The 30-Day Shred: Day 15

“I ran three miles, staggered into the lobby, and took the elevator back to my apartment. No point to overdoing this exercise junk.” –Stephanie Plum
Janet Evanovich, Two for the Dough

You guys. Seriously. I’m not young anymore.

PIN IT, y’all!

The Shred

A few years ago, I completed The 30-Day Shred with Jillian Michaels. At the time, I was young. It did the trick, and the weight fell off.

Then, I had this. The King of (Ring) Pop(s).


Clearly, he wasn’t that size when he came out (*wince*). He’s become that size in the last few years (*sniff*). Anywho, by the time he hit two, I figured it was time to take what I’m referring to as ‘the baby weight’ off. So, I fired up The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook, and over 800 of my closest and dearest girlfriends from around the globe joined me, as my second trip through Shredville began.

Granted, not everyone is Shredding, but to each her own. Some are walking. Some are T-Tapping. Some are PiYo-ing. Bottom line: they’re doing something besides sitting on the couch watching Rocky marathons on AMC (my specialty). Last Friday marked Day 15 of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge and, in particular for me, The 30-Day Shred.

The 30-Day Shred consists of three levels at 10 days each. Each workout is less than half-an-hour long. I add at least a half-hour of cardio (read: swim with my children) most days. I’m halfway through level 2. I’m begging Jesus to make a quick return before level 3 begins. My shoulders would like to spend exactly zero more minutes in the plank position.

Here are my stats at the halfway point:

Neck: lost 1 inch (tips about managing newfound turkey neck appreciated)
Bust: lost 2 inches (of course…and down one cup size)
Waist: lost 2 inches
Belly: lost 2.5 inches
Hips: lost 1 inch
Arms: lost 2.25 inches for both
Legs: lost 1.5 inches for both

For those of you that don’t have A Beautiful Mind (me, either, but I’ve got a calculator), that’s a total of 12.25 inches in 15 days with The Heifer Otherwise Known as Jillian.

Oh, and I lost 6.4 pounds, too. Say what you want about her, but it works!

My 14-year-old daughter, she who really didn’t need to lose anything, has been Shredding with me (bless her heart!) and lost a total of 8.5 inches and 1.4 pounds, too! #proudmama

More toned. More flexible. More cardio stamina. More sweaty. More stinky. More laundry. More showering. More, more, more. But less hungry! All that exercise makes me somewhat more careful about what I eat.

I try to stick around 400 calories per meal (x3) plus a 200-calorie afternoon snack, but I’m not a stickler about this. Being a stickler makes my perfectionism act up, driving me to perfect overeating again. I also try to eat relatively low-carb and overall healthy foods. I suspect that, as I go, I’ll have to get better about this. And maybe back off the Chick-fil-A fried chicken sandwiches a bit. But, hey, as long as I can lose an average of 2 pounds per week and still have the occasional chicken sandwich, ain’t no shame in that game.

Here’s my Day 15 pictorial update. More pics forthcoming on Day 30, of course.

Day 1 to 15 before and after collage

If you can’t see a difference, besides the fact that I managed to paint my toenails in 15 days, please don’t tell me.  I’m anxious to complete this challenge and move on to the next one, so I can have some more obvious before-and-after pictures, which WILL be forthcoming on Day 30. Over.


The next 30-Day Exercise Challenge is scheduled to begin on Monday, September 15! Y’all need to get in on this, even if you aren’t tracking with the particular exercise type that we’re doing. If you’ve joined the current challenge late, this will be the perfect time to be on Day 1 with us! Many, many are being motivated, supported and encouraged in whatever exercise they’ve chosen.


The new challenge is Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30! This DVD is similar in style to The 30-Day Shred but contains FOUR workouts instead of three! If memory serves me correctly (and we all know that’s sketchy), level 1 of Ripped is worse, way worse, than level 3 of The Shred (even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus). I will be doing each workout for two weeks, meaning this particular challenge will last a total of eight weeks, ending on/around Friday, November 7, 2014. And y’all KNOW I’m already researching a plan for after that! Lord knows I’m gonna need to workout when the holidays (and their cookies and such!) roll around! Dang cookies.

