Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meet My Family...

This is just a quick post to share the "About Me" page on this blog.  If you're wanting to know a little more about me and my family, you can do so HERE:  About Me

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why it's Good to Shake up Your Exercise Routine

I have found that I love numerous different exercise modes.  I like Zumba, PiYo, RIPPED, Kickboxing, Jogging, & Yoga.  Those exercises are all so different, which is good!  Mixing up your routine makes your body work harder.  If you do the same thing every day, your body gets used to it, and it doesn't work as hard as it once did.

I did Zumba and PiYo last night and I can attest to the fact that it was HARD.  Not because I don't exercise...because I do. (I try to get in at least 3 days per week.)  It was because I was so used to running or doing RIPPED class, that my muscles got a bit used to that.  Zumba is aerobic, and PiYo does a lot of stretching and holding positions.  I have been doing PiYo at home, but doing a live class is actually quite different.  My instructors mix up the pattern every week, so you're not doing the same routine every single time.  My RIPPED class also mixes up the routine weekly. Some days are alot harder than others.

 And that is the point.

You want your muscles, your body, to have to work hard every time you exercise.  The harder it is to catch your breath, the harder your body is working.  When you're sore after a workout, it means you did as much as you could, and then some.  It's good to push yourself.  It's good to try new things as well!  I've been able to do things I thought I would never be able to do! 

When you first start out exercising, everything is hard.  But as you slowly work your way up to do harder and harder things, it proves that you are making progress.  Workouts don't get easier...YOU get better.  So, if you've fallen into an exercise rut, try something new, or shake up the routine. 

What exercises have you found enjoyable?  Please share in the comments below! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

What I'm Thankful For This Year

It's Thanksgiving!  The day of the year where we gather with family and friends and thank God for all of the blessings He has given us in the past year.  So, here are the things I'm thankful for this year.

1.  My God

2.  My Faith

3.  My Husband (Bram)

4.  My Children (& our dog, Dixon)

5.  My Family

6.  My Friends

7.  My Job (wife & mother)

8.  My Hobby (crochet)

9.  My Health (even though it's been rough)

10.  My Blog Readers

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Round Up - 2016

As is a Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up!  I've taken delicious recipes from different bloggers.  I've put them all into categories, and will link to each blog at the bottom of this post.  All recipes are links to the recipe page on the blogs they come from.

 *other than roasted turkey

Dressed Up Turkey Soup
Creamy Turkey Soup

Side Dishes:

Maple Pecan Glazed Brussel Sprouts
French Onion Tartlets
Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
Mashed Cauliflower
Loaded Baked Fauxtato Casserole
Spicy Nutty Trail Mix
Sweet Pumpkin Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Grain-free Classic Stuffing


Pumpkin Bread
Herb Biscuits
Fluffy Sprouted Wheat Rolls
Braided Garlic Breadsticks


Southern Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Butter 
Cranberry Sauce (2)


Pecan Pie Bars
Mapple Caramel Pie
Pumpkin Fluff
Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Caramel Pecan Sauce
Cranberry Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cream Cake

I hope you all have a happy and very blessed Thanksgiving this year!  If you have an amazingly delicious, THM-friendly Thanksgiving recipe...please share in the comments below!

*Recipes shared from these amazing blogs:
Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen, Joy Filled EatsBriana Thomas, Wholesome Yum, Measuring Flower, My Table of Three, Joyful Jane, Chrissy Benoit in Love, An Ordinary Housewife, The Coers Family, My Montana Kitchen, & Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved

Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting Real about My PCOS

In 2015, I was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.  That is a condition where your ovaries are covered in cysts created by the follicles left over from ovulation.  Your ovaries look like a sponge, basically.  It causes hormone imbalance, weight gain, insulin resistance, unsightly hair growth (like chin hair, mustache...), and infertility.  (although, in my seems to cause hyper-fertility.  Hormones affect everyone differently.)  Let me tell you...PCOS is NOT fun.

