Monday, November 23, 2015

A Deeper Walk with the Lord

This has been on my heart for a while.

I know so many Christian women who are struggling in their faith. Who desire a deeper relationship with the Lord but feel stuck & distant from God. Who don’t know HOW to grow in Christ. Who have great intentions, but find it difficult to make time to study the Word or to stay focused in prayer. Who have hurts they can’t seem to forgive, battles they can’t seem to conquer, prayers that don’t seem to be answered, and lots of questions about God. Who feel exhausted and beaten down. Discouraged. Isolated. And overwhelmed.

Ladies, I totally get all that because I have been there, and unfortunately if I don’t guard my heart and mind, I can slip back to that place. But that DOESN’T have to be your truth, and it shouldn’t be.

I can’t imagine there is much that makes the enemy more satisfied than seeing Christians struggle & children of God lacking JOY. When we lack joy, that makes us more like the world, even though we are called to be set apart and different. I believe the enemy absolutely wants us tangled in a web of his lies so we feel empty in our faith. That would make sense, right? Because he is the thief that comes to steal, kill, & destroy…and to keep us from serving God. When we’re focused on ourselves, we’re not sharing the Gospel or ministering to people who need us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. (So mission accomplished for him.)

But I also know we let the enemy have way too much power over us. When we remember that Christ is within us, we have the authority to CLAIM that we are more than conquerors.

I don’t say that in some weird hocus pocus kind of way. The reality is that the victory has already been won, so we need to start living that victorious life. (No, not that life will be perfect, free from trials, or even easy….but we can have JOY & a deep, intimate relationship with our Savior.)

Faith is so much more than trusting God with your eternity. That is the beginning. The crucial beginning, but only the tip of the iceberg. Salvation seals the deal for eternal life, but don’t you think God wants so much more for us than that? Ephesians 3:20 and John 10:10 tell us that he wants us to have abundant life…exceedingly, abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine, while here on earth. Does that not sound so appealing? An abundant life?? We…YOU…can have that.

Faith is about a relationship…an intimate relationship with the one true God. It is about loving HIM and loving OTHERS.

As I have grown in my faith, I have learned that my relationship with the Lord is a direct reflection of the time and effort that I put into it. And actually, that is true with any relationship. The only difference here is that with other humans, they may or may not match your effort. With God, he will ALWAYS give more generously & love more unconditionally. It’s tough for us to wrap our minds around that type of love sometimes (naturally, because his ways are higher than ours), so we tend to view our relationship with God within our human capacity. We expect him to respond to us, love us, and treat us the way others would…not the way GOD tells us in the Word that he does and will do.

Here’s the beauty…God is ALWAYS there. His hand is always extended, his arms are always ready to welcome us, and according to the Word, he desires to be close to us. He wants an intimate relationship with us. When we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. And there is so much peace, comfort, and JOY in that.

So here are a few things that have helped me grow deeper in my walk with the Lord. This is not some step-by-step guide or anything, but I do think sometimes it’s important to help people with practical suggestions.

  • If you ask any relationship expert, they will tell you one of the most crucial components to the success of a relationship is effective communication. And I can just tell ya, that is absolutely key in our relationship with the Lord too. Our form of communication is prayer. Like I mentioned earlier, you may struggle with this like I did. I would start praying, and then get distracted as my mind would go a totally different direction. Or I’d go through a whole day and realized I hadn’t spent any time in prayer. Or I would only pray when I needed something. There is no right or wrong way to pray, but I have found that it works better for me not to make it so formal. I can communicate with God all day long. Before my feet his the floor in the morning, as I’m making breakfast, driving to the store, before meals, folding laundry, while working out, etc. Prayer also means listening, so sometimes it’s important to just “Be still.” We live in such a busy, busy world that sometimes I think we miss what he has for us because we don’t slow down enough to hear from him. (Or if you’re like me, you find the ‘waiting’ difficult so you just keep talking to fill the silence.) So here’s what you can do. Make prayer a habit. Set aside specific times during the day or a specific place in your home or work where you can eliminate distractions & focus on your prayer. Maybe set some timers on your phone? Pray before every meal, when you’re in the shower, at red lights, or running. Definitely, definitely keep a prayer journal. It is YOURS so there is no right or wrong way to do it. I typically journal things I am praying for (with the date) and I go back in to write how God answered those prayers. It is so encouraging to see so many prayers answered, even if answered differently than I hoped or expected. Usually it was more than I could have imagined anyway! So if you desire a deeper walk with the Lord, spend more time talking and listening to him. Become a prayer warrior! I feel like this book really helped me learn HOW to pray.

  • Get to know the character of God by studying Scripture. What do you do when you’re working on growing in a relationship with another person? You get to know them better. Think about everyone you’re closest to in your life, and you can probably tell me a lot about that person’s interests, character, how they would react in certain situations, etc. And the way you know all of those things? You have spent TIME with them. If we spend TIME digging in the Word, studying Scripture, and getting to know God’s character, we will have a deeper and more intimate relationship. That might mean spending the first 10 minutes when you get out of bed every morning, or the last 10 minutes before going to bed every night reading your Bible. You might have to wake up a few minutes earlier, go to bed a few minutes earlier, turn off the electronics, set a timer on your phone, or put it in another room. I know that I lacked the discipline so I had to be very intentional and conscientious about making the time until it became a habit for me.

  • Be thankful. Thank him for everything and become the most grateful person you know. God loves a thankful heart.
  • People ask me all the time for suggestions of great Bible studies or devotionals. Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for those and I have done several that have really taught me a lot, shaped me, and helped me grow. I even recommended one above. But know this. THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT for the WORD of God. Lately I have been making more of an effort to chill out on all of the studies and books and just dig deeper in the Bible. Y’all, it is SO good! Like blow your eyebrows off good. Sometimes I hear women say they don’t understand it or they’re bored when they read the Bible. Once again, I think that is as simple as “you have not because you ask not.” Pray before reading and ask for wisdom & clarity. Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you understand. And know that the Bible is truly the most exciting, captivating, REAL, applicable, encouraging books I have ever read. Approach it with that mindset & perspective. There are some really great stories (truths) in there and you will be able to relate to more of it than you can imagine once you start really getting in there. *Also, you have to be cautious about what you’re reading. Not all Christian authors are truly teaching the Word.
  • Confess sins and ask for forgiveness. Repent, which means TURN from that sin and don’t continue in it. While it is true that God is always there/available, it is also true that our sin can separate us from him. Thankfully he isn’t like us…is quick to forgive and forget, never remembering it again. God is FULL of mercy & grace. We cannot take that for granted though. Sometimes sin is clouding our relationship with the Lord and putting up a barrier. If you know something in your life isn’t right, confess it, ask for forgiveness, turn from it, and ask for the Lord’s help not to continue in it. (You may have to ask this often!) You may also need to ask for the Lord to bring to light something in your life you may not recognize that is keeping you from a deeper relationship with him. Be prepared for the answer and be sure you are listening for it. Then be obedient in removing that barrier, even if it’s something you don’t necessarily want to give up. (I recently deleted the FB app from my phone. It’s embarrassing to admit how long it took me to do that because I honestly didn’t want to, but I woke up one morning and out of the blue just did it. I highly recommend doing some “cleaning up” in the social media world so you aren’t constantly connected and distracted from every angle.)

  • Find a mentor and church home. Ultimately, your relationship with the Lord is up to YOU. Your time & effort determine the intimacy in your relationship with the Lord. It is so important to take that personal responsibility & know that no mentor, Bible study, or perfect attendance in church services is a replacement for personal time spent growing, but I still believe we need accountability & encouragement. It is very rewarding being a part of the church body like you were designed to be.
  • God already knows your heart. If you struggle with being consistent and disciplined in a certain area (studying the Bible, prayer, etc.), confess that and ask for help. He WILL not hold back. This is exactly what the Bible is talking about when it says “Ask and it will be given.” I have found that the more time I spend in the Word and in prayer, the more I desire it. So maybe you’re young in your faith or haven’t had mentorship or a church family to teach you how to do these things. My best advice is to just START and pray for the Lord to give you a stronger desire to spend time with him each day. I know we live in a world full of distractions, so it’s more important than ever to carve out that time. It should be something you look forward to and not an obligation or something to just check off your list.

So really, it’s that simple. Stop making excuses. (I know that sounds harsh, but excuses are lies from the enemy we allow to have way too much control of our lives and keep us from that abundant life God has for us.) Eliminate distractions and make TIME (uninterrupted time) to spend with the Lord.  Have a thankful heart. Make a habit of prayer and studying the Word. Ask for forgiveness and turn from sin. ASK & believe.

There is nothing more rewarding than growing in your faith…


Monday, November 16, 2015

Kade’s 21st & 22nd Weeks!!

This little sweet thing turned 21 weeks on 11/8 and 22 weeks on 11/15. He was 5 months old on November 14th. Sweet as ever!


Weight/Height: At his 4 month checkup on 11/11 he weighed 14.8 lbs (20%) and was  26” (64%). His head was 16 3/4 (38%). I am going to monitor his weight because I weighed him at 14.8 at 18 weeks, so that means his weight gain has slowed over the last few weeks. Dr. Carey said he is long & lean.


Health: Kade had his 4 month check-up on Wednesday, 11/11. He received 2 vaccines – 1 oral and 1 shot. He did great with them! Our only concern at all is that he has sensitive skin (like Jase) & boogies in the nose. Other than that, he is perfectly healthy- praise the Lord!


I do think he has a little bit of reflux, but nothing bad enough for meds. I use gas drops as needed, keep him upright after he eats, and put his mattress on a slight incline.

Recently started using Zarbee’s multivitamin with iron because it doesn’t have the dyes & artificial colors.

Sleep: We moved Jase to a 4 hour schedule around this time so I’ll probably start working on that soon. Right now we’re still 3.5/4 hour schedule. We start the day at 8:30 am. He typically has a 1 hour 45 minute wake time. He is waking up at midnight to eat. Unfortunately he eats a good bit, so he fills his diaper and it wakes him up around 3 am. I have to change his diaper and he does NOT like that!! He gets FIRED up & then I have to nurse him again to calm him down. We always lay him down on his back but he rolls back and forth a good bit so we don’t roll him back over if he ends up on his tummy. If he wakes up

He usually takes at least one really great uninterrupted nap every day. Sometimes I have to help him go back to sleep during a nap or two, and sometimes he’ll sleep really well for morning & afternoon naps. He will catnap in his car seat, but won’t sleep in there for an extended period of time.

Nursing: Well, my pump battery finally bit the dust. I followed all of the troubleshooting techniques but ended up having to buy another battery. He doesn’t have teeth yet, but he’s started biting at the end of a feed sometimes. He also gets distracted and pulls off, so I have to keep him focused. I’m wondering if maybe he’s not getting full feedings? That would explain waking for the nighttime feeding & not gaining enough weight.

What Kade is up to: Drooling everywhere & chewing on hands like crazy, but no signs of teeth yet. Rolling all over the place- tummy to back, back to tummy. Super content! My sweet, smiley baby. Awesome with independent playtime.  He seriously has the BEST fine motor skills I have ever seen on a 5 month old. He is also very strong. Prefers to be held straight up.Can hold weight in his legs & “stand up.” Would rather be on his tummy than sitting in the bumbo.

image imageimage

Post-Partum: I have had a little bit of joint pain & some muscle soreness lately- not sure if it’s because I haven’t been taking protein after workouts or if it’s just from pushing a little too hard with workouts. It takes a while after pregnancy for your body and everything that loosened & stretched to get back to normal. I’ve taken a few days off to try to rest some & have spent some time icing and on the foam roller to try to help.

I also had a 24 hour stomach bug earlier in the week. I haven’t had anything like that since I worked at a daycare the summer after I graduated high school! It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t fun. Thankfully the boys didn’t get it, but I had NO appetite and felt pretty crummy.

Big Brother Jase: Jase has always been sweet to Kade, but lately he has been showing him a lot more interest. He tries to “play” with him now & talks to Kade a good bit. He asks him to play with him & Kade lights up around Jase! He always smiles for him. When we are playing in the playroom, Jase will stop plating and run over to Kade and say “Hey Baby Kade…here’s a cookie.” (Sometimes he pretends he’s baking cookies and gives them to everyone.) Love seeing you guys interact more & I pray you always have a strong bond, have each other’s backs, and are best friends.


Thoughts: Sweet Kade, you are such a treasure. You are just confirmation that God always multiplies a mother’s love as the number of children grow. YOU are a blessing and a light in my life. I love that you always make other people smile with those sweet dimples and I pray your Daddy & I do our part in training you to be a WARRIOR for the Lord some day. Love you, my sweet, sweet boy. Watching you grow is SO much fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

“Baptist Punch” Recipe

This punch is SO easy & is always a huge hit at showers & get togethers. It’s “fizzy” like an alcohol-free champagne.

Mix together one 2 L of chilled ginger ale and one bottle of white peach grape juice into a punch bowl. Add frozen peach slices & you’re ready to serve!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Potty Training Journey & Transition to the Toddler Bed

Well I’m definitely no potty training expert, but I wanted to share a little of our potty training journey with you guys because it has gone pretty smooth. I know there are people that do it much earlier, but some of the pediatricians in our office recommend waiting till the kids are over 2 years old or showing interest. Jase started showing interest before his 2nd birthday and would always pee (or even go #2) in the potty before taking a shower, but I decided to hold off on officially potty training because I was due with Kade soon and didn’t want it to be too many changes for him at once. (I figured having a new baby in the house would be a major adjustment, but honestly, it didn’t really seem to phase Jase much.)

I figured I’d start trying once we got settled with Kade, but things kept coming up (trips, etc.) that caused me to decide to hold off. I’ve been praying that I would know when it was a good time, and on Monday of last week (11/2) I woke up and felt like it was a good time, so we decided to give it a shot. Jase turned 2.5 on 11/8.

My friend Lindsay sent me her copy of 3 Day Potty Training book a while back and I read through it for several ideas.  I reread it before starting on Monday and followed several of her techniques. (She says in the book you have to follow it exactly or it won’t work, but we modified some and still had great success.)

Several months ago I bought a few packs of big boy underwear and a potty chair. I also bought pullups even though the book advises against that.

For a couple months prior to potty training, I would always make a big deal about going to the bathroom in his diaper being “yucky” and would have him say it too. I told him that we were going to start using the potty and big boy underwear soon because diapers are for babies and he was a big boy. This helps them get used to the idea. It says to have the toddler go with you to throw away any diapers (we are donating the leftovers to our church nursery), although this is more for the parents than the kiddos.

Monday morning I put Jase in his bog boy underwear and made a really big deal about it. I told him we were going to keep them dry and several times throughout the day I would have him check to see if they were still dry, praising him each time. I did not ask him “Do you need to go potty?” but instead framed it like the book suggested and said “Jase, tell mom if you need to go potty, okay?” I repeated it ALL DAY long because he needed the constant reminder until he learned to recognize the sensation of needing to go.

The book suggests filling them with LOTS of fluids and high fiber foods, so I gave him lots to drink & lots of snacks (most of what we eat is pretty high in fiber anyway). I reminded him often to tell me if he needed to go potty and praised him for being a big boy every time he was dry. He had 3 accidents that morning and Jon was starting to seriously doubt that he was ready. One time Jase went to the bathroom in his pants about 30 seconds after I had reminded him to tell me if he needed to go to the potty, but it’s important NOT to discipline them for accidents. You want them to have positive associations with going to the potty. (The other two accidents were more of my fault because I walked away from him to do something with Kade. The book really encourages you to stay close to your child all day during those 3 days.) I did  not ever just set him on the potty or use any books that would encourage him to spend more time on the potty than necessary, etc. I used candy (smarties) because I know that works for Jase. (A sticker chart probably wouldn’t do it for him, but a piece of candy & he’s all in!)

Each time he had an accident I would tell him it was yucky, show him that his big boy underwear were not dry, and remind him that he was a big boy and needed to go in the potty. I didn’t tell him about the candy because the book says bribing them (rather than just rewarding them) can lead to a power struggle of “I want it now!”

I finally got him to go in the potty around lunch time and made a really big deal praising him and telling him I was so proud of him! I gave him 2 Smarties (he nodded and said, “mmmm, that’s good momma” as he chewed it u), a big hug, and a high five. I lavished the praise and told him he was such a big boy. I taught him to dump the potty into the toilet, to flush, and then to wash his hands. Once he realized he got candy and lots of praise, it was game on. He peed in the potty probably 10 more times before nap time.

Now here’s where I didn’t “follow the plan.” I used (and am still using) Pull-Ups for naps & at nighttime. Jonathan said he would prefer me to do that so clean up is a little easier, and honestly I agree that was the best decision.

At this point, Jase was still in his crib with the mattress all the way on the floor. Our first day of potty training he climbed out of his crib and was walking around upstairs. It scared the SNOT out of me!! He has never done that before, so both boys were upstairs (supposedly) napping and I heard their doors open and someone walking around..I almost got my gun since Jonathan wasn’t home.

I realized it was Jase and had a talk with him about staying in his bed. It was obvious he KNEW he wasn’t supposed to climb out, but he did it probably 10 more times. I started disciplining him for disobeying and finally let him sit on the couch with me and watch Veggie Tales while Kade finished his nap. I put him back in his big boy underwear and he stayed dry the rest of the day.

That night we put him back in his Pull Ups and had a talk with him about staying in his bed. And thatttttt didn’t work. He got out probably 10 or so times and it was about 10:45ish before he finally went to bed for the night. (Jonathan took over with the talks and discipline at this point.) I posted on Facebook asking my mommy friends for advice and got tons of great suggestions. We decided to transition his crib into a big boy bed the next day (mostly because we were afraid he would get hurt climbing out of his crib) & also went to Target to get a baby gate to put in front of his door. That pretty much did the trick and the next day was MUCH better. He still got out of bed a few times, but we stayed consistent putting him back in and telling him it was time to go night night (Supernanny style). If he got up, Jonathan would tell him on his monitor to get back in bed.

We didn’t leave the house at all on Monday, but we did on Tuesday to go get the baby gate. Jonathan wanted him to wear his PullUp in case he had an accident, but he stayed dry the whole time and told me when he had to go to the bathroom at Target. Such a big boy! I bought him some Gold Fish as a a treat for going potty.

He stayed dry the whole next day too and did an AWESOME job telling us if he needs to go. We put the potty chair in our half bath by the kitchen and living room, but if he tells us upstairs or in the basement we will just set him on the big toilet. He wore a PullUp to church and I kept reminding him to tell me if he needed to go potty, but he stayed dry the whole time and didn’t go to the bathroom till we got home. He also pooped in the potty!! Go Jase! (Ha…funny how the things we get excited about change when we become parents.)

So far his only accident was on Friday when we had friends over to play- and I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t want to stop playing or if it was because he had an upset tummy. Other than that, in the potty every time. We remind him often (but less and less over the course of the week) to let us know if he needs to go potty. We do not ask him. We don’t set him on the potty unless it’s to try to go before bed. We LAVISH the praise for using the restroom AND for staying dry. We tell him often that he is such a big boy and we are so proud and we always “celebrate” when he goes. (I have a feeling he’s going to be a “words of affirmation” kiddo.) And we are still rewarding with Smarties…just not every time. We try to limit drinks for 2 hours before bed. He is doing GREAT with it!!

I don’t like the idea of 2 big changes at once (potty training & toddler bed), but in this case Jonathan and I didn’t feel like we had another option. We didn’t want to pull back on potty training since he was doing so well, and we couldn’t get him to stay in his crib. And honestly, Jase has always done really, really well with transitions. He’s just an easy kid in that aspect, so we felt like he could handle it. After the first 2 nights (and adding the baby gate), he has pretty much stayed in his bed for the most part. If we hear him get out, it’s usually because he needs to go to the bathroom. When we walk upstairs an open his door, he puts on this innocent face and says “Oh hi mom….I get out of bed?” Really though, I think he just doesn’t want to go potty in his Pull-Up. Unfortunately that means his naps have been shorter since we’ve started potty training…only about an hour and a half instead of 2 1/2-3 hours. AND he’s been waking up earlier in the mornings (or at least ready to get up and out of bed sooner.) Maybe he’ll get to point where he starts sleeping a little longer as he can control it better for naps. We will stop with Pull-Ups for naps soon, but probably keep them at night for a while.

We are still working on teaching him to call for us if needs to go & staying in bed until we come up to get him.

Anyway, that’s how we did it! We are going on over a week with only 1-2 accidents, so I feel pretty confident. We still haven’t left the house in big boy underwear, so we may try to give that a shot tomorrow.

I highly recommend reading the book for some great tips because I do think it was very helpful. And as with all things parenting, you have to adapt to what works for your family. We also did BabyWise and Baby Led Weaning with Jase, but we had to tweak a few things to make them work for us. So I guess we’re down to one in diapers…

(**I know this post was pretty much a grammatical train wreck with tenses, so thanks for sticking with me.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Healthy Holidays: A Guide to Not Gaining the Holiday Weight

Did you know that many people gain anywhere from 7-10 lbs over the holidays (from Halloween through New Years)?? I know it’s not hard to believe with all of the treats, multiple parties & get togethers, unhealthy options, stress, traveling/being on the go, and just plain ole overeating.

January is an AWESOME time to reset, and if you’re like me, you WANT to enjoy the holidays. But I DON’T want to gain that weight & push myself back even further from the starting line for January.

So we have a plan!! 

Here are a few products & tips that may help. We also have a FB group with encouragement, accountability, recipes, meal prep ideas, grocery lists, healthy treats, etc. for anyone who decides to join us.

Here are our FAVORITE “holiday helpers.”

  • Spark (helps with long-lasting energy & mental focus, sugar free, no crash…you’re just more productive, more focused, & don’t feel tired)
  • MNS C (this has your multivitamin & other goodies to fill in nutritional gaps, but also provides sustained release energy & additional appetite control)
  • Catalyst (helps preserve & maintain lean muscle, which we WANT)
  • Thermoplus (promotes healthy metabolism, helps convert fat into energy)
  • Carb Ease Plus (helps reduce the absorption and breakdown of carbohydrates and fat & helps reduce the negative effects of excessive carbohydrate consumption
  • FiboTrim (assists in the binding, transport and removal of dietary fats- so think fried foods, high fat foods, etc.)
  • Crave Check (6 hours of sustained- release appetite control, so you can take 2x/day to help you walk right past the dessert table)
  • Shakes (high protein, balanced & portion controlled meal that fills you up, tastes awesome, is great for on the go, and ensures you’re getting at least one healthy meal throughout the day)
  • Slim (supports appetite control & helps fight occasional drowsiness)
  • Clear Mood (helps brighten mood, supports sense of well-being, & provides support for relaxation)
  • Oasis (helps your body adapt to physical and other sources of stress…hellllllo holiday shopping, travel, & some family get togethers…think if it as a red wine without the alcohol)
  • Sleep Works (promotes better sleep by helping you fall asleep, stay asleep, and awaken refreshed)

You can pick & choose out of that list based on your specific needs and budget, or you can get them all as they work extremely well together too. (For example, Carb Ease & Crave Check are a MUST for me with my sweet tooth. I also LOVE Slim for an afternoon pick-me-up and to help with my nighttime snacking. Jon loves Carb-Ease and Fibotrim because he’s a meat and potatoes guy. He is more of a burger & fries than sweets guy. Spark & MNS are a no brainer.)

At the very least I recommend starting with Spark, MNS-C (3 boxes), and Carb-Ease. As a member, that is approximately $5/day for a 42 day supply.

If you want to make it most cost effective, you can become a member for $79 + tax & shipping. They will send you 3 boxes of Spark as part of your membership, so you can use those daily & it will get you through Christmas. The membership comes with your own (free) website, so you can log in and order your other goodies for a 20% discount. (You can get a deeper discount if you want & I’d be glad to explain that, but it starts at 20%.) You’ll see the discount applied in your shopping cart every time you order, and it’ll ship to your door from FedEx in about 2-3 days. And just to clarify, there are NO monthly minimums, quotas, or autoships. You choose what, how often, if, and when you order. Here is the link if you decide to go that route: Become a Member

*If you need more specific guidance about which products are best for your needs, we’d be glad to help make some recommendations & coach you through based on your goals.


I know lots of people need a game plan, so here is what Jon’s day looks like with those products. It really becomes a daily regimen & is worth it for the awesome results & feeling so good by putting great nutrition into your body. (FYI: You still eat balanced meals & snacks every 3 hours and drink a lot of water. This is not a substitute for healthy eating…they are meant to supplement & HELP.) Also, remember we will add you to our FB group if you decide to give it a shot and there are lots of awesome resources there too.

-upon rising: drink Spark + Rehydrate combo, MNS “before” pack, 3 Catalyst & 1 Thermoplus

-30 minutes later: eat breakfast & take both “with breakfast or lunch” MNS packs

-2 hours later: healthy snack

-30 minutes before lunch: final MNS pack

-Eat balanced lunch

-2 hours later: either a 2nd Spark or Slim

- 30 mintues before workout (Performance products + 3 Catalyst)

-Healthy Dinner *use Carb-Ease (immediately before high carb meal or cheat) and Fibotrim (10-15 before high fat meal) as needed

- After dinner snack: Muscle Gain shake

- Before bed: 3 Catalyst, Sleep Works and/or Nighttime Recovery depending on the workout

*Clear Mood (1 capsule 1-3x/day) and Oasis as needed & can be fit in anywhere during the day. Clear Mood is a capsule and Oasis is a drink. Oasis is more for a specifically stressful event- like driving in Atl traffic, going to the airport, holiday shopping, etc, whereas Clear Mood is more for an overall mood brightener.

A few other tips:

  • moderate exercise/be active (you don’t HAVE to hit the gym as hard, although of course the more you do, the better…but make an effort to move & be more active. walk your dogs, chase your kids/nieces & nephews – they’ll love it- take the stairs, park far away, etc.)
  • eat before you go to parties
  • fill up on protein & veggies first
  • eat small portions
  • don’t drink your calories
  • eat breakfast
  • eat balanced meals (don’t skip meals to “save room”)
  • drink your water
  • get enough sleep
  • meal prep
  • be the one to bring the healthy dish to the get together (I’ve got some yummy healthy treats if you click on my recipes in the label cloud, or you can search through Pinterest for a ton of ideas)

{I wrote a post a couple years ago with healthy holiday tips…you can read it here!}

Ohhhhhhh yea….tis the season for GINGERBREAD BARS!!! We always stock up on these bad boys because they are our FAVE & they usually sell out really quickly. We get enough to last us through the whole year. (This picture is from last year…we ordered even more this year. Ha! They make a great stocking stuffer, teacher gift, etc.) They are the BEST heated up for 8-10 seconds. Pretty much melt in your mouth…and that’s an awesome treat with 11 g of protein & only 170 calories.

Happy, HEALTHY holidays!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Protein Fudge. Yes, this is real.

Soooo….until I can have some MNS, Crave Check, & Slim (when I’m done nursing), I’m going to have to continue to find healthier alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth. I don’t eat sweets every day, but I do make things for the family a couple times a week.  FYI: I am seriously not kidding that my sweet tooth totally went away when I was consistently using those products, so if you’re not pregnant/nursing and you have a sweet tooth, stop what you’re doing and order them ASAP! You’ll thank me.

Anyway, my friend James posted a picture of some of this protein fudge he made & I decided to give it a shot tonight since I had all of the ingredients on hand. Y’all, it is CRAZY delicious!! I’m pretty sure of everything I’ve made, this is my favorite so far. Jonathan LOVED it too! (He gets to take Carb-Ease before.) You only need a little bit to satisfy you too, and it’s packed with protein & nutrients.

P.S. Don’t I have the cutest little helper? He loves to be right in the action anytime I’m making treats. He cleans up any chocolate chips that are “accidentally” spilled on the counter for me.


Here’s what you’ll need.


  • 1 AdvoCare meal replacement shake (any flavor will work, but I used white choc peppermint *MY FAVVVE!*, pumpkin, mint chocolate brownie, and chocolate peanut butter brownie
  • 1/4 c Refined Coconut Oil
  • small handful of Chocolate Chips (I like “Enjoy Life” brand)
  • 3 TBSP (Organic) Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Parchment Paper



Pour meal replacement shake contents into a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 c melted (refined) coconut oil, 3 TBSP pure maple syrup, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and a few chocolate chips. Mix together. Pour onto parchment paper in a small baking dish. Place in freezer for about 30 min, remove, cut into squares using a pizza cutter. Store in freezer. (or forget to take it out after 30 minutes like I did…oops! I got distracted playing with this cutie.)

*Also, the pumpkin, mint chocolate brownie shakes & white chocolate peppermint shakes are all seasonal products. The peppermint shakes are making a comeback SOON, but till then you will get a FREE sample from AdvoCare when you order a box of GINGERBREAD BARS!! These are HANDS DOWN one of our favorite products! (We MAJORLY stock up so we have enough to last us through the whole year and because they always sell out pretty quickly.) Gingerbread bars have 11 g of protein, so they’re a pretty healthy snack alternative that totally feels like a cheat during the holidays. They are especially yummy slightly warmed up and paired with Coffecino,


Monday, November 2, 2015

Chelsea’s Shower: Celebrating Deacon Ann

I have been praying for this baby for a lonnnnng time…long before she even came to be. I am so excited for the Hall family & it was an honor to help shower her sweet Mama.

Chelsea is so dearly loved by so many. She is just one of those people whose light shines and she draws people to her. She has always made me laugh and been a very good friend to me in the years I have known her.

I can’t wait to meet ABC Mama’s “D” child!

The shower was a great turnout. We used the theme of the nursery for the shower. Invitations came out super cute! We used navy & coral.


My mom was the mastermind behind most of the planning. She is seriously a party planning genius & all the cute tribal stuff was her idea.

Laura made all the cute signs (pictures with Scriptures) and the letters spelling her name. Chels took those home as gifts to put in the nursery. Love that idea!

The girls put balloons under their shirts and said they were pregnant too. So cute!


Little mamas!


Chels is BEAUTIFUL! Just glowing!!


We are learning to put out a spread. Andrea’s buffalo dip was awesome!


I’ll have to get Laura’s mom’s punch recipe and post it here….it is seriously SO good! I drank 3 glasses of it…ha.


Amy took care of the favors and the DELCIOUS cake!!


My nieces were such a big help setting up and cleaning up too. Love that mom brings them around & let’s them be involved. Maybe one of them will take over her party- planning skills? She could seriously rock a business if she ever wanted to!


Aren’t these waters cute? Duct tape.


I don’t think I got a picture of everyone unfortunately, but here are a few.


Her sweet Mama is recovering from back surgery so Chelsea didn’t think she’d be there. Angi surprised her & Chels was SO happy to see her! Beautiful!!




Andi is SO excited to be a big sister & loved that sign!! Precious.


Chelsea has the sweetest testimony about baby Deacon already, and I was so glad she shared it with everyone. It is such a sweet story of God’s faithfulness and answered prayers. That precious baby is already so LOVED (just like her mama!) and I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses her to change the world.


“For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me that which I have asked of him.” – 1 Samuel 1:27