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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!

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!  

“I Hate Waiting”

This post could also appropriately be titled The Never Ending Virus. This morning was the first time in five weeks that I was able to be a part of the worship and teaching service at our church. I cried through most of the songs and even though Sophia was not well enough to be in nursery we were at church and my lap view looked something like this … Precious. 

  

I wish she could have been toodling around with her precious brood of friends in the nursery, but I don’t know that I’ve ever been so thankful to be at church. The body of Christ truly is or should be balm for the soul. As many of you know our Sophia has had a wicked virus for the past month which lead to over two pounds of weight loss, three weeks of throwing up and many trips to the doctors office. My children have never had pink eye, ear infections, strep, etc., but they sure know how to claim the viral illnesses. I often wish there was something they could take to make the misery go away but with viruses all you can do is wait. 

“I hate waiting”

… as a brilliant Spaniard once said. If you don’t know of which movie I speak I’ll get over it eventually. I think The Princess Bride has a brilliant quote for almost every life situation. If you haven’t seen it please do yourself a favor and do so. And don’t rent it – just buy it. It’s a classic. The book is pretty fabulous too if you need a novel adventure. 

Sorry for the aside but waiting can often be discouraging. Sophia’s virus was so wearing. One of the most difficult things in parenting is watching your children be sick, knowing there’s very little you can do to help. This morning as she slept through church, with still a touch of fever, I was wondering what God was up to. Nothing surprises Him. He allowed her to be sick. Why? Someday I’ll know but for now I am trusting that He is at work trying to draw me near or further urging me to trust Him. Right now I am simply praising Him for this small respit and a chance to be outside our apartment, amongst people I love and treasure. I am thankful our eldest daughter is playing with her friends, whom she has missed so dearly. She has had her moments/afternoons/nights of trouble but her compassion towards her sister and her patience with having to be cooped up, due to Sophia’s illness, has been extraordinary. 

As I write this I cannot help but think of a similar season of sickness we endured with our oldest, Izzy. She was not even a year when she got a virus that attacked her digestive system. There are certain verses I couldn’t get out of my head if I tried. II Corinthians 12:8 is one of those. 

“… My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

At least in the English translation I have, Paul uses the present tense here. If my hubby weren’t in the midst of finals I would ask him for help with the Greek but God’s grace “Is sufficient.” It’s not past tense. It doesn’t have an end date. It is ever present, ever available, and ever sufficient! My days look very different than the apostle Paul’s but we have Christ in common. Everyone who puts their hope and trust in the Lord has this promise. When we are weak He is strong. Have you trusted Him? I am always weak. On days when my heart reeks of things that are not pleasing . . . on days where I am not patient, loving, and kind to my husband and my daughters . . . I need the Lord and am thankful for His grace and forgiveness.  There have been many days of exhaustion, grumpiness and easy irritability recently, but praise God for forgiveness and the grace to endure.  

What I did not know when I started writing this post is that Sophia’s string of illness would last six weeks. She ended up getting type B flu as well due to her immune system being so compromised. I know there are parents who endure months, seasons, years with sick children, and this gave me a small glimpse into what their lives are like. I cannot imagine the emotional and physical strain. Sophia’s illness made me think more purposefully about my surroundings and I would encourage y’all to do so as well. How can we serve and love our neighbors well? There is never a shortage of people who need help, encouragement, a meal, a loaf of fresh bread, a hand around the house, a break from their normal … the list is endless. Look around you this week and find a way to serve someone. I guarantee it will not be hard. 

   

Here are two of my more recent favorite pictures. Glad to see a healthy Sophia and some joy in the eyes of my girls!

  
Love y’all! 

For the Love of Branches: Spring Update

There is finally something Spring-ish up on the branches in our dining room.  With the help of my eldest daughter Izzy we added some life. She kept telling me the branches needed color and I quite agreed. We rummaged through my craft bin and ended up with a whimsical bird theme of sorts so without further ado: Spring Above the Wilson Table. 

  
  
I would still love to see how you use tree branches inside your home so send some snaps! 

Happy Spring Branching!

Reason #1573 to Love Aldi & a Few Ways for your Maiden Voyage not to be Embarassing

I don’t really have 1573 reasons to love Aldi but I could give you a substantial list. It has been a place of huge blessing for our family budget. I started shopping there almost ten years ago when I moved into my first independent apartment. It was the first time I truly had to pay my own bills and cook, since I wasn’t eating at the college dorm hall or at my parents. I wanted to eat well and save money so I did maybe half of my shopping there. Fast forward a few years and I was now newly married. I was in charge not just of myself but of Matt’s meals too. I continued to get about half our groceries at Aldi and supplemented with places like Dillon’s (Kroger to you south of the Texas border folk), our local Applemarket, and Target. There’s been a lot of fast forwarding but bear with me and fast forward a few more years, a new state, and two kiddos later. I am even more thankful for Aldi than I was ten years ago, and am proud of what they are trying to accomplish with regards to removing synthetic dyes and ingredients from all their branded products (most of what they offer), by the end of the year. Due to their Simply Nature line, as well as an increasing choice of organics and USDA meats, I no longer have to significantly supplement with other stores. Our grocery shopping is now done about 90% at Aldi. 

On a weekly basis I am able to save anywhere from 10-40% compared to other grocery stores. If you’ve never been and need the dollars to stretch further than you think possible, without sacrificing the health of you or your family, give Aldi a try. You’ll be happy you did. 

I’m working on an article for next week that outlines some of my favorite products (and why), as well as a few things to stear clear of, but until then here are some tips to make you look like a seasoned Aldi shopper if you’ve never been. The first trip can be infinitely embarrassing if you don’t know how things run, so here are some quick tips I wish I had know before my maiden voyage. 

  1. Before you leave your car to approach the store grab a quarter. You need this to get a cart. There’s a slot you slip said quarter in to unlock your cart. If you don’t bring a quarter you’ll simply stand there pulling on the carts like a crazy person (yes I did this), wondering why they don’t release. Some Aldi patron might just give you their cart or hand you a quarter in pity but save yourself the embarrassment and just bring one with you. 
  2. They do not bag your groceries. Your groceries get put righ back into a cart and you bag them after you pay. You can purchase paper or plastic bags at the register if you so desire but I always bring my reusables. Save a tree and some other resources right? This is my girls favorite part and I quite like it too. They love being responsible for loading a bag and I’ve always secretly wanted to be a grocery checker. 
  3. They do not take credit cards. They take debit transactions, checks or cash. Made this mistake on my maiden voyage too, but thankfully had my check book. 
  4. When you return your cart you get your quarter back. Happy day! They money you save would make it worth losing a quarter but you get it back when you re-hook your cart. Just do the reverse of what you did to get it out and you’ll be good to go. 

There you have it. Basic tips to surviving your maiden voyage like you’re a professional Aldi shopper. 

Happy Alding 😉

For the Sake of an Update

Happy New Year dear reader! As I revisited my ‘about’ page this afternoon I realized it was quite out of date, so without further ado here’s an update to start 2016. This mum still loves Wellies. That much will never change and my Anglophile self will never tire of rain. My (now) three year old still loves puddle jumping as much as me and has outgrown three pairs of Wellies. Our youngest, Sophia, has almost grown into the smallest ones and I believe will be a stellar puddle enthusiast like her sister. Last week she fell into a puddle of cold water and was more frustrated at being removed than she was at being cold. If you’ve been with me since the beginning or if you’ve merely caught up, you’ll realize there’s my big update. We’ve had another baby since I started this blog. My husband and I welcomed Sophia Miette to our family on November 2, 2014. 

   

The first (above) picture was taken the week we brought her home and the second was taken this fall. She is a sweet, cheeky munchkin and I believe could not be more different than her sister! 

Right now Izzy’s passions include anything with dragons and princesses. She likes to get grungy and be outside, but we must do it in a princess dress. Izzy loves to read, paint, cook, and I feel would have made an excellent medieval bard. She is constantly making up songs and stories to be performed to her stuffed animal audience on a daily basis. Sophia eats everything and is a complete scavenger. After seeing the new Star Wars film my husband and I call her ‘Rey’ in jest. She will disappear and emerge with all sorts of treasures (mostly pantry and fridge items). She is our snuggler, has a ornery laugh and is a determined little thing. Watching the two of them together is precious and often highly entertaining. 

We still live in Texas where my husband is halfway through his masters in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). We moved with our daughter Izzy, from Kansas to Texas almost three years ago to the day. The two pictures below are of her. She was seven months in the first and is now three and a half. 

     

We are blessed to be here in Dallas, and with almost three DTS years under our belts, we continue to feel less and less like fishes out of water. This adventure has come with a lot of difficult growth and trust but when we are weak He is strong. We have continued to see the Lord’s faithfulness beyond what we ever could have imagined, and are excited to see what He has in store for our growing clan.
 
 

This blog continues to be an outlet for my life as a stay-at-home mum and I continue to write in the hope that someday it will become something honed and refined. I am committed to you dear reader and am blessed by you. Thank you for bearing with me as I continue in this endeavor and I pray the recipes and moments of mummy honesty are a blessing to you and honoring in the eyes of my Savior. Happy New Year dear reader, whoever you may be!