For the past few weeks, I fell off the Trim Healthy Mama wagon, and am struggling to get back on.  It just seemed to take way to long to prepare on-plan meals, and having to constantly think about fuel pairings and what I can and cannot eat is frankly, exhausting.  Cue Taco Bell and their amazing Rolled Chicken Tacos dipped in Spicy Ranch dip (seriously...deep fried heaven!!)  Foods heavy in dairy, unhealthy fats, and calories are not good for women with PCOS.  It makes the symptoms worse.  So, I am supposed to be following a PCOS-friendly diet.  (Taco Bell is not included in that, unfortunately.)

Trim Healthy Mama works very well with the diet supposed to be followed while having PCOS.  Many infertile PCOS women have been able to get pregnant because of following the THM diet.  It covers the required low-glycemic index requirements.  Some doctors also recommend a dairy free or low dairy diet as well.  Low-fat foods are also suggested, although I believe healthy fats in moderation are fine.

The reason I'm wanting to get real about my PCOS, is that I believe it has flared up in these past few weeks. I have a dull ache in the reproductive area of my abdomen pretty much all of the time.  I can feel that my blood pressure is elevated, and my acne and chin hair is coming back.  UGH!  So, I've decided to get ahold of myself and take care of this issue.  What am I doing about it?


1.  I'm going to follow THM pretty much 100% when I can.

Meaning, no Taco Bell stops, only on-plan Starbucks, making sure my meals at home are on plan.

2.  Following an exercise program.

I discovered Lindsay Brin (Moms Into Fitness) when I was pregnant with Tiernan.  She has amazing workout DVDs for all 3 trimesters of pregnancy and postpartum recovery.  She explains all of the moves before you start.  I bought her Pretty Fierce:  Weight Loss program that I am starting today.  I also go to my local Y for a fitness class every Thursday (if possible) and occasionally Tuesday, if I'm able.

3.  Take my medication faithfully.

I am on Metformin, and even though my prescription is full dose (2000mg), my body can only handle half of that.  I try to remember to take it at suppertime, but sometimes I don't eat supper, so I forget.  When I was faithfully taking it, I was losing weight at a good pace, and my PCOS symptoms weren't so bad.

I am hoping that by combining all 3 of these methods, I'll be able to keep the circle of disaster that is PCOS in check.  (PCOS is aggravated by being overweight.  PCOS causes insulin resisitence, which makes it really hard to lose weight.  PCOS is helped by losing weight.)

So, you fellow women with PCOS, what have you found, or done to help alleviate your PCOS?  Please share in the comments below! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review: Chicken Parmy

Chicken Parmy (Pg. 161)

Pros:  delicious, short time to bake

Cons:  None

Cost:  inexpensive (especially if you make your own baking blend)

Times Made:  6

Rating:  *****

This recipe is AMAZING!  The whole family LOVES it!  It is often requested, and gets shouts of joy when they know it's cooking.

I occasionally add cheddar cheese to the top.  I use a lot of sauce so the chicken is "swimming" in it.  I use my homemade baking blend, but using the THM baking blend would be just as cost effective.  It cooks in 30 minutes or so.  Super easy, and did I mention, DELICIOUS???!!! It is a meal we have at least 2-3 times per month. I use a pizza sauce with no added sugar.

This is honestly one of my favorite meals!  I add Let 'Er Rip Side Salad with Rohnda's Ranch Dressing to make it a full meal. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Struggling Through Pain

Well, it happened.  The thing I had been dreading since we lost our little Darcy exactly 2 months ago.  My sweet friend "B"  from church had her baby last week.  I went to our monthly Mom's Bible Study last night and was shocked when I saw the baby!  I hadn't heard that she had had her baby.  The newborn was so beautiful, so perfect!

After our study was done, the baby was being passed around.  I asked to hold her, since I just LOVE babies!  I didn't think I would get as emotional as I did.  My other friend "S" who has miscarried as well,  was standing in front of me, and I think she saw me starting to get overwhelmed with the emotions.

