Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just a little update!

I haven't blogged in such a long time, but this time of year makes me just want to savor and record every moment of these beautiful, cozy days!  We have had a fun fall season!  We enjoyed Neewollah, and Trick-or-Treating on Halloween!  Asher dressed up as Captain Rex from Star Wars Rebels and Claire was Hello Kitty!  Katie did an amazing job with her marching band in the parade, and they received a 1 at the marching band competition that afternoon!  She absolutely loves being part of the drum line! We've been rakin' up huge piles of leaves!  I'm not sure how it happens, but every leaf in the neighborhood ends up in our yard!  I've been trying to hold off on decorating for Christmas, and just spend some time enjoying the last of the fall pretties, but it's taking a lot of self control! I love Christmas decorating, it's just my favorite!  Speaking of self control, I have not had much in the food/eating department, but yesterday I started over, and I'm so thankful for God's mercies being new every morning!  He is so good to give me such an amazing life...my kids and my husband are the best blessings God could have ever given me!



Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Lovin'...

The spring flew by, and now the summer is 2/3 over already!  Time just goes by so quickly.  Weeks and months go by faster every year as these kiddos keep growing!  I try to remind myself to enjoy each moment, but that's hard sometimes!  Asher ended school/started summer by having an appendectomy.  He spent a couple days in the hospital, and a few days recovering at home, but was back to his active self so quickly!  Even though we have been on a really tight budget this summer, the kids have had fun, with a couple of trips to the pool and splash pad.  We also went to see "Inside Out" at the theatre.  It was Claire's first movie in a theatre!  She loved it! At home we've been keeping busy with lots of popcorn and movie afternoons, a few crafts, lots of coloring, and digging in the back yard for bugs, frogs, and worms!
Our family has grown this summer, with the addition of Walt!  We had been thinking of getting a dog for the kids for a long time, but had been putting it off.  Now I know why God wanted us to wait!  Walt has been such a blessing!  He is a great dog!  We all enjoy him!  We found him at a shelter, and had to wait for him to be neutered before we got to bring him home.  Since the day he came home, he has not been more than a foot away from one of us at all times!  He loves us, maybe as much as we love him!

I am still trying to balance having the kids home and sticking to my Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and just caring for myself in general.  It's harder with them home, and I haven't lost any more weight, but I'm maintaining the weight I have lost, and I'm hoping to go full force back to it soon.  I'm still drinking lots of Good Girl Moonshine, and still trying to choose good meals, it's just more difficult to stick with it being on-the-go so often. I made a little collage of my favorite THM drinks, because at least it makes it more fun if your drinks are cute!

Kris's dad had heart surgery a few weeks ago, so Kris has been up and down the highway to visit and help his parents as much as he can on his days off.  We have missed him so much!  Things aren't the same around here when he is gone.  We are so glad that he is able to be a blessing and a help to them though. Papa will hopefully be back to his ornery self very soon!

Even though there are sometimes difficult moments, difficult days, even what seem like whole entire difficult weeks, we are still so incredibly blessed!  God has been so faithful and generous to us!  He gives us so much more mercy and grace that we could ever begin to deserve, and he willingly gives that mercy new and fresh every morning.  I am so thankful for that!  As a mama, it feels like I need a "do-over" just about every day, but it helps to know that God is with me...he never leaves me.  I am so thankful for this family, and for God's unfailing love!

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Star Wars Birthday!

For about a year now, Asher has been obsessed with Star Wars!  He absolutely loves it!  He loves the movies, he loves the TV series, he loves all of the characters, he is just crazy about it!  So naturally he asked for a Star Wars themed birthday. We have been on a pretty tight budget, so I had to be creative in finding affordable decorations and party ideas.  I just wanted to share some of those here so he can remember his special day, and so that anyone else on a tight budget might have some hope that a themed party is doable!  Many of these ideas I found on Pinterest.  There are tons of amazing and frugal ideas!  The best part about kid's parties is that they love EVERYTHING whether it's perfect or expensive or not! So give yourself a break, Mama, they will love it, just because YOU did it for them!

I made his cake, and since it was supposed to be a fiery lava lake, it was very forgiving and didn't have to be perfect!  I grabbed a couple of his star wars guys, washed them up and put them on top of the cake!  You can find these playschool action figures at Dollar General for $3.00 each!

For light sabers, I used pool noodles cut in half, then we used duct tape and black electrical tape to make the handles.

One of my favorite parts of a birthday are balloons, so I grabbed 5 foil silver stars at the Dollar Tree! I grabbed Asher's Darth Vader out of his room and poked him in a bowl full of candy for a fun addition to the table! 

Wal-Mart had a 10 or 12 pack of bubble wands for a great price so I tied on the little thank you cards that came with his invitations, and each guest took one home along with a bag of Darth Vader's candy!

I decorated our mantle with Asher's Star Wars toys, and bought the banner and swirly decorations at Wal-Mart for around $3 each. 

I forgot to take a picture of the green punch after it was made, but it was simply lime sherbet and a bottle of 7-up stirred together!  I bought a package of the store bought cups from Wal-Mart, but thought I might need more, so I stuck some of Asher's Star Wars stickers onto inexpensive clear cups. The kids actually preferred those because they could pick out their own character!  Asher had fun taking his action figures and "decorating" with them while I was getting everything ready. :)

I made tie-fighter s'mores with graham crackers, chocolate icing, and marshmallows. I downloaded the Stars Wars font and printed out the little signs for each snack.  Asher helped out by adding the stickers to each sign.

I had planned to make homemade no-bake cookies for the Wookie Cookies, but ran out of time and energy.  I bought Star Crunch Little Debbie snack cakes and glued on candy eyes with chocolate icing.  These were a hit!

Asher had a great 7th birthday!  So thankful that some of his friends from school, and some of our neighbors could come.  He had a great time, and made some great memories!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Pumpkin Bread!

Kris and I are really loving THM-he calls it Trim Healthy Man (ha!) but we are just really getting used to it, and even enjoying it!  Every time I try a new recipe, he says that he just can't believe we are losing weight eating all of this yummy food!  To date, he has lost 31 pounds, and I have lost 21 pounds!  We are just thrilled! And aside from losing weight, we just feel amazingly better!  His rosacea has cleared so much, he is no longer snoring at night, and his back hurts so much less!  I feel so much better also!  I feel so much better mentally that even if there were no physical improvements I would still be eating this way.  I really had NO IDEA what sugar was doing to me...to my brain, and to my body.  I feel incredibly blessed to have found Trim Healthy Mama!

I was so excited to order the baking blend from Trim Healthy Mama and tried it for the first time today!  And let me tell you, I am so excited!  I made pumpkin bread, because I had a can of pumpkin in the pantry that I wanted to use (plus it's my favorite---even when it's not fall).  I used a regular pumpkin bread recipe and modified it to be THM friendly! 

THM Pumpkin Bread

1 C. Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
3/4 C. THM Sweet Blend or P'yure Organic Stevia sweetener (from Wal-Mart)
1/2 cup softened or liquid coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 C. THM Baking Blend (or you can make your own baking blend like this one!)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix first five wet ingredients together, then add dry ingredients and stir together until blended.  Spoon batter into one greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. I could have let mine bake a little longer in the oven, but didn't want it to become dry.  The batter is very thick, so it seemed like it needed to go a little less time in the oven.

Asher, Claire and I loved it!  It really was delicious! I am so happy that I tried it! I am going to *try* and save a slice for Kris and Katie but can't make any promises that it will still be here for them! (ha!)
Hope you enjoy it too!
Thanks for visiting!

(PS-the links above are not affiliate links, they are just there to help you find the products.  Thanks!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trim Healthy Tuesday: One month on plan!

One month ago today I decided to try "Trim Healthy Mama".  I bought the book, started reading through it, and it just made so much sense to me!  One month ago I weighed 10 pounds more than I do today and Kris weighed 21 pounds more than he does today!  We are so very thankful for THM!  I am excited to keep going and finally set myself free from this extra 100+ pounds I've been carrying around for the past 10 years! I am excited to be able to do more things with the kids, and have the energy to do them!  I am excited to have hope again! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Right now...

I saw a neat blog post of one of my favorite blogs from Aimee Weaver, where she shared a fun list of things that were happening in her life at the moment, and I wanted to try and do that today!  I really want to get back to blogging, so I am going to try a few "writing prompt" posts to get things rolling!

Right now I'm:

Loving//  Springtime!  Seeing everything bloom and become green again just fills up my cup! We went out the other day and I got some pretty shots of these blossoms (cherry, maybe?) that I just love!

Reading//  Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett! I am learning so much, and have lost 8 pounds this month!  I feel so much better, mentally and physically!
Waiting For//  School to be out!  I am ready for a more relaxed pace of summer break and for time with the kids! 
Excited About//  Our garden!  We started seeds this year, so growing the plants "from scratch" has been kind of neat!  The kids and I planted Jet Star hybrid tomatoes, mild jalapeƱos, carrots, and squash! 
Trying to//  Get healthy and I'm on my way, slowly but surely!  I mentioned THM above, and I really feel like this is an eating plan I can live with for the rest of my life! 
Working on//  Getting my relationship with Christ in the right place. 
Wearing//  Lol...I am sure this question is for someone more fashionable than myself!  I am currently wearing capri jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt, but I can usually be found in yoga pants, running shoes, and a t-shirt or sweatshirt!
Planning//  Asher and Katie's birthdays this month!  I am way behind in my planning and preparing for their celebrations...I will need to get it figured out this week!
Learning//  To be patient, to enjoy each day, and to trust God!
Dreaming of//  Kris and I are constantly dreaming of living in the country.  We just so desperately want to be in a home where we can see the sun come up and go down each day.  We want a place that the kids can just run around and explore nature in.  It's our dream, and our prayer!  God has always been so faithful and good to us!  I know that if we are supposed to be in the country he will make a way!
Thanks for reading all of that!  And kids---if you are reading this when you are adults, don't forget to call your mama! XOXOXO!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I'm still here!

Just a little post to say that I'm still here!  I really want to try and keep blogging, so I am going to give myself some grace, and just post when I can.  I know the kids will still enjoy looking back on these, even though they are not consistent.  Hopefully they will look back and know, deep in their hearts, that I loved them so incredibly much, in spite of my daily struggles to keep it together as a mama. 

Speaking of keeping it together, and mama's...on March 12th, I started the "Trim Healthy Mama" eating plan.  It has almost been a month for me, and I have lost about 8 pounds.  Kris started about a week later, and has lost 19 pounds!  We are really enjoying trying new recipes, and we both feel so much better!  I have over 100 pounds to lose, so I know it will take a while, but I am enjoying simply feeling better and watching Kris shrink before my very eyes!

The kiddos are growing and changing like crazy-cakes!  Katie is just growing into such an amazing girl.  I am so happy that she enjoys life!  She is just a happy teenager most of the time!  I think her friends give her a hard time for being happy all of the time, but I am so thankful that she can keep a positive outlook, even in high school! She just picked out her classes for her sophomore year, and that just seems impossible to me!  She is going to learn to drive this summer, and that truly scares this mama! :)
{Katie and Kris on Easter Sunday!}
Asher is shooting up so tall!  He just keeps growing and growing!  He has struggled through first grade with reading and spelling, but he is pushing through and we're counting down the weeks until summer break! He is still my sweet, calm buffer between our two crazy girls, and still loves to hug and snuggle us!  He is playing soccer this spring, and loves it!  He is pretty good at it too!  He is just a joy! 
{Asher with his egg score on Easter Sunday!}

And Miss Claire...oh Miss Claire!  She is something ELSE!  Kris and I agree that we are thankful that her cuteness is equal to, or greater than her orneriness! She is BY FAR our most curious, adventurous, and mischievous child! She just turned 4 in February, but is so smart!  She knows all of her letters, and the sounds they make!  She can drive us crazy and melt us with her sweetness simultaneously!
{She wanted to pose with the rabbit!  She was obsessed with this bunny for the first full two days after I got him out for Easter! She wanted to carry him everywhere!}
We are so blessed!  Just looking at these people, who God gave me as the most precious gifts humbles me!  He has given me so much, and sometimes I catch myself whining or complaining when I already have everything I could have ever dreamed of!  I am just so thankful!