EU laws require me to tell you if I have cookies. So many jokes there. I have ads installed, so I suppose I have cookies. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Learn more. Sing along.

Paris Bound: On eating well

Once you cross the age of 30, the old metabolism slows down and things just aren't the same. Where I used to be able to eat without thinking twice, I now notice a difference of up to 5 lbs within an hour of eating pizza. No exaggeration.

There are some contributing factors:
I am less active and my hormones are different. My life is more relaxed now that I'm not chasing babies. I can sit and read to my heart's content. I can blog and drink coffee. I can drive and meet friends. Sitting is the new smoking, and just as deadly.
Foods have changed. The increase in GMOs is unbelievable. The wheat we eat today is NOT the wheat our forefathers ate. Unnatural ingredients such as corn syrup and soybean oil are now in the majority of foods you buy off the shelf.

My body has changed. I don't process foods as well as I used to. My body reacts to foods with an inflammation response that I never recognized as a teen. Bread makes me bloat. It makes me tired. I'm therefore more sedentary, crave more bread, and thus bloat even more.

Reading Good Calories, Bad Calories completely opened my eyes to our strange modern approach to food. Paleo eating turned my metabolism and eating habits around. After a month of paleo, I was back to normal. I ate about HALF the amount of food I used to eat. I felt 5000 lbs lighter and 5000 years younger. A vacation and serious financial downturn left me eating cheap pasta and rice dishes. After 6 months on this terrible (yet familiar) diet, my metabolism began to slow down and I returned to my previous unhealthy self. That it took 6 months of baaaaad eating for even one pound to creep back on was very impressive to me. When it did come back on, it was slow and subtle and I didn't think much of it. I figured that I knew what worked and would soon buckle down and lose it all with paleo again. But I never could find the willpower to do it.

With the trip to Paris coming up, I knew I needed to dig deep and force myself to do better. I don't want to pose for a hundred pictures that I'll just be self-conscious about later. I kept trying to eat right, but I just kept failing. I just couldn't seem to start my engine and buckle down. Finally, I read The Virgin Diet and it reminded me of all of the food facts I already knew, it explained why Paleo worked so well for me, and it explained why Paleo doesn't work for everyone but what to do about it.

I also read The Princess Plan, which took agreed with the facts shared in the Virgin Diet, and shared many other great tips, such as when & how to work out, how to dress to flatter your body type, and more.

I also started watching little YouTube clips of the T-tapp workouts. I haven't worked out more than 5 minutes per day, but it is five more minutes than I was doing before. I've ordered the full 15-minute workout and hope to share about it soon.

And the results? After 1 week of putting it into practice, I have lost 5 lbs and have lost 2 inches in my waist.

I created this page which shares the basics of foods and activities to focus on. That's really the beauty of it: you focus on what is good, not on what you can't have.

*If you have to eat out, I highly recommend a Chipotle or Qdoba. You can grab a salad bowl, topped with yummy meat, beans if you allow them, yummy salsas, and dairy-free guacamole.
*If you have to have something sweet, I highly recommend Chocolate Covered Katie. She shares many recipes that are completely compatible with Virgin, Princess, or Paleo eating. 

Tip of the day

I use my kindle every. single. day. The kids use the kindle app on the ipad to read school books, I tuck my actual kindle into a zip-style sandwich bag for baths, hubs and I use the kindle app on our phones to entertain ourselves while waiting on errands.

There are tons of free books to be found and we make great use of these for school reading, but another great feature is the ability to upload PDF files to your device. Even if it isn't available as a kindle book, there are many ebooks to be had in PDF format, which are easy to read on the kindle or kindle app. This also works for .DOC and HTML. Here's how:

Sending Documents to your Kindle

  1. Identify your kindle email account. An email address is generated for every installation of a kindle app or kindle device purchase. Visit this page to find yours.
  2. Tell Amazon to approve the email address you'll be sending from by visiting this page. Click on "Personal Document Settings" and scroll to the bottom to add approved document emails. 
  3. Compose an email to be sent to the email address you just identified
  4. Attach the file you would like to upload
  5. To convert the file to Kindle format, type "convert" in the subject line. This allows you to change font size, make annotations, and whispersync the text once uploaded.


Subscribers Goodies Page

Your subscription has been confirmed. Thank you for joining me!

To make things as easy as possible for you, I'm consolidating subscriber freebies in one centralized location. Of course, it's looking rather slim at the moment, but the good things are yet to come...

This month's freebie:
St. Patrick's Day Copwork

The Butterfly Who Wouldn't Shut Up

We've called Honor our Butterfly since she was teensie-tiny. As soon as she was mobile, she flittered and fluttered from adoring fan to adoring fan, beaming her smile and verbally sharing everything on her heart. It's hard not to smile around her. She is innocent and hopeful and full of dreams. Some days I fear there isn't a pragmatic bone in her body. I worry that life could crush the optimism out of her. I worry that her cheerfulness won't be appreciated by a world that generally finds bubbly personalities annoying. I worry that I'll ring her neck.

Not really.

I do worry that I will be the one crushing her dreams. And, in all honesty, I do occasionally find her zeal annoying. I have to be the pragmatic one that settles her down to business. The mean one who makes her stop the incessant chattering. But it's also easy to convince her that I'm the fun one, simply by setting out a tea party.
playing indian princess at the pumpkin patch, happily coated in dirt and hay

She's messy as all get out. Her room is packed full of her collections. The only thing she ever throws out are old drawings. This makes me gasp because they truly are adorable drawings and I'm shocked she can part with them. She sees nothing wrong with it because she has 5000 more in her head. If she is ever a famous artist, I will mourn the many drawings we've thrown away. (do you see where she gets her pack-rat tendencies?)

She is sweet and reasonable and nearly always easy to parent. Her one struggle is making herself stop doing something fun in order to do something not as fun. Time to pick up? You can see her wondering whether I mean it or not...whether I'll notice if she plays for 5 more minutes.  Or maybe I'll forget altogether. But she is very honest (finally) and will tell you if you ask, "I didn't stop to put my shoes on because I didn't want to." All is said in complete penitence. It's an area we continue to work on.

I struggle with homeschooling because I fear crushing her love of learning.

She loves reading. Loves. It. If it can be taught from a fairy tale, she can learn it. Fables and poetry delight her. But if a lesson comes in another form, it is rarely enjoyable and she absorbs much less. She is willing, but uninterested. If you have tips on working with her on this, I would highly appreciate them!

To keep her on task, workboxes have been a huge help. She sees what is to be done and she works through them systematically. She loves surprises, and workboxes make it fun to sneak in a cookie mix or craft that is out of our ordinary routine.

If you have a butterfly, I would love tips on what works in your home.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - a book review

I did something brand new for me! I listened to an audiobook while NOT riding in a car! We've always loved them as a family, for road trips. This time, I borrowed my son's MP3 player and enjoyed the audiobook as I cleaned the kitchen and knitted a sweater. It was amazing! And possibly a bit addictive! Of course, it helps that I was listening to a fabulous book.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is the true tale of Nabeel Qureshi's journey from being raised a devout Muslim to his conversion as a follower of Jesus. 

I knew I was in trouble when I had only listened a few seconds. The dedication at the beginning of the book, read by the author himself, had me bawling like a baby. It is dedicated to his parents, who are still in the Muslim faith. It is so honoring and beautiful, you can't help but cry. 

The entire book is read by Qureshi and it is read very well. His voice is clear and soothing; his accent is soft and mesmerizing. Obviously, the story is very personal to him and his emotions come through in his reading perfectly. 

The story itself is also incredible. It was beautiful to soak in his loving childhood. It was very informative as to the beliefs of his family. I was unaware of how much disagreement about doctrine that there is within different Muslim beliefs and Qureshi walks through them carefully and respectfully. I found his descriptions of East vs. West thoughts about guilt/shame societies to be very illuminating. It truly is a completely different perspective and makes an incredible difference for anyone with the opportunity to be a witness to a Muslim. 

I couldn't put it down and my kitchen is now sparkling.

I received this book, free of charge, from the christianaudio Reviewers Programin exchange for my honest opinion. All views are expressed are my own.

Winter days & debates

Like most of the country, we've had snow this past week and with it, we lost all desire to work diligently. Honestly, I think the kids are more willing than I am to persevere and finish our work. It's really too cold to play outside much, no matter how well we bundle. Everyone has their own project or book luring them away, so we haven't even cuddled up to read much.

We took more school time out to watch the debate yesterday. It took all day to work through it and we did have some interesting discussions. When it ended, I asked the boys to share their thoughts. Joel very seriously declared that he was convinced evolution is the obvious answer. I raised an eyebrow and asked, "Really?" He insisted that yes, it blew creationism out of the water. "Interesting," I said, "Please expound!" He kept it up for about ten minutes and he me worrying about his grasp of logic. I finally said, "Joel, you understand that there is a-" He interrupted and said, "I know all about the line where jokes cease to be funny, but I just love prancing all over that line!" He ended this with a big grin.

