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Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter and a Journey

08/19/2015 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I always hesitate in putting to much of my journey on here for all the world to see, not that

Little Ivan and I on a recent, professional photo shoot

Little Ivan and I on a recent, professional photo shoot

I have many followers but for the few that I do have. In this day and age it is hard to know what I will be criticized for  or who I will offend. I also don’t want to just use this venue as a place to talk about what I do, although I am very passionate about it and truly have a heart for it, but I also want to keep it family focused. I feel like what I am about to share is mostly about my family in the fact that it brought me to where I am now, doing what I do now. I love what I do, I love my career with this company…and yes, it is a career, I love who I have become through the journey which has given me more strength than most of you will know. My true strength is in the Lord, but I truly believe He has used the vehicle of arbonne to restore me. I want to share this for a couple reasons…one, I hope it encourages you wherever you are on your journey, and two…we have a new challenge group starting up and I wanted those that are considering joining to be able to hear what my story is on the path to a healthier life. This will be a little long but I hope it encourages you on your path to health and wellness. For those of you who don’t know I am 34 and a mother of three boys. I had Boyd, my oldest, when I was 20. At that age nothing phases you, life doesn’t even seem to sink in, your body seems to just kinda bounce into place and you have energy. Eight and a half years later I had Elliott at the age of 29. He was a horrible baby. Cried all the time, had horrible colic, never slept, nursing was a nightmare, he was constantly sick and just kinda a miserable baby. Now, I know you might be thinking I am a horrible mother for saying that, personally I think more mothers should be honest about those kind of days with their kids. I love Elliott and he is such a joy and blessing now, but he was not a good baby. That lasted almost a year at which time I was pregnant with Ivan. Ivan was born when I was 30. During this time I went from working fulltime, running a very successful business here in town to being a stay at home mom. Before I ran that business I worked full time and picked up shifts at other places also. I was always busy. I love being home with my kids but there are days that I

Boyd and I before a recent 5K we did together in Minnesota

Boyd and I before a recent 5K we did together in Minnesota

want to pull my hair out. After Ivan was born there seemed to be a lot more of them than there are now. That first year was a very dark year for me. I couldn’t lose weight, I felt like I was failing as a mother, I couldn’t handle the constant crying and on top of that I had an older kid doing all sorts of activities that I had to haul him to without my husband’s support of me or the little ones other than a financial roll. Now I have never been a stick, my body isn’t designed like that. I gain weight from looking at bread and the thought of eating ice cream can add an instant 10 pounds. I gained over 45 pounds with Elliott and hardly any came off before Ivan and then I gained more with Ivan. I don’t have this perception that to be happy you have to be a size two…I just want to say that. Anyway, by the time Christmas rolled around Ivan was about 8 months old and I felt like I was going crazy. My husband was convinced I was mental and I was beginning to think I was also. I was constantly crying, it was hard to get out of bed, I would lock myself in the bathroom and forget about being around people…I became a recluse. Me, someone who loved people couldn’t stand being around anyone. Finally I had enough. I went and saw someone because I thought surely they could help me…they prescribed anti-depressants. Now, before I go on, I am not against anti- depressants…some people honestly need them but I also think a lot can be traced to food and exercise…I did not need them. I needed someone to help me, show me how to change my circumstances, my life, my size, my unhealthiness and just me pretty much. My sister took that on. In June, when Ivan was 14 months old, she said enough is enough…if you want your picture to change you will have to change it. She was so right. I had been an arbonne consultant for only two months at that time and didn’t think I would do anything with the nutrition. I didn’t like the taste of the shakes, I thought the fizz sticks were horrible…forget about the digestion plus…It just wasn’t for me. At the time I was taking melted peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring them together and then adding powdered sugar to that and eating a bowlful..not a teaspoon, we are talking a cup or more…EVERY DAY!!! And I wondered why I had zero energy. I would get winded walking around my house…my house is very small…I couldn’t carry Elliott anymore, he was too heavy…I was 31 years old but had the physicality of a 70 year old. I remember when I decided to get healthy I had Boyd take my picture…I didn’t think there would be an ‘after’ picture…I was just going through the motions. I thought it would be a quick fix, a one month deal, a miracle worker. You know what? It was a miracle worker but in a different way. That first month my sister started a running group. I couldn’t even make it one block. I thought I would give up but she wouldn’t let me. The first week was miserable for me. I don’t think I can explain how awful it was and the second week wasn’t much better. By the third week I started feeling a little ‘normal’ again and by the fourth week the energy

After one of my runs recently where I am training for a 1/2 marathon

After one of my runs recently where I am training for a 1/2 marathon

and focus had set in. I had caught the bug…the bug of wanting to change my health. It wasn’t about size, it wasn’t about a ‘quick’ fix anymore, it was about ME!! I decided to do the challenge another month. At the end of my first month I had only lost 4 pounds. I didn’t even take an after picture because I wanted to keep going. I didn’t want to stop. It wasn’t about becoming obsessed with my size, it was about the difference in how I felt. By that second month I was running a couple miles every other day and on the weekends hitting 5-6 miles. I would also incorporate yoga, some weeks I wouldn’t run but do a different source of exercise. My mood did a 180. I enjoyed people again, my husband could stand me and I found joy in being around my kids. I carried the challenge one more month but it didn’t even feel like a challenge at that point, it felt like a way of life. My kids and husband loved the new food I was preparing and I couldn’t remember a time I had been happier. I have people now who tell me that I don’t know what its like. That there isn’t anyway I can imagine the struggle or they ask why I run or want to do a challenge because they just wish they were my size. It honestly isn’t about a size for me…its about being healthy. I always tell people this isn’t a diet…it is a lifestyle change. Some people can see the change right away, others need to do it longer if they truly want to see change. It is HARD!! I totally get it. It is easy maybe for you to feel like I don’t know where you are coming from, but I DO. Please be encouraged. Know that I want each and everyone of you to succeed. It isn’t about dollars for me or a sale, it is about helping someone, YOU, be happy and healthy. It is about teaching you a lifestyle and being there for your support through the rough and dark days. Don’t give up!! Keep going!! YOU ARE WORTH IT!! Here is my before an after picture, some of you have seen this others have not. I changed size, I lost a lot of weight, but check out my face. I didn’t know at that point what I would gain…I feel like looking at my face in this before and after tells the whole story. What about you?

My first before and after photos. I do need to update them but they still speak volumes

 

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My gluten free granola and a little about me

08/13/2015 - Author: Natasha Phillips

As many of you know I have the chosen to stay home with my kids. During the transition stage of stayingn home I decided to “work” from home with the company arbonne. Little did I know or realize at the time what a career and business it was and am building. One of the things I am passionate about with this company is working with people to reach their health goals. Arbonne has a 30-day challenge we take people through that resets, recharges and renews their body…in the process eliminating toxins while many times extra weight is lost, health issues can diminish and energy levels spike. I love what I do and have made it my mission to help people achieveIMG_7138-1 what they want on their journey to better and healthier living. The following is one of the recipes used during the challenge and although I have done much research and reading on the subject of gluten intolerance, please understand that the following is my opinion and expirience, not because I have a medical background or training. Please let me know what you think and over the course of the next week or so I will be posting more about the challenge, what it entails and my journey.

During the challenge there are a few things we take out of our everyday diet. However, i will mention that Gluten is one of those products we remove and is often intimidating for people to remove because it is in everything! It also comes in yummy forms like bread and pasta so we think we can’t do without it. But rest assured, it’s easier than it sounds. It is important to make sure your calorie intake is at atleast 1200 throughout the challenge…many times we think cutting calories out will cause us to lose weight but in actuality our body goes into ‘starvation’ mode when that happens and will hang onto the reserves we have. I will be encouraging you all to have a couple snacks a day to help keep your calorie intake up where it should be. One of my favorite snacks in this granola. Since we will not be having dairy milk with the challenge, (and I can’t anyway as I am lactose intolerant), I will have this with vanilla almond milk at times or just on its own as a snack. I am making this tonight to replenish our supply as this is a staple and favorite around this house.

