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Are you getting enough gelatin in your diet?
You may have heard about the benefits of gelatin in your diet. If not, some of the benefits include healthier, smoother skin, healing of the gut and improved digestion, stronger hair and nails, and it’s great for your joints. Gelatin contains 18 amino acids and collagen, both of which are essential to good health and radiant beauty. It’s also a healthy source of protein. Making gummies is a quick and easy way to get that gelatin into your day.
Making your own gummies is easy and healthy.
Just like making any food from scratch, you are in control of the ingredients – instead of a large corporation who may be more concerned about their bottom line than your health. Choosing the highest quality ingredients you can afford means your gummies will be healthier than commercially processed products. I am currently using Great Lakes gelatin, and am excited to try the Just Gelatin offered through the Trim Healthy Mama store.
Make sure you are purchasing the right product, though, or your gummies won’t set.
Collagen hydrolysate is not the same as gelatin. The Great Lakes brand of collagen comes in the green can, you want the orange can for making gummies. Trim Healthy Mama also offers Integral Collagen, but again it will not set up like gelatin, making it great for adding to beverages like your morning coffee for an extra protein boost.
Add lemon juice and turmeric to boost the health factor.
Turmeric is amazing stuff, truly. I’ve read reports stating that it fights inflammation, helps with weight loss, is a natural pain reliever, antibacterial, helps with sleep…the list is quite long indeed.
I can tell you that I once used mustard to relieve the horrible burning pain I had after cutting a bunch of banana peppers while not wearing gloves. They’re not that hot, I don’t need gloves, I thought.
Trust me. Wear the gloves. But if you do end up with burn-y pepper hands, slather some mustard on them. Both the turmeric, whose active ingredient is curcumin, and the vinegar in mustard brought practically instant relief.
The vitamin C in the lemon juice is helpful for your immune system. I’m feeling kind of scratchy-throated these last few days, so being proactive and getting extra nutrients into my system at the onset almost always helps me not get sick.
Please remember, I am not a doctor. I’m just sharing what works for me. Be responsible and do your own research!
I ate several of these while writing this post. Because I didn’t want to stop and make lunch! Not the best thing to do, but better than eating nothing.
Gummies make it easy to add extra protein.
Sometimes getting enough protein in my day is tough. I don’t always feel like cooking something for lunch and it’s easier to just throw together a salad. I don’t always have easy protein choices to throw in that salad available. Adding a few gummies to my meals or as a quick snack between meals helps me stay on track with my Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.
I was craving some lemon gummies last night, so I made some. I had looked up recipes weeks ago but never got around to making them. I just threw this together without looking up any recipes…it seemed like it would work in my head – and it did! I added mineral salt as well as turmeric, two things my body really needs right now.
How to get the gummies out of the mold.
You can easily make gummies in a baking dish and just cut them into whatever size pieces you like. But if you use a mold, like the silicone ice cube tray I used, they can be hard to remove sometimes.
I set my tray of gummies in a baking dish with hot water for a few minutes. While it was sitting there with the hot water loosening the bottoms, I took a small paring knife and ran it around the edges of each gummy to loosen the sides. They popped out fairly easily then.
For Trim Healthy Mama Followers, this recipe is a Fuel Pull. Enjoy at will!
**Just a note: I used Gluccie to keep the turmeric from settling out as the gummies set. It is an entirely optional ingredient, and you can probably replace it with xanthan gum just fine if you like.**
- 1 c lemon juice
- 1 c water
- 4 Tbs gelatin
- 3 - 4 Tbs Pyure Organic Stevia
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Mineral Salt
- 1/4 tsp Gluccie (gluccomannan powder), optional but helps keep the turmeric from settling. Can use xanthan gum instead.
- 4-6 ice cubes
- In a small sauce pan, combine the lemon juice, turmeric, water, stevia and salt.
- Sprinkle gelatin over the top of the liquid and let it sit to "bloom" for a few minutes.
- Over medium-low heat, stir until gelatin is dissolved completely.
- Sprinkle Gluccie in slowly while whisking constantly util dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add ice cubes, stirring until slightly thickened.
- Pour into molds or an 8x8 baking dish.
- Refrigerate several hours until set.
- I used a silicone ice cube tray and this cute heart shaped silicone mold to make my gummies. To remove them easily, I set the trays in a pan of hot water for a few minutes. The hearts popped right out. With the ice cube tray, I also took a small paring knife and ran it around the edges of the gummies to loosen the sides while the tray sat in the hot water.
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It’s time for a Reality Check.
We need a reality check from time to time, mamas. Life gets busy. Complicated. Stuff happens…or doesn’t. Failing to take a moment and be realistic about where we are and where we want to be is kind of like keeping our head in the sand.
How can we adjust our course if we refuse to acknowledge when we have wandered off from it?
First things first, what’s your course?
If you don’t know what your course is, it’s kind of hard to know if you’re off, right? I’m not an expert at goal setting, but I can tell you that if you don’t define some sort of mark to hit, chances are pretty good that you will never hit anything.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, you just need to know where you’re going.
Once you know where you’re going, you can more easily gauge if you’re at least headed in the right direction.
REALITY CHECK: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail ~Benjamin Franklin
Now, evaluate your actions, or lack thereof.
What are you doing that is helping you reach your goal? Those are good things, keep it up! Are you doing anything that is hindering your progress? I don’t have to say it, right…but stop it!
Easier said than done sometimes, I realize. There are often many factors driving our negative behaviors. Taking the time to get to the root of those bad habits or negative tendencies is a worthwhile endeavor. We really don’t have time to waste on things that keep us unproductive, ineffective and sidetracked from our goals.
