Happy healthy life-weight

healthy habitYou guys, last week I had to go super strict on my eating. Since my surgery I have been gaining weight like crazy. I workout and eat fairly healthy but that wasn’t helping. I have really been struggling with it.

Last week, I prepped all meals and snacks. I knew what I was eating and when. I allowed a treat or 2 randomly throughout the week but wants to see if I could lose weight. After gaining 8 lbs in a month and then reading that a lot of women gained 15-30 after an ablation I was determined to not fall into that group.

Between Monday and Saturday I lost 4 lbs….then continued the “test” by not prepping my weekend and eating like I wanted. I still was careful not going crazy but I enjoyed life like I would have before the ablation to simply see what would happen.

It’s Monday and I have put on 3.5 lbs in 2 days. Well, it’s been decided that I will be prepping all meals for now on. I made salad jars and hard boiled eggs yesterday. I still need to prep snacks for each day. My dinners are scheduled and using good clean ingredients. I can’t say it’s because of the surgery or because my young 31 year old body has decided to be a real butt head. Either way, eating healthy is the only thing I am choosing to do.

Some might say to live a little, others might tell me the scale isn’t a big deal and I agree with both. I like to live a healthy but happy life. I don’t let the scale decide for me, but when I’m rocking the rubber band on my jeans I know i have gotten to far from where I’m happy. I like to eat healthy, I like the feeling it gives me. I don’t struggle with depression as much, I feel good, I wear what I want and the best part….I look as good as I feel.

Now my happy healthy life isn’t determined by anything other then me. My weight isn’t determined by anything more then how I feel. I feel my BEST around 130. Yes, I’m 5ft tall. Yes, that is obese on that stupid BMI chart but I am happy there and the BMI chart can go bye-bye. If you live your life according to that stupid chart we need to talk! That chart does nothing more then take your weight and height into account. Not your muscle mass, not your bone density…NOTHING! According to that chart my ideal weight is 97-123! Ummm no thank you. There is no way that I can be happy and healthy at that weight.

I know that many other women struggle with weight issues, so if you don’t already follow me on Mandy Brain-Facebook, you should. I am going to be hosting a free clean eating/meal prep group each month. It will be a safe place to ask questions. There will be no products promoted and everything will be easy to follow.

You might be asking yourself why you should join this group with some random person. First, after having my daughter I lost 75lbs without the help of anything but food and exercise. I did it all on my own. Second, I love health, I love helping women find their happy healthy, some might say it’s my happy place. Third, I teach fitness classes, I have learned exactly what our bodies need and respond best to! Last, I am pretty dang confident in myself and my group.

 

Novasure Ablation 1 month later

*Warning: I will be very detailed in this post. I will share my personal experience since having my nova-sure ablation done. I will talk about things that some might find gross. You have been warned*

So here I am a month later. I have healed amazingly and have my post op appt next week. I have gone back to working out, lifting heavy, and life 90%.

From my 3 small incisions to have my left tube removed, I have a little tenderness. Stretching and core work are tough still. Not that I had much core strength before, I really don’t have it now. Over time I hope to regain some of the strength I have built. My belly button incision seems to have internal stitches, I don’t know though. I have a knot though and will ask my dr next week.

Here’s the gross stuff……

I have had to wear a liner for 3.5 weeks. I had a lot of discharge. Like the dr said, they are putting 2nd and 3rd degree burns in my uterus which will blister. Blisters drain, therefore I will have discharge. It’s usually clear. Every once in a while pink, which isn’t alarming.

Every time I use the bathroom a small chunk of tissue falls out. Again, totally normal. At first, this scared the crap out of me but thanks to my nurse she cleared this up. It’s 100% normal.

For 2 weeks I had an upset stomach. We are talking diarrhea within 30 minutes of eating a meal. I could not keep food in me. After a call to my drs nurse, she said it’s normal but if it didn’t go away within a week to call and get an appt set. After a few more days it went away. I was told that this is a normal side effect to the ablation and tube removal.

Here I am a month later and other then pink discharge for a day here and there, I have not had a period. No spotting, little cramping, but still moody. After going to Dr Google, I red numerous times that I can still have the PMS side of a period. I still have a single ovary and therefore my husband still has to deal with my moodiness once a month.

Would I recommend this procedure to others? Absolutely! I won’t know for 6 months what my “normal” monthly cycle is. I can still have periods but 4 weeks without one….I’m praying that I never have one again!!!!

Pray More


As I opened my fast this morning with a prayer, I immediately apologized for not paying more, then I realized what I said…it’s obviously on my mind. This has stuck with me today. My heart is heavy with regret, all the prayers and blessings I’ve missed out on because of my excuses.

I have so much love for my Heavenly Father, but don’t remember to pray. I allow things to get in the way, little things. As I have thought about it, I am kind of upset with myself. I am so unbelievably blessed, yet don’t remember to say “Thank You” each day. I struggle just like each of you but don’t always ask for help. I make mistakes and don’t ask for forgiveness.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have witnessed miracles happen thanks to the power of prayet. I remind my kids daily to pray for anything and everything but don’t follow my own advice! I always say a little thank you in moments I know I’m being watched over. I will be in a hurry to preschool and mentally think, let me please make this light, and when I do I say a little thank you. The few car accidents I barely missed because someone cut me off or I didn’t rush thru the yellow light, I say a little thank you. Doesn’t Heavenly Father deserve more???

Prayer is so unbelievably important. It’s a way for us to talk to our Heavenly Father. He WANTS to hear from us. Yes, he knows the feelings in our hearts, he knows when we need him but there is times he is just wanting to hear us ask for help,  for us to say Thank you or a simple prayer to keep that line open.

We are so blessed to know and have the knowledge of prayer. To know that someone is listening, that our prayers will be answered when the time is right and that we have a personal way to ask our Heavenly Father for forgiveness for our many mistakes.

So if your like me let’s remember to pray more together. I am setting alarms in my phone, sounds silly but my life functions smoothly thanks to alarms. I am setting 5, 1 for each meal, when I first get up and an hour before bed. I am not planning on just saying a quick prayer then rushing on but instead I will pray and leave a little quiet time after my morning and night prayer to listen to answers I might recieve or the calmness I need to feel.

Novasure Ablation

You guys I did it! I closed the baby machine!!! I had the novasure ablation and my tube removed. You love my picture don’t you? That was about 18 hours after surgery.

First, let me warn you. This post will be full of things I have dealt with and why I chose surgery. I will be honest and unfiltered. You have been warned. This is my experience. I can not promise your will be the same.

I have been planning this surgery for a while. Due to insurance and my husband, we waited. He has wanted more children. I was done years ago but would never do anything permanent without his approval. We are a team and make decisions together.

About a year ago, my periods became very frequent, like every other week pretty much. After ultrasounds and blood work we found no problems. I also have dealt with cysts and while we found some during the ultrasound, nothing was large enough to cause problems. There was no cause for my frequent periods. Did I mention that a year prior I had my right ovary and tube removed due to cysts??? Well, left ovary went into over drive. My left ovary was dropping eggs like crazy!

Dr said at this point getting pregnant would be extremely difficult. Good news for me, bad news for my husband. I had options though. Ablation, hysterectomy or an IUD. After talking with the Dr and doing research and IUD wasn’t for me. Hysterectomy was going to be 6-8 weeks of recovery. Ablation and a tube tied or removed was the best option for me and my life. 

So fast forward to December 2016, new insurance and I was still struggling with frequent periods and cysts becoming more painful. Hubby gave the green light to surgery. I cried happy tears. Who wouldn’t want those stupid periods yo end?

So dr appointment was scheduled to get the ball rolling. My insurance was tricky in the case that he had to perform it at another hospital or I needed to find another dr. He luckily could do it at a hospital that my insurance covered.

He again reminded me that this was permanent and there is no turning back. He suggested the IUD again, which I can understand, I’m still young (31) but I knew in my heart this was the best thing for me. We did a uterine biopsy and holy cow, that hurt like hell. I’ll share a funny story later about that though. We agreed that Novasure was the best option. Something about microwaving my uterus seemed better than boiling water inside my uterus. The water or balloon method seemed more painful. 

Feb 8th was my surgery. I was excited and a little nervous. I had been looking forward to this surgery for a year. I was reminded about the pain and recovery. Down for 2 weeks, no heavy lifting for 4 weeks….my love for working out and weights struggle with this. 

I went in and was home about 4-5 hours later. Pre op and waiting on the anesthesiologist and OR nurse took the longest. I had the best nurse in pre op though. We talked lularoe and lipsense. I’ve never felt so relaxed before a surgery♡

All I remember was the anesthesiologist putting 2 meds in my iv, pain and antibiotic,  then wheeling me to the operating room. I was told to move to the other table. Then I woke up in recovery! I wasn’t in any pain. As soon as I was awake they removed my oxygen and patches for monitoring and moved me another area where my husband came in. 

I was foggy but overall felt good. We came home and I napped as much as I could but I suck at naps. Then about 2 hours after getting home the craps hit along with feeling nauseous, which was from anesthesia. I took some kids Tylenol, threw up an hour later and felt fine. 

I have had no pain other then the cramps the first few hours. I mean, he did just put 2nd and 3rd degree burns in my uterus, stabbed me 3 times in the stomach and then removed my left fallopian tube that was attached to my abdomen wall and intestines. He decided to remove due to my family history or cancer and my history with cysts. 

Surgery was Wednesday, today is Friday. I drove my son to school, swept and mopped the kitchen floor and moving around like nothing happened. I feel great. I have a little tenderness in my incision at my belly button when I cough or sneeze, other then that I don’t feel like I had surgery.I  have the nasty discharge he warned me about. Think about when you get a burn, it oozes right?! Well, these burns are doing the same. Gross I know but it should only last 2-3 weeks. Still gross!

I have had no bleeding, no more cramping and a pinch of pain in my right shoulder from the gas put into my abdomen. Evetything was done laparoscopic and I have 3 small cuts in my stomach. They are covered so I’m not sure what’s hiding under the gauze but it can’t be too bad, right?

I have my check up the beginning of March so hopefully everything heals well and I never have another period again. Worst case scenario, I have a period randomly or once a month. Either way much better then what I have been dealing with.

Would I recommend this surgery? Absolutely! 

Kids and Chores…

Raise your hands if kids and chores don’t go together in your home like a perfect match?

I feel like I need scary music playing quietly in the background as I approach my children to do chores. Don’t get me wrong….they help sometimes. Usually after I have threatened early  bed time, no electronics and their life. Then with heavy hearts they do it. Luckily, 20% of the time they are quick and willing to help.

Being a mom is tough. We aren’t maids to our tiny army though and that I totally how I feel. My kids are old enough to do more and make things a little easier on me. My 8 year old is a hoarder…this isn’t a joke. I have to go clean trash from his room because he won’t. He had a little fit when I threw a fortune cookie fortune away because it had “chinese writing on it”. Mr Middle, who is 6, is quick to help, but also the first to throw himself on the floor. You really never know what you are going to get. Little miss 4 year old hides or bribes her brothers to take care of it for her with promises of letting them watch their show or sharing a treat with them…..girlfriend knows what she is doing.

Then you have me, Mom. Picker up of all things left behind and expected to keep a clean house. I walk into friends homes and just think how do they have a clean home? They have kids. Some have pets. What are they doing that Im not?

I don’t want to make my kids out to be these entitled little brats because I swear that isn’t the case. They do help, just not as much as I need them too. I will admit, I do clean a ton and since I do it, why do they? Only I am realizing that I can’t be a mom, wife, friend, beachbody coach, lipsense hottie, taxi driver with 3 school schedules and just over all me on top of keeping a house clean.

I have tried chore charts and really hate them. We have tried a reward jar but seriously, Im not rewarding you for doing something you are expected to do. HECK no to allowance…again, Im not paying you to do what your expected. I don’t want to overwhelm my kids with chores. I want them to be kids, but mom is taking all the slack and really starting to feel it.

