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Tiffany Chacon

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes Chronic Pain Tips

4 Simple Lessons I Learned From a Detox Elimination Diet

October 18, 2021
detox elimination diet tips

If you’re considering trying a detox & elimination diet, I highly recommend it! I’ll tell you up front it won’t be easy and is best to do under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed medical provider with any questions you may have before undertaking a new health care regimen. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

What is a detox elimination diet?

Detoxify simply means to remove toxic substances. Our body does this naturally – no juicing required! 😆

When a substance enters our body, our digestive system filters out toxins using the liver and kidneys. You can read more about this process here: Information on Detoxification

When we partake in a detox diet, we’re simply supporting our body’s naturally occurring detoxification process by lessening the amount of toxins we consume. Additionally, we’re adding in foods that help our bodies optimize the naturally occurring detoxification process.

Detox diet: reducing toxins + increasing detoxifying foods = support your body’s natural detoxification process

An elimination diet is the process of removing common allergenic foods for a period of time and then adding them back in one at a time so you can rule out certain food sensitivities.

For example, to test if you’re sensitive to dairy, you can eliminate dairy for 10 days and then add it back into your diet to see how your body responds. An elimination diet is one of the most effective ways to test yourself for food sensitivities because you’re eliminating most allergenic foods (except fruits and vegetables) and testing them one at a time.

A detox elimination diet is the combination of the two at the same time – so you’re boosting your detox powers AND testing for food sensitivities all together!

Why should I do a detox elimination diet?

I did my detox elimination diet for many reasons. I suspected I had several food sensitivities but I wasn’t sure which foods were irritating me. The elimination diet allowed me to narrow that down.

I like to think of this as a “reset” time. A cleanse, but without all that annoying juicing. This can help give our bodies an extra boost, to re-energize us and get us focused on what we should be filling our bodies with.

I found that when I did my detox elimination diet, the foods I ate energized me more than the normally do. Perhaps because there wasn’t a bunch of toxins weighing it down or because I wasn’t consuming foods I was sensitive to!

Detox & Elimination Diet = food sensitivities FOUND + focus on energizing foods.

What should I eat on a detox elimination diet?

The short answer: lots of fruits and vegetables.

You should not consume foods that you KNOW you are allergic or sensitive to, or foods that you suspect you’re sensitive to. The whole point is to give your system a break from those foods, and then test them to confirm or rule out sensitivities.

There are lots of different ways to go about a detox or elimination diet, but I’ll share with you what I did:

During my detox elimination diet, I removed all meats, refined sugars, processed foods, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and known/suspected allergies or food sensitivities.

Throughout the 10-day detox, I removed one at a time – gluten, all grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes – until I was only consuming fruits and vegetables for a few days. Then, I tested each potential allergenic food group one at a time – first legumes, then nuts and seeds, then grains, gluten, and so on. I did not mix any of the allergenic foods with each other until I had completely reintroduced all of the foods.

For example, if I wanted to test out if I was sensitive to legumes AND gluten, I wouldn’t eat them both on the same day. I would eat legumes (and not gluten) for one to two days, and see how my body responded. Then, after I had finished that test, I would stop eating legumes and then reintroduce gluten for one or two days to see how my body responded. That way it’s clear which food groups my body is having sensitivities to.

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Parenting

8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy During the Holidays

October 5, 2021
keeping kids healthy during holidays

If you’re concerned about how to keep your kids healthy during this holiday season, read this guest post by Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks! Leslie loves to help moms in this amazing, yet scary journey of raising a successful family.

The holidays are a time of fun, love, and celebration, but they may also bring sniffles, sneezes, and stomachaches. It might be challenging to stay healthy during this season of cold weather, flu viruses, and sweet snacks. Luckily, you can do a few easy things this Holiday period to increase your chances of keeping your children (and yourself!) healthy. Engaging in healthy habits with your child over the holidays can help to ensure that your child’s health is in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. The information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed medical professional. If you or your child have a medical problem, you should consult your physician or your child’s physician.

Free them from Gadgets

We frequently hear requests for gadgets from our children (ranging in age from babies to teenagers), mainly when we’re engaged in other activities. Our instinct is to either say a reluctant ‘YES’ to get them off our backs or a vehement ‘NO’ to show who’s boss. In any case, you, the parents, are the losers! Establish clear rules for the use of electronics with the children. Set a limit of 30 minutes to an hour in front of the television during the holidays. Make sure your kids understand the need for moderation.

For more on this, check out the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations on screen time: Children and Screen Time.

