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Super easy Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples

We’re not on Whole 30 and we haven’t been on Whole 30 for… like two years. But whenever we’re looking for a new recipe, we tend to search “Whole 30” and then the thing we’re looking for. Whole 30 chicken recipes, Whole 30 taco recipes, etc. If we discover something that is 1. easy and 2. Whole 30 compliant, then we know we can make it a part of our lives on the regular and not feel bad about it. Enter these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples.

Honestly, I found this recipe years ago when I was babysitting a little boy who ate a LOT. I wanted to make him something easy and tasty. Since then, this has been a staple in our house AND is often requested by kids I babysit for.

Get ready because it’s the simplest.

Three ingredients for these Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples:

1 apple, diced.
Coconut oil
cinnamon

Optional, non-whole 30 ingredient:
Coconut milk vanilla ice cream

Whole 30 compliant cinnamon apples

Whole 30 Compliant Cinnamon apples

STEP ONE: Put a scoop of coconut oil in a skillet and heat on medium.
STEP TWO: While that’s heating, dice the apple(s), preferably with two super funny, cute kids to keep you company.

STEP THREE: pour diced apples into the skillet. Move around occasionally.

STEP FOUR: When the apples start getting a little mushy, sprinkle cinnamon all over them. Cook for another minute or so.. or really however long you want.

STEP FIVE: Dish up! They’re so delicious on their own OR you can add a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream (that part is not Whole 30 compliant!).

Enjoy 🙂

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In His Hands

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In the months leading up to our wedding, I started really thinking about the whole better or worse thing.

I thought about our friends whose baby was stillborn.

I thought about my friend who loved and served his wife until the succumbed to cancer.

and the whole “worse” thing took center stage.

My wedding weekend was really tough for me. In addition to being knocked over and off my feet by a huge wave of grief, I kept thinking… this declaration and ceremony is BIG. I couldn’t just stand there and think of some house with a white picket fence and 100% healthy children and a long life. I stood there and thought… what if I have to wipe your butt in 7 years? What if our dreams shatter right before our eyes? What if we deal with a loss that threatens to drive us apart? THAT is what the day was about for me. The hard, the unimaginable, the “worse.”

As my friends were grieving and I was still distracted by the sparkly ring on my finger, I kept thinking “did they imagine AT ALL that THIS would come? did they think the worse would be THIS WORSE?”

Right now we’re going through our own season of “worse.” It’s nothing super traumatic. It’s not cancer or an empty nursery. It’s just stressful and hard. The past 24 hours, I’ve cried more than I have the whole year, I think. Year being like 2019, not calendar year, to keep it in the right perspective.

I did that super girl thing where I looked in the mirror when I got a wave of calm (why do we do that?) and as I stood there, watching fresh tears fall down my sad little face, I suddenly remembered a moment of our wedding.

There was a lot I let other people choose. The flowers. The food. The date. But the one thing I had to have my way was the music. I walked down the aisle to By Two by Dave Barnes (sung by one of best friends, Ernie). We walked out to Ever Ever After from Enchanted (don’t judge me). and during our communion, our friend Tyler sang I’m In His Hands, by my friend Phil. It was the best way I could think to reconcile the promise of the “worse.” When that wave rolls, there’s something more and bigger than Justen and I.

I will not fear, though the darkened clouds may gather ’round me.
I trust the One who whispers “Peace.”
Although the wind and waves may threaten to confound me,
He walked upon the raging seas. He still can calm the storm in me.

I cannot see in the night that lies before me,
but I hold the hand that made the stars. …

I’m in His hands, whatever the future holds, I’m in His hands.
The days I cannot see have all been planned for me.
His way is best, you see. I’m in His hands.

I'm in His Hands

I’ve mentioned that song before on my blog because that line about Christ straight up strolling across a stormy sea like it is nothing so of course the storm in my heart and in my head is not a big deal for Him to come in and conquer.

BUT. That’s honestly not what popped in my head as I stood there amazed that my normal eyes could magically transform into such a deep, scary pink color. Instead I thought of these OTHER lyrics.

“You don’t have to worry, and don’t you be afraid.
Joy comes in the morning, troubles they don’t last always
for there’s a friend named Jesus, who will wipe your tears away
and if your heart is broken, just lift your hands and say

‘I know that I can make it, with Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way, my life is in His hands.
With Jesus, I can take it. with Him I know I can stand.
No matter what may come my way, my life is in His hands.'”

