Category Archives: General Entries

My Plexus Journey: Week Three

I cannot believe I have been on Plexus for nearly a month. I don’t feel like there is much new to report this week, but I am increasingly thankful for the products I am taking. Yesterday I had my monthly checkup at the Birth Center. My lab work was perfect and baby brother has a strong heart beat. He’s low and active just like his sisters were. At my last appointment the midwife was worried about my weight gain, since my pre-pregnancy weight was not quite in the desired range. I think that’s how it was kindly put. Oye. That’s always fun to hear. Well praise the Lord they were quite pleased. Five pounds in twenty-three weeks. I was thrilled to bits and truly feel good. Thanks Plexus!

Some gals seem to thrive when pregnant. They love everything about it. They feel attractive and they literally do glow. I love pregnancy for the end result, but I’ve never been one who loves being pregnant. There’s so much crazy that goes with it. Odd hormonal changes. Random swelling. Nausea. Upchucking. The belly is just out there. Random comments from strangers. Lots of blood work, and the end hurts like a beast. I’m not even going to touch on the postpartum thing. Its glories might be enough for me to wish I could be pregnant an extra month if it meant that nonsense would go away. 

God is so gracious though. He is a master of design and distraction. For many women pregnancy is difficult. For many women getting to pregnancy is hard. If someone gave you a personalized list of all that was going to happen to you during pregnancy and labor, you probably wouldn’t say “I’m lovin’ it” like you’re at McDonalds. The reality is more like Nike: “just do it.” What does God do though? When you hold your child for the first time, whether it is your first or your fourth, everything rough that had happened during labor or pregnancy melts away. You forget. You are distracted by this little miracle.

Though I am currently thinking about the end of this pregnancy, knowing baby has to have an exit route, I can be joyous in incredible anticipation. At the end of the day I will get to hold my son. Everything will have been worth it and his daddy and I will bask in awe of him.

As per usual, this post has taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I was simply meaning to update y’all on my Plexus journey, but something else happened. I’ll try to circle the wagon and pull this together. A lot has me thankful. Whenever days are rough I make thankfulness lists and am quickly reminded of how good I have it. These lists quickly lead me to worshipping the goodness of our God. This week I truly am thankful for this growing peanut inside me. I guess he’s actually a grapefruit according to the Bump. I am thankful that I feel energized this pregnancy. I am thankful that has come in the form of a company I never thought would be part of my life. There are so many people who struggle with things day in and day out. We are often tricked into thinking they are just part of life. For me fatigue and my weight were like that. They were battles I felt too overwhelmed to fight. If this sounds like you please reach out. They don’t have to be and you definitely don’t have to battle them alone.

You know where to find me. Here on the blog, my Facebook page, or my Plexus Page.   

It’s Friday y’all! Add that to your thankfulness list!

Week Two: It’s the Small Victories 

Yesterday was crazy. If my husband weren’t passed out in exhaustion, he would nod his head vehemently in agreement. I woke up late, and the girls did their rising and shining painfully early. As a result they weren’t really shining. Their bulbs were in fact out. For this momma early mornings are a key block of time for alone productivity, and that was now shot. Sometimes it’s hard to recover. 

All that being said, this day was headed for disaster. Not only were the girls’ bulbs out, but they were now hangry. I was all discombobulated and had forgotten about a dental appointment. This left Matt readjusting since he needed to be home to watch the girls. To make matters worse I went in for my appointment an hour early because I had gotten the time wrong. I came home, broke the news, and after about a half hour went back to the dentist. 

Thankfully my appointment was uneventful and thankfully Matt survived at home. By the time I returned the girls were shining. They love their daddy and relish having him to themselves.

Later in the afternoon, when I sat down to write and recoup from the crazy, I realized I had been on Plexus for exactly two weeks. (No idea what I’m talking about? Check out last weeks post HERE). I was also perplexed because for the first time in a week I could have eaten everything in the house. It perplexed me because I had not been tempted until today to have my usual stress snack fest. I was so excited on that score but what on earth was wrong with today? Then it hit me. My unopened slim packet was sitting there on the counter looking up at me. I had forgotten my pink drink!

So what is this pink drink? Most people think its just some weight loss tool and that makes them skeptical. That is indeed often a result, but there’s just so much more to it. I’ll be fleshing this out more as I write. For me weight loss isn’t exactly part of the natural trajectory because I’m pregnant. I do have to be careful though. I got that lovely talk from the midwife about keeping the weight gain on the lower end of the scale this pregnancy. Oye.

