or roasted veggies. I love roasted sweet potato a few times a week (sometimes more since I’m nursing!) My family loves taco night, and when everyone does tacos I use roasted sweet potatoes as my base and make a big burrito bowl filled with grass fed beef (homemade taco seasoning is so easy), roasted veggies, salsa, avocado or guacamole, etc. I skip all dairy.

Snacks: During the afternoon I’ve been grabbing nuts as a snack or baby carrots. If I’m wanting something at night time, I’ve found a great dessert option I’ll share on another post with 1/2 c frozen berries.

This is a pretty typical day. You’ll notice I’m not eating grains, legumes, dairy or fruit (other than 1/2 c berries at night) This is not a forever way of eating – it’s a 21 day plan and then the book details a transition plan to move you into more ‘normal’ way of eating. The idea is to see discover what foods your body is sensitive too, and how much you personally can tolerate. We are not all wired the same way, and I love how this helps you nail down just what works for you.

With just about a week to go, I HAVE TO CONFESS I was derailed for 2 days when Royal Hawaiian sent me a big, fat package of about a dozen different kinds of macadamia nut snacks. I mean baaaaags of dark chocolate covered nuts…come on!

But I’m back on track today and I decided throwing in the towel over a small detour is silly. I’ll finish out strong!