Keep them Moving

The holiday season can be an excellent time to spend with your children and perhaps even let your inner child loose. It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time for the holidays and develop a list of activities to keep the kids occupied. 

Check out my favorite activities to wear out your high energy kid!

activities for high energy kids

Set aside time each day to walk, ride bikes, play backyard tag, jump rope, play soccer, dance, or swim as a family. It all adds up to the 60 minutes of activity that children require every day, regardless of the season.

Get Enough Sleep

We all know how important sleep is, but it’s easy during the holidays to let that slide. According to studies, school-aged children (6 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours per night. However, many children get only 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and in some cases, even less.

When we’re not getting enough sleep, we become irritable and, over time, sick. It’s especially crucial for kids because the effects of sleep deprivation can last a lifetime.

For more science behind this, read this and and this.

So minimize those late-night sleepovers and stick to a strict bedtime schedule. To make things easier, consider the following: 

  • Maintain a consistent dinnertime schedule
  • Ensure that your kids get plenty of fresh air and activity throughout the day
  • Before going to bed, turn off all screens 1 hour before bedtime

Eat Healthily

Everyone enjoys the holidays because of the festive lights, time spent with family, and, of course, the delicious holiday feasts. When presented with tempting temptations, holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are an excellent time to teach children to make healthy choices. Given that Halloween is rapidly approaching, we must prepare nutritious Halloween treats for our children. Bring a healthy side dish to the dinner table to ensure that there are healthy foods available. Getting children involved in preparing a recipe is a great approach to encourage them to eat a healthy diet and nutritious foods.

Check out my favorite anti-inflammatory diet holiday side dishes for healthy holiday alternatives!

Prepare Healthy Snacks

Your child’s stomach is relatively small. They most likely consume less food at meals than you do. Smart snacks can help your child consume adequate calories and fluids throughout the day. Adults find it difficult to avoid favorite holiday dishes at classroom parties, visiting relatives, and home customs. It’s even more challenging for children! 

You can prepare some healthier versions like:

  • carrots or peppers with hummus
  • easy-to-peel clementines
  • 100% juice
  • grapes
  • string cheese
  • no sugar added yogurt topped with fresh fruit
  • whole grain crackers with goat cheese
  • peanut butter and apples or bananas
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • homemade smoothies with fresh greens and fruit

When you keep these foods on hand, it’s much easier to give healthier snacks when you’re in a rush rather than reaching for that plate of cookies on the counter.

If you need help getting your picky eater to eat healthy, check out these 10 tips for raising healthy eaters!

picky eaters healthy eating

Start the Day Right

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A well-balanced breakfast of protein and complex carbohydrates is beneficial to brain function and maintains a consistent energy level throughout the day. 

Children who eat breakfast daily are more likely to get essential nutrients and consume less fat and cholesterol. Similarly, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D levels are 20 percent to 60 percent higher in kids who eat breakfast daily than those who don’t.

Focus on Food

Make the most of your children’s extra free time by involving them in preparing their meals. Plant a garden together or go to a farmers market to choose from all the fresh produce in season. Allow them to select tomatoes, melons, or peppers before preparing dinner together. According to studies, children who learn to grow and prepare their meals to eat more fruits and vegetables.

For more inspiration on healthful foods for the whole family to enjoy, check out Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meals for the Whole Family!

Visit Your Doctor 

Do you know that children should see a doctor at least once a year?

It is critical for children’s providers to keep track of their overall health as they get older. Annual wellness checks are essential for keeping your children healthy since they keep track of their vaccines, ensure healthy teeth, and monitor their physical development. It’s a chance to ask the doctor any issues that have arisen throughout the year and discuss health and school or learning concerns. It’s an opportunity for you as a parent to work with your doctor to reinforce your child’s good lifestyle choices. And if you have been busy the whole year, the holiday season is a good time to do so.

To read more about this, visit here.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to love about the holidays. Naturally, the same factors that make the holidays so joyful can also hurt your children’s health. But, the holiday season does not have to be a vacation from good health! I hope these tips will inspire and help you to make healthy choices this holiday season.  

Remember: It is critical to establish healthy behaviors at a young age. Most kids look up to their parents, so it’s best to lead by example. Maintaining a good attitude and being supportive can help kids gain confidence and build healthy habits for the rest of their lives.

Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks!
Blogging Tools & Resources

Blogging Resources I Love & Live By

September 15, 2021
blogging resources and tools

If you’re curious about starting a blog or wonder what it will take to have a successful blog, here are some of the tools and resources I have used in my blogging journey. For my Christian motherhood blog, I’ve had to learn the hard way by making mistakes, doing TONS of ultimately pointless research and lots of trial and error. I’m hoping that this post with all of the blogging resources I love can help you with your Christian blog so that you won’t have to go through the same mistakes that I made!

