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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Here, We Wear Purple in October

I know pink is the popular colour in October.  Breast cancer awareness is, of course, very important, in addition to all other kinds of cancer.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I have a few statistics I'd like to share with you.

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  •  (Source : Domestic Violence Statistics)

    Fortunately, there are some wonderful organizations that are working to put a stop to the violence, and to help the victims.  This month, I am highlighting Shepherd's Gate (of Miracle Hill Ministries).  They are local to me here in the upstate, and they do a lot of good for a lot of people.  I am also running a fundraiser.  A minimum of 15% of ALL sales from this fundraiser party will go directly to Miracle Hill.  (Up to a possible 30%, depending on how well the fundraiser does.)  These accessories make great gifts, so get some of your Christmas shopping done early and help a great cause while you are at it.  

    Please consider spreading the word even if you cannot order at this time.  

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    Build A Menu Back to School SALE!

    Tonight's dinner is in the oven right now, and smells absolutely AMAZING.  It's  Curried Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole, and it's a Trim Healthy Mama (E)nergizing meal, which means it's healthy carb and low fat.  I added frozen peas and carrots to ours, so it's truly a one dish meal.  

    Build A Menu now has 2 different ways to help you meal plan.  The "Classic" still lets you peruse recipes and choose your own, while it keeps a running grocery total for you.  (Did I mention that this is my favourite feature of BAM?)  The "Done for You" option gives you a week's worth of menus in a pdf file, no guesswork and SO much of a timesaver!  Both options are on sale right now.


    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Book Review : "Questions Jesus Asks" by Israel Wayne

    I am currently reading Questions Jesus Asks: Where Divinity Meets Humanity by Israel Wayne.  I have not finished yet, I don't have nearly the time to devote to reading that I wish I did.
    The chapters are all titled with different questions that Jesus asked in the New Testament, such as "Who Do People Say That I Am?", "What Are You Seeking?", "Do You Want To Get Well?", etc.  He goes into the reasons Jesus asks questions in the first place.  (You didn't really think it was because there are things He doesn't know, right?)  He talks about the purpose of each individual question and how the situations relate to us today, not just their historical context.

    So far, the one most convicting to me has been, "Do You Want to Get Well?".  I have struggled with clinical depression and anxiety for many years, as I have talked about on this blog a few times in the past.  How often do our current circumstances, however unpleasant, become comfortable?  We cling to the status quo, even as it makes us miserable.

    This book provides excellent insight, and new perspectives on familiar stories.  I highly recommend it.

    I received a copy for review purposes, but my opinions are my own.

    Wednesday, August 05, 2015

    Menu Planning for Busy... Everyone

    I am honestly not quite sure if anyone pays attention to the links on my sidebar or not, but just in case someone very observant is wondering why I have two different menu planning sites over there, here is the answer!

    I am terrible at menu planning.  Abysmal, really.  It hurts our time management for the family, it hurts our budget, and it hurts our health.

    Several years ago, I discovered Menu Planning Central (to be honest, I don't remember exactly where I first saw it.)  I downloaded a sample menu, saw how well everything was laid out, and noticed they were having a sale, so I signed up.  Amazing!!  It took a couple of weeks to figure out how it best worked for me.  (I only bought 3 days worth of groceries at a time, and made sure to use up leftovers before the next shopping trip.  My kids were much smaller then, and we never ate all of anything.)   It saved us a lot, and the recipes were really simple to follow.  You downloaded 2 different pdf files for each week, depending on which type of menu you want (family friendly, healthy, money saving), and the new menus come out at the beginning of the month.  You can mix and match.  One pdf file is all the recipes for the week, including side dishes nicely paired with their main meals, and a couple of weekend brunches, and some desserts.  The other pdf file is the shopping list, organized by the different sections of the grocery store.  Each day's recipes have a letter, so you can easily tell which things on the shopping list are which.

    A little over 2 years ago, I was introduced to the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.  The principals of the plan make SO much sense to me, and after a bit of a learning curve, it really is simple.  MPC did not include THM menus, and so I muddled through with book recipes and combing different blogs.

    THEN, the sisters at Build A Menu posted in one of the THM FaceBook groups.  Their service works a bit differently.  They have several different categories (breakfast, lunch, sides, dinners, snacks, desserts, etc).  Each category has new recipes each week, and you pick and choose which ones you want to use, and which ones you wish to pair together.  The site has a sidebar which lists which recipes you've chosen, and even keeps a running total of your estimated grocery cost.  They have several different types of recipes, including Paleo, THM, Family Friendly, etc.

    Now, MPC has recently been purchased.  Christine is going back to school, and felt it was time to move on from MPC.  I don't know if any of you remember SuperMom's Health & Wellness, but I sure do!  I was very happy to read that none other than SuperMom herself, Erica Johns, was the new captain at the helm of MPC.

    So this is a brief history of my time with meal planning, and why there are two different services linked in my sidebar.  Feel free to ask any questions, look them over, and see which method will work best for your family!

    Wednesday, July 08, 2015

    Alzheimer's Awareness, Bicycle Riding, and Water

    Chances are good that you know someone suffering from Alzheimer's or another cognitive disorder.  It is a hard, hard thing to go through, both as a patient and as a caregiver.  It is a terrible disease, and while there have been some exciting studies (also this one), we are not close enough to a true cure yet.

    In order to raise money, both for research and for support for caregivers & patients, my family is involved in A Ride to Remember.  We participated last year, and are greatly looking forward to the event again this year.  My husband donates his sweat, muscle soreness, and sometimes blood for the cause.  He will ride his bicycle for 252 miles (from Simpsonville all the way to Charleston) over 3 days in the stifling July heat, with over 260 other cyclists.  It's grueling, but rewarding.  (Check out his experiences in his own words.)

    Our daughters and I volunteer on the trip, as well.  Last year, we followed along behind all the cyclists and picked up all the directional signs on the first day.  This was an extremely long day, but a lot of fun.  The second and third days, we staffed one of the water stops along the route.  We felt a lot more connected this way.  We got to interact with most of the cyclists, providing water, snacks, and encouragement during a long, hot day.  We have not gotten our assignments for this year's ride yet, but I am sure it will be another amazing experience.

    You can help!   This year, my husband's fundraising goal is $2,520, or $10 for each mile they ride.  If you can sponsor a mile or 2, or even just a half, it would be greatly appreciated.  EVERY bit helps, no matter how small.  The vast majority of supplies for the event are donated, and each rider & volunteer pays their own travel expenses, so all the fundraising goes directly to helping people.
    If you can't afford to donate right now, would you consider helping to spread the word?

    We also will be writing the names of loved ones who have passed, or are currently suffering from this or related diseases, on Brian's numbered bib for the ride.  If you would like to have someone remembered in this way, send me a message or leave a comment.  We would be honoured to include as many people as we can.

    Let's help #endALZ together.
    Getting ready to ride on Day 1 (Brian is 2nd from left)

    Donation Link

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Some of the Ways Depression Lies

    I cried myself to sleep Friday night.  I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, but the tears came.  I cried quietly, so I wouldn't wake my sleeping husband.  This was partly because he needed his rest, he had a big cycling event Saturday, but largely it was because I didn't want him to ask what was wrong.  I didn't have anything significant with which to answer.  The sudden, unexplained tears are not typical of my depression.  It only happens rarely.  Mine is usually much less visible.

    My particular "brand" of depression steals my energy, saps my ability to make decisions, keeps me from reaching out.  It couples with my social anxiety to make phone calls nearly impossible.  (Honestly, face to face is easier, how weird is that?)  So not only do I not have the energy to get up and clean "something", there are too many different things that need attention, so my decision-making shuts down.  I know, I know... you're thinking, "You're just lazy, pick one thing and just do it!"  Believe me, you can't lecture me with anything I haven't already said to myself a thousand times.

    It is isolating.  I am finally finding myself able to connect, however superficially, with other PTA Moms, go to events, volunteer for things.  When the kids were little, I did all my volunteering from home.  (Teachers would send things home for me to do, typing, etc.)  Real connections, though... those are difficult.  I find a few, here and there, but eventually they pull away and I am disconnected from everything again.  (There is a caveat here... one of my dearest friends right now is desperately trying to get prepared to go to see her dying father.  This is not the kind of "pulling away" that I am talking about.)  I get it, I do.  Some people just don't know how to deal with how I am.  It doesn't make it easier, but I understand it.  My depression tells me this is how it has always been, and this is how it always will be.  I struggle not to believe it.

    Next time I want to discuss some of the popular "cures" people try to suggest for depression.  Will you join me?  Do you know someone suffering, who would benefit from knowing they're not alone?  Bring them along with you.  I'll be here.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2014

    Introducing the September Flexi of the Month (FOTM)

    I have to say, I am very partial to this month's flexi of the month.  How could they go wrong with purple, I ask you?  It is gorgeous!

    September 2014 Flexi of the Month

    If you haven't heard of Lilla Rose before, allow me to tell you how AMAZING these products are.  I am very prone to headaches, especially when using traditional headbands, or "claw" clips, or even a standard ponytail.  I can wear my hair up in a flexi-clip all day with no discomfort.  They stay in so well, I've even worn mine swimming with no slippage.

    They are available at, please feel free to browse, and let me know if you have any questions!