It has taken me a long time to circle the wagon, but thanks for bearing with me. Today was a small victory. Being a stay at home mom is a job I wouldn’t trade for anything, but lets face it – its rough sometimes. Sometimes a day of meltdowns can easily turn that serving of sanity Raisinets into the whole box. Sometimes getting out of bed feels like you’re Sam and Frodo on the Mount Doom homestretch. 

Yesterday was indeed crazy and a lot went wrong, but its only been two weeks and I already notice a difference in my body thanks to Plexus. It’s much easier to exercise and care when you don’t feel like sludge. Days are easier when you don’t feel like you’ll die if a nap doesn’t happen. It’s easier when I am much less tempted to eat off the stress. With the pink drink I feel like I have some serious help in my corner. Can you relate? Do you need some help? Talk to me. 

We’re all in this together. Happy Thursday Y’all! Friday is coming!

 

Frustration, Research and Change

I have spent the past few months researching, learning, and trying to discover how to keep my family as healthy as possible on a shoe string budget. It has been exhausting and often discouraging. I have been reading more about gut health than I ever thought possible. I battle fatigue and my weight. I have a grave relationship with sugar, and am tired of finding artificial dyes and other such nonsense in food and supplements.

Aside from my children, one of the aspects I love most about being a mom is the community. We are often all in the same boat. I am not the only mom budgeting. I am not the only mom trying to keep her family as healthy as possible. I’m not the only mom researching health issues. I’m not the only mom wondering if being constantly exhausted has to be a new normal. I am not the only mom struggling with her weight. I am not the only mom with a crazy sweet tooth. I am not alone.

Through research and my momma community I encountered Plexus. When ladies I trusted began to talk about the positive effect this company has had on their health and the health of their families, I half listened, half balked, but I couldn’t shake the curiosity. I got so curious and liked their products so much that I am now a Plexus ambassador myself. No I won’t be spotted in London at the American Embassy. I’m not that kind of ambassador. I will, however, be trying to get my body under control, from a health and wellness perspective, as well as my family and anyone else I am able to help.

Plexus is a boutique line of 19 high-quality, all natural supplements. No artificial ingredients. No artificial dyes. No nonsense. They are used to get at the root of some basic problems such as poor gut health and out of control blood sugar. These are huge contributing factors in fatigue, weight management, and sugar cravings.

Right now my favorite grouping of products is called the triplex combo. It includes Slim aka: The Pink Drink, Bio Cleanse, and ProBio5. The Pink Drink helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and was originally developed for diabetic patients. When your blood sugar is in line its much easier to fight sugar and food cravings. Sustained daily energy and weight management become much easier too because your body isn’t dealing with drastic energy crashes. Hurrah! BioCleanse and ProBio5 work in happy tandem to get your gut healthy. Did you know 70-80% of your immune system lives in your gut?! ProBio5 provides five strains of probiotic “good” bacteria. These strains work to boost nutrition absorption and leave you with a gut full of the bacteria you want, not of what you don’t. BioCleanse works along side to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract. Keeping it regular people!

“Be Trustworthy. Be Honest. Be reliable. Be responsible.”

These are the core company beliefs of Plexus … beliefs I can get behind. There are things as mommas we cannot control. We cannot control the exhaustion that comes from children who have a rough night sleeping. We still have to carry on. We cannot control days where dealing with disobedience and meltdowns drains us of all emotional energy. I know I’m not alone in wanting to crawl in a hole some days. I know I’m not alone in wanting to take hold of what is in my control. If  your troubles look like mine lets do something about it. Join me. Here’s me Plexus page. I am just starting on my journey but am encouraged. Please feel free to comment here on the blog or my Facebook page, here. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my journey. I will also be writing more about the products Plexus carries and why they have been so helpful.

I know its Monday but we’ve got this! Love you my fellow mommas!

As Good As It Gets 

This isn’t a long or well calculated post but more of a: we made it through Saturday *sigh* sort of post. 

This is my kitchen in real time. My dishwasher may revolt or need a good nights rest, but I am so thankful for it. It was a three cycle sort of day. I haven’t been caught up on dishes since our daughter got sick last month. Alas today I only have two skillets, one plate, a fork, and my large water container left to wash. 

I could hand wash them right now but I think I’ll go finish Princess Bride instead. Good night dear readers. Happy rest of your Saturday from this tired momma! 

