TESTIMONY OF THE DAY
PHOTO TESTIMONY: “Hi Maria!! I, like so many others, just want to say thank you!
I just had my second baby, although third pregnancy, and it was a completely different experience than the first two in a very positive way. With my first son, I ended up having a still birth at twenty weeks due to un diagnosed hypothyroidism. I was desperate to get pregnant again right away and we did two months later with our second son. Little did I know that my thyroid had not had time to re stabilize and the thyroid problem continued into my second pregnancy. Although it was diagnosed at 15 weeks and the synthroid I was put on enabled me to keep my son, I gained approximately 90 pounds that pregnancy.
This pregnancy I worked very hard to keep control of my weight. But I wanted to be doing it in a healthier long term way. Hoping to build healthier habits that my children could grow up and benefit from. My aunt directed me to your blog and Facebook page. I read as much as I could, and having eaten paleo for a few months a couple years back many of the concepts made sense. So I started dabbling in the “Maria Way” for about 3 and a half months. I always felt awesome while I was following your plan, but like many before me I would always allow myself splurges on the weekends. My husband and I always ordered food in or went out and since he wasn’t changing his eating habits that continued. I would always gain weight and have to work at losing it the following week. I hated that I was still doing the yo-yo dieting when I knew that keto was working for me and I always felt sick immediately after eating grains and sugar.
So 52 days ago I decided to commit to eating your way for the next year. Ideally a long enough time to build long lasting habits and see a substantial change in my body/health.
Well, throughout my whole pregnancy I only gained 17 pounds! Compared to 90+ with my son that was a HUGE success! I delivered a healthy baby girl exactly one week ago and I am down 15 pounds.
I am now continuing my health journey from a much better place than ever before. Thank you so much for your delicious cook books which is what makes eating this way possible. And for your many many blog posts that are not only encouraging and inspiring but very educational. Thank you Maria!” – Stephanie Esau
If you want to get started on a path to health and healing, click HERE. You will not regret it!
CHRISTMAS TREE FUN
The boys are at the perfect age where the holidays are magical. I dreamed about celebrating the holidays with young children for years. You could often find me making crafts in high school with my niece and nephew (Kayla and Grant:).
Micah was so excited about getting a real tree, he would often pick out what Christmas tree he wanted while we would drive down the road. Craig and I agreed that our fake tree just wasn’t enough this year so we drove down the road to our friend’s tree farm; Mr. Snowman’s. Charlie is the sweetest man and he would let me bow hunt on his beautiful 80 acres along the St. Croix River.
It was so fun gallivanting through the woods with the boys as they picked out bigger and Bigger and BIGGER trees! We also got carried away with the size of the trees.
We finally settled on the perfect tree. I said I was bummed that we didn’t have any family photos of the tree cutting and Craig quickly thought of a solution of hanging the camera on a sign that was conveniently posted close to the tree and doing a delay timer.
The funniest part of this photo is that Craig hung our camera on a sign facing the other way to take this photo. After a few shots, he started cutting away at the tree. I went to go grab the camera and saw what the sign said… “NO CUT!” These trees were so big in this area they were reserved for landscapers to spay. We felt terrible. But it also made us realize just how big this tree was.
It was so big we couldn’t get it onto the tree cart so I walked back with the boys (Kai is crying because he is so tired of walking) to drive our car to the trail to put it on. Guess what… Craig had the keys! Sheesh! So I walked over to the shed and asked Charlie and his helpers to come see the mess we were in.
Thank goodness Charlie was so understanding. He knew it wasn’t going to fit on our vehicle so he offered to let us use his SUV that had a trailer attached to it. So we drove the tree home with Charlies car.
Craziness doesn’t stop there!
How do we get it into our tiny front door??? A few broken branches lost and a lot of pine needles everywhere. That’s how!
We get the tree IN but how to get it standing UP?
Craig and I are short people, getting a huge tree to stand up was a challenge but we did it! AND…. broke the tree stand! Yep, snapped in 1/2!
Craig had to drive to town to find the largest tree stand he could find to quickly get this monster in water. We lifted the tree up again with all our might. Meanwhile the boys were eating chili at the dinner table laughing. Micah asked, “Daddy, how am I going to get the Christmas Tree Star on this year?” (which he has done every year prior). Yeah… this year we may skip that tradition!
Here’s where a recipe comes in! We don’t have enough ornaments to cover the tree! As I discussed this the next day with my amazingly talented photographer friend Jamie Schultz who writes a fun blog about healthy kid lunches called This Lunch Rox told me about baking homemade Christmas ornaments with cinnamon. I quickly ran to Sam’s Club to get 4 huge containers of cinnamon and we got baking!
NOTE: These are not for eating:)
- 1¼ cup cinnamon
- 1 cup applesauce
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- Line a cookie sheet pan with unbleached parchment paper.
- In large bowl combine the cinnamon and applesauce. Stir well. I used a paddle attachment in my stand mixer.
- If the dough is too sticky add more cinnamon. If it is too dry add more applesauce.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with cinnamon as if you were rolling out cut-out cookies with traditional flour.
- Place dough on cinnamon then dust with additional cinnamon.
- Sprinkle a rolling pin with cinnamon and roll the dough to ¼ inch thick, sprinkling with more cinnamon to keep from sticking.
- Cut out into shapes with cookie cutters.
- Place onto cookie sheet with parchment. They can be very close since they do not rise or expand.
- Use a straw or something round to poke a hole into each ornament for hanging.
- Bake in oven for 1½ - 2 hours or until rock hard OR allow to dry at room temperature for several days.
- Tie a piece of yarn through each ornament.