Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Cleaning + Nesting = A more organized home

Its that time of year when women everywhere start to focus on Spring Cleaning. It seems almost an instinctive thing that as winter ends and the weather begins to warm up we start opening up our homes and getting rid of the built up grim of the winter months.

This year Spring Cleaning happened to be at the same time as my Nesting Instinct kicked into high gear. That is quite a powerful combination. This time my cleaning and nesting was not just confined to physical cleaning of our home. Sure the tiles have had the life scrubbed out of them in the last month. Our closets have all been reorganized and decluttered. The neglected corners and areas under furniture have been dealt with. The baby things have been cleaned and made ready for when ever this baby decides to arrive. But it was more than all of that.

Our home has also been cleaned spiritually. Some things had slipped in during the last 17 months that we've lived at this home. A movie that was not completely God honoring. A few books left by others visiting us that contained material we didn't need to be exposed to. Seemingly innocent decorative items that had been left in the house for us, that were in fact items of idolatry. Once we realized it was once again time to do a major spiritual clean out of our home we got straight to it. For the last four weeks we've been emptying our home of every item that is not spiritually clean.

This included the major project of redecorating our boy's room. It had been theme decorated to match some bedding. The problem was the theme. It was astrological in the design influences, with pictures of the sun, moon and stars. There was even a matching wall paper border. Ever since we moved in our oldest (and most spiritually sensitive) son had been picking at the wallpaper border. It just took us 16 months to figure out why he had an issue with it rather than it just being paper to tear off the wall. However this border did NOT want to come off the wall. As we suspected it had been stuck on the wall with mastic glue. Removing it was not going to be an easy task. So we bought a wallpaper steamer. And for 2 nap times that week I worked my way around the room steaming the paper off the walls. The area under the window was so badly stuck to the wall that when I tried taking it off it also took off the paint all the way to the dry wall. So that would have to be redone before we could paint. In all it took us a week to get the room redecorated in a calm neutral light blue. We've still got some finishing touches to do in finding some artwork for the walls, but we are determined to be very careful about what goes back in that room, so even choosing artwork will probably take some time. Just seeing the joy on our oldest son's face when we were finally able to let him back into his bedroom has been worth it. He is sleeping so much better now that he isn't surrounded by all that astrological imagery.

Keeping our home clean is a constant work. So too is keeping our home spiritually clean. We had let our guard down some in the busy routines of life with toddlers. We were reminded that letting our guard down is not an option. So we are back into full alert mode, and this time we plan to stay there. Just as we have to keep up the work to maintain a clean and organized home, so we have to keep our spiritual eyes open to maintain the spiritual atmosphere of our home too. If we want our home to be a small taste of heaven on earth then we can never stop working at it, guarding it and keeping it safe from all the influence of the world outside.

I'm so thankful we were able to make this a part of the nesting for the new baby. It is a comfort to know that as this new life arrives within our home they will be arriving to a safe comfortable home, both physically and spiritually.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama Tuesday, Week 18

Part of me can hardly believe I've been on the Trim Healthy Mama plan for half this pregnancy. It seems to be going by so quickly thanks to the wonderful energy I've had eating this way.

So just a few days shy of full term (37 weeks) this is where I am at:

My total weight gain has gone up over that last few weeks. As of my weekly weigh-in this morning I am now up to 13lbs gained for the entire pregnancy. Come Friday the baby can arrive anytime in the next five weeks and my goal of a total gain of about 15lb looks achievable.

My body is continuing to slim down, even with the extra few pounds of weight. Once again I could do with changing down a size in my bra. I haven't been below the size I'm currently wearing since before I got married, so it would involve a rather expensive shopping trip. (How I look forward to finally being small enough to be able to purchase reasonably priced under garments.) With the birth of this baby so close, and knowing that I may go back up one size when my milk comes in I'm trying to make do with what I have. It has also curbed my urge to buy nursing bras, as I do actually need to wait and see what size I will need once my milk supplies establishes.

I was talking to Rob about this issue last week and remarked that becoming a Trim Healthy Mama is costing us a small fortune as I keep changing shape. If the trim part keeps going I'm going to have to replace all my clothes at some point too. Then if we are blessed with another baby in the future I'll have to replace my already getting too big maternity clothes. I am happy to have the problem of my clothes getting too big rather than too tight. Since I can sew and tailor clothes I will always have the option of altering my current clothes down a size or two before I have to replace them completely. I seriously think that I should probably give myself some goals before I allow myself to spend any more money on clothing (other than the essential under garments.)

We have also talked about goal setting for after the pregnancy. In my previous postpartum periods I've lost all but the first trimester 10 lb within four weeks of giving birth. So we have agreed together that I need to wait until I'm a full four weeks postpartum before I check my weight and look at setting goals for loosing the extra weight. I love that I have a husband who is interested in this journey I am on, and who is glad to provide me with support and accountability in an encouraging way.

Rob is continuing to see multiple benefits to his THM journey too. He has lost another 1lb this past week and is fitting back into pants that he hasn't worn since becoming a father to be. He jokes that he is finally back at his pre-pregnancy weight, as he gained a few pounds with each of our pregnancies while helping me eat enough protein by making protein milkshakes and then finishing what I couldn't. His blood pressure continues to regulate to a more normal reading, which is even more exciting news than his weight loss. All that is left for him is to get back to more exercise within his week and rebuild some of the lost muscle tone. Hopefully once I start working out more after the baby arrives he'll join in and find time to get some short workouts in too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trim Healthy Chocolate Cups.

I mentioned back around St. Valentine's Day that I was making Peanut Butter Cups for my darling husband Rob. I also promised to share the recipe. After some experimenting I came up with three chocolate cup flavors, and even remembered to take photographs of them too.

Peanut Butter Cups

1 1/2 of the Skinny Chocolate recipe in Trim Healthy Mama (page 371)
2 dozen mini cup cake paper cases
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil.

Use half of the Skinny Chocolate to put a layer of chocolate into the 24 paper cups. Freeze until set (5-10 minutes should be good.)

Mix the peanut butter and coconut oil in a stand mixer until light and creamy. Split it between the 24 paper cups with the frozen chocolate in the bottom.

Top the 24 paper cups with the rest of the Skinny Chocolate. Return to the freezer until set.

We like to keep them in the freezer in a Ziplock bag, but they will also keep in the fridge too.

Tangy Lemon Cups

As per the Peanut Butter Cups only this time the middle filling is as follows:
1 cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 small shakes of Nustevia Pure Extract

Again mix in a stand mixer until light and creamy, then split between 24 mini cup cake cups between 2 layers of Skinny Chocolate.

Coffee Lovers Cups

As per the Peanut Butter Cups only this time the middle filling is as follows:
4oz unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup strong coffee
dash of vanilla
1/8 teaspoon Nustevia Pure Extract

Add the butter to the melted chocolate, stir until it also melts. Slowly add in the other ingredients while whisking carefully to prevent it from separating. Then as before split it between the 24 mini cup cake cups. This time put in the freezer to set before adding the top layer of Skinny Chocolate.

And here is two photographs of Rob's Valentine gift all nicely boxed up.

Trim Healthy Mama Tuesday, Week 17

So its been a while since I took time to update on here. I've been busy with potty training one toddler, while the other one has been learning to walk and teething his molars at the same time. I've also been on an unstoppable nesting drive, getting our home ready for our new arrival (more about that in another post soon.)

So where are we at?

Rob is continuing to see his blood pressure stabilize, which is wonderful news. It is even low enough consistently for him to be able to donate blood again. As a bonus he has lost 10lb, all of it on that subtle middle age spread that was happening to his waistline. He tried on some pants last night that have been too tight, and they all fit comfortably again. He still wants to get rid of another 4lb or 5lb, but is enjoying how effortless it is for him with the THM plan.

I'm 35 weeks and 4 days today. My total gain is currently sitting at 10lbs. I do get a little bit of fluctuation, but only by 1lb or at most 2lb. I'm also at the point in my pregnancy where it is getting difficult to eat enough, so I'm really focusing on just getting enough protein every day. With just over a month to go until the baby is due I'm confident my total gain will stay under or around the 15lb target. I'm excited to see what my weight is going to be like after the baby gets here too.

I'll be giving myself a month to recover from the birth before I continue to track my weight, but that doesn't mean I'll be taking a break from Trim Healthy Mama. I've already started to fill our freezer with lots of good THM dinners that are ready to go into the slow cooker, along with stockpiling some tasty sourdough rye bread for those early weeks when I'm trying to stay off my feet. My next goal is to get some pancakes, cupcakes, muffins and other treats ready and frozen for easy snacks that are still on plan during my recovery period. Last time I needed about 6 weeks of recovery time. I'm praying for a much quicker recovery this time, but want to be prepared to eat out of the freezer for 6 weeks if we have to.

I hope to get a nice bump picture taken this week when I hit 36 weeks so I can update next week with a photo.