NatureAmy

caring for creation while caring for family

Category: Trim Healthy Mama (page 1 of 3)

My THM Pregnancy: 39 week update… Oops… 2 days post-partum!

Baby is here and it’s a…

GIRL!

Little Bethany Carolyn joined our family at 8 am on Wednesday, nine days before her due date.  She was 8 lbs even, 21 inches long, and has captured everyone’s hearts already.

Sleep my little one...

Sleep my little one…

I will be sharing her full birth story soon, but for a bit of a preview…

She arrived only 3 short hours after my first contraction and 1 minute before the midwives arrived!  She was born at home, as planned, with no complications, and a very, VERY quick labor.  My husband got to deliver her and is so proud of that fact!

I could not have asked for a better delivery.  It was fast and intense, but she arrived quickly and we were able to immediately relax as a family and just soak up the time together.

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share...

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share…

I’m supposed to be resting and in bed for the first week after delivery.  My midwives insist that it really is the best start for your body after birth to allow adequate time for healing.  And I’m trying to rest and stay off my feet as much as possible, but I’m terrible at taking it easy…  My husband and mom keep sending me back to bed!  At least they are here to take care of me…

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support and for following along this entire pregnancy, from my miscarriage a year ago, to healing from that experience, and finally throughout my pregnancy and birth.  God has been so good to us and has shown Himself faithful time and again.

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My THM Pregnancy: 36 Weeks Pregnant – Home Birth Preparation

Wow – where did the time go?  Somehow, I’ve made it to the last month of pregnancy!  In only a week, I will be considered full term with this precious fourth baby!  And I can hardly wait to meet him or her!  (The suspense is killing me – boy? girl? ahhhhh!)

Girls and boys clothes are ready!

In the last month, we have been mainly preparing for our last minute change to a home birth. Read about why we decided to switch from our planned hospital birth here.  I am soooo excited about the switch and all the anxiety I had over the birth has gone once we made the decision.

I’ve been in full-on nesting mode.  I’ve moved a dresser into our closet for the baby and have been washing all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes we have for a boy or girl.  My favorite baby wearing wraps are washed and ready!  The baby swing has new batteries.  The swaddling blankets and receiving blankets are ready!

The midwives gave me an extensive checklist of items to have for the birth.  I have all but two of them now.  The first part was a list of consumable medical supplies.  I thought I would have to track these down from Amazon or a medical supply store, but it was so much easier than that.  My midwives have a specific kit to order from a small medical supply company in Oregon.  The only hiccup was having to wait for Oregon to melt from the “Snowmageddon” they experienced this January before they could ship my supplies.  But they arrived quickly once the roads cleared.

The other items on the list were either things we already had around the house (receiving blankets, extra sheets, flashlight with new batteries, towels, wash cloths, etc.) or things that can be easily purchased to be on hand.  Things like menstrual pads, juice, electrolyte drink, perineum recovery supplies, etc.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (loose leaf and in bulk from Amazon) is helping to prepare my uterus for labor. I limit myself to 3 cups a day - too much can actually start labor.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (loose leaf and in bulk from Amazon) is helping to prepare my uterus for labor. I limit myself to 3 cups a day – too much can actually start labor.

My boxes are ready in my closet with the baby items, just waiting for “D-day” (delivery day!)  I also have a unisex outfit for the baby right after birth, complete with socks and hat, and a boy and girl outfit picked out for a little later.

We will pick up one of the birthing tubs in a week or two from another family after they have their baby.  It is actually a large Rubbermaid water trough!  I can’t wait to tell our little one that they were born in a water trough! LOL!


34 weeks pregnant, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and completely exhausted!

34 weeks pregnant, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and completely exhausted!

One idea that I loved from the book “Birthing from Within” was the idea of having a birth or labor project.  This project can keep you occupied during the often long hours of early labor and even into the tough time of transition.

I love this idea because I’ve found from my previous labors that having a distraction from the pain is one of the best ways to cope with labor.  My labor with my third was so smooth and easy and I credit that to many things, but one of the most valuable with that I was not stuck in a hospital room dwelling on her labor (in fact, we barely got to the hospital in time).

So, if I am able, I plan to do a simple sewing project during my labor this time.  Of course, this depends on the time of day and length of labor.  I may not have time for such things, but that’s okay, too!  I’ve been eyeing these simple cloth napkins on Pinterest, so I plan to have the cloth ready so I can make these if I want.


These last few weeks I have had 3 appointments with our midwives and I just love them.  One week we had a private home birth class with just my husband and I. It was great to get all our questions answered and know what to expect (as much as you can plan such things) this time birthing at home.

We also had our home visit, where the midwives both came to our house so they would know the layout before they came for the labor.  I showed them the two boxes where we are storing all the labor supplies and also where we plan to put the birthing tub.  They have a 50 minute drive to get here, so they continually emphasized how important it was for me to keep them informed of any changes, no matter how minor they seem!

The midwives also made sure we planned out a detailed emergency plan in case I need to be transferred to a hospital.  I don’t think it will be an issue (they don’t either), but I am glad that they are prepared (and preparing us) for the possibility.  Better to be safe, than sorry.

I'm planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.

I’m planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.


Early labor signs?

This time around my body is already getting ready for labor.  This is somewhat normal for me (after my first, anyway), but it has been happening earlier each time.

The midwives checked me at my 36 week appointment this week and I was already 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced.  I am experienced enough to know that that really does not mean I will go into labor soon, but it might…

36 weeks and feeling like I'm carrying around a bowling ball!

36 weeks and feeling like I’m carrying around a bowling ball!

I also just lost my mucous plug and have been having frequent light contractions on and off, so I am trying to take it easy for the next week, just in case!  This is not abnormal for me in the last month of pregnancy, but it is about 2 weeks earlier than I normally start experiencing prodromal/early labor.  This baby needs to stay put for at least another week so that I can safely deliver at home and he or she can finish fully developing.


Stay tuned for what comes next!  Hopefully we will have a new baby sometime in 1 to 5 weeks!

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My One Year Blogiversary: What I’ve learned from my first year…

Today is the 1 year anniversary of starting my NatureAmy blog and what a year it has been!

I started writing to have an outlet that was just mine.  For the first time since becoming a mom almost 8 years before, I was switching from working part-time to being a full-time stay at home mom.  And although I was happy about that, I wanted an outlet that was just mine.

amy_addamay2016As much as I love motherhood, it can become all consuming – so much so that I find myself needing an outlet that is all my own.  When I taught college classes part time, that was a great outlet. However, after 3 kids and full time homeschooling two of them, working outside the home, even for only 10 hours a week, was too much.  So I became a full-time SAHM and started a lifestyle/mommy blog.

