Saturday, January 24, 2015

17 Years Together

Today is our 17th anniversary. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. I'm so thankful for my husband, and I'm looking forward to many more years together!

"Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." ~Matthew 19:6

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Year of Handmade

In my mind, 2014 has gone down as "The Year of Handmade." For some reason, I felt the need to create at many different levels, and I found it very satisfying. And the best part is that I wasn't the only one expressing my creative side. My children joined in with quite a few projects and even came up with some of their own.
In addition to making all of the soap that we used last year, we made our own bread and I also made some tinctures, tooth powder, lotion, and deodorant...
...started garden plants from seed and grew herbs and vegetables in our raised beds...
...made toys...
...the children made their own tree blocks with a piece of wood they cut and sawed into small pieces and then sanded...
...I made a stuffed toy...
...finished a quilt...
...the girls tie-dyed shirts for the whole family and we wore them on our family camping trip...
...I helped the boys make their own pillows using the sewing machine...
...I made clothing for myself and my girls...
...made matching flower headbands for the younger two girls...
...we learned about chalk pastel art...
...and my sweet oldest son fashioned this heart for me out of an old wire, and then gave it to me as a gift. ♥
If you're looking for some creative inspiration, there's lots to be found in the DIY eBook bundle, including the following:
  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • And so much more!

And I also wanted to mention that Lilla Rose is having a Flash Sale today! For 12-hours only, you can save 25% off EVERYTHING! But hurry, this sale will only run from 8 am -8 pm Pacific time, Friday, January 23 only. If you've been waiting to place a Lilla Rose order, now would be a perfect time! 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Diastasis Recti: My Story and Hope for Healing

When I became a mother for the first time, I was a size four with a very flat stomach. After suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum (all of that vomiting can really adversely affect your stomach musles) and giving birth to five babies (a couple of them on the larger side, the last one being over nine pounds), my stomach is not at all what it used to be!

I have stretch marks and my skin is all stretched out and saggy. I'm thankful I gave up bikinis years ago (for the record, even if I still had a nice-looking stomach I wouldn't wear one).

But the worst part is that I have a diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles.

For me, my diastasis recti represents pain:
  • It's emotionally painful when people ask me if I'm pregnant when I'm not.
  • It's difficult to always have to wear baggy clothing to disguise my poochy stomach.
  • It's uncomfortable to have to wear a restrictive support garment in the heat of summer.
  • It's physically painful when I suffer from back pain when I've been standing for long periods of time.
  • I experience physical pain often when just getting out of bed in the morning.

All of my pregnancies were full of pain because of this abdominal separation. I felt pain when the baby would move. It was painful to stand and painful to walk. I had to wear a belly binder/splint with all of my pregnancies (and postpartum), but the pain was only alleviated somewhat. 

With almost every pregnancy, people thought I must be expecting twins because I looked so large. In fact, one night when my husband took me out to eat (when I was expecting our second baby), a man yelled across the parking lot in a loud voice, "LOOKS LIKE TWINS!!!" And of course, all I could do was yell back, "NOPE, IT'S NOT TWINS!"
The above photo doesn't do justice to how large my belly was during my last pregnancy. In the photo on the right, I was wearing the same outfit but the size extra large maternity shirt wouldn't even close at the front. And I still had a week left before my baby was born! I was wearing a belly binder in both photos, but it didn't help much.

My fifth pregnancy was the most painful of all. My baby was large (over nine pounds), and I had no muscles to hold him in. Everything just spilled out the front. Every time he would move it would hurt so bad that it almost took my breath away. 

When I first started researching diastasis recti (almost twelve years ago), there wasn't much information on the subject. My midwives checked for the separation and then suggested that I do "crunches" to remedy the problem. One midwife told me that the only thing that would help is a surgical tummy tuck.

During my second pregnancy, my midwife was palpating my belly, which was rather painful for me due to my diastasis. The baby started moving around, and my midwife said, "This is incredible! It's not often that we get to see the baby in the womb so clearly." And then she called over several other midwives to view the amazing sight, thanks to my poor belly.

Another midwife told me, "This is the worst abdominal separation I've ever seen. And you also have an umbilical hernia. You really should do something about this if you're planning to get pregnant again." But she never really had any suggestions for how to fix it, so I never did.
This is my stomach today. No, I'm not pregnant, it just looks like it since I have nothing to hold me together. I always try to wear baggy clothing to disguise my "pooch."

But now I'm ready for a change. I want a stronger, healthier body, and I'm ready to rehabilitate my core!

