Top 10 Gifts for the Hypothyroid Patient in Your Life

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While my thyroid levels are currently stable (HURRAH!), it’s been a journey getting here, and there are SO MANY PEOPLE out there suffering from thyroid issues.

They might be crying for no reason in the corner–at their child’s birthday party.

They might be wearing a Snuggie–at their teenager’s summer baseball game.

They might be knitting a Chewbacca costume–out of their own hair.

So, I started thinking.  What would be THE best gifts you could possibly give someone who suffers from Hypothyroidism?

1.)  The Snuggie.  I thought these were pretty dang ridiculous when I first saw them, but then when you start looking through the Hypothyroidism lens…?  GENIUS.  Feel warm all the time and still use your hands while not getting off the couch the entire day.

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2.)  Eyebrow pencils.  Because most of the time the last half of our eyebrows mysteriously vanish.  Let your Hypo loved one fill in some brows.

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But, just to be clear, the following ways of drawing in your eyebrows are NEVER acceptable:

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And don’t you DARE go trying to get all fancy on me:

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3.)  Electric foot warmers.

Seriously–this lady is laying on the surface of the sun, and her feet are STILL cold.  THAT’S how awful Hypothyroidism is.

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4.)  Tired of telling people WHY you have no energy?  WHY you’re crying?  WHY you can’t think clearly?  Stop telling people.  Just start pointing them in the right direction.

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5.)  Let’s be honest–Hypo patients have no idea what day it is or why they even woke up this morning.  Trying to remember a list of items or ANYTHING important went out the window long ago.  Give ’em a hand by letting them record their entire life so they don’t forget a thing.

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Appropriate examples include:

“Need to get milk, butter, eggs, and bread from the store.”

or

“Remember to call endocrinologist tomorrow to give him a piece of my mind because he’s an idiot who has NO IDEA what this is like and doesn’t seem to want to actually help me fix this problem.  Then remember to find a new endo.”

6.)  Weight gain is common among Hypo patients.  Give them the scale that will always make their day.

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7.)  Hypo patients are tired.  All…the…time.  Let me repeat:  they are tired.  NOT LAZY.  So, let them pass out when they need to and wherever they need to in style.

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Be patient.  She’ll come to in a few hours.

8.)  Hypo patients’ hair falls out.  A lot.  Huge clumps at a time.

Look at this woman.  Her hair is falling out so fast that she can’t even stand up straight anymore.

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It’s quite common for your brush to look like this after one swipe down your bangs:

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Expensive creams and shampoos are so yesterday.

Give them the gift that keeps on giving.  Head to your local Hobby Lobby, hit up the crafting aisle, and really encourage them to open up their own ETSY shop with that renewable resource they’ve got goin’ on.

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9.)  Motivation is lacking in a Hypo patient.  We would LOVE to exercise, but seriously–who has the energy for that?  Some days we can’t even get out of bed.  Give them the gift that will let them exercise without having to move any major muscle groups.

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Still can’t open the pickle jar, but they are well on their way.

10.)  I know what you’re thinking:

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“Who needs that much Kleenex?”

Hypo patients–that’s who.

This should last your Hypo loved one a full day or two when they’re having a “bad Hypo day.”

Let them sob into a fully supply.

And there you go.  Ten thoughtful gift ideas for the Hypothyroid patient in your life.

Raw rambling from a mother…

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“And God help Mom to be nicer to our family.”

Well, that’s gonna leave a mark.

Those were the words prayed by my 6 year-old last night at family prayers.

It comes on the heels of learning I have made life unpleasant for my family for the past several weeks.  (Which hurts even more than normal since I thought my energy levels were up, patience was up, etc.)

I don’t think I can adequately express the hurt going on in my heart right now.

Not even just my heart–my whole body seems to just hurt, and the words just keep echoing in my head.

No one said motherhood was going to be easy–I didn’t expect it to be.

What no one tells you, though, is how much it can hurt at times.

You’re trying your best to keep these small creatures alive.

You’re trying your best to get them to Heaven.

You’re trying your best to train them up to be responsible citizens in life.

You’re trying your best to keep a house clean while juggling homeschool and every other thing on the schedule.

You’re trying your best to do it with a happy heart and a chipper smile.

But sometimes you fail.

Sometimes you fail a lot.

And you’re not allowed to fail.

Because this isn’t just your job.

This is your life.

You don’t get 30 minutes in the car to yourself to unwind or quietly think while on the way to your job.  You don’t get 30 minutes in the car on the way home to reflect on your day and detox from what just happened throughout the day.  You don’t get to leave your co-workers behind for the evening to decompress before seeing them again the next day.

Motherhood isn’t a job.

It’s life.

And it’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week gig.

And included in that is sleep deprivation.

So, not only are you in this gig 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without those moments to decompress or unwind, you also get to do it while having no normal sleep schedule.

I have been up every 2-3 hours most nights for the past 6 months.

There is a reason they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture.

You’re irritable, you’re tired, and you would sell your soul for 5 minutes of uninterrupted sleep.

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So, add sleep deprivation into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for some bad days.  Or weeks.  Or months.

Except you’re not allowed to have a bad day.  Or week.  Or month.

Because this isn’t a job.

It’s life.

And those little souls you’re trying to get to Heaven are looking at you for how to deal with those bad days.  Or weeks.  Or months.

No.  pressure.  there.

And I’m not trying to make excuses.  Really, I’m not.

We ALL have room for improvement and could change the way we talk to our loved ones.

But I am human.

Just not superhuman.

If you don’t think that we, as mothers, go to bed every night feeling like we have failed at life and are trying to formulate a new plan for the next day, then you’re wrong.

If you don’t think that we, as mothers, are already feeling guilty at how our kids are going to turn out because we have failed over and over again, then you’re wrong.

If you don’t think that we, as mothers, are constantly worrying that we are ruining our kids or somehow setting them up for failure, then you’re wrong.

Maybe there are some moms out there who really can run on little sleep and keep a smile on their face constantly.

Maybe there are moms out there who really can have a child screaming at them without losing their cool.

Maybe there are moms out there who can do it all.

But I just…can’t.

And I’m tired.

And my heart hurts because I can’t.

There are a lot of times that people will make comments when they see I made homemade playdough for the kids or put together a fun activity packet for them on a feast day.

“I don’t know how you do it.”

“You inspire me to do better with my own kids.”

“I need to be more like you.”

But you don’t.

You need to be more like you.

Because I’m apparently not doing so hot at this.

“And God help Mom to be nicer to our family.”

I prepare meals for you.

I educate you.

I hold you when you’re hurting.

But in this line of work, there is no reward for effort, is there?  Not any immediate reward here on Earth.

I’m reminded that when I’m doing the little things that no one else seems to notice or appreciate, God is watching.

He is seeing.

He is understanding.

He is also willing to hand over help in the form of grace if I should ask for it.

But I forget to ask for it…a lot.

Another check in the “failure” column.

I’m all about shattering records these days.

These are the days I think, “My kids would be better off in school.”

Or worse:  “My kids should have a different mother.  My husband should have a different wife.  One with patience.  And smiles.  Who makes life pleasant for everyone.”

But God gave me my family, and He gave them me.

We’re stuck in this together, like it or not.

“And God help Mom to be nicer to our family.”

Last night, I laid awake, trying to think of any saint to pray to for help.

“St. Monica…?  No.  You were pretty much awesome your whole life.”

“St. Anne…?  No–you probably didn’t lose your cool.”

“St. Rita?  Nah–you were pleasant while your husband was beating on you.”

“Ummmm….anyone up there a mother who just failed a lot but kept trying?  Anyone?  ‘Cause I’m down here and could use some help.  I’m hurting.  And I have no idea how to be because everytime I feel like I’m actually making progress and doing a good job, I’m quickly reminded that I’m not.  I’m sinking down here.  I could use some help.  So, if there’s any saint up there who tried and tried and kept sinking and sinking, I need some prayers.  I know there are worse things in life, but this is my life, and this is what’s happening.  Thanks.”

So, while my 6 year-old’s words made my heart break, they also left their imprint in big, bold letters on that same heart.

And all I can do is try harder today.

And try again–even harder–tomorrow.

Trim Healthy Mama Journal

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In order to begin my Trim Healthy Mama (THM) journey, I needed to write things down and be able to SEE what I was doing during my day.

So, the Trim Healthy Mama Journal was born!

This is a place for you to either plan out your day OR to track your day–complete with little circles to put “S, E, FP, etc.” for what type of fueling meal you have eaten.

I also love the place for notes/goals.  This is where I put down “Drink more water!” or “Exercised for 45 minutes today–do it again tomorrow!”

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Hope this helps some of you just starting out on your journey!

Download yours below and print!

THM Journal

and if you’re all about getting this bound at Kinko’s into a serious journal, we need a cover, don’t we?

Behold…the cover:

THM Journal Cover

Or perhaps you are more visual and need to cross off those glasses of water you have hydrated yourself with–and need a place to write page #’s for recipes:

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And the cover, of course:

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Happy Trimming!

Bettering Myself…

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Motherhood.

It’s difficult to fit time in for anything other than cooking, cleaning, schooling, changing diapers, laundry, first aid–the list goes on and on.

But it’s a beautiful list.

A list we’re called to do.

Sometimes, though, our health takes a backseat.

After having our third child, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.  I didn’t really think it was that big of a diagnosis.

Sure, my thyroid didn’t work properly–it seemed almost common these days, right?

I had no idea the lows and highs that would come with Hypothyroidism, and while it was being tamed, I was an absolute mess, and my husband will probably be canonized one day because of it–along with all of my children.

With Hypothyroidism also comes weight gain–the icing on the cake, amen?

As someone who has struggled with body image since my freshman year (that’s what you get when ONE person says you’re fat!  I was a size 5, people!), weight gain means a severe mental game with how I look, what I wear, etc.

After a few more babies, I’m happy to report that my thyroid meds are at an all-time LOW, but the weight hasn’t budged.

Perhaps it’s because I was averaging one meal a day–maybe two–due to homeschooling, trying to keep up on the house, running after toddlers, etc.

Apparently that makes your already-low metabolism (thanks to Hypothyroidism!) tank even further, and your body hates you.

And to show how much it hates you, it just decides to roll around in the fat and la-la-la-love it.

And I then roll around in self-loathing–FUN!

I just haven’t liked myself.  As a person, as a mother, as a wife–just not thrilled with who I have become.

So, I was introduced to Trim Healthy Mama awhile back from a good friend and fellow homeschooling mom as we would sip on Goodgirl Moonshine at her house on playdates, but the “plan” seemed way too complicated for my life.

Because, um, I homeschool?  And I can’t figure in eating every 3 hours.  And I’m dealing with five kids here.  Ain’t nobody got time for that, you dig?

So, after getting on several Trim Healthy Mama facebook groups and just…stalking…and trying to figure out the crazy language these women spoke.

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The success stories were highly motivational.

My Hypothyroidism, however, is the most unmotivational thing ever.

So…nothing happened.

I tried checking the book out from the library a year later, but I couldn’t get it, so I just went ahead and nabbed it and dove in.

Because, hello, my name is Delena, and I’m a sanguine who jumps first and thinks later.

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Guess what I found out?

These mamas who wrote the book?  They’re homeschooling moms.  With way more kids than I have.  So, there went that excuse.

If they could manage to eat every three hours to rev up their metabolism while changing diapers, changing toddlers, and yelling out spelling words, I can do it.

ANYways, I started the plan on a Monday.  By Saturday, I tried on clothes that were…a size smaller.

Seriously.

But you want to know what I noticed first and foremost?

I’m…hot.  Like, hot a lot.  When you have Hypothyroidism, your body (and feet especially!) are constantly cold!  (Another cause for sainthood for my husband:  sleeping with quilts in the summer because his wife is FREEZING.)

Could that be my metabolism being jolted awake from a VERY long hibernation?  I don’t know, but I’m not complaining.

I have…energy.

I have endorphins that are flooding my brain, and I am…happy.  Dare I say…joyful?!

And…I’m so completely full from eating the foods on the “plan” that I don’t feel hungry at all.  It’s crazy.

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And that energy?  I have exercised nearly every day.  (I took Sunday off.)

Which was the WHOLE point of this extremely long-winded post:  my little exercise routine that I have been trying to implement.

It’s very simple, and wonderfully mortifying:

I dance.

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Yep, that’s it.

