Fat and Faithful {A Review and Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Fit and Fabulous and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network.  The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own.

When you've struggled with losing weight almost your entire life, it is sometimes hard to feel good about yourself and accept who you are as a person, not just as how people see you.  The struggle with body image is real. 

Even in my younger years, when I wan't in my "I need to lose weight" stage of life, I still didn't feel confident or even comfortable in my own skin.  This is something that has been a huge struggle more so after having my two children and my thyroid took a huge hit, and just recently, showing signs of adrenal fatigue.

One day, as I was looking for a book to read for my morning devotions, I came across Fat and Faithful by J. Nicole Morgan.  Now this isn't your typical book that you would think of reading for morning devotions (or any time of day), but reading Nicole's journey of self acceptance hit on personal level within the first few pages. 

While there were no questions that Nicole's faith was strong throughout her life, even at an early age, there was the struggle with accepting who she was, it was when she ultimately realized that she was  exactly the person God created her to be, even if it meant that she was overweight. 

Fat and Faithful isn't just intend to be able overcoming "fat shaming," which is what Nicole says she had to deal with even as a young child, and still deals with due to societies' pressure for women to be thin and not love their bodies, it is for anyone who is dealing with their own insecurities and doubt about themselves. 

Fat and Faithful is one of those books that I recommend to anyone who struggles daily with losing weight, body image issues, or even has moments of self doubt and possibly needs that affirmation that you are exactly who you are supposed to be in the eyes of the Lord. 

If you would like a chance to win your own copy of Fat and Faithful, click on the image below to enter the giveaway. 

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Indescribable, 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science {Review and Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Indescribable, 100 Devotions For Kids About God and Science and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network.  The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own.

This is our first year homeschooling.  As some of you that homeschool know, finding that one curriculum that meets all of your requirements is hard, if not impossible.

In our first few months of homeschooling, we have changed some areas of curriculum several times to find the right fit for my daughter's learning style.  Currently though, I am very happy with the curriculum we are using and how many new and exciting things that not only my daughter is learning, but I am learning too.

One area of curriculum I recently struggled with was science.  I was looking for something that encompassed science, but was faith based as well.  And while we have chosen a wonderful faith based curriculum, it wasn't until I found the book Indescribable, 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science, that I felt this area of education was complete. 

Indescribable, written by Pastor Louis Giglio, is wonderfully written and illustrated, and has devotions that cover everything from space, earth, animals (including dinosaurs, which my daughter is excited to learn more about) and even our bodies.

Each devotion features facts, an activity and Bible verse and closing prayer on a specific area of science, and even tackles some of the more "controversial" topics such as evolution and dinosaurs.

We currently are working on the water cycle and I am really loving how I am able to incorporate the devotions in Indescribable, such as the devotion, Water, Water Everywhere, accompanies our water cycle unit study perfectly.

Indescribable is, and will be, a wonderful and exciting addition to our homeschool experience for years to come.

If you would like the opportunity to win your own copy of Indescribable, please click below.

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One Christmas Bear {Review and Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are sponsored by One Christmas Bear and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network. The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own.

One of our current favorite morning time readings is One Christmas Bear.  It is seriously one of the cutest books that my daughter LOVES to read every morning.  One Christmas Bear is quickly becoming HER go to book that she wants to read and read to her little sister.

One Christmas Bear, written by Anne Vittur Kennedy, tells the story of the Christmas Bear and his arctic friends.  The story is simple, yet wonderfully told, and even includes counting holiday elements such as candy canes and snowflakes as the Christmas Bear and his friends play.  But one of the favorite things that my daughter loves are the illustrations (also by Anne Vittur Kennedy) - they are beautifully done and really brings the story to life.  And as an added bonus - and those with little ones will relate - it is a hardbound book, which means that it will stand up to countless readings and little ones holding and looking through it.

I have a feeling that One Christmas Bear will be part of our read aloud story time not just during the Christmas season, but for many months to come.

If you would like the chance to win your own copy of One Christmas Bear, click below to enter.

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Why I Love The JESUS Film (And You Should Too!) {Review and Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Jesus Film and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network. The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own.

The life of Jesus is one of the most fascinating stories that has been told and re-told many, many times, both in print and in movies.  I know have lost track of the number of different movies that I have seen (or heard about) detailing Jesus' life.

With Christmas fast approaching, one of my favorite things I love to do is to cook and bake, which often means that I would have my laptop shoved into the corner of my countertop so I can watch a DVD while making a mess of my kitchen.  This often leads to my computer getting some type of food on it and results in me panicking and turning off the movie.

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Top 5 Ways to Survive the Holidays

I received this product for free from Bulletproof Coffee.  As a blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Bulletproof Coffee or the manufacturer of the product.

Listen, do you hear that?  That, my friend, is the sound of peace and quiet.  It is something that I do not have the luxury of enjoying too often because in about an hour, it will be mass chaos - the kids will be running around (and most likely whining about having to get up so early), my oldest daughter will be waking up 15 minutes before she has to leave for college so we will be rushing out the door after she becomes frantic and anxious about being late for class.  All of this will be going on while the dog will be circling round your feet trying to catch any crumb that falls to the floor while making breakfast.

This is my daily morning routine, even after reading countless "how to be more organized in the morning" books, things are still unorganized, but I have come to accept the chaos.  After all, one day, when the kids are grown up, the house will be quiet once again.

However, during this time of  year, with back to back holidays, life can get downright stressful.

There are baking marathons for last-minute holiday parties, frantically running for that last minute gift that you forgot to buy for your nephew, and the never-ending to do list that seems to get longer by the minute.

Yes, the holidays are stressful, but I'm going to let you in on a secret...they don't have to be.  It is only stressful if you allow it to become overwhelming and stressful.  Yes, I am guilty of this both in the past and presently.  Allowing the stress of the holiday not only robs you of your sanity, but your energy and health.

But there are five things you can do to help keep your sanity during the holiday madness.

1.  Get Plenty of Sleep

Moms (and Dads), can I get a show of hands from those that have kids under the age of 2 that do not get at least 8 hours of solid sleep.  You know, that kind of sleep where you are not woken up in the middle of the night for something to drink, a nightmare, or even the baby crying because her diaper leaked (because changing bed sheets in the middle of the night is always fun).

I would guess that most, if not all, of you raised your hand (or at least thought about doing so).  And it isn't just kids that can cause you not to get enough sleep.  Everyday stresses, that nagging thought in the back of your mind that you forgot to do something that day but you can't remember what it was you had to do, or even staying up too late to watch the late night shows.  There are many, many things daily that rob you of getting good, quality sleep every day.

But did you know that not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body?  Sleep is a necessity for your body to rejuvenate itself, to help rebuild muscle tissue to rebuild itself from lifting weights earlier that day, and to just rest to prepare itself for the next day.

When you do not get enough sleep, there are so many health consequences that can affect your body.  You are more susceptible to catching colds due to a lowered immune system, higher chance of heart disease, lowered ability to focus on daily tasks, lack of energy, gaining weight - the list is ongoing.

If you are not getting enough sleep, take control of what is going on not only during the day, but also at night, especially before bed.  Eating a balanced diet with plenty of good fats throughout the day, drinking plenty of water, but even more important is to put the phone/computer/etc. down and detach yourself from the internet (yes, it is hard to do, but so necessary) and turn the television off. All of these things are vital to getting quality sleep and feeling rested when you wake up in the morning.   For more ways to improve your sleep, check out this article here.

2.  Get Your Sunshine On

Yes, it may sound a little crazy, but not outside and soaking up some sun every day can make you feel tired, which often results in a lowered response to dealing with stress.  

The sun plays a vital role in how our body produces Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin."  Vitamin D, more specifically Vitamin D3, plays a huge role in how our body absorbs calcium, helps with depression, may decrease heart disease and even help with weight loss.  Not to mention it may also help with fatigue.

Now I'm not saying to go outside every day for 30 minutes or more without sunscreen to get the full benefits of getting enough Vitamin D.  This may be hard to do during the winter months, especially for those that live in the north.   But by eating foods rich in Vitamin D, such as eggs, salmon and yogurt, is important on a daily basis.  Also, taking a quality vitamin supplement that contains Vitamin D (and Vitamin D3) is important to add to your daily regimen.

3.  Relax and Destress

Relaxing, a peaceful hot bath, reading a book without interruption - all of these things may seem impossible when you have kids.  But it is so important that you have the chance for "me time" daily.  Even if it is just 30 minutes a day to unwind, you need and DESERVE it.  Taking this time for YOU is necessary to refocus and help to unwind after a long day at work (or even staying home with your kids all day).

For me, I have a nice cup of coffee (Bulletproof coffee is my favorite), essential oil diffusing, and a good book to help me focus and prepare for the day ahead.  This is my "me time."  Yes, there are days that I may not get my "me time" in the mornings due my little one getting up too early or a change in our routine for the day, but I still make the time later in the day for me.  You deserve it.

4.  Eating Healthy

During the holidays this may be the hardest thing to do.  Between office parties, family gatherings and homemade candy from my family, there seems to be a never ending supply of chocolate and cookies in some form or another in my kitchen, and they all seem to be calling my name, especially when I've had a particularly rough day.

Now, more than ever, is it important to eat healthy on a daily basis and limiting the amount of sugar and processed foods.  Eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables, good for you fats like avocados and quality proteins like fish and grass-fed meats are vital to keeping your body running at an optimal level to help ward off colds and, if you are like me, eating too many unhealthy foods.

If you know me, then you know my love of coffee, which I include as one of the major food groups. Some may say that coffee isn't healthy, while others will say that it is.  I am one of those that say that it IS healthy for you, as long as you have a good, quality coffee.

Now, I understand that some of you may be asking, "How can coffee be good for me?"  Well, with my favorite coffee, Bulletproof Coffee, it is not only good, but good for you.  Bulletproof Coffee is made with ground coffee that is low in toxins (which may cause health issues) because their beans are grown, processed and tested to make sure of its purity.  But one of the main things that I LOVE about Bulletproof Coffee is adding in two ingredients that I would have never even considered or even thought in a million years adding into my coffee - grass-fed ghee and Brain Octane Oil (a medium-chain triglyceride oil made from coconut oil).  Trust me, I once thought the same thing - how in the world could you add butter and oil to coffee?  Well, I asked the same thing until I tasted it and it totally opened up my eyes (and taste buds).  Yes, it was that good.

But not only does it taste good, it is good for you.  The ghee and Brain Octane Oil are full of good fats that you may be skimping in your diet.  Fats are necessary for so many body functions, transportation of vitamins and minerals and is needed for mental cognition that they are a vital part of your diet.  So why put them in your coffee?

I can honestly say that after drinking Bulletproof Coffee for only a few days, I can tell that I am more awake and focused after drinking it and have even noticed that I feel fuller too (bonus!).  If you would like more information on Bulletproof Coffee and its health benefits, you can check out their website here.  If you would like to purchase a starter kits, which is the best way to see if you like it before you buy it, you can get yours at http://ca.bulletproof.com.

5.  Getting Your Sweat On

Yep, you guessed it, exercise can help keep you sane and help fight off those unwanted holiday pounds.  I know that exercise is probably the last thing you want to do until the New Year, but just taking 30 minutes at least 5 times per week is all you need to help you to either prepare you for the day (if you exercise in the morning) or refresh and help your sleep (if you exercise at night).

Even better is if you can get outside, not only for the fresh air, but for the Vitamin D.  It doesn't have to be anything extreme like cross fit, but even just a walk around the block is all you need to obtain the benefits of exercising.  

Taking care of yourself is the first step to surviving the holidays.  When you take care of yourself, you are able to have plenty of energy to make it through those long lines at the mall, the to do list that hasn't been completed from two days ago, and all the other things that life throws your way.

What are some of the things you do to survive the holidays?

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