Spring Break ...the best laid plans : (

Well folks, I had all sorts of fun plans for us this week.
It's Spring Break afterall!
We weren't planning a big trip or anything,
but they were still FUN plans.

  • The girls have been wanting to learn how to sew, so this week, I was going to teach them  by sewing little dresses for their dolls. I also love showing them that you don't have to spend $30 for a doll outfit, although that would be more convenient. Not having extra money is actually a bonus in a lot of ways, because it forces you to be creative, which makes you love it even more, and in this case, would also provide some good quality time/ teaching time with my girls.
  • We also planned 2 hang out times with some of our great friends.
  • We planned to go see one of the sweetest ladies in the world and hang out with her for the day.
  • I planned to make meals for a friend that's going through a really tough time.
  • We planned to have a fun day and take the girls around town...skating, maybe some ice cream, etc...  (I'd obviously not be able to do either of those things, but I would have loved to watch).
  • and we also planned for lots of good family time (board games, fun dinners in, etc...)

Well, none of that happened. : (
On the first day, my sewing machine wouldn't work.
I've used it zillions of times with no issues, but after hours of trying and me almost pulling my hair out, we decided to wait until the next day and go see if my grandma could help us.
By the next day, I had a fever of 101.5 and a sore throat, that rivals any of my past sore throats. It was strep.
I've had it many times before, 
but this time is especially brutal.
I couldn't talk, sleep, or eat. 
I still can't.
Fun Times!

Now you'd think I would have a better perspective on a little sore throat after all I have been through, but like I keep telling other people that feel bad telling me about "little issues" they're having. It's not little when it's happening to you. Fever makes you hurt all over and when you're throat is sore, you can't just stop swallowing, though I've definitely tried. It's miserable. On top of that, I also felt horrible because we had to cancel a lot of fun plans on my account. A guilt that's even worse since so many things have been like that this year.... "Mommy can't do that."  "Mommy's not feeling good today, I'm sorry."....

The truth is:
My husband and my girls are great, and though they may be disappointed, they are very understanding and that's such a blessing.
This will not always be the case, there will be fun times. We've already had fun times!
Guilt over things I can't control is not from the Lord.

A verse has been playing over and over again in my head:
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Isn't that what I want anyway!?
I pray daily the He would open doors that need to be openned and close doors that need to be closed, but when He does close a door I want to get all frustrated about it. 
I pray that He would thwart any of my plans that don't line up with what He wants me to be doing at that very moment, yet I hold my plans so tightly sometimes.
If being sick is what it takes to make me shut down my plans, then I can even rejoice at His sovereignty even in the "ruined plans."

Maybe He wants me to take my girls to spend extra time  with their great grandmother in helping with the doll dresses.
Maybe we needed more time at home together instead of busyness.
Maybe He wants to use me to help my friend after her treatment and was protecting her from any germs I didn't know I had before her treatments.
Maybe I needed to be humbled yet again and reminded that we should make plans in this way...

James 4:13-15
"Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. ...Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.

I don't claim to know the thoughts of the Lord, but I have learned to trust Him.  In the unknown, in the heartache, in the pain, in the brokenness, and even in frustration.  
~  ~  ~
On a fun note, Dasun's friend had some passes for Silver Dollar City that they had to use by the end of this month, so Dasun got to take the girls on a fun day today. I am so glad they got to do that!
As crazy as it sounds, we've never been!! I went when I was a little girl, but that's it. Kennedy has been wanting to go for a LOOOONG time, so this is a dream come true for her. : ) I can't wait to hear all about it when they get back.


MY TAKE ON PALEO - food ideas, opinions, etc...

So, as many of you know, after battling some severe stomach issues and joint pain and having very little answers as to why, my sister in law Jenny sent me this link. It was Danielle Alexander's story of her health transformation. I had already been eating very healthy, but up until this point, I allowed myself to eat some grains (rice, quinoa, & oats), peanuts, and beans.  Even though I was eating super healthy, something was still off.  Her story wasn't exactly the same, but it was eerily similar. For the first time in months, I actually had some hope that this wouldn't go on forever. However, as I did research on the paleo diet she recommended, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I didn't know how I could ever eat with such restrictions. We went to Barnes and Noble and got her cookbook and it was amazing! It even had desserts....not weird paleo desserts, but normal things like chocolate chip cookies, cakes, etc... It also had a ton of basic info that made the diet so much easier to start.