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.

Udemy Blogging Masterclass Course

When I first had the idea to start a blog, I had no idea where to start. My husband did some research and purchased this course for me as a birthday present and it was invaluable. It’s easy to follow and saved me SO MUCH TIME in trying to figure out the logistics of starting a blog from web hosting, navigating WordPress, creating content that people actually want, building an email list, etc.

This is the basics, for beginners, starting from scratch. So, if that’s you, I highly recommend this course:

Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021

Canva Pro

I use Canva Pro for all my graphics and designs. They have thousands of excellent templates for every scenario. I use them the most for photos, Pinterest Pins, and Instagram posts. But I’ve also used them for creating my Simple 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan ebook as well as invitations or really any kind of graphics I need for ANYTHING.

A few great aspects of the upgraded PRO version:

  • You have access to A LOT of photos you can use for your designs and blog posts (instead of having to pay for a separate photo library).
  • You have a ‘brand kit’ that keeps all of your brand’s fonts, colors, logos, etc. just a click away (rather than having to memorize the hex number of all of your brand colors!)
  • MAGIC RESIZE – this is worth every cent. You design a Pinterest Pin and with one click it is also an Instagram post, Facebook post, blog banner, or any other size you want. Like magic. It’s incredible and a HUGE time saver.
  • Publish social media content from Canva. Once you’ve designed your pin or instagram post, you can publish it or even schedule it to be published.

Here is my referral link, which I would really appreciate if you used because it gives me a small bonus at no extra cost to you! So, thank you in advance!! Click here for Canva Pro.

Tailwind for Pinterest & Instagram (& Facebook!)

Tailwind is such an incredible tool and resource. You can schedule in advance all of your Pinterest pins, Instagram posts and even cross-post to Facebook. They’ve even added a design element to Tailwind where you enter in the information for your pin and they create lots of different pin options for you to choose from.

The Tailwind Communities are also invaluable, and how I grew to the point where I am today.

I also really love all of the education the Tailwind staff does – they offer so many classes, tools and resources for people to grow in their craft.

Honestly, I’m not sure how to blog without Tailwind. I tried to go without Tailwind for one month and my stats plummeted. It’s just an easy set it and forget it solution for busy moms who want to be present with their kids and not be addicted to social media!

I usually set aside some time at the beginning of each month to plan out all of my social media content and then it’s done for the entire month! I don’t even have to think about it.

And, if you have the time/energy/content, you can plan for even longer than a month.

How awesome is that?!?

When you use this link, you’ll get a $15 credit – and so will I! Win-win. Click here for Tailwind.

ConvertKit

I use ConvertKit for keeping up my email list as well as my sales pages, pop ups and other landing pages. You can see examples of really simple ones I’ve created here and here.

When I first started blogging, I used MailChimp and after several very frustrating sessions where I tried to figure out how to create landing pages and pop ups with them, I gave up and switched the ConvertKit. I can’t tell you what a time saver this has been!

It is SO MUCH EASIER to use ConvertKit than any other email subscription service I’ve worked with.

Occasionally I’ve had to contact their customer support about my pop ups not functioning the way I want them to, and they have always been able to fix them right away.

Here is my personalized referral link for ConvertKit, which gives me a little bonus at no cost to you: ConvertKit is awesome.

Start a Mom Blog

This is one of my favorite resources on this whole list. I LOVE SUZI!!! My husband and I joke that Suzi is my blogging crush. She’s awesome. I also love that she works with her husband and they seem to have a really great partnership.

I wish I would’ve known about Start a Mom Blog from the very beginning of my blogging journey, it would’ve saved me a lot of time and energy. However, I am grateful that I know about them now because they’ve helped me grow so much!

I did a 90-day challenge with Suzi to grow my email list. My list went from 30 subscribers (AKA my family and a handful of friends) to 1,100 subscribers and growing every single day.

I’ve done her course on printables as well as her course on course creation. She is incredibly practical, showing step-by-step details without bogging you down with too much information. I highly recommend all of her products!

Start a Mom Blog Printables by Number Course and Start a Mom Blog Course by Numbers

Mom to Mompreneur

This Facebook group by Twins Mommy creator Elna Cain has been invaluable. It is a very active group with a wide range of skills and abilities. I’ve asked this group SO many questions about blogging and have gotten immediate, helpful answers. Elna also does regular Facebook lives on particular blogging topics.

Themeforest Rosemary Theme

This is the theme that I use for my blog from Themeforest. Finding a blog theme can be so overwhelming! So feel free to use this one if you like it. 😉

Kingdom Bloggers

This is another Christian blogging resource that I LOVE. I’ve taken their free SEO course and it was simple yet effective. I love finding resources that are specific to Christian blogging and this is a fantastic resource if you are trying to use your blogging platform to spread the message of Christ.

By His Grace Bloggers

This is another Facebook group that has been ultra supportive and helpful on my blogging journey. This is specifically for Christian women bloggers and it’s where I’ve found a wonderful community of like-minded women! You can join this group and ask questions/advice and get lots of support.

BibleHub & Other Bible-Based Tools

This has been an invaluable resource for me as I’ve done more intensive Bible research for my blog. When you look up a verse, it offers parallel versions of that verse, related scriptures, commentary, the breakdown of the original language and more. If you want your blog to be Bible-based, this is an excellent tool.

I also recommend using Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, and YouVersion – which will often have beautiful graphics of popular verses that you can use. Just make sure you tag or link them if you use their graphics!

bVerse Convert by Crossed Code

I use this plugin on my WordPress site to convert Bible verse references so that people can hover over the verse reference and see the actual scripture. This is such a helpful feature!

Support from Family & Friends

I am so incredibly blessed to have an ultra supportive husband and family! They have encouraged my dreams and been through all of the highs and lows of my writing career alongside of me. If you also have a supportive family, please be intentional about sharing your hopes and dreams with them and let them dream with you! And praise God for that.

If you don’t feel like your family is understanding or supportive of your dreams, I encourage you to sit down and talk with them. Explain to them your vision, goals, and how you plan to accomplish them. Tell them what their support would mean to you, and then tell them specifically HOW they can support you. Perhaps you need a beta reader for some of your posts, or would love it if they re-shared your links on social media. Or maybe you just need someone to cheer you on and give you high-fives when you have a great day! Whatever you need from your family, make sure to communicate clearly and intentionally.

No matter what your support from your family is like, I hope you will hear me when I tell you that God is with you and He believes in you. He created you to be exactly the way that you are and to utilize your unique strengths and talents to shine a light to those around!

Don’t cover up your light, my friend. Let it shine bright for the whole world to see.

I hope these resources are helpful to you as you start your journey of blogging!

Devotionals for Moms

Hot Mess Mom: I See You.

August 16, 2021
hot mess mom

Hey there, hot mess mama.

I see you.

I see you trying to wrestle your kids into their car seats while they writhe and scream and make you want to give up trying to go anywhere with them ever again.

I see you trying to put together a healthy meal for your kids to throw on the floor eat – only to pour yourself a bowl of cereal in exhaustion.

I feel your frustration as your child throws himself on the floor yet again while you try to get him dressed so that you can be late yet again.

I see you as you try to read your Bible during nap time, only to fall asleep in the pages of Leviticus once more.

I see you showing up with no makeup, oatmeal in your hair, spit up on your shirt, with the contents of your diaper bag strewn across your car as you search for THE ONLY TOY THAT MATTERS to your child. The one you left at home.

I see you as you scroll through Instagram looking at moms who have tighter bodies, better schedules, cleaner homes, happier kids, all while they make more money through their side hustles and plan elaborate educational activities for their kids.

You wonder if you’ll ever NOT feel tired again, if your body will ever look the same, if your family will ever appreciate your work, if you’ll ever make the money you want to make or accomplish any goals ever again.

You wonder if you’ll ever have it all together.

I’m with you, and I am you.

I am the hot mess mom who never has it all together – the one who makes the other moms feel like THEY have it more together than they originally thought.

I work and plan and hope and pray to one day have it all together. I print schedules, make chore charts, meal plan, set alarms, scour Pinterest, read all the books and all the articles and pray all the prayers.

And I just know that this is the week I will finally have it all together. This is the day.

And here’s the honest truth: I won’t.

Perfection is a lie perpetuated by our own guilty consciences, social media, and Satan.

The moment we feel like we have arrived and are finally perfect – that’s the moment when we disown the work of Jesus to save us from our imperfections.

Here is the good news, my hot mess friend: you don’t have to be perfect, because God already is.

And here’s some more good news: God meets us where we are in our struggle to be more like Him.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11

This idea that God gently leads those who have young is almost startling to me. The powerful, awesome God who created the stars in the sky and conjured up such terrors as crocodiles, Great White Sharks and super volcanoes – this same God is also…gentle?

So I dug a little deeper into this verse. What does it mean for God to gently lead me?

The Hebrew term used for ‘He gently leads’ means ‘to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh.’ This is the same terminology used in such verses as Exodus 15:13, Psalm 23:2, Psalm 31:3, Isaiah 49:10, 2 Chronicles 28:15, and 2 Chronicles 32:22.

I don’t know about you, but I adore the idea of rest and refreshment. I picture God leading me to a quiet place by the water where I can rest on a blanket in the shade. I can eat (without someone stealing my food or complaining about theirs), I can close my eyes and sleep (without listening to a monitor for a crying baby), I can read a book leisurely without interruption, and I can breathe.

This is my vision. What’s yours? Where is God leading you for your rest?

So if you’re feeling like a hot mess mom today, remember two things:

1. You are not alone.

2. God is gently leading you toward rest.

We can follow David’s example and pray for God to lead and guide us:

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Psalm 31:3

And lastly, let’s have faith and trust that God WILL lead us to a place of rest. In His timing, which is perfect.

In the meantime, know that you are not alone, hot mess mom – God is with you. And so am I!

Activities & Crafts Devotionals for Moms

Upbeat Praise & Worship Songs for Workouts, Dancing or Just Getting You in a Better Mood

June 10, 2021
Upbeat praise and worship songs

If you’re looking for contemporary Christian songs that are upbeat, this is the spot for you. These high-energy praise and worship songs are perfect for working out, running, dancing, or just getting you in a better mood!

Recently I realized that most of the Christian worship music I listen to is slower and more soulful. This is perfect for prayer times or moments of reflection and communion with God. But sometimes I want to have fun, upbeat music in the house for myself and the kids to sing and dance to!

So that’s why I made this Spotify playlist of upbeat, fast-paced praise & worship songs that could be used for dance parties at home, working out, going for a run, or just to have an upbeat mood in the house.

I’m frequently adding to the list on Spotify, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorites here:

Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs

There are so many awesome lines in this song, but I particularly love the third verse:

You crushed the darkness
Made a fool of death and grave
Oh, King Jesus
You make royals out of slaves
And now there’s breakthrough
Now there’s freedom in Your name
You gave us power
And the keys to do the same

Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs

I also love the repetitive nature of the chorus. Kids could easily sing out “In Jesus’ Name!” I mean, what’s more powerful than that?!

Give Me Jesus by James Wilson

I love this high energy rendition of a powerful anthem. This is also a great one for kids because they can easily join into the chorus and all of the “hey, ey, ey’s”. The lyrics are also a potent reminder of what’s really important in this life:

This world is not my home
I am just passing through
Earthly treasure soon will fail
But I found my hope
You are the one I want
You are the one I need
This world can have it all
It can take everything …
But give me Jesus

Give Me Jesus by James Wilson

I can’t help but lift my hands during the chorus and sing at the top of my lungs: Give. Me. Jesus.

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes Chronic Pain Tips

11+ Best Kitchen Tools for EASY Healthy Eating in 2021

May 5, 2021
Amazon products for eating healthy

If you’re trying to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, but are overwhelmed by how difficult it can be, I’m here to help. These meal prep products are my must-haves for maintaining a consistent healthy lifestyle and eating healthy. So keep reading to find out what kitchen tools you can use to help make healthful meals more consistently! For an even easier way to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, don’t forget to check out my 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan & Guide.

Are you looking for an easier way to make healthy meals? I’ve got several awesome kitchen tools for healthy eating. Keep reading…

I made this list because we all need more items on our Amazon wish list! 😉

I started following an anti-inflammatory diet after getting so fed up with my chronic joint pain and endometriosis pain. I had gone from doctor to doctor with no real answers and only solutions with boatloads of side effects. I was in debilitating pain and feeling helpless.

That’s when I decided to take my health care into my own hands. I’ve learned that you have to be your own best advocate for your health.

One of the things that has helped me recover my health is following this anti-inflammatory diet. It’s not a quick fix or a cure-all, but it has made a huge difference in my life.

However, when I first started it was HARD. I had a difficult time finding meals that my family would actually eat and most of the recipes I found were very complicated and took a ton of meal prep.

Through years of trial and error and a ton of research, I’ve formulated meals that work for my family and that are simple to make. If you’re interested in those meals, check out this post about The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Meals for the Whole Family as well as my Simple 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan & Guide. I created these resources to help moms in chronic pain like me – but without all the frustration that I went through to find what worked for me and my family!

However, I would be remiss to tell you all about the recipes I use without giving credit to my amazing kitchen tools! This is what helps me actually follow through with making these meals without all of the daunting meal prep tasks.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.

Cutco Knives

Having good knives REALLY makes a difference in your cooking experience. Especially when you’re chopping lots of vegetables – it pays to have the right tools. My mother-in-law gifted us a set of Cutco knives for our wedding and they have been invaluable. I even bring them with us when we travel because I hate using dingy knives at vacation rentals!!

One of the nice perks about having a Cutco knife is that you can get it sharpened for free and their warranty is amazing – they really back these knives. Last year I sent in my knives and kitchen shears to be sharpened, and they replace the kitchen shears completely because they were slightly bent (I didn’t even notice!). That’s pretty amazing.

For an introductory knife, I recommend the trimmer, the shear utility set (which comes with the trimmer and the kitchen shears), and/or the hardy slicer.

My kitchen scissors are used for everything – from quickly chopping pasta or meat to kid-safe sizes to all of its ‘normal’ uses.

– Jenny, homeschooling mom of two

Instant Pot

I can’t describe to you what a game changer this thing is for a busy mom. I love that I can prep a meal when I have a few minutes of free time during naps and then set it and forget it. It’s has all of the benefits of a slow cooker sped up – and more.

We actually have TWO instant pots now – the larger 8 quart one and the smaller 3 quart one. I’ll often use the larger one to make a big batch of dinner and the smaller one to make farro, risotto, rice, oatmeal or other starches.

I’m working on adding Instant Pot instructions to all of my anti-inflammatory meals. Stay tuned!

My air fryer! I put salmon, broccoli and cauliflower in there and it’s an easy, healthy meal. 20 minutes and it’s done. The kids love it!

– Julianna, mom of two (and my neighbor!)

My air fryer is my new best friend. My favorite so far has been making chicken…it’s amazing, it cuts the cooking time in half. Helps so much when trying to get dinner on the table quickly after a long day.

– Clarice, boy mom of two

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes Parenting

10 Unique Healthy Eating Tips for Your Picky Eater

March 30, 2021
how to encourage my toddler to eat healthy

In this post, we are discussing how to get your picky eater to eat healthy – whether that’s your toddler, preschooler or your husband! I share my favorite methods for encouraging my picky eaters to eat healthy foods.

Hey there, friend. You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to help your child to eat better, healthier, and more consistently.

First of all let me say that I am NOT a medical professional or dietitian. I’m just a regular ole mom like you who has struggled with the same things. This is what I’ve learned through experience, tons of research and consulting with doctors, nutritionists and registered dietitians. If you or your child has a health issue, please consult with your doctor.

Dr. Justin Coulson at Happy Families – a psychologist and father of 6 (!!) daughters – remarks that some of the most common mealtime mistakes are:

So, what do you do when you fall into some of those pitfalls? I know I have done ALL of those things at one point or another.

Tip #1: Take a deep breath.

Seriously. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.

Now, hear this: your kid will be okay. They will not starve. They will not grow a third ear because they refuse to eat their broccoli. Let’s have some perspective on this.

One thing my doctor mom would always say: eating is not a learned behavior.

We are not taught to eat, it is something that we are biologically programmed to do. Yes, we learn bad behaviors and unhealthy habits – but starving ourselves is not typically one of those!

Recently, we realized that dinnertime had become a struggle for us with the kids. They just weren’t eating their food! We bribed them, cajoled them, throttled them (just kidding)…after weeks, we decided that they simply were not hungry at that time. So we adjusted their snack schedule and then finally made the decision that they did have to sit with us during family dinner, but they didn’t have to eat at that exact time. However, they couldn’t choose to eat something else: they had to eat a reasonable amount of dinner if/when they wanted a bedtime snack or treat.

I can’t tell you what a stress reliever this has been for our family. We’re able to have fun, light-hearted meals without battling over food. The kids still eat their dinners – albeit, later than we would like – but they eat when they’re hungry and oftentimes they eat ALL of their dinner and more!

This all started with us taking a deep breath and gaining some perspective. What mattered was that our children ate and that they ate reasonably healthy, filling foods. It doesn’t HAVE to be on “our” schedule and it may not look like what we want it to, but we’re accomplishing our goal: happy, healthy children.

Tip #2: Don’t bring food into the house that you don’t want your child to eat.

If your kid only wants to have hot dogs and macaroni for dinner and cocoa puffs for breakfast – just don’t buy it anymore. If they fill up on Doritos and Chewy bars all afternoon long and then aren’t hungry for dinner – there’s a simple fix for that.

Look, I’m not saying this is easy to do…but I am saying it’s simple.

