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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whatever is Lovely- a beautiful adult coloring book with faith at its core

Usually I try and steer clear of all things "trendy", but the current adult coloring book is too fun to pass up! Coloring was defintely a favorite childhood hobby of mine and one I felt like I probably held on to for too long! But now coloring is the "cool" thing to do and there's even scientific evidence to prove its a stress relieving activity. I am not artistic at all (like really, truly-not at all) so having a beautiful  picture that I didn't have to draw but can still "create"- thru my own interpretation of colors- is really appealing. I printed out a few free coloring pages to color alongside my boys this fall, but hadn't seen any coloring books I just had to have. Until this one came on the scene-


Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship. An absolutely gorgeous and very high quality coloring book collaborated by many of the finest and favorite Christian illustrators of the Internet. One of my very favorite illustrators- Jenny Stewart of French Press Mornings- has a couple beautiful offerings in this awesome collection. I will say, a couple of the pages seem a little "kiddish" to me, but I suppose you can expect that in a coloring book. For the most part, the pictures are lovely and varied in style. I can't wait to get some good quality colored pencils and have some "artwork" to hang on the fridge next to my kids'. ;) 
 

There's also a music playlist you can access online with a code found inside the book that is designed to correlate with the restful experience of using the coloring book. I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening to get the full experience - playlist and all! 
 
If you've been wanting to give adult coloring a go- Whatever is Lovely coloring book is a great launch pad! 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

What my Baby Boy got for Christmas: the Perfect Bible for Little Hands

Well, Christmas came and went in went seemed like an instant! We enjoyed a slowed down, intentional Christmas season countdown and somehow, the actual day went by in a blink! But it was still a joyful mad dash of chaos :) Now we're in the strange week of transition from Christmas to a brand new year! We've been slowly taking down Christmas decor and enjoying our new gifts. In one of my last posts, I told you that one of our Christmas gift traditions is to get each of the boys a bible book of some kind. My baby boy who is (already!)  11 months old received The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Little Ones.

This is the perfect, little bible for little hands! It has a padded cover and great quality boardbook pages. It covers 9 of the most beloved bible stories summed up in 4 pages each. The illustrations are whimsical and friendly and the rhymes are engaging and lyrical. I'm so happy to have this sweet bible addition on the shelf for my littlest reader. 


I received this book in exchange of my honest review.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Eating well truly is about balance, not sacrifice

I have always loved good food-not just sweets or comfort food or a certain ethnic variety. I love well made food in almost every category. I savor fresh ingredients, complex flavors and unique cooking methods. I also have a deep love for cooking- for preparing the best dishes I can for my loved ones and yes, myself as well! As a young, single woman I would think nothing of spending a decent amount of my paycheck on gourmet ingredients for the best looking dish in my latest issue of Bon Appetit. A relaxing evening in meant curling up on the couch and watch the Food Network.
 But after marriage and 3 kids later, I find I don't have the time, energy or finances to cook my beloved gourmet way. On top of that, I don't have the metabolism of my teen self to indulge daily without feeling the consequences on the scale. Having done my nutrition research and choosing what sort of diet would be the healthiest and most sustainable for my family, I feel I can adapt most recipes to meet both our tastes and needs.
 
 
 
I was excited to delve into a beloved Food Network star, Giada De Larentis' newest cookbook-Happy Cooking:Make every meal count....without stressing out. That sounds like my kind of cooking! I wasn't disappointed; Giada's style really resonates with where I am when it comes to life in the kitchen. She is a busy mom, juggling hectic life with a desire to provide her family with real, good food. I loved the introduction she wrote explaining her philosophy on cooking and her desires for this book. I stole one line and used it as the title for this post. ;) That truly is the words I try and follow when it comes to food. Good food is a huge pleasure in life for me so I refuse to completely sacrifice that love. But I do try hard to find a healthy balance between clean, low carb style meals most of the time to allow for some true foodie indulgences every once in awhile!
 
 I am the most naturally uninspired when it comes to breakfast dishes, so I was very excited to see the varied and delicious breakfast recipes in the book. I will definitely be trying the American Breakfast Rice Bowl! This cookbook has a diverse and fun selection of recipes for every kind of meal and occasion you could imagine. I am excited to jump and get to cooking some of Giada's offerings. I especially love some of the unique, fun appetizers and dishes that would make great "company's coming for dinner" food. And I appreciate that being balanced out with very healthful, personally minded recipes scattered through the book as well.
 
 I have a feeling this book is going to become very well loved in my kitchen. In fact, I'm already planning on making these delectable looking Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze as my holiday giving cookie of choice!


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

You can never have too much Good News!

I have become a minimalist in so many areas of my life, particularly when it comes to material belongings. I have culled thru my closet, my kitchen, even my favored home d├ęcor items. Less is (usually) more. But what category I can't seem to cut down on is books, specifically children's books. I just LOVE books; a quality book feels like a treasure in my hands. And the book I know to be a very literal treasure is the Bible. I view the Bible as a the most life giving source of words ever written and try very hard to pass this reverence and love for the "Good Book" to my boys. So out of all books, I feel you can never have enough copies of the Bible around. We have several different versions of children's Bibles on our shelves and I have no intentions of stopping adding to that collection! I try to buy each of the boys a new Bible book of some kind for Christmas. This year my middle boy is getting the God's Good News Bible Storybook!
 

I love the large format and great quality of this Bible storybook, making it very accessible to little hands. I also appreciate that it's pretty straightforward: There is a selected text straight out of the bible, an engaging illustration of said story and a short devotional message from Billy Graham. I have always loved Billy Graham's heart for the gospel and making it simple and clear for All. I can trust that a Bible book from Billy Graham won't be watered down and will give my kids the true gospel message. I don't know of many other kids books from Billy Graham so I am excited to have this one on our shelves. I love knowing there is some Good News wrapped up in a pretty package under the tree for my little boy this Christmas!
 
 I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A book that addresses the problems and power of the church

Church has been a big part of my life from the very start. I grew up in Sunday school and vacation bible school programs and with a Deacon for a father. My family always tried to be good friends to the pastor's family and my dad was involved in the governing of the church. We saw the nitty gritty of what makes a church run and what causes a church to flail. We ended up leaving my childhood church when I was 18 due to  long term, unhealthy attitudes and actions taken by the leadership towards the pastor there. We saw a lot of drama and hurt- the kind of stuff that causes people to be leery of churches or leave them behind all together. But my parents knew a truth- the Church is a diverse group of people, sinners, who are united under common beliefs and hope but still run into contentions and hurts between human beings. We now attend another small community church that we love and brought me some very good friends and even my husband! We love this little body of believers but you know what? We've also been hurt by other Christians there and seen some ugly issues happen here as well. No church, until Christ's return, is immune from human error.
 
 
 Unstoppable Gospel: Living Out the World-Changing Vision of Jesus's First Followers is a jam packed resource of a book that does a very through job addressing the issues that the church runs into and more than that, the power of the church. Gregg Matte maps out the history of the first church and the foundational beliefs they anchored their faith in and found their mission through. He stresses the importance of intense prayer and reminds us of our mission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (and how amazingly possible that is in today's modern world!).  Matte brings us back to the core truth that a successful church isn't measured by how many ministries there are, attendance numbers or how relevant the service is. A successful church is all about Jesus.
 
 Unstoppable Gospel goes on to give some great advice on how to find a balance in tithing, to slow down and spot opportunities to minister to searching hearts, and how to find the true measure of the sacrifice required of following Christ. Matte finishes out the book with a challenge to consider the higher disciplines of a life in mission work and fasting. I feel this book covers a lot of bases when it comes to what the church was created to be, is in reality at times and can be thru the power of the gospel.
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Parable for Every Season

Stories were one of Jesus' favorite ways to impart truth to the crowds who flocked to listen to him. His stories were called parables and they always had a way of making eternal truths more understandable to people by presenting them in real life scenarios. A good story still engrains lessons and truths into people's hearts, especially kids! That's why I try to surround my children with beautiful books that with speak to their heart and build up their character.

                            

 The Parable Treasury by Liz Curtis Higgs was a natural addition to our bookshelf!  This very well made children's book contains 4 previously published and very popular stories from Higgs. There is a parable for each season with most of the stories matching up with major holidays as well. This book is a true treasure to me and my little boys! I love the modern parables that speak God's truths into their little hearts and the scripture to correlate on almost every page! 
 
