Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Trim Healthy Mama Valentine's Celebration

Three years ago I planned a Trim Healthy Mama Valentine's Day celebration for our family (the blog post is here). We had Cheeseburger Pie, salad, cheesecake with strawberry sauce, heart-shaped chocolates, and skinny chocolate-dipped strawberries (all recipes from the book). It was a delicious and healthy meal that even my kids enjoyed.
This year I'm planning something similar for our Valentine's meal. We're planning to use the cheesecake recipe from the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, and my daughters are hoping to make chocolate-dipped strawberries again (with skinny chocolate).

If you don't have the new cookbook or you're looking for more Valentine's meal inspiration, here are a few recipes that would be delicious for the occasion!

Dinner:

Chicken Spaghetti by Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen
Zucchini Cheesy Lasagna Casserole by Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen
Lazy Lasagna by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

Dessert:

Valentine Mini Cheesecakes by Briana Thomas
Strawberry Amaretto Cake by A Home With Purpose
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake by The Laundry Moms
Berry Cheesecake Dessert by Artful Homemaking
Baked Brie and Berries by Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved
Raspberry Curd by Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved
Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes by The Laundry Moms
Showstopper Valentine Cake by Briana Thomas
Raspberry Cheesecake Truffles, by Sugar-Free Mom
Chocolate Hearts on a Stick by Meet Me in the Meadow


Beverages:

Party Punch by Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen
Creamy Coconut Strawberry Smoothie by Deborah Lund Photography

Every year my children look forward to getting out our felt Valentine holders that attach to the backs of our chairs at the kitchen table. This was a super simple craft that I never imagined would be so popular with my family.
I used red felt for the boys' pockets and pink for the girls' and I just used an assortment of ribbon, lace, and other embellishments that I had on hand.
This is our third year to use them and they're still in great shape!
I love finding little "love notes" from my children in my pocket. ♥


Monday, February 8, 2016

Life Lately


My husband is such a blessing. Yesterday he took all of the kids to the park and then to Aldi to pick up some groceries. And he brought me home these roses, just because. Pink roses are my favorite. ♥

I thought life might slow down now that my dad is home from the hospital (even though he still needs round-the-clock care), but it's been just as busy as ever. I spent last week trying to catch up on school with my youngest three, working on my "100 Days of THM Challenge," and organizing.

Two of my dad's sisters brought my grandma (Dad's mom) to stay with my parents for awhile. I was so thankful they came. They don't live close (they're in another state) and I hadn't seen my aunts in 15 years! It was so good to see them and catch up a bit. 

My oldest daughter and I went to a women's conference at a local church on Saturday. I love that this was my daughter's idea (I felt like I was too busy to go, but she practically dragged me there!).
It was refreshing and fun. A friend of mine and her daughter also came, so it was an added blessing to get a chance to fellowship with them all day. 
After the conference was over, my friend's husband had planned a surprise birthday party for her (starting right after the end of the conference), so I got to enjoy a special evening with her and four other friends, too (just as an interesting side note, between the six of us we have 50 children!!). God is so good to encourage us with friendship.

This week my goals are to continue with my THM challenge, including exercising five of those days. One day down, four to go! I'm also working on decluttering and organizing the whole house. So far I've got one trash bag and several boxes and bags to donate. So exciting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

100 Days of Trim Healthy Mama

One of my goals for 2016 was to lose weight and get in better physical shape. My action steps for that goal were put on hold during the past three weeks while my dad was in the hospital.

I spent hours driving back and forth to the hospital (which is an hour an a half away from where we live). Late nights, extreme stress and fatigue, lots of hospital food, skipping meals because I didn't have time to eat, and too much sitting didn't do my health any favors!
A few days ago I came across a "100 Days of Trim Healthy Mama" challenge on Facebook, and I decided I would commit to doing it (to the best of my ability). Here are the guidelines I'm following:
  1. 100 days of on-plan eating
  2. Get 15-20 minutes of exercise 5 days per week (I'm doing the Tummy Safe Workouts at Fit2B)
  3. Eat 5-7 "Deep S" meals per week
  4. Make a list of NSV (Non Scale Victory) goals you hope to achieve within the next 100 days (my goals include going down a couple of sizes and losing inches)
  5. Read the new plan book over the next 100 days

Yesterday was the first day. I took my starting measurements and did the best I could, considering the fact that I had to drive my daughter to an appointment out of town and eat out for dinner.

I have a meal plan for the week, which is really helping me so far. I just went through what we already had in the freezer and in the pantry for this week (waiting for payday to arrive!). 

Here's what's on this week's menu:

Monday:
  • Breakfast: 2 Eggs fried in butter (S)
  • Lunch: Quick Tuna Medley (p. 306 old book) (FP)
  • Dinner: Quiche
Tuesday:
  • Breakfast: Creamy Grains (p. 252 new book) (E)
  • Lunch: Deep S Salad (p. 189) (S)
  • Dinner:  Kai Si Ming (p. 98) (S)
  • Snack: cheese stick and apple
Wednesday:
  • Breakfast: Eggs (S)
  • Lunch: Waldorf Cottage Cheese Salad (p. 190) (E)
  • Dinner: Golden Chana Soup (p. 99) (E)
  • Snack: FP Smoothie
Thursday:
  • Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits (E)
  • Lunch: Deep S Salad (S)
  • Dinner: Bangin' Ranch Drums (p. 162) (S) 
  • Snack: FP Smoothie
Friday:
  • Breakfast: Eggs (S)
  • Lunch: Quick Tuna Medley (FP)
  • Dinner: Perfect Pizza (p. 211) (S)
  • Snack: Greek Yogurt Swirl
Saturday: A scheduled mostly off-plan day (I'll be at a women's conference and then a birthday party!) I plan to make the best choices available to me.

Sunday:
  • Breakfast: Breakfast Casserole (S)
  • Lunch: Salmon Burgers 
  • Dinner: Taco Salad
  • Snack: Celery and Peanut Butter
This is kind of a bare-bones menu since this is a crazy-busy week and I was trying to use what we already had on hand. And sometimes I make a menu and then decide to make something else when the day to eat a certain thing arrives! 

If I actually make progress during this "100 days challenge," I'll be sure to let you know! :)

This post may be shared at the following link-ups: Living Proverbs 31The Modest MomThe Art of Home-Making MondayMonday's MusingsTitus 2 TuesdayTitus 2sdaysSoul SurvivalTeaching What is GoodA Wise WomanRaising HomemakersWFMWA Little R & RGrowing in Grace The links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, if you click through these links and make a purchase, I may receive an affiliate commission. Thank you so much for your support—we appreciate you so much!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Good Gift

If you follow my Facebook page you've possibly already seen this news, but I just wanted to let you all know that my dad came home from the hospital yesterday, and we are rejoicing!!!

For three weeks we prayed that God might spare his life. His condition is one that has a high mortality rate, and more than once his surgeon said she wasn't sure if he was going to make it or not in the beginning. Another surgeon told him he was "lucky to be here." So we had many sleepless nights praying for my dad.

His health is still very fragile and he has a number of challenges to push through, but we're all just so thankful to have him home, and it's great to not have to make the long drive to the hospital. I'm hoping I can get back on track with everything here at home now that I can spend more time here. :)

Thank you all so much for your prayers for my dad and for my family! ♥

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Home

After spending so many days at the hospital (including all day yesterday), it was such a treat to be at home all day today. I love being at home, and it's even nicer since I've had to be away so much lately.
As I was heading out the door yesterday morning to make the 1½ hour drive to the hospital, my youngest child clung to my leg and said, "Mom, you're not leaving, are you?" I felt torn between being at the ICU with my Dad and Mom, and staying home with my children. Since my husband works from home, it's easier for me to be away, but this whole thing is taking a toll on all of us.
I'm having a hard time getting back into a homemaking rhythm since I know I'm going back to the hospital tomorrow. I picked up some knitting instead, since I find it calming. Now I have two "mindless knitting" projects I can work on.
We have been so blessed by the prayers and supportive thoughts of so many. Several in our church family have brought us meals, and Monday a sweet friend brought me a gift bag filled with encouragement, including the "Believe with God all things are possible" sign (below), and CHOCOLATE! (I've been eating way too much chocolate lately...)
I just received word that my dad has been moved out of the ICU! I'm praying he'll be able to stay out! He has already been in and out of the ICU once, so I'm praying that this time he'll make a full recovery and be able to go home.