I've tried a couple of different programs that were supposed to help, but so far I haven't been able to heal this on my own. Not because the programs were necessarily ineffective, but because I needed support and help.

I first heard about The Tummy Team from Beth Learn at Fit2B. After just a few minutes of looking at the Tummy Team website, I knew this was the program I wanted to use for healing my diastasis recti. The Tummy Team specializes in core rehabilitation, and in many cases they can help completely close a diastasis without surgery. I'm so excited to begin!

And I'm excited that I'm going to be sharing my journey here with you! I'd love to have you join me for the next couple of months as I work to heal my diastasis. I know it's going to be a challenge, and I'd love to have the accountability of blogging about it.

I'm planning (Lord willing) to begin the Core Foundations 8-week Online Training Program at the beginning of February. I'll be checking in here every couple of weeks and sharing my struggles and successes (along with before and after photos).

If you also suffer from a diastasis recti, I'd love to hear your story! Have you ever checked yourself for a diastasis recti? If you're not sure if you have one or not, the video below will show you how to check for diastasis.

And here's an exciting announcement! 

Today only (January 22), you can get any Tummy Team online program for 43% off when you use the promo code HAPPY43. This is their best sale of the year, so don't miss out! Click here to get yours! (Note: This sale does not include splints or Skype sessions, just the online programs and also gift certificates.)
The Tummy Team Online Core Training Programs


Disclosure: This post contains my affiliate links.

Sharing Here: Growing in Grace

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Doing It Yourself

I LOVE all things creative. Whether it's sewing, quilting, knitting, baking, photography, soap making, or candle making, I just love it! I love starting out with raw materials and ending up with a beautiful finished project that I made myself. And it doesn't have to be perfect for me to love it!
Truthfully, I have a long list of creative projects I'd love to do. And some of them I even have all of the supplies just waiting for me to get started! But sometimes I wonder how I can fit in even one more thing in my already very busy days.

Thankfully though, there’s an exciting new product to help you quickly and easily get into (or back into) the creative projects you’ve been desperate to start. It’s called The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and it’s a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.
At first, I wasn't sure I would be interested in sharing about another eBook bundle. But then I took a look at what's included in this bundle, and I was sold when I saw all of the amazing resources, including patterns and photography instruction!

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses. And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.

Topics in the bundle include:
  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • …and a whole lot more (76 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!
There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, January 21 until 11.59pm EST on Monday, January 26.

You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $118. That’s 3x the price of the bundle alone! These include…

A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $60 Value), free $15 store credit to, a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.

So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 76 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by midnight on Monday, January 26!

This amazing deal ends in just…

Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Save Time With Trim Healthy Mama Slow Cooker Freezer Meals!

Almost every busy homemaker I know loves to save time in the kitchen. There are just so many more exciting and needful things to be doing! Last summer (about 6 months ago) I decided to spend a few days in the kitchen making freezer meals to save some time when school started.

I found this list of Trim Healthy Mama freezer-to-crock pot recipes after seeing someone else's post on the THM Facebook page. I doubled the recipes for our family (and a couple of them I think I even quadrupled). The really great thing about these recipes is that you just take them out of the freezer, put them in the crock pot and then let them cook all day. Practically effortless meals!
They're pretty simple to put together, but some of them are a bit time consuming due to all of the chopping required for the fresh vegetables. Some of the recipes we absolutely loved! And they were such a huge timesaver. All in all, I was so happy I took the time to make these, especially on days where we've been really busy.

I'm always on the lookout for more freezer-to-crock-pot meals, and I try to pin them on my Pinterest board when I find them. I just noticed that the original website where I found these freezer meals has three more sessions available with more recipes!  She now has session 2, 3, and 4! I can't wait to try them one of these days. This is so helpful!
Do you like to stock your freezer with freezer meals? Do you have any favorite freezer-to-slow cooker recipes?

Sharing with: Growing in Grace

Friday, January 16, 2015

Healing Adrenal Fatigue {The Singing Canary Drink}

Last year I began noticing that I had symptoms of adrenal fatigue. I was constantly tired, and it was such a struggle to think clearly. I felt rundown and overwhelmed.

When I saw The Singing Canary drink on the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page I noticed that it was supposed to be good for adrenal fatigue. I figured it couldn't hurt to try it. And after trying it, I found that I loved it, and I do feel more energetic on the days when I drink it.

Bright yellow lemons are so cheery on a cold winter day!
If you're suffering from adrenal fatigue or just need to be recharged, I highly recommend that you give this drink a try!