I began the Paleo diet with the help of some sweet friends and my wonderful husband who had to help me because I was unable to cook. Within about a month, I was feeling better.  I went to the Mayo Clinic and found out that one of the things I had was a very severe case of Crohn's.  We're still not sure why my bones kept dislocating though.  A little while later, I was able to get out of my wheelchair for short periods and began physical therapy! I got stronger and stronger and was no longer getting sick every 10-15 minutes, but more like 1-2 times a day.  I also gained 25 pounds back and was back up to 110, so I looked much healthier as well! My skeptical side didn't know if this was just a coincidence (the normal ups and downs of autoimmune flares) or if it was really due to the dietary changes. So, I began to allow myself some "cheats."   We're not talking big cheats...just a little wheat and sugar here and there. I was still eating super healthy compared to most people.  It wasn't long until I started to hurt again and was having trouble walking. I got back on the diet and had a lot of friends praying and am now feeling a lot better. I am still dealing with some stomach problems, so I'm kicking myself for cheating, but I'm also trying to give myself grace because it's a tough diet to follow.  I will try to keep you all posted as to whether it continues to help me.

As I told my friend, it's a very hard diet to be on, so even thought it's great for anyone, I wouldn't recommend it unless you were having health problems. I know a lot of people that are on it for weight loss reasons and have seen amazing results, but I am nowhere near determined enough to stick to it for weight loss reasons. ha!  Pain and the inability to walk or move your arms is a good motivator though. : ) I am getting a lot better at eating this way. The Against all grains cookbook helped me a ton! I can even have cookies now!...just cookies made with almond flour and coconut flour.


With that said, here are my tips for GOING PALEO:

Meal Ideas: 
(side note: on paleo, all healthy meats are allowed, but I can't handle any greasy things like pork or beef that's not well drained)
Besides the meal ideas below, I also do a lot of veggie stews, meatloaf stuffed bell peppers, fajitas (tortillas for the family and none for me), sweet potatoes (yes, these can be salty rather than sweet), omelets/ frittatas, BLT's rolled up with lettuce-even better with some paleo mayonaise, taco salad (no chips for me) and stir-fry.  I also do baked potatoes every now and then topped with some steamed broccoli (potatoes aren't technically paleo, but I am not trying to lose weight, so I am not worried about the carbs and I only have them every once in a while). ....And don't forget that if you need something quick, you can always grab a rotisserie chicken and some steamable veggies or salad stuff.

eggs, omelets (chop up some all natural sandwich meat or cooked bacon with peppers, onions, and whatever veggies you want, smoothies, veggie muffins from Against All Grains (they taste like zucchini bread), banana muffins, etc...

My go to snacks:
cashews or almonds with raisins, veggies with paleo ranch, turkey bacon (I make a bunch up and grab a piece when I'm having a salty craving), and sweet potato chips (that I lay out on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oils, sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake a little longer so they taste much yummier- I do the whole batch and then put them back in the bag, so I don't have to do that every time.

Sweet snacks/ treats:
All fruits, applesauce with cinnamon (although make sure it contains no artificial sweeteners. It's yummy without, I promise!), canned fruit salad with no syrup of course, smoothies, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and a wee bit of stevia, homemade almond milk ice cream (I have a bullet type things that I make smoothies in. I use it and add ice, I spoonful of cocoa, 1-2 packets of stevia, almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla- BLUE DIAMOND BRAND IS THE BEST BRAND) and blend to make some "chocolate ice cream." Sometimes I add a little drop of peppermint to make mint chocolate ice cream, or a banana to make choco-banana ice cream. I also have some of the Against all grain cookie doughhttp://againstallgrain.com/2012/08/29/real-deal-chocolate-chip-cookies/ on hand so that I can pop a couple of cookies into the oven when I'm having a craving. : )

