Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ok its finally here!! So many people have been asking me for this recipe, well here it is… my famous Chicken Tortilla Soup!!! The taste of so many delicious south of the boarder flavors, it’s like a party in your mouth! This recipe is so easy and doesn’t take long at all especially if you have some leftover chicken from my Crockpot Chicken Tacos recipe. If you don’t have any leftovers from that recipe I will show you an easy way to make some yum shredded chicken.

I am all about doing things the healthy way so I wanted to share with you my own taco season that I make. I do not like to buy store bought because you really don’t know what your getting in those seasoning packets! I like to know exactly what is going into my body 😉

Taco seasoning recipe

Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne peper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

combine all ingredients in a small bowl, store tightly in a closed container. I put mine in a small mason jar.

 

Serves 8-10

Chicken Tortilla Soup

20 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic chicken breast
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups of cooked basmati rice
  • 8 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen white corn
  • 2 limes
  • 2 Tbs of homemade taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 can of organic black beans
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Instructions

  1. To cook the chicken: In a large pan and about 1-2 cups of water and add the chicken, add 1 Tbs of olive oil and 1 Tbs of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. This helps tenderize the chicken. Add 1 tsp of taco seasoning put a lid on the chicken. Bring to boil then turn down to Med heat. cook for about 15 min and while it is still cooking in the pan start to break apart the chicken with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook till the chicken is super tender and all the water is cooked out. Keep shredding as it is cooking.
  2. In a large pot sauté chopped up onion and chopped up bell pepper in the olive oil. Salute till onions are translucent.
  3. Add in chicken broth, black bean, corn, cooked rice, cooked chicken, 2 Tbs taco seasoning, squeeze the juice from 1 whole lime into the pot, add in cilantro.
  4. Simmer for about 25 min
  5. Top with cheese, avocado, cilantro, fresh chopped red onion, tortilla chips and a fresh squeeze of lime (the lime is the best part!)
  6. Dish up and enjoy!
http://www.thelifewith4.com/chicken-tortilla-soup/

Top 10 Low Sugar Fruits

Fruits are an awesome source of minerals, fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients!

But, you shouldn’t eat to many fruits! Fruit contains fructose, which is a simple sugar (a form of carbohydrate). Simple sugars are absorbed into the blood stream and when the sugar level rises, there is a release of insulin from the pancreas. Simple sugars are easily broken down and causes your blood sugars to rise very quickly. When there is a high amount of these simple sugars, insulin levels rise and this can aggravate insulin resistance.

Fruits that are low in simple sugars and carbohydrates are less likely to cause the pancreas to produce high levels of insulin. These fruits that are low glycemic have carbohydrates that break down slowly and reduce glucose more gradually.

Imbalances in your blood sugars can greatly affect your health. Chronic imbalances can cause insulin resistance, weight gain, fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

The best way to eat fruit is with some protein. This slows down the release of insulin and helps keep your blood sugar level.

It is good to have low sugar fruits in your diet everyday. However it doesn’t mean you can’t eat those high sugar fruits, but be mindful that it is best to eat them is small amounts.

Top 10 Low Sugar Fruits

Cranberries: Grams of fructose, 0.35 for 1/2 cup Net carbs, 3.5 grams for 1/2 cup

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Limes: Grams of fructose, 1.1 for 1 lime, Net carbs, 7 grams for 1 lime

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Raspberries: Grams of fructose, 1.5 for 1/2 cup Net carbs, 4 grams for 1/2 cup

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Lemons: Grams of fructose, 1.5 for 1 lemon, Net carbs, 5 grams for 1 lemon

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Blackberries: Grams of fructose, 1.7  for 1/2 cup Net Carbs, 5 grams for 1/2 cup

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Strawberries: Grams of fructose, 1.9 for 1/2 cup Net carbs, 3 grams for 1/2 cup

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Cantaloupe: Grams of fructose, 2.8 for 1/2 cup Net carbs, 5 grams for 1/2 cup

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Plums: Grams of fructose, 3 grams for 1 plum, Net carbs, 7.5 grams for 1 plum

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Green Apples: Grams of fructose, 3.5 grams for 1/2 an apple, Net carbs, 8 grams for 1/2 an apple

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Blueberries: Grams of fructose, 3.5 grams for 1/2 cup, Net carbs, 8 grams for 1/2 cup

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So just remember to be mindful of your fruit intake during the day. Don’t load up your smoothies with to much fruit. Don’t let your veggies get jealous!

 

 

 

Food Prep For Success

Preparing your food for the week will set you up for success when it comes to eating healthy. I think this is so important for us busy moms to take a few hours on Sunday to prepare for the week! If we have good healthy food ready to go it will keep us from grabbing for the unhealthy food. Even better if its not in your house you won’t eating!

To set yourself up for success this is what you need to do….

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  1. Go shopping for fruits and veggies that you love, think about making salads for the week, you will want spinach or kale or arugula. You will also want these greens for smoothies! Get some organic brown rice or quinoa. You will want a protein that you like chicken or fish. I always do chicken because you can make some great things in the crockpot for the week to put in salads or put in bowl with rice or quinoa. I love to add black beans to a lot of my recipes, salads or bowls or to eggs for breakfast. Crockpot Black Beans Recipe
  2. You will want to cut up some fruit and veggies to put in baggies to freeze for smoothies, and the veggies for snacks through out the day. For the bags of fruit I do banana, strawberries, blueberries, mango, or you can buy a bag of frozen mixed fruit and then make little bags for an easy dump in the blender portion sizes. To add in for the smoothies you will want unsweetened almond milk,  coconut milk or coconut water. Make sure you add in spinach or kale to your smoothies you can also add in beets, carrots, ginger, lemon.vegetables-1210221_1920
  1. For the cut up veggies for quick grab snacks through out the day I do carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers. I get some organic hummus to dip my veggies in. I also like to get Mary’s crackers to use with the hummus. Another great snack is homemade almond butter with green apples! Almond Butter Recipe
  2. You will want to make a batch of brown rice. I do 1 cup of the dried which makes about 2 cups of cooked rice. I add rice to my green salads to make them more filling. Also make 1 cup of quinoa to add to salads or to use in bowls with cook veggies. Here is a great recipe for that! Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Bowl
  3. Now for some protein! This is my go to recipe for great yummy chicken for the week to add to salads, bowls, you can have it for breakfast with eggs and salsa. Crockpot Chicken Tacos
  4. To change it up you can make this great soup! You can eat it cold or hot and it freezes great! Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
  5. Buy a bag of raw almonds or cashews put them is little baggies to grab and go.
  6. If your anything like me I need my chocolate fix! Make these amazing Healthy 4 Ingredient Brownies that you will love!

I truly believe that if you prep for success you will succeed!!

There are lots of great recipes here on the blog that can help you with ideas on having a successful journey towards good health! If you have any questions on food prep please don’t hesitate to ask. I want you to succeed!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Quinoa Bowl

I don’t know about you but I love quick meals! In my house they have to be, with four very active children running around. For some reason I always find myself in the kitchen all day feeding my kids! With summer in full swing and their active little lives they seem to be always hungry! I’m always trying to do my best to feed them healthy but I also have to remember to feed myself. I came up with this today in the middle of the craziness. I had some leftovers that needed to be finished so this is what I came up with!

To make quick meals even faster in the beginning of the week I always cook up some organic brown rice and some quinoa to have on hand to through together bowls or salads. By adding quinoa to what you are making gives you some added nutrition! Let me share with you some of the heath benefits of quinoa.

Quinoa is the super grain for the future. Quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods we can eat! Its a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as any other grains. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food. Quinoa also contains iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Quinoa captains lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is rich in magnesium which helps relax blood vessels. Quinoa is high in B2 which  improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells. There are many health benefits to eating quinoa, don’t be afraid to try something new!

I came up with this today in the middle of the craziness. I had some leftovers that needed to be finished so this is what I came up with!

 

Serves 2

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Quinoa Bowl

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 cup cook quinoa
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs feta
  • a squeeze of lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a hot saute pan place in the coconut oil, chop up the sweet potato in small cubes and chop onion and put in the pan. Cook till tender, add in black beans and seasoning and cooked quinoa. When done place in a bowl add your squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro and feta to the top.
http://www.thelifewith4.com/sweet-potato-black-bean-quinoa-bowl/

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

I love cilantro and lime anything so I thought I would give it a try in quinoa. It turned out so yum even my kids love it! Which is a win win in my house!

If there is one herb with a fantastic flavor, its cilantro. It also has some amazing health benefits as well.

Cilantro is most often cited as being effective for toxic metal cleansing and rightfully so, this herb is a powerful, natural cleansing agent. The chemical compounds in cilantro bind to toxic metals and loosen them from the tissue. Many people suffering from mercury exposure report a reduction in the feeling of disorientation after consuming large and regular amounts of cilantro over an extended period. Some other health benefits, has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects, high in antioxidants, may help improve sleep quality, a natural preservative. Due to its high antioxidant content, oil extracted from the leaves of cilantro has been shown to inhibit unwanted oxidation processes when added to other foods, delaying or preventing spoilage. Cilantro leaves have also been found to have an antibacterial effect against Salmonella.

Cilantro pairs well with many dishes, especially Mexican dishes and those with beans, cheese, eggs and fish, chicken, rice and soups and salads. Check out the recipe below it is very tasty and easy! I love adding this quinoa to salads to make more filling or just eating as a side.