Which of course made me think of the OTHER lyrics which then just made me start crying EVEN MORE (plus I was staring in the mirror which has like an 80% chance of making you cry again) because I realized that this is what I knew would eventually come. And all things considered…. it’s not cancer or death or anything that rips your heart out and makes it hard to breathe. It’s just a storm, and I know someone who is so unbothered by storms He can nap through them.

These “worse” and stormy seasons are held in holy, holey hands that sleep through, walk on, and straight up shush storms. and I think I’ve done a lot of looking for an umbrella and trying to find a life boat, instead of crying out to the person who is able to shelter and save me from the chaos.

Something I’ve realized is that we’re a society of people who curate and create a feed or timeline that often neglects to mention the things that are breaking our hearts. Not always to hide it, but sometimes because it’s not appropriate to share or we want to hold it close to us. But because of that, I know there are people whose social media presence show life is carrying on as normal but there’s a storm raging on beneath the surface. This is for all of us who fall in that category. <3

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Ten movies to watch while you’re sick

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Abreva, Emergen-C, Lipton, Robitussin and Theraflu. All opinions are mine alone. #SickDayTips #CollectiveBias

Here we are, in the thick of winter. It’s cold, snowy, sneezy and coughy. We’ve been constantly surrounded by people getting sick, catching germs and spreading germs. Not only that, but Justen works at schools. With devices. That teenagers have touched, coughed on, breathed on… even puked on (no joke).

Human interaction is like walking through a field of landmines. Are they anywhere on the sick spectrum, and are they contagious? Yikes.

Truth be told, I don’t often get really sick (knock on wood) but when I do… oh, I am MISERABLE. All caps and everything.

One of the hardest things for me to do is rest. I actually get really bored really easily, so when I am told to drink water and sit and let my body get to work fighting off whatever’s going on, I get really stressed.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there’s no glory in proving you can carry on as normal when your body is begging you to give it time. I’ve learned that if my body needs me to sit and scroll Pinterest for hours while watching a movie, I’m just going to give my body what it wants.

So I thought I’d share with you 10 movies to watch while you’re sick and how to push through it while you rest.

ONE // ENCHANTED
Let me scream this from the rooftops – animated Disney princess turned real human who deals with eye rollers and reality? Plus Patrick Dempsey as the true life prince charming… y’all, maybe just watch this one on repeat.

TWO // HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
I’m always going to say start here. If you’re home sick, chances are you’ve got hours… and hours… of resting ahead of you. Why not start with a story line that goes on for hours and hours?

THREE // DUMPLIN’
A Netflix Original that is SO FUNNY.

FOUR // LEGALLY BLONDE
Elle Woods is great for any day, but especially when you’re not feeling great. Elle goes from great to down to determined to on top of the world. And there’s even a part two (and soon a part 3!)

FIVE // WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY
Another Netflix original, but if comedies aren’t your thing and you’re more interested in something suspenseful to pass the time, I cannot begin to emphasize how great this movie is. It’s suspenseful and action packed and I loved it.

SIX // MARY POPPINS
A spoonful of sugar…. 🙂

SEVEN // THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Singing and dancing and making your dreams come true. All things you’ll get to once you’re feeling better, right?

EIGHT // JURASSIC PARK
Again with the theme of sequels upon sequels to watch while you’re resting!

NINE // HIDDEN FIGURES
Do it for the music alone.

TEN // TOY STORY
Finishing up with more sequels upon sequels to make you laugh and cry and feel so nostalgic.

While you’re resting, make sure you’re stocked up on essentials to help get you back in tip top shape! As we kept getting reports of people in our family getting sick, we stopped by Fred Meyer, part of the Kroger family of stores, to stock up in case either of us caught a bug!

Since the winter can leave lips susceptible to cold sores, we picked up Abreva® Pump Cold Sore and Fever Blister Treatment, which is proven to heal cold sores & shorten the duration of pain, itching, burning and tingling, when used at the first sign**.

We grabbed this Children’s Robitussin® Honey Cough & Chest Congestion DM even though we don’t have kids because I love honey and they were out of the adult kind! There are dosage amounts listed for adults on the label, so I knew I could use this to relieve chest congestion and mucus.

If you’ve ever had a day in bed, you know that a hot beverage can do WONDERS for you. Fred Meyer had two really great options, both were new to me! One is Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold, which can be made in your KEURIG (or any single-serve coffee maker)! Powerful relief without a prescription. There’s also an option for Nighttime, if that’s what you need. (Remember, Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold and Children’s Robitussin® Honey Cough & Chest Congestion should not be used at the same time).

My favorite cold and flu season go to is a cup of tea, so when I spotted Lipton Soothe Your Tummy tea, I knew it would become a staple. The Soothe Your Tummy tea has botanicals like ginger and peppermint that make each cup really delicious. Plus, you can save $1.00 off Lipton Tea Herbal Supplement Wellness starting Feb. 20th, so you’ll want to stock up to have Lipton on hand for anytime!

 

Like I said, I grabbed all of these at Fred Meyer, and I’d highly recommend picking them up so that you will be prepared for any days you need to rest and recharge.

What would you have on your list of 10 movies to watch when you’re sick??

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.

**When used at the first sign, median healing time was 4.1 days; 25% healed in 2.5 days.

 

Theraflu-(c) 2019 the GSK group of companies or its licensor. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older.

Use all products only as directed. Read label and follow directions. Abreva, Emergen-C, Robitussin – Use only as directed. Read label and follow directions.

 

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Why HPV screening is important and how to test at home

This post is sponsored by Nurx, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Lately I’ve been listening to a podcast about disease, and it’s got me hyper aware of the importance of preventative maintenance for a variety of health issues. January is National Cervical Health Month, so I’m really excited to share with you some information about HPV and how Nurx is making it easier and super affordable to take charge of your health.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly transmitted STI (sexually transmitted infection), with nearly 80 million Americans currently infected and 14 million newly infected each year. This next fact really blew my mind: a LOT of people are infected with HPV in their lives (80 percent of sexually active people!) but are unaware they have the virus. In a lot of these cases, the HPV will go away on its own but if it doesn’t, it can cause cancer in the nether regions, including cervical cancer (it causes 34,000 cervical cancer diagnoses each year).

Here’s why I love the HPV screening I’m about to share with you: nearly 25% of women without health insurance have not checked their risk for cervical cancer in the past 5 years. That number is 11% in the general population, so that means women in this country with less access to health care are TWICE AS LIKELY to have never had a screening. Nurx just introduced a Home HPV screening text. In the privacy of your own home, women can have the chance to make better decisions about their health.

Nurx’s Home HPV Screening test is affordable at $15 with insurance and $69 without insurance. The test kit, which is the same quality as a pap smear, checks for 14 strains of HPV that have a higher risk of leading to cervical cancer.  The test is really simple, too.

After visiting Nurx.com or downloading the Nurx app, you’ll answer a few questions about your house and the test will be shipped to your door. In the test is an extra long q-tip, plastic tube and bag, sticker with a barcode, and prepaid return envelope.

All you have to do is insert, circle around (if you know what I mean!), drop the swab in the tube, put the tube in the bag, and mail it in the pre-paid envelope. A few days after the medical team receives your sample, you’ll get your results from the Nurx medical team. If the results come back negative, you have a low risk of cervical cancer and don’t need another test for 3 years. If your results are positive, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. The Nurx medical team will work with you to figure out the next steps for you.

If you’re in the 30+ category with me (hello, welcome, want some tea?) guidelines advise to check the risk for cervical cancer with an HPV test every 5 years or a pap smear every 3 years. Nurx does offer a kit for you spring chickens aged 25-29 in case you want to check your risk for cervical cancer between pap smears.

This test is preventative screening, it’s not a treatment or replacement for doctors or health care, which is why I’m so glad that Nurx doesn’t just report back results and helps with the next steps.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, listening to that podcast about disease has made me so grateful to live in a time where there are so many preventative measures… and they come to the comfort of your own home, don’t judge your sweatpants with the holes, and allow you to take control of your health. What a time to be alive.

Visit the Nurx site to have an HPV screening test sent to you and celebrate National Cervical Health Month by making sure you know what’s going on.

 

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How to stop working when you work for yourself

This post is sponsored by POP SECRET® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

There are so many things that are wonderful and amazing about working for yourself. Unlimited earning potential, doing what you love 90% of the time (keeping it real), no need to request vacation days, and judgement free hours listening to podcasts while you work. One of the hardest parts is learning how to stop working when you work for yourself.

Some days I actively work for three hours and other days I work for 12+ hours, literally from the moment I wake up until I put my dying phone back on the charger late at night.

It’s super cool that I work for myself, but there’s no supervisor to remind me to take a day off, there’s no work computer to turn off and leave at the office. I work on the toilet, at stoplights, waiting to check out at the store, and even during traditional office hours sometimes. There is no built in “off” button to my work.

Here’s the crazy part, though: if I was the boss of anyone but myself, I would absolutely insist that they took time off. Not only that, but I can get way more done in five solid, focused hours of work than I can with ten hour days chasing the imaginary end zone.

There will always be more to do, new things to try and opportunities to grow. But to meet these opportunities, we have to be rested and excited and recharged. Easier said than done though, right?