On the banana bread recipe, you'll see the pb chocolate chip cookie balls. Those are NOT paleo, but they are a yummy and healthy snack for the kids. My girls even help make them.
I strongly suggest that you buy the against all grain cookbook. It helped me a lot.

like alfredo sauce : ) I can see this being a creamy base for all sorts of soups if you omitted some of the garlic, so I am looking forward to playing with it!
paleo chicken alfredo (DE-licious!) My cousin Amber made this for me with the kelp noodles and it was amaze-balls. 

If you allow yourself some dairy free chocolate chips, then these cookies are amazing! Mine turned out thicker than hers, but they're soooooo good either way!
Here are some more recipes I have tweaked:
Please ignore the spelling error marks. I just took pictures of my word documents with my snipping tool and apparently Microsoft word isn't up on paleo : )

 The great part of this diet, is that it's not restricting anything healthy, like lean healthy meats (with no hormones, no artificial preservatives like nitrates/ nitrites, grass-fed beef, etc...), veggies, & fruits. So, worst case scenario, you're eating healthier. : ) The down side, is that you might freak out and binge on chips or cookies unless you do some research and have some yummy things on hand so you don't feel like you are restricting yourself so much.

One thing that helps me, is reminding myself that I am so blessed to be able to find and afford foods that don't make me sick. This is a luxury that a lot of people don't have. So instead of living in the world of, "I can't have this or that...woe is me." I can live in an attitude of gratefulness, to have food at all, much less wonderful and delicious fruits, meats, and vegetables! We are so blessed and I pray that I'll always have a heart that reflects how grateful I am.

Some verses about food:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

This one helps me with my discipline (or lack thereof):
“‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything (including food)… Therefore, Honor God with your body”    -1 Corinthians 6:12, 20b

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. –Genesis 9:3

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. –Genesis 1:29

*As always please do research on this for yourself. I did a TON before beginning this and would never recommend starting something without doing that.


Health and Insurance Update!

 I had been doing so much better and have been so thankful for a break in the pain, the ability to walk again, and being able to hug my girls again. About 2 or 3 weeks ago, I started to hurt again. I was still walking, but very painfully, and my left elbow and shoulder were really sore. I hadn't been as strict on my paleo diet, allowing some occasional grains and sugars, so I'm not sure if that is why I was hurting or not, but I went back to being very strict in hopes that the inflammation would go away. I also sent out a prayer request to my church, not only for the pain, but also for the anxiousness...fearing that it was coming back. Without any exaggeration, I promise you that the next day I hurt even less and when I woke up the day after that, I felt even better. I grabbed my girls and we prayed and gave thanks right then! Kennedy had been worried about me, so I was relieved to give her some good news!

As for the insurance, we don't have any solid news to report, but we got a letter from the insurance company telling us they might overturn a few of the previously denied claims, which would be a huge praise! Please keep praying. : ) We appreciate you all so much!

Cuddle Time

One of my favorite things is having my girls come in to wake me up in the morning to cuddle and talk. It's usually just one at a time, so it gives me some special one on one time.

 Kennedy loves to ask me about my favorite things and have me rank them in order. She also likes to tell me about her dreams, and discuss all sorts of other things.

 Adelynn loves to ask me a zillion questions about everything from creation to random thoughts.
"So mama, what about when is Easter?"
"and so mama, what about how you can't see your own face because it's your face."
"so mama what about ______?" and the list goes on. 
I truly enjoyed every second of hearing that sweet little voice.
 I love hearing their laughter and being able to laugh with them without it hurting so badly. I love being able to hug them as tightly as I want to. I missed that so much!
I don't know how long I'll feel good, but I plan on soaking it up while I can.
I mean...look at those faces!


The Crumpet

Last year, I got a living social deal for
The Crumpet Tea Room. 
That was one of my favorite places to go with my mom, so I jumped on the chance to grab it and plan a special day with my girls.
This year the deal came around again, so we planned our 2nd annual date.
We call it our "fancy lady day."
We get all dressed up and practice our best lady-like manners.
Sometimes we even talk in our best English accents. : )
 We love to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful view.

 I love these girls so much! I could just bust!
 I'm so thankful for special memories
with my little ladies. : )


St. Patrick's Day 2014

We went all out for St. Patrick's Day. : ) 
I am so thankful to be able to move around, that I want to take advantage of every opportunity.
The night before, we watched the true story of St. Patrick and I painted our nails so we wouldn't get pinched the next day.
It was my first time to attempt "fancy nails," so I was pretty happy with how they turned out.
If you click on the picture to zoom in, you'll notice Kennedy's pinkies. I don't get credit for those. Those are Jamberry stick-ons from the mother daughter tea we went to.

The next day was a school day, but we celebrated that night with a fun dinner. Stuffed green peppers, green drinks, and green banana smoothies for dessert.

 While I was cleaning up the kitchen, I noticed my girls holding hands while they finished dessert.
These girls truly love each other. It blesses my heart so much!



We got to help with the Feed My Starving Children event again this year. I was so excited because I wasn't sure I could do it this year. Even a couple of weeks ago, I was hurting pretty badly again, but I am doing better now. So thankful!


Mother Daughter Tea

Our church had a mother daughter tea and I got to take the girls.
 They got to make cookies, get their nails painted, drink tea, eat yummy snacks, and make bracelets.

 They even had someone take our picture : )

What a FUN day!


Date with Papa

My dad called to see if he could take the girls out. The girls got to have a fun night with Papa...dinner and dessert! The girls were so excited!


Quick Photo Shoot

Some sweet friends of Dasun's got this little outfit for Adelynn. It's one of the sweetest little outfits I have ever seen and so soft and cuddly. When Adelynn wore it for the first time, we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot at the soccer field by our church. After we got home, I played around with the pictures and I am so excited about how they turned out.

Here's our little Adelynn:
(look at that little nugget!!!)
 Don't you just want to squeeze her!?

 takes my breath away : )
 This little girl is joy and laughter in a sweet little package!
 We wanted to snap a few of Kennedy too. My other little sweetheart.
She was so excited because she put her outfit together all by herself that morning, complete with a little necklace. She's becoming quite the little lady. : )
 Such creativity and sweetness in this girl : )
 I love those chocolatey brown happy eyes!

 Oh Lord, thank you for entrusting us with these precious girls. I feel so undeserving, but oh so thankful!

One more picture of sweetness!


Valentines 2014

Here are a few pictures from our Valentines celebrations this year!
-Making Valentines-
 I have a little tiny hole punch that I used the punch a hole small enough for the stick to go through, but not too large where it would fall our easily.

 look at that sweet face : )
Adelynn's says something a little different than kk's.
I don't want to be slow in letting you know...
I love your friendship.
 Kennedy's School Party
-the girls-

 Valentine's Breakfast
 My girls woke me up so excited! They couldn't wait to show me all of the hearts everywhere.
Dasun had interviewed the girls and he wrote what they said along with some of his own comments.

They were even in my car!
He wrote some serious ones and then some hilarious ones too.
Here are some of his funny ones:
"I love how you want to sit me down and tell me how awesome I am" - Dasun 
"I love how you always want to give me back rubs." 
he also made fake ones from the girls about me loving to give him back rubs too, ha!
He may be a little delusional. ha!!!
and some from the girls...
"I even love her so much the whole wide world!" - Adelynn
"I love the awesome ideas she has."- Kennedy
"Sometimes I just like to cuddle with her." -Adelynn
"I love that she spends time with me." -Kennedy 
Made my day!

 Then we went to Adelynn's school party
 We love Ms. Fields!

 The girls in their Ms. Pam t-shirts : )
 Paper plate hats : )
 Fun V-day dinner
(heart brownies, heart veggie platter, fancy cups, and pizza)

 My heart notes to the girls:

 Kennedy's surprise Valentine to me: