What’s The Big Deal About Homemade Broth Anyway?

I was raised on chicken broth from the can. It was normal for my family and we didn’t know the difference. Campbell’s chicken soup was the bomb back then. Key phrase to note is, “back then”. I moved to Seattle after getting married in my early twenties. Everyone knows Seattle is known for it’s cold rainy fall and winter days. So, of course my favorite restaurant to visit was a local Pho restaurant. From that point forward I was determined to figure out how to recreate that deep, full bodied flavor real broth imparts into a pot of home cooked soup. I do have a confession. In my naive ignorance, I tried to recreate the flavor with an extra packet from my ramen noodle package. All I have to say about that is, fail. With a fatty MSG headache to follow. Don’t make my mistakes  people. You’ll be glad to know I’ve been to processed ramen noodle rehab. Been clean for 6 years. No judgement on you if you are still hooked on the noodle crack though. I feel your pain. All I’m saying here is once you taste the real stuff, it’s hard to go back. Just in case you didn’t know, the processed ramen is a sad replica of the delicious whole foods original ramen. Anyway, I digress.

Bone broth and meat Broth is like liquid gold. Besides substantially improving the flavor of foods it’s extremely healthy and nourishing to your body. As Levar Burton would say, “Don’t take my word for it!” Look into it your self.

Resources about bone broth:

1. 10 Benefits of Bone Broth + Gut-Healing Recipe By.Mind Body Green

2.The Benefits of Bone Broth By.The Paleo Mom

3.How to Make Chicken Stock From Scratch By. Mama Natural

4. A 20 minute episode on Good Eats. Host. Alton Brown

5. What Wikipedia has to say.

What are you waiting for? Go get some chicken feet and oxtail bones!

The Importance Of Community For Pregnancy Loss and Infertility


Sometimes I wish having a baby was this thoughtless undertaking that I could just decide to do and then go for it without any fear or reserve. I’ve come to realize that I’m far from being alone in that wish.  For the 1 in 4 women and men who experience loss or infertility, getting pregnant is this huge life-altering all-consuming event. It literally consumes their lives for that period of time. If that seems like you, this blog post is for you. I have a desire to help and love on those of you because I understand the season. One woman reached out to me when I was in my season of mourning and uncertainty and didn’t have any friends or family that could relate. She reminded me that I was a mother. That although I didn’t have a tangible baby in my arms to hold, I was still a mom and there was still hope.
Unfortunately, our Western culture does not set us up very well to help those we love to grieve. We tend to grieve in silence. which usually means we are not connecting with others who have also experienced a loss. Most people feel alone and isolated. It is important to speak up and search out community to break down those myths around pregnancy loss and infertility for men and women. Had I not decided to have coffee with the woman I mentioned above, I don’t know if my husband and I would’ve tried again. In a sea of silent isolation, she reminded me that I wasn’t alone. Although the conversation is hard and burdensome, it is so important to your personal healing in addition to helping process the pain.
You are not alone. There is hope. Break the silence in your community and circle of friends. Start a small group or Facebook page. Reach out to a friend for a cup of coffee and conversation.

I’m not one to just throw around bible scriptures. I have my own process with God and the Bible. So don’t think for one minute that I have it all together and have all the answers because I don’t. Fact is, we have a beautiful baby boy after three losses. I can act like God had nothing to do with my son but I’d be lying. There are some things I just can’t explain that

remind me that God is real and he loves us. Here’s a scripture that rings true to the season of waiting to hold a healthy baby or child in your arms. This includes through adoption or foster care.

GOD SAVES US FROM DESPAIR

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1-3)

Do you have some sort of community or a support group to talk to about your story? If so please share your resources in the comments below. Someone may need it.

