Monday, September 29, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama - Facts and Fiction

To read my previous posts on all things THM, please click here.

- This is just another low carb diet. - Fiction

The plan is about separating carbs and fats, as well as eliminating unhealthy versions of these. So no sugar, sodas, juice, and other simple, empty carbs. Healthy carbs are encouraged in the right proportions and settings.

- You have to buy a bunch of specialty ingredients. - Fiction

It doesn't take any special ingredients to keep your carbs and your fats separate. Anyone can get started on plan with simple foods they already have in the house, such as eggs, cheese, butter, oats, etc. The more "exotic" items can be purchased over time as the budget allows. They are only for making the plan funner and easier, but not necessary. I personally know several people who have lost large amounts of weight on plan without ever buying hardly any of the specialty items.

- You are required to eat processed junk food. - Fiction

Just not true. We eat virtually only whole foods around here (please ignore my post on Krispy Kreme below...), and the plan works just fine for me. To join my Facebook group of THM - whole foods style, please click here.

- You have to use only zero-calorie sweeteners. - Fiction

While the book may insist on using only stevia, xylitol, or erythritol, the plan works just as well with whole, low glycemic sweeteners. Again, if you join the THM - whole foods style Facebook group, you will find lots of others who are having success on plan, minus questionable sweeteners.

- You will gain the weight back immediately after going off plan. - Fiction

This plan does, in fact, reboot your metabolism for the better. I have gone off plan for months at a time without gaining the weight back (except for during pregnancy) or suffering any other ill effects.

- The THM principles are based on the Bible. - Somewhat true

Personally, I don't really find that it goes against the Bible (except for making honey off-limits), nor that the principles in the book by and large come from the Bible. I do agree that bread, butter, salt, etc. are all foods the Bible speaks highly of as being important and healthy, and THM incorporates these, so I guess that could be considered as "biblically sound"

- The book is poorly laid out. - Somewhat true

Yes - but there are lots of great resources online, both for how to "tab" the book, as well as oodles of recipes and other tips/tricks. I wish the ingredients for recipes were listed better (with amounts would be a great place to start!), but none of that makes the book unusable. For being self-published by two SAHMs, they certainly did better than I could have done.

- The book is wordy and long. - Somewhat true

If you are the chatty kind, you might like their style. If you just want the straight dope on the plan, you may find the book to be a bit slow-going. In spite of having lost a combined total of 50 lbs on plan, I have never yet finished reading it because I just haven't had the time to do so. But - who cares. Even reading over select parts is doing the job for me.

- The book is full of sound nutritional advice. - Fact

Except for the funky sweeteners, yes, the book has much to teach in the way of sound nutrition. I think for most of us, the revelation that fat does NOT make us fat is an important one. Realizing that juice is not a healthy food, and that it's simple carbs that are growing the obesity epidemic, is monumental. There in an emphasis on fermented food, sprouted/soaked grains, etc.

- The plan is easy to follow. - Fact

Yes. Is it ever! No calorie counting. No starving and depriving yourself. No daydreaming about food while your stomach grumbles on and your metabolism tanks. The authors like to talk about "food freedom," and it's so true. Once you learn the basics of separating carbs and fats, and have a feel for how to "THM-ify" recipes, it's a cinch.

- The plan works. - Fact

Just go to the official Facebook page or the website for lots of testimonials. A friend of mine has lost almost 50 lbs in the last 7 months, without using the sweeteners recommended in the book (her sweetener of choice is coconut sugar). I am currently scratching on 30 lbs lost in 5 months while exclusively breastfeeding, a time during which I usually could never even attempt to lose weight without ruining my milk supply. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Solomon is a teen!

Today, my oldest baby turns 13 - which officially makes him a "teen." Which means that until the last kid leaves the home, my husband and I will from here on out always have a teen in the house. That could be decades from now, so this is a major benchmark in family dynamics for us.

Wow, they were both babies in that photo! I remember my husband shaved his beard when Solomon was just a few weeks old, and it was hilarious seeing his confused reaction.