The Cauliflower is Back

If you follow this blog you’ll know that cauliflower is a beloved veggie for this mum. I love the texture when its cooked. I love the texture when its raw. I love the flavor. I love that the florets look like little albino trees. I’m a nut. I know this. I love how cauliflower can be such a blank canvas. Quite frankly the only thing I don’t like about cauliflower is when you have to cut it up. The little shards are about as irritating as packing peanuts.   

Alas I digress. Last month I experimented with faux alfredo sauce, and today I experimented with faux mashed potatoes. Alright no one revolt. Please hear me out. Nothing will take the place of good mashed potatoes for this midwestern girl. This is a nice recipe, however, when you need something that reminds you of mashed potatoes in texture lusciousness, but doesn’t contain copious amounts of starch, butter or cream. 

I found this recipe idea on the Whole Foods website but altered it a good deal. Surprise, surprise. I added one russet potato to ease the family into it but it was delish. The key to this dish, like with the faux alfredo sauce, was cheese. You could get away with lots of different cheese options  here but I had a brick of parmesan on hand, so I used that. 

The instructions are very simple. Add one head of roughly chopped cauliflower to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover until tender. Reserve a half cup of cooking water and drain the rest. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse and blend the cauliflower. While pulsing, add a teaspoon of reserved cooking liquid (at a time) until you reach your desired texture. I got mine too thin so be cautious. Next add a tablespoon of parsley and a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Pulse a couple more times until incorporated. Fold in a cup of grated parmesan cheese or cheese of your choice. Think of a happy melter with a milder flavor. This is not the time for blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and you’re done. I told you that was simple! 

Pair your cauliflower mash with fish, chicken, or another protein. Tonight the girls and I had it with pan seared, crusted tilapia and sautéed zucchini. It was simple, quick, and yummy. I wish I had had some fresh brussel sprouts on hand because I love mixing them with mashed potatoes. Its the perfect bite. We’ll try that next time. If you’re freaking out on the suggestion of sprouts trust me and Redeem the Brussel Sprouts. There is bacon involved so it’ll be alright.

Happy Cauliflowering Y’all!  

Note: I know that for some of you dairy is not an option. If so, cook your cauliflower in chicken stock and leave out the cheese. Season well with salt, pepper and maybe a spice that you would normally use in your mashed potatoes. You’ll still have a nice, luscious puree fit to accompany any protein you choose.  

Mocha Ice Cream with an Extra Shot: Helping Students get Through finals Since 2016 

Chocolate and coffee are a match made in heaven. During finals week they are a match that works. My husband is completing the third year of his masters degree at Dallas Theological Seminary, and by April most students look incredibly stressed. They talk less and have certain zombie qualities. School is a blessing but produces lots of wear and tear especially when it comes to sleep.  

I’ve never quite known what to call my coffee chocolate ice cream. I’ve never quite understood the jamocha term, however  I haven’t met anything labeled jamocha that I didn’t enjoy. According to the dictionary, jamocha is a combination of java (coffee) and mocha (espresso and chocolate). Okay so that’s a bit redundant, but maybe the idea is chocolate with  two times the coffee? Whatever it is or whatever you want to call it, the idea of coffee and chocolate together is  B-E-A-Utiful, and I can get behind that. For my purposes we’re just gonna go with mocha for simplicity. 

The past few weeks have been full of Mocha orders, with one wife asking me if I could amp up the espresso powder, as a way of helping her hubby get through finals. Bless him. I amped it up and the result was delicious but woo hoo it was strong! Whether you are simply a fan of the coffee chocolate combination or whether coffee keeps you running on a daily basis or whatever your reason, its a heck of a lot healthier than chugging energy drinks or soda. 

Next time you need a little boost give this recipe a whirl. This past week I added chocolate ribbons and almonds to experiment with more texture and flavor dimension. Oh heavens. Just think of one of Baskin Robins tride and true flavors: Jamocha Almond Fudge. 

  
Mocha Ice Cream 

Adapted from the Recipe featured in Taste of Home by Dick McCarty

Ingredients

2-1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup baking cocoa

4 ounces milk chocolate 

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee granules, or more to taste

Dash salt

3 cups milk with a milkfat of 2% or higher

5 eggs, beaten

4 cups half-and-half, divided

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions

In a large saucepan, warm 2 cups of the half – and – half over medium heat. When warmed add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add milk chocolate. Stir until smooth. Pour into an airtight container large enough to hold all the dairy for this recipe and set a mesh strainer atop. 

Over medium heat, put the original saucepan back on the stove and add the milk, the other 2 cups of half – and – half, sugar, flour, coffee and salt. 

