Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Advice


I'm back to posting recipes HERE again!

If you're thinking about changing your diet or trying a Whole30, let me offer you some advice and maybe a few tips.

1. It's totally worth it! When you first begin your journey, it will be hard- really hard.  You will want to quit.  DON'T.  After about 2 weeks it will become easier.  That's only 15 days.  You can power through for 15 days. You're body needs time to adjust.  During the first couple of weeks, you will realize exactly which foods you are dependent upon, and just like with any addiction, it takes time to break those habits.  Don't give up on yourself.  You've got this!  You can do it!

2. You Have To Commit. Once you decide to make a diet change, you have to fully decide to make a diet change. Find a reliability partner. Someone who will hold you accountable. 
Promise yourself No Cheats for at least 30 days! No bites, licks, or tastes! If you cheat once, you will cheat again. Once a cheater, always a cheater.  On the Whole30 program, if you slip-up once, you have to start over with another 30 days!  Don't do it! If your will-power is weak, give or throw away all the junk food in your pantry and fridge.  You can also box it up or cover it up with dish towels.  The saying, "Out of sight, out of mind" is so true. If you see it, you'll want it especially the first few weeks.

3. It's Hard and It's Time Consuming. This is the honest truth!  You will have to cook all three of your meals.  Nothing healthy comes in a package. I like to cook and this was still really hard for me.  I felt like I was at the grocery store ALL THE TIME. But again, as time goes by, this gets easier.  Eventually you will stock-up on all the ingredients you need to cook from scratch.  You will learn what things you need and how much to sustain you until you're next shopping trip.  I do one big stock-up trip every month, and I do one weekly grocery run for fresh produce.

4.  Plan Ahead! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  In order to succeed, you must plan. Plan a time to begin when your schedule is pretty open and you don't have any weddings or parties or family get-together's that might cause you to cheat.  You will be more likely to succeed it you choose a less-busy time.
Meal planning is also key.  Plan out your meals each week and your grocery shopping list. If it's 6:00 and you still haven't decided what to eat for dinner, you're more likely to order a pizza or Chinese.  On the other hand, if you know what you'll be making and you have all the ingredients on hand, you're more likely to stick with healthy eating.

5. Read the Ingredients List not the Nutrition Labels. Healthy food usually has five ingredients or less, and you should be able to pronounce all of them.  Also, look for sugar.  Sugar is what makes you fat!  There is sugar in everything! Even table salt!  Some products might have sugar listed in the ingredients list but show 0 grams on the nutrition label.  This is because there is less than one gram of sugar, but there is still sugar and SUGAR MAKES YOU FAT.  I recommend staying away from any sugar or forms of sugar (honey, Maple syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners, sucrose, corn syrups, fructose, maltose, maltodextrin, ethyl, maltol, etc ) for the first 30 days, and then occasionally use natural forms of sugar after you've tamed your sugar dragon.  

6. Don't Be Afraid to Ask. Ask to see labels at the deli or butcher counter before purchasing. You can also ask a restaurant what ingredients are in certain dishes.  You can also ask your server to hold the butter, to leave off the bun, bake instead of fry your sweet potato fries, substitute guacamole for sour cream, whatever.  They are there to serve you and usually whatever you ask for, they are happy to do.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Lord is My Light

by Elder Quentin L. Cook


"The clamor that reverberates across the earth because of worldly wickedness creates feelings of vulnerability.  With modern communication the impact of iniquity, inequality, and injustice leaves many feeling that life is inherently unfair. As significant as these trials can be, they must not distract us from rejoicing in and celebrating Christ's supernal intercession in our behalf. The Savior literally "gained the victory over death." With mercy and compassion He took upon Himself our iniquity and transgression, thus redeeming us and satisfying the demands of justice for all who would repent and believe on His name."

I don't know about you, but often times I tend to focus more on my problems and less on how Christ can help me through them. I try to take control instead of giving the control over to Christ.  I believe this is exactly what Elder Cook is referring to in this talk.

"How, then, do we deal with the harsh realities that surround us?" Elder Cook uses sunflowers to teach of the answer to this question.

 ". . .Sunflowers flourish in soil which has been impacted by farm and snow removal equipment and the accumulation of materials that would not be considered ideal soil for wildflowers to grow. 

"One of the remarkable characteristics of young wild sunflowers, in addition to growing in soil that is not hospitable, is how the young flower bud follows the sun across the sky.  In doing so, it receives life-sustaining energy before bursting forth in its glorious yellow color.

"Like the young sunflower, when we follow the Savior of the world, the Son of God, we flourish and become glorious despite the many terrible circumstances that surround us.  He truly is our light and life."

"As individuals, disciples of Christ, living in a hostile world that is literally in commotion, we can thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the Savior and humbly follow His teachings."

I love the hymn The Lord is My Light. 

The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I'll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow'r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev'ry hour.

The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I'll sing.

"If the grim realities you are facing at this time seem dark and heavy and almost unbearable, remember that in the soul-wrenching darkness of Gethsemane and the incomprehensible torture and pain of Calvary, the Savior accomplished the Atonement, which resolves the most terrible burdens that can occur in this life.  He did it for you, and He did it for me. . ."

How do you personally follow the Son?  

Let me share with you one way I try to follow the Son.

As a mother, I really appreciated Elder Cook's reminder of President Kimball's challenge
"to be on their knees. . .praying for their sons and daughters twice daily."

Elder Cook then promises us that "if we faithfully have family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, priesthood blessings, and Sabbath day observance, our children will . . .be prepared for an eternal home in heaven, regardless of what befalls them in a difficult world.  It is vitally important that our children know they are loved and safe at home."

WOW! That's powerful.

One of my favorite quotes is from a talk given by John L. Lund.  He says, "Take your frustrations to the Lord and your love to your family."  He teaches that whenever we get discouraged or frustrated with our children (this would ideally work with anyone) we should stop and go immediately somewhere we can pray and tell Heavenly Father all about it - a vent session, if you will. Then once we've gotten it off our chest, so to speak, come back, and do something extra loving for that child or those children -read to them, bake their favorite treat. take them fishing, rub their back- whatever makes them feel loved.

“You see, love is strong. Stronger than hate even. Love is the only thing that can kill hate, nothing else. You see, hate destroys and that's why love is stronger. It builds." - Peter Abrahams

This is what Jesus did.  He unconditionally loved, and we, like the sunflower, will thrive and bloom if we follow the Son and try to emulate Him in our lives.

What stood out to you in Elder Cook's talk?
Do you have a favorite quote from this talk?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Homesick!

Oh man has this school year been a rough one and we're only a week and a half in!
Every single morning since school started, it has been one cry fest after another.  #6 who is quiet, shy, very timid, and a total mama's girl has cried every single school day, which means I have cried every single day school day.  She sometimes wakes up crying, nervous about going to school.  She loves it, but says it lasts too long.  (She'd rather be home baking, playing, and watching cooking shows with her mama.) She gets homesick
When we pull up to the school that's when the tears really start to fall. The crying is never a tantrum-like hard cry.  It just a silent, tears falling, -lots and lots of tears falling- cry  Her teacher has been so sweet to wait for her by the door -every single day- take her by the hand, comfort her, and help her acclimate to being away from home for 6 hours each day.  
Have you ever had to leave your child at school crying?  It's so hard.  It makes me cry, which makes everyone I pass in the hall wonder why this mom is still bawling her eyes out on the 8th day of school!  Then I come home to a quiet, empty house and that makes me cry some more.  I need a teacher waiting for me at my front door to dry my tears and help me acclimate to all my babies growing up!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wishes

I found this list a few days ago.  It was written by #5.

1. I wish I had one million dollars!
2. I wish I could play with my friends everyday.
3. I wish I could get a toy every time I go to the store.
4. I wish my hair stayed up when I wanted it to.
5. I wish I had a puppy.

 I giggled when I read it, because (to borrow a line from the movie Nacho Libre)
"You've got to be kidding me.  Everything you just said, is MY [wish too], everyday!"

Hmmmm, like mother, like daughter-  or is it like daughter, like mother?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Putt-Putt & Sunday Sundaes

Last night was Monday night, and you know what that means. . . Family Night!
 Clint and I are always looking for ways to switch up our family nights.  We like to make them fun, and something that will keep the children's attention while they're learning.
 Last night, just to throw everybody off, we started with games, which just happened to be on the putting green of the golf course. 
 We each took turns trying to putt the ball into the hole -sometimes at an angle, sometimes close, and other times far, far away.  None of us are very good, but we sure had a blast!
 After the "game", we came home and had treats/lesson.
(They were combined, just to throw everyone off).  We used Sunday Sundaes to teach about keeping the Sabbath day holy.  We offered the kids a sundae topped with their favorite things - dill pickles, Italian salad dressing, Parmesan cheese, and grapes.  No one wanted to eat it.  
When we asked them why they said because it was disgustingly gross!  
But you like all these things. 
Yeah, but not on a Sundae!
Then we offered them a sundae topped with fudge, caramel, candy, whipped cream, and a cherry.  Of course, everyone wanted it.  Just like some toppings are good but not on a sundae, some activities are good but not on Sunday. While eating our sundaes, we discussed different activities and which ones we felt were good for Sundays and which ones weren't. 

All in all, I'd say our Family Night was definitely not "par for the course".  It was more like a "hole in one"!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Triathlete

Over the weekend my Hunka Hunka Burning Love, competed in a little mini triathlon.
 He had to swim the pool 8 times
 Bike 5 miles
 and then run 1.7 miles. 
  It was a last minute thing his experienced triathlon father and brother invited him and his other two brothers to do with them.
Since it was a mini (I think the technical term is Novice) and not a full-on iron-man he took them up on the challenge.
Even with no experience and no training, he still came in second, just a minute behind his brother who has competed in several.  (Boom baby!  Who's the Man?!)
I've heard it helps when you have a really cute support team cheering you on.
P.S. - Do you say "athlete" with 2 syllables or 3?
(I say it with 2)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

This talk begins with the suspenseful story of 14 year old Jimmy and his 19 year old brother, John. My entire house was quiet and everyone's attention was fixed on the TV while Elder Holland was telling this story. 
 Two boys were rock climbing in Snow Canyon State Park.  Why they weren't wearing any safety gear (harnesses, safety ropes, etc) is beyond me, but they weren't.  Near the top of their climb they discovered a protruding ledge that denied them access to the top.  There wasn't a way to get over it.  The older boy, John, was somehow able to boost his little brother, Jimmy, on top of the ledge.  But there was no way to lift himself up.  Soon, his muscles began to fatigue.  He decided that his only option was to try to jump and try to catch hold of the ledge, hoping to have enough strength left to pull himself up on top of the ledge to safety.

He knows this is risky.  Not wanting his younger brother to see him if he should fail and fall to his death below, he asks him to go find a branch he can lower down to him.  Giving his brother enough time to be gone, John leaps.  He catches the ledge, but there was nothing to hang on to and his fingers slowly began to slip on the sandy surface.  There was no way he going to be able to hold on.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, two hands grabbed his wrists and pulled him up to safety.  
"[His} faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious branch.  Guessing exactly what [John] was planning to do, he had never moved an inch.  He had simply waited - silently, almost breathlessly- knowing full well [John] would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When [he] did, [Jimmy] grabbed [him], held [him], and refused to let [him] fall.  Those strong brotherly arms saved [his] life that day as [he] dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death."
This story reminded me of an activity my family did last summer (you can read more about it here).  Each one of us had to reach the top of a 12 foot wall- an almost impossible task.  Luckily, just like in the story of Jimmy and John, someone from the top was able to reach down and grab the climber pulling him or her to safety.

We all make mistakes.  We all fall and find ourselves desperately trying hang on over a high cliff.
Fortunately, we have a Savior who is there to grab us, hold us, and who refuses to let us fall.
image source
"Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like, lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life."

I am so grateful for a Savior who suffered, bled, and died for me that Easter weekend over 2000 years ago.  I know that if I had been the only one who needed the Atonement, He still would have completed it.  He loves me and is always there to catch me when I fall.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Phase 10 Throw-down

(Game Photos courtesy of #6)
Ohhh Phase 10.  We've played this game almost every Sunday over the summer.
Why is it that this game can bring out the raging, ruthless, no-mercy monster in even the most sweet, humble and meek person? 
Last Sunday we had Clint's little brother, Russell, over for dinner and of course, a little friendly game of Phase 10.  When I say friendly, I mean fierce, hypercompetitive, cutthroat, dog eat dog, someone's going to go home crying.  Friendly just sounds nicer. 
 This was an intense game with skip cards being thrown down all over the place.  One time I even threatened to call the cops if they didn't settle down (okay not really).
#6 and I stayed out of ring on this one.  We were happily making cookies in the background.
(Cookies courtesy of #6 too)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good Day/Bad Day

THE BAD PART

Yesterday was an all around HARD day!
#6 started 1st Grade.  That means I'm all alone, as in by myself, for 6 hours every day.  I've dreamt about this day for years, imagining all the fun I would have and all the things I would accomplish.  Now that it's here, I hate it!  It's so quiet and lonely.  By 11 am yesterday I was so bored.  I was dying for a mess to clean up or a fight to referee.  (Weird, I know!)