The picture above is with his cousins, the only other grandkids on my husband's side at that time. There now are 20! On my side, Solomon is the oldest of currently 11 grandchildren.

Doesn't he look just like Boaz in these photos? I have noticed that all of our kids look virtually identical as babies.

When Solomon was 9 months old, my sister-in-law gave us a digital camera. Suddenly, I could take pictures of my little dumpling!!!

Wow, I cannot believe we started having kids as young as we did! I mean, I am SO glad we did, and I have loved every minute of it - but look at us, we are practically kids ourselves! My husband gave me a reality check this week when he remarked that if Solomon became a Dad at the age that we had him, I would be a grandma in only 7 more years. Whaaaaaat? How can that be? I know I just gave birth to him, like, yesterday. 

I remember that we didn't have a lot of money back then. In fact, the sandals in the picture above were Solomon's only pair of shoes, and I could only afford them because it was fall and they went on clearance. Also, all of the professional portrait pictures above were the one free promo photo offered by portrait studios. Except for the last one where he is standing in the box - I bought that one for an addition $15 because I just could not choose between that one, and the picture before. We really did not have the money for such luxuries - my grocery budget in those days was $40 per week - so buying that photo led to a fight with my husband (understandably so on his part). I remember telling him, "We will survive, and one day I will be so glad for that picture!" - and what can I say? One day is here, and I am thankful for the photo. 

The pictures above were taken during Solomon's first trip to Germany with me. I was 7 months pregnant with Isaac at the time. That is my baby brother next to him, who I think looks just like my Johnny.  

Thank you for bearing with me through these baby photos. As much as I would love to fill this post with dozens more of photos of my baby, I will spare you. Let's just have one more for each birthday, shall we? 

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old
5 years old

6 years old

 7 years old

8 years old

9 years old

10 years old

11 years old

12 years old

Am I afraid of the teen years? No, not at all. While Solomon is maturing into a young man and an adult, with the necessary yearning for independence and making his own decision, he has never embraced the concept of rebellion being a necessary step in that process. He is kind and loving to friends and strangers, fiercely protective of me, and generally very responsible. I have no doubt that he will mature into a fine young man in the coming years, and that he will make us proud and happy, as he has always done so far. 

Being the oldest, these milestones with him are of course harder on this mama, but like most things in life, it's bittersweet. When the first child is born, the parents are also born, so this is an anniversary of sorts for me, too. I am thankful that I have been able to spend virtually all of his waking hours with him up to this point in life, enjoy them to the fullest, and not have regrets as he grows older that we would have had more time together. While I do not love him any more than I love any of the younger kids, I have loved him the longest. Other than getting saved, becoming a parent has been the single greatest seismic shock in my life, and a huge step in growing up myself. 

Happy Birthday, Solomon! You are a blessing, and have made me happy every single day since I found out we were expecting you. We are so very proud of you! :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Baby shower gift ideas for moms of many

We host many baby showers at our church, as it is our custom to have one for every baby born to our church members, and not just the first. We like to celebrate mom and baby every time! 

Of course, many babies means many growing and large families. Giving a gift to a mom of many who likely already has all the gear and clothes she needs can be a bit tricky. Below are some of my favorite ideas. 

(I can post this now that I am not pregnant, so it won't sound like I'm trying to drop hints of things I want for myself - ha!)

- Flowers, chocolates, balloons! So simple, and yet always loved. High-quality dark chocolate is not just a delicious treat, it is also great for bringing in mom's milk supply, too. My midwife gives me the baby chocolates and flowers after every birth when she comes for the 1-day checkup.

- Paper plates, cups, plasticware: Many large families, used to living frugally, will not splurge on these, no matter how convenient they would be after baby. Mom will think about you with gratitude every time she uses these!

- Diapers & wipes: Every baby needs these, whether it's baby number 1 or 10. Find out first if Mom prefers fabric or disposable, or certain brands. You can make your gift more fun by making the diapers into a cake, wreath, or other elaborate item like a stroller.

- Frozen meals: A cute idea for a shower of a mom of many is for everyone to bring a frozen meal to keep on hand for after the baby is born. Pinterest has a wealth of freezer meal ideas.

