Monday, June 30, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was a busy one. My menu got switched around quite a bit, and I ended up making quick things like Taco Salad instead of items on my menu. Many of the meals on this week's plan will look the same as the last few weeks since I haven't got around to making them yet and need to use up the ingredients I have for them!

My menu is mostly THM-friendly or can be easily adapted for the THM lifestyle. I have found that since starting to follow THM (I'm only following it about 60% of the time), the weight is starting to slowly come off again after being stalled for a couple of months, so I think I will continue what I'm doing and keep following THM principles the best I can, while allowing myself some off-plan meals once in awhile.

Monday: Cheesy Spinach Mushroom Chicken Bake (S), Brown Rice, Buttered Broccoli
               *I will either skip the rice to keep this "S" or only have 1/4 cup of rice for an "S helper" meal. Since I'm nursing, it's important that I eat enough carbs.*

Tuesday:  Tuscan Vegetable Soup and Sourdough Bread (E) / Leftovers for family

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers (S) & Buttered Vegetables & Salad

Thursday: BBQ Steak & Caesar Salad (S) (also put potatoes on grill for rest of the family)

Friday: Pizza on the Grill...using sourdough bread recipe and reduced fat cheese (E or crossover)

Saturday: Sweet & Sour Chicken & Rice (definitely off plan...I'll just watch portion control! This is one recipe I will not be sacrificing for THM as it's a family favourite!! )

Sunday: Leftovers

Baked Oatmeal Revised (E) (THM - style) topped with fresh fruit *Made this on the weekend, and it was very good! I love baked oatmeal, and this tastes very, very close to my usual non-THM recipe, so I'm pretty happy to have found a recipe for Baked Oatmeal that works for THM*
Eggs fried in butter and topped with cheese (S) X 2
Volcano Mudslide Muffin topped with Greek Yogurt & Berries (S) (X 2)
Stovetop Oatmeal (E)
Toasted Sourdough Bread with Scrambled Egg whites, Greek Yogurt & Berries (E)

THM-friendly leftovers for me all week

Leftovers X 2
Sandwiches X 3
Pancakes X 1
Mac N' Cheese X 1

THM DESSERTS/SNACKS (so I don't feel too left out when hubby is snacking on delicious things in the evening!)
Skinny Chocolate (S)
Popcorn (E or crossover with butter)
Berry Cheesecake Crunch (S)
Vanilla Crumble (S)
Celery & Peanut Butter (S)
Skinny Frappe (frozen coffee cubes, cottage cheese, truvia, almond milk, cocoa, vanilla blended. Sounds gross, but it actually tastes pretty good. Cottage cheese just thickens it up and addds protein since I don't have whey protein powder yet)
Cottage Berry Whip (FP)

Exercise 3 times
Baby/Books 1 hour
Photo Albums 1 hour

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Menu Plan...A Little Late

Last week I did a modified version of Trim Healthy Mama. I am not 100% on plan, but I think this is what will work for me. The full-out THM way of eating is just not going to work for me. Been there. Done that. Major fail. However, I still think many of their principles work and are doable, so I'm willing to give some THM a try....but I'm going to be all rebellious and do it my own way. I wish I didn't have to even bother with THM, to be honest, but the weight this time was just not coming off with my usual counting calories & exercising. That always worked before, but this time, it did not seem to work very well. I got discouraged, stopped exercising, ate horribly, and it didn't even seem to make a difference (as in, I didn't seem to gain either). Weird. I was stuck at the same weight for 3 months, and if nothing changes...well, nothing changes. Thus, things must change. Profound, I know. And, I'm just not really loving wearing maternity clothes at 4 months postpartum. I'm far too stubborn and cheap to go out and buy new clothes, so I need to get this weight off, so I can fit into normal clothes again!  

Life has been overwhelming me in every way lately, and I've been feeling really, really s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d.  It seems as though I am truly working 24 hours a day with little to no rest (although that can't quite be true or I wouldn't be writing this! It HAS taken me 4 days just to write this, though. Little snippets, here and there :-). We hit the ground running around 7 a.m., and it's just go go go after that until I crash into bed at midnight (usually later) with a baby who enjoys an all night feast and sleeps very little. It's such a dichotomy that I can feel so fully blessed and incredibly stressed at the same time...
..."Such is life, Pip. Such is life."

I found Gwen's tips for busy mama's to stay on plan very helpful for planning on how to make this work without causing much extra work for me.

Monday:  Stuffed Peppers (S) (didn't get made last week), Tossed Salad with S dressing
Change of Plans....had a freezer spaghetti pie meal instead.

Tuesday: Steak on bbq (S) (didn't get made last week), Mashed Potatoes (I will skip these), Caesar Salad without the croutons to keep this (S)
Change of plans. Had leftovers.

WednesdayStuffed Peppers (S)

Thursday: Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Chicken (S), Leftover Mashed Potatoes (I will skip these), Buttered Veggies (S), Broccoli Slaw Salad (S)

Friday:   Tuscan Vegetable Soup & Sourdough Bread (E), Cottage Berry Whip (E)

Saturday: Homemade Pizza on Gwen's sourdough bread (crossover but still on plan.)

Sunday: Leftovers

The kids and hubby will have their usual quick breakfasts (toast, fruit, eggs, cereal, oatmeal)
I will be having quick THM-friendly breakfasts.This was not an issue at all last week as I love eggs, cheese, omelets, cottage cheese, and 0% greek yogurt with berries sweetened with Truvia. All of these foods are on-plan, and I don't mind eating the same sort of things for breakfast every day.

I had a Volcano Mud Slide Muffin  topped with 0% yogurt sweetened with Truvia & berries for breakfast last week. This was surprisingly pretty good.  It only takes about 2 minutes to make, too, which is a pllus! I was really skeptical to make it as I had not had success with THM muffins last time I attempted them, but I have been having success with Truvia. It tastes so much better than plain stevia. I will definitely be adding this to my usual breakfasts.

*I plan to eat leftovers for lunch when possible since they are all THM-friendly or can be adapted to be THM-friendly*
*Lunches around here are quick. I add raw veggies & fruit to our simple and often not-so-healthy mains for the kids & hubs*

Grilled Cheese & Cream of Tomato Soup 
Hot Dogs
Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Crackers, Cheese, Pickles, Veggies, & Fruit
Pita Pizzas
Pizza Pockets
Pancakes (on Saturday... I will probably try THM-friendly pancakes for myself and make usual pancakes for the rest of the family)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brielle's Birth Story - Part 1

When I first found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child, I was very happy, excited, nervous, and a little bit scared/anxious, if I'm being completely honest. Our circumstances were quite different this time as we were in the middle of struggling and praying through some potential major changes in our life. We had felt ready and called to have a 3rd child, but then suddenly life got really crazy. We were stressed out. Big time. No, we'd better wait a bit longer, we thought. I doubted...but God's plan is perfect... at this point I was already expecting! :-). I'm sure my main prayer throughout my entire pregnancy was for greater faith

Truthfully, I do not really enjoy being pregnant. Some people feel wonderful being pregnant - I am not one of those people. Though I am grateful and feel blessed to be able to carry a child, and I have enjoyable moments being pregnant, I struggle throughout my pregnancies. I actually knew I was pregnant before I even took the test because I was so horribly nauseous right from the start. After experiencing awful morning sickness with my first pregnancy and not wanting to endure that again, I headed straight to the doctor for a pregnancy test and prescription. I likely would have had awful, debilitating morning sickness with this pregnancy, but I took medication (the highest dose) for it right from the start to ease it, though I was still glued to the couch and feeling quite sick for the first 4 months. It would have been far, far worse without the medication, though.  I think I gained 30 pounds in just the first trimester. Hardest of all, though, was the depression that I struggled through (and blogged a bit about) during the pregnancy. Our stressful circumstances combined with the hormones of pregnancy really tested me and stretched my faith throughout the pregnancy. I had not experienced that kind of emotional and mental turmoil since middle school. Nearly every day I fell in a heap in the bathroom sobbing my heart out before the Lord. I truly felt as though I was in a pit that I could not get out of unless God would pull me out. It was difficult. I didn't feel like "myself" at all. I didn't want to be around anyone...not even closest friends and family....because I just felt I just wanted to be alone all the time, but I knew that that would only make things worse, so I forced myself to try to spend time with people even when I didn't feel like it.

My due date was set for February 14. I felt that likely my "real" due date fell somewhere between February 8 and February 14, but because I seem to go way overdue (11 days and 9 days) and after calculating things out, we set it for February 14. My midwife was leaving town on February 14, and we joked that I would go into labour the day she was leaving as she had missed Nathanael's birth, too. (My 2nd midwife ended up delivering him, and I had a great experience with her).

Around February 8, my Braxton Hicks contractions started picking up and becoming quite strong. I remember attending my husband's grandpa's 80th birthday party and being distracted by them. I was hoping the spicy Chinese food we ate for supper would trigger real labour :-).
We did not attend church the next day because I felt that I wouldn't be able to hide when I was having the B.H. contractions (and we have to drive out quite far to get to church). For the whole next week, I had strong Braxton Hicks contractions that would wake me up at night. It was reminiscent of my pregnancy and labour with Nathanael, and I knew this could go on for weeks yet, so I wasn't too concerned as they were definitely not "real" labour-like contractions.

On February 14th, I woke up around 4:30 a.m. with contractions, but unlike the strong Braxton Hicks contractions I had been experiencing for the past week, these ones "real" contractions. They affected my back, front, and legs. They came in waves with definite peaks of intensity/pain. Those who have experienced labour know what I'm talking about. They started off coming about every 9 minutes, like clockwork. Then, every 6 minutes. They were getting more painful and closer together and lasting longer. Once they started coming every 5 minutes and lasting for a minute, I called my parents to come drive in. About 45 minutes after calling them the first time, I called again, asking them to hurry because now they were coming every 3 to 4 minutes and were getting much more painful (My parents still had a bit of a drive to get to our house and the intensity of the contractions had me a bit concerned that if things kept picking up, I could be entering transition soon.) My parents arrived, and I called the midwife to let her know I was in labour. I was convinced this was the real deal. We decided I would call the midwife again in 2 hours to check-in unless I could not handle it at home before then. At this point, I was breathing through them and not able to talk during the contractions. My whole body was even shaking through some of them (which was kind of freaking my sister out, I think). I was sure baby was on her way, likely to arrive that day, possibly even that afternoon. Through the contractions I would think about Brielle and remind myself that "God is my strength," which is the meaning of her name.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Menu Plan

Monday: Cream of Broccoli Soup & Biscuits (double and freeze some for a friend)

Tuesday: Cheeseburger Pie & Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Stuffed Peppers

Friday: BBQ Steaks

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (or possibly pack sandwiches for a family picnic)

Sunday: Leftovers

My goals last week were to potty train Nathanael and get back to exercising. Neither happened, though I did get a bit more prepared for potty training Nathanael (bought him some more underwear.)

My goals this week:
Exercise 4 times
Make homemade pizza pockets
Get freezer meals ready to take to a friend in need for next week
Eat a bit more THM style this week. (just myself...I will aim for THM friendly meals for myself for breakfast and lunch and a few suppers).
Finish thank you cards
Try to donate/sell a few items

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Growing Up Duggar

When it comes to choosing books to read, I still find myself gravitating toward non-fiction. I desperately want to enjoy fiction, but I have yet to find a series I can really get into. If anyone has any awesome fiction to recommend, please do! I think I would likely enjoy historical fiction as I am interested in history and love stories that help history come alive. Please, someone recommend some good fiction reading for me!!

One of the most recent books I finished reading is written by the oldest girls from the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting called Growing Up Duggar. I highly recommend this book, especially for teenage girls and young women. If I had a teenage daughter, this would be required reading for her. It is full of wisdom that goes against the grain of today's culture, but, most importantly, the love of Christ shines through each page.  Even as a married woman, I still gleaned much from this book, though I definitely think it is more suited for teenagers or young women not yet married. I personally enjoyed A Love That Multiplies more, but that is likely because I am at a different stage of life than the oldest Duggar girls.

*This post contains affiliate links*

Monday, June 9, 2014

Menu Plan

I know this isn't the healthiest menu plan on the planet, but I'm trying to use up the things I have around here to minimize grocery shopping for now. Besides, these are all quick to prepare, which is going to be important this week. Okay, who am I kidding...quick to prepare is becoming increasingly more important with every passing week. Quick to prepare is becoming a menu-plan theme around here. Thankfully, no one in my family seems to mind too much if it's less-than-gourmet.

Monday: Crockpot Steak & Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts & Peas/Carrots

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Burritos, Tossed Salad

Thursday: Hot Dogs, Veggies & Dip

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Potato Soup

Sunday: Leftovers

Get back on the exercise bandwagon
I might attempt potty-training Nathanael this

Monday, June 2, 2014

Menu Plan

Monday:  Homemade Pizza & Caesar Salad (Yep, we are taking a walk on the wild side and having pizza on Monday instead of Friday this week :-) ).

Tuesday: Tacos/Taco Salad

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Sloppy Joes over Buns

Friday:  Leftover Sloppy Joes with Mashed Potatoes

Saturday: Grill Steak & Potatoes

Sunday: Something Simple...(Potato Soup, maybe?)

Goals for This Week:
My goals...try to not go insane, maintain some sense of normalcy around here, and cast all my cares upon Him.
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