Sometimes, there are circumstances beyond our control. Not everything is a circumstance beyond our control though, and assuming we can’t do anything about a particular situation isn’t going to help you get where you’re going. Sometimes you need to think outside the box, or ask someone else for insight. But, for those circumstances that you truly can’t change, sometimes you just have to do the best you can and hang in there until that circumstance changes.
REALITY CHECK: Are my circumstances really beyond my control? Am I blaming others or other things for something that is actually my own doing? If it really is beyond my control, is there anything I can do to work around these challenges?
Make adjustments as necessary and put action to them.
Once you have identified what is interfering with you reaching your goal, decide right then what corrective measures to take. Then make it happen.
Again, often easier said than done, but if you don’t try you’ll never get back on track. You can keep doing what isn’t working, or try something new. Your choice! Isn’t that great? You have the freedom to choose. I love that!
REALITY CHECK: Remember the definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over expecting different results each time. Really, who’s got time for that?
Write this stuff down!
There is something about writing stuff down. It makes it more permanent, in a way. If you write it down, then you have to do it, right? Write it down in a journal, on a dry erase board, make a creative and artistic list on a piece of fancy scrapbook paper. Carve it into stone, if you wish. Just make sure that list is where you will see it every day.
Maybe you hate setting goals. I get that…I can’t say it’s always been my favorite thing either. Guess, what? There’s a book for that! My affiliate partner has both paperback and electronic versions available – The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People who Hate Setting Goals, by Kieth Ellis.
REALITY CHECK: Can I see that list every day? It is especially important for out-of-sight-out-of-mind types to see that list daily!
Make a date to reevaluate your course, and keep it.
Once you have your course of action defined, remember to make a date with yourself for another reality check. You are worth it, seriously. Take yourself out for a fancy cup of coffee. Bring your journal, or your phone with an app like Notepad+, and spend some time looking at what you’ve done that’s working and what is not.
Be brutally honest with yourself, don’t sugar coat anything…that’s one of those things that hinders your progress. Because sugar is bad for you, remember? 😉
REALITY CHECK: Are you regularly evaluating your plan? Are you honest with yourself?
Sounds great, now let’s be real.
All that stuff I just wrote sounds pretty good, right? So let me take my own advice. Here’s my Reality Check for February:
KEEPING IT REAL ABOUT MY THM JOURNEY
What’s the Plan? Live the Trim Healthy Mama Lifestyle 100%. Lose the rest of this weight and keep myself healthy. Exercise regularly.
What’s the Reality? The reality is that since I got back from the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken in my entire life, the one that motivated me to start Trim Healthy Mama in the first place, I have gotten lazy. I’ve let too many “cheats” in. I’ve flat out not cared about what I was eating at least once a week. The brutally honest reality is that I’ve gained back some weight. Some of my clothes are starting to feel a little snug. I don’t feel so great anymore…both physically and emotionally, because I’ve let myself down. I’m not exercising, at all.
What Changes am I going to make?
- Pray daily. Pray for the strength to make good choices and resist temptation.
- Quit telling myself “Just this once” – remember when I first started THM, regain that same determination and quit making excuses for off-plan choices.
- Remember that my health depends on what I put in my body. I must make good, on-plan choices.
- Plan my meals – and stick to the plan.
- Exercise – that means doing TTap Basic Workout Plus because it works, and I can do a 15 minute workout!
- Be accountable for every bite. Log every thing I eat or drink every day. Using my YouFood app (formerly TwoGrand) helps me stay accountable, but even then I can easily choose not to post something. Join a challenge group to help me stay motivated.
- Choose a weight loss goal and reward for reaching it. When my clothes start getting loose again, buy a new outfit. A brand new outfit, not a thrift store one this time. On clearance though, since I won’t be wearing it long. Why not choose a number of pounds lost? Because the scale is just one representation of weight loss, and not always accurate. How my clothes fit is a better indicator, and I don’t want to be a slave to the scale and numbers.
This was hard to write, to be honest.
I don’t want to admit I’ve fallen off the wagon, but the truth is, I have. I am not defeated, just off course. I can get back on track, the choice is up to me.
This is a collage of what I did, thanks to Trim Healthy Mama. I’m going to print this reality check out and put it where I see it every day, because I’m an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of person. I need a visual reminder of what I can accomplish when I resolve to do something.
Join me on the first Monday of every month for Reality Check Monday.
Since a reality check is a good thing, join me here on the first Monday of every month. Let’s get real about where we are and encourage one another. I’d love to hear your own Reality Check for today if you’d like to share, so please leave a comment below!
Visit Oh Sweet Mercy on Facebook and share your own reality check, follow me on YouFood (@OhSweetMercy) or Instagram and use the hashtag #realitycheckmonday
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Today, I looked at my desk.
It looked back…mocking me. I decided I wasn’t going to let my desk ‘dis’ me like that. And I had a re-visitation of starry host singing hallelujah and radiant glory shining down upon me (or How I Found the Possible Holy Grail of Paper Organization).
And behold, a revelation on how to decide what to title the six sections in my (possible) Holy Grail of Paper Organization Tools for the Piler, the Pendaflex Smartfile appeared! It was so simple, it was practically absurd.
Thou shalt start sorting through the papers on thy desk and see what kind of piles develop. Then shall thee consolidate, if necessary, to achieve Six Categories. When thou hast discovered the Six Categories, label the Index Sheet with the categories in the most logical (for thou) order…frequency of use. Then shall thou becomest organized.
My messy desk before…
This is our bill organization system.
Are you a Piler or a Filer? How do you handle paper organization? I’d LOVE to hear what works for you so please leave a comment below!
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If you are like me, you have piles.
Because organizing doesn’t always come easily for you.