Prancing? How do I not have grey hair yet?

I thought the debate was handled very well. I was impressed with both sides. We disagreed with Nye and I was pleased that the boys seemed to be able to articulate why. I was glad for the opportunity for them to see differing viewpoints presented respectfully. We really can disagree and still get along.

I was nervous about it beforehand. While I agree with his science, Ken Ham's arrogance has turned me off of using much of his material. I was afraid of how he would represent Christianity. I was very relieved to see him speaking humbly and clearly. I was truly impressed.

The week is nearly over and we are barely beginning our schoolwork for the week. Company is coming and our house looks like we spent the week in our pajamas. Which we did. Where did our motivation go?? How do you dig deep and get the family moving again when you just want to hibernate?

Mansfield's Book of Manly Men - GIVEAWAY!

Mansfield's Book of Manly Men

An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self

Pretty probably isn't the word a manly book would want to be associated with, but it is unavoidable. This book is beautiful! It was a treat to open my mail and see this thick hardcover with its cloth binding. Very pretty.

I chose this book for review because I have two manly sons in their early teen years. They love to read and there are few modern "manly" books written with them in mind. There are excellent older books and my sons' reading lists are full, so I previewed this to see if it was worth their time. It is.

The book is 304 pages of pure manliness. It begins with a foreward, which I usually skip, but highly recommend this time. The foreward was written by General William G. Boykin, former commander of Delta Force. I believe this is the first time I've highlighted and underlined anything in a foreward. I've added him to my list of books to preview. 

The rest of the book is written by Stephen Mansfield, Lieutenant General.  "My goal in this book is simple,” he says. “I want to identify what a genuine man does—the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood—and then call men to do it.” Mansfield defines manliness and then expounds on his 4 maxims of manhood:
  1. Manly men do manly things.
  1. Manly men tend their fields.
  1. Manly men build manly men.
  1. Manly men live to the glory of God.
The rest of the book shares character sketches of men from history and scripture, men who provide examples of how to live according to the manly maxims. It ends with a great resource list of manly quotes, books, and movies. 

This isn't related to the book I'm reviewing, but if you are looking for more manly resources, you will LOVE this site: The Art of Manliness

Thomas Nelson provided an extra copy, which I would love to give away to one my readers. Be sure to enter the giveaway, following the video below.

I received this book for free from the Booksneeze program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

52 in 52 (movies) for January

In case you missed it, my family made a goal to watch 52 movies in 52 weeks this year. We've had a blast with it and wanted to share our progress.

This month, we started with Despicable Me 2. It was funny and stupid a nice way to "waste" an evening together, cuddled up and laughing at nonsense. There is some bathroom humor and it was, in general, idiotic, but it's not offensive and it was fun for all ages.

There was even a bit of a convicting moment for me (the short clip below.) I laughed and then said, "hey!" when I realized it struck close to home. 

The second movie was The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. It wasn't anyone's favorite, but it was fun. It gave a funny glimpse into the way computers were perceived in the '60s. There was one objectionable scene where the main character got caught up in his new fame and walked through the press with a girl on each arm. He then kissed each of them. Otherwise, a decent movie and fun to talk about. The kids have no idea who Kurt Russell is, but it was entertaining for us old folks to see him as a kid.

Next was Princess Bride. I love Princess Bride. We've watched this movie dozens upon dozens of times. It is a true classic. The sword fight scene that I've shared below took roughly 6 months of training, with the actors doing their own fighting. There are lots of fun trivia bits on this movie scattered around the web. Toward the end of the film, Inigo Montoya's fight scene does include material not suited for young children. The Count is killed in this scene and Inigo is stabbed, but lives. Also, he uses some colorful language at the end of the fight. That's where the grown-ups in the room loudly say, "LaLaLaLaLA!!!" to cover it.

Last for January was Herbie the Love Bug. I fell asleep. The kids have seen it, but they still loved watching it again. They really are great movies and we'll likely see them all before the year is out. I can only see them so many times before they lull me to sleep though. It'll make a good time to knit while I "watch". 

One month into our goal and I'm very happy we decided to do this. It spills over into other areas. We're reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy again. We sat it down in October and forgot to pick it back up until last week. Honor, the 10 year old freak, could still remember EXACTLY what happened when we left off. She caught us all back up so we could jump back into the story. We discovered a new card game that all 6 of us can play (and enjoy!) and it's great for practicing math skills. We've had some great family time.

What are some of your family habits that you are enjoying this year? How are your goals coming along? Several friends are getting together to share their 52 in 52 goals. Be sure to check out their stories or share your own below: