My Favorite Me: 2018

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I cannot believe it’s already 2018!! I haven’t blogged in what feels like forever! I’m still on my journey of being a better me, my favorite me, in fact! On my physical journey, I’ve lost 45 pounds since February (haven’t taken a progress picture in a few months… oops)! It seems like it should feel like a huge accomplishment, but it turns out that every day is still full of choices! It’s not like once you hit the 40-pound mark, there’s a switch in your brain that flips and it’s easy… too bad! I have found that routine is a lifesaver and the further I get on the journey, the more I don’t want to go back, so that helps. But every day is still full of choosing healthy, fulfilling foods, listening to my body when it’s hungry and when it’s full, and working off stress and energy through exercise. Routine is absolutely vital for me when it comes to these choices!


This week I signed up for another half marathon- yay?!? Truthfully, I’m super excited! But, I’m also terrified! I started training and, if I’m being honest, it’s really freaking hard! Over the past few days, I’ve recited the following words thousands of times to myself, “Hard is not bad, it’s just hard!” I’m going to have to keep reminding myself of that as I continue training and learn to eat for both my body and my training!

Spiritually, God has been showing me that I am capable of so much more than I think. When I am weak, He is strong! I known this when it comes to dealing with things spiritually or emotionally. If I can’t handle the stress, I can give it to God to deal with! But, lately, he’s helping me to see that, even physically, He can give me strength when I feel weak! When I don’t think I can take one more step, He gives me the strength to run 15 more seconds. When I can’t imagine doing one more rep, He gives me the power to do 2! I’m learning to ask this of Him and trust that He will provide the strength needed!

In parenting, this year, the hubs and I sat down and created parenting plans for the kiddos. We outlined strengths and weaknesses of each child, taking into consideration their personality types. It was amazing how reassuring it was to talk about their strengths! Sometimes I get so caught up in the frustrating moments, I forget to step back and remember just how incredible my kiddos are! After we had lists of strengths and weaknesses, we picked one strength and one weakness to focus on this year. We are going to help each kiddo refine one of their strengths and grow through one of their weaknesses! In the week we’ve been doing it, I can’t believe how much it’s changed me, not the kids, but the way I interact with them! Rather than being so focused on the frustrating behavior, I’m more anchored on the solution and how it can help them grow through this weakness! I find myself more patient, less accusatory, and all around kinder toward them. I’m loving it!! We’ll see how it plays out for the rest of the year, but I’d love to continue it next year with new goals!

I am learning so much about myself through this journey I’m taking. I’m excited to see how this journey twists and changes as I continue. I’m finding this ‘journey’ is less specific than I originally thought. It’s life… it’s just me aiming to be better than I was yesterday! It’s a journey that has no definite end, and that’s ok by me! I’m far from perfect, but I’m better than I was last year and I planning on saying the same thing next year. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!


MFM: Week 56, Day 1

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Week 56, Day 1 (-36 Pounds)

I did “My Favorite Me” for a year and it was beyond worth it! I learned so much about myself over the past year. However, I’ve also discovered that it’s hard to write blog posts every week, especially when they’re three-part posts. So, this year I’m going to tone it back a bit.

However, I wanted to share a post about my journey to get healthier. As of this weekend, I have lost 36 pounds. I’m still on my doctor-approved Insulin Resistance eating plan, which I fully intend to stick with long-term. It’s how my body functions best! In addition, I’ve been exercising four days per week at home using a mix of YouTube and circuit training! I love the XHIT videos by Rebecca Louise! She is funny, motivating, and the workouts are great! You should check out some of her videos!

About 6 weeks ago I hit a plateau and struggled for 4 weeks before I finally got through it! It may not seem like a big deal to many folks, but it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever outlasted a plateau long enough to see it end! That was a major win for me!!


I feel better, I look better, I have more energy, but more importantly, my kids are learning about being healthy! We talk about sugar at our house, not as a ‘bad’ food, but as a food Mommy’s body doesn’t process correctly. We talk about the importance of eating protein. In fact, my 3- and 7-year-olds look at their dinner plates and ask, “Ok, Mom, what’s the protein?” They know that I won’t make them finish their entire plates if they’re full (I want them to learn to listen to their bodies), but that they do have to eat most of their protein. They’re also learning that ‘healthy’ is eating plenty of healthy foods. My 7-year-old checks in with me every few days to make sure I’m eating enough! He knows that simply cutting calories to a minimum isn’t the way to get healthy, but rather, it’s about eating lots of good, healthy foods! Here’s a snippet of one of our conversations the other day:

I was in a hurry to get out of the house, so I grabbed a spoon of peanut butter for lunch.

Banayner: “Um, Mom, that’s not enough food for lunch. What else are you planning on having?”

Me: “Uh, well, you’re right. How about I’ll have some applesauce when I get home?”

Banayner: “Hmmm… If you have a whole bowl of applesauce, then that’s fine. If you only have half a bowl, then you really should have something else, too, like a cheese stick. Gotta make healthy choices Mom!”

Such a sweet boy! Listening to him talk about journey, not in terms of losing weight or cutting calories, but making healthy choices, makes my heart so happy! In fact, what could be more worth getting my health in check, than to give my kiddos their best chance at being healthy?!

MFM: Week 52, Day 4

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Week 52, Day 4 (-31 pounds)

Heart: Summer’s here… that relaxing season that I always look forward to because it means the end of busy schedules. No more school, no more taekwondo, no more AWANA, a chance to exhale. Right?! That’s what it always used to be, but this year it seems like the chaos in our life has increased exponentially since school got out.

Last weekend Banayner turned 7! I’m still trying to comprehend having a 7-year-old… His party was pretty epic, though! We threw a Spartan party! We had an obstacle course, headbands for the kids, make-your-own medals they decorated, Spartan pizzas, a Spartan cake, and instead of goodie bags we did a refueling bag with bananas, granola bars and Gatorade. The kids had so much fun!!

The obstacle course had a wall climb, gravel crawl, over-under’s, a tunnel, tire run, ‘spear’ throw, bucket carry, balance beam, cargo net crawl and a sprinkler jump! I think Banayner had more fun helping me plan it out than actually doing it… ok that’s not true, he had just as much fun doing it!!

It was such a blast, but now that we’re through the birthday, we’ve got a trip coming up and then, please Lord, some peace and calm for a month! I can’t believe this summer is going by so fast! But, then, why am I surprised… my baby just turned 7!!!

Soul: I won’t lie, since summer started, I’ve gotten away from my morning conversations with Jesus. I need, and desperately want, to get back in the habit of spending time with Him every morning. The wonderful, easy, frustrating thing is… nobody can get me back in the habit of doing that but me… So, I need to set my alarm clock earlier, get up before the kiddos and spend some time with my Savior!

Strength: A year… 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days… I can’t believe I’ve reached a year since beginning my “journey”. I’ve learned so much about myself through this blog. Mostly, though, it’s been like having a friend to hold me accountable.

This past couple of weeks I’ve kind of hit a plateau. I think I need to take a close look at exactly what I’m eating, serving sizes, etc. It’s easy to get a little lax when you get comfortable. However, I’m also trying to remember that plateaus are part of weight loss. I need to make sure I’m looking at it for what it is- a marker of significant success! Getting to a plateau means my body has progressed to said point! I just need to stay focused, keep progressing and not lose heart. I’ve worked this hard to get this far, I’m not about to give up now!

MFM: Week 49, Day 3

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Week 49, Day 3 (-30 pounds)

Heart: This week was a big one for this Momma and wife. Banayner finished first grade and is headed into second! I can’t believe he’s going to be 7! He struggled at the beginning of the year to really enjoy reading. He wanted to read fast, but since he’s just learning he was slow. He’d usually just want to quit because he couldn’t read as fast as he wanted. But, as the year progressed, he improved so much and got so much faster!! He absolutely loves to read, now! In fact, when he wrote about his favorite this he learned this year, he put “I learned that I am a great reader!” As a mom, is there anything more wonderful than watching your kiddo overcome something difficult and feel pride at their own accomplishment? He didn’t look to me to tell him that he had done great, he knew! He didn’t ask me if I was proud of him, he told me that he was proud of himself! How cool is that?!

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As a wife, I got to support my husband as he did his second triathlon last weekend. He and a friend did a 70.3 course (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run). He did such an amazing job!! Our kiddos came at the end to cheer him on and celebrate with him afterward! To stand back and watch the inspiration he is to our children is beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. To see our kiddos be so excited for him, encourage and celebrate his victories, and talk about the races they want to do someday… I am one very blessed woman!

Soul: Our church is doing something fun and new this summer. We’re having a BBQ at church every Wednesday evening. We’re going to do a hot dog dinner, play tons of yard games, and just hang out and get to know our neighbors. This feels like a big step in faith, because none of us has any idea what it’s going to look like, or who God’s going to bring. But, we’re super excited to see what He has planned!

Strength: I’ve been looking at before and after photos and reading about the weight loss journeys many others have taken. I’m trying to use it as motivation. I don’t feel like I’m about to quit, but I figure that finding extra motivation along the way, while I’m still feeling great, might help prevent reaching the point of wanting to quit. As I’ve encountered these stories, I’ve noticed they all seem to have an “ah-ha” moment. They talk about the realization of something, which caused them to choose to change everything. But, rarely do they talk about the struggle throughout the process. Sure, they mention their tips and tricks to avoid cravings or get out of a plateau. But, I’ve noticed that for the most part, it sounds like once they decided it was time to change, that was it… they never questioned or doubted it.

And here’s the problem, I doubt… big time! I’ve lost weight before, I’ve made the decision to lose weight, started the process, lost 40 or 50 pounds and then gained it back. So, what’s going to make this time any different? I can give you my moment of realization. The moment I decided to change myself was the moment I learned what Insulin Resistance was and discovered that I have it. It was the moment I realized that my body wasn’t functioning correctly because I wasn’t fueling it properly. But, it’s not like once I made that decision, I realized that this time was going to be different. I hope this time is different. I feel different this time around. But, I’m struggling with massive amounts of doubt. There’s this voice inside of me, mocking me, asking why I think this time is any different. Why would I think I’m capable of anything more than I’ve done in the past?

When I started this journey, it was because I couldn’t find a book about weight loss that addressed these terrifying, sabotaging, but all-too-real fears and doubts. There are so few people who talk about this feeling, myself included. It’s way more fun to blog about how great I feel most of the time. About this new, dare I say it, desire to exercise! About the progress I’m making toward my goal. It’s terrifying to put out there for anyone to read that I’m scared to death that I’m going to fail … That I might let myself down and give legitimacy to that voice in my head. But, it’s real, it’s true, it’s part of the journey.

And I wonder if the way to defeat that voice, is to address it head on. To acknowledge the doubt and fear. Then to remind myself of all the wonderful reasons to keep going. Maybe this time will be different because I’m different. Maybe this time will be different, because I won’t let fear and doubt hold me back. Maybe this time will be different because I’ll allow fear and doubt to be part of the process and deal with them, rather than try to ignore them and let them gather strength. Maybe this time I’ll allow myself to see what I’m truly capable of.

MFM: Week 48, Day 5

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Week 48, Day 5 (-28 pounds)

Heart: My sister-in-law is pregnant and her shower was last weekend! She’s having a boy and I couldn’t be more excited for her! In keeping with my home-made gifts plan, I racked my brain for ideas for baby boys. I know that there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of diy gift ideas for babies. But, she already has a boy. So, I needed ideas that would be cute, but not just add tons more clothes to her already overwhelming pile of boy’s clothes.

I opted for personalized burp rags (because you can always use fresh, new burp rags), a couple of the cutest bibs I’ve ever seen (I found the photo as I scrolled through Pinterest and used what I had/knew to come up with the pattern), and some crib shoes (because this kiddo will need something to keep his socks on this winter). The burp rags are about as easy as it gets- they’re just rectangles. I’ve done bibs before, this was just a new take on a tried and true gift. But the shoes… oh my word, I won’t be trying shoes again for a while. I definitely should have followed a tutorial for the shoes, since it turned out I didn’t have any prior knowledge to work from! They turned out “photo-cute”, but in real life you can see all of the flaws. Fortunately, they were given in love, so those flaws are easily overlooked, right? The gifts were a hit, and my sister-in-law was very touched that they were hand made.

Soul: I just started a new study with my mom, sister, and niece. We’re studying a Joyce Meyer book and I’m so excited! My sister hasn’t lived close for years, so I can’t wait to Skype once a week and talk about how the study is affecting our lives! Few things connect two people like spiritual growth. I think this is due in huge part to the vulnerability that is required when you’re stretching and growing yourself. You drop the façade and allow the people around you to see the raw, broken, hopefulness that connects to their own raw, broken, hopefulness. There’s an air of humility when you drop the comparisons for compassion, the perfection for possibility, and the fear for faith! I am so excited to start this journey with three women I adore so much!!

Strength: I looked at the week number today and realized I’m one month from a year into this!! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year! I need to go reread a few of my first posts. But, here I am, 48 weeks into this journey and down 28 pounds! I’ll take it! But, far more important, I feel great! I feel healthier and I even feel stronger! About 4 weeks ago I started working out to videos at nap time. I know, I know, I swore up and down that videos weren’t the way for me, but it turns out I’m learning a lot about myself through this journey! Some videos aren’t for me… that’s for sure! In fact, yesterday I did a legs workout that started out great, but I hated it by the end. The exercises put pressure on my back, which resulted in me trying to modify them in a way that wasn’t working my muscles at all! So, I won’t use that video again. But, I’ve actually found a lot of videos I really like! There’s a kickboxing one that I love! I also found a phenomenal arms workout. I’m still finding new ones and mixing them in with my favorites, but the thing is, I’m doing it! I made a deal with myself that if I work out, I can watch a tv show during nap time. It’s one of the first times in my life that I rewarded myself with something other than food! I haven’t blogged about it because I’m human and I was so afraid I’d post it, people would see it, and I’d hate it and quit after 2 days. But, here I am, on week 5 and my husband can tell you there are off-days that I choose to work out purely because I want to! There are even days I choose to work out twice! I’m definitely not claiming to be addicted, but I am learning to really enjoy feeling healthy and strong!

Grain-free, Refined Sugar-free Waffles

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Grain-free, Refined Sugar-free Waffles (Paleo option)


I woke up this morning and wanted waffles. Not like “Hmm, I guess maybe waffles sound pretty good” but Pavlov’s dogs style, salivating as the thought of a waffle popped into my mind. So, in an effort to eat for my body, i.e. no grains or sugars, I had to come up with a recipe. I’ve tried grain-free waffles before… and dumped them in the trash when they stuck to the waffle iron and burned while the middle was still runny. But today, I had to find a recipe. I had to! It was important that I get my 6-year-old’s snack made, have him practice his penmanship, and get him on the bus to school, but I had to come up with a waffle recipe. So, as any true Mom would do, I multi-tasked. I tossed snack into his backpack as I came across it during my ingredient search. I checked his penmanship and got him started on the next word every time I walked by to put a utensil in the sink. I took him to catch the bus as I let the batter rest for a few minutes before cooking. Thank God for the ability to multi-task.

Once he was on the bus headed to school, I heated up my waffle iron, sprayed it with some non-stick something and tested my homemade recipe… Oh. My. Word! It is entirely possible that the perfection that was this waffle was simply a figment of my imagination as it tried to fulfill my earlier wish. It’s entirely possible that it was due to a lack of waffles in my life for the past several months. Or, it could be the impossibly fluffy center and the lightly crisp outside, the mix of cinnamon and vanilla with a drizzle of honey on top. I don’t actually care why it was… I just care that it was pure bliss!

If you’re one of the many folks who’ve been on a waffle-hiatus due to grains and sugars, I welcome you back to the waffle club!! This recipe is not Paleo, but there are pretty straightforward Paleo substitutes that should work just fine, let me know if you try it!

I apologize that there’s only one picture. I had planned to take a picture of a waffle with the toppings, looking all delectable. But, my mind shut down when I saw it and I just dove in… oops! This recipe made 4 large waffles at approximately 230 calories each (nutritional information will vary based on actual ingredients used).


1 large egg

7/8 cup milk (Paleo sub almond milk)

2 tbsp melted butter (Paleo sub coconut oil)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tbsp honey

Pinch of salt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

2 tbsp tapioca starch

1 tbsp baking powder


  • Combine egg, milk, melted butter, vanilla and honey in medium bowl.
  • Add salt, cinnamon, flours/starches and baking powder, combing as you add ingredients.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes while heating waffle iron to medium-low.
  • Spray waffle iron so it doesn’t stick, pour about ¼ of the batter into the waffle iron and cook until done, don’t over-cook it! I have the flip-style iron and it worked great!
  • Carefully remove the waffle from the iron (I found lifting from the center worked best with mine). Top with your favorite nut butter and a drizzle of honey… oooh, or blueberries (I’ll try that next time!) and enjoy!!!

MFM: Week 47, Day 4

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Week 47, Day 4 (-25 pounds)

Heart: I made a Christmas present this week. In June?! Yep. But, before you give me too much credit, it’s not because I’m some incredi-mom who gets all of her Christmas gifts done in the summer. It’s because my sister is moving and I refuse to pay $75 to ship this particular gift to her later (it’s very heavy). So, I finished it early enough that she can pack it up with everything else in her house, move it with her and  then open it in December. What is this super heavy gift that was awesome enough to finish 6 months early??

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Giant Jenga!! My nephew has been hinting at it for a couple of years, but the sets are expensive! So, this year, with my goal of making most of my gifts, I researched Giant Jenga and found that it is beyond simple to make!! In fact, here’s a quick tutorial if you want to make this awesome gift for about $30!!


5- 2x3x96 studs (I chose 2×3 to stick with the original ratio of the Jenga game)

1- crate (9.5×12.5×17.5)

1- 2” unfinished cube

6- paint samples in a variety of coordinating colors

Sander and lots of sandpaper


  1. Cut the boards into 54- 7.5” pieces. I would recommend placing a stop on your saw at 7.5” so your pieces are exact. You should have enough board to skip over any large knots.
  2. Sand all of the boards smooth and sand off any stamps. This step makes the pieces slide easier and prevents slivers.
  3. Paint just the ends of each piece. Make sure both ends of the same piece are the same color. You should paint 9 pieces of each color, for a total of 54 pieces in 6 colors.
  4. Paint each side of the cube a different color. I taped the edges of mine, but that’s optional.
  5. Once everything is dry, stack the pieces on your crate (which serves as a stable base) and have fun!

You can play it as regular Jenga, or you can play Rainbow Jenga. To play rainbow Jenga, roll the cube to begin your turn. Then, select a piece that matches the color rolled.

There is no finish put on the pieces because finishes tend to stick to themselves and, after reading lots of articles about making Giant Jenga, the overwhelming suggestion is that they slide best as raw wood.

I’m so happy with how it turned out, and my kiddos are begging me to make one for our family! They don’t know the materials are already sitting in the garage… 😊

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Soul: It is well with my soul. I feel like I have learned so much about my faith over the past several months. From spending some much-loved time in the gospels and learning about who Jesus was from scripture rather than just what I’ve been told, to discovering that the Holy Spirit is so much more than the Jimmy Cricket-like conscience I’ve treated Him as. I’ve discovered that I’m even more excited about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus after digging deep into His story than I ever was at surface level! I’ve learned that there is power in me, through the Holy Spirit, to accomplish anything that God asks! Today, I’m finding peace in marinating in everything I’ve been learning. I know that God has something coming up. I don’t know what, but I can feel something. So, for now, I’m just waiting in this peace and preparing myself for whatever may come.

Strength: I haven’t lost anything this week, but I’m trying not to feel discouraged. I read an article this week that spoke to plateaus. The article spoke to the fact that plateaus are the point at which most people give up, because they aren’t seeing the results. However, it also pointed out that plateaus are a natural, normal part of virtually any process, including weight loss. In fact, a plateau can be encouraging in that it signals a specific amount of progress. Plateaus rarely happen immediately in a process, but after a lot of excellent progress. Now isn’t the time to give up, it’s the time to appreciate just how far I’ve come and look forward to where I’m still going! Because I had a slow-down in my weight loss, I began to look for other ways to monitor my success. I feel better, I look better, but I also discovered that I fit into some of the pants I wore when I was my favorite me, physically! It was a wonderful reminder that my journey is so much more than a number journey!