I love writing. I find adventures through my every day life with my husband of 18 years, seven children, (one grown and going through wife and motherhood herself, two younger ones being added through foster care and adoption, and the other four biologically, all through the grace of God), and our several businesses that we grow every day looking for community and purpose.
I process so much of what we go through by writing it out.
It is the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done, because the pieces of my life that are hidden behind closed doors have to be lit up in order for me to share the truths I’ve learned in my latest journey of the moment.
I want nothing more than to be an encouragement and light to every soul that I come across every day I draw breath.
I hope you can come along with me, and be encouraged and strengthened each day.
Welcome to Once Upon A Time...
The farther we get in to this new year, the tighter I’m holding on to the “God moments” that got me through 2020. One of those ways is in listening to ever-popular song titled “The Blessing” from Elevation Church. What a promise!!! Does everything else in the world fade away when we magnify those words in our life???
This impacted me so greatly I decided to do a tee to honor the occasion. What better time than St. Patrick’s Day? The verses from Numbers read this way: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
To speak those words over our lives commands such a blessing, and I was moved to create a printable to go along with it. If that gorgeous shirt is not your thing, the printable may definitely be.
Either way, may His favor be upon you and a thousand generations….
I have played with this recipe enough to tell you it is the closest thing to “Home for the Holidays” and every other comfort food you may need.
You will never care for the sugar laden version again after trying this.
Apple Pie Filling
Makes filling for one Apple pie.
6 apples, chopped and diced.
4 Tbs oat fiber
1/3 c Gentle Sweet
1/2 t xanthan gum
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and put in your favorite pie crust. Bake as you would any pie.
I also doubled the pie crust in Trim Healthy Table p. To make the pie complete. This makes it a Crossover since the crust is an S, but remember, Crossovers are still on plan and sometimes necessary when you need that soul food.
(Vanilla Carb Smart ice cream may be requested by the other family members, so add that to your grocery pick up list before you forget.)
True story: I tried to make Rashida’s brownie cheesecake dessert (Trim Healthy Future p. 284), but I only wanted the brownie. So I doubled the brownie directions, baked it in a 9 x 13… and got more of a cake that was so bitter I couldn’t eat it.
I don’t know if I missed the Gentle Sweet or added too much cocoa, but my only thought to redeem the entire pan was to make a cream cheese frosting to balance it out.
My back up plan for that was if it fails, I’ll mash it all together and make our first Trim Healthy Cake Pops…
It didn’t fail.
My afternoon coffee went so well with this, I had to blog and share for myself in the future… and you all, too.
Easiest Cream Cheese Frosting
Covers one 9 x 13 cake pan generously.
(2) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, regular or low-fat.
2 tsp. Vanilla
2/3 c. Gentle Sweet
Put all ingredients in your kitchen aid and beat until smooth.
Spread on your favorite cake, or any where you may need to redeem your baking fails.
Use Our Free Printable To Say “Thank You” To Our Mail Carriers, Package Delivery Friends, and Super Heroes This Holiday Season
Is any one else noticing just HOW MUCH mail we are sending this year?
Packages, online shopping, all of us trying to stay home, trying to stay safe, and trying to keep Christmas magical is making SO MUCH WORK for the postal companies.
I did notice Amazon creating an option to select less packages and combining deliveries, amen and hallelujah.
But we have friends that work in the post office industry, and they are on mandatory seven day work weeks until after Christmas. Their vehicles are overloaded and their routes are extended because they can’t even fit it all.
I realized that they are front lines essential workers, too.
So I decided to make this easy printable to put in my front porch flower pots. You can print it smaller and tuck it in as a card with a holiday gift, or print it full page for your porch.
Print, laminate, tape a ruler or yard stick to the back, stick it in your flower pots. Add it to a bin with snacks and drinks for them as they go.
In a world where we all need to see more kindness, this a simple and easy way to do that.
Just click the “Download” button that is next to the words “Postal Thanks Printable”
Because if you didn’t take a selfie, did it really even happen?????
Our teenage daughter flipped out at the notion that we were vacationing in the same city as the World’s Largest McDonald’s, and since we needed a potty break on the way back from visiting the manatees at Blue Spring State Park, we decided to indulge her.
It was pretty cool.
Freshly renovated in 2016, it was clean and open and fun. Lots of natural light and lots of space felt so free, even though we had to wear masks.
The play place was closed and so was the arcade because #pandemic, but we walked through the whole area and still checked it out.
We ordered fries for everyone and our teenagers splurged on a few extras, (did you know they have pasta in there?!?!?), and a good time was had by all.
They had cake, ice cream, waffle cones and slushees.
They had fettuccine Alfredo, pizza and philly steaks.
There were stations to order each type of food, and they just revamped them to servers instead of self-serve options.
They loved it.
My advice? If your kids ever ask to go see the World’s Largest McDonald’s, go ahead and do it.
One of the biggest decisions we had to make during the pandemic was to table our Disney Dream Plan until the world opened back up again.
With a family of eight, paying thousands upon thousands for a dream trip I had been crafting for years could not be spent on wearing face masks and seeing social distancing regulations.
We needed a Plan B.
We needed a break and needed to travel. Since Thanksgiving with out-of-state family was not an option, we decided to shake things up altogether.
We were going to spend a week at a condo, and NOT go to Disney.
If you want to read my post on Vacation Village at Parkway in the Orlando/Kissimmee area and how it’s operating during the pandemic, click here.
I started researching other out-of-the-box entertainment options. I read blogs and saved links and looked for exciting things and rainy day things and back-up-plan things.
There were so many outdoor park options, I really started leaning toward that type of vacation.
It had been a long time since I channeled my outdoor Girl Scout skills, but I knew it was time to try again. The kids were growing, life was stabilizing, and I only had a certain window of time to show them the world and all the things that go with it.
So we meal planned and event planned, leaving lots of room for sun and pool time and Wii tournaments.
We used Grocery Pickup for the day we arrived at a nearby Walmart, and only packed snacks and sandwiches for the trip down.
Anyways, our favorite place to try was Blue Spring State Park.
I mean, manatees swimming in their natural habitat has got NOTHING on Sea World. Not.
I was definitely afraid that we were too early in season or too off season or too wrong time of day.
I was so afraid it was gonna be a dud.
The kids are already asking when we can come back again.
Even at the park entrance, we paid a $6 parking fee for our entire family, and the ranger was so kind. He directed us to the back of the park, and away we went. A sign right on the station window told us that 32 manatees had already been spotted that day.
We were stoked.
The roads were well maintained and the park really well laid out. There were clean bathrooms and picnic areas and playgrounds within fifty yards of our parking spot.
There was a menu of food available with good prices.
The picnic area had pavilions and tables all around. There were charcoal grills available and a volleyball net nearby.
The decking to walk along the water lines was so well done, with new platforms added to sight see every few hundred feet.
There were signs and directions and learning posters. There were turtles and birds of all kinds, and history in the brochure.
The staff was power washing the decks and also teaching us about the wildlife.
It was so impressive.
Our favorite part?
We got to see the manatees.
Like, a lot. For a long time. Swimming nearby, spouting, grazing…
A baby manatee stole the kids’ hearts, and they thanked us a thousand times for bringing them here.
We ate a picnic lunch from coolers and played with birds checking us out as we ate. The kids played football as we googled the nearest coffee shop, and chased each other on the swing set until we decided it was time to move along.
The history of this place and the magnitude of it is incredible.
The memories we made here are priceless.
This has definitely become a day for the books, and a park to come back to any time we come back.
Women are smart, creative and hard working creatures. They love their families well and try to do the right thing. SO WHY IS IT SO BLESSED HARD TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES?!?!?
Years ago when Trim Healthy Mama first came out with their huge book of explanation and recipes, there was NOTHING you could buy at the store on plan. You had to make it ALL or STARVE.
No sprouted bread, no sugar free snacks that did not contain aspartame… basically, we had to walk up the hill both ways in the snow without boots on. Every day.
Thankfully, our stores are catching on and listening. You can pretty much get your sprouted bread every week through Grocery Pickup, hallelujah!
So enter the road trips that so easily beset us and sabotage our weight loss and health goals.
It’s taken a pandemic of closed gas stations and stay-at-home orders to push me to get my on-plan plan in gear, but bless God, we are getting there!
Here is a list of on plan foods to make your next trip (or your crazy Drive Through Sue necessary week) a little easier! Feel free to share your own ideas, tips and tricks, and I’ll gladly add them for all our mamas.
The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.
Psalm 68:11 KJV
Ooh, and look what arrived just in time to add to my reading material for the drive!!!! (Insert all the praise hands…!)
Happy safe traveling, my friends!
Grocery Pickup Options to stay on plan:
Strawberries, washed and sliced
Celery, washed and cut and bagged
Carrots, washed and cut and bagged
Blue corn chips
Lily’s chocolate bars
Coffee with cream and truvia or any other on plan sweetener
Case of water bottles. Add True Lemon lemonade packets if you like.
Baking some treats ahead of time always helps if you can. I got lucky this trip and had peanut butter chocolate bars in excess, so I’m cutting those up and bagging them now!
Start here and let me know your thoughts. I hope this makes it just a little easier to help you stay on plan as you go out on the road again. Enjoy, my friends!!!
It can be so hard to jump on board the THM bandwagon. It’s a new way of thinking, a new way of grocery shopping, and a new way of cooking and baking. It can all seem so new, new, new that it’s too overwhelming and you give up before you even start.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Trim Healthy Mama is made up of common sense principles. If you’re a believer, there are even biblical presets you can learn about and implement. It’s truly incredible.
One of the greatest ways I’ve found to help myself implement some healthy changes in my life is to put them in plain sight.
The Trimmy Coffee is a super easy way to get yourself some much needed nutrients alongside your caffeine boost for the day.
But who in the heavens wants to fumble around for all the ingredients BEFORE that first cup of coffee?!
SOLUTION: Put the ingredients in plain sight.
Now, I have very limited kitchen counter space for the number of people in my home, so that real estate is PRECIOUS to me. And with four boys ages 7-15, fragile items are not a viable option. But a girls gotta have SOME sparkle and shine in her home…!
Enter my jars.
Two were leftover from a canister set from years past, probably a TJ Maxx find that survived soccer balls and cleats and everything in between.
Two more were from the Walmart home and kitchen canning section. The shadowed brown glass went perfectly with my orange ones, and so I started filling those babies to my hearts’ content.
I used simple ribbon and tags so I would not confuse my collagen and protein powder.
I kept the measuring scoops inside each jar because #dollartreesavessanity.
And once I added my favorite base from my mom (remember the girl-sparkle-shine comments above?), I was ready to barista my way to healthy.
Since the MCT Oil is pretty-but-not-so-pretty, I usually store it in the drawer below with my truvia. But you get the drift.
You will be A LOT more inclined to use your new, scary, life-changing ingredients if they are right in front of you at the ready.
Just try it. One day at a time, one change at a time.
And that Trimmy will thank you. Or is it, your body will thank you for that Trimmy?