THE GOOD PART

I spent last night here, in the Payson Temple, cleaning.  From 9:30 pm until midnight, a group of volunteers cleans the temple - every day (except for Saturdays and Sundays)!  I swept all the stairs, dusted, washed windows, and vacuumed.  It was awesome, the perfect way to end my day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Progress

I posted about this on Instagram, so this may be old news to some.

The picture on the right is me last August 2014, after I had been running daily. The one on the right was taken two weeks ago (August 2015).  Notice any difference? 

Remember last summer when I embarked on a daily "lose the jiggle" exercise program.  By the end of the summer I was running 5 miles 5-6 times a week?  I lost a grand total of 1 pound and gained a bad knee and ankles in the process.

Remember last November/December when I took on the challenge of my first Whole30 and lost 14 lbs without any exercise?  (If you're wondering what the heck a Whole30 is you can read more about it HERE HERE and HERE.)  In January I did another 30 days just to make sure my new healthy eating habits were well established.  I felt 1000 times better.  My hormones were balanced for the first time in years.  My chronic fatigue was gone.  I was finally sleeping through the night, and waking up feeling refreshed and not tired.  My skin was clear - no more zits on my forehead or on my chin.

After my second Whole30, I switched to a mostly paleo diet. I do allow myself a cheat every once in a while, (after all you only live once and life is to be enjoyed and that includes eating yummy things.) but mostly my "treats" are made from honey instead of sugar, and nut flours instead of all-purpose flour.  Our meals now are mostly vegetable/fruit based with a side of protein. Once school begins, I'm hoping to share some of my new favorite recipes.  (I haven't decided if I plan to post them here or on my recipe website.  More about that later once I've decided.)  
It's been 9 months since I first began this new lifestyle.  I've lost almost 20 pounds, and who knows how much body fat.  I feel better than I have in years. I'm convinced that health does not come from a prescription, or an exercise program (although exercise is a still a good thing).  Health comes from the kitchen.  It's in what you eat and what you don't eat.  I know from personal experience that "You cannot outrun a bad diet".  You just can't.  I'm so grateful to God for finally helping me to understand that.

ps- You should see my mama!  She and I did our first Whole30 together.  She looks amazing! As soon as I find a picture that really shows her incredible transformation, I'll post it.
Seriously, you're mind will be blown!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Melancholy


 This morning I woke up feeling quite melancholy.  "What is going on?" I asked myself.  After contemplating on why I was feeling so down, I realized that for the first time in forever. . .
(hold on to your hats)
I'm sad summer vacation is over and my children will be back in school.

I know, I know! I'm usually excited for the structure and schedule (and let's not forget the alone time) the school year provides, but not this year. This year, I feel sad, and anxious, and lonely.  

It's similar to when you have company come to visit.  They're so much fun.  You've had a blast, and you're just starting to get into a "groove" with them.  Then suddenly their visit is over.  It's time for them to leave.  You're so sad.  You will miss spending time with them, and doing fun things with them.  You'll miss their company and conversation, and having them around. 
That is how I feel about school starting.  I will miss the company of my children.  

I will miss having to bake something everyday with #6.

I will miss the endless "I'm bored's".

and the late night movies with my teenagers.
I will miss looking out the window in the middle of the day and seeing my littles out jumping on the trampoline.  

and I might even miss having to do 100 loads of dishes a day. (okay, probably not)


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Therefore They Hushed Their Fears

by Elder David A. Bednar

Fear=an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

"In our daily lives, endless reports of criminal violence, famine, wars, corruption, terrorism, declining values, disease, and the destructive forces of nature can engender fear and apprehension. . . "

Fear is a part of life.  In fact Elder Bednar says, "This potent emotion is an important element of our mortal existence."  Did you catch that?  Fear is an important part of our mortal experience.  Why? What is God's purpose in having us experience fear?  As with everything, it is to bring us closer to Him.  Through our fears we learn to trust Him and put our faith in the hands of the Savior.