Deep down inside, you WANT to have files…neatly color-coded, alphabetized files in fashionable designs housed in cute but functional receptacles for said files. You want the contents to be neatly arranged, so whatever contract, bill, recipe or other item magically appears the instant you look for it.
The reality is that files just don’t work for some people. Some of us just pile, that’s all there is to it. Trying to force a Piler to become a Filer is a complete waste of time and an exercise in futility. Piler minds are wired differently than Filer minds.
As an unrepentant Piler, I am always on the look-out for that one Magic Thing. That Holy Grail of Organizing.
That one piece of equipment, furniture, or a system that will satisfy my Piler tendencies while producing the tidy orderliness of the Filer way. I have tried many different apparatus, all with the same results…works for a while, but before you know it, the Piles are back.
It’s incredibly frustrating. I am a reasonably intelligent adult…and I am bigger than these Piles, so why can’t I master them?
I was wandering around Meijer one evening and as I passed through the aisle that contains the filing supplies my eyes happened to glance upon this:
This is the Pendaflex PileSmart Project Sorter. The “PileSmart” is what caught my eye. It gives validation to my preferred method of paper management.
It claims to help you “Organize Piles and Projects For A Clutter-Free Desktop” using “6 Color-Coded Sections To Sort and Retrieve Papers.” You can also “Customize Sections With Blank Index Sheet” (and it includes a few extras).
When I saw this, it was almost like one of those Hollywood ‘hallelujah’ moments!
Almost like a choir of starry host singing and radiant glory shining down upon me.
“This is it!” I told myself. “This is The Thing I’ve been looking for to get those piles under control! No longer will organizing papers be a struggle!”
There’s only one small problem…(and no one who knows me will be shocked by this).
I haven’t yet started using this miracle purchase yet because…
I CAN’T DECIDE WHAT THE SIX SECTIONS SHOULD BE NAMED.
Whenever I start trying to decide what should go where, I am immediately distressed that there are only six sections. What If I need more? And, in what order should they be arranged? Alphabetical? Frequency of use? And what if, horror of horrors, I get it set up and decide I need to change something?
I am completely paralyzed by indecision.
This brings to light the possibility that my Piler problem is rooted in some deep, psychological quagmire. Is it Perfectionism rearing its ugly head? (If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all). Or maybe, Fear of Failure (what if I assign categories and it doesn’t work?). I did a search on ‘psychological root of indecision’, which produced a link to an abstract called Perceptions of parental control and the development of indecision among late adolescent females.
…it appears that a major source of the development of decisional procrastination tendencies in late adolescent females lies within the home environment. As expected, authoritarian parents who exercise overcontrol and inflexibility of authority untempered by warmth or support, were perceived by daughters as having a parental style that influenced their inclination toward indecision. Having authoritative parents, perceived as accepting and supportive of their children while flexible in their use of authority, and permissive parents, perceived as accepting without use of parental authority, were unrelated to decisional procrastination scores of daughters.
Certainly makes me think about how I parent my children…
Whether I can blame my parents for my inability to make decisions or not is irrelevant.
The fact remains that no matter how marvelous this product may be (I may never know, at this rate)…it will only work if I actually use it. Nowhere on the label is any claim made that this product will actually organize your papers for you. Or that piles will be magically attracted to it and just end up in there on their own accord.
I’m glad it was not outrageously expensive…$3.99 isn’t too bad, but the Penny Pincher in me is quite irate that I bought yet another organizational ‘gizmo’ and it’s just sitting there.
On top of a Pile.
Read more about this potential Holy Grail of Organizing Here
Do you struggle with organizing papers or do you have a system that works? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below!
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Mister asks me all the time to make him poached eggs.
My answer is usually “No, Mister, I’m not making poached eggs this morning.”
I stink at making poached eggs, you see, and since I’m not really what you call a “morning person,” starting my day out with an epic failure is not my idea of fun. I don’t need that kind of stress in my life, let me tell you.
But as a loving mommy who wants to make things that her children will eat, especially if they ask for something healthy, it breaks my heart that I can not poach an egg. I remember eating poached eggs on toast as a kid and it was one of my favorite breakfasts. Maybe because we didn’t have it often…but at least my mom could poach an egg! Poached eggs and pie crusts are two things I did not inherit my mom’s talents in making.
If you put an egg on something, it’s suddenly gourmet…Like this Pan Seared Creole Seasoned Salmon. Get the recipe for My Favorite Creole Seasoning Blend here.
If you can’t poach an egg the traditional way, why not cheat?
Or maybe we’ll call it Working Smarter Not Harder. Or Actively Reducing Stress in My Life to Make Me a Better Mom. However you look at it, when you find something that will help you overcome a shortcoming, run with it, right?
So when I got a chance to try out these Silicone Egg Poachers (available through my affiliate partner) I jumped on it. Finally, maybe, my son could have those beloved poached eggs he so longingly desired.
They have a molded ring on the bottom to keep them stable on the counter.
Simply crack your eggs into the poachers, season as desired, plop carefully into a pot of boiling water and cover with a lid. In five minutes, you have a poached egg with a runny yolk. Cook longer if you don’t like runny yolks. Then take a spoon and gently ease the poached egg out of the silicone egg poacher. Easy!
The silicone egg poacher works very well at poaching eggs.
I was a little less thrilled at how they cleaned up in the dishwasher, but then I use cheap dishwasher tabs from Aldi so that may have been part of the problem. They clean up fairly easily by hand though. In the dishwasher, there was an egg residue left behind.
What else can you do with a silicone egg poacher?
Products that can be used for more than one thing really make me happy. What else can you do with a silicone egg poacher? How about melt baking chocolate, coconut oil, butter, or other hard substances that melt at high temps?
You could use them to reheat small portions of leftovers. Maybe not all that practical, but when you’ve got kids, sometimes you have to make leftovers more attractive. That leftover stuff they turned up their noses at when you mentioned it just might be more appealing when you tell a tale of colorful ships floating on a steamy sea…full of pirate grub.
If you don’t have a microwave, these silicone egg poachers can make reheating and melting small portions easier.
If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, you can use these silicone egg poachers to melt chocolate and coconut oil to make Skinny Chocolate. I made some with cream cheese centers…I’ll get the recipe posted soon! They were simply to die for! You could also try Dark Chocolate Coconut Nom Noms or, if peanut butter is more your style, how about Coconutty Peanut Nom Noms.
Read why I’m a Trim Healthy Mama here!
What’s the verdict?
I love them. In spite of them not really cleaning well in the dishwasher, they are still a product I will use often. Mister gets his poached eggs. I get to make him happy. And besides, Sister does most of the dishes anyway so I’m not bothered at all by cleaning them in the sink by hand.
It’s been a month since my last blog post, I don’t know where the time has gone! The last several weeks have been busy with “getting through the holidays,” fellowship gatherings, and adjusting to life with a black lab puppy. Well ok, that last one is probably where the time has gone. She is pretty high-maintenance…
Unlike my chickens.
In a bizarre twist of events, our little high-maintenance pup became an inadvertent hero.
I’ve been quite exhausted from not sleeping all night without interruption, since puppy has to go out at least twice to potty. She also thinks she needs to eat or play at 2 am. I’ve complained a bit about that. My baby is now almost eight years old and I’ve enjoyed at least five years of uninterrupted slumber…and I like it. A lot.
At 2 am on Wednesday, January 6 our little turd puppy woke me up to go out. As I was attaching her to her tie-out lead, I heard something outside and was a little afraid to open the door. When I opened it to let her out, I noticed that our chicken coop, that is built right on the side of our shed, was on fire!
The Inadvertent Hero Puppy
I woke hubby up and we rushed outside. He goes straight to the shed to rescue his motorcycle. I start dumping buckets of water on the fire. It took us half an hour but we finally got the fire fully extinguished. It was hard to tell the extent of the damage in the dark, but miraculously, the shed itself did not burn, only the one end of the coop floor, door and some of the framing attached to the coop.
If our puppy hadn’t needed to go out at that exact moment, the entire coop, the shed and its contents would have probably burned to the ground. Not to mention the possibility of it spreading to our home as we slept.
I’m not going to complain about her waking up in the middle of the night anymore, believe me!
Sadly, it was too late to rescue my poor hens.
A few were still alive, but severely struggling to breathe from the smoke. Most were already dead. The ones that were alive, hubby humanely put out of their misery. We thought we lost all the chickens, including our two noisy roosters.
We stayed up for several hours to make sure the fire did not flare up again. I was just absolutely devastated. My poor girls! They had all just started laying very well, too, so the loss of our egg-layers also hurts the grocery budget.
A fresh dippy egg and Buttery Garlic, Mushroom and Chive Spaghetti Squash for breakfast!
As morning began to dawn, we heard crowing.
Hubby and I looked at each other with looks of absolute surprise. Those darn roos survived! I had visions of them cowardly fleeing the coop and hiding under the deck while their hens perished in smoke and flames. And I just kept asking…why? Why couldn’t two hens have survived? We’ve been planning to butcher the roos because they are just so noisy. And they don’t lay eggs, which is why I have chickens in the first place.
I was dreading breaking the news to my kids.
We loved our little flock, especially the famous sassy bantam Hendini. We all just loved that little chicken. I planned on butchering older hens, but letting her live out her little chicken life until she peacefully passed away. I had no idea she would die like this, and it just broke my heart.
Prayers were answered, however – the kids took it way better than I have, to be honest. The puppy was even pretty good that day…unlike the day before when she was a little terror…again. I just wasn’t up for that, so I’m very grateful YHWH helped ease the pain of that day by helping my children not to be devastated and calming that little puppy beast.
Many people may think “they’re only chickens, get over it” but it’s not that simple for me.
Part of it is that yes, I was attached to those silly little hens. I loved their quirky personalities and how they would come running to me when I went outside. Their soft clucking and chuckling brought joy to my heart. That sassy little bantam’s antics always brought a smile to my face, if not laughter to my lips. I loved caring for them and collecting their yummy, healthy eggs.
I realized however, that the heaviness and pain I feel is not just from my attachment to them, but because they are YHWHs creatures, and I had a responsibility to care for them. I fed them, made sure they had water, kept their coop clean, talked to them…but they died a horrible death, on my watch. Under my care.
This sassy hen thought she’d snatch the strawberry right out of my bowl.
We think one of the lights in the coop got knocked off and landed in the nesting box, starting the fire. I should have been more diligent about inspecting the lights. I shouldn’t have bypassed the timer so the lights stayed on all night, but it’s just been so cold.
I just wanted to keep them warm, not roasted. Epic fail.
As I’ve been processing this tragedy, one thing keeps coming to mind.
I will give you beauty for ashes.
That kept repeating itself in my thoughts. I can’t comprehend why this had to happen, surely YWHW can give me beauty any old time he wants to, right? But I can’t shake that statement. I keep thinking about it over and over.
Sweet, sassy Hendini. In a box of hay in the shed, which she decided was her own personal nesting box.
So, what are you trying to tell me, YWHW?
I knew that beauty for ashes is from a scripture somewhere, so I looked it up. Turns out it’s from Isaiah 61, under the heading YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR.