 We owned the board book version of the "The Pumpkin Patch Parable" before buying this book and it was a well loved story through out all seasons of the year! I enjoyed sharing the slightly more detailed version out of our new book with the boys thru this harvest season. We've also read "The Pine Tree Parable" and I can already tell it will be a much repeated story around Christmas time. This book is  beautifully illustrated and the stories are truly heartwarming for children and their parents. I would highly recommend it as the perfect children's gift to put under your tree this year! 

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Want satisfying meals that also trim your waistline? This is the cookbook for You!

Awhile back, I told you about a diet change I made for my family and I that has been only for the better of all of us. The Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle  has given me a great grasp on nutrition and how to prepare healthy, delicious meals that can also be slimming for Mama! In my previous post, I shared about the Trim Healthy Mama Plan Book. Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison-the sisters behind the THM revolution-wrote this great resource, chock full of all the research they spent years compiling to build their "diet plan". It is a lengthy read but I highly recommend taking the time to truly understand the foundations of this lifestyle change. Once you have a good grasp on S, E and FP meals and some of the other THM jargon, You have to get your hands on the beautiful Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook!

  The recipes in this book are really where the rubber meets the road with this diet plan and the THM Sisters have done an amazing job making that a delicious and fun adventure! At just over $15 and giving you more than 350 recipes, I feel like this book is a real treasure for a steal of a price! The original THM book was an amazing resource but very hard to navigate; it contained many wonderful recipes but the preparation directions were lacking and there were no pictures for inspiration. This new cookbook is the answer to all of those issues! This is a very well made book full of beautiful photos that make you want to get in the kitchen. I love having this cookbook on my kitchen shelves at the ready to provide me with delicious and healthful meals. Some of my favorite recipes include the egg roll in a bowl and chicken jalapeno popper soup. My husband just loves this "diet"- he gets to eat hearty food and lose weight while doing it! There's also some unique, fun treats like the lemon pucker gummies and the singing canary drink.
The Trim Healthy Mama plan has been a blessing to me and my family and I know will continue to benefit us through many changing life seasons. I was intentionally vigilant about following this way of eating during my last two pregnancies and saw a marked difference in my weight gain and well being in general. There is a noticeable learning curve and some "special ingredients" required that may make this diet seem a bit daunting, but I highly recommend making the investment in your health!

These drink recipes will be a regular in house during the holiday season!

If you want to get a feel for what THM is about before making a "commitment", I would encourage you to check out the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page! The THM Sisters are very generous with sharing recipes and tips there!


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An Eggtastic Time!

This weekend I had the opportunity to host a fun, casual party for some friends and family and introduce them to some awesome brands! Tryazon is an awesome company who gives you the chance to share new products with friends and give them feedback on the brands as well. The highlighted brand was Beep Egg, an innovative hard boiled egg timer that is fun to use to boot! It's a sunny yellow egg shaped timer that you treat just like your eggs. You store it in the fridge in your egg carton and when you're ready to boil up some eggs, throw it in the pot as well! 

We started with farm fresh eggs from our happy hens! I had fun experimenting with the timer and seeing the results for each level of "doness." Plus, it was pretty fun to hear the quaint little tunes singing from the pot! 

Here's the results: hard boiled is top left,
Soft boiled is top right and medium is on bottom. I love a good soft boiled egg!


My little kitchen helper had a blast mashing up the eggs for egg salad!


I found the best egg salad recipe on Pinterest!

Here's the finished party food platter- we served our egg salad with the delicious Ines Rosales tortas Tryazon sent in our party package! They were the perfect dipper and had a great taste on their own  as well!


Here's the two varieties of tortas we were  able to try and a Beep Egg to be gifted to a lucky guest!

  
Our party people- we enjoyed our treats and some fun games as well! We had two more late comers who arrived after our party picture was snapped.


I'd say our egg salad and torta platter was a hit! 


What better game for an eggtastic party than Rooster Race? ;) 

We had a fun evening of good food and good company and learned about some fun new games as well!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Christmas is on it's way- time to start looking for kid's Christmas books!