A New Season in Parenthood and Simple Living

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I’ve longed  to live a more simplistic life. I’d read books and blogs on simple living and living by the seasons. Honestly it all just felt so unrealistic to me, well beside buying food seasonally. I am a driven type A, that finds it difficult to relax. My husband who is the complete opposite, has really taught me to slow down and savor life and relationships beyond work. I believe that was the first step for me in learning how to slow down. This last five years has brought so many wonderful changes and relationships. In addition to some very deep and sorrowful valleys.  This is life though. We all experience it in one way or the other. What’s important is that we keep one foot in front of the other. Life often times feels like a crazy roller coaster, you just have to hang on for dear life and enjoy the ride or spend the entire time scared of what’s going to happen next. Slow down and enjoy today. You never know, what tomorrow will bring.

Having a baby has changed me so much, for the better. Our little bub, has been the most amazing gift from God. Truly our miracle baby. My husband and I were laughing the other night about parenting. He called me “mom-polar.” If you have kids you can probably relate. On those days when one minute I’m so exhausted and feel like I’m going to have a break down. Then the next minute I hear my little guy cry out and I rush to him with super-sonic speed to care for and snuggle him. Or, when bub is getting on my last nerve and with an exasperated voice I tell my husband to, “TAKE YOU SON!” You know you’ve been there, at least once.

Well that’s my life right now, I am in the thick of parenting a 14 month old baby boy. It’s difficult and I love it all at the same time. My identity has taken a major overhaul. I’m not doing what I went to school for. Currently I have to wait to start a program that I want to pursue. Did I mention patience is the “thorn in my side” character trait that I struggle with. Ha, God has a way with providing wonderful opportunities to help me grow. Anyway, to bring the simple living thing full circle. I’m finally starting to get what that looks like for me and my family. It looks different for everyone, you have to find out, on you own what living simply and holistically means for you and your family. For so long I’ve tried to emulate someone else’s “simple living ” life style and it wasn’t sustainable. I felt like a failure and I labeled it unrealistic. Whatever simple lifestyle changes you’d like to make should not be overwhelming or stress you out.

On that note I want to share some links that I love, that have been really helpful for me.

Websites
SimpleMom.net (fav site with a podcast on itunes)
Real Simple (Fav magazine with a site)

Books
Organized Simplicity By. Tsh Oxenreider
The Rhythm of Family By. Amanda Blake Soule with Stephen Sole
Handmade Home By. Amanda Blake Soule
Simplicity Parenting By. Kim John Payne

Cookbooks
The Art of Simple Food By. Alice Waters
The Minimalist Cooks at Home By. Mark Bittman
The Sustainable Kitchen By. Stu Stein

What have you done lately to simplify your life?

My Favorite Pregnancy and Fertility Health Resources

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I have a confession, this last series that I committed myself to has really stressed me out. When I’m stressed, I get paralysis of analysis. I’m new to blogging as well so I know now not to commit to a series in this season of my life. With that said, I want to share with you some resources that have an abundance of information for you to read and peruse through. In the future when I can allocate more time to researching and backing my sources I will write more about this subject. So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite fertility and pregnancy health resources.

Naturally Knocked Up: Love her website and E-book. If you are struggling with fertility issues start here.
Weston A. Price Dietary suggestions for pregnant and nursing moms. I take what I want from these suggestions.

Favorite books: I will list them in the order most useful in your pregnancy time frame. These books should keep you busy until birth lol. You don’t need anything else because they are all repeats in one way or the other. Trust me I’ve been in the pregnancy mindset for 5 years. Unless you want a book in a specialised category.

Real Food For Mother and Baby
A practical way to eat real food. I can’t tell you how much I love this book. She promotes Nourishing Tradition style eating but she’s cool with dark chocolate.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth This is an amazing, empowering book about natural childbirth. Read this asap if you haven’t already.

The Natural Pregnancy Book
This is the natural version of What To Expect When You Are Expecting. I highly recommend. There are resources for all kind of natural and herbal remedies and teas that aid pregnancy ailments.

Birthing From Within
So enlightening. They also have birthing classes that go along with this book. Highly recommended to me by a friend who did a natural home birth. I didn’t go but she really loved the class.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To a Better Birth
It’s thick and full of everything you need to know about tons of medical procedures that are done in the hospital and during birth. Definitely a must read if you are birthing in the hospital. So, get this one soon and read it a little at a time because all of this info can start to get overwhelming.