I have always loved dancing, did it in high school, and still love to bust a move with the kids in the middle of the kitchen pretty much every day.

So, I made a playlist, hit “play,” and the next thing I knew, I had danced for 45 minutes.  (The kids, meanwhile, were downstairs picking up toys in the basement, and the baby was napping).

And then I did a set of three planks, stretched, and downed a full glass of water.

And then I was ready to begin the rest of the day.

(Yes, I realize I’m starting sentences with “and,” and I don’t care).

So, here’s the playlist:  (Disclaimer:  it is possible there are slightly off-color words in here.  I honestly don’t know because when I listen to music, I rarely am thinking about the words–ask my husband, I have severe lyric issues.  I’m thinking about harmony and the rhythm.  So, proceed with caution if you are sensitive to things like that.  I also used Spotify, but you could use YouTube.  Please keep in mind I am not endorsing any of the music videos because I have no idea what’s in them.)

  • “This is gonna be the best day of my life” by All American Authors.  I danced around while unloading the dishwasher to warm up.
  • “Lips are Movin'” by Meaghan Trainor
  • “All About that Bass” by Meaghan Trainor
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (yes, twice in a row because I AM happy, and I love the song!)
  • “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed Peas
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (yes, again–I love it)
  • “Pump It” by Black Eyed Peas
  • Random techno music.  When I was a freshman in college, I danced several hours a week with friends at clubs, and I was in pretty killer shape–like, size 3 shape.  My favorite was techno music because the beat seriously keeps you going for hours.  I turned this on today and just kept going until the 45 minute marker.
  • “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.  This is the cool down for me, and I also do the planks at this point.
  • “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith.  This is what I use to stretch.

So, that’s it.  That’s my plan.

In order to be a better mom and a better wife, I have to start by being a better me.

And there are other aspects to this, not just physical.  Reading Psalms, praying more, keeping a gratitude journal, focusing on more patience and perseverance, etc.

But this is a start.

And we all have to start somewhere.

On the Feast of St. Patrick…

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Well, it’s the Feast of St. Patrick today, and that is a VERY special feast day around here!

And now just because of our Czech, German, and French roots!

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St. Patrick was originally born in England, and he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken as a slave to Ireland.  He lived as a slave in Ireland for six years before escaping and returning back to his home in England.  He would later have dreams of the people in Ireland, and he decided to return.  He became a Catholic priest, was ordained a bishop, and he spent the rest of his life preaching about Christ throughout Ireland.  He died on March 17th–which is why we celebrate him on this date!

If you’ve ever wondered why the shamrock is popular on St. Patrick’s day, I can tell you it has nothing to do with leprechauns or shakes at McDonald’s.  In his efforts to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, it is said that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain to the faithful.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost–all three separate, but all the same.  Make your head hurt?  Don’t worry–that’s why it’s a mystery.

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So, that’s a little bit about the man behind St. Patrick’s Day.

How do we celebrate in this house?

We will begin our morning by reading about this saint.  The kids will work on these Feast of St. Patrick packets I made a few years ago:

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The packet is full of information on St. Patrick, coloring pages, recipes, and activities–like making your own holy card of St. Patrick!

We will also eat our Shamrock Sugar Cookies and talk about the Holy Trinity.

The kids will get to eat these with a little Irish Breakfast Tea.

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In the afternoon, the younger kids will watch an animated movie about St. Patrick, and the older boys will watch:

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While I know Irish Soda Bread is a traditional item to have on St. Patrick’s Day, our family just doesn’t much care for it.

What we DO enjoy, however, is making Irish Beef Stew that we have had every year on this feast day since our oldest was little.  The recipe can be found in the St. Patrick Activity packet above!

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And last, but certainly not least, our oldest will be serving at High Mass that evening–which he is VERY excited about.

Happy Feast Day!

What do you and your family do for the Feast of St. Patrick?

Three weeks of lunches in just an hour…

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So, while I’m already avoiding dairy due to baby H’s allergy to it, I’m also avoiding grains.

Breakfast is easy:  eggs with bacon.

Dinners are easy–I can pretty much modify everything I make for the family.

Lunches, though?  Difficult.  With five kids underfoot who need to be fed first, I generally just end up skipping lunch because I don’t have the time to start cooking up a bunch of meat for myself.

Yesterday, though, in an effort to stay awake throughout the afternoon, I knew I needed to do something to keep myself busy.

So, I whipped up three weeks of lunches with two meals:  Jambalaya and Chicken Tortilla Soup.

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Here’s how it all went down:

Cook up 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water.

Find something else to do while those cook.

To make Jambalaya:

Slice up one package of Kielbasa.  Mix the kielbasa and three of the chicken breasts (shredded) in a large bowl.  Chop up a bell pepper (or just dice up some frozen bell peppers that come in the frozen foods aisle!) and a small onion (or just buy a package of diced onion in the frozen foods aisle!).  Throw that in the bowl and add in a can of diced petite tomatoes.  Season with creole seasoning to taste.  Stir it all around until full incorporated.  Divide up into sandwich size baggies and freeze.  On the day you fix it for lunch, just add your jambalaya mix to some chicken broth!  (If you can have grains, serve this over rice–oh, my!  SO good!)

To make Chicken Tortillas Soup:

Shred up the remaining three chicken breasts.  Throw into the same empty bowl you used for the Jambalaya mix.  Add in a bag of frozen “southwest blend” that has peppers, onions, beans, etc.  Mix all around.  Throw in a can of diced petite tomatoes.  Mix around.  Season with cumin to taste.  Mix around.  Divide up into sandwich size baggies and freeze.  On the day you fix it for lunch, just add your Chicken Tortilla mix to some chicken broth!  Serve with plantain chips instead of tortilla chips!

That’s it!  I then took all of the Jambalaya bags and put them in one large gallon freezer bag that was properly labeled, and I did the same for all the Chicken Tortilla mixes.

I can now pull out a single serving of mix for myself each morning to let thaw and just throw it in chicken broth at lunch time!

Enjoy!

7 Random Books We’re Loving

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Wow.

I had no idea I still knew how to write a blog post.

I guess it’s like riding a bike, eh?

My time has been completely taken up by focusing on my kids and homeschooling, so you”ll let me slide, right?

We have also been spending a lot of time at the library.  A librarian that was a homeschooling mom has started a number of programs for homeschoolers during the week, and there are also some great events for all kids up there.

So, due to spending so much time at the library, our library book table in the kitchen looks…well…it’s a mess.

But it’s a beautiful mess.

We’ve been reading some GREAT books, though.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel a little sad at the thought that there are 24 hours in a day, and we have to sleep, eat, do chores, get school in–there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to read as much as WE would like to!

Without further ado, here are some books you and your kids should check out!

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Oh, my.  This book was large, and it had some REALLY beautiful illustrations with short excerpts about particular animals.

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This one came recommended by a friend due to her 8 year-old loving this book.  This will possibly go on the “to buy” list because the pictures are great, and it’s FULL (it’s incredibly thick!) of information about any kind of organism you could possibly think of.  Excellent book for the science/nature geeks!

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We didn’t even check this one out–just bought it on a friend’s recommendation because we do love to draw some birds in this house.  The book is small, however, it does a great job of telling about each bird, showing which colors you will be using with step-by-step instructions on how to color and shade the birds.  We…are…loving it!

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Last year the kids studied European history.  This year we’re onto American history.  My 8 year-old, like me, loves books with facts that you will probably never need but REALLY hope will come up at a dinner party sometime in your life.  This book quenches that thirst for all things U.S. states.

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I’ve mentioned it before on the blog’s facebook page, and I’ll say it again:  this is a charming book, and we are LOVING it.  The kids beg for me to read it to them every morning at breakfast…and at lunch…and after dinner.   EXCELLENT book!

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This silly little book caught my eye as it was on special display at the library.  Apparently the author is from the Kansas City area.  Cute book, adorable pictures–my kids were laughing quite hard at this book!

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My 8 year-old has declared that Monday nights are his night to book.  We grabbed this book at the library several weeks ago, and he has made the “Crunchy Corn Chip Pie” and is about to start making “Italian Sausage with Penne” every Monday in March.  Nice book to help beginner chefs-in-the-making in the kitchen.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but it’s a good start for anyone looking to change things up a bit in their normal reading routine.  What books are you and YOUR family loving?

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