1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
As I read through this portion of scripture, I also remembered how the oil of joy was so meaningful to me. I had struggled for years with depression and Hebrews 1:9 was a verse that often spoke to me, but I couldn’t understand why.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.
How could I be anointed with the oil of joy if I was depressed? Then one evening at church, during a time when an evangelist was speaking, I was miraculously healed of depression. I actually felt the sensation of warm oil flowing from my head down to my feet. I suddenly knew I had been believing a lie – believing that I was depressed and living accordingly. I went home and threw out my antidepressant medication and have never had another depressive episode again. I was healed and set free from the bondage of depression.
Hendini’s first little bitty egg
I’m going to spend some time meditating on this Isaiah passage. Praying and seeking whatever YHWH wants to show me or have me do. There’s a lot of action in there…proclaiming, helping the brokenhearted, setting captives free…sounds like he has something specific in mind for me to do.
Maybe YHWH wanted to get my attention and I haven’t been listening. I’ve sensed that this year ahead will be…interesting. A turning point, perhaps. A no-turning-back point even. That events will transpire, either in my life specifically or the world that will leave things shaken and changed forever. I know that whatever the future holds, it is held in my heavenly Father’s hand.
Apparently, I need to be able to find the beauty amidst the ashes.
A friend of mine reminded me that sometimes we need times of darkness to appreciate beauty.
When there is no distinction between things, it’s easy to take them for granted. When we go through dark times, it’s easier to see beauty – it’s such a stark contrast to darkness and pain.
I don’t know why my poor chickens had to die, and I am absolutely brokenhearted about it. But there was still a bright spot in that dark day – not only did two roosters survive, but we also discovered one hen made it! I’d much rather have hens instead of roosters, but I’m happy that at least three of the lives entrusted to my care are OK.
I cried today when I went out to feed the chickens. My tiny flock of survivors. They are still rather freaked out by the whole thing, understandably of course. They don’t run to me when I go out there…they run from me. It’s a reminder that I was entrusted with protecting them, and I let them down.
The girls would file by the patio door, clucking and pecking at the door. I always thought it seemed like some kind of chicken drive-through…and they weren’t happy about how fast their orders were ready!
It’s too quiet now. There’s no more soft clucking. Pepper isn’t there anymore to “laugh” and Hendini isn’t chittering and clucking and demanding to be let into the shed.
But I did find a bit of hope in the nesting box. One egg. From my one hen. It’s probably fertilized, and if I was set up for incubating eggs and hatching chicks, I could start hatching a new flock. We need to redesign our chicken setup, which won’t happen until at least spring. For now, I’m content with knowing that despite tragedy, life does indeed go on…and there can be found beauty among ashes.
Update: I had trouble finishing this post. Editing photos of my sweet chickies made me terribly sad and I just stopped. I’m still sad, but they are after all just chickens. The days right after this tragedy were filled with raw emotion for sure.
We were blessed with six Rhode Island Red hens from a family in our fellowship. They have settled in well and everyone is getting along! The boys are happy to have more girlfriends, especially ones that are much more docile than some of my other flock. Not so much sass in the backyard anymore. Sniff…
We don’t do Christmas.
And no, we’re not atheists. We took a serious look at the traditions in our Christian faith and didn’t like where some of them started. Particularly Christmas and Easter, which have roots in paganism.
I’m not going to go into all that in this post, but if you’re curious you can read the post I wrote a while back titled A Clear Picture of Christmas. We also don’t “do” Hanukkah, but do take that time of year to reflect on Yeshua as the Light of the World as well as our dedication to YHWH and His ways and word. You can read why we haven’t traded traditions in this post.
If you think I’m crazy I encourage you to do your own research. Then prayerfully consider if “what it means to you” is more important than what these traditions mean to your Creator.
Because of what we discovered, we made a choice to quit taking part in those traditions.
As you can probably guess, that was not wildly popular with our families.
My mom LOVES Christmas. She loves the tree and the lights, giving gifts to the grandkids, the baking of holiday goodies and having family over for a big traditional Christmas meal. You know, the kind with a lovely Christmas ham.
We also don’t eat unclean meats, as defined in Leviticus 11. Which also wasn’t a big hit with the family.
I know, we’re weird. But that’s ok with me, because I’m quite happy to be a part of a “peculiar” people. I don’t care what others do or think, I care about what my Creator said to do and what HE thinks.
Because He clearly tells us not to do what pagans do…and Yeshua was not born on December 25 (but every pagan sun god’s “birthday” is that day), I have no desire whatsoever to participate in those traditions.
But our families celebrate Christmas.
That makes this time of year particularly difficult for me. I’ve gotten to where I dread the time between Thanksgiving and the new year and can’t wait for the holidays to be finished.
How sad is that, really? At a time of year traditionally reserved for family-togetherness…or at least in generations past, anyway, I don’t want to spend time with my family.
Not because I don’t love them, because I do! I just have this awful internal struggle going on. Because the trappings and traditions of Christmas are offensive to me, I don’t want to be around them. But spending time with our families during the holidays often means we can’t avoid that. It’s not like we can say “take all your Christmas crap down and we’ll come over.”
This year, the question that has really been weighing heavy on my heart has been…
How do we honor time with our family and remain true to our convictions?
What is the better witness?
My husband’s side of the family decided to host a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas get together. This is the extended family with cousins, aunts and uncles so there were a lot of people. They decided to have this on a Saturday, starting at 1 pm.
We also observe the seventh-day Sabbath…which is on Saturday. And you guessed it, not real popular with the fam. It’s so…Jewish.
So this family get together was scheduled during what could be called our “church” time, as we attend a weekly fellowship gathering for worship and study on the Sabbath. It starts in the early afternoon and we often don’t get home until late in the evening. This meant we essentially had to choose between “going to church” and “spending time with our family.”
As I struggled with this choice, I began to wonder – what is the better witness in this situation? We have chosen to take a very narrow path, to do what the Bible says to do in the ways the Bible says to do them. We say that YHWH and His ways are first and foremost in our lives, and then to skip “church”…what message does that send to those watching us walk this Torah walk? Many of these family members are what you’d consider Good Christian People. They go to church regularly and generally wouldn’t skip going.
And if we choose not to participate in a family gathering, because they do Christmas and we don’t, what message does that send? Considering the family’s conservative heritage, which is fraught with legalism and bondage, chances are the message would be received not as our attempt to be faithful to our convictions but one of condemnation and shunning.
What kind of message is that? Is that the light of Yeshua shining to our family?
This is a narrow gate at Korizin, in Israel. In order to get through this gate, one had to bend down – symbolic of humbling oneself – before entering the community. It was a community of of YHWHs people who kept the Torah and kept themselves set-apart, not following the ways of the culture around them. I memorized the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Matthew before going on this trip. I will forever see this gate, and remember going through it, when ever I hear, read or think of this passage in Matthew 7: “13 “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; 14 but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (CJB)
What would the Torah tell me to do?
I listened in on a webinar the week before this family gathering from Repairing the Breach called Oy, It’s that Time of Year Again. It was for people like us…Messianics I suppose you could say…who don’t do the traditional holidays and need encouragement for getting through them. It gave me a lot to think about and what came to mind is that Torah upholds life.
Relationships can either be life (good, supportive, mutually respectful) or death (dysfunctional, divisive and painful). Sometimes, it’s necessary to cut ties with family. If relationships are dysfunctional, divisive and painful often the best thing is to end those relationships. But if you have a good relationship, one that is mutually loving and respectful in spite of differing beliefs, wouldn’t YHWH want you to nurture that relationship? Especially if you can do it in a way that doesn’t break Torah?
We are to love YHWH with all our heart, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. That is what Yeshua said, and He was quoting what His Father YHWH established at Sinai thousands of years ago with His people, Israel. So how do we do that this time of year?
Every family dynamic is different.
We are fortunate to have families that, while at the least they think we’re weird and may even possibly worry that we’re becoming heretics, respect our differing beliefs. For the most part they don’t plan things on Saturdays. During the Christmas season, they typically do their gift-giving early, then we come later for dinner and enjoy time together as a family.
I really appreciate that, and I know many people have families that are unsupportive and even hostile about their differing beliefs. Yet, I am often uncomfortable around all that Christmas stuff. I don’t want to be around it.
Some people will not go into homes with Christmas trees and completely avoid family that celebrates Christmas. That may be harsh, or it may be what is necessary for that family dynamic. It can push people away or protect people from already painful relationships.
Compromising doesn’t necessarily mean that you are compromising your convictions. I honestly did not want to go to the family get together because I didn’t want to miss our fellowship time. That time each week is so important to me, and also to our kids. My husband’s solution was that we would read the Torah portion in the morning and we’d have discussion and prayer time as a family before going.
Because the family gathering did not include gift giving or other traditional Christmas things, I felt this was an OK compromise. His family reads the “Christmas Story” out of scripture, what we now refer to as the Savior’s “Birth Story”, and even though they call it something it really isn’t, it’s reading scripture and there is not a thing wrong with that.
One family tradition during the holidays is playing dominoes. I am not very good at it, but it’s always fun!
That stuff in my heart though…
As I pondered and prayed about how to deal with the Christmas season this year, YHWH revealed some stuff in my heart. It wasn’t really pretty. He showed me that I was:
- Resentful – because I knew they would NEVER schedule something like this during THEIR church time
- Self-righteous – because I know the truth
- Sad – because it makes me sad to see people that I know love God and our Messiah following man’s traditions instead of YHWHs ways
I knew that I had to go to the family get together and there was only one way to do it – with joy. Being there with these things in my heart that could potentially come through in my words and actions certainly would not be shining the light of Yeshua to our family.
Knowing that I was choosing to uphold life in our relationships helped me to put aside my differences and just enjoy the time with family.
Yes, there was a decorated Christmas tree but that was not the focus.There was ham, but we skipped that and had the turkey. I believe this is a good example of being in the world but not of it. I can’t control what goes on in the homes I visit, but if I can be in that home without being a part of those things and nurture a relationship, that is being in the world…but not of it.
That is loving people where they are. That is letting the light of Yeshua shine through me. It is the witness that can draw someone to Torah, because it’s not condemning. It’s not saying “something is wrong with you”, but rather showing joy and love that can potentially make someone want to know just where that comes from…and affording an opportunity to share what YHWH has revealed to me about His Torah and His ways that has brought me so much freedom and joy.
To my family, who may read this…
I truly hope that you take away from all of this that I do love you and value time with you. I know that Christmas is important to you and our dropping out of family Christmas traditions was probably painful for you. I realize you don’t understand where we’re coming from because in your hearts, it’s all about Jesus and you believe that makes it OK.
I hope that you can, however, appreciate and understand my desire to follow my convictions, even though the struggle is far to real far too often. Our Savior said we must put our Heavenly Father above all, and I think you’d agree with that. Walking that out in a world full of darkness, with people we love who are choosing another path, is hard. Yes, it’s easy for me to walk away from traditions, but it’s not so easy to walk away from family. Trust me, this is not easy, even if I make it seem that way.
I want to do what is right in YHWHs eyes…if I didn’t, there would be no struggle. I would just do what I wanted to do.
That is easy.
By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about Trim Healthy Mama.
Do you see people posting delicious looking meals in your Facebook feed? With a seemingly strange language to describe it…like “I just made this amazing GGMS and CIM for breakfast! I can’t believe I’m eating cake for breakfast and it’s good for me!!” And, even more confounding is that they are losing weight while eating what looks to you to be fattening foods? Do you want to know more about it? Maybe you know enough about it and want to join the THM Food Freedom revolution, but haven’t been able to get the books yet. If any of those describe you, keep reading and be sure to enter the giveaway below!
I have a lot of cookbooks, but these two books sit right here for super easy access, since I use them frequently!
I started my THM journey in August of 2014.
I had to lose some weight…a life-changing trip to Israel and Jordan required that I get in shape. And to be honest, my blood pressure and blood sugar were demanding the same thing. It was time to really do something – about and for my health.
This has been the only “diet” that has ever truly worked for me. I’ve gone from a size 20-22 to a 14. My blood pressure is normal without meds, and my blood sugar is stable. I feel so much better, and very rarely do I ever feel “deprived.” The sensible approach to eating outlined in the Trim Healthy Mama plan has changed my life and the lives of countless others. Now, the Trim Healthy Mama sisters have recently released two new books – the updated plan book AND a cookbook!
There was a LOT of walking. And the Holy Land is entirely uphill. I kid you not 😉
You can read my original Trim Healthy Mama review and update posts here and here
What’s new in the new Trim Healthy Mama plan book?
The original book was a BIG book…over 600 pages! Many of the pages were recipes, but still…it was kind of daunting at first. The new book is much smaller, streamlined and has new and updated information, including a new Fuel Cycle plan and tips for “turtle” losers.
It presents the core principles of the plan in an easier-to-understand format. There are what I like to call “CLIFF Notes” style outlines for the basics of different meal styles, which makes it super easy to see at a glance just what an E meal is or if the dish you want to make for supper is a Fuel Pull or Cross Over.
The Sisters heard a lot of feedback from the thousands of THMs who follow their plan and did their best to create a new plan book that meets the needs of so many people (mamas, kids and even men can and do benefit from this lifestyle!) – no small task, I assure you. There’s less “chit chat” and more focus on plan details. You’ll find new recommended foods and supplements, sample menus for each style as well as information for the Drive Thru Sue, Vegetarians, Purists, Budgeting Mamas, Mamas with Allergies and more that will help anyone begin to implement the plan.
One of the things I LOVE about Trim Healthy Mama is how encouraging they are. They are very realistic (being busy mamas themselves) and understand that life happens, hormones happen, tight budgets happen…and sometimes our food choices suffer because of that. Do we beat ourselves up? No, we start over again in three hours and get right back on plan. We do the best we can with the resources we have available. We don’t obsess over numbers – calories, clothing sizes, scales – but we consistently work on making good choices, one meal at a time. This came through in the first book and is carried on the in new plan book.
A Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook? It’s like Pinterest on your bookshelf!
I’ve seen many people asking “Do I really need the cookbook? Is there anything new in it or is it the same recipes that were in the old book?” Need is always relative of course. Can you do the plan without the new cookbook? Sure (but it’s much more fun with it)! Is there anything new in the cookbook? Absolutely! The first book didn’t have recipes for GGMS (Good Girl Moon Shine) and several other beverage recipes that are wildly popular among the THM community. There’s also tons of crock pot meals, family and quick skillet recipes and soups, lots of breads, desserts and even snacks and condiments – the recipes from the original book are there plus even more new recipes.
One of the best improvements, I think, is that there is an index page at the beginning of each section, with the recipes color-coded by fuel type. That makes it so much easier to find what you’re looking for, especially for busy THMs!
One of my own recipes is even included! If you like chocolate and coconut and cake, be sure to check out page 293. You can get a sneak peek at the cookbook at my affiliate partner’s website here.
I’ve really enjoyed trying new recipes since I got the new cookbook!
I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t NORMALLY use recipes much, preferring to just dump some stuff together until it it tastes like what I imagined in my head. Thankfully, my grandmother taught me a lot and most of the time it turns out very tasty. Except that one time. That I made what was dubbed “Dead Sea Chili.” It was actually inedible (but made a great chili “starter” for a very large crowd…)!
Many THMs “tab” their books for easy reference. I’m not that organized so I never tabbed my original book. I have, however, added tabs to my cookbook. I tabbed each section, as well as a few favorites for easy reference. These removable tabs from PostIt are terrific! [affiliate]
Since I’m a “dump cook” I wondered how often I would actually use the cookbook. I find myself pulling it out several times a week, actually. Looking through the book inspires me at menu-making time. Since there are several recipes that I don’t have memorized yet, I love having the book handy instead of using my phone or Kindle.
Here’s how I roll with the menu and grocery planning. If I don’t have the ingredients to make something in the book, I’m often inspired to come up with something similar!
And the photography is just gorgeous! Rhonda Sue did a great job!
Some of my favorites are:
- Cowboy Grub (pg 59)
- Luscious Lemon Cake (pg 289)
- Trim Bouillon Mix (pg 491)
- Cheeseburger Pie (pg 149)
- Wonder Wraps (pg 204)
- Fakertot Casserole (pg 147)
- Pay Off Day Candies (pg 381)
- The Singing Canary (pg 398)
- Lazy Lasagna (pg 140)
- Cheddar Herb Biscuits (pg 197)
- Chicken Pot Pie (pg 137 – and equally delicious using turkey!)
This is MY photo of Chicken Pot Pie (made with turkey, actually), not Rhonda’s. Her photos are sooo much better!
What about Special Ingredients? Do all the recipes have them?
You’ll find recipes in the book that call for some of the great new THM products like Baking Blend or Integral Collagen (found at the THM online store). Many of the recipes calling for special ingredients can be made substituting a similar ingredient, or even leaving an ingredient out. For example, I made the Cuddle Family Hot Chocolate (pg 435) today without the lecithin that it called for and it was still delicious. My kids loved it too, and had NO idea there was okra in it. You just won’t get the benefit of the ingredient if you leave it out, and it’s possible the results might not be exactly the same…but often close enough.
Baking Blend is awesome, I’m not going to lie! For my budget at the moment, it’s not something I can buy all the time. But when I can, I certainly will. There are several recipes for homemade baking blends out there, such as this one from my THM blogging buddy, Briana Thomas. I haven’t tried her version, but I have heard many people raving about it online!
In some cases, however, there just isn’t a substitute. Gelatin and collagen can often be used interchangeably, but The Superfood Chews require collagen, and gelatin is NOT a substitute that will work in this recipe.
Even though some recipes call for “special ingredients” there are MANY that do not. The old favorites from the original book are there as well as a ton of amazing new recipes. It’s definitely worth purchasing to have this great resource at your fingertips…especially if the wifi is out 😉
Want to get started on this amazing Trim Healthy Mama journey?
If you have had these books on your wish list since you heard about them coming out, here’s your chance to win a copy of each! Or maybe you know a family member or friend who really wants them and would like to give them as a gift…be sure to enter and share on your social networks about the giveaway so they can enter too. Just follow the easy entry instructions below!
Be Sure to Pin this Review and Giveaway Post to Your Favorite Pinterest Boards!
(PINNING IS AN ENTRY OPTION SO WHY NOT DO THAT FIRST?)
What is matcha tea?
Matcha tea is a green tea that is unique to Japan and comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis. It has been used for hundreds of years in tea ceremonies. Matcha is the only form of tea in which the whole leaf is consumed rather than just brewing in water such as with loose leaf teas. Consuming the whole leaf means you also get more of the nutrients in the tea.
What are the benefits of drinking matcha tea?
Matcha tea has been touted to boost energy, increase metabolism, burn fat, fight cancer and increase concentration. It contains catechin polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that are supposed to help stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure, reduce harmful cholesterol and protect the body from toxins, the most important of which is EGCG (epigallo-catechin gallate). Matcha also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, to help reduce stress and increase mental focus. The high levels of chlorophyll help detox the body from harmful substances.
“Boost immune system and reduce inflammation – Matcha has the highest rated ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) compared to many fruits and vegetables. Matcha also contains a specific Catechin called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg). EGCg is most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Research has found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.” – Midori Spring FAQ page
Does Matcha tea have caffeine?
Yes, matcha tea does have caffeine. According to the Midori Spring website, “A cup of Matcha (using 1g of Matcha powder) has 35mg of caffeine compared to a cup of coffee sitting at 95-200mg of caffeine. Since Matcha contains L-Theanine, drinking Matcha has a calming and relaxing effect.” If you are highly affected by caffeine and wish to drink a lot of matcha, you may want to consume matcha tea during the morning and early part of the afternoon.
What does “Ceremonial Grade” mean? Is it something religious?
Ceremonial Grade designation has nothing to do with anything religious. It is used to describe matcha tea made from the “first flush,” or harvest, of green tea leaves. These are the most tender outer leaves on the plant. The “ceremonial” comes from the fact that only the best grades of Matcha are used in the Matcha Tea ceremony.
Midori Spring Matcha is certified Vegan, Kosher and USDA organic. It is also gluten, GMO and soy free! See this page for nutrition information and third-party certifications.
How does Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea taste?
I have never had matcha tea before, other than what I had at Starbucks years ago. I remember really liking the Green Tea Frappuccino, but I couldn’t really describe the flavor to you. Matcha has a unique flavor and I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It’s not really as green tasting as it looks, but there is a green element there. It’s not bitter, unless prepared incorrectly. There is a bit of an astringent flavor at first and then a lingering sweetness that is quite pleasant. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this wonderful tea! After a few cups, I found myself saying “where have you been all my life?”
How do I use Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea?
Matcha powder is very fine, and clumps easily if not added to your water properly. It is recommended that you use a bamboo matcha whisk. I do not have one, but used a small stainless steel whisk and it worked fairly well. I think it would work better with the bamboo whisk. My affiliate partner has some lovely matcha tea accessories to enhance your matcha experience.
Using water that is too hot can result in bitter Matcha. The optimum temperature is between 162 and 169 degrees (Fahrenheit). Be sure to check this Perfect Matcha Brew page for detailed instructions.
Midori Spring also has a great video showing how to traditionally prepare their Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea. You can watch it below:
Matcha tea is not just for drinking, however! You can add it to a variety of foods, such as baked goods, smoothies and ice cream. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of Matcha Tea on creamy vanilla ice cream. It is amazingly delicious!
I’ve made a Matcha Muffin in a Mug, Cream Cheese Matcha Frosting, Matcha Yogurt, added Matcha to smoothies…all with delicious results!
How do I store Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea?
This is not noted on the packaging, and I just happened to come across it while looking for information on matcha tea – you should store your opened container of matcha tea tightly sealed in the refrigerator (or a cool, dry place) and consume it within three months for maximum benefit. Once opened the chlorphyll will begin to oxidize over time and the color will change from a vibrant, emerald green to a yellow or brown. Midori Springs emphasizes that the tea is still safe to drink, however. You should also not leave the open container out for long periods of time at room temperature.
Where can I purchase Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea?
Midori Spring Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea comes in either a 30-gram or 100-gram food grade tin. It can be conveniently purchased on Amazon.com and delivered right to your door in just two days, if you’re an Amazon Prime member. If you’re not a Prime member yet, you’ll want to click this link and start your free 30 Day Trial now! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
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