Thursday, April 16, 2015

Checking In {A Promise}

Hello everyone! Wow! It has been a long time since any of us have checked back in to our blog. Considering that there are 16 kids between the four of us, we have been pretty busy. I can only speak for myself when I say that I have been in full-blown survival mode.
This was the peach pie my husband made me a day ago. I polished it off today...with a plastic spoon...that we got from an ice cream place. 
So as you can imagine, there's not a whole lot of outside defrumping going on with me.
However, God is patiently and lovingly helping defrump my inside. 
I'm currently in a bible study with several beautiful women who genuinely love the Lord. We are reading through a book written by Angie Nichols called Something Abundant: Growing from a Child of God to the Bride of Christ. I highly recommend it!
Angie asks several questions in the back of the book. One of the questions she asks is what promise is God showing you right now through his word? 
Ummm...Hmmm.... Jesus? (Because that's the answer I have given since Sunday school when I didn't know the answer.)
I moved on quickly from that question because I knew he wasn't going to show me anything. Up to that point in my life I felt like I really didn't count with God. Maybe he had promises for the other girls in the study, but I wasn't holding my breath for one.
But as the weeks went on, Psalm 139:17 continued to pop into my head. So much so that I began to wonder if this might...possibly...maybe be a promise from God. I decided to make a wallpaper for my phone so that I could be reminded of it daily.
My mind was blown that God had so many precious thoughts about me, the girl who didn't matter, that they could not be numbered! I don't think I had had that many precious/non-precious thoughts about anyone or anything. Slowly, that verse became my verse and my promise from God.         
So let's flashback to the survival mode I was talking about. I have four boys ages 6, 4, 2, and 4 months. I've struggled with being content as a stay-at-home mom for a long time now. I was a teacher before I had my first son, and I still have several thousands of dollars of student loans left to pay off for a degree I hardly used. 
My days are now spent cleaning the house, changing diapers, wiping petroleum jelly off the walls, and trying to ignore the ginormous pile of laundry on the floor (along with the petroleum jelly that never came off the walls) that I just don't have the time to get to. Sounds daunting right? A lot of you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Well, it was daunting in my mind. 
That's the petroleum jelly I was talking about. 

I realized the other day that I needed a new outlook on things. I wanted to learn not just to be content with things, but truly love what I do. I wanted this to be my dream job and something I looked forward to each day. So how do I get there God?
As I was driving, I was thinking about my verse. How precious are your thoughts about me, oh God. 
It was then that the Lord put it into my mind to take out the "me" and add my son's name. I did. Then, I added my other kids' names. 
My eyes were opened to how much more he loves them than I do. It also showed me that I needed to have precious thoughts about them daily instead of my daunting "this is so hard" attitude. 
So that is where I am at right now. The Lord is patiently leading me with his word. I can't imagine how dumb I must look to him, but I'm holding on to the fact that he promised me his thoughts about me are precious. 


Saturday, March 1, 2014

There's Some Trim Healthiness Going On 'Round Here {My THM experience so far}

I mentioned in my summer wrap-up post that I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama plan since I got the book for Christmas last year - through most of my pregnancy and the past 7 months of nursing. My husband joined me after our daughter was born in August, and he has lost over 25 pounds, and I have lost 30 pounds, and we are both at our GOAL WEIGHT and are now in maintenance mode! My size 6 pants are feeling baggy, and I weigh less and wear smaller clothes than I did when I got married!

If you haven't heard of THM and wanna check out what others are saying, here are some reviews on other blogs:

Gwen's Nest Review

Keeper of the Home Review

Growing Home Review

If you are ready to do something different with your eating, I encourage you to try this plan. My research shows that this is a healthy, reasonable way to not just lose weight, but to maintain a healthy lifestyle with real food. And it's not some weird diet where you can only eat certain recipes. Most of what I cook is just slightly adapted from my regular recipes. But I will say that the recipes in the Trim Healthy Mama book are excellent and really worth trying.

Even as a busy mama who can't have dairy or eggs (in a plan that has a lot of dairy and egg recommendations), I still find plenty of options that are quick and suitable for my restrictions. So, here are some of our favorite dinner options.

1) Coconut Curry Chicken (S with broccoli or Crossover with brown rice)
2) Stir-fry (E with brown rice or light S with cauliflower rice)
3) Pan fried chicken with Joseph's pita crumb breading (S)
3) Turkey Chili (my recipe is a Crossover with lots of beans and no rinsing of the meat)
4) Pan fried tilapia or salmon (S - I love the lunch recipe of this in the book, and so does my husband)
5) Fajitas (light S with low carb tortilla or E with rice and beans)
6) Chicken taco/tortilla style soup (E - really just throw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot - this is usually the leftover fajita stuff plus broth and beans)
7) Chicken/turkey sausage sweet potato skillet (solid E, and my husband's favorite meal right now)

Lunch is usually an S salad for each of us. Or leftovers. But sometimes I feel like having something warm, and that's when I make some Taste of Thai (recipe from the book) coconut salmon soup (S And I usually add yellow curry powder - so yummy!)

Another thing that makes it easy for us is that I eat oatmeal with berries for breakfast every morning. This gets me some healthy carbs everyday for milk production and is a good place for me to add in my brewer's yeast and some extra flax and coconut oil for good rich milk. I make my husband a MIM - muffin in a mug - (chocolate raspberry or Italian Cream - he loves both and feels like it's cheating to eat a cupcake for breakfast every morning) from baggies of mix that I make up in advance; and he has eggs and bacon on the weekend.

And now, the rest of the Defrump Me gals have jumped on the THM bandwagon, and I can safely say that we all LOVE it! We share recipes and techniques and encourage and rejoice with each other. Such an important part of any weight loss or health plan is a great support group. So I know that we will be sharing the things that we have learned, the recipes we love, and what other changes we are making as our bodies are changing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

{Valentine's Day Challenge} Praying for True Love

True love. 

It's what we all dream about! It's what we wait for before we find "the one," and what we are sure we've got when we get married. It's what Valentine's Day is all about, right?!

But I've learned that true love is made, not found. You don't marry "the one," you become one through marriage. Or at least, that's God's design. But plenty of times, people drift away from each other, not towards oneness.

Today, my challenge for you is to pray for your marriage, that it will be characterized by true love. More specifically, that you and your husband will grow in the love that is defined by 1 Corinthians 13. So today I challenge you to slowly pray through those verses, specifically 4-8a. Take your time; pause on each word and phrase; let them soak into your mind; be still and let God speak to you through those words. Let God give you a vision for your marriage. Imagine what those things would look like played out in your life and in your marriage. Pray for those things. And know that there is power in that prayer! You are praying for God's will in your life, and You can be absolutely sure He wants those things accomplished in your marriage.

I'm going to say it one more time...  :-)  Go slow!! Meditate! If you only do one verse today, that's perfectly ok. Do another one tomorrow; take your time.

I am going to share with you the beginning of my prayer for my husband and me. I wrote this down as I was praying, as I always like to do when I'm praying through the scriptures. This makes me slow way down, and lets me solidify God's words to me further. This is very personal to me! Not only sharing my prayers, but sharing them about my marriage. But I hope it will help you to know what I mean by praying through the verses.

These verses are sooooo good! I have found myself praying so many things for my marriage that I certainly wouldn't have thought of if I were praying without the direction of the scriptures.

Father, thank you for your gift of love! You are the author of love. You created it, you are love. Without You, I am incapable of true love. Fill me with your love for my husband. Thank you for the love you have given him for me. Give me charity -- unselfish concern for Zack's welfare above my own.

...suffereth long,
Thank you for Your long-suffering with me! I have so many weaknesses, and You are so patient with me. I never feel condemnation from You. I only feel acceptance from You, even when You are pointing out something for me to change. Please give my marriage that kind of endurance. Help Zack and me to have a supernatural gift to continue on being patient as the other grows and matures. Help us to respond with total acceptance of the other person, even in times where we need to bring up difficult conversations. Help us to extend grace and mercy to each other. Thank you so much for what a patient person Zack is, and how long-suffering he has been with me for the last decade, with faults that I know are so frustrating at times.

...and is kind;
Oh Lord!! Help me to speak words of kindness! Please train my thoughts and my words to be uplifting to Zack. Please stop me when I am about to say something unkind. Help me to control my thoughts to think only good things about Zack, so that when I speak, kindness is natural. Give me Your thoughts about him; help me to see him as You do -- Your child whom You love and have great compassion for. Even when I am hurt or angry, please fill me with Your spirit and help me respond in kindness. Thank You for giving me a kind husband. Thank You that he so rarely says anything unkind to me! Thank You for showing me Your love through him! envieth not;
Keep us from envy, Father. Help us to be happy for each other in the good that we have. There are times I get jealous that he gets to leave home every day, to go interact with adults and have quiet. Help me just to be glad for him, and to appreciate him for the difficulties that brings as well. Envy causes division; help us instead to grow as a team, to see the good for one as a blessing for both of us. vaunteth not itself;
Lord, teach us to put the other first. Protect us from the message from the world that in a marriage you have to make sure your needs get met. Please teach us to seek the other's welfare above our own. Keep us from being demanding. Give us the desire to put our own needs aside when the other has a need. Help me to invest my thoughts into how I can make Zack's life easier and more fulfilling, instead of just dwelling on what I wish were different in my life. I know that this is the path to my own fulfillment anyway! Thank You for Your blessings in our marriage, and for the fruit that has grown from this attitude. Thank You for teaching us the ways to have a peaceful life full of love. Thank You for Your Word, and Your promises. Thank You for Your power to fulfill these things! not puffed up,
Oh Lord, so often I think of myself as better than Zack! That I try harder, that I work harder, that I am more thoughtful, whatever it is. Things that aren't even true! Forgive me for that!! Please continue to show me how prideful that is, and to recognize it as the seed of untruth and to know where that is coming from. Teach me to revere Zack more and more, and to admire him, and lift him up in my mind, not myself. Help Zack to do the same; give us a marriage where we are each lifting each other up. Thank you for Your miraculous design!! It amazes me how when I lift him up, I feel more in love and content myself! Thank You for your wisdom. Teach us to follow Your way!

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly...
Lord, give us discretion in our other relationships. Keep us from interacting with other people in a way that would cause anyone to question the properness of that relationship. Give us wisdom and determination to protect each other's heart and feelings, and to never give any cause for gossip or embarrassment. Thank you SO much for the faithfulness of my husband, and for giving me a marriage where my heart is safe. Please protect us, and give us a strong commitment to continuing that way.

I could go on and on! And I will in my own private time, but I really encourage you to take these verses today and to begin praying them for your marriage. I hope you will be blessed as you do this.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympic Valentines {and a Mini Challenge}

Before we get to today's Valentine's Day Mini Challenge, I wanted to share a fun idea in case you're still wondering what kind of Valentines to send with your kids to school on Friday. Olympic Valentines! What a fun way to combine Olympic love with Valentine's Day love!

Okay, so this was a really fast and easy project. I got the gold medals (set of 8 for $1) and the chocolate hearts (I think there were anywhere from 10-15 in a pkg for $1) at my local Dollar Tree. Then the boys and I just stuck the hearts on the medals with double-sided sticky tape! Voila! 

Oh my goodness, they turned out cute! And my boys are so excited about handing them out to their classmates!!

I went ahead and decided to create little messages to attach to each medal. I've included the PDF document below! They say "You're #1 in my heart! Love, ...." :-)

Here they are attached to the medals (my printer was out of colored ink--so sad!). So adorable! My advice? Go for the gold this Friday with Olympic Valentines! :-)

DOWNLOAD: Olympic Valentine PDF (click on the PDF link if you'd like to download my free tags)

Alrighty. On to today's mini challenge! So far this week, we've encouraged you to buy some new lip gloss, choose your Valentine's Day outfit, and paint your nails! Today we want you to clean your wedding ring or any of the jewelry you wear on a daily basis. 

If you don't have any jewelry cleaner, you can easily get some at Wal-mart (or probably even Walgreens). I got my cleaner at Wal-mart for just a few bucks. It was specifically for gold jewelry. I just drop my ring down in the cleaner for 15 seconds and then use the little brush that comes with it to scrub my ring. Then I rinse it off and let it dry. That's it! 

It really sparkles after it's been cleaned. And it reminds me of what a great guy I have! :-)

image credit

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Defrump Challenge 3 {Paint Your Nails}

Here's a quick and cheap challenge that can make a difference in your appearance and feeling less frumpy. Give your nails a quick coat of polish!

Now, y'all don't laugh at the polish on my skin and cuticles. This was a quick "mini-cure" before starting supper.

My polish is cheap from Walmart - Loreal "Mauve Star". Those accent nails are some wraps from Jamberry called "Twitterpated".  (This is my second time to do wraps from Jamberry, and I am liking it even more this time around!) You certainly don't have to do anything as fancy as this, or feel free to go all out!

I really like how my nails turned out, and I love how feminine a simple coat of polish makes me feel.

So there you have it! A super quick challenge that should take only 10-15 minutes (including drying time), and could be free or cost only a couple dollars. And it gets your hands ready for the next challenge.....

Are you following our challenges this week? Check in with us on Facebook and let us know how it's going with your Valentine's Day preparations!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge {Choose an Outfit}

As Audrey said, we will be bringing you a challenge everyday this week to count down to Valentine's Day. Today, I want us all to start working on choosing an outfit to wear. It doesn't have to be new, it doesn't have to be pink or red, and it doesn't need to have hearts on it. Just try to find something you feel pretty and feminine wearing.

If you do have a little money and want an excuse to shop, one of my favorite Valentine's Day looks is lace. Lace dresses are gorgeous, but a pretty lace top might be a better choice for a more casual look.

 Find this here.
Find this here.

Another look I love for Valentine's day is soft floral and blush pink.

Maybe you have an outfit in mind already, but you're not sure how to dress it up.  Try adding a bib necklace or soft scarf to give it a more romantic valentine's day look.  Forever 21 has new jewelry in their stores that is not only gorgeous but affordable as well.  The bib necklaces range from $6-$15.  Here are a few that would be perfect for Valentine's Day. Find them here or in a Forever 21 store.

I'll be digging through my closet tonight and tomorrow to come up with an outfit that my husband will be sure to enjoy! Be sure to "like" us on Facebook so you can see what I scrounge up. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Final Valentine's Day Challenge Week 5 {Defrump Yourself}

image credit

Happy Monday, everyone!

We've been gearing up for Valentine's Day here at Defrump Me! Each week over the past month one of us has introduced a challenge--something small to focus on that can produce BIG results. Here's what we've been working on so far:

Week 1: Amber's Challenge {Drink Your Water}
Week 2: Lauren's Challenge {Words of Love}
Week 3: Susan's Challenge {Connect with Your Kids}
Week 4: Audrey's Challenge {Make a Plan}

What are we working on this week? Defrumping ourselves! Isn't it so easy to get caught up in the daily to-do's and never make time for our own health, relaxation, and beauty? But these things are important too! And what better time to MAKE time than today?

So, here's what we'll do: each day one of us will give a mini challenge or tip of something we can all do to defrump ourselves in preparation for Valentine's Day. Even if you don't have a special date night planned, this challenge will still be relevant and lots of fun!

Today's mini defrumping session is to go buy some new lip gloss or lipstick! I love going to Walgreens for makeup like lipstick, blush, and eye shadow. They always have something on sale, and it's easy to get in and out of the store pretty quickly. :-) But wherever you go, just spend an extra 10 minutes and go! It'll be fun, and you'll have a new look for Valentine's Day.

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.” 
― Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge Week 4 {Make a Plan!}

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We are in the final countdown to Valentine's Day! Only nine more days to be exact. We hope you've been enjoying each week's challenge. Our goal here at Defrump Me is to always be encouraging each other to be purposeful with the time God has given us, and so we hope that the Valentine's Day Challenges will help us all be a little more intentional with our loved ones.

There's no real time limit for working on these challenges; so just in case you've missed some, here's what we've been working on:

Week 1 Challenge {Drink Your Water}
Week 2 Challenge {Words of Love}
Week 3 Challenge {Connect with Your Kids}

On to this week's challenge! This week we want to you to make a plan! What will you do for Valentine's Day? Will you go on a date with your husband? Will you need to stay home instead? Will you do something extra special for the kiddos? Should you order take out or plan a menu? Does your house need a little attention? :-)

Now, the goal here is NOT to be a perfectionist and NOT to stress! So, that's rule #1 as you start to think about your plan. Maybe only pick 1 or 2 special things to do.

So, if you're one special thing is an at-home date night then don't stress about the entire house being sparkling clean; and creating an elaborate dinner menu (with a printed menu included on special paper); and a special, homemade gift for your husband and kiddos; and Valentine's Day decor throughout the house, and the list goes on and on.... :-) This is what I would naturally tend to do. And I'm a perfectionist. So, that's why I now know to do the exact opposite of what my natural tendencies are! :-)

Instead, if you're one special thing is an at-home date night, then over the next 9 days you could pick 1-3 (make that 1-2! :) of the following ideas to work on...

  • spend 15 minutes a day on cleaning projects that would help get your house looking better
  • plan a simple dinner menu with one extra special detail (whether it's a food cut into a heart-shape, or using some special dishes, or a printed out menu, or putting up a special tent to eat under)
  • decide to order take-out and focus on planning a special activity instead (like a special game or movie, craft with the kiddos, or making/buying a small gift for your husband)
  • visit the dollar store and get a few things to decorate your dining room or living room with (banners, heart cut-outs that could be taped on the windows, confetti to decorate the table, a new candle, etc.)
  • plan a special dessert 
Remember, as you plan, that the goal here is to CONNECT with your loved ones, NOT to get trapped into thinking you can do it all. So, sit down with some coffee and pen/paper, and start jotting down ideas first. Then pick a couple favorites and plan out how you will make it happen over the next week and a half. Each day, do a little something that gets you closer to your goal. Have fun with it! 

You might also like...
Defrump Me: Romantic Dinner Date at Home
Defrump Me: Giardino di Fiat {Dinner Date at Home}

Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge Week 3 {Connect with Your Kids}

Boy, do I need this challenge! It has been said that my daughter Riley (age 7) is my sanctification. She is a wonderful, beautiful challenge of a girl. You know the song from the Sound of Music, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria"? Just insert Riley's name in there. We but heads every day, and we are both incredibly stubborn.

Anyway, over the years, it has often been difficult for me to connect with her. She has been known to request "girly time" of just me and her, and I try to comply as often as I can. The fact that she still asks is encouraging to me. But I know that the older she gets, the more I need to make the effort to really have quality time.

As a homeschooling mom, I get plenty of quantity time with my kids, and with my younger ones, quality time just seems to happen with cuddles and sit-in-the-lap storytime. I'm learning that as my kids grow out of that stage though, the quality time is going to take a bit more effort on my part. So I've determined to start by spending "girly time" with Riley at least once a month, with little connections at least once a week.

Because planning excites me, I started by making a list of fun things we could do together. Here are 12 real ideas for our monthly time; some are free and some will cost a little bit, probably nothing over $20 though.

  • Spa night at home - bubble bath, paint our nails and toe nails, try out massage tools, etc.
  • Lunch at her favorite place
  • Go for a hike, just the two of us
  • Go see a movie
  • Do some special cooking or baking
  • Lunch at a tea room
  • Pick a girly movie to watch in a home theater we set up
  • Go get an actual mani/pedi together
  • Create matching friendship bracelets
  • Set a $5 budget each for the Dollar Store and see what we come up with
  • Have a tea party at home with fancy dishes, "biscuits", scones, and all
  • Get breakfast at a bakery

Now, I could really over-think this and get all crafty with homemade envelopes and special stationary and all kinds of cutesieness, and that's fine, but really? Neither one of us needs that. That's not saying that that won't eventually happen, ;-) but that's not the important part right now.

The challenge for you this week is to find some way to connect with your kids, on purpose, planned. Even if this is something that you already excel at, a little extra effort never hurt any relationship, right?

  1. Make a list of activities you can do with each of your kiddos, and specifically the one(s) you have the hardest time connecting with - if you need inspiration, there are many other blog posts out there with date ideas for your sons or daughters.
  2. Determine your method for carrying out this plan. When are you going to do these activities? How often? How will you schedule them and set aside that time? My plan is to get together with Riley to choose the month's activities (out of 2 or 3 of the most appropriate options) and then schedule it close to the 17th (her birth date) of each month. Since I want to do this idea with each of my kiddos, aiming for a similar date every month will help me insure that I get them all on the schedule. But you may have a different idea.
  3. Get excited! These are our beautiful children! They love us, we love them! We want to have a strong bond for so many reasons. Just because we have to schedule them in, doesn't mean that the time is a burden any more than finding time with our husbands is a burden. It just makes sense.

And, for the record, it was all I could do to keep myself from creating cute stationary and a sweet little system for this plan so I could show you all how fun and precious and Valentine's-y it could be. But because we are real people, and we know our readers are real people, this isn't a time to get overwhelmed with projects. Valentine's Day is ultimately about loving on people, not making more stuff.

My encouragement to you is to keep it simple! Or, if you want to do the fun stuff I've skipped for this post, so be it! But don't sacrifice the doing of the challenge for the sake of a "project". Does that make sense?

Writing posts with baby Darcy in an Ergo on my lap...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge Week 2 {Words of Love}

Good morning, friends! Have you been drinking your water this past week? It's not so hard if you're intentional about it, but if you're not, it's surprising how little you can drink in a day. Keep working on that this week!

Today, I am going to share a relationship challenge with you. I believe that one of the most important things you can do to improve your feelings of affection towards your spouse is to commit to thinking positive thoughts about them, focusing intentionally on their good qualities, and not allowing yourself to dwell on things that bother you or annoy you. But then, it's even better to take that a step further and share those thoughts with your spouse!

But what if words are hard for you?? It can be intimidating to share specific and intimate words of affection with someone, even your own husband. This tip today will help you share those positive thoughts you're focusing on.

Last Valentine's Day, I made one of those frames you've probably seen on Pinterest that says "I love you because..." I put it in our bathroom, and got a dry erase marker. I began to use it, and lucky for me, Zack did too. ;-) But after a little while, he revealed that he didn't really like it. He said, "I don't love you because anything, I just love you." Well, ok, that's a good point. :-) So I replaced the little printable with a blank colored paper, which has been a lot more fun. (All these pictures are notes he has written, not me, because I don't save the ones I write of course)

Funny side note, that little rubber ducky was at the hotel in Orlando where we went for our honeymoon. So we swiped it for a keepsake and somehow have never lost it!

I would encourage you to get a simple little frame like this and challenge yourself to express appreciation to your husband through your words. For some couples, it will mean a lot to the husband, especially if his love language is words of affirmation. Let me tell you, I am a words person, and when Zack writes something on our little board, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy for a week! Seriously. It's even better than flowers. It makes me feel how some of you probably feel when your husband does the dishes. :-) I even have an album on my phone where I have saved pictures of all the notes he's written me over the past year! But even if your husband isn't as responsive to words, he will still appreciate it, and your relationship will benefit greatly from the exercise of focusing on his positive qualities.

I have so many notes like this saved on my phone! I love being able to look back at them any time I want to.

A word of advice -- don't give yourself a schedule like, "I will write something every Monday." First of all, this sets up an expectation from both you and your husband, which may become burdensome to meet. And secondly, you want to be able to write notes spontaneously as they come to your mind. But do commit to sharing your admiration and appreciation regularly. Or else you might see what I saw one time. Ha!!

If you find yourself having a hard time thinking of new things to write, focus on spending more time during your day intentionally being thankful for your husband, and you will be surprised at how much appreciation begins to flow in your mind and heart!

On our 10th anniversary. See why I save them? And why they make me feel warm and fuzzy?? :-)

If you will start to do this, just wait and see how much your feelings of love and affection towards your husband will begin to transform by Valentine's Day. And then your actions will naturally follow -- you will be happier to see him, you will miss him when he's gone, you will be pleasant company, and all of those things will make you and your husband feel more romantic and in love than ever.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8