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Easy Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (E)

A delicious, healthy breakfast perfect for a weekend morning.

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. I think I do this every winter, but right now it’s a way of coping. My sweet first-born is moving out. There. I said it. I still can’t believe it’s happening. How did we get here so quickly?

Anyway, in thinking back over the past twenty years, food keeps popping into my head. (This may have a little something to do with my current hormones and my THM 2-week challenge.) So yesterday morning I wanted to fix a warm, comforting breakfast for my kiddos before we headed out for church… and I happened to have some beautiful sweet potatoes just waiting to be used.

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How I Got Started on Trim Healthy Mama

 

You may have heard about a “health program” called Trim Healthy Mama. If you are a THM you know how wonderful it can be. If you don’t know about Trim Healthy Mama but are interested in living a healthier, better life with weight loss as an added advantage, then please read on!

THM has been a game changer in my life. My entire adult life I’ve been overweight. Y’all,  I’m nowhere near goal weight, but my energy level and overall well-being has improved tremendously. Plus, this is something I can do for the rest of my life easily. I thank God for leading me to this lifestyle.

Last January I was the heaviest of my life. I was so disgusted with myself, not to mention that I felt awful most of the time. I was continually tired, needing a nap, and my knees ached when I walked. Working full-time as a devoted elementary teacher in the continual pressures of high-stakes testing and general teacher stress, I left work each day with no energy. My family was getting less than “leftovers” from me because I was so exhausted by the time I got home. And I never could find lasting success on any health plan. (Although I hadn’t had a doctor’s check-up in years, I was pretty sure I was bordering on diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)

Once, years ago, in a Weight Watchers class I took a quiz to find out my weaknesses and strengths related to eating. Everyone in the class found out what type of eater they were — an emotional eater, a late-night snacker, an over-eater, etc. Well, leave it to me to equivocally be every type of eater there was. It perplexed the leader, who decided to talk with me afterwards privately because she thought I’d taken the quiz wrong. Nope. I was just that messed up. The concerned, confused look on her face is still a vivid memory for me. Food has been my demon.

So, here I was last January, extremely overweight and literally sick and tired of feeling so crappy. I knew something had to change so that I could be the mom to my boys and the wife to my hubby that they deserved. We were on a very strict grocery budget, but I knew I had to do better. I began counting points as I’d done in the past, but with hobby farming, mothering, and working full time outside the home, that became a task I just couldn’t maintain. I began hearing coworkers and friends mentioning ladies they knew that were losing weight and curing health problems on a program called Trim Healthy Mama. I was immediately interested, but recall the drop in my excitement when one person told me that it was very expensive, too expensive for a school teacher. (By the way, it is not! It can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you choose it to be.)

So, I didn’t look it up online for a while, but, as I prayed to God to help me to feel better and get on track with my weight and health, it kept popping back up in my mind. Finally, one day a person I knew showed up on my Pinterest feed not because I followed her, but because she was a THM success story. Wow! I now see that this was yet another divine nudge to get me on the right path. Seeing her on Pinterest led me to the THM Facebook page and the many success stories on there. I read the posts every chance I got for two days and then ordered the book from an online used book company. (Our budget was too tight for a new copy.)

Each page of the book was like a divine revelation for me. It made so much sense that I immediately began incorporating THM into my food choices and my thought processes. And weight began to come off.

And my knees began to hurt less and less.

And my energy level began to soar.

And my family began to see a difference.

And I began to FEEL a difference.

Have I been perfectly on plan? Nope. But, unlike before, I’m not carrying that shame. Serene and Pearl, the sisters who wrote the Trim Healthy Mama books and plan, often reference the grace of God — not only for our sins but also for how we eat. That doesn’t give us permission to gorge on sin or food, but it keeps us from carrying shame and failure upon us, which leads to giving up — the pattern I’d fallen into over the past decade or so. THM helps us to see how God has given us food freedom.

Do you need this food freedom too? Are you, like so many of us Mamas, struggling to feel good enough for the tasks at hand? Do you want to feed your family the way God designed? …I hope you’ll join us on the THM journey.

My Baby’s Moving Out & Thoughts on Aging

This year I’ve come to the realization that I’m getting old. It’s been hard to swallow and I’ve been in denial, but the signs are there.

First, I’ve become the teacher at work who weekly references how much better teaching was in the good ole days when I first started. (And it’s true! In my school system, 15 years ago there was a good deal less paperwork and stress. High stakes testing and the ever-changing teacher evaluation system cause “bookoos” of stress! Not to mention I recently had a parent completely misunderstand something that happened with her child so my name was ever-so-disrespectfully and slanderously smeared on Facebook. Well, that never used to happen in the good ole days!)

Then I’ve found gray.

