Why You Can't Give Me Books

The end of last week and over the weekend I wasn't feeling well (I was also emotional from being diagnosed with adenomyosis earlier in the week but that's for a later post) so I spent all weekend with my nose buried in a book. Let me tell you it was so nice! I just haven't sat and gotten lost in a book in so long my soul needed it. As much as I love to read you should probably know though its not always a good idea to give me a book.

And here is why:

  1. Most books once I start I can't stop
  2. Because I can't put the book down that means all normal everyday functions cease such as caring for my family and basic necessities such as showering.
  3. I get to emotionally involved with the characters. They laugh, I laugh. They cry, I cry. They go into a deep emotional abyss, well you get the picture
  4. The closer to the end of the book I get the moodier I get because I don't want it to be over, yet I can't stop reading.
  5. I'm obsessed about what I'm reading (see numbers 1-4). If I have to take a break from reading, to you know make sure we have clean underwear or feed the children, I can't quit thinking about the characters and mentally dissecting their lives. I think way to much about the plot and decisions each character makes and why, what he or she could/would/should do differently.
  6. Reading makes me realize that deep down I'm pretty dark and twisty. I love Jodi Picoult and Ted Dekker and usually don't often read romance type novels.
  7. I'll repeat the fact that I neglect family and friends while reading because well its pretty sad.
  8. I have a book hangover for days when I'm finished reading as I mentally visit each character and again dissect the story. I honestly think way to much about how things could have gone or if one slight change had been made.
I'm pretty sure if I asked my hubby to contribute to the list and he had time to think about my reading "problem" he might burn all of my books and then I'd be hospitalized for convulsions and foaming at the mouth.


Life Lately

Posting has been somewhat slow here lately so I thought I'd do a quick post about what life looks like lately!

  • I'm back to subbing and have already worked several days. Plus today I had sub training so just been running around trying to get back into the swing of things

  • My Usborne business is picking up which I'm so excited about! I ordered a ton of books with my commission for my kids for Christmas. Ssshhh don't tell!

  • I have a lot of brain storming ideas for series for this blog and trying to hash out all the details. I have an idea for a second blog but taking it slow and trying not to add one more thing to my plate.

  • I've had the black plague aka a sinus infection that has taken me out. I haven't been this sick in a while

  • Having issues with my PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian disease) and as my doctor put it my well woman visit turned into a problem visit, something everyone likes to hear. I think my ovaries are just a little too excited about celebrating PCOS Awareness Month.

  • My very first article is being published in a local magazine this month and I have to start writing my second article! I'm so excited about this and hoping to start submitting articles to other publications but my brain has been sort of mush lately.

  • My daughter is playing volleyball on the junior high team and goes to her first dance in a few weeks. Not sure I'm ready.

  • The most important thing that has happened lately will have to be another post for another day because its just so much of my heart I want to share but still trying to figure out my words. Let me just say that we have a merciful, loving, and gracious Lord who pours out His love and healing in incredible ways!

Ok so I know this was a real boring post and I had a lot of whit and sarcasm that I wanted to interject but did I mention I have the black plague? Yeah I'm a real joy to be around when I'm sick.


An Interview With Sally From Real Mom Nutrition

I am so excited about today’s post! I recently found a new (to me) blog Real Mom Nutrition and I just sat down and read it almost like a book. I am even more excited that Sally the author of Real Mom Nutrition agreed to let me interview her! Sally is a registered dietician, blogger, podcaster, and mom. I love her blog because its real life practical tips to get your kids to eat healthier. My favorite thing about Sally is that she doesn’t strive for perfection, she understands what it’s like to have kids and wants them to be healthy but understands that in life you can’t always eat perfect and some days you don’t get enough veggies and may indulge in too much sugar.

First of all Sally I want to thank you for agreeing to let me interview! Please tell us about yourself!

I’m a registered dietitian, a mom of two boys, an educator, and an author. I write the blog Real Mom Nutrition, which is about feeding kids and staying sane. When I’m not working, I volunteer at my children’s school on the wellness committee and at a local food pantry/resources center. I also love to play the piano and bake yummy things.

What exactly does a registered dietician do?

Dietitians have so many different jobs, that’s one thing I love about the profession. Many dietitians work in healthcare settings, like hospitals and long-term care facilities, others work in schools in foodservice, or at the university-level as a researcher or professor, others have corporate jobs working with food companies, and some do employee wellness. I’ve tried a number of different jobs over the years, such as weight loss counseling and diabetes education, but now I specialize in nutrition communications. I write my blog, Real Mom Nutrition, do freelance writing for magazines, and work with companies such as Stonyfield and Stemilt Growers writing for their websites too.

You have also written a book, can you tell us about that?

I collaborated with Cooking Light on a book called Dinnertime Survival Guide. It’s designed for busy families who have very real obstacles to getting a healthy meal on the table, like crazy schedules, a tight budget, or picky kids. Each chapter focuses on a different obstacle and provides solutions and recipes that target that obstacle. It includes very easy, family-friendly recipes using ingredients that you can easily find at the grocery store. I’ve gotten wonderful feedback on it from so many people, and that has been the best part of it all!

Why did you decide to start your blog?

I started my blog because when I became a mom, I realized that feeding myself and my family a healthy diet was much harder than it was made out to be. I felt like a lot of bloggers weren’t telling the truth about how hard it was, so I decided to tell the truth! I wanted to provide readers assurance, plus provide advice on what works for US, including kitchen tricks, feeding tips, and very easy recipes.

My husband and kids are hesitant to eat healthy and they really seem to resist any changes I try to make. Do you have any tips to slowly get hard headed husbands and children on board with eating healthier?

I think it’s imperative that spouses are on the same page with this because you want to present a united front to your kids on the family’s food values. And you definitely don’t want to have a spouse who undermines your efforts to eat healthfully.  I think partners should have conversations about their beliefs and values around food and try to come to a mutual understanding. My husband is wonderful at trying new foods—and if he doesn’t like something, he doesn’t make a big deal about it to the kids. I also try to be sure I am serving everyone’s favorites once in a while so people feel heard and understood. So we might have Brussels sprouts one night (not my husband’s fave) but then corn (which he does like) the next night. We’ll have curry one night (which my youngest doesn’t like) then spaghetti another night (his favorite).

I can’t remember if I heard you say this on a podcast or read it in one of your posts, but you said that you ask yourself before eating something, “how will this make me feel later” and it helps you when you are making choices. First I have to say that I love that! I’ve started asking myself that and so far it has helped me! My daughter who is hypoglycemic went to a football game and ate a ton of sugar and came home and was feeling awful, so instead of fussing like I’d normally (hello control freak mom) I was able to talk to her about her food choices and told her to start asking herself before she decided to eat something sugary “how will this make me feel later”. Do you have any other suggestions for discussing nutrition with our kids? Or ways to explain to them how different foods will affect their bodies?

I try to be as positive as possible. I try not to ever scare my kids; I would never say a food is dangerous or toxic or poison, words I hear used with food way too often! We talk about the foods that are best for our bodies, the foods that help us grow and make us feel good, and how we want to eat more of those foods than the chips and ice cream and cookies. (But those foods are still part of our lives!) We also talk about balance, especially as the kids get older. My goal is for them to understand how to put together a balanced meal or snack.

After listening to several of your podcast episodes I have realized that I’m sort of casting a negative concept on food with my children. Have you noticed specific ways parents seem to be sabotaging their efforts to get their kids to eat healthy?

Using food as a reward backfires. Telling kids they can have dessert if they eat their veggies is a short-term solution with no long-term benefits. All your kid is learning is that veggies are yucky and what you have to slog through to get to the “good stuff”.  My podcast partner, Dina Rose, talks about the “happy bite”. You want your kids to take a bit of broccoli because they like it and want to eat it, not because you’ve forced them to eat it. Nagging, bribing, and forcing kids to eat foods is never a good idea and creates negative associations that can last a long time!

I’ve heard family members and other parent say “well my kids are skinny, healthy, and have a lot of energy so they can just eat whatever they want”. How do you feel about this statement?

A person can be trim but not be healthy. We now know that the foundation of heart disease, for instance, is laid down in childhood. Kids can have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and we’re seeing that more now than ever before Eating habits are also established in childhood, and children learn habits early. If we set our kids up to eat junk, that  may be what they carry into adulthood. That affects not only their weight but increasingly, their health, as they get older.

Do you have any other resources that you would recommend for parents?

I love a lot of blogs about feeding kids like Raise Healthy Eaters, It’s Not About Nutrition, Just The Right Byte, and The Lunch Tray. Mom’s Kitchen Handbook is wonderful for recipes. I also have some books listed on my blog that I like for picky eaters, which are listed here.

Where else besides your blog can my readers find you?


When Common Is Made Clean

I really struggle with self worth. I look at myself and see no gifts, talents, or anything of value. I haven't contributed anything to this world other than marrying my amazing hubby and having two great kids. But honestly that doesn't feel like any sort of an accomplishment because despite my best efforts I fail daily in the whole mom and wife department.

I'm always assuming that I'm not enough and that others are looking down on me. And quite honestly I get mad at God because of all of my short comings. I'm not asking to be perfect, but would like to be a little more than mediocre. Why can't I have some sort of special skill or talent? Why do I feel like He forgot to give me any sort of Spiritual gift? Most days I hate myself.

This is by far one of my biggest struggles. I just can't seem to place much value on myself.

Then I read this....

"What God has made clean, do not call common." Acts 10:15

This was during Peter's vision when God was abolishing the Old Testament dietary restrictions. This was also to bring unity to the Jews and the Gentiles. I've read through this text several times before, but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks!

Sunday in church our pastor was preaching on finding our identity in Christ and coming out of the wilderness. If I attempted to explain out his sermon to you I would most definitely botch it, but several things he said during that sermon have played over and over in my head. I have been crying out to the Lord for His help in loving Him more and learning to put my flesh to the side. I've come to believe not only are the worthless thoughts rolling around in my head are straight from the devil, but are also an idol. Its taken up so much of my thoughts and focus and just another excuse to keep myself from drawing close to the Lord.

Monday night I picked up the book I've slowly been reading and yet it was another reminder of what the Lord is speaking into me.

When I accepted His Son Jesus as my Savior, He cleansed me from my sins. I don't have to prove that I'm of worth, because sending His Son to carry my sins on the cross and die for me is proof that He that He loves me. He made me clean and that means I'm not common. That means that there in fact is something special about me even when I don't feel very special.

I read those words as a command. I'm writing them down and taping it where I can see it daily.

Have you been made clean? Then dear sister you most certainly are not common!


13 DIY Natural Cleaning Products

I've been in cleaning mode! I've been organizing, decluttering, and deep cleaning so I've been on the hunt for some new DIY cleaning product recipes. Swapping out cleaning products is a great start when you are trying to switch to a natural lifestyle. Making your own cleaning products not only will be safer for your family, its A LOT cheaper! I teamed up with some fellow bloggers to bring you these amazing DIY natural cleaning products!

Check out these DIYs and pick one product at a time to start making yourself!
Natural Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks


Grace For The Ho-Ho Eaters

I love the idea of all-natural living. Of living off the land, organic, chemical free, of never eating processed food. It all sounds so wonderful. But the trouble is, reality looks a little different from us at this point. I drink an occasional diet Coke. There is Hamburger Helper in my pantry, and the soap on my soap dish was not made by yours truly. And you know what? I think that's okay. 

Don't get me wrong- I still think that all-natural living is a great goal, and those people who do it and do it well? The cloth-diapering, chicken-butchering, elderberry-syrup-drinking folks? They're pretty impressive. And I'd like to be them when I grow up. I typically clean my home with vinegar, but I use Comet for those tough stains on my counter. I use essential oils for sore muscles and to help me sleep... but I also carry ibuprofen in my purse. Here's the thing- it's just not practical for me to be totally crunchy at this point in my life. It just wouldn't work. It's all about priorities, really. Right now, the biggest priorities for me are my faith, my marriage and family, and my hobbies (mainly, let's be honest, my blog).

 Maybe someday, living the granola life will be a priority to us. It's not one right now- not really. I still do a little here and there to reduce our environmental impact, save a little money, and keep myself and my husband a little healthier. It's taken me a while to get to the place where I'm okay with my half-way method of doing things. I'm typically an all-or-nothin' type of girl.

This is where grace comes in. I'm pretty terrible at giving myself grace- in the big things, in the little things, even when it comes to simply getting my laundry done. By giving ourselves grace, we find the freedom to live life to the full, without feeling guilty for buying non-organic chicken at the grocery store. It's okay to still be a work in progress. It's okay to not get it perfectly every time. Maybe you're the super-crunchy type. That's so great- and I think you just rock. I'm sure that you can apply this grace thing somewhere else in your life, though. As human beings, we're all pretty imperfect- even if our imperfection shows up in different ways. But! Even though we screw up all the time, we know that we're loved and worth it. Even when we mess up, we know that God uses broken people and scraggly edges all the time. There's nothing I could do (or eat, or clean with, or stock my pantry with) that will make Him love me less. So no, I don't plan on eating my placenta if I ever have children. I will continue my coffee-and-chemical-laden-creamer habit, thank you. And that box of Ho-Ho's on the counter? Yeah, I'm gonna eat that. Because there's grace, even for the Ho-Ho eaters.

...   ...   ...   ...   ,,,

Ally loves coffee, motorcycles, blogging, and Jesus (not in that order, although coffee is toward the top of  her list). An accidental country girl, Ally often finds herself wondering how she ended up on the back of a horse every summer and living on a 21-acre hobby farm. She and her husband work at a Bible Camp ministry in Iowa, where they are blessed to share the love of God practically and behind-the-scenes.
Ally writes about what God is teaching her, finds the joy, works on giving herself grace, and shares her blessings at A Home Called Shalom


Subscribe and Get 6 Essential Oil Recipes for Cold and Flu Season

Hi ya'll!!! I'm so excited to announce that I created 6 essential oil recipes for cold and flu season. And because I'm just so extremely fabulous (and not to mention humble) I'm giving them to you when you subscribe to my newsletter! You'll never miss a post and I have a lot of awesome things planned!

You can subscribe in the sidebar. Just put in your info and select how often you'd like to receive my newsletter, then you'll receive a confirmation email with the download for the oil recipes! I hope you enjoy them! And I can't wait to pop up in your inbox!


Girl Stuck in a 90s World

I was born in the late 80s so my childhood (the preteen years) covered the 90s. I can remember when I finally got call waiting, a computer, and caller ID. I grew up watching Nickelodeon with Stick Stickly, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Clarissa Explains It All. My friends and I would spend our summer days at the mall and would have to use a pay phone to call our parents to pick us up. When I was in 6th grade our mall finally got a Bath and Body Works, aaahh Country Apple hand sanitizer anyone?

I have watched over the past several years as trends from other eras like the 70s and 80s made their way back. So I waited. Patiently waited. And finally last summer it happened. I saw a pair of overalls hanging in a store and I knew the time was coming. And that time is finally here. The 90s are back! Open a magazine and you'll find sunflower print and grunge on models. I'm way more excited than I should be! I knew it was official when I saw a ton of platform shoes at Target.

I'm really hoping though that the mom dresses with the big collars and vests (I'm looking at you DJ Tanner) don't come back. But to be honest some of the loose dresses like what Monica Geller wore on Friends I think I can get on board with.

Anyway that was my random nonsense for the week. If you need me I'll be singing along with TLC and trying to convince my daughter that jelly sandals are in fact extremely cool!