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Peek Into Our Week: Trim Healthy Mama (I quit sugar!), my love of essential oils, sewing, homeschooling, and a trip to Las Vegas

Peek Into Week
Kaitlynn and I have been working on some sewing and handwork projects together — thanks to the supplies and book generously sent to us by Abigail from Marie-Madeline Studio. We’ll be sharing more pictures and details on our projects in a post in a few weeks.

Peek Into Week

My first attempt at making Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes. These are not your typical pancakes — they have oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites as the base.

I had read rave reviews of them so I was so sad that my attempt was an epic fail. Leave it to me to somehow ruin a recipe with five ingredients!

Peek Into Week

But I’m not a quitter, so I tried again the next day. And it was a success!!

{I kept the batter in the fridge overnight and used the griddle instead of the stove top. Both things seemed to make a big difference.}

I topped these with a little Greek yogurt and berries and they are delicious!! I’m going to try making a batch for the freezer as I’ve heard that they are freezer-friendly, too!

Speaking of Trim Healthy Mama, some of you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve radically changed my eating over the last few months. After rave reviews from my sister and another friend, I decided to take the plunge and just experiment with eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama guidelines.

Truthfully, I figured I’d feel miserable and would hate eating this week. But I completely surprised myself when I actually felt great and found that I loved eating this way.

I held off on mentioning much online because I didn’t know whether I’d actually stick with it (going almost entirely gluten-free and sugar-free is a pretty MASSIVE thing for this former carb-loving, homemade-brownie-loving girl).

But I’m going on my third month of eating this way and I’ve (mostly) stopped craving carbs and sweets — except for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan — so I’d say it’s safe to say that there’s a good chance this is going to be a lifestyle change. Which is something I truly could have never believed was possible.

Y’all, if I can quit sugar, anyone can. {It feels so empowering to be able to say that!}

Peek Into Week

It’s hard for me to believe that my baby is in Kindergarten!! He’s loving school and just eating it up! {Excuse the mis-matched outfit… I think we need to have a week of classes on How to Match Clothes! :)}

Peek Into Week

These new essential oils that just came in the mail from Plant Therapy last week and we are loving them! I especially like that these are formulated specifically for kids and have directions on each bottle on how to properly dilute them for use. Look for a giveaway and review soon!

I’ve become a huge essential oil fan over the past year (my poor friends have been so patient with me as I’m often whipping out my traveling oil bag and saying, “I have an oil for that! Here just try this!” ;)), but I’m not partial to any brand specific brand. That said, I’ve found that Plant Therapy has a great selection of oils, the quality is good from what I’ve experienced and researched, and their prices are some of the best I’ve found anywhere.

{I just realized that I am sounding like a total crunchy weirdo talking about quitting sugar and essential oils in the same post. I’m afraid I am becoming that person I never thought I’d be… I promise I will draw the line at switching to cloth toilet paper, though. I have committed to my husband that I will never be that crunchy. Ever. Kudos to those of you who are, but a girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere! :)}

Peek Into Week

Last week, we had been planning for months to travel to North Carolina for me to hang out with a few of my dear friends (Kathi Lipp, Renee Swope, and Michele Cushatt) for a few days. But Michele’s dad passed away and instead the three of us were able to switch travel plans and go to Las Vegas instead for Michele’s dad’s memorial.

I was grateful for some unexpected quiet on a flight that turned out to be much longer than expected this morning. I savored a Club Soda (one of my current “guilty pleasures”) and read the entire pre-release copy of The Fringe Hours.

Peek Into Week

It’s hard to describe in words how powerfully impacted I was by the memorial service for Michele’s dad. It was the most moving memorial service I’ve ever attended!

From both of his children giving dynamic messages and tributes to their dad, the worship time, Michele singing and playing, four men leading us in a time of prayer… To see the legacy of a life well lived left me inspired and changed to go home and pour into my family.
Peek Into Week

These four women are some of the very dearest women I know. We flew in from four different time zones to love on Michele and celebrate the legacy of her dad. After the memorial service, Michele’s family invited us over to celebrate this wonderful man.

We laughed, we teased, we shared our heart, and we cried buckets of tears. And it was beautiful.

We ended the day with Dilly Bars — Michele’s dad’s favorite. It was so very worth breaking my no-sugar commitment for one day in his honor. 🙂

So that was a peek into the last two weeks of my life. How has life been at your house? Tell us what’s been going on in your home recently!