Favorite Blogs/websites: These are my favorites, but I look through a ton more. But I don’t save them, I read according to my google research at any given moment.

http://mothering.com/  A natural mothers version of Babycenter.com. My favorite go to site.

http://simplemom.net/ Also another great resource for moms, tons of info in cloth diapering.

The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Great post partum diet and other ideas. I didn’t know that certain foods can irritate a newborns digestive system via breast milk and cause colic and fussiness. She explains that here. I incorporated it into my postpartum meal planning for friends and my own personal use

Pregtastic podcast and online radio: I’m positive I’ve listened to every episode. Each PregTASTIC episode features a panel of expecting moms as well as experts who candidly answer all your pregnancy-related questions.

Do you have a favorite resource to share?

The Difficult Place In The Middle

When I began brainstorming about this series, starting off with my story seemed appropriate. I guess I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to go through all of them and the emotions that would surface. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve processed a lot over time. But geeze, three major pregnancy losses in a row takes its toll. I have to be really intentional about diving into the deep recesses of my mind that I’ve suppressed and chosen not to visit because it’s a painful place to visit and my life is good now. It’s easier to pretend it never happened. That doesn’t bring healing though. If I’m honest, I’m still recovering. Thank the Lord for therapy and prayer. (Note to self: make a therapy appointment soon). I am reminded today of my other two babies Zion, born at 16 weeks and Eden Naomi born at 21 weeks. Your lives will never be forgotten.

By the way, my faith story, through all of this, has gone through a complete overhaul and is still a work in progress. So hold no illusion that there have been no bumps in that part of my life. Matter of fact I still don’t read the Bible yet. I’m still at ground zero now and taking it one step at a time.  The holidays were a pretty rough season for a few years. I tried hard to celebrate with family and friends but had a titanic-sized void in my heart from the loss of my babies. It was just as hard for my husband. I was very intentional about not hanging out with friends with babies out of self-preservation and to avoid an internal breakdown. Those moments when you want to cry but and you get that big knot in your throat as you try and hold your composure lest you offend someone with your random explosion of emotions: I hate those. So, I kept my distance.

This holiday season, however, was happy and joyful. Our little one, Isaac, fills our hearts with joy and laughter. My biggest worry this year was eating too much sugar. Which, by the way, makes me a little looney and kinda mean. My husband says I remind him of that scene from Ghostbusters, “There is no Dana only Zuul.” If he would just GIVE me some dark chocolate we wouldn’t have any problems (rolls eyes). I digress. I am doing a sugar detox just in case you are worried about my health and mental stability.

Stay updated by adding my blog to your RSS feed or [liking] The Juicy Carrot on Facebook. Check out what will be featured in the series here. Thank you for reading! I pray for much love, happiness, peace and healing in this season of your life.

Looking for a good therapist in Seattle?
Sanctuary Counseling
DeAnza Spalding Counseling
Minhee J.Cho Counseling

Just encase you missed these from my previous post.
Web Resources:
www.marchofdimes.com
www.mend.org
www.aplacetoremember.com
Books I’ve read and have loved:
Free to Grieve: Healing and Encouragement for Those Who Have Suffered Miscarriage and Stillbirth  by. Maureen Rank
About What Was Lost:Twenty Writers on, Miscarriage, Healing and Hope
Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Other Misadventures from the Brink of Parenthood by. Monica Murphy LeMoine
To Full Term: A Mothers Triumph Over Miscarriage
Trying Again: A Guide To Pregnancy Loss After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss.
Healing From Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide To Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming

(I am not advertising for or paid to share these links)

Part 1 of 3: A Story of Loss, Hope and Hope Fulfilled

I am not a doctor, nutritionist or any special writer. I am a woman and mother who’s gone through hell and back to have a healthy baby. I imagine we are in my living room having a cup of tea and just talking about life. My story includes three pregnancy losses, all different from each other and one successful and positive birth experience in the end. This entire series is what I’ve learned along the way, hope it helps you too.
Having a baby seems so natural. For most women  having a pregnancy loss doesn’t even occur to them. Most of us live in a naive ignorance. “Oh, that could never happen to me” is what we oftentimes think. The unfortunate truth is that miscarriage and preterm labor are more common than we like to believe. I’m not saying this to scare you but to open your eyes to reality. Ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to pregnancy. Losing your baby is the one of the worst things you can ever experience. Having a traumatic pregnancy and or birth comes in close second.

“Rates of pregnancy loss decrease as the pregnancy progresses. Overall, about 10 to 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies and 30 to 40 percent of all conceptions end in pregnancy loss. Miscarriage that occurs at 13 to 14 weeks’ gestation usually reflects a pregnancy loss that happened one to two weeks earlier. Approximately 1 to 5 percent of pregnancies are lost at 13 to 19 weeks’ gestation, whereas stillbirth occurs in 0.3 percent of pregnancies at 20 to 27 weeks’ gestation, a rate similar to that of third trimester stillbirth” –AAFP

Five years ago, I married my best friend. We had desires to start a family maybe three years in the future. I was blessed with what I thought was a really healthy body and super fertility, resulting in pregnancy three months after we got married. My mom was like a super woman and didn’t really have any pregnancy complications, I assumed it would be the same for me. She did have one tubal pregnancy but it was never made a big deal.  Our pregnancy, unplanned but an exciting and welcomed pregnancy nonetheless. We called everyone and planned for this new baby, that we soon found out to be a boy. We named him Israel Jaden. At 19 weeks my water broke unexpectedly and my Dr. said there was nothing we could do. She suggested an immediate induction to end the pregnancy before an infection set in. Israel was still alive and healthy but my amniotic fluid was frighteningly low.
We’d just had a checkup a few days prior and all was healthy and well. We were shocked. Our Dr. told us it was okay to go home and pack some bags and check in to the hospital that evening to prepare for the induction. Words cannot describe the pain and turmoil that our hearts felt. We went home and cried so much that we felt dehydrated. How could this be when everything was going so well? Expectant and happy one day, then suddenly grieving the loss of the child in my womb before he was even gone the next. However, our baby wasn’t gone yet so hope remained for a miracle.

Israel's tinkies 23 weeks 6 days

Israel’s tinkies 23 weeks 6 days

We checked into the hospital that evening. We decided we wanted the process to happen naturally without an induction so we waited for three days. The baby’s head maneuvered to plug the hole in my bag of waters and the amniotic fluid replenished. Surely this was a miracle? We were sent home and I was put on strict bed rest. We felt so hopeful and thought we were past the hard part. At this point I thought we were definitely going to have a healthy baby. Since it was December, we bought our first real Christmas tree and decorated it. We resumed life as normal (besides the bed rest part) until 22 weeks in. One evening I woke up out of a deep sleep and felt like something was wrong. I ran to the bathroom and my water broke again. This time it was with an enormous gush followed by contractions and shivers. I was scared and couldn’t stop crying. I wasn’t ready for the contractions. Being frightened for my babies life caused me to tense up and made the pain worse.
We rushed to the hospital and the contractions stopped. That was the beginning of a two week stay in the hospital. We were at a hospital with an advanced NICU so if only Israel could make it to 24 weeks the chances of him making it past labor was much higher.

“Strictly speaking, most doctors define the age of viability as being about 24 weeks of gestation. In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the cutoff point for when doctors will use intensive medical intervention to attempt to save the life of a baby born prematurely. A baby born at 24 weeks would generally require a lot of intervention, potentially including mechanical ventilation and other invasive treatments followed by a lengthy stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “ -Source

There was nothing to do but wait. We had the Doctors bring us all of their research pertaining to preterm labor and long term outcomes and success rates so that we could make an educated decision about what to do. We decided that if I went into labor anytime before 24 weeks we would let everything happen naturally without intervention afterward because the chances of him surviving were slim and if he did survive the research showed that his life would be really short or he’d need serious medical assistance for the rest of his life. If he was meant to live a short life we wanted it to be pain free. If he were born a day over 24 weeks we wanted intervention, even knowing that he might have disabilities. At the time, we were 23 years old and ready to take on anything for our baby. We had unwavering faith that God was in control of the outcome so we left it in his hands.