- Lactation-boosting cookies: An economical, yet highly appreciated gift. They can be baked, then frozen, and enjoyed straight out of the freezer. If you prefer them soft, they only need a few minutes at room temperature. Personally, I absolutely LOVE eating nursing cookies during the first month or so of having a newborn. Nothing like sitting down with a couple of cookies and a tall glass of raw milk to recharge mom AND her milk supply during those first busy days and crazy nights of adjusting to a new family member. Click here to see my favorite recipe for these. Only changes I make is to reduce sugar/honey by half, and to use 1 cup each of dark chocolate chips and walnuts. Or, you could try this "Lactation Cookie in a Jar" mix.
- Stuff to keep the older kids busy: This need not be a purchased gift or toy. In fact, the last thing most moms with lots of kids want or need is more toys! It could be a simple consumable like playdough, bubble solution, sidewalk chalk, sticker books, etc. Basically things that don't require mom's help and are not too messy (or intended for outdoor use).

- Membership to a warehouse like Costco or Sam's club if you want to be practical, or the zoo or some other family place if you want to make it fun.

- Magazine subscription for mom to enjoy while sitting down. Again, this could be something strictly for mom (cooking, crafts, homeschooling) or something the whole family might enjoy.

- Professional services: If you are a photographer, offer to do a photo shoot of the family. If your husband does landscaping, he could offer to take over lawn care for a limited time. Alternatively, you could pool resources with others to hire professionals, such as housecleaning help for the first few weeks after baby.

- Stuff for pampering mom: Likely, mom will use her time and resources on herself last. Which, in a large family, may mean practically never. Some ideas are: high quality teas and supplements, body care products, a gift card for a massage or spa treatment, etc.

- Small luxury items for mom or baby: There are always plenty of nifty new gadgets and accessories being invented to make taking care of a baby easier. Since many of these might fall into the "would like to have" rather then the "must have" category, even a mother of many may not have them. For example, Bumbo seats were not mainstream until our 4th baby. An amber teething necklace is both cute on baby, and a sanity saver for mom. Another fun new baby item is teething jewelry from brands such as Chewbeads and Nixi. My husband recently bought me one of their necklaces, and I just absolutely love it!

What are your favorite ideas of baby gifts for Moms of many?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raiding Krispy Kreme

I called our local branch to see if they were participating in this promo (they were), and also asked if there was a limit on how many free dozen doughnuts they were giving out per household. I was told we could have as many family members as we liked in pirate gear, and they would each get their own dozen; the record the previous year being 7 dozen for one family.

Practicing with wooden doughnuts

 I love this little dude :)

 Trying to look mean, in vain

You may wonder how we had so many pirate outfits ready to go. Much of it was stuff we already owned, because our kids love dressing up. The eye patches I sewed that morning. Other things were improvised. For example, Isaac's bandana is really the curtain from a puppet theater. 

While I had not planned on dressing my whole crew in pirate outfits (a couple dozen are enough to feed us all more than enough), I did kind of feel challenged by that record of 7, which was just screaming out for me to break it. And so it happened that last Friday morning, our field trip for the week became a raid on Krispy Kreme for free doughnuts, family fun, and lots of cool pictures.

Across the street from Krispy Kreme, Isaac noticed that one of my favorite stores, Ultimate Consignment, was going out of business - waaah!!! They were clearancing their merchandise at 80% off, so we headed there after getting the doughnuts. While we snagged some awesome deals, I did not realize until we got to the line for the registers that the wait was about 2 hours. Having dozens of fresh, warm doughnuts in the van, I figured we would boost everyone's morale waiting in line by having the kids go around with boxes of doughnuts and giving them out for free. Everyone thought it was fun, and it really was. 

 One of our finds on clearance was this play kitchen, brand new and still in the box, for $14.

We gave the other extra doughnuts away to people at church that night, where we were hosting a screening of "Después de la Tribulación", which is "After the Tribulation" in the newly released Spanish version. 

And if unlike us you are not sick of doughnuts yet, check out these cool instructions to make a set of doll-sized Krispy Kreme doughnuts