Monday, July 18, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Trim Healthy Mama Plan

Week 26: A book about food

Trim Healthy Mama Plan
by: Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

I have been a lurker on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) facebook page for a few years now. I've read so many success stories and gathered what I thought was basic information about the plan, but still had questions. So, when Blogging for Books offered me this book for free in exchange for my honest review, I jumped at it.

The basic idea is that your body's fuel sources need to be kept separate so both can be burned. These are called satisfying (S) and energizing (E) meals. This means all food groups and most foods are allowed. The exception to this are things like pasta, white rice, and white potatoes. This is because your body converts these into sugar, and sugar is the big, bad wolf.

I had figured out the part about sugar being bad before reading the book, and it was honestly where a large portion of my concern about the plan stemmed from. I am adamantly against artificial sweeteners. I understand people with diabetes needing them,  but I find it highly concerning when so many people volitionally use them. Some have been linked with cancer. Plus they're used in more than diet soft drinks. I know, because some of them give me an instant headache so I've found out the hard way. I will ALWAYS choose sugar over those little packets of artificial stuff.

When I first heard about stevia I just assumed it was yet another artificial sweetener on the market. I was wrong, its from leaves that are naturally sweet tasting. Now, I'm not sure I want to use it and make the switch from sugar to stevia, but I have been thinking about it and researching it. It's just sooo expensive! I know its supposed to last a lot longer than sugar because it tastes so much sweeter, but I just have a hard time swallowing the investment for something I may not like. Then there are other sweeteners on the plan that are theoretically natural, but I'm even less convinced about them. If I did make the switch it would solely be to stevia for the time being while I did more research on those other ones.

Even with my concern over the sugar substitute, there is a lot of good and helpful information here that I plan on implementing, even if I don't do the THM plan. Simple things like switching from canola or vegetable oil to olive, coconut, or red palm oil can help your waistline. If I do hop on the THM bandwagon, I'm not convinced it will be for life. I'm not a "food purist." I don't believe organic is necessarily better for you; I don't believe all GMO foods are bad for you. Good news is, you don't have to believe exactly like they do to still be on the plan.

I also appreciate that they recognize that trim looks different for everybody because we all have unique needs, struggles, and body types. That's why they call it a food freedom movement, and it extends to our bodies themselves. It is refreshing to see our health and waistline dealt in such a manner instead of having the idea rammed down our throats that we all need to be size 2s or smaller.

When I married, I was about 10 lbs over my ideal weight, because I had stopped exercising. Then I got pregnant and even though I breastfed, the pounds clung on. I'm not one of those people where bf makes the pounds melt away. I had 10 unlost pounds when I conceived #2. And another 10 unshed when I started carrying #3. And I'm 20 lbs away from that weight now. That makes 40 pounds over when I got married (less than 4 years ago). My body has changed so I'm not going to say I should weigh what I did at my old ideal weight, I don't know, but I'd at least like to drop these forty pounds. And its hard.

Now, since I married I've always eaten way more pasta, white rice, white potatoes and drank more sweet tea than ever before. Those are cheap foods and I have at least one of those every day, plus a glass or two of the tea. So it's easy for me to believe when those are listed as foods to avoid. The problem is knowing how to change a large part of how I cook. That's where the THM Cookbook comes in. I'm going to try checking it out of the library, but I will probably end up buying it and making what I can without special ingredients to see if there's a change. If there is I may buy some of the THM special ingredients, but I have to be able to justify the investment. After all, we are on a tight budget!

Even if you are unsure about jumping on with the plan, like I am, I think the book is a valuable resource. Try checking it out of your local library if you don't want to buy a copy.

This post appears as part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see all books in the challenge, click here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


North Carolina is home. It's not just a place to live, work, exist. It's a part of who I am, woven inside of me. It has the best lighthouses, wonderful beaches, sandy country, gorgeous azaleas, full hydrangeas, and breathtaking mountain vistas. It has the hustle of the cities balanced with the oak trees and flowers. It stands for freedom. For authenticity - it's part of who we are. Esse Quam Vederi is our motto. To be, rather than to seem. Travelling is fun, but when I move away, North Carolina always calls me back. It always calls me home. And home? Well, you always brag about your home. And that's just what this necklace does.

And you can get this necklace for any state! Maybe you want to remember home, or maybe you want to remember a special trip, a memory that a necklace will always bring to mind. 

The second tag of the necklace features the rough coordinates for that state's capitol city. 

Through Sunday (7/17) these necklaces are only $11.99 + Free Shipping with Code NEWSTATE! (normally $25!)

Don't these look great layered with the shape of your state necklaces (also on sale!)? Too cute.

What state holds your heart? What's your story behind your state necklace?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Hymns in Prose for Children

Week 25: A book by a female author

Hymns in Prose for Children
by: Mrs. Barbauld


I love the idea of this book ... or what I thought the idea was. I thought Mrs. Barbauld had taken hymns are turned them into prose so children would better understand them. Their only title is "Hymn I" "Hymn II" etc. Initially, I wondered what hymns she was prosifying (yeah I just made that up) and was perplexed why she didn't tell us. Then I realized these were "hymns" she composed in prose instead of song. Ok cool.

Except then, while some have the feel of hymns, others didn't. I was most of the way through the book when I realized a more accurate description of the collection would be "Essays on Man, God, and Nature." Some of theses "hymns" don't even mention God! And wax eloquent about why we form into villages. 

Honestly, the reading improved when I started thinking about them as the aforementioned essays instead of hymns. 

Now, this reader is more advanced than I expected. Honestly, I know some adults who would be left scratching their heads at some of the words, but I also know well rounded children who would be able to decipher meaning and expand their vocabulary from this reader.

As for the printing itself ... it feels cheap. A large part of that perception is because of the text boxes on random pages. It really looks like it was typed up in MS Word and some of the text boxes were accidentally left with black lines instead of that being changed to no color. Part of the other reason are the "breath taking" illustrations. 

Now, the illustrations obviously took talent, and they are beautiful. And beautifully old fashioned. But not breath taking. Given their obvious age, however, they definitely felt suited to a nice hardbound volume. The slick paperback was just the total wrong feel. I realize this is a reprint of a text over a hundred years old, but the authenticity factor was missing for me. I don't care for this printing of the work, but I do collect old readers and would LOVE having this in one of the original bindings.

3 stars

This review appears as a part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in challenge, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Some Clever Title

Some Clever Title: A FoxTrot Collection blah blah blah
by Bill Amend

Love FoxTrot, not this collection

I love FoxTrot. I have loved FoxTrot for many years. Its geeky and nerdy and pop culture and funny. Its my favorite comic strip, so I was looking forward to this new collection. While this had the same things I love about FoxTrot, I don't care for this collection as much. A couple of the comics are not appropriate for children (particularly the ones featuring an actual photo of a bikini model and the one where beef jerky is fashioned into beef twerky) which was disappointing. Beyond that, though, this collection only features the Sunday strips. Now the full color strips are great, but there are no story arcs. Its just a collection of funny, punny, independent strips. One of my favorite things about FoxTrot are those little collections of hilarity, so I was sad for those not to be included here.

3 stars

This review appears as a part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in the series, click here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Bears in Wild

Week 23: A book about the natural world

by Ada and Frank Graham


Super overarching story of bears and how we know what we know about them. This was written shortly after our knowledge of bears began expanding so the information is sparse. I actually didn't learn anything new reading this, which surprised me. The writing is sadly not that engaging - it reads almost like a textbook for young elementary students.

At the time of publication, this book was probably great, but now its dated. I'm sure there are better books out there if your child is interested in learning more about bears.

2 stars

This post appears as a part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in the challenge, click here

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Cricket in a Thicket

Week 22: A book of poetry

Cricket in a Thicket
by Aileen Fischer


Collection of poems about the outdoors for children. Some are really cute, others are just average, a few are meh. Children probably won't notice or care. The ink drawings were great for the time, but the print quality may be off-putting to some - definitely from a time past (but in a cute way) I wish they were colored. Cute for checking out of the library, but not a personal library must-have. I'll copy my favorite couple out of the book & then pass it along.

3 stars

This post appears as a part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in the challenge, click here.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Daniel Webster

Week 23: A biography

Daniel Webster: Defender of the Union
by Robert Allen

Engaging and Informative

This book is well written for school aged children. There are some parts of the book in which I question its accuracy because we are not told certain instances were recorded in a diary or otherwise. How can we know what Daniel though before he drifted off to sleep at age 5? The use of the quotes and other such instances makes the work appear unreliable to an adult - a child would not question it (which could be problematic). Thankfully, we are moved into a time where there is more resources documenting his life within a few chapters.

While I have different political persuasions from Daniel Webster, the book is still interesting to read and engaging, though at times it appears as an apologetic for Webster's beliefs. The sentiment that America is a Christian nation and great because of that is present, but not overwhelming.

I really enjoyed learning about this great man and his times. Honestly, seeing how the political situation was in his day gives me a little more hope than I had before this reading. This isn't the first time we've been faced with bad options, but if we all do our part maybe we can still pull through as have in the past.

3.5 stars. Recommend.

This review appears as part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in the challenge, click here.