While waiting for the above conglomoration to heat up, whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl. When starting to gently simmer, add a cup of the milk mixture slowly to the whisked eggs, whisking as you pour. This will temper the eggs so you don’t get anything resembling a breakfast scramble floating about in your custard. 

Once that step is complete slowly pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking as you pour. Pull out a wooden spoon, metal spoon, or sturdy spatula and babysit by gently stirring almost constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon or spatula.  In other words run your finger through and if it leaves a clear path without running, you’re good to go.  This should take anywhere from 10-15 minutes. 

Pour the mixture through the wire strainer so that it joins with your earlier chocolate mixture. Stir well and let come to room temperature. Place a piece of cling wrap over the top, directly making contact with the top of your custard, like you would when covering guacamole. Place in the refrigerator until chilled, preferably overnight. 

Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions and store. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes prior to serving. 

Yields: 2 generous quarts.

If you’d like to try adding chocolate ribbons see my post titled : The Iconic Magic Shell from Childhood. It’ll walk you through the process. Its an easy peasey step that will literally take you a minute to do. Take the minute. You’ll never be satisfied with throwing chocolate chips in your ice cream again.

Happy Mocha-ing Sleepy Heads! Hang in there. Summer is coming!  

When you Feel like the Venus of Willendorf Here’s Three Steps

“I feel like the Venus of Willendorf”
“The what?”
“The Venus of Willendorf”
“What on earth is that?”
“Google it”

I thought about including the image but that would take away from the hype and fun of you discovering the Venus, for the first time, in all her google glory. If you already know what this art history nut is talking about we can cringe or share a sorroful chuckle together. The conversation above happened between my husband and me well over a year ago when our second daughter Sophia was a month old. I weighed less with my second pregnancy, but had shockingly less muscle mass. I really struggled to get back in shape, and to be honest, I still am. 

There are lots of post-pregnancy things people don’t warn you about that realists like me wish they would. No one warns you that you’ll feel like you have elephant skin where your tummy used to be.  The baby does’t arrive and make all well with what’s been happening to your stomach for nine months. The baby comes and joyfully distracts you. After your elephant skin has been around for a few weeks post delivery, and especially if you’re nursing, which could be a post all in itself, it’s easy to feel like the Venus of Willendorf. 

Ladies despite how its coming off, this post is meant to encourage, so bear with me. As Jim Gaffigan says:

“… truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” 

― Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat

Ladies when we have a baby whether its via cesarian, in a hospital, at home, with drugs or without, its amazing. Life is amazing and how our bodies were designed is amazing. There will be times when the majority of us will have Venus of Willendorf moments. The tummy is weird and the chest is in rare form but look at the reward. Children are a gift from the Lord and I’m sure you wouldn’t trade them (most days) for perfectly chiseled abs. 

As a person who has struggled for years with image and weight I understand. In moments where its tempting to stay in the sweats and the spit up t-shirt, fight for these three steps. Fight to get out of the rut. My mum does this well and I’m slowly catching on. Wink wink. 

  1. Freshen the makeup. Lift the lashes, conceal those under-eye, i’ve had no sleep, circles, blush the cheeks and pop on some lip gloss. Eyeliner and eyeshadow take me too long but if you can manage knock your socks off.  
  2. Rock a quick, messy bun, pony, or side braid. Everytime I see dry shampoo in the hair products aisle I chuckle. I’m a mom. The look people try to achieve with the dry shampoo I can achieve easily because sometimes getting a shower is harder than finding a three-legged ballerina, as John Candy would say. 
  3. Wear something that makes you feel pretty. We are not so expectedly expecting baby number three, and I still feel like I’m working off baby number two. Discouragement in the wardrobe department can be a daily reality. I recently traded several quarts of homemade ice cream for a kimono from the lovely lady behind The Firebrand Apparel. Colleen works magic with her fabric choices and does it all surrounded by two busy, sweet little boys. I know she’s had the same effect on other gals, but my kimono from her is the one thing that makes me feel pretty. I can wear it with almost anything, it flows beautifully, and it’s fuss-free.  Check out her site and get one ordered. You’ll be glad you did.   

There are days when you feel like you’re chained to the couch nursing a baby, or that your yoga pants are your only friend,  or you can’t remember when you last showered … you can make your own list but, I call these my Venus of Willendorf days. Take a moment. Take a breath. Freshen the makeup, rock a quick updo, and find that go-to look in your wardrobe that makes you feel pretty. You can face the day with new energy. Although your surroundings will likely go unchanged, you are blessed and your outlook just might be a bit brighter. 

Happy Venus of Willendorf Day Slaying!