Have you heard the saying
"Let Go, Let God"?
or
"If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it."

If we will look to Christ, build our foundation upon Him, and press forward with faith, our fears, worries, and anxieties can be dispelled and hushed.

". . . Look to God and live." (Alma 37:47)
"We should look to and have our focus firmly fixed upon the Savior at all times and in all places."

In his talk, Elder Bednar gives the example of Peter walking on water.  As long as Peter kept his focus on the Savior, he was fine, but as soon as he shifted his focus to the boisterous wind, fear crept in and he began to sink. "Lord, save me."
"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:30-31)
I have had 100's of these "Peter Moments" in my life. Times when I place my focus on the scary stuff of the world.  I take my focus off of the Savior.  I lose faith, and that's when I get scared, and anxious, and worried. God gives us these experiences as an opportunity to strengthen our faith and as a reminder that He is in control.  I have no control over any of that stuff.  God has control over it all, Once I trust and place my focus on Him and my Savior and let them take the reins (This is the hard part for me.), the fear, anxiety, and worry leave and peace takes their place.

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:36)

"The peace Christ gives allows us to view mortality through the precious perspective of eternity and supplies a spiritual settledness. . . "
"Exercising faith in and on the holy name of Jesus Christ, meekly submitting to His will and timing in our lives and humbly acknowledging His hand in all things yield the peaceable things of the kingdom of God that bring joy and eternal life."

The lesson to be learned: Trust God and His plan for us.  Submit to His will and timing, and acknowledge His hand in our lives.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Small Town, Big Heart (part 2)

You can read Part 1 HERE
The Final Day
Saturday. There was no sleeping in for us.  We were up early to compete in the 5k race.
(When I say we, I mean these four.  I sat this one out. Although I did wake up and 'run' #1 to work at 6:15 am- so totally counts.)
 After the race, our family enjoyed a big hearty breakfast courtesy of the city.
Pancakes, eggs, ham, and chocolate milk!
 Breakfast of Champions right there!
 After breakfast it was time Parade-Time.
(Look how long and big #3's legs are!  That's what a Breakfast of Champions can do for you!  Okay, just kidding.  It's the camera.  It has distortion issues.)
 I love this small town parade.  It consists pretty much of the local high school's marching band, the city's Royalty, and the student body council riding along the parade route in the back of a pickup truck. 
And of course the local businesses parade by in decorated trailers throwing out candy, t-shirts, popsicles, and frisbees to the excited children along the way.
It's like Halloween- only nice and warm AND the candy comes to you instead of you to the candy. SCORE!!!!
(Wait!  Did that even make any sense?)


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Small Town, Big Heart (Part 1)

Man have these last few weeks been busy.  Actually, this whole summer has been one activity after another.  I'm not complaining.  It has been really fun.  Last week, as I briefly mentioned here, was our town's week to celebrate.  
Our town host tons of family-friendly activities. I mentioned mud volleyball.
We also watched the Cardboard Duct-tape Regatta.
More about that HERE
 


 And for all you farmers out there, here we are watching the Tractor Pull-
Each tractor hooks up to the yellow trailer loaded with heavy cement barricades.  The barricades slowly move up from the back of the trailer to the front.  The judge measures how far each tractor can pull the weight before it just can't go any further.  The farthest tractor wins.
 This was my first time to ever experience an event like this.  As you can tell, I was pretty enthralled. 
Actually, it just took this city girl a long time to figure out how the whole thing worked. 
 Wednesday night was the movie in the park.  This year the movie was what we refer to as "Baymax" or Big Hero 6.  
 Popcorn, a drink, and glow-sticks are included in this free event.
It's a great time for all!
The adults visit with each other, the kids run around playing made up games, and for the teenagers, it's like a back-to-school social.  This is probably my favorite activity.
Friday, was the Children's Parade.
This is a simple, and short parade where the children ride their bikes or scooters about half a mile from the elementary school to the park.  Once they reach the park, they get a popsicle and we go home.
The kids are happy, the parents are happy.  It's a win-win.