Serves 4

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbs organic grass feed butter
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa accordingly to the instruction on the box which usually 2-1 ratio 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. when the quinoa is all cooked add to a bowl and add in the juice from 1/2 of a lime and add the 1/2 cup cilantro. Mix it all up and salt and pepper to taste. You can add more cilantro and lime if you wish.
http://www.thelifewith4.com/cilantro-lime-quinoa/

 

My Favorite Chili

I don’t know about you but when it starts getting cold outside I want to eat a nice hot bowl of chili. There is something about all the spices that go into chili that scream “Fall is in the air!” This recipe is very simple and it is very quick to prepare. This is one of my kids favorites as well!

First thing you want to do is to create your spice blend for your chili which is very easy! this is what you will need…..

Serves 8-10

My Favorite Chili

10 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • Spice mixture
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp (approximately) freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb grass feed beef
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 cans of organic kidney beans
  • 1 can of organic pinto beans
  • 24oz jar of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of frozen white corn

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on medium heat add olive oil. Chop up onion and bell pepper and place in pan till good and sautéed. Add in ground beef and garlic till beef is fully cooked. Then add in everything else. The beans, tomato sauce, corn and spices. Bring to a boil and turn down heat to a simmer for about 30 min.
  2. When done serve and garnish with some cheese or some fresh chopped red onion.
Cuisine: dinner |
http://www.thelifewith4.com/my-favorite-chili/

My kids love to use the chili like a dip with tortilla chips, or they will eat it with some bread and butter. This makes for great leftovers which we all love leftovers!

Gut Health

How is your gut treating you?

Do you have….

  • Low energy, fatigue?
  • Digestive irregularity, constant bloating?
  • Brain fog, unable to focus?
  • Feeling sad or nervous?
  • Mood swings, irritability?
  • sluggish metabolism, trouble losing weight?
  • craving sugar, caffeine and alcohol?
  • Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep?
  • Head discomfort?
  • Unexplained soreness, stiffness?
  • Skin problems, or reactions?

Can you relate to any of these? most people can, I know I did!

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Did you know that our gut is our second brain? I didn’t know this till all the issues above happened to me! If our gut is not in balance well….we are a mess! Which is what I was!

Every system of our body in connected. Our digestive system and our hormones are not independent of one another. At the center of it all is a properly functioning digestive system.

When your gut is unhealthy is does more than just give us stomach pain, gas and diarrhea. Because 80% of our immune system is located in our gut, gut imbalances have been linked to diabetes, autoimmune disorders, depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, chronic fatigue, eczema, and so many other chronic health problems.

I believe the gut is the gateway to health and the first step to take is to heal your gut first.

What do you do to heal the gut?

well the first thing you need to do is to remove the bad. The goal is to get rid of the things that are wreaking havoc on your gut, such as inflammatory foods. Irritants such as alcohol and caffeine.

Foods that cause inflammation in your body are gluten, dairy, corn, SUGAR! Sugar is the worst culprit! Once we start putting sugar in our bodies it instantly weakens our immune system which is not making a good environment for our gut to function properly. With all the sugar consumption comes the lovely yeast overgrowth (Candida) which causes even more troubles in the gut!

What is Candida?

Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, a very small amount lives in our mouth and our intestines. It’s job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption and to help our bodies decompose when we die. When it is overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into our body and causing leaky gut.

The healthy or good bacteria in our gut typically keeps our Candida levels in check. However, the Candida population can get out of hand if a round of antibiotics kill too many of those good bacteria, you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates( white flour, junk food, Pasta,processed foods, pastries, cookies) and sugar (which feed the yeast), high alcohol intake (beer especially) or any number of other factors including a high-stress lifestyle. Even a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles, can feed Candida causing overgrowth.

How do we heal our gut?

First thing to change the way you are eating. Remove the foods that are causing inflammation and feeding the yeast in our bodies. Try to cut out all refined carbohydrates, no sugar ( you can have stevia) drink lots of water.

You need to take supplements to kill the yeast and restore the good bacteria back to into the gut. You also need to cleanse out all the bad that you will be killing off.

When I had Candida overgrowth and leaky gut, my holistic doctor gave me so many supplements from probiotics to enzymes to hormone replacement to adrenal drops and a bunch more! I spend over $200 in supplements. I spent it, because I was a mess and willing to do anything to feel better. He put me on a special diet eliminated all the bad food and only eating clean. after 2 months I was feeling so much better and I even lost weight! Since then I have done so much research on health and diet and how important it is to have a healthy gut.

On my journey towards good health and healing I found Triplex by Plexus!  This tool is a natural system. It’s so easy and with just 3 simple products that do it all! Unlike the 8 different ones I had to take while healing my gut.  Watch this it explains it all

Remember The Triplex is a tool to help you heal your gut. You do need to eat right and drink lots of water!

So if you are ready to feel great again and have more energy and a clear mind and no more bloated bellies and sleep better! Order Here!

If you have any question at all feel free to ask!

Many blessings and here’s to a happy healthier gut!

 

The Power of Prayer For Busy Moms

  As I sit this morning reading my devotional, thinking of all that has to be done in one day. God puts prayer on my heart. I have been lacking on praying, the most important thing everyday. I know when I take the time to pray before I start my day, I have peace. Why then do I not make that choice everyday to pray? Knowing the benefits that come from it.

As a busy mom there are so many distractions in one day that end in exhaustion. Homeschooling, Keeping the kids on task, putting a stop to bickering between siblings, making breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the snacks in between. Then driving them to their everyday activities. That is just for the kids not to mention all that has to be done around the house and then my poor husband gets the last piece of me. We get so lost in all the craziness that we forget about prayer and how it can help us in so many ways.

God wants to give us all the desires of our heart, if we would just go to him in prayer and ask for help to get us through our day. He will direct our path for the day. I know I think I am super woman and can do all things through myself, well…… I can’t, what am I thinking! We can only do all things through Christ who gives us strength. It clearly says in the bible, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding. We need Him in all we do to get us through our crazy days.

I think of my children and how they treat each other. Some days it brings me great joy seeing them play and interact so well, being kind and loving, and other days it saddens me to hear and see them fighting and not getting along. It makes me think of the example I have been for them and realized how I have failed in so many ways. We can not expect our children to do what we do not do ourselves. In order for us to teach and build strengths in our children we must be the example. Parenting is a constant cycle of finding opportunities to improve ourselves because it improves the lives of our children. We all fall short but there is hope! I know in Christ I have a new start every day and it starts with me getting on my knees and praying for guidance throughout my day for my children and my husband.

I need to be praying for them more and on a consistent basis. I need to be teaching them how to pray by being the example. Letting them see that prayer is a regular and natural part of our daily lives. I count it a special privilege to listen to my children pray, and I delight to hear their young hearts learn to talk to God.

Prayerful people grow to be thankful people. As we see God at work and spend time in his presence, we will overflow with joy. Our ability to give thanks in all circumstances is not because every situation we encounter is good but because the God who ordained the circumstances is good. Even in his chains, Paul rejoiced because his imprisonment advanced the gospel.

Some bible verses that God put on my heart…

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ( Romans 12:12)

And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints. Pray always for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. For which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:18-20)

Be Joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God will for you in Christ Jesus. (Thessalonians 5:16-18)

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Whatever you are facing today, you can prayerfully bring your requests to God, trusting that he is working everything out for your good.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Soap

It’s cold and rainy outside and I am in the mode for some warm, creamy, comforting, sweet, earthy butternut squash soup. It is the perfect way to end a cool Fall day in my house.

I’m not really ready for the cold weather to start but I am learning to embrace where we live now. Trying to like cold weather is hard for this California girl who now lives in Freezing New Jersey! Maybe the longer we live here my blood will get thicker and I will adapt to the cold ( at least that is what I’m hoping).

In this butternut squash soup I wanted to blend the sweet flavors of sweet potatoes and carrots with the earthy flavors of curry, nutmeg,  ginger and garlic and the creaminess of the coconut cream. It is simply the perfect blend of sweet and savory! Not to mention the texture, so smooth and creamy. You can use an emersion blender or a VitaMix, which is what I used. You have to give it a try!

 

Serves 6

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Soap

20 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 med butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup of full fat coconut cream
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Start by heating up a large skillet over med heat. Saute all the veggies in the olive oil for about 10 min.
  2. Next add the broth and all the seasonings and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 20 min until the veggies are tender.
  3. Use a emersion blender or a regular blender to puree the veggies until a thick smooth texture is reached.
  4. Add in the coconut cream and blend up a little more.
http://www.thelifewith4.com/butternut-squash-sweet-potato-soap/

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Hash

This yummy breakfast is one of my go to dishes. I put just about anything I have left in my fridge in the pan! It’s super simple and very tasty too. So today when I made this I didn’t have much in my fridge but it sure tasted great! I always use sweet potatoes in my hash, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Last time I made this I added black beans and it was so yum, but today I don’t have any. Here is what you will need for this dish….

Ingredients

1 med sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/2 onion sliced

6 little, super sweet red bell peppers

1 clove garlic

3 Tbs coconut oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

dash of pepper

1/4 tsp tumeric

1 egg

 

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Once you have everything all cut up, place everything in a pan on med heat and cook until the potatoes are soft. I like my onions to be caramelized and a little toasted by the oil in the pan. Once it is all cooked place the hash on a plate and cook your egg how you like it. Then place the egg on top and enjoy! My kids love this one too because the yams make it kinda sweet 🙂

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I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while I have some super exciting news coming your way very soon! It is going to give you all so much more than anything I could do on my own. I will keep you posted!!!