Don’t worry about specifics for now, just make sure you have the DVD and your trusty hand weights. A sweat rag will be good, too. I’ll be posting printable calendars and weight/measurement sheets for y’all soon!

I call this one The-DVD-I-Never-Finished-Because-Morning-Sickness. Whereas, The 30-Day Shred the past few weeks was about getting moving, this one’s gonna be about redemption. I did level 1 of Ripped after I finished The Shred years ago. I remember going into it a little cocky after having killed level 3 of The Shred and, immediately, being humbled. It. Will. Not. Break. Me.

If you’ve been doing the legwork to prepare for The 30-Day Shred, here’s the link to buy it. You can start it on Day 1 with us and track right along with us at your own pace.

If you’re still preparing to even deal with The 30-Day Shred, Jillian’s come out with a new, Beginner Shred DVD. It’s on pre-sale at Amazon now in time for a September 2 release date. You can get it here.

{Affiliate links abound.}


Y’all. The sweat is becoming an issue. For reals. First, it starts as a little beading, then, the next thing I know, I’m wiping it out of my cleavage. I promise it comes out of my ears sometimes. It’s a thing.

For this reason, I knew, the moment I saw these beauties, that they were the one for me!

And now, I want TWO of you to have one of these for sweat-soaking purposes, so I’m giving them away! In order to enter, just leave a comment on this post telling what has been the most encouraging part of being in The 30-Day Exercise Challenge group, or, if you’re not in the group yet, how the encouragement of the group will help motivate you to meet your exercise goals. Then, get in the group, man. Not man. Lady. Ladies only, dude.

Rules, lady:
To enter, you MUST leave a comment answering one of the above questions ON THIS POST (not on the Facebook page)!
Enter only once, please.
Comments will close for winning purposes on Friday, August 29, 2014, sometime around dinnertime.
Winners will get to choose size and style of Bolder Band.
And this: I LOVE Y’ALL!


Some of the ladies from The 30-Day Exercise Challenge have volunteered to guest post here on AinW. I’m pretty sure it’s because of their great love for me, but whatever. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be sharing their posts with you! If they don’t inspire you, God help you.

Up first: Toni, from Auckland, New Zealand. We call her John the Baptist. She’s our Forerunner.

Get to commenting, Winners!


Guest Posting at The Homemaker’s Journal

Hey, y’all! This morning, I am over at The Homemaker’s Journal guest posting about my DIY Glossy Black Doors. I just love them.

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So much.

Y’all head over there and check it out!

PIN IT, y’all!

Coming Up This Afternoon!

                                               A single post containing all of the following:

                                            1. My 30-Day Exercise Challenge Day-15 update!

2. The NEXT Challenge, so you can get prepped!

3. A GIVEAWAY announcement!

Whew! Mondays, man.

Heavy Drinker

“Surely a woman never looks prettier than when making tea.” ~Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret

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PIN IT, Y’all!

Given what you know about my background as a strict, teetotalling, Southern Baptist (now a Recovering Baptist), it might surprise you to know that I am, in fact, a heavy drinker. My drinking “vice” is actually virtuous, though, as I drink over a gallon of water per day, and I have definite opinions about how it should be served. Shocking that I have opinions, I know.

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Since beginning The 30-Day Exercise Challenge (Hey, Challenge peeps! Mama Heather loves y’all!), my water intake has increased dramatically. Add in the over-100-degree temps here in North Texas, and you’ve got yourself a two-gallon-a-day blogger here. Easy.

In the more recent past, I’ve added tea to my daily, heavy-drinking regimen.

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Since I’m a Southerner, you might assume that I drink sweet, iced tea, but that is simply not the case. In fact, I can’t remember ever having picked Sweet Tea when given a choice. I know that probably shocks those of y’all that live somewhere that has snow or other inappropriate weather, but it’s true! Call me Uncle Si (he drinks unsweet tea, too!).

I do, however, want my tea, like my water, to be ice cold. That is,  unless I’m having hot peppermint tea. Or hot pumpkin spice tea. Or hot vanilla tea. Or…oh, nevermind.

Almost daily, I field a question or two about what kind of tea I drink, how I prepare it, where to buy it, etc. Currently, I drink the equivalent of four cups of tea per day (not including the ones I drink for ‘fun’), some of which is for weight loss, others for other health reasons.

Let me break it down for you:

1 cup equivalent of Roasted Dandelion Root Tea per day

1 cup equivalent of Decaf Green Tea per day

2 cups equivalent of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea per day

Before I go to bed, I use my favorite (hands-down), if-you-don’t-have-one-of-these-you’re-missing-out-on-life kitchen appliance, my electric tea kettle {affiliate link} to heat up a kettle-full of water to boiling. I lay out three coffee mugs. I put each type of tea into each mug ( 1 bag of Dandelion in one, 1 bag of Green Tea in one, and 2 bags of Raspberry Leaf in one), then I fill each with boiling water. I let them sit on the counter and steep overnight.

In the morning, I prepare them this way:

The Dandelion tea gets poured into two quart-sized Mason jars (half in each). Then, I begin to build my detox tea {recipe here} by adding cranberry juice and lemon juice to each jar. I add ice and fill the rest with water. I drink these two quarts over the course of the day. This particular version of tea is designed to pull excess water off of your body and, boy, does it work! Stay close to the bathroom, man. “They” claim you can use it to lose 5 pounds in 7 days. “I” say I’m just happy to have my eyes and hands not be so swollen and my headache go away. If bitter is not your thing (and I get that), you could add a little stevia, Truvia, or other natural sweetener of choice. This tea is naturally decaffeinated.

The Green Tea I drink straight. I’m hard-core that way. It’s supposed to aid in weight loss. I’ve used it in the past and had good results, and I need all the help I can get. This tea is very caffeinated but, since caffeine and my body are sworn enemies, I buy a decaf version. If you play well with caffeine, go for it. The caffeine should actually help your body burn more calories.

The Red Raspberry Tea is my favorite. I do drink it Sweet-Tea style. I pour the entire cup of two-bag concentrate into a third Mason jar, add stevia to sweeten, and fill the rest of the jar with ice and water. I usually drink it with my breakfast. What is the purpose of Raspberry Tea, you ask? It helps, um, female issues. The older I get, and all. The first month I started drinking this wonder tea, “that time” was like a night-and-day difference from the month before. No pain. No bloating. No moodiness. Other than the usual, of course. My family members call it my Uterus Tea. They want me to drink it and eagerly serve it to me in my Wonder Woman mug. For reals. This tea, too, is naturally decaffeinated.

These mixes could easily be doubled, tripled, or more to make a bigger batch for the week.

Here are Amazon {affiliate} links to the different tea varieties I use, in case you have trouble finding these specialty teas in your neck-of-the-woods. They are available at Target and Whole Foods for immediate-gratification people, but Amazon’s prices are actually better. And also this: free two-day shipping, people! Waaaay cheaper than a trip to the doctor and meds, in the case of the Raspberry Tea.

Amazon: Shopping for Introverts.

Buy: Electric Tea Kettle

Buy: Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

Buy: Green Tea (caffeinated)

Buy: Green Tea (decaffeinated)

Buy: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea


Don’t miss the mid-point update on The 30-Day Exercise Challenge! Friday is Day 15 (that’s halfway, for the non-mathematicians in the house), and I’m excited to tell y’all what’s going on here and hear from you about what’s going on at your house with Jillian. Y’all didn’t kill her, did y’all?

Aaaaand, in plenty of time for y’all to prepare and recruit your friends and family, I’m announcing the NEXT 30-Day Exercise Challenge! One that will take us all the way to the end of October! And you know I’ve got plans for after that….mwahahaha!

Also, a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY for Challengers! Y’all do NOT want to miss this one! Or maybe two!

Subscribe to receive the emails every time a new post is published so you’re not left out. Also, join The 30-Day Exercise Challenge group on Facebook (women only!) to read the daily battlefield reports from over 800 Challengers! The encouragement and support is unbeatable and free! Free is in my budget.

See y’all there!

Cheesy-Garlic Chicken Biscuit Redux

Pinterest Photo

So, um, yesterday I posted a little ditty about these. Apparently the good people who run my server thought that it would be a good idea to do maintenance at the same time I was publishing this life-changing recipe. And also that not alerting me to this maintenance was a good idea. Therefore, many of my gracious and faithful readers were unable to gain access to the post.

That, my friends, is what we in the blogging biz call a travesty.


I am writing this post to let you know that (a) you need this food in your life and (b) all server maintenance people are on punishment.

Cheesy-Garlic Chicken Biscuits (Low-Carb/THM-S)


Cheesy-Garlic Chicken Biscuits (Low-Carb/THM-S)

“The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken.” ~Maya Angelou

Awhile back, my mother sent me this photo via Spacebook:

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Thaaaat’s right. Somebody took a Chick-fil-A chicken patty and put it on a Red Lobster Garlic-Cheese Biscuit. Mama knows I’m trying to eat right, and there ain’t nothin’ about this that’s right.  For a good 23.498 seconds, I hated her stinkin’ guts. Then, I remembered what she had taught me, “Honor your mother and your father that your days may be long upon the earth.” Not wanting to get struck down my lightning, I repented of my attitude and set out on a course to recreate this little beauty in a way that was more figure-friendly.

Here she is:


To recap:

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Good but bad for you (above). Good AND good for you (below).


Here’s how it all went down.

 I love, love, love these Cheesy-Cheese Garlic Biscuits from Satisfying Eats. If these don’t taste just like Red Lobster’s Garlic-Cheese Biscuits, I don’t know what does. They are the best biscuit I’ve had while on THM. On the side of a satisfying “S” meal, they are spectacular. In terms of this recipe, though, they fell a little flat…literally. When they bake, they spread and become like little disks: good for sopping up Cheeseburger Pie juice, bad for holding a friend chicken patty.

Enter the muffin tin. I tweaked the recipe by baking the individual portions in muffin tins rather than on a baking sheet, producing a taller biscuit. One that was more easily split horizontally for chicken patty insertion.

And now for the chicken: did you know they sell thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the store now? I didn’t use them because I have an angst-filled teenager and an iron skillet, but they do…sell them, I mean. I just lined up some regular chicken breasts on the counter between two pieces of waxed paper, gave the teenager the iron skillet, and let her whack them until they were flat.

Never underestimate the harnessed power of teen angst in the kitchen, people.

If you’re lacking said angsty teen, the thin-cut ones will work just fine. Once they were pounded, I took a biscuit cutter that was similar in size to the biscuit-muffins and traced around it with a sharp knife. I got two chicken circles per breast. Dip the chicken circles in egg wash, a trip through the breading, fry, insert into split, buttered biscuit, and you’re ready to eat!

Beyond unbelievable. Printable below. Y’all eat!

Pinterest Photo

Cheesy-Garlic Chicken Biscuits

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

recipe compiled by

Biscuits (modified from Cheesy-Cheese Garlic Biscuits from
Instead of baking on a baking sheet, drop into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat OR 6 thin-cut boneless, skinless breasts
2 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup EITHER coconut flour, almond flour, or crushed pork rinds (taster’s choice)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
coconut oil (for frying)


1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
2. In one flat dish, break two whole eggs and beat slightly.
3. In another flat dish, mix flour/rinds, two egg whites, and Parmesan. This should be a little clumpy. Embrace the clump.
4. Flatten breasts (or use thin-cut) then, using a biscuit cutter or glass as a pattern, cut two circles out of each breast.
5. Dip chicken circles in egg wash, then press into flour/rind mixture to coat well.
6. Fry in batches in hot coconut oil, just until golden. DO NOT overfry. You can finish these in the (already hot because you just baked biscuits) oven until done in the middle.
7. Split biscuits down the middle horizontally. Insert one chicken patty into each biscuit. Enjoy!

Congratulations Winner!


Join me in congratulating noahsmom1008 in winning the subscriber contest! She will receive her choice of the Trim Healthy Mama book, three (3) bags of THM Sweet Blend, a handweight set, or a Camelbak bottle in her choice of colors.

Don’t worry if you didn’t win this time. There are plenty more contests to win where this came from!

*Contest solely sponsored by AinW.*


THM-Friendly School Lunch Ideas

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ~Orson Welles

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PIN IT, y’all!

Is this that time already? Is it just me, or does it seem like the summer gets shorter and shorter each year?

Awhile back, I put out a survey, and boy did you respond! Thank you! Many of you have asked for THM-friendly school lunch ideas, but the truth is that what you probably just need are ideas…any old school lunch ideas. Sure, they could be on-plan, but around about mid-October the 987th peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich is looking rather uninspired, and you just want something new. And even though we homeschool our kids, the truth is I need ideas too, if only for packing my husband’s lunch.

The ideas on this post, which are THM-Friendly but just plain, old good lunches, make a few assumptions:

1. Your child(ren) have no access to a microwave or other heating machinery at the place where they eat lunch. While I used to work at a school that did provide microwaves for student use, I know these are few and far between, and I understand why. The ideas here will be presented assuming the food will be eaten cold or from a Thermos (do people even use those anymore?) of some sort. If they do have microwave access…BONUS!

2. Your child(ren) do have an insulated lunch bag/box/suitcase and an ice pack/cold pack of some sort to keep things cool between the time you pack them and the time they eat them. Also, soup and smoothie ideas assume a Thermos or other insulated bottle of some type.

3. Your child(ren) are interested in, or at least willing to, eat food that’s on-plan. Many of the ideas here are just that…ideas. If you didn’t tell the child(ren) they were on-plan, they might not even know. That’s the power of motherhood. Mwahaha.

4. Your child(ren) are sticking with either S or E meals. Creating an S-Helper, Fuel Pull, or Crossover are easy tweaks.

5. That “lunch” is a relative term in post-modernity and “breakfast” items like eggs or “dinner” items like steak can be eaten at “lunchtime”.

6. That this list is not, by any means, comprehensive but is a get-you-started, mix-and-match kick-off-the-school-year list.

7. That I have no idea what your babies are allergic to/like/don’t like, so do what works for them, man!

Sandwiches and Wraps

The variations here are endless. May I submit to you that making and refrigerating Gwen’s Easy Bread be something you incorporate into your weekly routine? Like sweet-tea-making here in The South. Two pieces of Gwen’s Bread make the basis for a great E sandwich. And also this: low-carb wraps. Amen.

Low-fat/sugar-free lunchmeat of choice (mix it up, man!) with low-fat cheese slices, low-fat mayo and/or mustard and choice of veggies on either Gwen’s Bread, Ezekiel Bread or low-carb wraps (E); recommendation…buy meat from the deli…when caught on-sale it’s cheaper than the pre-packaged stuff and they’ll slice it how you like it…we ask for shaved. Shaved’s the bomb.
Two scrambled eggs (not just for breakfast, man!) with full-fat cheese and regular mayo (throw in some meat if you want) on low-carb wrap only (S); wrap in a paper towel and aluminum foil for insulation…should stay warm until lunch
Tuna/chicken/egg/ham/turkey salad (cooked, chopped meat/egg with mayo and seasonings or add avocado too!) with/without choice of veggies on low-carb wrap only (S)
PB&J wraps using on-plan peanut butter and jam…watch your portions (E/S)
Hebrew National 97% fat-free beef hot dogs wrapped in Gwen’s Bread and baked ahead of time with Ranch mustard dip (E)
Same hot dogs topped with shredded full-fat cheese and wrapped in low-carb wraps with mustard dip (S)
Veggies-only sammie with low-fat mayo and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on Gwen’s Bread (E)
Leftover meat wrap (grilled steak, roasted chicken, cooked turkey slices, ham steak, bacon, turkey bacon…endless possibilities) (S)
Mexican wrap (cooked ground turkey breast seasoned with taco seasoning with beans and light cheese and veggies on wrap) (E)


Smoothies are generally best right out of the blender, but they can be good later on. My husband takes his in a Mason jar to work and, when he’s ready to drink it, gives it a hearty shake and drinks it down. Any smoothie or protein shake that you would normally make, pour into an insulated Thermos-type bottle and pack in the bag with an ice pack. When your little precious one is ready to drink it, he/she just needs to give it a quick shake and go for it.
Tip #1: Funky straws are fun for littles (and me, too!). Bed, Bath, and Beyond sells milkshake straws for $1.99 per bag.
Tip #2: Pour ice-water into Thermos or insulated bottle then empty it out before putting shake in. That way, the bottle’s already cold, helping the smoothie keep its temperature.
Tip #3: Throw some greens into your little person’s smoothie. Spinach is a mild-flavored beginner green. Increase the amount gradually over time and, chances are, they won’t even notice. The blueish-purple of blueberries covers the green nicely. Just sayin’.


My teenager loves the Just-Like Campbell’s Tomato Soup from the book. We make it in batches of four times the recipe and keep individual portions in the fridge. The light Progresso soups are also on-plan, as are any number of soups, both in the book and on Pinterest and blogs. The possibilities are endless.

The technique is simple.  In the morning, fill the Thermos or other insulated bottle with hot, hot water and allow to sit for a few minutes in the morning. Heat the soup separately. Then, pour the hot water out of the bottle, pour the hot soup into the bottle, close the bottle tightly and pack away from the cold stuff. On a day when soup is packed, try a side of some type of flourless cracker or other non-cold items.


Apple dippers with peanut butter dip (Greek yogurt, defatted peanut flour, sweetener) (E)
Veggie dippers with Ranch dip (Greek yogurt, dry Ranch seasoning) (FP)
On-plan blue corn chips (watch portions) (E)
Flourless crackers: Just-Like Wheat Thins or other from the book or Homemade Cheez-It’s (S); add some Greek Ranch dip for kicks
Mashed sweet potato (bake, remove from jacket and mash with cinnamon and sweetener) (E)
One portion of fruit (E)
Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with berries, sweetener and vanilla extract (FP)
Side green salad with Ranch (S) or light balsamic (E)
Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips (E)


Don’t discount the power of the leftover in school lunches: leftover Fooled Ya Pizza is especially delicious!
Use leftover, cooked meat to make wraps, salads or delicious egg scrambles.
You get the idea…


Give the kid a sweet treat, would ya?
Mine love the Peanut Squares from the book or any cookie coming out of Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen.
What about a slice of on-plan banana bread? Or even a half-slice?
These Coconut-Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies are the poo, and the recipe makes a ton. Flash-freeze baked and cooled cookies on a sheet pan then put frozen cookies into a large Ziploc freezer bag. Pop a couple of frozen cookies into the lunchbag and, by lunchtime, they’ll be ready to eat! Do this with just about any cookie.
A small portion of Brownie Batter Overnight Oatmeal. This stuff is like candy, man!
If you’re packing an insulated bag, why not some skinny chocolate?


Any of the sippers would work in an insulated bottle for lunchtime drinks.
Consider a fruit-tea version brewed and cooled then sweetened with on-plan sweetener.
Here’s a cool idea that my mom used to use when packing my lunch when I was a kid. Of course, she packed me a Diet Coke, but you could just as easily substitute Zevia or other on-plan, canned colas. The night before, take one can of refrigerated soda, double wrap in paper towel, then wrap in aluminum foil. Place in freezer overnight. When packing lunches the next day, put cold soda in lunch bag. By lunchtime, the soda can be unwrapped and should still be ice-cold but not frozen. There may sometimes be icy bits…love that!

Does this help you get started? I mean, I haven’t even started talking about muffins yet! I’d love for you to post additional ideas in the comments section below for everyone to see. Mamas helping mamas is powerful stuff, man! Mamas gotta stick together.


My GIVEAWAY ends this Sunday, August 3! Click here for details.

My sweet friend Sarah’s GIVEAWAY over at Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen ends Sunday, too! Y’all go show her some love!

The 30-Day Exercise Challenge starts Monday. If you don’t want to join us, at least pray for us, will ya? Jillian’s a BEAST, man!