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  • Julie C says:

    Wow, I can relate on the THM no-sugar, no-gluten, essential oil lovin’, baby starting K-4 in homeschool post today. So glad you could be an encouragement to your friend; hey there is a no sugar added dilly bar (not for purist!):

    • Jo says:

      So many similarities between us! I love it!

    • mariah says:

      ME too!!! I have a 4th grader, 3rd grader, and now my youngest is in K. I homeschool. Do THM, essential oils…etc. Honestly, I’ve been wondering if Crystal was going to hop on the THM band wagon soon. So glad she did!!! 😀

      • Jo says:

        I think we need a support group for us homeschooling-3-grades, oilin’, and THM eatin’ gals! 🙂

        • Nichole Bieber says:

          I just am also just starting THM, I love my oils too. We just started homeschooling our 5 year old this year. Count me in! Crystal love your blog and your honesty! Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  • Mary says:

    Good for you cutting out sugar! I’ve been low carb for several years now and I actually make myself sick if I eat anything too sweet. If you are interested in a fascinating and scientific look at how carbohydrates effect out bodies and fat storage check out “Why we get fat” by Gary Taubes.

  • Debi says:

    I love “Trim Healthy Mama”! Have you read “Above Rubies” Crystal? It’s such a wonderful homeschooling Mama support magazine written by the family of the sisters who wrote “Trim Healthy Mama”.
    My one issue with “Trim Healthy Mama”, is that the diet is very high in oxalates, which is only a problem if you are prone to kidney stones….it’s a great way of life, but those of us with this issue, need to be careful about some of the staples it recommends….like stevia, cocoa, and berries that are super high in oxalates. This can be adjusted with alternative ingredients. I was really GLAD they recommend coffee!!! And the “conflict” between the sisters throughout the script is humorous and entertaining.
    I’m so glad to see you write about the book, it’s chocked full of great advice, suggestions, and recipes. You can tell the sisters poured their very souls into the manual.
    Blessings to you!!

    • Jo says:

      I’ve seen a few issues of Above Rubies. And thanks for the word of caution on the diet being high in oxalates. I’m glad, too, that coffee is part of the plan. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Boy, that post about THM is kind of encouraging. I’m so afraid to start it, and try new (different) things! I have such a sweet tooth, and also love my carbs! It’s rather scary! Maybe we should start a support group on here 🙂

  • Christine thatcher says:

    That’s my church! I’m so blessed to call it mine.

  • Su says:

    What do you put into your coffee if you’re not using sugar, etc? I really like the flavored creamers–but, would like to cut back. Any suggestions? thx

    • Twila says:

      I was a lover of flavored creamers as well. One thing that has worked for me is to use cream and flavored stevia drops. You can get a variety of flavors. They’re made by Sweetleaf and can be ordered through Swansons or Vitacost.

  • Lety says:

    Hi, Crystal! Congrats on the no-sugar achievement! It feels so liberating to drop something from your diet that will improve your well-being. 🙂

    What a wonderful man Michele’s dad must have been! What a blessing you were able to be with her.

    I had a wonderful week, though I feel quite frazzled in terms of getting things done. But I am pretty sure it’s because I haven’t done a to do list in weeks. I plan on getting back on that wagon tomorrow night.

    I had several highlights! I FINALLY noticed a physical change in my appearance!! 🙂 It took 47 pounds, and I have so much more to go, but I am pumped to continue! I am thrilled with my accomplishment! And feel so blessed!

    I learned at my three month follow-up that my weight loss has significantly decreased the probability of cancer recurrence! If that is not the greatest motivation to continue, I don’t know what else could be! My doctor and team practically got the champagne out for the celebration we had. They were so kind in their comments and motivation! I am so blessed to have them take care of me!

    My husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. ^_^ We reminisced, reflected on how much we have grown as a couple, had a great dinner with my family, received a blessing from our priest, and thanked God for the blessings He has showered on our marriage. It was a wonderful anniversary!

    I have been so very happy these last several weeks. And peaceful! As if I don’t have anything worrisome in my life. I feel grateful for everything I have received, including cancer. It has changed my life so much more than I expected. I have never felt as good as I do at the present time.

    Crystal, thank you for all your encouragement and kind responses to my comments. I don’t think you will ever know how much it means to me to have found you in the lowest time of my life. At a point I did not think there was anything for me to do in life other than just make it through each day. I learned so much from you about goal setting and especially faith. You ignited my hope for a better life. It took a while to get where I am, but I celebrate that I’ve made it. May you and your family be always blessed for being the exceptional person you are!

    I meant to write all of this in an email to you, but I could not remember your email address. I’d love to still write to you! Can you let me know where I can do so? Thank you!

    Have a wonderful week!! The same for all of your readers! God bless!

    • Jo says:

      You have no idea how much this comment blessed me! Thank you, sweet friend! Your comments here have inspired me so much!

      And also? I am THRILLED that you are doing so well and feeling so calm and peaceful!

      I’m also cheering for you 47 POUND WEIGHT LOSS!!!!!! That is absolutely incredible! You should be so proud of yourself!! That is wonderful and amazing!!!!!

      I hope you have a wonderful day!

      {Oh and my email address is: crystal @}

    • Guest says:

      Congratulations, Lety! What an encouraging and inspiring story you have!

  • Jen says:

    Wow! I’m reading THM right now, intending to try it soon. My one hesitation has been that while I have a few baby pounds to shed now, and my husband has just a slight belly he wants to shed, we really don’t need to lose much weight. So I’ve been wondering if all the fuss is worth it. It seems like it’s a good idea overall, but I just wondered if I would feel better enough than I do now to make it worth it. It seems like you would say yes! I definitely eat too many carbs, and crave sugar, and probably depend on it for energy….that’s part of my drive to do something different.

    • Sarah says:

      Jen, YES, giving up sugar is always worth it. Not only for yourself, but if you have children, your changes can positively impact them for the rest of their lives. My husband and I quit sugar a long time ago, and neither of us needed to lose weight. We did it because sugar is so bad for the immune system. There are so many “diets” floating around, Paleo being the “big thing” right now. But a lifestyle change will be something you can do forever, and you will not be lacking in sugars to give you energy — you will only lack the refined sugar that is bad for you. I think the Mediterranean Diet is one of the easiest for people to follow, while still being quite healthy, especially in comparison to how the average American eats. May you be encouraged on your journey!!

  • Twila says:

    The THM pancakes were a disaster for me as well the first time I made them. Making them the night before definitely helps. I also blend my oats alone, put in my bowl and add the other dry ingredients to them. Then I blend my cottage cheese and egg whites and add to the dry ingredients. It will seem quite thick in the morning, but I think it makes a nicer, fluffier pancake when done this way.

  • julia says:

    Crystal, I so love your personal posts. As a writing teacher I’ve got to point out that your voice on the blog is more you with every post. I look for these posts. Thank you for being willing to share!

  • Teresa says:

    I have wanted to try THM. I haven’t taken the plunge yet because I know they use a lot of eggs. My DS is highly allergic to eggs. I have been learning to eat gluten free, dairy free, and peanut free because my son is also allergic to wheat, milk, and peanuts. I have made your pumpkin cc muffins. I just replace one cup of flour with ground oats. The rest of the flour with a GF flour blend. I use flax seed instead of eggs. Still working on eliminating sugar since my son’s teeth have no enamel because of all the troubles we had with his allergies. By the way Pamelas bread flour makes the best GF bread. You can get it on Amazon. Works great in the bread maker.

  • Diane says:

    Washing family cloth with diapers today 🙂 and no, I didn’t think I’d use cloth wipes for family but it works! I don’t know about quitting sugar, though!

  • Leah says:

    Has eating THM or gluten free changed your grocery budget? Are you still spending $300 a month or has that gone up?

    • Jo says:

      It’s gone up some… I was waiting for a few months to see what a good number was for us with the dietary changes before I wrote about it. I’ll be sharing more about that later this week now that I think we’ve landed on what works best for us. 🙂

  • Kirbee N. says:

    Crystal, I would be curious to know how your grocery budget has been adjusted with this new diet, and how much your family eats with you, versus cooking separate meals/lunches. Cooking gluten and sugar free is a big budget change to accept, especially when it’s a “choice” not a allergy necessity. That said, I believe strongly that our family’s food budget should reflect what’s best for our bodies and health. I happily cut back on other areas so we can spend on healthy ingredients (for us that means a CSA share, and a food coop to access high quality raw ingredients).

  • Colette Nader says:

    Like yourself, I am finding myself at 50 turning into “one of those people” I never thought I would be. Having done a similar diet/eating lifestyle, I can say the changes it makes to not only how you feel, but how you look are tremendous! When I fell off the wagon temporarily I was shocked at how the things I loved before didn’t even taste good! One FB page I follow is Wheat Belly. It was a tremendous eye opener. Sadly even wheat is not what it used to be. Which is why it’s causing people so many digestive problems. The pictures endless people post of before and after the diet are unbelievable!