So after turning to my facebook friends for advice I found something simple enough to start with before building more. This is something that will work for all my kids with their schedules and homework while still being allowed time for fun.

Plain and simple…chorelist

I don’t make my kids clean my stuff so why do I need to do theirs? I told them the new rule taking effect Monday so that we have time to give them a clean slate without starting on the wrong foot. They aren’t thrilled but honestly, if they have clean rooms and clean up their own crap I have NOTHING to complain about! They will not have fun or get to use any electronic till things are done….including homework!

After a month and seeing good results I will rotate simple chores, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping floors, loading the dishwasher (they already unload daily) helping more with the animals etc. They are kids and I don’t want them to think that our home has to be perfect, but I do want them to learn respect for what they have and the home that they are blessed with!

Wish us luck! Next week isn’t going to be easy but it is going to be worth it!

 

 

Lipsense Ingredients

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Bella Lipsense-Onyx Shadowsense Makesense Foundation

 

So if you haven’t heard of Lipsense by Senegence then you are missing out! It’s the perfect lip color to last all day long that is actually healthy for your lips instead of just covering your lips with colorful wax….I found it almost a year ago and was sold. I never wore lipstick before this because I hate the smell and taste of lipstick. It’s nasty! But what is in this stuff to make it amazing? I can give you the ingredients but it won’t make much sense.

So I came across this post from a fellow SeneSister…she totally knows her stuff and breaks down each thing in the colors and gloss and explains them to you. I got permission from her to share this all with you.

Please if you can read it all. She spent so much time putting this together and I couldn’t love it more!

“I am a molecular and cell biology major, ex biotech lab technician, and chemistry teacher. Written below is my post:
Warning! Very LONG!

The Science of LipSense

When looking at skincare or makeup, I agree with the philosophy that when looking at products the only thing that really matters is the ingredients list. Some ingredients are over hyped for how well they work or how dangerous they are or how safe they are. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle and I prefer to see biological data in order to draw my own conclusions. Sometimes it’s over my head but I try to understand all the science. That being said, I hope all the following information is accurate.

ingredient-list-colorWhen looking into lipsense I had to look up the ingredients list. From the information I could gather, the main ingredients are the finely ground pigment bits (or molecules if I want to sound scientific) and the SD 40 alcohol. It is a lab grade alcohol meaning it will be free of any additives (like rubbing alcohols which “are unsafe for human consumption: isopropyl rubbing alcohols do not contain the ethyl alcohol of alcoholic beverages; ethyl rubbing alcohols are based on denatured alcohol, which is a combination of ethyl alcohol and one or more bitter poisons that make the substance toxic.”-Wikipedia). The specific type of alcohol is called ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) which is made from grains and the drinkable kind (like Everclear) but is usually mixed with denatonium salt (this is the denatured part). This salt is extremely bitter and is added to discourage consumption and “so that it is not treated as an alcoholic beverage with respect to taxation and sales restrictions.” – Wikipedia. I’m pretty sure by law they have to add this to cosmetic alcohols especially the unsafe alcohols (like in nail polish remover), again to discourage drinking it. Alcohol kills bacteria (think hand sanitizer) so your lipsense will never go bad and is what causes that tingly feeling (and what causes the tingly feeling in most toners) when you apply lipsense. There are different types of alcohols in skin care – simple, fatty (gives liquids a smooth velvety feel), and aromatic (can be irritating to sensitive skin, especially for me when derived from essential oils). Ethanol (the specific alcohol in lipsense) is under the simple category and will dry out skin when used alone. This product does not work without the gloss that goes on top and shouldn’t be used without it. The tingly, cooling sensation you feel when you apply Lipsense is the ethanol evaporating off your skin. Ethanol is also what acts as an exfoliant and why when you start using lipsense your lips will peel a little. If you use lipsense every day, you are essentially exfoliating your lips everyday (cause it’s so hard to get off) and the product will last longer the fresher the skin layer it can set on. Also the product will last longer depending on what colour you choose and how many of those tiny pigment molecules are trying to settle on your skin. Highly pigmented colours will come off easier because to get those bright colours you need a lot of pigment. These pigments are also why you have to shake the tube well before application. You need the pigments to be evenly distributed. The pH of the skin (determined by lipids that make up your skin’s barrier) may have a slight affect in how well it lasts but not as much as how well exfoliated your lips are. Now this is pretty much (from my knowledge) the only alcohol based lipstick and it’s what gives it all its cool properties – you can layer the colours, it stays on forever, and it feels like you have nothing on your lips! The layer aspect is crucial for it’s staying power since your body breaks down the bottom layer, the environment breaks down the outer most layer, and it’s that middle layer that stays put.

