Saturday, March 28, 2015

Here's whats happening...

Once school has been taught, and the laundry is washed, the kids have been driven here and there, mouths have been fed, chores have been managed, groceries have been bought, and media minutes have been counted (ugh)...I am left with a bit of time to do some things I really love.  Of course I'm talking about sewing, crocheting, cooking, and reading.

This week I scheduled two 4-hour shifts in my sewing room, and the kids were so sweet about making sure that I got that time.  I definitely need to block off the calendar more often.

I'm working on some goodies for my Etsy shop.  I've got to pull out what's left of the winter items and add in some new items for spring.  I'm hoping to have the shop updated this weekend.  I sent out a survey to my girlfriends and got some great feedback on what to put back in my shop.  Now I need to schedule in a photo shoot.  

I made some top knot head bands (top photo), some key/coin bags, and some wristlets.  I'm also hoping to work on some new flower pins.

I crochet  while I sit and help the kids with math, and also during movies.  Though, I think this really bothers MJ because he is so serious about his movies and if he notices I haven't looked up in a while, he'll say, "Mom, you missed it!", and rewind so I can see all the details.

My alarm still goes off at 5:30am...though I tend to snooze till 6am.  I wish I wouldn't do that, but the kids just stay up so late these days and they're so chatty at night.  I only manage to get in about 10 minutes of reading in bed before I pass out.  But, once I'm up, I grab my phone and headphones, pick a podcast, and walk for 30 minutes while curling my 3 pound weights.  Works for me until I can get outside and run.

We spent last weekend down in Rochester where Lucy swam on the State relay team in 4 events.  Smoothies every day, two movies (Insurgent and Cinderella), and Qwirkle (which we bought while we were down there because I forgot to pack games).  Lucy mostly hung out with friends in the hotel during her down time, but Matt and I really enjoyed playing Qwirkle.  It's a game that I have managed to beat him at every time.  I'm only gloating because once he masters this thing, I will probably never see another win.  He's that good.

Well, I went and committed to the Whole30.  Have you heard of this?  The idea is from the book It Starts with Food, which I've mentioned a couple of times.  A friend and I were doing a little winter challenge, of sorts, to eat a little better.  Basically, all our other friends were in some tropical location, and we said, "if we're stuck in Minnesota all winter, we may as well be skinny!".  And by skinny, we mean healthy.  Neither of us are over weight, but we're both 40, and that's a whole new alligator to wrestle.  We were noticing that the pounds were instantly attaching whenever we enjoyed our donuts and tortillas and chocolates.  So, I proposed that we do 3 simple things:
1.  Portion control...basically just put less on your plate than you did before and no seconds.
2.  Substitute one meal a day with a smoothie or fresh juice.
3.  No sweets!
This was going pretty well for a week and a half and we had some gentle results to show for it.  Then, her cousin (in San Diego) mentioned the Whole30, and Natalie mentioned it to me.  We were all in.  A 3-way texting friendship was formed, the date was set, and today is Day 12.  Meat, veggies, fruit and fat (avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, olives).  That's what we eat.  No sweets/sugar, no dairy of any kind, no grains of any kind, and nothing processed.  This plan is basically "about creating life-long behaviors designed to always move you in the direction of 'more healthy'."  

Basically, I drink 10 cups of water a day, I drink my coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon (photo above) or black (in a pinch), and then I eat meat, lots of veggies, and fruit (which I prefer in smoothies unless it's a banana).  In a pinch, I eat a LaraBar (one a day max is allowed).

My two favorite meals that I have been eating every day are:
1.  homemade burgers + sauerkraut + 1/2 avocado + mustard
2.  egg roll salad (it's just the inside of my egg roll recipe minus the brown sugar) + 1/2 avocado or olives.
I eat those two meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It's strange, I know.  And yes, I'm trying to get in some other awesome veggies, but it is what it is.  My kids are sick and tired of smelling sauerkraut in the house, but I had no idea how important fermented veggies are in our diets.  I can't tell you why they're important, but if you read the book, or do a Google search, you could find out.