I just lost it.  The tears started falling down my face, and I just couldn't hold it in.  My friend "S"hugged me.  I looked at "B", and said, "I'm sorry!  She is just so beautiful!"

The pain of knowing I would never hold MY baby just came over me.  It wasn't because I resented my friend for having a baby.  It wasn't that I hated the little baby for being there.  It was because even though my arms held a baby, I felt an overwhelming emptiness. 

The best thing that happened was that I felt so loved my all of the moms there.  I didn't feel like they were judging me.  I didn't feel like I had put any of them out.  They loved me, and understood why I was crying.  And my friend "S" had an even deeper understanding because she had gone through the same loss as I had.

I bawled the whole 30 minute drive home.  I was starving, and had originally planned on stopping for food, but I was afraid I'd lose it in the drive thru, and just wanted to get home to my husband.  I got home, found Bram in the living room, and just cried into his chest.  He didn't know why I was crying, but he just held me.  After I had taken a breath;  I told him why, and he hugged me closer and just let me cry.

I'm sure it gets better.  I've heard so many moms who have miscarried say that.  But it has only been 2 months for me.  Election Day (Nov. 8) was the day we were supposed to find out if our baby was a boy or a girl.  It is still fresh and raw in my mind and heart.  It doesn't help that the kids talk about Darcy ALL OF THE TIME, including to random strangers while out and about ("our baby died.").  I know they loved her, and were so heartbroken when she died;  but Mommy would prefer that she wouldn't have to explain her miscarriage to everyone.  F is constantly saying, "We need another baby.  You need another baby in your tummy, Mama!"  I'm sure in years to come it won't be so difficult. 

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  ~ Psalm 147:3

Christmas in November!!

I am SO excited!!  My dear, darling husband has given me my Christmas present early this year!!!  We are going to see the Seattle Seahawks play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in December!!!!!!!!!!!  AGH!!!  I am SO, SO, SO excited! I'm already planning a trip to the local mall to get a jersey and a hat (it will be COLD here in December...), and a blanket at Fanzz.  I might crochet myself a hat, and a scarf or cowl to keep myself warm.

I am kind of a CRAZY football fanatic.  You should see me at home when I'm watching a game.  My husband laughs at me all the time.  I jump, I scream, I dance,...yeah.  The NFC Championship game in the 2014 season against the Packers that went into overtime...CRAZY!! (NFC Championship game SEA vs GB) The Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings last season where the Vikings kicker MISSED THE GOAL POST that was about 22 feet away...INSANE!!!!  (Wild Card game SEA vs. MIN 2015)

Anyway...yeah.  So this is a glimpse inside my crazy football fanatic self.  (I will post pictures and do a post after the game!!!!) 

Ahem!  Ok...back to school and housework and THM!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review: Trim Zuppa Toscana

I have finally started the THM recipe reviews I told you about.  Sorry for the long wait!  I have structured each review post to look like this:

name (page number in the THM cookbook) {what category of meal it is S, E, FP, or XO}

Pros:  what I liked

Cons:  what I didn't like

Cost:  cheap or expensive

Times I have made this recipe:

Rating:  (using the 5 star system)

So, without further it my first Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review!!!!!

Trim Zuppa Toscana (pg. 86) {S}

Pros:  tastes amazing, the whole family loves it.

Cons:  none that I've encountered

Cost:  Pretty inexpensive

Times Made: 2

Rating:  ***** (5 stars)

I followed the recipe except for not adding the crumbled bacon pieces, which would probably make this soup even more amazing!  (I just forgot to fry up the bacon the first time, and the second time I didn't have bacon.)  I also pureed all of the cauliflower and okra to make a smooth soup.  I liked it better this way.

My 5 oldest kids love it.  They can't wait to eat.  They call it the "Sausage Soup."

Husband likes it!  He said it will be great in the cold, WI winters we get.

It is seriously so easy!  brown, boil, blend, combine, EAT!  The flavor is so good, and it really hits the spot.  You could play around with the spices if you like it saltier, or spicier. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Homeschool Update: Christian Liberty Press

I posted about having switch up our homeschool curriculum in a previous post.  BJU Press just wasn't working for our family.  We switched to Christian Liberty Press...and we all LOVE it!!!

This was THE BEST decision we have made!  The kids are loving it, and Fionna, who pretty much hates school, told me last Friday that she loved school.  WOW!

Let me share WHY we love it so much...

1.  It is super simple.

There are no manipulatives.  I use the Unifix Cubes for math if I think the kids could benefit from visuals.  There is no set schedule or teacher's manual for the entire curriculum.  There are individual subject manuals, but again, they are super simple, and you can do more or add on to them whenever you please.

2.  The history and science subjects are simple and easy to listen to for kids.

 It's a page or two of reading and then some coloring.  A great introduction to history and science for small children.  The coloring pages keep them involved and coloring what we have discussed in the class helps cement the subject into their minds.

3.  It fits perfectly into our family lifestyle.

My husband works rotating shifts, and we also have several church activities throughout the week.  This curriculum allows us so much flexibility!  The reviews at the start are great, and we can do several of them in a day...not just what the "manual" says (because there is no set schedule).  My kids can do more of their book work on their own, which allows me to be able to load the dishwasher, switch laundry loads, or deal with naughty toddlers or teething babies.

So, I would totally recommend Christian Liberty Press to any homeschoolers looking for a simple, flexible, easy-to-add-onto curriculum.  I am SO glad we switched!  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Keeping up Appearances

So, lately...I've been paying more attention to how I dress.  Not because I wasn't modest before...but because you could call me the Queen of Frump!  Seriously...I often times go out of the house in jeans, sweatshirt, and sneakers...and absolutely NO makeup.  (just ask my mother-in-law!)

 When Bram and I were first married, my mother-in-law told me I dressed like an old lady.  I wore jean jumpers, ugly shoes, and no makeup.  I have since changed, and someone called me "trendy" the other day!  I have an appreciation of fashion, and fashion trends.  I try to maintain a semblance of fashion while still remaining modest.  It is easier to do than it looks, I assure you!

I love Pinterest for fashion ideas.  The people who create the outfits are so good.  I can get an idea, and look for that while I'm clothes shopping.  (the 3 outfit examples I have in this post are all from Pinterest.)

For example, the legging trend.  Leggings should absolutely NOT be substitutes for pants, in my opinion.  They just reveal too much of your body.  I love leggings, however.  They are extremely comfortable.  How do you wear them while still staying modest?  I pair them with long tunics or under short dresses and I wear tall boots.  Trendy AND modest!

My husband has no fashion sense (sorry, Babe;  I love you but it's true.).  He does, however, have an opinion on what I wear.   He knows I know what is and isn't appropriate.  His only want is no frump.  What husband would like his wife to look frumpy?  He loves when I wear skirts or dresses, so I try to add them into my wardrobe.  It helps greatly that I love skirts and dresses, too.

I love fall fashion!  Sweaters, Jeans, Boots, Scarves...all things fall!!  As a crocheter, I have the ability to create pretty much any scarf or cowl I want.  I have a talented friend who can make those gorgeous blanket scarves;  which are oh so popular right now.  (you can find her at Infinity Knits)

To accessorize my look, I like to wear those bobble necklaces.  They come in all of the colors of the rainbow, and they are so cute!  Some ladies like to wear the long, multi-strand necklaces as well.  Some days I just accessorize with a scarf or cowl.  They are SO cozy and warm!

I have also tried to wear makeup whenever I go out.  I have permanent dark circles under my eyes, so if I don't wear makeup, I look exhausted.  I love to wear gray eye shadow with a dark liner.  I rarely wear foundation as it seems to clog my pores too easily.  I occasionally wear a BB or CC cream.  Mostly it is eye shadow and mascara with occasional lip gloss.

Now that I had 12 inches of hair chopped off, I can do alot with my hair. I can straighten it, or curl it in mere minutes.  No more "mom bun" for this mama!

What are some of the ways YOU keep up your appearance?  Please share in the comments below!