Anything alcohol based will take your lipsense off and anything that has fats like coconut oil or olive oil will break the pigments down. The gloss you buy with your lipsense colour acts as a barrier. When you are eating heavily oily foods, you need to put it on before you eat so the colour will stay. It’s long wearing but it has to come off somehow.

Other ingredients in lipsense are acrylate and copolymer, (used in cosmetics for adhesive or binding purposes and is regulated), isostearyl alcohol (a fatty alcohol), methyl glucose and butylene (skin conditioning agents that are non irritating), and hydroxypropylcellulose (thickener and lubricant – sometimes used in artificial tears). These ingredients are man made and very common is cosmetics. Some ingredients that don’t use the scientific name are water, St. John’s wort (medicinal herb used for it’s antioxidant properties but can have cause irritation when exposed to sunlight) , tree peony (another medicinal herb used probably for its fragrance and skin calming properties), linden (a genus of tree species – used for antioxidants), citronella, and limonene (used for scent and probably derived from lemongrass and fruit – can be irritating in high doses). These other ingredients are probably in fairly small amounts since they are listed close towards the end.

Most lipstick’s main ingredients are waxes and oils and lip stains are mostly water or gel. When I started researching for this post I looked into lead being in our lipsticks (which lipsense does not have and is well advertised). From the FDA’s website I found that “Lead occurs naturally in the environment, and its occurrence, as an impurity, in cosmetic products can’t be avoided. FDA has taken action whenever necessary to remove products from the market that contain lead at unsafe levels.”. Unsafe was determined to be no more than 10 ppm (parts per million). There are two ways you can be exposed to lead, through ingestion or absorption through skin. With lip products, it’s both, but what’s more troubling is the ingestion. No lead in our lipsticks is a good thing. Lead poisoning is rare but has very varied and general “sick” symptoms and high toxic doses can cause seizures and comas. Most cosmetics do not have higher than 10ppm of lead but for the rare few that did, it is good that this is now regulated!

Lipsense is also advertised as vegan (a personal conviction for some and also should be mentioned – it is not tested on animals), GMO free (this is a different conversation and one I have opinions on but is not related to lipstick), gluten free (important for some especially those who have celiacs disease), and wax free. The wax free advertisement is meant to be a pro because while wax provides a protective barrier it doesn’t moisturize the skin directly. However wax can lock in moisture which is why most chapsticks aren’t completely useless and your skin arguably needs this barrier. Petroleum is also used often in chapstick or glosses (think Vaseline) but again just provides a barrier. Beeswax could be considered an exception since it has moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and an anti-oxidant properties. Propolis is a tree sap that allows the last three properties in beeswax but can be an irritant to some so beeswax in cosmetics tends to be man made. Synthetic beeswax is the vegan option and has moisturizing and barrier qualities mentioned above.

ingredient-list-glossThe lipsense gloss ingredients mainly include dimethicone, beeswax (as I just mentioned), shea butter, and tocopherol (organic compound with Vitamin E activity). There are small amounts of octoxynol-40, isolaureth-6, (helps the ingredients mix, can be an irritant, regulated by FDA), propylene glycol (organic alcohol used to control viscosity), and propylparaben (probably used as a preservative since it doesn’t have the alcohol like the colour and you don’t want bacteria growing in your gloss). Dimethicone is a silicon oil that makes products easily spreadable and adds a protective barrier like waxes do. With it being listed first, and the largest proportion of the ingredients, I believe this is how the lipsense gloss doesn’t break down the pigments and will keep your color on, while still using shea butter as a moisturizer. Shea butter is the next ingredient listed and is extremely moisturizing. It is a fat just like coconut oil or olive oil. My go to lip moisturizer is lanolin which is “wool fat” or oil from sheep’s wool, which I argue moisturizes skin the best but goes on very thick.

Mica is a reflective mineral that can be found in your sparkly glosses. Minerals I like to think of as really tiny rocks. They are harmless but if you inhale the powder it’s really not good for your lungs. Titanium dioxide is also a common mineral that can be found in makeup (in lipsense) and sunscreens specifically for sensitive skin as it will not be absorbed into the skin which is what causes a lot of irritation. Iron oxides (CL 77499, 77491, 77492) are your pigments I was talking about earlier. All the CL numbers you see are pigments and dyes or colours. “FDA also allows companies marketing their products internationally to use dual labeling for colors, listing names acceptable to the FDA as well as Colour Index (CI) numbers that are required for labeling colors in the European Union and other countries in the world.” (personalcarecouncil dot org) Since lipsense is vegan, none of these colours should be derived from insects.

One last comment I would like to make on this product is the sun protection aspect. Lipsense provides sun protection by being a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Now most opaque lipstick will do this but you don’t get quite the same coverage and variety of colours in lighter shades that are also opaque. Usually to receive the benefit of sun protection, it would require a lot of product on your skin that feels heavy (think of the zinc oxide surfers put on their noses or under their eyes). However this stuff feels light and like I have nothing on and will be a staple in my summer sun protection arsenal. Many of the sunscreen chapsticks I have used before tasted awful and made me sick to my stomach. This is one of the biggest reasons I was sold on this product as I have very fair skin and finding a solution for my lip sunscreen has been on my radar for a long time.”

If you read this whole thing, BRAVO! If you want Lipsense let me know because I sell this heaven sent lipcolor and gloss and use everything by this company!!!

Happy Healthy

Happy Healthy…what does this mean to you? To me it is about living a healthy lifestyle and letting your body and weight fall into a comfortable place. It’s living a healthy lifestyle that also makes you happy. It is being able to eat healthy with a sweet treat whenever I feel like it, in moderation of course. I don’t tell myself NO to things. I may think NOT NOW but never NO. It just makes my craving worse….and no one wants to be around someone who is on a “diet” and HANGRY!

happy-healthy

I understand that sugar is an addiction but I’m ok with having a happy healthy addiction. I have cut sugar numerous times in my life, for MONTHS and didn’t die. I felt too restricted though. I felt like I couldn’t enjoy myself just to lose 5-10 lbs….its stupid if you ask me. It wasn’t for me but for some it is worth it and that is totally fine.

What ever happened to just saying “Screw the scale” and enjoying life? When did we become so obsessed over weight and looks? Of course, I haven’t given up on myself and take care of myself but this obsession with thigh gaps and ab cracks is just unreal to me! When I found out that an ab crack was a thing that girls wanted…I died. I had to look it up to see if it was real and sure enough, it is! Why? Why are we obsessed with being so tiny?I have started a new thing where I pick out an outfit in my mind and no matter what I wear it, even if I am feeling yucky and just want a sweat shirt. I am forcing myself to get rid of the negative talk to myself because that isn’t healthy and doesn’t make me happy.

I will admit, I use to think this way. Then I lost 75 lbs after having my daughter because I had let myself go and needed to find a healthy balance. I look at pictures from then and holy cow, it isn’t pretty! Since then, I have gained 30 lbs back but I lift weights, lots of cardio, I started yoga, I am active and not just starving myself. I eat a lot of food but it isn’t 100 calorie packs of cookies and 1/2 cup of a frozen dinner, its fruit and veggies, meat and a scoop or 2 of ice cream.

I use to dream of being thin, but it’s just not in my genetics. Instead of dreaming of being tiny, I changed it to strong and healthy. To being a healthy example to my kids. I don’t want them to struggle with weight like I have. I don’t want them to starve themselves because they aren’t thin enough. I want them to find a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

So let’s end the negative talk to ourselves and embrace our own beauty. Let’s find that happy healthy lifestyle without wishing for what others have. Let’s eat healthy and exercise because we love ourselves, not because we feel like we are fat, but because we truly want too. Let’s just look in the mirror and be thankful for our unique beauty from head to toe~

 

 

My Carrot Cake Recipe

Who loves carrot cake? It’s healthy right? Carrots, pineapple, coconut….those things are healthy! Ok, maybe not the cream cheese frosting but you guys, being healthy is about moderation. It’s not about starving, it’s about eating right and enjoying the sweet things on occasion. I try to keep Sunday as my treat day….

This is a favorite recipe though. I make it only every few months because you truly can’t stay out of it. It’s the perfect cake. Not too heavy or sweet, just heavenly.

Crap, now I want to make it. Wonder if I can talk my husband into making it for me since I kept the kids alive today!

Best Carrot Cake ever recipe!
2 c   All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 c   Sugar
1/4 c   Brown Sugar, packed (dark or light)
1  1/2 t   Baking Soda
1 t   Baking Powder
1 t  Salt
4 t  Cinnamon
1/4 t  Nutmeg
1/8 t  Ground Cloves 
1/4 t  Ground Ginger
2 c  Finely Grated Peeled Carrot, packed
1 c  Coconut Flakes, sweetened
1 c  Raisins (Optional)(I never use them)
1 can 8 oz  Crushed Pineapple, drained
       (reserve 1 T of drained Pineapple juice)
1 1/2 c  Walnuts or Pecans, chopped small pieces
1 c  Vegetable Oil
2 t  Vanilla Extract
1 T  Finely Grated Fresh Orange Zest 
3  Eggs, extra large
Pam non stick Cooking Spray
 
Total Prep and cooking time approx. 1 1/4 hr.
Total Cooling and Icing time approx. 2 1/2 hrs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by spraying with Vegetable non-stick spray (like Pam Spray) and line with a parchment paper round on the bottom then spray the top of the parchment.  Or spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with Vegetable non stick spray (like Pam Spray) or use 20 jumbo Cupcake liners in a Muffin tin without using Pam spray.
  3. In a large bowl whisk well:  Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, all Spices.
  4. Peel then Grate approx 5-6 medium Carrots to yield 2 cups packed.  Grate Carrots finely to no more than 1/4 inch pieces.  Or process in a food processor until finely grated but not mush.  It isimportant that you peel the Carrots before grating.  You do not want the tough skins in your cake.
  5. In a medium bowl or KitchenAid bowl add Carrots, Grated Fresh Orange Peel, Drained Pineapple, Raisins (optional), Coconut Flakes, Walnuts or Pecans and mix well with a big spoon.
  6. To this mixture add the Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Extract and Eggs one at a time mixing in well then add 1 T of the reserved Pineapple juice and mix well.  Scrape down bowl often.
  7. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or Kitchen Aid for  about 1 minute until well mixed.  Do not over mix.
  8. Pour divided into prepared (as above) 9 inch cake pans, or 9 X 13 pan, or approximately 20 Cupcake liners filled 3/4 full or a 9 X 13 baking sheet sprayed with Pam but no parchment paper needed. 
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins for Cupcakes,  35-40 minutes for 9 inch layer cakes and 45-50 mins for 9 X 13 in the center of the oven.  Half way through cooking rotate the pans for even cooking.  A toothpick will come out clean when done.  All ovens vary in timing so check at lowest time first and if not done put back in oven and recheck in 2- 3 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely in pan for 1-2 hrs. before removing to ice with Cream Cheese Icing.  Recipe below.  Place 1/4 of icing between the two layers and when placing the top cake layer on, put the flat side of the cake (the bottom when it was in the cake pan) facing up for a flat top which makes a more attractive cake and easier to ice.
     
     
    And to top it off here is the amazing Cream Cheese Frosting!
    2 sticks Butter, unsalted, softened
    16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (2 bars)
    3 c Powdered Sugar
    4 t Vanilla Extract
    1/4 t Almond Extract
    1 small pinch Salt (very small pinch)Total Prep Time: 7 minutes (except time to soften butter and cream cheese.)

    1. Allow Butter and Cream Cheese to sit out until at room temperature and softened.
    2. In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.
    3. Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Then add the Cream Cheese and cream for 2 minutes or so more until well mixed.
    4. 1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.
    5. Add Salt, Vanilla and Almond Extracts and mix well.  Taste and add more Powdered Sugar to be mnore sweet or more Cream Cheese to suit your taste.
    6. Keep Cream Cheese Icing at room temperature for the best consistency to ice Cakes.
    7. Refrigerate unused icing. To use again, bring to room temperature then mix with a hand mixer for about 1 minute before using.
    8. OPTION: For those that like a very strong Cream Cheese taste add another 4 oz. of Cream Cheese for a more intense flavor.

New Years New You

So we all hear and even say this phrase “New Year New You”. While I agree with it, I also super disagree with it. You’re already awesome so why is it a “NEW You?” Why not just work on simple little things instead of trying to recreate something already pretty special?
This year I am going to try something new. I want a theme or quote for myself and my year. I’ve seen other people do this in the past and I always thought it was a little weird but now I’m loving the idea. So I thought, why the heck not? Why not give myself a little motto or quote…make it cute and hang it somewhere in my home for me to see daily for a reminder?

Live Simply, Love Generously, Learn Constantly ❤simplicity

That’s it! I am going to simplify my home, my jobs, my schedule, my overall life. I’m going to love those around me and SHOW it, because I really don’t. I am going to constantly learn things.

I love lists so I am sharing with each of you my New Year’s List to see how I am breaking this down for myself so I don’t get overwhelmed

  • clean/organize/decorate 1 room each month
  • works 2 hours a day no more
  • say NO to things I really can’t fit in
  • Monday night=Family Night
  • Volunteer to say prayer more often
  • Read 1 book a month (I’ll share my list later)
  • Slower to anger with my kids
  • Yoga daily (this won’t be easy)
  • Go to the temple once a month
  • Eat healthier

Of course, I will struggle with all of these, but I have kept my goals SIMPLE enough that they will be easy enough to do! Nothing crazy, nothing I don’t doubt I can do….

I heard someone saw a mom with a list of 40….FORTY….4×10…10+10+10+10….40, New Year’s Resolutions!!! Why? Why are you so unhappy that you have a list of 40 things to change, improve or add to your life???  If your list seems to never end…we need to chat. You need to learn to love yourself just the way you were created
, work on imperfections and love the beautiful person that everyone is blessed to know and love.

So enjoy the New Year, make it the best one yet because you are in charge of the life you live ❤

Who the crap is Mandy?

Hey guys, so I’m the not so famous but 150% awesome Mandy. I’m 5ft of wonderful.I’m a LDS mom, wife, taxi driver, friend, daughter, sister, stepsister, chef to 3 kids, furbaby mom, chicken mom, beachbody coach, lipsense distributor  and so much more♡

I grew up a military brat till my parents divorced at 11. I then grew up in a small town in Ohio outside of Cleveland. I met my husband online, then moved to Utah. We have moved around for the past couple of years but now we are finally staying settled in Utah.

We are blessed with 3 kids super cute kids….I never wanted kids or marriage but here we are and I’m so very happy♡ We have 8  chickens, 2 dogs and a cat. If I could have all the animals, I would in a heartbeat. Can I count my kids as animals too? They totally fit the description.

I love fitness, food, rap music, makeup but I keep it simple, reading, baking, decorating, traveling, sleeping and surviving motherhood. It’s just all just Hunger Games at this point right?

So that’s just a little about me…obviously you will learn more as time goes on14440692_10157367310335315_4599207309385002064_n