MY GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA RECIPE—-Gluten Free…there is much debate on the benefits to being gluten free. For some it is not a choice, for others it is. Some people may say they have a gluten intolerance but it is self diagnosed, while for others it is truly a disease. Whatever your view on the debate IS, for my family we have simply cut back on our gluten intake. We are not 100% gluten free but I do try to watch how much we receive, especially in my children. I have noticed some very different behavioral issues and digestion problems with our three year old when he has too much gluten. It has prompted me to start trying or creating my own ‘gluten’ free recipes that this family can enjoy. It is important to note that unless you are purchasing products to cook with that are 100% gluten free, such as they have not been processed in a plant that only specializes in gluten free items…your ingredients may have some cross contamination. If you do have ingredients that have been processed places that also deal with ‘gluten’ foods….the contamination will be minimal if not at all. If you do not have celiac disease using ingredients that are processed in those plants will not be a big deal. Here is one of the family, including all the boys, favorite breakfast recipe. it is gluten free and can be added to or items taken away as well. If you are interested in the nutritional info please let me know and I will get that to you. Thanks. #breakfast #glutenfree #recipes #healthy

Gluten Free Granola

Combine:

1- large beaten egg white

3- cups old fashioned oats

3/4- cup sliced almonds (could use walnuts, pistachios or pecans)

3/4- cup sunflower seeds

1 1/2 – cup coconut shaving (I use unsweetened myself)

1/2 – cup Honey

1/4 – cup warmed coconut oil (can use olive oil, but I prefer coconut oil)

1/4 – cup sesame seeds

1/4 – cup rinsed quinoa

1 tsp. Salt

t1 tsp. Cinnamon

In a large bowl toss to combine. Spread out on a rimed baking sheet. Bake granola, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown and dry, 40-45 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet (it will crisp as it cools). Boyd really likes it when I take a couple tablespoons of mini chocolate chips and sprinkle it on the cooling granola. (When I eat this during my detox cleanse I do not add the chocolate chips.) I let it set a few minutes to melt a bit then I stir and it creates little chocolate clusters. Serve with milk…I especially like it with Vanilla Almond milk. As always let me know what you think once you make this delicious breakfast or healthy snack”

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies

- Author: Natasha Phillips

Serves – 24IMG_7139-0

-1 cup creamy peanut butter, unsalted (preferably organic although I often use JIF as that is what my kids like. )-1/3 cup honey

-1 whole egg or a flax egg (I have never tried a flax egg)

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp sea salt

-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preaheat your oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients until a thick, gooey batter forms, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, or cookie scoop, drop batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This dough is much stickier than traditional cookie dough but don’t worry, it will turn out just right.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F, turning the pan half-way through the baking time so that the cookies brown evenly.

Once the cookies are lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. They will firm-up as they rest so this step is important! Once the cookies are cool and firm enough to handle, use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooking rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chill in the freezer for a cold, chewy treat!

No Comments - Categories: Food, Uncategorized

Shadows and a Best Friend

08/03/2015 - Author: Natasha Phillips

This is a pretty old story I wrote many years ago, at least 10, and because the pages are now falling out of the notebook it is written in and many crayon marks have been made over the words, I figured it was time to get it on here for sake of not losing it.

Us as little girls. She was always biting me and trying to run away...I was always just trying to keep her safe.

Us as little girls. She was always biting me and trying to run away…I was always just trying to keep her safe.

Shadows dancing, corners dim, a soothing quite all product of a tiny flame on the scented wick of a burning candle. Such a simple, inanimate object that calms, comforts and cheers ones soul. When I obtained my own room shared only with my sister Micah, who is 18 months my junior, candles decorated our shelves like pebbles on a sandy seashore. We had every type imaginable. Short, fat, tall, skinny, colorful, but yet all carried a scent unique only to them. Apple blossoms, cherry pie, vanilla spice would have our taste buds reeling and give the appearance to a first time visitor that there was indeed a kitchen hidden upstairs. Jasmine, chamomile and lavender calmed our minds and soul after a stressful day. We couldn’t wait to retreat to the quiet solitude of our bedroom, only to light our candles and talk, giggle, and gossip over our new crushes, latest desires or aspiring dreams. At 16 & 14 we had received our first room without the three smaller sets of ears that we were so used too. So of course we had lots to talk about! Often, while rambling on in hushed tone we would draw pictures or spell on each others back…although it never seemed to turn out fair as one would always fall asleep by the soothing sound of a whisper and the relaxing touch on the back. At times our giggles over the cutest guy would reach the ever so attentive ears of our mother downstairs who would then promptly holler in a loud whisper, (if no one has heard such a voice it is like a steel pad on a chalkboard), “Girls, It is time for bed!!” Of course like the sweet angels that we were we would promptly listen…well not exactly. How I miss those days of pure relationship and uninterrupted conversation. An interesting observation I made growing up watching the dancing flickering shadows produced by our candles, is that the dancing becomes more animated the longer it burns. Slow and cautious is the first dance, growing with intensity with the escaping aroma produces and budding flame. As the flame dies so does the dance but the scent lingers and is often the strongest with the last wisp of smoke that signals the candles end. When looking at the relationship with my sister, now we are in the midst of an intense tango. One interrupted with busy schedules, kids and space, yet still beautiful, flowing and magical in the dance. One day it will die yet I know that those years will produce with sweetest and most intense aroma’s of our lives. I look fondly on the budding years of our youth, I cherish the sweetness of the dance we are in now and I look forward with anticipation of the intensity to come. I love you sister…You are a gift in my life. ”

 

Micah and I now live over 14 hours apart and spend countless hours on the phone analyzing our lives,

We like to think we are a little 'saucy'....we don't pull it off very well. :)

We like to think we are a little ‘saucy’….we don’t pull it off very well. 🙂

encouraging, picking out clothes through face time and loving life as mothers in this walk of life. She is an inspiration and picture of a Godly wife and mother. I may be older but I look up to her.

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Goals, we all have them

08/01/2015 - Author: Natasha Phillips

IMG_2576Goals are a funny thing to me. As I get older the more goals I set for myself. I don’t know if it is because I am trying to keep up with my kids and wanting to slow down the aging process, or if I have figured out that true success comes when you set goals. It is something almost all of us do on a daily basis but maybe don’t realize we are doing. Saying “I am going to cook from scratch tonight.” , is a sort of goal…one that we set for our self without thinking. New Year’s resolutions are basically goals that we allow our self to quit because I think it is easier to quit a ‘resolution’ than a ‘goal’. There is something so fulfilling about completing something we have put in front of our self, there is almost a sense of self-worth, of pride and contentment that washes over us when we finish. I am reading a book right now on how to be a successful person, how to create and complete challenges without creating excuses. It has made me very self-aware of everyday choices I make to sabotage goals I have set for myself. I thought it would be fun to write my goals for the year down, for all to see and in a way it will hold me accountable because I know people are watching. Here it goes:

Go Area Qualification with Arbonne by the end of August
Have two (at least) new people join my team and start building their business with purpose, dreams, and the realization that time and financial freedom is around the corner.
Run a half marathon by October.
Go zip-lining with Boyd.
Be completely debt free by January 2017…this includes school loans, house and credit card…all debt.
Be able to do 50 push-ups, REAL ONES!!!
Finish a new book every two weeks.

Teach Elliott how to read.

Climb a mountain.

Take a trip to Italy.

Right now that is all I have, maybe to some those seem small or mundane, but I am very excited to reach those goals. I encourage you, no matter what your goals are, to write them down and start checking them off. Something will happen when you do that, a new sense of security will wash over you, a feeling of pride and self-worth. There will be hard days and days you might want to give up on your goals, but in the end it will be worth it. I found this quote floating around on Facebook, I don’t know where it started or I would certainly give them credit, I really appreciate what it says. I would love to hear what goals you have, no matter

IMG_2547how important you think they are, I will be cheering you on if I know what it is!!!

No Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection, Uncategorized