Reading...of course I'm fitting reading in to all the nooks and cranny's of my day, but those nooks and cranny's have not been in abundance lately.  So, my stack is getting rather large.

These are the books that I am currently reading:
The Me Project by Kathi Lipp
Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (MJ asked me to read the series)
Scary Close by Donald Miller (for our small group from church)
Savor by Shauna Niequist (365 devotions)
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (book club)
Harry Potter book 5 by J.K. Rowling (Daisy asked me to read this series a couple of years ago...I'm's so long)

And Lucy is just finishing a series (that she loves) called The Mother Daughter Book Club.  I really want to read that series.  Each book is a year in time and they all read a classic.  It gives you behind the scenes information about the authors and makes you totally want to read those classics.  Lucy has yet to pick up one of the classics that they mention, but I've got my fingers crossed.  

For school we're reading:
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (devotions)
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith (read aloud on the Kindle)
Facing the Facts (book 4) by Stan and Brenna Jones (our sex book...Lord help me)
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood (historical fiction to supplement our study on Shakespeare)
A Child's History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer (my favorite history book ever...second time through, I could read this every year for the rest of my life)

Reading buddies...and, I need a headboard.

XOXO Tiffany

"God uses my kids to teach me about myself every day.  Ultimately, He shows me that I can't be the mom I long to be on my own.  I need His help."  Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch

Saturday, March 21, 2015

On parenting the tween/teen in your life

Have I ever mentioned how unprepared I was to raise a teen?!?
I'm pretty sure I've hinted at it once or twice.

I call the ages of 4-11 "The Golden Years".  I wish I had known it at the time.
The end of the tween years and the beginning of the teen years is where it gets a little dicey.
It's middle school after all.  The quirkiest time of our lives.
I have yet to "name" this time period. 
I don't think I'll be able to put a name to it until I'm through it.
(Please, Lord, help me through it!)

I really didn't see this coming.
Things were clicking along so smoothly.
I thought I was doing everything right!?!

Here's where I offer myself some grace.
First of all, there is no one right way to parent.
I've tried to parent with Love and Logic.  Grace and Truth.
And yet, these kids have to go through these years.  Their way.

Shopping with my Daisy is like nothing I have ever experienced.
Now, when it's a specific shopping day and I'm willing to get her some things for the new season, it couldn't be more fun.  That girl knows what she likes, and she likes to shop.
However, if I have 5 items on my Target list, and would just like to get in and get out, and yet she wants to come with, it's a recipe for disaster.  And, I've experienced that "disaster" twice in the last week.

I make it clear, "I am going into Target, grabbing my 5 items, and leaving Target".
"That's fine, mom, I'll just look around a bit", says my innocent Daisy.
Make-up isle, shoes, thing I know she's in the fitting room with 10 things to try on.
"Did you bring your money?", I ask, since those items are not on my list.  
"Yes", she says.  
Coming out of the fitting room, of course she LOVES everything, but does some weeding out.
She spent a little of her Christmas money and somehow I end up buying her a pair of spring flats + a t-shirt for her birthday.  Oh, she's good.

I can explain 20 times a day to my 13-year old why I won't pay for her Starbucks Frappuccino, or why we don't just go on constant shopping sprees, or why I won't pay for those beauty items that I have never heard of nor have I ever used in my 40 years.

I think it's important to teach kids how to live on their budget, not mom and dads budget.
Her budget is $6/week that she earns by taking care of Coco, cleaning my bathroom (weekly), cleaning the kitchen (daily), and sweeping the main level (weekly).  (She's also a soccer ref in the spring, summer, and fall).

Reminding her of this rewards me with an eye roll.
I'll take the eye roll over a 25-year old entitled "adult" living in my basement, in debt, with no ambitions.