I can't believe it is already the beginning of November; Christmas will be here before you know it! Christmas is one of my very favorite times with my kids. I love all the fun traditions we get to share together during cozy days at home. Last year, we started a new activity that I know will become a beloved tradition in our house-we did 25 days of Christmas books! I combined some of my favorite childhood Christmas books with some new finds and wrapped them all up. We unwrapped a book each evening and all really enjoyed sharing new and old Christmas tales  together. I've already started keeping an eye out for new books to add to our collection!
 
 
 
 I picked up Goodnight Manger hoping it would be a new favorite in our Christmas book tradition, unfortunately I don't think it made the cut. I love the illustrations, Jane Chapman creates the cutest children's book characters. We have most all of the Bear Snores On books and the illustrations make them some of our favorite books. Goodnight Manger boasts some adorable pictures but the message isn't quite the Christmas story I want my kids remembering. The jest of the story is that new mama, Mary is trying to get little baby Jesus to go to sleep but they keep getting "interrupted" by the visitors and the commotion of the first Christmas night. If it were any other story about a mama and her tired babe I would probably find it to be a cute tale. Though Mary was very much a new mother- exhausted and spent from labor- the bible says "she treasured these things up in her heart." I think she welcomed and celebrated those who came to worship the new king rather than find them to be a nuisance.
 
 I wish I could have enjoyed this cute, quality made book with my boys for many holiday seasons to come but I just don't feel right about the message.
 
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Last Days-clues from the True Source

The world is a crazy place. You don't have to look around very far to see the evidence of that. There are wars and rumors of wars, famines and diseases- many signs of what the bible says will be going on when the Lord returns. There are days I sincerely pray, "Come soon, Lord Jesus." There are also plenty of people gaining fame and fortune for interpreting bible prophecies to mean that the End of Days are imminent. Blood moons, Jewish holidays and political situations- all portends of the last days. I like to be informed of current events and how they pertain to biblical prophecy but sometimes it can just get depressing and confusing. There are a lot of opinions out there and a lot of times they are contradictory and most often proven wrong.  It was refreshing to pick up a book about the last days straight from the original Author's perspective.

 
The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul was an enlightening and even encouraging read. I appreciated how Sproul took all the major bible passages and broke them down while analyzing them along side some of the top end times views. He looks at the Mount Olivet teaching, letters from Paul and John, Revelation,  the resurrection, the new millennium and the antichrist. He also expounds on Jesus' meaning of  "generation," "ages," and other commonly used but hard to decipher phrases. I am in no way a theologian, just a mom who loves to read and has a hunger to understand Jesus' teaching more. I can't say I fully agree with all of the opinions in this book and I don't necessarily think it's possible to know we have 100% correctly deciphered each bible prophecy. I do think it is each individual's responsibility to do their due diligence to decide on their own views on eschatology.
 
I recieved this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion

Every Little Thing Matters

Growing up, I really felt that to be the best servant of God I could be I would need to be a missionary. And so, even though the idea scared me and didn't necessarily feel like my calling, a missionary is what I was going to be. Deep down all I really wanted to be was a wife and mother but that just didn't seem like a big enough dream to claim. It was too safe, too comfortable and surely not enough. But God gave me the desire of my heart and I married a very good man and had 3 little boys. Life got busy just taking care of the needs of my family and it started to feel like being used by God was going to be put on hold for this season of life. As much fulfillment as running a household and raising my children brings, I sometimes yearn for a little bit bigger impact with this one short life I have. So I keep praying God would use me in my little corner of the world and would lead me to opportunities, even if it means outside of my comfort zone.
 
 I have found ministries to invest in that I get to see God work in on a regular basis. My husband and I open up our home each Thursday night to a diverse group of teens for youth group. They are rowdy and rambunctious and some weeks it feels like the bible study doesn't sink in much at all, but they keep coming back and they keep bringing their friends. God is working there. Then there is the Godly Moms' group my church has been hosting for a few years now. It is a program that really fills a need in moms looking for community and encouragement as they try to do their best to live out this big calling that is Motherhood. We have women from several different churches come and scores of children each week. There is always challenging teaching, encouraging discussions and lots of "me too" moments. So, I have slowly come to find that this chapter of life doesn't mean my usefulness to God is put on hold. I have even come to relish living a small life made up of ordinary days.

 
Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are  by Deidra Riggs was the perfect read for this time of slow realization. Deidra first helps us realize that we can't do any good thing on our own. Even as we want to be the Good Samaritan in the sphere of our lives, we are first in need of some saving grace ourselves. Then we must be able to let go of the burden of our shame and let ourselves be identified as washed clean by Christ and prepared to be used by God, in every little big and little thing. If we can trust in the Lord to walk us through our fears and into big dreams that He has made us distinctively for, we're in for a great adventure!
 
Many times when God places a dream just for us in our hearts, it's easy to dismiss it with a "that's something for someone better equipped than me" or " that's already been done." And even if we do actually take heed to the pull of our hearts, we will usually quickly find that we don't get to see thrbs e big picture. We have to just take a breath and take the next small step in faith. Like Gideon, God works in a big way when we are small and seemingly at a disadvantage.
 
The chapter that made the whole book for me was chapter 7- The gospel needs to be lived. I really appreciated the reminder of what the gospel means to us in everyday and needed to hear what Deidra had to say about it. I don't go to a "relevant" mega-church and I am not a modern day Proverbs 31 woman with the perfectly style wardrobe, well behaved genius children and it all documented on her adorable blog with thousands of followers. I am the mom living on the farm with her slightly crazy little boys and who has plenty of her own "hot mess" moments. I go to a little community church in the country. I see women who are living out very similar lives to mine but they sure do see to be doing it a whole lot better than me.(and most definitely with more style!) I love the line Deidra uses against this mindset- "Let me warn you right here and now, and let me be clear when I say it: it is a dangerous thing to think that we can measure the impact of the gospel in our lives against the very same gospel in someone else's life." That is a challenging, yet refreshing charge. I really love how Deidra goes on to remind us that the Gospel doesn't need our help to make it more trendy and relevant; the gospel stands on it's own. How freeing- His word does not come back void.
 
This book was a great encouragement to me; a reminder that if I give my best to His purposes, God will use every little thing for His glory.
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The best thing I ever did for my closet

I've always wanted to have a chic sense of style-or at least to dress to most flatter my personality and body type. Unfortunately, I don't naturally have an instinctive eye for style and fashion changes so quickly it's hard to keep up with the latest trends. Living in a rural area and having 3 boys in tow, I don't go on clothes shopping sprees in stores often either. That narrows down my fashion options to taking a chance on pieces found online and hoping they'll look great on me (which happens maybe a quarter of the time!). 
Needless to say, my wardrobe hasn't changed much since before I got married because updating it just takes too much effort and money I don't seem to have lying around.
 
Image result for thred up images Image result for thred up images
 
 Enter Thred Up, the best thing that's ever happened to my closet! It's like a thrift store online but filtered out for the best quality and brands. Thred Up is beautifully curated and organized well-making for a great shopping experience. 


I love browsing the editor's picks and seasonal collections! Another great feature is being able to create and save your own customized collections  (eg. By size, category, brand, etc.) to view clothing in. I can easily fill up my shopping cart with great fashionable finds and look forward to receiving my polka dotted box in the mail! 
 

 

The boxes are always packaged with care and style, making "opening the mail" a fun experience! It is true that some pieces show wear but that's something I just expect when it comes to used clothing. Not every item is a keeper, but you really have nothing to lose with their 14 day return policy! ;) 

But what makes Thred Up really worth regularing for me is the fact that they not only sell used clothing but buy them as well! The process couldn't be easier and is more convenient than taking my used clothing to Goodwill. Thred Up offers free "clean out" bags  on their site that they quickly mail out to you. Just fill up the large, polka dotted bag with your best quality, preloved clothes and stick it back in the mail. The shipping is on Thred Up! The great customer support team will let you know when they bag is received and gives an estimate on when to expect an offer of payout. I will say,  since I've been buying and selling with Thred Up since they launched, I have noticed them get more picky about what they accept. On the buyers end, their pickiness is reassuring that they're  trying to offer the very best quality used items!


Image result for thred up images
 
It always makes my day to get the email letting me know how much store credit I got from my latest haul! It's so fun to have some motivation to "recycle" pieces in my closet. I have been working my way thru Tiny Twig's  No Brainer Wardrobe  workshop and have been slowly trying to narrow down and polish my wardrobe along the way. As my vision for my signature style materializes I can easily go onto Thred Up and search for the pieces I need to compliment and complete my wardrobe. Not to mention, Thred Up has a great selection of children's clothing as well. I have found some awesome pieces for my little men's wardrobes!

I think you all will love Thred Up as much as I do! Here's $20 to go towards your first order ;)
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Just maybe Fall is finally here..



It's starting to actually feel like fall around these parts. For a long time here, the weather wasn't keeping up with the calendar. We finally got a true fall feeling day, complete with fog and showers. I love a rainy day excuse for cozying in and spending some intentional, slow time with my boys. There was pumpkin pie baked oatmeal and little tomatoes to pop in the food dehydrator. My Oldest loves to arrange the multi-hued tomato halves on the dryer shelves and gush about how prepared we're going to be for winter with all our yummy dried tomatoes.
 



 
We enjoyed a fall time nature collecting field trip to our "tree farm" property. The boys took their nature baskets and collected fallen leaves galore along with whatever other treasures caught their fancy. (including some wild pears we found!) I really love using nature collecting and journaling as "science" for the boys schooling. Children are always curating their own nature collections as it is-why not add in some classification and interesting facts and call it school?
 

 
 
I have absolutely no artistic abilities to share with my boys, but I'm hoping by encouraging them to start young they will acquire at least basic skills. My Oldest has been pretty enthralled with sketching birds out of a North American bird field guide we have on the bookshelf. I'm impressed with his eye for detail and love seeing how proud of his finished masterpiece he is.

 
Timelining is nothing new to the homeschool scene but we just started incorporating it into our studies! I have a feeling it's going to be a really enjoyable way for us to track what we learn about during the year and how it fits into the history of the world. The boys loved seeing the looonngg "span of time" we have to fill in. This past week, we added timeline figures for Abraham, Isaac and the ancient Egyptians.
 
The work of doing some lesson planning and making the time in my daily schedule for the boys schooling is daunting at times. Adding "Teacher" to my list of roles is taking some time to become second nature. But seeing the wonder spark in my sons' eyes as they encounter new ideas and interests makes it worth it to me. Their love of learning makes me slow down and appreciate all their is around us to "educate". My Little/Big Boy asks "Why?", just like every other 3 year old, but he also asks "How?". I love that.
 
 
 
I'm excited to add a new podcast series to my "play list". The Mason Jar Podcast looks like a great resource for all the Charlotte Mason Mamas out there!
 
To add to the constant activity that is our household, we decided to a bring a new family member on board. My determined husband has been talking about getting a Rottweiler for years now. I was so hesitant about the idea of a large, aggressive dog living with my kids for a long time. I finally got on board with the benefits of a protective breed being right for our family. Then it was just never the right timing- too busy of a season or the kids were too young. Finally, we decided the time was right. We've been on the lookout for a puppy for months before finding the perfect pup for us. Introducing Stella.

 
We drove up the coast with all the little boys in tow to pick up our new pup. Stella was the puppy who instantly jumped into the boys' laps and wouldn't leave their side. She is a sweetheart and I'm excited to have a pal to grow up alongside my boys. My middle boy has a real heart for animals and we especially wanted to find a good puppy for him. It made me smile to watch him spend the morning out in the rain playing with his new friend. :) And my responsible Oldest has been happily feeding the puppy and even cleaning up puppy piles!
 
 
Every little boy needs a dog.
 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Trim and Healthy (and actually doable!) way of life

Three and a half years ago while I was still pregnant with my middle boy, I heard about an intriguing new "diet" book coming out from two Christian women. Two sisters who had a multitude of children between the two of them, homeschooled and lived the busy life of moms and still looked amazing! Now I am blessed to naturally be on the thin side and have never "needed" to diet and thus had never really eaten that healthy either. However, after 2 pregnancies I realized that I did have a tendency to put on extra weight and swelling and what I ate really affected my energy levels and general well being. So when I heard about the Trim Healthy Mama book, I quickly ordered it! I was excited to have a healthy eating plan for after my baby came- while nursing and trying to lose the extra baby weight.
 
The original Trim Healthy Mama book is over 600 pages long and crammed full of so much information! While it is a hugely helpful resource, it can be very hard to navigate and the format-with the recipes interwoven in- is not the most user friendly. When I heard that they were reformatting the book into two separate volumes- a plan book and a cook book- I was very excited to get my hands on them. 

My well loved and well used original THM book and my pretty new copy!
 
The new plan book includes all the amazing research and "science" of the Trim Healthy Mama way and new, updated information added from the original. At first, the idea of having to spend the time to read such a thick book just to understand a diet seems overwhelming, but I promise it's worth it! Trim Healthy Mama is not just a diet, it's a lifestyle and it's totally doable and beneficial for more than just the mamas. It takes some time and a pretty good paradigm shift to get in the swing of it, but once you do it becomes second nature and has so many benefits!
 
The THM Sisters put years of hard work and research into mapping out this plan and all of its lingo-such as S and E meals, fuel pulls, crossovers- and inventing delicious recipes to go with it. You are not deprived in any way with this eating plan, trust me! I have enjoyed the most decadent desserts and filling meals and my family hasn't complained one bit. My husband loves the recipes and has even lost weight without even trying-he's a bog fan of the THM way! I have been able to drop back down to my pre-babies weight after both of my last pregnancies easily and feel so much better not consuming lots of sugar and empty carbs. I have been on board with Trim Healthy Mama since it first was introduced and love seeing how widespread and popular it's become. There are so many success stories from women and men of all ages that are regularly shared on the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page.  It's not some fad diet that's unhealthy or complicated. I recommend this eating plan and this new book to all my friends and family!
 
The newly released Trim Healthy Mama plan book is beautifully designed and simplified and I feel is much more approachable for those new to the plan. I can't wait to get the new cookbook next and add some new recipes to my THM meal plans! There is also some great recipes around the web. Check out my THM pinterest board to see some of my favorites!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Currently- October Edition

In my quest to document everyday life around these parts with a little more consistency, I thought it would be fun to do a (hopefully!) monthly "Currently" post. So here goes October!-
 
In a Day-  Playing catch up on chores around the house(always, always, always.) With fall comes school, so there's the goal of fitting some school time in each day.(Doesn't always happen! I'm thankful to only be teaching preschool this year, so there's some grace there.) With so much garden harvest still coming in, I usually try to work on preserving something each day. There are a whole lot tomatoes for roasting and then freezing and drying too. I need to can more applesauce, badly. There are still tons of apples to be used up, it's just a big project! (Honestly, I'm kind of over canning and the like for the year, but I know we will be happy to have all the canned goodness come winter!) October means hunting season (or "pow pow time" as my middle boy calls it!) so Daddy and my big boys have been spending weekends out in the woods.  
 
So thankful I still have a quiet break during my day while all 3 of my boys nap. This introverted Mama needs that little break from the hustle, bustle and so.much.noise! Lately, for some unknown reason, I have been prone to let the clean laundry pile up to outrageous heights, so I usually have that to look forward to :/ One upside to my beloved summer days vanishing  is longer evenings with my husband at home! It's been nice to have the after-little-boys-bedtime time to relax together. Lately it's been watching Elementary (aka modern American Sherlock Holmes) 


In the kitchen- It may be fall but it's still way too hot to have the oven running very often! I'm just not quite feeling heavy comfort food yet, though the latest issue of Bon Appetit is pretty darn convincing! Eggplant has been an abnormal bumper crop in our garden this year and surprisingly, a hit at the dinner table! We've loved it roasted and baked with tomatoes in a creamy cheese sauce. I've also been loving the easy and filling dish of roasted cabbage and sausages,with some seasonal golden beets thrown in for good measure ;) So simple, but so good!  I felt the need to pull the espresso machine back out on to the counter and brew my own version of a pumpkin spice latte- a fall must! Other home brew projects include my first batch of  kombucha- not a total fail, but not a real victory either. In need of some research and new techniques there! Oh well, until I have home brewing mastered my pretty awesome husband will keep supplying me with the "good stuff." (aka Humm brand-the best!)
 

