Friday, December 09, 2016

Soft Vanilla Cookies - 2016 Gift Mix

For our gift mix this year, I recreated a cookie from my childhood.

These cookies are a real labor of love. My grandmother used to make these when I was little, and they were my favorite cookies. (I called them "soft vanilla wafers" back then.) Unfortunately, she was one of those cooks who didn’t measure anything or use a recipe, so the recipe died with her. It has taken me a decade to replicate the recipe, but these are really close to hers. The texture is just about perfect. They are so yummy! :)

For the packaging, I found some cute tins at Dollar Tree.

Here are some pics of my assembly in process. I made 100 regular mixes and 7 gluten-free ones. This year's mix has 2 bags: one with the flour and other ingredients and one with the sugar so you can cream the sugar with the butter.

I also included a gluten-free, sugar-free option in the recipe this year. To print out the recipe click here.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did as a child!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bubble Theory - The THM Three Hour Rule Explained

A lot of folks are confused by the "3-hour rule" in THM, so I thought I would show you an easy way to understand it. First, let's clear up a few misconceptions.

The 3-hour rule does NOT mean you have to eat every 3 hours, whether you're hungry or not.

The 3-hour rule does NOT mean you can't eat anything until 3 hours after a meal.

So what DOES the 3-hour rule mean?

Since I'm a visual learner, I thought I would show you a picture of how I like to think about it (See Example 1 below.). Let's say I eat breakfast at 6:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:00 pm. The "bubbles" in the diagram below represent each meal and the 3-hour window around each meal. So, basically, if I eat a snack during one of these "bubbles," I have to have the same fuel as the meal in that bubble or have a FP snack (FP snacks can be eaten anytime. They are immune to the "bubbles."). So if I wanted a snack at 10:00 am, for example, it doesn't matter what fuel I had for breakfast, because it's been more than 3 hours since breakfast. It DOES matter what fuel I plan to eat for lunch, though. If I plan to eat an S lunch, I should eat an S snack. Make sense?

So also in this example, if I wanted to eat a snack at 2:00pm, I would need to have the same fuel that I had for lunch. But if I had my snack at 4:00 pm, I would need to have the same fuel I plan to eat at dinner.

Please note that I don't HAVE to eat a snack at all. Nothing in THM requires me to eat every 3 hours or at any specific times.

Example 1

Now let's make it a little more difficult. What if I eat my breakfast at 7:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5:00 pm? Then the bubbles will look like Example 2 below and overlap. So if I wanted to eat a snack at 9:30 am, I would have to be careful about the fuel I had for breakfast AND what I plan to eat at lunch. If I had an E breakfast but I plan to eat an S lunch, a snack at 9:30 would need to be a FP so that it wouldn't interfere with either "bubble." But if I had an S breakfast and plan to eat an S lunch, I could have an S snack at 9:30 if I wanted one.
Example 2

I hope this clears up confusion and doesn't make it more confusing. Like I said, I'm a visual learner/thinker. If this confuses you, just pretend you never read it... :)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama 101: 3 Steps to Getting Started

On March 1st of last year, I started on a journey called Trim Healthy Mama (or THM for short). In short, it has revolutionized how I think about food. I have lost 38 pounds and am down to the weight I was before having children (over 21 years ago!). NOTHING else worked for me until I found THM, so suffice it to say I'm a believer!

If any of you plan to start eating the THM way, I wanted to give you a few pointers to get you started. So this blog post is my "Getting Started with THM" post. I hope to post other helpful tidbits later.

FIRST STEP: Buy the books.
Yes, you really do need them. You will want the plan book and the cookbook. Don't buy the older book which has the plan and cookbook in one volume. The newer ones are MUCH better. Many of us get the cookbook spiral bound at a local Staples or Office Depot store since we use it so much. You won't regret the small fee you pay to get this done.

SECOND STEP: Download my THM Cheat Sheet.
This way of eating is different than anything else you have ever done. In the beginning, I kept wanting to COUNT something... anything. I am a numbers person, and every diet I ever tried involved counting something: carbs, fat, calories, etc. This is completely different, and it took me quite a while to wrap my brain around this concept of food. With that said, though, some people have come up with some numbers to use as guidelines, which I found very helpful. I created a THM Cheat Sheet which includes those numbers. It also has all the foods you can eat in an "E" meal on one side and the foods allowed in an "S" meal on the other side. The yellow highlighted foods are ones that you can have in a "FP" meal. I printed this on cardstock and put it on my refrigerator. I still refer to it quite a bit.

THIRD STEP: Jump in, but start slowly.
I tell folks all the time to just start by eliminating sugar. That will get you started on the right track while you read the books and try to figure out the entire plan. Some people like to read through the plan book first and start all at once. That's okay, too, but I found it somewhat overwhelming the first several weeks. So I started by eliminating sugar. Then I tried several days of just "S" meals, then several days of just "E" meals, so I could try and understand what they were. That worked well for me, I think.

The great thing about THM is that there is no guilt. If you "mess up" and go off-plan one meal, that's fine. Just pick back up at the next meal.

In future posts, I want to cover topics such as eating out and recipe organization. If there's another THM topic you'd like to know more about, let me know!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Remember - Word and Verse for 2016

Memory is something we take for granted until it's gone. I used to be able to retain large amounts of information without much effort at all. Now, however, I have trouble recalling names, events, and even the most basic facts. This could be due to a number of factors. But, having a grandmother who had Alzheimer's, it's still frightening.

Going into Hannah's last semester of high school, I really want to focus on remembering. I want to make memories that both of us will remember years from now. I want to remember the small moments as well as the big ones.

I also want to work on my factual memory by memorizing more Scripture.

So my word for 2016 is REMEMBER.

In looking for a verse to go with this, I couldn't find one that covered every area I wanted to cover, so I chose Luke 2:19: "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." That seems to come closest to what I want to do, even though it doesn't actually use the word "remember" in it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Scripture Memory System

A few months ago, my friend Carrie told me about a Scripture memory system she found and really liked. I wanted to give it a try, but I added a twist to it.

I remembered reading this in Phillip Keller's book As a Tree Grows:

Rather than learning random verses, it is well to master whole blocks of the Bible. This gives continuity and coherence to the material in mind. Here are twenty-four passages which, if mastered - one each month - at the end of only two years will have provided material that can completely transform the fabric of a Christian's life. One cannot absorb these and not grow!

Exodus 20:1-21
1 Samuel 2:1-10                                      
Psalm 1
Psalm 23
Psalm 51
Proverbs 20
Isaiah 40
Isaiah 53
Malachi 3
Matthew 5
Matthew 6
Matthew 7
John 3
John 14
John 15
John 16
Romans 8
1 Corinthians 13
Galatians 5
Ephesians 6
Colossians 1
Philippians 3
Hebrews 12
Revelation 21

Who doesn't want spiritual growth???

So I started using this system, but focused primarily on chunks of Scripture. I took some from Keller's list and have added some of my own. I have also interspersed a few topical verses that I just wanted to memorize.

So far, this system hasn't been cumbersome at all. I did realize quickly that I don't memorize things as well as I used to. The good thing about this system, though, is that it builds in a lot of repetition. It's also easily tailored. My friend Carrie adds a new verse each day; I add one every other day. If I miss a day (such as through the holidays or for whatever reason), I just pick up the next day. It also doesn't require anything fancy: just some 3x5 notecards, a notebook, and a pen. (However, Carrie did give me some pretty colored pens for Christmas, which makes it even more fun!) :)

If you don't have a regular Scripture memory system, I encourage you to try this. Or find some other system (and let everyone know about it in the comments). The important thing is to continually be hiding God's Word in your heart.

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