  • Lauren Woodrum says:

    I am curious what specifically you are liking about that brand of essential oils. Like what kinds of things are you having success with? There are soooo many companies out there and it’s hard to know which ones are really good and which ones aren’t. I’m all for low prices if they are effective! The big companies are so expensive, I can’t even bring myself to replace ones I’ve run out of!

    • Jo says:

      Plant Therapy is one of the least expensive brands I’ve found and it seems to be as effective as other brands. You might try one oil from them and see if it’s as effective as ones you’ve used from other companies that you’ve run out of. You can order them from their website or Amazon.

  • lauren says:

    What home school program do you use? I’m just getting started.

    • Jo says:

      We’re using Monarch Online for the girls this year and LifePac Kindergarten for Silas.

      • Marion says:

        Is this your first year using Alpha Omega homeschool products? We are using Horizon for the this time this year. I am thinking about Monarch and LifePacs but I could not have a lot online about either. Why did you choose those and are you liking them?

        • Jo says:

          This is our second year to use them for Kathrynne, but our first year to use them for Kaitlynn and Silas. So far, we’ve found them to be a great fit and perfect for our kids for this year.

  • Katie says:

    A friend suggested I start using Essential Oils a few months ago after I was complaining about the $7K of out of pocket medical expenses we have paid this year. Between ear infections, ear tubes, croup, sinus infections, anxiety, etc. we were broke!! Within weeks of using them I noticed a difference!! We have not had a sinus infection or ear infection in our house in months! I love them!!!

    I would caution new users to find a brand that is 100% Pure, Therapeutic essential oil. Some brands will use a small amount of essential oil in a carrier oil and it is not nearly as effective. I personally use Young Living, but I’m sure there are other good ones out there. If anyone wants to know more about them I would be happy to provide more info!

    • Jo says:

      That’s fantastic!! I love that Plant Therapy oils are 100% Pure and Therapeutic and (from everything I’ve read and experienced) high-quality.

      {I also love some of the Young Living oils and the DoTerra oils — yes, I’m so not brand loyal! :)}

    • Lindsay says:

      There is no actual FDA “therapeutic grade” label for essential oils. That is a made up term anyone can slap on their essential oils, there is no regulation. That term is thrown around by the MLM essential oil companies to scare people away from more reasonable priced (and just as high quality) brands. Plant Therapy is just as good as any MLM brand except they are totally transparent about how they test the all these made up labels that are thrown around. I will never give another dollar to the MLM brands.

  • Erika m says:

    I like the THM diet and have considered going at it with 100% but I have found with Stevia that it leaves a tingly feeling in my mouth/back of my throat-almost a menthol feeling but is a little uncomfortable and feels a teeny tiny bit like an allergic reaction a tiny stomach ache, have you or your readers experienced that at all?

    • Jo says:

      I personally haven’t experienced that, but I have found that stevia takes some time to get used to. At first, I didn’t like it AT ALL. I still don’t use it a lot… but I use it some and use xylitol some.

      Have you tried different brands? That might make a difference, too.

    • Lana says:

      The reaction you are experiencing is a food allergy or sensitivity reaction. Repeated use will only make you more sensitive so proceed with caution if you try it again. You may be having a problem with an ingredient in the brand you are using and not really the stevia so you might consider trying a more natural brand.

    • mariah says:

      YES! I have. I also experience dizziness with it. I’m hypoglycemic. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

  • Shawna says:

    Do you have a date scheduled for the Plant Therapy post? I am wanting to order, but would love to wait if there is a discount coupon code involved. 😉 I’ve not been able to find a current one online, and I just missed their sale yesterday!

  • SK Bell says:

    I am SO going to quit sugar!!!

  • Mrs. U says:

    Any chance you’ll come up with freezer meals for THM?

  • Amanda says:

    Believe it or not you inspired me to start THM a month or so ago- I saw you made the Shrinker and wondered what it was! I googled it and within a day I had ordered the e book! I am also feeling better and hoping to lose some stubborn weight!

  • Karyn says:

    Thanks Crystal for your always sweet encouragement and open heart – you’re a blessing to me 🙂
    I also am / was a terrible nail biter and the fascinating thing I discovered was that often nail biting is linked to certain nutrient deficiencies.
    Since refined sugar depletes our supplies of most nutrients, it makes a lot of sense.
    My nails grow much better when I am healthier – like there is less desire to bite them 🙂
    love, Karyn

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