We recently stopped purchasing applesauce pouches – not because they were unhealthy, but because that was the only thing my son wanted to eat! We were spending more money on pouches than on any other category of food each week. So, I stopped buying them.

Now, let me tell you that at first he was devastated. It broke my heart. But, as kids do, he moved on. He doesn’t even ask for them anymore and is perfectly happy with the other snack choices that we offer him.

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes Chronic Pain Tips

Simple Anti-Inflammatory Stir Fry

February 24, 2021
simple anti inflammatory stir fry

A simple anti-inflammatory stir fry that’s easy to make and filled with inflammation fighting foods!

If you’re looking for a go-to anti-inflammatory meal, this is mine. This simple stir fry is chock full of inflammation fighting foods, it’s easily customized and very versatile depending on what veggies you love in your stir fry. Also, it’s dairy-free, gluten free, sugar free and yet, it’s NOT taste-free!! 😉

For more anti-inflammatory meals that the entire family can enjoy, check out this post: Anti-Inflammatory Meals for the Whole Family.

There’s so many different ways to make this dish – and that’s what makes it my go-to weeknight meal that we don’t get tired of. You can swap out rice for rice noodles or even spaghetti squash as the base. You can utilize in-season vegetables along with tried-and-true veggies your family loves. I’ll also occasionally include chunks of pineapple or mango for a sweet surprise!

So, pick your family’s favorite veggies, throw them on the pan with some olive or coconut oil and stir fry away! You can easily make this a vegetarian dish or include shrimp, seared tuna or beef.

One way to make this dish even simpler is to purchase pre-chopped veggies in your produce department. Some stores even have a “stir fry” bag with fresh (not frozen) vegetables that are perfect for a weeknight stir fry. Alternatively, you could chop up your veggies in the morning or the night before so that you can throw them on the pan right when you get home. I’ve also been known to use kitchen shears to make my chopping and cutting even easier! 😉

So, what makes this stir fry “anti-inflammatory”?

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Devotionals for Moms

A (Short) Biblical Guide to Caring Less What Others Think

February 3, 2021
how to care less about what others think

Today, we’re discussing something I’m trying to work on this year: caring less about what other people think. Now, you may ask: is that actually biblical? Aren’t we supposed to care about people? Of course! When we are enslaved by fear of what people think of us, we are not imitating Jesus. Jesus loved others deeply without being blown back and forth by other people’s opinions.

I was inspired by Timothy Keller’s (very short) book “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness,” I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about The Dixie Chicks’ song from 1998, “Wide Open Spaces.” It’s a song about the need to get away from the life you’ve always known, so you can have room to make “big mistakes.” 

It seems like in our society today, that’s the opposite of what we have.

Have you felt that?

The tight, confining spaces of today’s culture: to fit into a certain box, espouse specific opinions, raise your children in a defined way. People who stray from this are blasted on social media, castigated for their intolerant dogmatism.

Perhaps we say things we don’t really think or believe because we’ll be looked down on. I know I’ve done that plenty of times.

…For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

John 12:43

The problem with all of this is that we simply care too much about what other people think.

Without putting too much thought into it, we do what everyone else is doing because, if everyone else is doing it, it must be the right thing…right? 

When I look at the scriptures, the people who truly made an impact, who have changed the course of my life as well as the course of history itself, are the ones who did not care at all what other people think. 

No, they are not selfish. 

In fact, these people tend to be the most selfless because they are not concerned about themselves, either! Imagine that. 

Caring Less What Others Think: Consider Jesus.

Think about Jesus. He was countercultural in a way that would make us squirm. Can you imagine going into a church building with a whip, turning over tables and chairs, yelling at people about the way they were taking advantage of God’s house? If he did that today, we’d call him an extremist, a brute, or just simply insane. To make matters worse, he repeated his offense (John 2:18, Matthew 21:17-23). 

Jesus broke the rules (John 4:9, Matthew 12:11-13). He touched the untouchable (Luke 5:12-16). Jesus frequently made scandalous statements (John 6:54, Mark 2:5). And He hung out with people the religious society stayed away from (Mark 2:16). 

Even his enemies accused him of not caring what others think (Mark 12:14). 

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

John 2:24-25

This year I’ve decided I want to care less about what other people think. I don’t want to make decisions based on what everyone else is doing. I want to make decisions based on God’s Word and what HE thinks above all. 

This is much easier said than done. I don’t want to look stupid in the eyes of others. I don’t want to stand out as countercultural – I’d rather fly under the radar. 

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Family Devotionals Gift Guides

Playing Through the Word: A Review of Bible Games for Kids

January 13, 2021
bible games for kids

Several months ago, I received these games from Bible Games Central. We have SO much fun with these! If you’re looking for a playful, unique way to teach your kids about the Bible, these games are perfect.

Bible Bingo

This is not your typical Bingo game – although if you’ve played Bingo before, you’ll know exactly how to play. Each player has a Bingo card and each square has a different book of the Bible along with an illustration from a story within that book. The Bingo squares, as well as the Bingo calling cards, are all color coordinated and labeled with not only the book of the Bible but the section that book is in.

This is not only a fun way to play Bingo, but it is also an enjoyable way to learn the books of the Bible and how the Bible is organized. We play this game as a family, but this would also be perfect for a youth group or another larger group. The game includes 24 double-sided Bingo cards so up to 24 people can play!

My 4-year-old, Finn, had a fun time playing this game – it was his first time playing Bingo and he had a blast. He laughed a lot while trying to pronounce some of the harder-to-say books of the Bible (“Deuteronomy” for example!).

My recommendation for playing this game is to read through the booklet beforehand – it gives a very succinct overview of each section of the Bible. This is helpful for being able to explain the books of the Bible as you play. The only thing that I would love to see added to this game is a one sentence summary of each book of the Bible! Which, I know, is easier said than done. I found myself trying to recap each book to Finn – which is simpler for books like Jonah or Esther, but harder for books like Lamentations or some of the books of history.

Playing this game, and telling Finn about the books of the Bible, is an inspiration for understanding the whole arc of the Scriptures.

It also made me wonder how much to tell Finn about some of the not-so-kid-friendly stories of the Bible. How do you explain Job to a four year old? This takes wisdom and discernment from parents and teachers.

Bible Games Central also has a fun Christmas Bingo edition of this game, which comes with a memory card game as well!

Parable Parade

Parable Parade comes with illustrated cards of Jesus’ parables, along with “oopsie” cards and “kingdom” cards!

This is a fan favorite in our house. I was pleasantly surprised that Finn was able to follow along with the rules and understand how to play! The focus of this game is the parables of Jesus. Each “parable card” is illustrated with a scene from one of Jesus’ parables and there are 4 cards in each parable set. I would compare this game to Uno – you take turns pulling cards from a draw pile and you try to match the parable cards with each other. There are “oopsie” cards, which function as skip cards as well as “kingdom” cards, which allow you to steal from another player.

Finn has so much fun playing Parable Parade!

What I love about this game is that it’s a fun way to teach biblical concepts. To assist with this, there are parable summary cards with a summary and explanation of each parable. The explanations are simple and easy to understand. There is also an optional addition at the end of the game for players to retell the parables in their own words using the cards and their illustrations as a reference point.

I love these summaries and explanations of each parable!

We did make some modifications to the game for my 4-year-old: I removed quite a few of the Kingdom cards and oopsie cards, and we took turns drawing one card at a time instead of drawing unlimitedly. We also started the game with 4 cards in our hands. This made it go a little faster for my little guy.

I highly recommend this game – it’s perfect to play as a family or in a Sunday school class, youth group, or other church setting.

Bible Memory Game

This memory game is another great one for learning the books of the Bible. The game comes with A LOT of cards – which means you can make it as challenging as possible. Of course, for my little one, we only use a fraction of the cards. But it is fantastic for challenging your memory and learning the names of the books of the Bible. I was surprised by how quickly Finn got better at this game! We are increasing the difficulty more and more each time.

As he gets older, I foresee that we will add another biblical element to this game. For example, if a player matches two cards from the same book of the Bible, in order to “win” the cards, they have to recap a story from that particular book. If they can’t, the next player gets a turn to do it and possibly win the card set!

A final thought on playing games…

Games are SO great for kids to play, especially at home with family. It teaches them real world skills that they’ll need as they grow – but allows them to learn these in a safe setting. They learn about following rules, strategy, negotiation, sequential thinking, cooperating with others, healthy competition, and so much more. Playing these games inspired us to help Finn to grow more in his competitive nature – he was such a sore loser!! Since playing these games, we have started teaching him how to be encouraging to others even when he doesn’t win. This is a tough lesson!

Playing games is also a “sneaky” way to teach concepts that otherwise would be done through rote memorization – such as letters, books of the Bible, numbers, etc. I’m grateful that we live in a time when we can take advantage of games and activities such as these to teach our little ones about our awesome God!

If you’re looking for more ideas for family devotionals, this is what we use! Check them out in my Etsy shop.

family devotionals for preschoolers