Give yourself permission – LITERALLY write yourself a note excusing yourself from work – to stop working.

As I’m learning how to stop working, I’ve given myself permission to do the following things:

  1. Read a book just for the fun of reading a book.
  2. Make my favorite snack and relax with a podcast or a movie. 
    One of my all-time favorite snacks is popcorn, so keeping a box of POP SECRET® on hand is a no brainer. It’s super easy to keep a box in your Amazon cart at all times so that when you order… I don’t know, sheet suspenders or coffee syrup pumps or glass spray bottles, an essential time off snack pops up in the box. See what I did there? Pops up? 😉
  3. Take a nap.
    Set a timer, and take a 45-minute nap if your body is needing some rest. You have my permission to sleep while the world spins on.
  4. Get distracted without feeling bad.
    If I’m trying to work, social media can be the enemy. But if I’m actively NOT working, social media can be really fun. Don’t feel bad retweeting things on Twitter, watching all the Instagram stories, and pinning lots of things on Pinterest.
  5. Binge watch a few episodes of a TV show. 
    Get comfy, pop a bag of POP SECRET® and get swept away in a few episodes of a TV show. Some of my favorites are over on this post.
  6. Spend time enjoying your hobbies.
    I love putting stickers in my planner. Sometimes I spend a LOT of time looking through all of my stickers, wishing I had time to organize them or decorate my planner a little more… take that time! Whatever your hobbies are, use your not working time to invest in the things that make you feel happy.
  7. Reach out to your friends.
    A lot of my job is from my phone, so I tend to ignore any texts that come through while I’m working. That has resulted in almost 200 unread text messages. Take the time to respond to texts or send funny memes to people you love.
  8. Brain dump.
    If you find that it’s hard to not work, spend a minute brain dumping everything that you’re thinking of “to do” in your business. Set a timer for 2 minutes and. write down all the pressing things. Give yourself permission to do those when you start working again. It’s weird, but this exercise is really helpful for me. Getting things out of my head and onto paper helps me acknowledge them and save them for later.

You have my permission to stop because sometimes we just need someone to tell us that it’s okay.

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Two years from now.

The other day I was (wait for it) distracted on the internet. I was sitting at my desk, gazing at the paper mill from our window and my mind went down a rabbit hole, which I followed all the way to YouTube.

I saw a video that reminded me of a text I got two Decembers ago.

Two Decembers ago, Kristen texted me to tell me that Layla was diagnosed with alopecia and her hair was falling out. My precious little Layla, sweetest Layla in the whole world (I’ll fight you on it) and truly one of the best little humans I’ve ever known.

Otherwise healthy, but losing her hair. I remember laying in bed, sobbing. I remember thinking it would change her life, and what if it dimmed her spirit? I sobbed, and then a month later Ernie posted it on social media. That text suddenly became very real. It wasn’t a “maybe” or a “possibly,” but it was an actual thing. I remember standing in the church building we worked at, crying while Justen hugged me. and then I picked my phone up and told Kristen “I’m booking a flight out there, just tell me when.”  I asked her to send me videos and pictures of Layla so that I wouldn’t burden her with any looks of shock or surprise or anything.

and a few weeks later, I arrived. To my delight, she was the same spunky Layla (with some extra emotional moments about random things). She asked me to put her hair in a ponytail for gymnastics, which I gently did with her wispy hair. Right before I went to the airport, Ernie asked me to help him film a video for his Patreon. He’d chosen Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen” which has the line “honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out well I’d love you anyway.”

As he was listening to the song, the girls were dancing around and he had his camera out. He got footage of Layla hearing those words for the first time (it’s in this video and it’s the point I feel myself turn into a giant tear drop of love because she is so excited). He also included little clips of the girls, and me with the girls, and I have watched this video so often.

Here’s the thing. It’s been two years since I got that text from Kristen about Layla’s alopecia. and those moments of worrying about it affecting her spirit, the nights of crying because I wished I could protect her from anything hard… they are memories.

Those hard moments are gone, those worries and fears and tears… in the past.

and now the unknown is normal. To Layla, her twin, her parents, her family, her classmates, to me.

I think of the things right now that are unknown. That worry me, keep me up, bring me tears. Mountains that seem unclimbable, decisions that seem unmakeable.. and I wonder what those will be like two years from now.

The brilliant thing about mountains is that they just get bigger and bigger the closer you get to them, but they’re smaller and smaller the more you move past them. and taking a tip from Layla, just shave the remnants of old life off and step into new chapters of your life with boldness and a resilient spirit.

ps if you made it this far without watching the video, that’s wrong of you. Watch the video. It’s my favorite.

 

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