And I’ve loved it!  It’s been a hard year for me emotionally, but being able to write about it has been very healing.  I’ve also found that writing is so much like teaching.  I’m a teacher and encourager at heart and I’ll never get away from that.

I’ve evolved from writing two or three posts per week, to taking two months off from writing in the summer, and eventually settling in at posting about once per week.

family2016I wish I could write more consistently – I love reading bloggers who post several days every week – but I realized that that is not realistic in my current season.  I’m homeschooling 1st and 3rd grade, keeping up with a very independent toddler, and about to add a 4th baby to the mix.  My husband works 80 hour weeks during the school year and we try to keep everything running smoothly at our house (emphasis on TRY – it is far from smooth most weeks!).


So… just for fun, let’s look at some of my stats and most popular posts this year.  I have been blown away by the visitation and love that this site has received the last 12 months!

Total site visitation: just under 50,000 – I can hardly fathom that number!  I know for many more popular blogs that is a monthly or weekly stat, but I am humbled that my blog has been visited so many times!

  1. My most popular post is my Weeks Worth of Trim Healthy Mama Camping Meal Ideas Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com
  2.  But coming in just slightly under it is my Healthy Blueberry Scones Fuel Pull recipe – Downton Abbey inspired.  All my scone recipes are popular (and yummy) but this one tops them all.Downton-night-1
  3. My third most popular post is my personal Trim Healthy Mama Testimony.beforeand-after-thm

Enough stats – personally, my favorite three posts (even though they don’t rank so high in post views) are the following.

  1. My very first blog story (after my introduction post) – Glitter in the Snow.  I love this touching story about how our kids are the light and hope in this dark world.Does the darkness of the world seem to be too much? Here is some hope - some glitter - in the dark. - Natureamy.com
  2. My testimony about not having a testimony – When you feel like you don’t have a testimony…  The Facebook shares of this one really humbled me.When it seems that everyone else has an amazing story to tell of how God saved them from disaster, but you've been a Christian forever... But you DO have a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness. -- NatureAmy.com
  3. And finally, our family tips on hiking with little kids – or how to NOT carry them the entire way…Tips for hiking with little kids, without carrying them the entire way. Written by long-distance backpacker parents who love to hike! NatureAmy.com

Some things I’ve learned that have pleasantly surprised me:

There is a wonderful and supportive world of bloggers out there that I never knew existed!  I’ve made friendships all over the United States, and even some beyond, with women who also blog.  I’ve never been one to have digital relationships before – everyone I was friends with on Facebook I actually knew in person – but I’ve found a kinship with these women and it has really blessed me!

Instagram is a very surprising place.  I never had an Instagram account before I opened my @amylovesnature page.  I’ve found it to be a great tool in the blogging world and have formed most my friendships with other bloggers through it.  It is also a much more pleasant social media outlet during political season!

E-courses can be a valuable connection tool.  I purchased an e-course from Natalie of At Home With Natalie about blogging.  It has been a very valuable tool.  However, the thing I found most useful is the connections it has brought to other like minded bloggers.  I use her Blogging E-course for Moms.  And she often has discounts!


So, overall, I’ve learned a lot this year.  But I’ve also learned to find my groove, be completely and unapologetically myself, and not focus on page views and site stats.  I’ve made a little bit of money (enough to pay for a replacement part to fix my nice camera), gotten overwhelmed by statistics and numbers (my post on why I don’t want a successful blog speaks about that one) , and eventually stepped back from it all to find a place that works for me.  Rethinking what it means to be successful in the blogging world when you want to encourage simpler living and consuming less.

Maybe someday I’ll be a “successful” blogger with really great site stats and viral posts who makes enough money to support my family… but for now, I’m happy where I’m at.  God has blessed me so much in this journey so far and I’m happy to be along for the ride!

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A Few of My Favorite Things Giveaway: Celebrating 1000 Instagram Followers

I recently rolled over 1000 followers on Instagram, which isn’t much for veteran bloggers, but is a huge achievement for me! I’m totally doing a happy dance over here!

So, in order to celebrate, I am doing a giveaway!  And, since I am incredibly indecisive (don’t even get me started on baby names – yikes!) I am making this giveaway the winner’s choice!

I am offering the winner of this giveaway a choice of ONE of four of my very favorite books!  Each of these books is somehow related to my blog and they are all really good and life changing!  At least they have been life changing for me!

The first two books go together – they are the Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline OR the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes.  I love THM and have been living the THM lifestyle for the last 2.5 years.  You can read about my THM testimony here.  Or how it has helped me (a former sugar addict) give up sugar for good here.

The third book choice goes along with my current minimalism challenge, but it is not really a book about minimalism. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo has really helped me simplify and organize our small home.  It is not necessarily a book about minimalism, however.  It is really about just keeping only the things that bring you joy or have a purpose.  So, if a lot of your stuff brings you joy, truly brings you joy, then you should keep it. (However, most people find that most stuff does not truly bring them joy – but it is a personal process for everyone.) I am not a minimalist in the starkest sense of the word.  I have a colorful house full of pictures and toys and craft projects – things that bring me, or my family, joy!

The final book choice has been really instrumental in my parenting choices. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Dr. Kim John Payne has really helped my husband and I simplify our lives to be the best parents we can be.  This means less after school activities, less noise toys, less screen time, and less temper-tantrums.  It also means more quality time, more imaginative play, more family time, more secure kids.  It is a must read for today’s parents!

How to enter to win your choice of one of these books?

Simple – you can enter both on my Facebook page or my Instagram account.  Follow the rules outlined in the post on Facebook or on Instagram to enter.  And make sure to give my pages a “like” or “follow” while you’re there!  It’s as simple as that!  The giveaway is only open to US residents – so sorry!  And it closes at 9 pm Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

Good luck!

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THM Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks

It’s been about a month since my last pregnancy update.  I was hoping to write an update every other week, but, obviously, that has not happened!

Since my last 14 week update, things have been pretty smooth – except for the fact that I tend to forget my limitations (i.e. needing to stop and eat, rest more often, and make sleep a priority).  This has led to a few reality checks in this last month, but… such is life with three kids, busy schedules, field trips, 90 degree Fall weather, and homeschool!

18weekscolor

18 week baby bump – getting bigger and starting to feel the baby move around!


Check-up Fun with Three Kids

I had my 16 week appointment over 2 weeks ago and took all three kids with me this time.  It was one of those easy appointments (no tests), so I had hopes that I would not regret the decision too much!  And, thankfully, it was really quick, painless, and easy.  I checked in, was called to the back just after sitting down in the waiting area, and took my weight (7 lbs gained so far) and blood pressure – all good.

Next, we went right to the bathroom for my urine sample.  We had to wait to use the bathroom, but that 2 minute wait was the longest of the day!  I took my 2 year old in with me, and left my 6 and 8 year old waiting outside the door.  Then we all traipsed back to the exam room to wait for my OB.

My oldest took out his book to read and my ever curious 6 and 2 year old pointed at all the posters in the room, tools, cup of pee, etc. demanding a detailed explanation.  Well, we are homeschoolers, after all, so what better time for a science lesson!

My OB knocked on the door after less than a minute of intense questioning by the kids, and then they turned their barrage of questions on him!  He tested my urine with a test strip – more questions from the kids.  Then he measured my growing belly – more questions.  Finally, he took out the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat – and, you guessed it – more questions.  He was actually very patient with the kids and was not bothered by the questions at all, thank goodness!  If he was, I would seriously consider changing providers!

The kids loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  (I did, too!) They decided it sounded like “one THOUSAND horses galloping” which was a pretty accurate description.

Then we were done! The entire appointment, from check in to release was less than 10 minutes!  I was very thankful for that!


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Taking a quick snack break on our hike.

Don’t forget to eat…

In the last four weeks, since my last update, I have gotten over the majority of my pregnancy exhaustion that reappeared after I started our busy homeschool schedule.  Any nausea and food aversions also were gone.  However, these two things made me more relaxed in my routine, which led to some not so great things…

Like I said, well into the second trimester, I was getting lazy about eating.  It wasn’t so much what I was eating – I am still sticking to the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating most the time – but when.

I had to eat every 2 hours in my first trimester or I would feel sick.  But I was very careful during that time and rarely felt any nausea and never threw-up.  However, with our school schedule getting busier and extra curricular classes starting up, my eating routine started to slide.

I no longer needed to eat every 2 hours, which was great, but I found out on week 15 that if I did not eat after 3 hours, I would be sick!  Ugh- not fun!

Week 15, I had just dropped the boys off at a morning class and was taking my 2 year old grocery shopping with me.  Suddenly, on the drive to the store, a wave of nausea hit and I felt like I was going to throw up.  I looked at the clock.  Three hours had passed since breakfast, I didn’t have any snacks with me, and I knew I was going to gag right then and there.

Thankfully, I was at a red light.  I picked up an empty cup (there are good things about a cluttered car!) and threw up!  The light turned and I drove through it and pulled over to the side of the road until my head stopped spinning.  We went to the store, bought the first thing that I could find, a bag of veggie chips, and went back to the car to eat 2/3 of the bag between myself and my toddler.  Finally feeling better, we finished our grocery shopping.

You think I would have learned my lesson after that, but I can be a bit dense sometimes…

The next day we were at home and it was a particularly long morning of math with my boys.  Suddenly feeling sick, I looked at the clock to realize it was over four hours since breakfast.  I threw-up again!  Then I ate lunch, but it had been too long and my blood sugar had dropped too low.  Eating a meal was not enough.  My head was spinning still and nothing was helping.  My toddler went down for her nap and the boys got to watch “The Magic School Bus” while I took a nap for about two hours and finally felt better.

I DID learn my lesson after that time, thankfully!  Now, I’ve been sure to pack a piece of fruit, nuts, or cheese stick in my purse before we leave the house.  I’ve also been sure to stop and have a mid-morning snack when we’re home.  Just because the second trimester is easier (usually) than the first, it doesn’t mean I can neglect the needs of my body.


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Our family – minus my 8 year old who is taking the picture – with Mt. Lassen behind us.

Over doing it…

The second hard lesson I’ve learned this month is the importance of rest.  We always do a Fall semester weekend field trip for my husband’s students.  We bring the whole family, spend two nights in the wilderness, and everyone learns a lot and has a great time.  But, it is also a lot of work (read what I feed this large crew with an allergy friendly menu, here).

I spend the entire week before the trip buying the food, and preparing whatever I can before hand.  Then, early Friday morning, we load the kids, food, and gear up, and head to the college to meet the students.  A full day of learning, and eating, later, I have the fun task of getting a toddler, who deals with night-terrors when camping, to sleep.  We did not get much sleep the first night in our little tent.  And a full two days later, after getting home at 10 pm on Sunday night, this pregnant mama was exhausted!

My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

About 3 miles into our hike to King’s Creek.

Normally these weekend field trips are tiring, but this time, it hit me so much harder.  My husband and I opted not to take our family on the most strenuous hike to the top of Mt. Lassen Peak.  But the 4 mile hike we did instead gave me hours of Braxton-Hicks contractions that did not stop until that evening.  Monday morning, I was spent! I was physically tired, mentally tired, emotionally tired… I had a headache… Tuesday, after more rest, I was starting to feel better, but I had a lingering headache still.  Wednesday, our busiest day of the week, I finally felt like myself again!  Thank you, Lord!


I’m looking forward to our 20 week appointments coming up soon!  We will get a chance to see our little one growing!  It will drive me crazy to not find out the sex, but I’m also kind of excited about waiting – can you be both?

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DIY All Natural Deodorant – 4 Ingredients, gluten-free

Until recently, I was not aware of how important it is to be careful of the things we put on our skin.  I would lather products on liberally to protect from the sun, to prevent wrinkles, moisturize, or to beautify, but I was completely unaware of what was in these products.  

It’s just our skin, we’re not eating it – what’s the big deal, right?

Well, the big deal is that our skin is our largest organ in our body and  it absorbs pretty much everything we put on it.

Yikes! That’s why medications like the nicotine and birth control patches are so effective.

In the last few years I have stopped using makeup and face creams that are filled with chemicals.  I started making my own deodorant, or buying natural kinds, and this year I made the switch over to entirely natural mineral based sunscreens.  Although some of these things have actually saved me money, other things (like natural sunscreen) are a lot more pricey, so I like to save money by making my own whenever I can.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen me testing a new recipe for a DIY deodorant. I’ve made some deodorants from recipes in magazines or on Pinterest in the past, but I’ve always been disappointed with the results. Most recipes simply combine coconut oil, baking powder, and corn starch for a simple deodorant that is easy to whip up.  The result was oily (grease stained underarms – yuck) and really didn’t cut it in hot weather.  However, I used this basic recipe during my entire pregnancy with my daughter since I didn’t want to put anything with chemicals on my skin – especially while pregnant – but I never liked it. When summer came, after she was born, that greasy deodorant just didn’t do the trick.

An all-natural simple deodorant recipe that actually works! It even goes on just like a conventional brand! Inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals' Hippie Stick - NatureAmy.com

My recipe was inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals’ Hippie Stick

I was excited to try Trim Healthy Mama’s skin care line Trim Healthy Naturals’ deodorant Hippy Stick when it came out last year.  I absolutely love it and it is completely natural and it actually works!(If you aren’t the DIY sort, you can click here to buy THM’s Hippie Stick).  However much I love the Hippie Stick, it is a bit pricey for our growing family’s budget, so I wanted to make something similar for myself and family members.  The following recipe is the result.

After creating this recipe earlier this month, I knew I needed to put it to the test. I loved how it poured easily into a deodorant tube so that when it cooled and hardened it was easy to roll on.  I also liked how I could tailor the smell to my favorite essential oils – definitely a plus for this smell sensitive pregnant lady!  The big test, however, came when we spent the day hiking at Lake Tahoe in 90+ degree weather.  I got home and did the sniff test – no stink! Success!

Ingredients: (Scroll down for a printable recipe)

  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons organic beeswax pellets
  • 11 Tablespoons Arrowroot Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 20 -30 drops essential oil(s) of choice to desired fragrance

Instructions:

  1. Add coconut oil and beeswax to a small saucepan. The first time I made this recipe I used unrefined coconut oil, which has a gentle coconut smell. The second time I made this I used refined coconut oil, which has no smell. Depending on the fragrance you want, you can use refined or unrefined oil.

    An all-natural simple deodorant recipe that actually works! It even goes on just like a conventional brand! Inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals' Hippie Stick - NatureAmy.com

    Slowly melting the coconut oil and beeswax. Don’t let it get too hot!

  2. Over low heat, gently melt the coconut oil and beeswax. Just enough heat to heat up the oil will do the trick – don’t let it get too hot. Turn off the heat when the oil heats up and let the wax melt on its own.
  3. Add the arrowroot flour/starch and baking soda and mix well. If you can’t use baking soda, you can certainly try leaving it out. I have always used it, however, so I don’t know if it will absorb odor quite as well without it.

    An all-natural simple deodorant recipe that actually works! It even goes on just like a conventional brand! Inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals' Hippie Stick - NatureAmy.com

    Add the dry ingredients and mix. It will harden as it cools. Add the essential oils to your desired fragrance strength.

  4. Add food-grade essential oils of choice until you reach your desired fragrance. I used 10 drops of doTerra Lavender, 20 drops of doTerra Grapefruit, and 10 drops of doTerra Citrus Bliss. The lavender is naturally anti-bacterial and the citrus are my favorite fragrances.
  5. Now pour the deodorant into two containers. If it has cooled too much (mine hardened quickly) simply heat over very low heat for 30 seconds or so until it is liquid again. I used two old deodorant containers I had saved to store them in. Make sure to lower the plastic push thing (sorry, but what do you call that thing!) to the very bottom of the container before you pour in the deodorant. To harden quickly, place in the refrigerator to cool.

    An all-natural simple deodorant recipe that actually works! It even goes on just like a conventional brand! Inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals' Hippie Stick - NatureAmy.com

    Heat up and stir the deodorant mixture so that it is easy to pour. Pour into some old deodorant containers. I used an old blue one and my Hippie Stick container.

  6. Store at room temperature and use as you would a store bought deodorant. The coconut oil will be harder in the winter and softer in the summer. I find it to be just right in the summer (not too soft even though we keep our house pretty warm). It can be pretty hard in the winter, but if you warm it up for 5-10 seconds on your warm underarm, it should spread nicely.
Nature Amy's DIY All Natural Deodorant
Author: 
Recipe type: Deodorant
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 deodorants
 
An all natural deodorant inspired by Trim Healthy Naturals' Hippie Stick
Ingredients
  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons organic beeswax pellets
  • 11 Tablespoons Arrowroot Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 30 - 40 drops essential oils of choice to desired fragrance
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil and beeswax to a small saucepan. The first time I made this recipe I used unrefined coconut oil, which has a gentle coconut smell. The second time I made this I used refined coconut oil, which has no smell. Depending on the fragrance you want, you can use refined or unrefined oil.
  2. Over low heat, gently melt the coconut oil and beeswax. Just enough heat to heat up the oil will do the trick - don't let it get too hot. Turn off the heat when the oil heats up and let the wax melt on its own.
  3. Add the arrowroot flour/starch and baking soda and mix well. If you can't use baking soda, you can certainly try leaving it out. I have always used it, however, so I don't know if it will absorb odor quite as well without it.
  4. Add food-grade essential oils of choice until you reach your desired fragrance. I used 10 drops of doTerra Lavender, 20 drops of doTerra Grapefruit, and 10 drops of doTerra Citrus Bliss. The lavender is naturally anti-bacterial and the citrus are my favorite fragrances.
  5. Now pour the deodorant into two containers. If it has cooled too much (mine hardened quickly) simply heat over very low heat for 30 seconds or so until it is liquid again. I used two old deodorant containers I had saved to store them in. Make sure to lower the plastic push thing (sorry, but what do you call that thing!) to the very bottom of the container before you pour in the deodorant. To harden quickly, place in the refrigerator to cool.
  6. Store at room temperature and use as you would a store bought deodorant. The coconut oil will be harder in the winter and softer in the summer. I find it to be just right in the summer (not too soft even though we keep our house pretty warm). It can be pretty hard in the winter, but if you warm it up for a few seconds on your warm underarm, it should spread nicely.

A quick note about essential oils:

It’s important to use a high quality food grade essential oil (like doTerra or Young Living) when using it on your skin (or breathing or ingesting it).  I use some cheaper brands I can get easily at our local natural food store for making some of my cleaning products, but I won’t use them for skin products or in food recipes.  I think most people know someone who sells these high quality products, I know several people myself, but if you don’t, you are welcome to use this link to support my friend Teresa’s doTerra business, Shine Brighter.  I love to support friends whenever I can!

Containers

If you don’t have an empty deodorant container lying around, you can always store this in a glass jar.  Or, you could buy a cheap deodorant from the dollar store, dump the contents, rinse with hot water, and add your deodorant to this container – whatever floats your boat! Maybe you want to make a bunch to give away (Christmas gifts, anyone?), then you can buy these empty containers online Pack of 20 Deodorant Containers New & Empty.

Ingredients

I was able to find all of these ingredients locally, which was nice.  The coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oils I already had in my pantry.  The organic beeswax pellets I was able to buy in bulk at my local health food store, so I just bought a small amount.  If you can’t find a small amount of pellets, you may want to buy the wax in a small block and grate it up for ease of measuring.  Or you could buy a pound from Amazon here 100% Organic Yellow Beeswax Pellets. The arrowroot powder was also at our local health food store in the gluten free section, or you could get it at Amazon here Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Starch / Flour, 16-ounce.

So far I’ve made some of this great deodorant for myself and for my oldest son.  I love that I can make something that is not filling his young body with chemicals!  I tweaked the fragrance for him to something he liked better.  Next, I will be playing around with a spicier masculine fragrance for my husband – he’s definitely not a fruity smell kind of guy.  The options are limitless!

I hope you like this as much as we do!  Let me know what fragrance options you try! I love to connect with my readers on Facebook and Instagram.  If you aren’t following me there, yet, could you head on over and give me a like?  Thank so much for reading!

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THM Pregnancy Update: My first trimester

I’m over twelve weeks pregnant with what will be our fourth child.  This is not my first time around – it’s actually my fifth since one pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so I pretty much know what to expect.  I’ve had boy pregnancies and at least one girl pregnancy and I know what is typical for my body for each trimester and for delivery.  So, that being said, I wanted to compare and contrast what I have noticed to be different now that I am a pregnant Trim Healthy Mama. (You can read my THM testimony and why I love it so much here.)


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

My baby bump at 12 weeks – definitely showing earlier this time around.

My first three pregnancies

So, first let me explain what has been normal for me in the first trimester of pregnancy before becoming a THM over two years ago.

Nausea – I am one of the lucky ones who does not have much morning sickness or nausea.  In fact, I can completely avoid being sick if I follow one simple rule – never let my blood sugar drop too low.  So, that equates to eating almost constantly (even though food isn’t too appetizing).  I would snack on things all day long, because even with over an hour between snacks, my blood sugar would drop and I would feel sick.  I even got up in the middle of the night to eat.  If I didn’t, I was guaranteed to wake up feeling sick and I would often throw up.

Weight gain – One of my earliest signs of pregnancy is a 4-5 lb weight gain, seemingly overnight.  This happens before any nausea sets in and before I have to start eating every hour.  I’m okay with this sudden increase, because it doesn’t seem to be due to anything other than extra blood, fluid, growing boobs, etc.  However, about week 7 or 8 I have to start eating constantly to avoid being sick and the real weight gain starts.  By 12 or 14 weeks I am usually up about 15 lbs from my starting weight – not too cool, but it beats being sick, in my opinion.

Headaches – Oh, how I hate headaches during pregnancy.  Something about the hormones in the first trimester would give me frequent headaches.  It seems like Tylenol doesn’t help much to dull the pain, and I really hate taking any medicine during pregnancy.  So with my non-THM pregnancies, I would suffer through headaches several days each week.

Fatigue – got to love the exhaustion that comes with growing a tiny baby.  This is my most prevalent symptom in the first trimester.  I am so tired from about week 6 through 12.  An afternoon nap helps, but the constant fatigue is frustrating, especially when there are little ones running around that must be supervised.  Thank you Netflix for filling in for me when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer!


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

6 weeks of my growing bump. I popped out really early, but have not grown much more recently.

My THM Pregnancy

So, what is different this time around now that I eat a low-glycemic and sugar-free diet? (Not low carb, please note – I still love my carbs.)

Nausea – So, I cannot say that this time around I have not had any nausea.  I still have had nausea if I do not follow the rule of keeping my blood sugar stable.  However, with THM, I have the perfect tools to keep my blood sugar level.  The Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline (which is a lifestyle, not a diet) is designed to keep blood sugar levels stable.  That is important even for those of us who are not even close to being diabetic.  Not only does stable blood sugar help to keep nausea away, but it also equates to a safer pregnancy, less risk of miscarriage, and numerous other benefits!

In this pregnancy, since I now know how important protein is in stabilizing blood sugar, I make sure to have at least a little with each snack and meal.  This means I can go longer between meals without eating (not more than 2 hours, but that is twice as long for me) and I can even make it overnight without having to get up and eat!  I am eating plenty of good healthy carbohydrates which are important for growing a healthy baby, but I no longer eat processed sugar, which is very helpful in stabilizing my blood sugar.

Protein is still hard for me in the first trimester since I really have an aversion to most meat and eggs.  However, I eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese and that helps.  I also have been using THM Collagen, which I love, but the smell, usually unnoticeable, is too much for my pregnant super smeller.  But, if I mix it into a THM Trimmie, it does the trick.  I forced myself to eat chicken – about the only meat I could stomach. Thankfully, at 12 weeks, I’m able to eat a larger variety of protein, which my poor family appreciates, I’m sure!

Weight gain – I still gained the initial 4-5 lbs of weight I always gain each pregnancy at about week 4 or 5, but I’m thrilled to say that I have not gained more than that this time!  My weight has fluctuated a bit, but at twelve weeks pregnant, I was just at 4 lbs over starting weight!

Is this because I eat 100% on plan?  I wish I could say I do, but I don’t! Food aversions made eating on plan all the time unrealistic for me. However, I do believe it is mainly due to the fact that I don’t eat processed sugar anymore (something I used to eat a ton of during my previous pregnancies – thank you sugar addiction!)  I eat mainly crossovers – I have not been even trying to separate my fuels (carbs and fat) since I found out I was pregnant.  I have also mainly survived off fruit and cheese sticks. Occasionally, I will eat an off-plan food like chips or whole grain crackers, or plain whole wheat bread (instead of sprouted).  I eat more raw honey and some dried fruit (we were camping a lot this summer and it was easy to get trail mix).  These are all choices that I am personally okay with on occasion and they are foods I feed my skinny family all the time.

Headaches – This has been a dramatic difference this time around.  I have had only two headaches this pregnancy so far and both were due to dehydration after hiking in over 100 degree heat.  Praise God!  The headaches that plagued me for several days each week in previous pregnancies are gone!  The only way I can explain this is my diet changes.

Fatigue – This is something that really didn’t change this time around, except to say that I got over it a little earlier!  I was still exhausted from about week 6 to 10 (but not 12 weeks this time!).  I was camping, hiking, getting ready for homeschooling, chasing toddlers, etc. during that time, so I certainly had enough energy to make it through – and even thrive – this summer.  However, that hammock at camp was really, really wonderful!


Prenatal Vitamins

Since I know I will be asked this question – let me include it here.  I am really happy with the Best Nest Ultra-Gentle Prenatal Vitamins I am taking this time. This is not sponsored – I just really happen to like this company and their products.  I’ve actually been taking them all year and I love that they are all natural, organic, whole food based, and include probiotics and herbs! Often prenatal vitamins will make me feel a bit sick after taking them, but these really are ultra-gentle.  I’ve not felt the least bit sick after taking them. The price is what convinced me, though!  Less than $40 for a 3 month supply – sign me up!  You can get them at my Amazon affiliate link here: BEST Nest Prenatal Vitamins, with Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Once Daily Multivitamin, Contains Whole Food, Organic Blend, and Methylcobalamin (B12), Easy to Swallow, 100% Natural Vitamin, 90 Count


I have really enjoyed my first trimester of pregnancy as a THM. I always enjoy pregnancy – I’m one of those annoying happy pregnant ladies, but by eating THM, everything has been easier so far!  And now that I have my energy back, I am excited to start my second trimester soon!

Have you noticed any differences when you changed your diet in pregnancy?  Are you a pregnant THM, as well?  I’d love to hear from you!  Like my Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t yet, so we can connect!

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Celebrating One Year of Freedom from Sugar Addiction

June 10th has never been a significant date in my life.  I love June – it’s my birthday and anniversary month, it’s the start of summer and swimming, but June 10th was always just another day, until 2015.  Last year, June 10th, I made a promise to myself and before God to no longer be controlled by my sugar addiction and it was life changing.  A few days later, I wrote this to my small private Bible study Facebook group while we were going through Beth Moore’s “Believing God” series.

Confession time – I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days, but also dreading doing it, because writing it down makes it real!
So while reading day 4 a couple days ago, I was very convicted by Beth’s personal story of living in a cycle of defeat. At first I thought, “thank goodness I don’t have that in my past” when God brought to mind a very real struggle of mine that I do not want to give up. So, being very honest here, my struggle is my sugar addiction. I have gone on and off cycles of being sugar free for weeks or months at a time for the last 3 years, but I always try to convince myself that I can have “just a little bit”, that I don’t have to give it up completely, etc. But if I have learned anything over these cycles of defeat, it is that I can’t just have a little bit. Whenever I cave for a little bit, it becomes a binge session that lasts for days, if not weeks. I need freedom from this, and have felt that urging to let it go completely for some time now, (pretending I can’t hear you, God) but the thought of what others will think has held me back. Having to explain why I can’t eat something (without a real reason like an allergy) at an event or party invites unwanted attention and ridicule for my choices. But like an alcoholic, I need to rid myself of all large sources of sugar in my life for good and it scares me.
Thankfully, I have been mostly sugar free for the last year on the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle that I do and I have a lot of great stevia sweetened dessert recipes, so I know I won’t suffer. However, the idea of having to push away the special dessert at a dinner party freaks me out, but I know that it will send me in a tailspin – it always does!
So, I have asked God to help me in the journey, to give me freedom from this addiction and I’ve started re-reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, because there are some great verses to add to my memorization list. I want to crave God more than I crave sugar, and as it says in Day 5, “I’m thrilled to know we can binge on God without guilt!” (p. 27 of Believing God Workbook) I am believing that God will help me through this journey out of this addiction and I can experience his freedom from sugar.
Thank you, my friends, for praying for me in this and for being here.
Love you all,
Amy

I was so scared to write that post because writing it down and showing it to my friends meant that I was accountable and if I failed miserably like I always had before, they would know.  Keeping it hidden was so tempting – I was scared to tell anyone that I had given up sugar, but I knew I had to.  And it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Saying “no” to a piece of cake has not been a problem in the past year.  I have not been ridiculed for my decision.  It was much worse in my head than it actually has been in reality.

Celebrating my birthday this last week - the first time I haven't had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on in a long time! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

Celebrating my birthday this last week – the first time I haven’t had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

I’ve written about finding freedom from sugar-addiction before (you can read my tips here), but honestly, it was not something I ever thought was possible.  I love sugar, but I have always believed in the mantra “All things in moderation” – in fact, I still do, but not when it comes to addiction, even food addiction.  After years of giving up sugar for periods of time, I would allow myself “just a little” for a special occasion or treat, and I would not be able to stop.  At home, dessert was not safe from me.  I would slowly nibble away at the leftover cake or pie until it was gone.  I had felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit gently encouraging me to give up sugar for good, to treat it like a true addiction and cut it out, but I did not want to hear it.  Finally, I could not ignore it any more. I was sick and tired of living in a cycle of defeat – I wanted freedom!

I often listen to the Dave Ramsey Show on the radio as I am making dinner – we are in Step 2 of his financial baby steps currently and it helps keep me accountable – and he said something the other day that I had to stop and write down.  “You have to have an ‘I’ve had it’ moment to break an addiction,” Dave Ramsey said.  I knew that to be true in my case.  I wanted to give up sugar for years, but not enough. I had to be sick and tired of being controlled by my sugar cravings – so much so that I was willing to make a huge sacrifice to make it happen.  I was not at that place until June 10th, 2015.

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.               2 Corinthians 12:9

This verse has been posted on my refrigerator door throughout this entire journey and it will stay there as I make it past the one year mark and continue to live in freedom from this addiction.  Because throughout the last year, I have learned to rely more heavily on my Savior.  I have learned that God has not cursed me with this weakness, but He has given me an opportunity to grow in my faith daily.  I have had to lean heavily into Him during this journey, especially during the trying times of holiday parties and grief over my miscarriage and my grandfather dying.  And I have learned that God is faithful.  He asked me to give up sugar,  He equipped me to do it, and He did not (and will not) leave my side throughout this journey.

So, what about you?  Is there something you are struggling with that you know God is asking you to give up? Have you reached your “I’ve had it” moment?

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Camping with Trim Healthy Mama: A week’s worth of “on-plan” camping menu ideas

When I started THM (Trim Healthy Mama) two years ago, we were right at the start of camping season.  Our family camps a lot in the summer and having a newborn doesn’t stop us from getting out. so we dove right into camping and I tried to figure out what foods I could bring to stay “on-plan” while in the great outdoors.  I posted a weekend allergy-friendly menu that I use for feeding a crowd of non-THMs and also how I stay on-plan with that menu (check out that post here).  However, I wanted to post a family size menu that works for feeding your family in the wilderness for a week or so.  Our recent family trip to Yosemite National Park provided the perfect opportunity to test out everything and also gave me the incentive to stay on plan the entire trip.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

My kids and I below Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite Valley

I am more of a THM Purist than a Drive-thru Sue, but I do own a microwave and I use it every day.  I don’t like to use “Franken-foods” so there were many items that I made ahead of time to bring with me, but a Drive-thru Sue could easily purchase something pre-made at the store – whatever floats your THM boat!  So, without further ado, here’s the menu I use for weeklong camping trips starting with what I prep ahead of time…


Before you go:

  • I made a large batch of Wonder Wraps (p. 205) of the THM Cookbook – these are wonderful for a lunch on the trail and they don’t get soggy like many “bread” options.  This video is fun to watch and shows you how to make them.
  • Mrs. Criddle’s Cowboy Cookies are SOOOO yummy, but they do crumble if they are in a bag.  I took them in a large plastic container and they didn’t get crumbled that way.  But, even if they do crumble, they are still super delicious and full of healthy energy!
  • I make the base to my Famous Taco Chili Recipe and freeze it so that I only have to add canned beans to complete the meal.
  • I add marinade to my chicken breasts and seal them back up to freeze again
  • I make some of my favorite snack recipes from the THM Cookbook – Praline Protein Bars travel well (p. 391) and Berry Crunch Bars (p.392) are a great granola bar replacement.  Trimtastic Chocolate Zucchini Cake (p. 296) also travels really well un-frosted as cupcake/muffins.
  • I bring cut-up veggies for healthy and quick snack options.  It is so easy to skimp on fresh veggies while camping, but this helps with that.

Breakfast ideas:

I like to fire up the griddle while camping with our family and these breakfasts are all quick and easy with minimal prep and cleanup. (Because who really wants to do that while camping?)

  • THM Baking Blend Pancakes and breakfast meat of choice (S) –  this one is super easy.  I generally feed my family whole-wheat pancakes because they don’t have any weight issues, but I make a quick singles serving of low-carb pancakes for myself.
    • 1/4 cup THM baking blend (you can get it at the THM store with my link)
    • 1 whole egg
    • a little almond milk or water to thin it to the right consistency

Surprisingly, this actually makes a pretty good pancake without any baking powder.  The egg gives it the lift that it needs and makes four filling pancakes without any fuss.  Simply cook this with coconut oil or leftover bacon or sausage grease and drizzle with some sugar-free syrup (I bring my own using the THM recipe from the book).

  • Sprouted Grain French Toast with Greek yogurt (E) – this is another simple and quick meal on the griddle.  I use egg whites, a little almond milk, and some sprouted grain bread.  I have a side of Greek yogurt (the individual Oikos 000 work great) for added protein and it’s all good.  For the kids, I use the leftover egg-yolks to make their French Toast and nothing goes to waste.
  • Fried eggs and breakfast meat of choice (S) – quick and easy again
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies (S) – use some that you prepped ahead of time or bring a bag of frozen veggies.  You can always add some cheese or spices to own-it.
  • Oatmeal packets (E) – Make sure to read the ingredients carefully when selecting oatmeal packets.  There are often added ingredients, even in the “plain” varieties.  I like to add a scoop of THM Integral Collagen powder for some good protein.  You could also enjoy it with a Greek yogurt.

These are only 5 breakfast options, but I like to mix and match them for some variety each day.


Lunch ideas:

I am not a brilliant lunch maker.  I was never the kid with the amazing lunch at school and my kids aren’t either.  I like to keep it simple – at home my lunches are generally leftovers or a big pot of soup I eat off of all week.  So, unfortunately, my lunch ideas are not too grand, but they are easy and they pack well if you are heading out for the day.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

My “Wonder Wrap” Wrap – two of these really hit the spot!

  • Wonder Wraps filled with goodies (S, E, or FP depending on your filling choices) – I was pleasantly surprised how well these little wraps held up, even while being stuffed in a backpack for the day!  I filled mine with lunch meat, cheese, avocado, tomato, and lettuce and two were very filling.  I’ve made a similar wrap with a low-carb tortilla on past camping trips, but they always get soggy when you pack them for a hike, but the Wonder Wraps do not!  That makes for a happy camper!
  •  Sprouted grain sandwich (E or CO depending on fillings) – this is my go-to easy packing option.  I can throw together a traditional turkey sandwich (made with lite-Mayo and without the cheese) for a filling E lunch.  Add a piece of fruit and I am set.  Or, if you are wanting even more energy, add some healthy fats (like avocado and cheese) for a CO (crossover) sandwich.  Yummy!
  • Hummus with veggies and Wasa Crackers (FP, S, or CO) – Our family LOVES hummus and we often bring it hiking.  Make sure to read the serving amount or it is easy to crossover, but this is a fun and healthy option.
  • Don’t Forget the Leftovers – leftover dinner can make an easy lunch.  Grilled chicken can easily be made into chicken salad the next day.  My chili is also really good as leftovers.

Snack ideas:

  • Fruit – apples, oranges, and bananas all travel well
  • Nuts – we love pistachios, but whatever you like best will be a great energy boost for a hike
  • Oikos Triple Zero single serve yogurt
  • Wasa Crackers with Laughing Cow Cheese
  • Lite Cheese Sticks with fruit for E or regular cheese sticks for S
  • Mrs. Criddle’s Cowboy Cookies
  • Popcorn
  • Lily’s chocolate
  • Many other make ahead options or bring some on-plan snacks from the store

Dinner ideas:

My not-so well kept camping secret is pre-made salads.  I always pick these up at the store for an easy addition of fresh veggies to our camping meals.  Add one to each of  your dinners, but read the ingredients and nutritional facts carefully.  Sometimes these “healthy” foods are not so healthy.

Marinated chicken breasts (E, S, or FP depending on what you eat it with)

  • Balsamic chicken breasts with Sweet Potato Packets (E)
Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Prepping the sweet potato packets.

At home, I added Balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil, and granulated garlic to a bag of frozen chicken breasts.  I swished it around so that it covered the breasts, resealed the bag, and stuck it back in the freezer.  When it was mostly thawed in the ice chest, about day 2, I tossed it on the campfire grilled along with some Sweet potato packets.  It was really good!  I added a pre-made salad with a light vinaigrette dressing and we had a filling E dinner.

Sweet potato packets – simply cut up some sweet potatoes, add a little coconut oil or butter, and some seasonings (I used store bought Onion Soup mix).  Wrap in heavy-duty foil and put on the grill with the chicken.  Check carefully for done-ness (they are steamy, so be careful not to get burned).  Once they are finished, open up the packets and eat right off the foil or scrape onto your plate.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Grilling the chicken and potato packets over the fire.

  • Teriyaki Chicken Breast Shish Kebabs (FP or E)

At home, add some soy sauce (or liquid aminos), a doonk or two of Stevia, and a little garlic to the frozen chicken breasts.  Swish around the bag and reseal and put it back in the freezer.  At camp, after a few days, take the thawed chicken out of the bad and cut it into small pieces.  Add some veggies of choice (we like red onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers – pineapple chunks are also good for an E option) and skewer them all and add to the grill.  This is a Fuel-pull meal (unless you use the pineapple).  However, add some instant brown rice for an E option or a large pre-made salad.  Or simply enjoy it as it is!

This is a staple in our camping menu.  It is loaded with hidden veggies and lots of great energy.  I always make the base ahead of time so all I have to do at camp is add the canned beans and corn for a very quick dinner.  On this last trip, we made it after a long day of hiking and it took about 10 minutes to make a hearty, healthy meal for everyone.  Add cheese and sour cream for a crossover and some on-plan tortilla chips.

  • Bratwurst with grilled veggies (S) or rice/sweet potato packets (CO)

We love to cook up some store bought pre-cooked bratwurst over the fire.  The kids get to grill their own, with supervision, of course, and they love it!  Our family favorites are Johnsville Cheddar Sausage and Smoked Brats.  I love to saute up some red-onions and bell peppers to eat with them – yummy!  They are also good with a side of rice or sweet potato packets for a crossover.

  • Tacos with Wonder Wraps (S)

Those handy wonder wraps are useful once again with some easy tacos.  The rest of the family enjoys their tacos with corn tortillas, but I like to use my low-carb option.  I brown some hamburger or turkey meat, add some taco seasoning, and load up the toppings.

  • Hamburgers and/or hotdogs (S)

These are a familiar camping option and still easy to do “on-plan”.  I like to wrap my cheese burger in a  big piece of lettuce and add plenty of yummy toppings.

  • Spaghetti (S)

With a can of sugar-free spaghetti/pizza sauce and some browned meat, this can be a super quick dinner.  Add some Dreamfield’s pasta, or Not- Naughty Noodles, or simply eat with some zucchini “noodles” (my personal favorite).


Dessert ideas:

I rely on items I bring from home for desserts, like some Cowboy cookies or Trimtastic cupcakes.  I love a hot cup of tea or sugar-free cocoa or apple cider while warming up by the campfire.

However, if you are feeling adventurous, I love the idea of trying some THM recipes in the Dutch oven.  I have yet to try this, but since we are going to be camping for about 1/3 of our summer, I will have a chance to try this out!  I will definitely share how it goes!

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

I love to pick wild blackberries while camping to have as a tasty dessert.

One of my favorite camping desserts is to pick some wild berries and top with whipped cream!  It would be wonderful with a piece of THM cake, as well.  Yummy!


Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Be still my heart – she is a daddy’s girl!

I hope these ideas inspire you!  They have worked well for our family – let me know how they work for you!  And if you liked this post, please head on over to my Facebook or Instagram page and give me a “Like” or “Follow”.  I love to connect with my readers!

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Under Grace: Ella’s Trim Healthy Mama Testimony

Diets are made up of laws, a lot of laws. I have been through plenty of diets (Atkins, South Beach, Slow carb, No carb, Medifast, Blood type, Paleo, the walk everywhere because you don’t have a car diet) and have lost weight, for a while. And reading the books, they are clear about this one thing. The laws of the diet have to be your new way of life. Forever. Period. So I would fail eventually. I could never make these extreme diets a way of life. I love carbs, and fats, way too much. And my body needed them. I couldn’t do the diets while pregnant or nursing because there was not enough to sustain myself through those. So I would gain again.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

Ella as a senior in high school

I have never been skinny. When puberty hit I got big. I don’t remember a time in my teenage years that I was less than a size 14. In college I gained my freshman 15 and then my sophomore 10 and then a junior 10 then a senior 5. My year of teacher training and my first year of teaching I was too busy to eat so the weight melted back off of me, but that didn’t last and I never made it below a 14 even then. I was resolved to be a size large.

My weight continued to yo-yo throughout the years as I tried one diet after another. I only had the will power to stay strictly with a plan for about a month. But the laws were too much for me. I would allow myself some leeway, some grace amongst the laws, and that always would sabotage my efforts. Eventually the cheating would overtake the good of the diet and I would just give up.

But then my sister Amy introduced me to a new plan. (You can read Amy’s THM testimony here.) She had success with losing weight with a new diet that sounded interesting. And, being a sucker for a new diet to try, I borrowed her book and started to read Trim Healthy Mama.

I was astounded to learn that I could enjoy my carbs and my fats in the same day and not gain weight! I didn’t have to cut out a food group for a long period of time. I didn’t have to count calories or go hungry. I didn’t have to eliminate desserts or exercise like crazy. I just had to be wise about how I enjoyed all these things. This was a plan I could see implementing for the rest of my life.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

Ella with her husband last Christmas

There are plenty of posts out in cyber space that explain the concepts of this way of eating better then I ever could (or better yet, read the book), so I will let you look those up yourself  if you are interested, but the part of this plan I want to talk about is the Grace.

For we are not under law, but under grace.

The writers of the book are Christians and believe their faith should permeate every area of their lives. They used their study of scripture to realize that the food rules we were living under were not placed there by God. They lay out clearly the food freedom that God intended us to have. The food Grace, He designed our bodies to live under. And it is a food freedom flowing with milk and honey, with bread and wine, with the fat and the lean.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

At goal size – all dressed up and ready for the ball!

The best part is that your body does a reset every three hours. If I do go off plan, have a cheat or a treat, I am only three hours from going back on. I don’t have to derail an entire day or week or month of hard determination for one moment of bliss. There is grace.

I am under grace, so I can choose to have a meal out every week with my family and eat whatever looks good to me on the menu and still lose weight.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy a holiday weekend away and not worry if there will be food that I can eat available.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy s’mores on a camping trip.

I am under grace, so I can eat a helping of the first cake that my son made completely on his own.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy popcorn at the movies and a corn dog at the fair and still lose weight.

I am under grace, so I can stick with this plan for life, even after reaching my goal weight.

Do you feel the grace tonight? Do you rest in the knowledge that God created you and your body perfectly and to function with grace? Can you have grace towards yourself?

I am excited to report, that under this plan, I am now at a lower weight then I have been at in my entire adult life. I am now wearing a size 10! And I am firmly a medium. These are huge things for this big girl. And you know what? I am not quitting this plan because I have reached my goal weight. I am just adding more crossovers and enjoying the food freedom and allowing my body to find its “happy weight.” I may go down more, I may not. I am not going to stress over it, because I am under grace. And that is exactly where my Father wants me to be.

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