On my heart- A lot lately. For months now, We've been watching Christians around the world being severely persecuted for their faith-being displaced and even killed. The bad news doesn't stop rolling in, even daily it seems and you get to feeling a little powerless in the midst of it all. I pray and, as much as I want to just wish it away, I keep my eyes open and acknowledge that it is happening. My sisters and brothers in the faith are dying for the name of the One we both call Savior. Just because it's not happening here, doesn't mean it isn't happening.  I desperately want my little boys to be able to have a carefree childhood, as every child should, but I also want them to have a heart for the world beyond our American Dream. So we share of the word's sufferings and we work thru our fears and cling to a faith precious enough to die for. I keep racking my mind for ways I can help- a way I can do something, anything to change things. The best option I have come across is The Nazarene Fund, a grand goal of relocating 400 Christian families from homes torn asunder by ISIS. This is the charity organization that resonates the most with me and I hope to support their work!
And then, this last Thursday, it all hit too close to home- an hour away from home, in fact. At a community college my sister attended just a couple years ago, a mass shooting broke out that killed 9 and injured many more. It was later found out that the shooter was targeting Christians for death. The day christians were martyred on American soil. It was a heavy day for Oregonians, to say the least. More explaining to my boys about the realities of sin's grip on this world we don't really belong to. And lots and lots of prayer.

On my mind- I've been spending a lot of mental energy on school plans for the boys. I love this stage- everything being a new and exciting discovery and learning being so fun! But I'm also learning that there are so many great educational options out there, to the point it's overwhelming. The perfectionist in me is learning that there is a thing as "too much educational fun" and it's better to be doing something than waiting around until I have the perfect schooling plan mapped out.
Over the summer, I bought a new to me but pre-loved Canon 5D classic camera. It's not the latest and greatest, but it's an upgrade in equipment and potential for me! Especially since having my boys, I have really enjoyed pursuing photography as a hobby. It's fun for me to have a creative outlet that's easy to just fit in through out the day. The benefits of having their childhoods documented is pretty satisfying, as well! I've been checking out lots of tutorials and snapping a lot of "test shots" in my spare time.

 
 
My boys are- each learning lots of new things right now! The Biggest is loving school- he enjoys practicing his letters and thrives off of the affirmation of red inked stars and stickers by his best formed attempts. He amazes me with the addition and subtraction he has naturally picked up and does all in his head. It makes my Mama heart swell to hear him talk to Jesus like he's talking to his best friend. I can see the Holy Spirit working in his little boy heart-the struggle between his sin nature and his desire to do good is real. There's something unexpectedly powerful about watching your 4 year old fleshing out spiritual battles, in the way only a little child can. Sometimes I'll catch him, I first assume talking to himself, saying "No, devil, I don't want to do that. That's bad." He realizes just who is behind the lies and selfish desires and he knows Who to call on for guidance.

My Little/Big One turned 3 a few weeks ago and it seems he's changing in leaps and bounds after that milestone. He is a peculiar little individual and I love him for it! He can identify almost as many letters as big brother proudly holds up his 3 fingers when you ask him how old he is. This kid absolutely loves books. He will bring you just stack upon stack of books to read to him and he never grows tired of it! He's working on potty training but refuses to wear underwear, stubborn little thing. he becomes one of the big boys, more and more each day. It makes me smile to see my 2 oldest boys become play mates and friends more as they get older. My middle boy has a language all his own and in sibling fashion. my oldest can some how translate it all!

My baby is growing up on me waayy too fast! 8 1/2 months already-where has the time gone? In baby time that means he's practically not even a baby anymore :/ He just started crawling, mainly motivated by his never ending quest for more food! He's got the biggest smile I've ever seen on a baby (the cheesiest grin too ;) He's ready to join in his brother's wrestling matches and loves to be in the middle of any social setting. He loves to bounce and clap. He waves at people and I swear he's just started to say bye. He officially has 4 teeth and counting. Those silly 2 front teeth :)





I'm reading- The Last Days according to Jesus ,  Every Little Thing, Peace Like a River
(Look for reviews to come soon!)





Apples to Oregon, Little Blue Truck, Halfway Herbert
Some of the boys favorites right now




I'm listening to- Ghost Ship, The Rend Collective, Andrew Peterson