Running Mind Games

When you run, you focus on your feet and legs, right?

Let’s turn our focus to your state of mind before and during a run. Have you ever heard the phrase that running is all in your head? Sure, there is a physical aspect that you need to take into consideration when you first start or if you have to train hard for a race or other competition. However, in my fitness journey, I have found many times that my biggest limitations are the ones that I have mentally placed on myself. I am not the only one that thinks this way.

Check out this article in Women’s Running about the mind games runners face:

The Hardest Parts Of Running Are All In Your Head

Do you want an example? Okay, so you are going out on a run and you have your tunes, your ear buds, your shades, everything is all set. Then your kids throw a fit when you drop them off at your mom’s house. Then you drop your full icy cold water bottle and have to clean it up and then refill it. You say a prayer, calm yourself, and set out to conquer this run! Then you run into construction, or potholes, or negative frustrating signs that make you doubt yourself. Part of you may want to turn back. The other part of you (the stubborn side) will say “Hey, I’m not gonna stand for this! I will not conform to your limitations of my skills!”

( I know, a little dramatic, so I’ve heard)

The second I saw this regular road sign, I thought “Don’t tell me what to do, road sign! You don’t know me! You don’t know if I am able to pass another runner or if they are able to pass me! I will pass that imaginary runner that I am racing against and you can’t stop me!” Whew, what a mental battle with a road sign that never did anything to me, right? I do that when I’m running in the gym on a treadmill next to an innocent bystander as well. I don’t know them, we don’t talk. I just immediately regard them as my competition in my head. If they go faster, I go faster, if they run longer, I run longer. I have certain songs on my running playlist that if I hear them, I have an agreement with myself that I will either pick up the pace or run longer than I had intended. Like I said, it’s a mind game…

So every time I go out to run, I can choose to let those negative thoughts scare me and slow me down. Or, I can choose to make them motivators to get better. I can think of myself as punching the potholes and construction cones and carry on with strength and courage.

In spite of all of this struggle back and forth, I have never regretted a workout. I may not be running a race each time and have actual competitors. But, I find ways to challenge myself and keep on running as if I have competitors and as if there is a prize to be won. I always feel better about myself knowing that at least I went out and broke a sweat and did my best. I have always regretted skipping a workout! How about you?

Blessings! Keep on running the race!


1 Corinthians 9:23-25New International Version (NIV)

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

As a Parent, I Never Thought I’d Say…

As a Parent, I Never thought I’d Say…
1) I don’t have time to laugh right now.
2) Why can’t you just stop crying?
3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
7) Let’s make a deal……..put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
8) Do not jump on your brother!
9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.
11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!
12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!
13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch).
14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again.
15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss!

1) I don’t have time to laugh right now
My oldest, Ethan, takes after his daddy. One of his main goals in life is to make everyone smile and laugh, especially daddy and mommy. We were trying to leave and were already late when I responded to his 3rd knock knock joke this way. This is not my normal view on life. I am such an easy laugher. My husband appreciates this quality as well as my boys. The stress of the morning rush took me over and I heard the words coming out and almost laughed afterwards at how boring and adult like I sounded. But, we were all late, and my angry mombie came out before I knew it.

2) Why can’t you just stop crying?

Admittedly, when I was a child, I was the one that made every little look, every little word, every little image into something bigger and deeper than it was. As a result, I was frequently offended, hurt, and crying. Ofcourse,now, I understand that not everything was aimed at me or meant to hurt me. My mother frequently laughs when I tell her stories about my children’s emotional rants and tantrums because they are just mini versions of myself in this area and to her it seems a lot like paybacks:).
As an example:
My 7-year-old either whines or breaks down into tears every time his brother gets a turn with a toy or wins an argument or (dare I say it?) gets to go somewhere or do something without his older brother. After a few of these instances I started to realize that Ethan was our more emotional child. I realized this awhile ago, but my husband still has not accepted it. He sometimes asks me “Why is he so emotional today? I have to remind him that Ethan has always been and probably always will be emotional because he is like me. I remember my tears being for different reasons when I was younger. I also remember vowing that I wouldn’t be unfair to my children. Then I found myself saying “Why can’t you just stop crying?” a few times and I learned pretty quickly that it is almost like a parental rule that I’m supposed to make life seem unfair for my children (in their eyes). Ethan’s favorite phrases when he is emotional are: “But you said..” “That’s no fair…” and “Why do I always have to…?” Some of it is inevitable, but we are working on it.

3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
If you’ve ever experienced two screaming boys for more than a minute, you understand that getting a headache is just one of the many side effects that occur afterwards. The other side effects include evil looks, throwing toys, and sarcastic comments. These occur one by one in no specific order until everyone is mad at everyone and everything. Yelling to stop yelling is the only thing a mostly sane mama can come up with in this atmosphere.


4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
I have one very touchy-feely son who loves to hug and kiss and cuddle. The other has to be in the right mood for it, much like his mommy. When Ethan is hugging and kissing on Shawn and Shawn begins to push away slightly, I have to call a no touching rule temporarily because if I don’t, Shawn is going to punch Ethan in a sensitive area to get away from him.

5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
Some would think this is learned immediately upon potty training. No, it is a daily reminder for my boys, especially when they go together and have “sword fights” with their streams of pee – eewwwww! I usually have a no group peeing policy. This is one of the rules that my husband and I unfortunately disagree on, so it still occurs from time to time…eeeewwwwww!

6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
There’s always one child that would prefer to be naked or half-naked and is willing to fight about it for a good 20 minutes even if it means losing privileges. My 4-year-old was probably 2.5 when his huge crying tantrums started. They were usually instigated by requests to do something to get ready to leave the house or to get ready to go to bed. Sometimes a request to wear pants or to eat his breakfast or to pick a book for bedtime sent him into tantrums and he would not stop crying for probably an hour or more. To his credit, he was on very strong steroids for Asthma and his emotions were messed up significantly (messed up even for a toddler). The roller coaster of emotions that he went through caused me to have a similar roller coaster ride of emotions. One time he had a medicine that gave him night terrors which woke him up and caused him to scream for an hour or two until he just fell over in exhaustion. I learned early on that this was not his fault, but when you have to console a screaming and crying toddler at 3am – 5am and then get up at 5:30am to get yourself ready for work, you start to fight back against a child’s persistent fight to go pantsless 24/7. For this reason, we now have regularly scheduled times when he is allowed to hang out all day at home in his underwear. We just have to remind him to get dressed before we go anywhere.

7) Let’s make a deal … put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
There comes a point when the determined super mommy wears down and the deal maker survival mode mommy comes out – let’s just be honest.  I sometimes grab another coffee and let the kid win. I sometimes hammer down and at the same time make deals to protect my sanity. It’s either make a deal or let the kid win and I have had a lot more practice at this game of being stubborn and determined than my 4 and 7 year olds!

8) Do not sit on your brother!
I’ve said this more than once, if you can believe it. Probably more than ten times. Sometimes it changes to “We do not sit on faces in this house!” What is it about brothers that screams “Wrestle me down and sit on me!”?

9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
Do you ever wonder why daycare and schools are a breeding ground for colds and flu bugs? Sure, the kids eventually wash their hands after being reminded several times. The question is, how many items or people did they contaminate before they started washing their hands? Your phone, their back pack, their toy that they smuggled in unnoticed, the friend next to them, your hands or face when they caught you off guard? These are the things I think about laying in bed when everyone else has gone to sleep….

10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.

You would think that getting rid of the snot dripping down your nose would be a welcome experience. Not for 3 year olds, and sometimes not for 7 year olds, either. It makes me wonder if they don’t feel it, don’t care about it, or just don’t want Mommy telling them what to do about anything anywhere anytime. Hmmm…it’s a toss up…let’s move on.

11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!

My new favorite outlet for my kids’ energy is called “dance party”. This means that we forget about our worries, our cares, any arguments we had before, and we turn up the music nice and loud and dance off our energy, dance of the sugar, dance off the frustrations, etc. For me, this is a stress relief some nights when I have had way to many arguments with the boys, way too many stresses at work, or way too many dishes to clean or stains to get out of the laundry. Either way – this is a win-win solution when we can’t agree on a game or a cartoon to watch or whatever activity we thought we might do for the night.

12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!

Yes, I have been guilty many times of ignoring the growing piles of clean laundry that call to me at all hours after work.  But some days, I need to just play with the kids and get some stress relief! Making a fort is the perfect solution to ward off pillow fights, get the kids to work together on a project with a common goal, and sometimes even read books together and make it fun! I never thought that I would want to do all of the building and constructive play as a mom because part of me thought that was the daddy’s job. Now, I love it when the kids want to build forts because it breaks up the battles that they would normally have with favorite shared toys and allows them to get creative without destroying anything! Win – win!

13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch):

Okay, okay, maybe if we were running low on band-aids I wouldn’t give in to this, but I have many times pulled out the box of Minion or Avengers band-aids as a comfort tool without the tiniest visible drop of blood for evidence of the pain in my children’s eyes. It may be an owie that is inside and they don’t know how to explain their feelings yet, so a band-aid represents how they are going to try to get through the pain and move on. If that is what is necessary to stop the tears and reconcile two fighting boys, I am ready to use up the band-aids!

14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again:

Okay, I understand that children need to have veggies, need to have fruits, and sometimes need to try the pot roast or the latest leftover casserole that we, as mommies, surprise everyone with. However, I am a firm believer in choosing my battles! Organic foods are great, vitamins and minerals are great, and I give my kids a healthy of each whenever possible. But, there comes a time when it was a crazy day filled with work, school, daycare, errands, and now it’s 6:30, everyone is starving, and I have no clue what is for dinner because we just walked in the door and didn’t plan ahead due to the above mentioned craziness. In these cases, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, whatever is quick and will fill the bellies works for us! Granted, for my youngest and I, we have special chicken nuggets and hot dogs that are allergen free and pricey, but the extra money is well worth it if it saves me the headache of planning dinner 2 nights a week!

15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss! 

Okay, so my mother and my mother-in-law and I don’t always have the same rules. I have come to terms with that. If they are giving me free babysitting, they can have their own rules as long as it is not a safety issue or inappropriate for the age issue. What we have settled on is that when Grandma is around, grandma has her rules. When mommy is around, mommy makes the rules. Daddy has some rules, but they are usually more flexible than mommy’s rules. That’s a whole other story! I have come to understand the whole argument of the phrase “Because I said so!” traditional parenting line. I have used that many times because there’s just so many times that you can argue with a pint size version of yourself that you are in charge without resorting to “Because I said so!” My tolerance for questions and rebuttals before this phrase is somewhere between 10 and I stopped counting.

I hope that these comments and stories help you to feel better about your own parenting skills! If nothing else, I’m sure that you can relate to my weaknesses and remember that we are all kind of guessing and figuring this out as we go!



Proverbs 3:12

For the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
As a father the son in whom he delights.

Matthew 6:34

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Top 10 Tips to Adulting Like a Pro

My hubby and I sporting some sophisticated mustaches to look all adult-like:)

1) Clothes folding party: Fold clothes with your hubby and/or kids while watching TV – we call it a folding party – mostly to psych us out and make us motivated to do exactly what we don’t want to do while we also do what we want to do – watch TV:)
2) Make 2-3 meals at once: If I am making a Roast in the crock pot one night – I keep in mind that I can use the broth from that Roast to make soup the next day. If I am making Spaghetti one night, I double the sauce recipe so that I can save it for pizza topping for the next day. If I have 3 lbs of meat and I only need 2 for a casserole, I make all 3 lbs and set aside 1 lb to make taco salad for lunches for the next day. Use your leftovers and save your precious time!
3) Use your lunch break! I have used my lunch break about a million different ways – but here are my top favorites: working out – shaving my legs and stretching in the gym shower – reading – bible study – catch up on email and voicemail – pay bills or budget – catch up with an old friend – R.S.V.P. to all of those invites I’ve received the last 3 months:) – make my grocery list and clip coupons – and keep an eye out for deals online.
4) Make your chores into games so that your kids don’t waste time whining and make you mad in the process. We do one called “Whoever cleans up the most”. My boys are highly motivated by competition, so this is perfect for our house, but use whatever niche your kids have. The boys have a timer – probably 5-10 minutes – more if it’s for more than one room. While I am cleaning something else, they have to pick up all of the toys or clothes on the floor and put them where they go throughout the house. If someone is caught cheating or hiding things, they don’t win. If both boys give a good effort and do their best, everyone wins and gets a prize or treat. If one is slacking off or whining the other one wins by default.
5) Take “get ready” items on the go: I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time to do everything I’m supposed to do in the morning. This is one of the many reasons I carry a huge purse. I can fit deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, a travel mouthwash, a razor (for shaving during lunch remember), my makeup, my vitamins, and of course my to-do list. I get a ton of things done in the car on the way to work while my hubby drives. Sharing cars is amazing if you can make it work!

6) I keep snacks and drinks in the car at all times. You never know when you’re going to be stuck in traffic and your kid suddenly needs a fruit snack fix at the same time. Here’s the hack part, though. I always use the snack as a bribe for behavior purposes as well. If it has been a rough morning and the kids are crying in the car about how mean mommy was rushing them out the door, the snack is set aside but they are always reminded that it is readily available when they are polite and respectful, do what mommy and daddy say, and treat each other nicely. If they come into the car nicely, they can have the snack right away, or you can set up a rule that they have to stay behaving well for at least 5 minutes before they get it.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Did I mention that these little people are ALWAYS EATING?

7)Do you have to race from one event to the next and can’t get a good family meal in? After you grab your snacks to tide you over, turn off the radio and have a conversation in the car in between your errands or activities. Our favorite thing is telling each other’s “High-Lows”. That means, we say one “high” we had for the day (a good thing), and one “low” we had for the day (a bad thing). On long trips we play “I Spy” or we blast the radio and sing in silly voices.

8)Do you have problems designating who does which chores in the house? Don’t want to get strict and make a fancy chart to follow or seem like a nag to your hubby? Do a trade-off deal like my hubby and I do. A long time ago we figured out the things that we each hate to do or pet-peeves that we have individually so that we could avoid petty fights about chores. For example, I know when I have to do laundry because it usually involves potential stains that need to be laundered quickly, so I am great about starting laundry, but not great about putting it in the dryer. He usually doesn’t remember that clothes need to be cleaned :). Therefore, I always start the laundry, he always puts it in the dryer when I tell him ahead of time that it needs to be done soon. I can not stand taking out the trash. He cannot stand refilling all of the garbage bags. He takes the trash out, I refill the garbage bags in each container.  We both hate dishes so we usually go every other night but sometimes make deals with each other so that one of us bathes the kids and the other does dishes. He likes that we don’t use a chart (although I would love a chart) and I like that he is willing to do his share without complaining!

9) Allergies to Dust and Mold? Cleaning Constantly? I hear ya! My youngest has too many allergies to discuss right now, but two big ones that have me cleaning constantly are dust and mold. Wood floors or laminate wood-looking floors are a definite life-saver in this situation. Also, machine washable couch covers, machine washable curtains, and dishwasher safe toys are a life saver. I am telling you, it is hard to find bath toys with no holes in them, but we found them! We usually vacuum everything once a week, sweep sometimes twice a week depending on how often we are home. We change bedding once a week, and run an air purifier that switches rooms all the time. Stuffed animals are never allowed in the kids’ rooms as they will sleep with them and start coughing like crazy! This is tough to keep up with, but if you write it down and keep track, you will get through it!

10)Make your responsibilities fun and do them together and you will get through them much easier! No, you won’t instantly have the urge to scrub pots and pans before bed every night, but at least you can blast your music and get your jam on while you work. It’s better than letting them sit for days while you avoid the stench!

Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

Colossians 3:23 ESV 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.



Top 10 ways to Get Closer to Jesus

Can you tell me what is so beautiful about this picture? Fathers bonding with their children! Your Heavenly Father wants to bond with you, too!

Hi all,

The above picture is so precious to me because it is my husband with one of our sons, my brother, his two sons (minus his newborn), and if you look close, you can see my eldest son and my niece holding hands. They are all excitedly walking to the pool in my brother’s neighborhood. If one child was going to an empty pool alone, would it be fun? No! The kids are excited about being with each other and being with their dads! If you are a parent, or even if you are a son or daughter, you know that the best parents make time to get to know their children, to bond with them, and to make them feel loved! Why, then, do we not recognize that we should be spending more time with God as our heavenly father? I am guilty of this as well! I have to keep coming back to God and apologize for any time I’ve spent away from him. Through my up and down journey in faith, there are some things I have learned from others and some things I have picked up on through observation of the faithful that I know will bring most people closer to Jesus.

Top 10 Ways to Get Closer to Jesus:

1) Start your day with either a devotional or just a verse and a prayer. It would amaze you how much of a difference 5-15 minutes of time with God can make in your attitude throughout the day! Sometimes my greatest “lightbulb moments” are from one little verse that I’ve seen over and over before, but on that one day, with what I’m going through – it really makes sense and comforts me! My favorite bible is the YouVersion app on my phone because it is always with me!
2) Every now and then look up scriptures that will help you to remember God throughout the day, write them on sticky notes or index cards and tape them to the fridge or the bathroom mirror. Keep them up until you have them memorized and then redo the process with a whole new list. I’ve started to do this with my 7-year-old as well and he is getting into it!
3) Make a conscious effort to talk about God, about verses and about your faith with your family and your friends. You can either do this by joining a bible study, meeting someone regularly for coffee and discussion regularly, etc. You would be surprised how many times faith applies to exactly what someone is complaining about, applies to exactly what someone is struggling with, applies to exactly what someone is searching for in life!

Ethan is excited to golfing with his papa and daddy!

4) Set up some habits that you do yourself that you model to your children, and establish them as rules. For instance: We primarily listen to only Christian music, and sometimes allow for clean kid friendly secular music. Therefore, when my son plays video games and the music has swear words, has sexual content, etc, he already knows, he has to give me the control and I have to change the music selection before he can play. Our kids know that we have safeguards on Netflix that will not allow shows above a certain rating (G or sometimes PG) and then I have the perfect excuse to say no to them.

The Kraut family bonding at the Bay City fireworks!

5) Surround yourself by other like-minded christians. I don’t encourage befriending only christians or completely separating yourself from anyone other than christians. That is like living in a bubble. What I am talking about is protecting your character and your good faith. Surround yourself and your children with christians and generally moral people that you know you can talk about your faith with, that you know you can trust with private information, that you know that you could trust your children with or that would not display obscene behaviors in front of them. You could have close friends that are not christians but that do respect your beliefs and won’t try to put you down or deter you from church. I do not recommend allowing someone to stay in your life who is constantly trying to get you to stray away from your faith, to separate yourself from Jesus, or from the church. That is not being a witness, that is being manipulated and you can’t put up with that and keep your faith in Jesus. You need to stop seeing people like that!

6) Look for evidence of your faith around you. I’ve been asked before, if being a christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you? That is a good way to judge whether you are being a light for Christ or not! This could be anything from a bible laying on the coffee table to a verse displayed on some artwork hanging up, to a church pamphlet from last week’s service, to a christian phrase on a T-shirt, among other things.

Shawn has persevered through many struggles with asthma but he still needs his mama snuggles!

7)Persevere through testing. Let me tell you, you are going to go through some tests if you haven’t already! We don’t know yet if this test was purposely designed by God to make you stronger and more faithful to him or if you were a victim of circumstances that occurred as a side effect of a fallen world. However, one thing we know. God is good. If God allowed something bad to happen, He will find a way to use it for good. God will use a broken down person, build them up and make them into a champion for Christ. He will not use a pig-headed cocky brat that has never struggled a day in his/her life and can’t empathize with anyone. That’s not attractive at all! John 16:33 (NIV)“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

8)You don’t have to be working in Ministry full-time to minister to people! I struggled with this one for far too long! I kept feeling called to preaching or called to missions or called to some type of christian full-time ministry, but it never worked out that way. God has kept me in a full-time job working with the public because it is where he wants me and where I can do the most good right now. Someday, that may not be the case. Until that day, I will show up, I will smile and welcome people and be a light for Christ right where I am.

9)Accept constructive criticism from other christians and check yourself so that you don’t sin in your anger. Don’t take offense to every little thing someone says that does not line up with your thoughts or ideas. I used to do this way too much. This spirit is not from God and you need to reign it in quick. You are not in control, you are not God. I know this is a fine line category and people should be respectful with you as well. Sometimes I think “Can’t we all just get along? Aren’t christians supposed to be the nicest people on Earth?” In a perfect world, we would be, but the world is not perfect and we are not either.  You just take care of you and make sure that you are being respectful and following God’s commandments and the teachings of the Bible and God will deal with whoever crosses the line in His own way and in his own time.

10) Remember throughout the day that God is listening and sees you and knows you. Imagine that Jesus is sitting right next to you as you read this. If you are a christian, He basically is – you just can’t see him! Sometimes it’s not enough for me to imagine “What Would Jesus Do?” Sometimes I need to ask myself “What if Jesus was sitting here watching and listening to me right now?” Then I can kind of catch myself and prevent some attitude before it starts brewing! You know when someone rubs you the wrong way and you just need that extra moment to prepare yourself to speak to them or see them so that you don’t lose your cool? Trust me, I have had my share of people that got on my nerves! The best thing that I have found is a quick little reminder from Matthew 25:35-40:

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’



Feels Like a Cheat Dip

Gluten Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free/Nut free option

THM:S dessert


“Hi, my name is Aubree and I’m addicted to fat…”

And all of my fellow fat addicts said….”Hi Aubree”

Okay, seriously though, who doesn’t like dipping food into their favorite fattening condiment or dip at some time? I especially love it at this time of year when every weekend we seem to have Football parties or Halloween parties or family Thanksgiving, etc. Ketchup, ranch, salsa, yogurt, humus, guacamole, fruit dip, whatever I can get my hands on! Well, my fellow fat dippers, I have been making this for many months now and just haven’t found the time to publish it, but that changes today! This is recipe is still healthy as long as you don’t over-do it! It’s low-carb, goes well with fruit, and can also be used as a sugar-free ice cream. I frequently use it for dipping strawberries, but my main purpose in creating this is to freeze it to make sugar-free ice cream. Let’s face it, ice cream tops it all! My fellow THMers – this is an S dessert! This is the first Trim Healthy Mama compatible dessert that I have made over and over because it tastes like a cheat! Watch yourself though – this makes about 4-6 servings – don’t eat the whole thing in one sitting!


2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 cup almond milk (use cow milk if need nut free)

8 oz. 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese or Neufchâtel Cheese

2 Tbs. cocoa pwd.

1-2 scoops THM Protein Powder or THM Integral Collagen. 2 scoops makes the dip thicker. (If you like a flavored protein powder I have also used Bodylogix Chocolate Protein powder and it is on plan.)

1 tbs. vanilla extract

1 tbs. caramel extract (feel free to sub in a different extract or flavor if you don’t like caramel)

6 tbs. Truvia or THM Super Sweet(adjust to taste)

Salt to taste ( I use a few shakes)


Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender, such as a Ninja or Vitamix. You can use a regular blender, but just might have to spend more time blending it. Blend until smooth. I find that if you add the Cream Cheese last it helps to keep the powders from flying up and getting caught in the top of the blender.


Start with the liquids and the powders.
Start with the liquids and the powders.
Add the Cream Cheese last.
Add the Cream Cheese last.


Pour into any container for a dip and then enjoy!

feels-like-a-cheat-dip-step-4 feels-like-a-cheat-dip-freeze-for-ice-cream

To make the ice cream: Pour the remaining dip into several freezer safe containers. I find that the Truvia containers are the perfect size! Place in the freezer, making sure they are upright and sealed properly.  I leave mine in the freezer overnight. It should be frozen within a few hours, though. Then the next day, I pack it with my lunch. It sits in the fridge for a couple hours and thaws slowly and it’s ready for me by snack time – around 9:30 or 10. Yes, I eat ice cream in the morning! You can, too!

I hope that you enjoy this great recipe as dip or ice cream and can share it with friends and family this wonderful Fall season! Try subbing in some pumpkin spice or canned pumpkin in place of cocoa and caramel and you may just have a new pumpkin favorite!



“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This, too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Extra Coffee Required Day #3 “That’s no fair!”

Kissy face 2013 Real life – real tears – let’s talk!

(This photo is compliments of Daniyle Weir Photography from 2 years ago – thanks Daniyle!)

Do you ever feel like you are the only one following the rules, the only one trying your best, and so many people these days don’t hold up their end of the bargain? I’ve been there, and so have my kids. You are not alone! My kids, once again, taught me a valuable lesson recently. Push aside the pile of laundry and/or toys on my couch and sit down and drink your coffee with me…

“That’s no fair!” Ethan (age 6) shouted as I gave Shawn (age 3) something different for dinner, again, because of his allergies.
“Well, actually, it’s not fair to him that he can’t eat lots of the foods that you love because of his allergies. He can’t eat our dinner tonight because of the eggs and cheese.” I stated, completely satisfied with my answer and proud of myself for handling the situation.
– well – I was wrong –
Ethan sat there grumpily eating his casserole when what he really wanted was a plain hot dog like Shawn had. I could see in his eyes that he was plotting how to get back at me somehow.
Just to thicken the plot, Shawn chimed in on this game later that day. “That’s no fair!” he shouted when Ethan happened to get to open one side of the curtains before he did.
“Actually, that’s completely fair, he opened one side, and you can open one side.” I again patted myself on the back a little too early.
“No! Not fair” Shawn stomped his foot in disgust, because he wanted to open the curtains first.
This is when I had to give myself a mommy pep talk. “Walk away, Aubree, don’t lose it – he’s a three year old – you can’t explain fairness to a three year old”. Then I decided to skip the lecture and just give out the discipline as the boys had been fighting and had several warnings already.
“Okay, you go to that room, you go to that room, no toys, you’re both in time out, and you will have to go to bed early if you can’t stop fighting.”
Ooohhhhh, if looks could kill, I would have been a goner for sure. Both boys cried and whined, “That’s not fair – he did it – I didn’t do anything!”
“Whining will not help you, but it does make you go to bed early!”

Isn’t it funny how tantrums in your children seem to bring out your own attitude that you forgot was still lurking deep inside somewhere?
What’s the first thing I do when God convicts me, when he shows me a sign and reminds me that I need to be kind, that I need to be honest, that I need to be loving? I always point out the sin or the fault of the other person. I always point out ‘who started it’ and never accept blame for my part in the argument.

“But God, it’s not fair that I have to be a good wife, a good mom, a good cook, a good housekeeper, and still be nice to whining adults who act like 2 year olds to get their own way.”
God says “I’m not talking about what everyone does, we’re talking about you right now, and your voice is sounding whiny as well. Give me back control, I will handle those other whiners in my own way – you are not in charge of handling everyone else’s attitude. It’s a good thing, because right now, you can’t even handle your own.”

“Well he started it!” I say to God – then cringe as I realize how horribly whiny I do actually sound. Wow, yet again, I realize why God is in control of things and I am not. I crave control almost as much as chocolate most days.  But then when I do have control, I don’t always handle it the right way. I sometimes mirror things I’ve heard and seen from my three year old that I thought were ridiculous when he did them. Lesson learned, again. I guess there’s one more reason that God put my little loves in my life. They teach me more than anyone else ever could, because they tend to act just like me.

I am so sorry for whining, God! Your patience is astounding!

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

” For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Have a blessed day, guys! Please share your lessons with me that God has taught you through your children! I love hearing about them!


Extra Coffee Required Day #2: Word power


Ah, Spring break, that glorious time when the kids are running free and the parents are staggering into work like zombies, because the kids are driving them looney and they got even less sleep than usual. This is the perfect time to think about the power of words and how they affect all of us. So, before you ground everyone for being too noisy and take away their favorite toys because they are annoying (or was that just me?)- pour your coffee, think about how beautiful those kids are while sleeping, and ponder word power with me.

Sometimes I surprise myself with how I react to words depending on who is speaking to me. The same phrase from my 6-year-old could be majorly offensive from my husband, for instance. A joke coming from a good friend may be a major insult, but if I heard it from a random co-worker, I may think nothing of it. Here’s what happens when my son innocently asks about sensitive topics: Ethan (6 years old), had to sit and wait for me to put makeup on in the car for a few minutes one day before we went to a school event…

Ethan: Why do you have to put makeup on, mommy?

Me: I don’t have to, buddy, I just want to.

I could see him thinking about it for a minute and then he came up and peeked in the rear view mirror so that he knew I could see him.

Ethan: “Oh – it’s because you want them to think that you are pretty, right?”

>Okay freeze: if those words came out of my husband’s mouth, we would have exchanged heated, unfriendly words afterwords which may have ended with me in tears and both of us walking away – especially if it was the wrong time of the month – do you know what I’m talking about ladies? Probably something like this “THINK I’m pretty? What are you implying?” As if he were implying that my ugliness must be disguised from all the world to protect the innocent. Anyone out there who knows my husband knows that he is the sweetest person in the world and that he tells me frequently how beautiful I am, but I do tend to overreact if he stumbles on his words by accident:) The innocence of children is their saving grace some days 🙂 ! <

Me: (chuckling) Yes, buddy, that’s why.

Okay, now for the lesson to be learned here… I think that the same rules apply when we speak with our kids, especially young kids. We should adjust our language to them instead of expecting them to adapt to us. It is so hard to tell how they interpret what we say sometimes, but each child is different and part of the responsibility of parenting is figuring out the personality types of our children and how they respond to certain topics and conversation. For example, it’s important to see how they react to our words and the words of other people. Ethan has a natural wild free spirit built in him that is mostly from his father. Along with this free spirit side, he tends to not listen to correction unless he is looking me right in the eye and there is nothing shiny within close proximity, but we have to take the bad with the good, right? When Ethan is speaking with me during free time or play time, he is happy-go-lucky and eager to play and have fun. However, when he is working on something with an end goal, his competitive side comes out.  Whether it is homework, a craft, or a sport, he demands perfection of himself (and others). Fortunately and unfortunately, this trait he got from me. He gets upset if he has to erase something on his homework, which sometimes means he throws the whole thing away in a fit of rage. I have tried explaining to him that it is okay to mess up and that is what erasers are for.      He used to be convinced that he should be able to do homework without erasing anything or else he says ” I can’t do any homework ever again because I’m not smart enough.” It took a long time, a lot of “You’re doing a great job! I love your story!” and hanging everything up on the fridge to proudly display his work, before he started to believe in himself academically. On his T-ball team, he keeps score in his head, even though the coaches do not keep score and nobody gets “out” at their young age. The coaches are always encouraging, and Ethan tries to be, but he gets so mad at the other players and himself if they make mistakes or aren’t paying attention. He tells the kids on the other team when they are supposed to run when he is playing first base position. He can’t bear to see someone “not playing it right” and he often corrects his little brother at home (who barely stands over the size of the tee) when we just play for fun in the back yard.

Obviously, not all children are the same, and I am betting Shawn, my 2-year-old, will be much more laid back about competition and school work as he already is laid back about most things now: clothing optional at home, everyone in the car singing whatever song they want, his favorite activity of the day is generally during a low-key activity such as watching a TV show or listening to music.

As parents, we need to think about our words and how each child will react to them differently. I know I know, hard to do when your 2-year-old wakes you up at 4am begging to sleep with you, but let’s think this through for a minute… grab that extra cup of coffee while the kids are still sleeping – hopefully!

I know that Ethan is going to need an extra dose of encouragement when it comes to competition and homework. He criticizes himself enough for both of us and I don’t need to add to the negative thoughts in his head. I do need to build him back up when he listens to those negative thoughts and gets down on himself.

For Shawn,  he needs extra encouragement to go on the potty and will love the praise and attention afterwards, but he could care less if he plays baseball according to the rules or even finishes the game he started (two-year-olds, God love them!) I can already see the pattern. I’m going to have to remind him frequently that clothing is not optional in public, that holding mommy’s hand is not optional while crossing the road, and that throwing food at the table is still not tolerated, just like yesterday. He will most likely hear the word “no” more frequently than Ethan did even at age 2, because sometimes “no” is required regardless of the mood Shawn is in and at this stage, it’s taking more for it to sink in with Shawn than it did with Ethan. Shawn is not mentally traumatized by the word no, he just doesn’t understand how far he can push the limits yet and likes to test us frequently to see what he can get away with. It’s kind of like how we keep trying to test God.

Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

What are some of your experiences with word power and how it has affected you and your children?

Have a blessed day!



Power of Prayer


Shawn in the hospital with allergies/asthma June 2015

Hey guys,

Did you ever get a thought in your head that you know must have come from God because it was way too complex to be your own?

Here’s something I thought of recently that came to mind when I was discussing the frequency of prayer on social media with a friend.  After hearing some thoughts from a non-believer about how crazy it is that prayer can help people to heal, I thought about what it must look like to a non-believer. I thought about how desperately I have needed prayer at times, and it dawned on me… God does not need us to pray in order to act on our behalf! Ofcourse! God does not need us to do anything to perform miracles or to heal the sick or to breathe life into someone whom all the doctors said would never make it!  I heard something once about the power of prayer regarding innocent people who were in a horrible accident… and it really got me thinking. Some people pray for miracles, thinking that their prayer may be what turns around a situation, that they need to tell God detailed instructions about how to revive a child with cancer if God doesn’t save him. (I am speaking to myself here now 🙂 It’s not as simple as God sitting up in heaven thinking “I’d better see how many people pray for this poor child, so I know whether to save him or not” – how heartless and cold would that be? Why would God need us to pray for action, when He is all-powerful? That makes no sense. What he wants, is for us to get closer to Him, and closer to each other during hard times, regardless of the outcome.
God’s word says that we are the hands and feet of the body of Christ, right? That would mean that He wants a group of people and a community to be supportive of the family that is hurting no matter what happens. We don’t know why certain people die and certain people are healed and made new.  That’s on a need to know basis and we don’t need to know. As Christians, we trust that there is an overall reason for good and bad that it is bigger than us, and that is what drives us to hold on to our faith, to hold on to God and to each other.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to say that prayer can’t change things, because it can. It’s just more about how we respond to these situations, I believe. Many people in the bible prayed for miracles. Some saw those miracles come to pass, and others did not. My husband was in a rollover car accident awhile back that could have very easily been fatal, but he screamed “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” while he was rolling over and over. He and his friend in the car came out fine. Since that day, I can tell that his faith in God has grown leaps and bounds. It’s like a time-tested, weather warn relationship – it fits just right!

As a mother who has brought a baby/toddler to the hospital twice, seen my school age child get emergency stitches, and gone into the emergency room twice myself, I know the power of prayer on a personal level. My prayers and the prayers of my family, friends, and church family, are what kept me going through those horrible times. Without God and without prayer and faith, I don’t know how I would make it. God knows that we are weak and frail, and that we need Him. He gave us prayer for us, not for Him. If we had the power to heal ourselves without reaching out to God, there would be so many people who would have never turned to God and never been saved! There would be so many testimonies left untold, so many families left alone without support, so many lonely patients without hope. Thank God, that we need Him!

Take a look at how James tells the sick to call on the elders of the church to pray for him/her. He doesn’t say to tell the sick to stay home alone in bed and wait it out. He steers the sick toward the body of the church – the other believers – those that would comfort him/her, bring casseroles, bring hugs, bring common prayers, and come together with the common prayer for healing!

James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Read more:


Shark Week Survival Kit


It was a stressful week for me to begin with, so, of course…

Duh duh…duh duh…

Duh duh, duh duh, duh duh, duh duh…

Shark week! Awe man!

For any male subscribers – who are clueless right now, see the urban dictionary at this link if you do not understand:

Doesn’t it always seem like Shark week happens to appear on the worst possible day or time? Just when you ran out of chocolate, just when your husband had to work late and your kids had tons of sugar, just when you have no possible moment to huddle into the fetal position and hide from the crazy that awaits your day. Well, my survival kit is not going to take away all of the emotional roller coaster or the crappy side effects that come along with the visit from aunt flo. However, it will help you to deal with everything a little better and come out of this with your sanity in tact. I consider that a success!

Here’s my go to list of Shark Week Survival Kit Items that I need to make it through the week without hurting people – my family included! Some of these are sugar-free items because I am a THM follower, but if you do not have any dietary or allergy restrictions, do what you have to do – your sisters understand and pass no judgement!

Chocolat Stella Stevia sweetened dark chocolate bar – see: HERE  (or Lilly’s sugar-free chocolate bar – see: here
Skinnygirl liquid Stevia sweetener: click here and butter for Bulletproof coffee!
No Bake cookies THM approved by: Sherri Graham:

iPhone, phone charger, iTunes access and ear buds for seclusion from the world
fuzzy blanket, fuzzy slippers, heating pad if necessary
Netflix and laptop or TV
PUR gum: sugar and aspartame free (have to gnaw on something 🙂
Clubbin with my Soda or GoodGirl Moonshine from THM – stay hydrated! See my recipe :
peanut butter in any form
yoga pants or sweatpants

Midol or Tylenol

iron pills or iron rich foods

chick flicks to watch alone or with hubby if he dares

a good novel

That should do it! Here’s to keeping our cool (as much as possible) and getting through Shark week with our sanity in tact!





Apple Grilled Chicken – THM – E

glazing on chickenAh, Fall – that lovely season of comfort foods! Okay, so it is December and more like Winter now that I have not finished this post. I promise you that I started it in October and then life got in the way! This is one of my favorites, because it’s so easy to make it suitable for all of my family’s allergies as well as THM friendly! It is Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, wheat free, and nut free!

I had to make a few tweaks compared to the average applesauce recipe to make one that is THM friendly, and this is what I came up with.

Start with a large bowl full of apples. I’d say about 15-20 depending on size.


Rinse/clean off as you wish, then use whatever method of peeling you like. One time I left all of the peels on for this recipe and we realized later that the little slivers of peels turn to jagged knife-like creatures in the crockpot so I would advise against it for your own sanity! If a few peels here and there show up, you mat not notice a difference.

I like to use this combined apple corer/peeler and you can find one similar HERE:
slicing 2

slicing 3 You should end up with ringlets of yummy apple!

Fill the crockpot 2/3 full with the apple chunks like this:

crockpot 1

Then add the rest of your ingredients:

1 Tbs. cinnamon (could use apple pie spice)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 c. water

1/2 cup of Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet (For those of you not familiar with the THM plan, this is a combination of stevia and erythritol ground into a powder and is a heavenly and healthy sugar substitute!) You can order your own Gentle Sweet at my affiliate link Here .

Mix all up and cook on high for 4 hours.

If the resulting applesauce is too chunky for you, you can blend it in a blender to make it smoother. My boys are picky about chunks so I had no choice – had to use the Ninja and they had to push the button! This recipe made 3 jars of cinnamon applesauce.

applesauce jars

yeah donewith rice and chickendip chicken

My helpers celebrated with me! Then we had delicious apple sauce topped grilled chicken that everyone enjoyed! My boys dipped their chicken in the applesauce. My hubby and I used it as a glaze. Do whatever suits your fancy!

Share with your family and tell me what you think!