And, before you think I'm a total party pooper, we do plan some fun shopping trips, and I do buy her a Starbucks on special occasions, and I do let her buy those two different kinds of mascara at Target.  It's just that I want her to know that she is living on a 13-year olds budget, not a working adults budget.  

*This story was told with the permission of my Daisy.

XOXO Tiffany

"Change the food you put on your plate".  It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

(This Whole30 thing is totally doable!  I'm feeling great!  Day 5)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Whipped Coconut Oil Body Cream

I've been making this Whipped Coconut Oil Body Cream for 3 years now.  I love it so much.  I slather it on from face to toe after every single shower.  I posted about it here, and it continues to hold the record of most page views on my blog.  I have changed things slightly over the years, so I thought it was time for an update!
Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (16 oz) $5.99 (bargain)
Almond Oil (3 tbsp)
Vitamin E Oil (1 tbsp)
Essential Oil Lemon (10 drops +) Young Living
8 oz Glass jars + lids (3)

Hint:  the lid from the coconut oil fits on a mason jar so you don't need to hassle with a two-piece lid.
Place your coconut oil into your mixer bowl and whisk on high for several minutes.
Add your almond, vitamin e and essential oils.  Continue to whisk.
Once it looks creamy or fluffy (depending on the temperature in your home), it's ready! 
Place in jars, lid, and enjoy!  Keep your oil in a cool location otherwise it will melt and lose the whipped feel.  
I still highly recommend the book The Coconut Oil Miracle.  One of the most interesting books that I've ever read.

I will be starting the Whole30 next Tuesday.  Have you heard of this???  It's a sort of re-set for healthy eating.  A program that came from the book It Starts with Food.  I got the book, I'm researching the method, and I'm starting it on Tuesday with a girlfriend and her cousin (though we all text daily and the cousin feels like a great friend already!).  Basically, you are eating real food, nothing processed, no sugar, no dairy.  Meat, veggies, fruit.  Seems do-able!?!  I guess I'm hoping to lose my addiction to carbs (pasta + bread + tortillas) plus get back to my Real Food diet.  An update will be coming.

Have a great weekend!

XOXO Tiffany

"I have learned that I cannot rely on what the world promises and the financial security that work brings me, but only God can provide real, eternal joy".  
The World is Bigger Now by Euna Lee

Saturday, March 7, 2015

5 Things

Mocha from Doughnut Plant in NYC
Reading, sewing, crocheting, and drinking coffee...
are all things that I enjoy in my free time.
Reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and watching a few good TV shows, are another little treat when I find the time.

When I want to read a blog, I go to Bloglovin', and these are the ones that I can't wait to read:
1.  We Are That Family (a family blog + being a world changer)
2.  Life in Grace (recipes + life)
3.  Lovely Little Kitchen (recipes)
4.  Chatting at the Sky (life)
5.  Modern Mrs. Darcy (books + life)

When I want to listen to a Podcast (like every morning on the treadmill or if I find myself alone in the car), I listen to these:
1.  The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (life + books)
2.  Inspired to Action (mom inspiration)
3.  Read Aloud Revival (books books and more books + reading to your kids)
4.  Hopeologie (family + life)
5.  How They Blog (blog tips)
**I listen on my iPhone using the Podcast App.

When I want to watch TV, I watch these shows:
1.  Downton Abbey (PBS)
2.  Big Family Renovation (HGTV) (Jen Hatmaker + Austin)
3.  Project Runway (or Project Runway All Stars on Lifetime)  *my favorite show ever
4.  Amazing Race (CBS)
5.  Cops (this is a new thing that we all watch with MJ...highly addictive...on Spike TV)
**honorable mention...Parenthood (NBC)

What is your favorite Blog, Podcast, and/or TV show?
Donuts with Kelly at the Doughnut Plant in NYC January 2015
Have a great weekend!


"There were two hard-boiled egg sandwiches, and two cheese sandwiches, and two with some kind of paste in them".  The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis