Whole 30 Days 8-15:Skinny and the Skin

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by Laura

Lemme tell you about my W30 week.  Mmmmk?  People, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.  I’m like a Whole 30 Evangelist!  I want to tell everyone about it! My sister and I were texting and it was getting ridiculous how passionate I was about the benefits.  She was joking that I sounded like someone who is always posting about their “product” or new fitness drink or whatever.  The weird thing is, I kind of feel like that, but it’s just food, and the results are not through any good marketing scheme or fancy breakfast blendo-matic, or anything.  I think my Mom and college aged sister might even try it.

I still have the “Tiger Blood”.  This is W30 lingo for amazon warrior energy.  You guys, I can do the dishes SO FAST.  Lol.  It’s like my blood pumps faster, my brain thinks quicker, my body moves well.  Speaking of my body.  Hello small tummy!  Haven’t seen you since my last running kick.  I wore a ring to church and normally put it on my middle finger and it fell right off so I moved it to Mr. Pointer.  I could tell that the bloating, inflammation, etc. was gone, and MAYBE have lost a 1/2 bra size, but didn’t really think serious weight was coming off.  Hey, I eat like it’s my last meal-every meal.  PASS THE ZOODLES!


My skin, oh, my skin.  It hasn’t been this clear since I was 12?  Jr. High and High School were an UNKIND period of my complexion life.  I do not exaggerate to you, I had acne up-down-all-around.  It was awful, like, block all memories from that time period awful.  So, I started wearing make-up.  LOTS of makeup to help cover it.  First summer before college my hormones flipped and my skin became more normalized.  But, there were three days this week that I thought, I don’t even need to wear concealer/foundation.  I have baby butt soft skin.


I’m getting better about knowing what to plan to eat, how much it’s going to cost, how much time it’s going to take me to make it, and what recipes are going to be good, (fill me up), and what is just fluff and leaves me hungry.  It’s been a learning process there.

The library has been such a great resource.  They have tons of cook books for Whole 30 recipes.  I’m loving it.  My favorite so far is a Paleo cook book, Against All Grain.

I’m know I won’t ever go back to “before” because there have been SO many positives! I don’t want to go back to all the negatives from life before W30.  I’ve started to come up with a vision and plan for “real life” after this.  Excited to share along the way!

If you want to hear about more of my Whole 30 Journey click to read: about day one.  about day two.  about days 3-7.

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Best Friends Guide to Potty Training

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by Laura

Looking for an extra special gift for that two year old in your life?  How about a potty training gift basket?  Hilarious laughter.  Probably not. But, if you were my sister or my best friend, here’s what I would put in your potty training gift basket.

POTTY SEAT COVER.  Why do you need this?  So your child doesn’t fall into the toilet, that’s why.  Also because little boys sitting down to pee is very exciting unless you have some sort of pee shield. We loved this one.

POTTY CHAIR.  Why do you need ANOTHER potty place?  Because, you don’t know which one your child will feel more comfortable with. The potty chair is portable. You can put it in the kitchen, you can take it on road trips, or you can take it in the back yard.  We have done ALL OF THE ABOVE.  We like this one.

OOPS CLOTHS. You are going to be cleaning floors A LOT.  Sometimes 10 times a day.  When I potty trained our first child I had a huge stack of towels, (because I didn’t want to use paper towels) and used a new towel for every clean up.  I’m  sure the amount of water we used in laundry evened out our environmentally conscious decision to not use paper towels.  HA!  It was a ridiculous amount of laundry people. Then there is the hands and knees bending over clean up, and did I mention the laundry that had to be washed/dried and ready to go for the next day of mistakes?!!!

Enviro Cloths Rainbow PackageEnter the Norwex enviro cloth.  Rays of light beam down from heaven and these little magic cloths are a potty training mama’s best friend. What makes these different from normal towels and wash cloths?  1.  They self-sanitize.  Magic fairies live inside them and they seriously do self-sanitize in 24 hours.  (It’s actually the silver inside them).  2.  They are SUPER absorbing.  3.  You can rinse and reuse them all day long without feeling like you are spreading pee.  Wipe off the child, the floor, the toilet, the walls.  4.  They clean poop out of carpet.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to clean poop off a carpet?  (By the way, if you don’t know how to do it.  You take an INSTAGRAM selfie of you about to clean up the poop-tears optional. Then, you remove all the poop with your hand inside a plastic grocery bag, pull bag inside out and put in trash.)  Then, you can use the enviro cloth to clean the carpet.  They are fantastic.  And when potty training is over, use them to clean your counters, sinks, bathtubs…There are some rules about how to wash them, and not using cleaning products WITH them, but it’s a quick learn.

STICKERS.  A quick google search can yield LOTS of printable potty charts from your kid’s favorite characters, but they need fun stickers to put on the charts.  Go get them!

APRON.  I wore an apron with pockets for the first week of potty training.  The pockets had my potty timer, stickers, and marshmallows in it at all times.  The apron protected my clothes from getting pee on them because, oh yes you DO carry a child in mid pee across your house to the bathroom.  Which leads me to a mop…

MOP.  I did WAY too much towel and washcloth floor mopping up as a first time potty trainer.  But, the thought of filling a bucket, finding the mop, mopping, ringing it out in the dish filled sink way too much for me.  This Norwex mop was a life-changer.


The handle can go up and down, the yellow rectangle is for dry mopping, and the blue rectangle is for WET MOPPING.  You de-velcro the wet mop and get it a little damp in your sink, then velcro it back onto the base, mop up your mess, ring out the little rectangle in the sink, and because it is self-sanitizing, you’re good to go for the next accident.

CARPET CLEANER.  You’ll want some of this.  Because the first time your husband is home when your child poops on the carpet his eyes are going to roll back into his head.  We used this.



CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.  These are you for you sweet mama friend.  Only you.  Hide them in the cupboard.  You are not to make your own, you are to buy store bought really yummy ones and eat them when you have pee on your pants and poop under your fingernails.

FUN STRAWS AND CUPS.  One way to get your child to practice peeing is to fill their bladder.  What goes in, must come out.  A fun new cup or drinking straw will make it new for them.

UNDIES.  We potty trained our children pretty early in their lives.  At 18 months for Eva, and 2 years on the dot for Malachi.  Our kids are VERY tiny people percentage wise so the only underwear I have found that fits tiny little bottoms are the ones from Walmart.  You will need 20 to start with.

WATERPROOF MATTRESS PAD.  Get two for your kids bed if you don’t already have one.

REWARDS.  After every success your child needs a reward, for a LONG time.  Even six months after our kids are potty trained they still might get one chocolate chip after a poop.  Rewards don’t have to be sweet.  Bubbles, stickers, tickle time, blow up a balloon, and yes, marshmallows, chocolate chips, yogurt raisins are also fun too.

So, now friends.  Good luck!  All the best to you on your adventures.

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Kids in Big Church?

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by Laura

When Eric and I had our daughter, Evangeline, we showed up at church and wondered, how do we do church with this thing?  It’s like bringing a puppy to church! You never know what they’re going to do, what noise they will make, when they will whine, when they need food…? How do we prepare for such a list of unknowns?

There was one thing we did know, we wanted to go to church with our child, we wanted them to know what it was like to experience a worship service, what the expectations were, and we wanted to torture ourselves and never be able to hear what the pastor said.  HA!  Sometimes during the training parts it certainly felt like that, sometimes it felt like we were the only ones who had their kids in service with them, but I love having our children with us now.  Some of you think we’re crazy, some of you don’t like kids in church, some of you feel strongly about sending your children to age appropriate teaching and care.  I GET IT.  This is our personal decision-not better or worse than yours. So if you are still reading… I’d love to share with you what works well for our family.



Practice at home.  You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  Find a time during the day where you say, “let’s practice playing church!  You’ll sit right next to mommy, and we will sit and look at a book together very quietly until the timer goes off”.  At first you set the timer for 1 minute, then gradually work up to 5, then 7, 10, and 15!  Get really into it if you want! Put on dress up shoes, play some really fun kid church music song, pack a backpack.  Even your baby can have practice time. For infants, if you don’t sit with them on your lap or in their baby carrier at home, then don’t think it’s going to go well at church.  If you want your child to fold their hands and be quiet and still to pray at church, then that’s what you should practice at home every time you pray. Now, there is no child who can just sit there with their hands perfectly still in their laps, so what do you bring for them to do?  Let me introduce you to the helpers.

The Helpers are things that you pack in your diaper bag or kid back pack that will get you all the way through the church service.  I had to break my helpers down into time increments depending on how long the service is.  A cheerio and raisin snack will last 20 minutes. Hint: pick a snack that takes a long time to eat, a whole apple is another great idea-just don’t forget the hand wipes).  Three Bible books or their children’s Bible, will last them 10 minutes.  I highly recommend this Bible.  The pictures, and the words are SO age appropriate for infants to small toddlers.  We have gone through THREE of these Bibles because they are so well-loved.  My eight month old would sit in my lap as I turned the pages and made my finger point to all the pictures on the pages. A coloring page for older children, (3+), will last 10 minutes.  When I was young I used to have a church notebook where my mom said I could draw pictures about what the pastor is talking about-great for early elementary age.  For infants: a quiet chew toy, a pacifier (if you use one), an infant toothbrush is WONDERFUL, and the infant Bible.



Participate like Mommy and Daddy. We like to have our children fully participate during the singing part of the church service.  We often hold them in our arms so they can see, but their expectation is to stand if the adults are standing, and sit if the adults are sitting.  We tried having the kids play on the floor in front of us, but quickly realized that did not go along with our motive for having them there in the first place.  So if you are wondering if a behavior is ok or not ok, ask yourself, “does this go with my purpose in having them with me?”.  If they get to tune out and play, what is the point of us bringing them in?  They can do that in the nursery.  So we try to keep all their activities Bible centered.

What if they don’t want to?  So just follow these easy suggestions and voilá, your children will be perfect little angels before your in-laws come to visit.  NOT SO FAST.  This takes great work, great prayer, great preparation, and great endurance.  We sit near the back because we need the quickest escape route when the child, oh I don’t know, throws their ENTIRE BOWL OF CHEERIOS ON THE FLOOR, or keeps kicking the seat in-front of them, or when the infant starts crying.  One of us takes them out, we go to a quiet place and say something like, “Eva, Mommy asked you to keep your Cheerios in your lap, did you obey or disobey?  Eva responds…”let’s practice sitting out here/standing here for a minute before we go back in.”  So then we tell them what TO DO very short and simple.  “OK, were going back in and we can sit and look at the Bible or eat more Cheerios.  It’s time to be quiet and listen.”   If this happens more than three times then we go sit in the foyer and the child gets to keep sitting and practicing with us until the church service is over.  For the sake of not being any more distracting to others, and to keep tempers at bay for everyone involved.  The point still being made to the child-it’s not anymore fun being out here then it is in there.

Finding a balance.  We started off hard-core. Kids were with us every single Sunday and Eric and I were beginning to dread going to church knowing it would be our 1.5 hour patience test for the week. We might not hear a word of the sermon or might be embarrassed at the third time we took our kid out for misbehavior.  So, we came to the idea that IF the church had a children’s program, not just child care, that we would have our kids go to Sunday School while we went to church every other week.   We started off with having our kids in with us for the first part of the worship service, (usually the songs at our church), and then we would take them to Sunday School half way through. Now, they go the full-time every other Sunday. This was a major relief to our parenting, our Sunday experience, our ability to listen and grow, it was like a little date for us.  We continue to use the every other week method. If we would have been going to a Sunday School for Adults we would have continued to have the kids with us for the church service, and then let them learn at their level in Sunday School while we were being taught.

View More: http://birdsdreamdesign.pass.us/laura

Parenting is hard, right?  But, hard things make beautiful things.  We, (my husband and I) don’t want children who graduate High School having never gone to a worship service and find out what it’s like when they are college aged?  We want them to have ears that know how to listen to expository preaching, and ears that are attuned to worship music that is not just directed at their generation. May your children and mine stay close to the faith of their childhood.

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Five. Friday. Favorites.

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by Angela

The start of 2016 has brought a full schedule! Here are some favorites from my week!

Jan15 Collage

  1. The Premier Designs Rally was technically last week, I shared about New Colors Means New Jewelry off the Spring Line! It made me smile all week when I thought about Rally and looked at all the fun pics my girls and I took!!
  2. I finally got brave enough to try the new colors I ordered from Maskcara Cosmetics! Changing make-up is hard for me, but I ended up loving it!! I followed the color guide on the Maskcara Website and I was not disappointed.
  3. We had Fish Taco Bowls on Tuesday Night! We have tried several different receipe’s and have tweaked them to just how we like them! They are gluten free! And I think the Peach Mango Salsa makes them!
  4. It’s been chilly and I borrowed my daughter’s army green coat for some completers in my outfits this week!
  5. I had week two of the Cultivate Women’s Group that I lead at our church. We are reading one of my Favorite Marriage Book! It is a fictional story that brings in Biblical Marraige Principles!! Funny and yet filled with truths!!

Onward to my Weekend!!

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Spiritual Lessons from a Cast

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By Angela

Strange things can happen on vacation while visiting Middle Earth! My family and I spent a morning at Hobbiton when we to New Zealand in June. I was enjoying the beautiful view of the Hobbit Set from the Lord of the Ring/ Hobbit Movies and I wasn’t paying much attention to the footpath (as they call it down under). I tripped, put my hand out to break my fall and immediately felt a pain in my thumb on landing! NEVERMIND, the first thing I said to my daughter:: “I have a grass stain on my knee!” I packed in a Capsule Wardrobe method and these were my favorite jeans!!!! As the day went on it confirmed that immediate felt pain in my thumb- it was broken!

I visited the nice NZ drs and got a cast! AND my grass stain totally came out if anyone was worried! 🙂Angela2

I have never had a cast before and I made me realize several things about life!!

  1. My thumb felt better immediately once it was in the cast and received support. I realized that no one thinks twice about people who have broken bones that need casts- yet we carry around our emotional hurts and often think we need to get over it. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” I needed my injured thumb bound and that is exactly what Jesus wants to do for me. I often just limb along instead.
  2. The yellow cast on my arm was hard to miss. It caused my family and friends to be attentive to my needs and I was finding I enjoyed that attention!  My family helped in almost every daily chore  and when walking through a buffet line at a wedding, my friend, noticing my one handed dilemma, took my plate and dished my food and then cut up my chicken when we sat down! When I have emotional hurts, most can’t see the heartache or the pain I am nursing back to help! But there is One that sees!!! Exodus 2:24-25 says “God heard their groaning, and God remembered…..God saw the people…and God knew”. I began to allow my Great Physician to be attentive to my brokenness. He longs to show us that kind of attentiveness, and yet because its humbling I would push it away! I have  begun to start my times with Jesus quietly  sitting for a few minutes to soak in His attentiveness!!!
  3. Once the cast was off and I started physical therapy. The first exercise the therapist gave me was to use my left hand to move my healing thumb- I couldn’t move it on my own. When we first begin to walk in healing from emotional wounds, it will be slow! We will need help at first from Jesus and others. We need to give ourselves grace as we practice.
  4. I still have some pain over 6 months later. My thumb will not return to 100%. There is a scare. It’s bittersweet. It reminds me of an injury, but it also is a good reminder to the things I have learned! Our emotional wounds heal usually over time! But there are reminders, times of grief and memories of sweet moments where Jesus spent time binding my wound and attending to my needs! Angela1

Here is John and I at a banquet! Where he attended to me and cut my food up first!!! (When you break your thumb in the summertime- I say choose a Sunny, yellow cast!!)


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