Not a hair, mind you, but a . . . (gulp). . . a patch. A whole stinking patch of gray hair running right through my bangs. Sigh.

Third, I now have a coworker who was born while I was in high school. Most of the time I forget and it’s no big deal. But then I go and mention the Bangles or Pearl Jam. “Who?” she asks.

And finally, folks, we have the final blow. The true sign that I’m not 25 anymore. My baby, my first-born, the one that screamed and had to be pried from my leg every morning when I took him to the sitter so I could go to work, the one that needed his apples peeled and cut because he refused to eat an apple any other way, no matter how long I refused to give in, is moving out.

I knew it was coming. He’s been talking about it for a year. He’s been commuting to the local community college, so I was hoping he’d hold off until he finished up there. But a great opportunity came up for him so he took it.

This mama is heartbroken and having a hard time letting go.

Quite frankly, I’m having a hard time letting go of a lot.

Like 80s and 90s music.

And writing notes to your besties ON PAPER and folding it into that cute little fold we used to use.

Like having long, thick hair that rocked a perm like nobody’s business!

Like the fact that my hips have moved past the “junk in the trunk” stage and on to the “Lord, that girl needs to cut back!” stage.

Sigh.

Then I remember that God created me for a purpose… and that each day is a gift. I may not be 25 anymore (or, let’s face it, 35 anymore), but that doesn’t mean I’m finished. It doesn’t mean all good things are gone or that the future is bleak.

It means that new doors will be opening and my eyes need to be looking forward, not back, so I don’t miss them.

So, today, rather than moping and weeping and feeling old-ish, I’m holding my head high and counting my blessings.

I’ve got this.

Loopholes & Parenting Teenagers

Loopholes. How acquainted we’ve become.

My beat-up, antique Webster’s dictionary defines it like this:

loop•hole n. a way of evading a situation, rule, law, etc., to discover a loophole in a contract

 

It’s amazing to me how my teenagers can always find a loophole in the rules or deals we make.

You need to be home around 10.

At 10:40 the door opens and I quickly remind him of the rule. “But Mom, you said around 10. It is around 10.”

Be sure to do your chores today.

On my way to bed I realize the chores are still not done. In an exhausted but frustrated tone I remind him that the chores are still incomplete so he will have no video games tomorrow.  “But Mom, you didn’t specify a time. It is still today. I’ll do them right now.”

Don’t eat all of the pizza. Save some for your brothers.

A few minutes later I walk through the kitchen to see the tiniest sliver of pizza left on the cutting board. When I fuss, I’m quickly reminded, “You said to save some pizza. I did save some!”

There isn’t a perfect parenting manual (Trust me! I’ve read tons that claim to be!), so knowing how to deal with my little loophole-finders can be perplexing. Knowing when to serve up some discipline, a consequence of sorts, and when to just let it go can be a difficult thing. I don’t want to be a push-over parent, nor do I wish to be a drill sergeant. I want my kids to respect authority, but I also want them to stand up for themselves and to let their inner moral compass guide them. Finding the happy medium that corrects but doesn’t cause them to feel stifled and oppressed is my goal.

After all, the teen years are the years in which we prepare our babies for the real world, a world that isn’t multiple choice and can be unforgiving. A world that presents situations that don’t always have loopholes.

I’m struggling with this.

I want my teenagers to have the freedom to become independent and the freedom to make and learn from their mistakes. But I also want to protect them, to cover them up and keep the monsters and demons of this world far, far away. I want to make decisions for them so they don’t have to make mistakes that will haunt them. How can I do this?

Right now, I linger somewhere between helicopter mom and free-range mom. I know balance is best, but honestly it’s hard. Are you seeing my quandary?

I keep looking for loopholes that will allow me to protect them like a mother hen until they’re 30, but guess what? No loopholes will allow that.

So, I inhale until my lungs could burst, say a prayer, and begin to let go.

 

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Our New Adventure: Goats and Fully Trusting God

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8

Meh-eh-eh

That, my friends, is the sound of a new adventure.

A new journey we’ve been led to take.

The sound I hear each morning as soon as the sun peeps over the horizon.

Yes, that’s the sound of the 12 Boer Goats that now call my field (and part of my yard) home.

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The 2-Week No Cheat THM Challenge

Holy cow, it’s cold! I hope you’re staying warm on this super chilly day. It’s a warm 13 degrees Fahrenheit  here, but the worst part is the intense 30-40 MPH winds that have blown my front porch furniture to one corner. This Virginian is frozen, folks!

Anyway, I wanted to use this blog to journal my progress on the THM No Cheat, 2-Week Challenge set by My Montana Kitchen. I started a day late since we had a big family dinner on New Years Day, so I actually started on January 2nd.

Feel free to laugh as you hear how it has gone thus far.

Continue reading “The 2-Week No Cheat THM Challenge”