On December 22, 2007, at 23 weeks and 6 days Israel Jaden was born. He lived for 4 minutes due to underdeveloped lungs. We held him afterward for a long time. I was so scared to touch his delicate skin. This beautiful cocoa colored miniature baby, whose features were already so distinct and like his fathers. My husband cried but I didn’t. I guess I was in shock, it didn’t feel real. I didn’t cry until I called my dad to say happy birthday and he asked me how things were going and I had to say it with words. “Israel didn’t make it.” The next day, we were able to hold him again before we checked out of the hospital. It was so hard seeing this little lifeless person all bundled up. The night before I was in shock, it didn’t occur to me to kiss him. I kissed him then and his tiny little forehead was cold. All I could think about was that he was cold, why didn’t I kiss him yesterday when he was warm?  A giant knot swelled in my throat, I felt the need to keep my tears hidden but I couldn’t. After a while we gave him back to the nurse. And I was sent home with the basic instructions of things to look for if something goes wrong and a basic self care plan.

Israel's urn

Israel’s urn

I just delivered a baby, this wasn’t a miscarriage. To us it felt like to the rest of the world we just had a routine miscarriage, grieve for a little bit and carry on with life. You are young, try again. Driving home from the hospital was the saddest ride I’ve ever ridden. Dreams of that first drive home with our baby, gone. We arrived home to a dead Christmas tree with the star at the top slouching to the side as if it knew what just happened. We sat and cried again. Didn’t even think of getting a tree for a few years after that. Thank God for an amazing church community for meals, visits and lots of love and prayers. We were now “orphaned” parents. We still don’t know what the cause of my preterm labor was. Four months later I got pregnant again…

Life After Loss: How The Death of A Baby Changes You Forever by Ann Douglas. This is a great article that I can relate to. This blog post would be really long if I wrote more about how I felt afterward and what I learned, I’ll spare you. If you want to go more in depth with that, read this. She summarizes a lot, it’s a quick read.

Find out what happened during  my second pregnancy. Stay updated by adding my blog to your RSS feed or [liking] The Juicy Carrot on Facebook. Check out what will be featured in the series here.

Here are some resources that have been immensely helpful to me. If you know of someone who has recently had a pregnancy loss and/or could benefit from this series please share. Thank you for reading! I pray for much love, happiness, peace and healing in this season of your life.

Web Resources:
www.marchofdimes.com
www.mend.org
www.aplacetoremember.com

Books I’ve read and have loved:
Free to Grieve: Healing and Encouragement for Those Who Have Suffered Miscarriage and Stillbirth  by. Maureen Rank
About What Was Lost:Twenty Writers on, Miscarriage, Healing and Hope
Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Other Misadventures from the Brink of Parenthood by. Monica Murphy LeMoine
To Full Term: A Mothers Triumph Over Miscarriage
Trying Again: A Guide To Pregnancy Loss After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss.
Healing From Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide To Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life

Up Coming Series About Fertility, Preconception Health and Pregnancy Nutrition

Are you thinking about trying to conceive next year? Maybe just want to make sure your body is in the best shape possible for optimum fertility. Are you pregnant right now or just want to nourish your body? I’m going to be sharing a series of posts that will hopefully leave you with inspiration and lots of resources. Make sure to come back to check for updates and [like] The Juicy Carrot Facebook page for updates on this series. By the way, I don’t claim to know it all, I’m not a physician or nutritionist. I’m just another woman and mom, who has gone through hell to have a healthy baby. I want to share with you information that I’ve learned from endless hours of researching, doctor appointments and alternative therapies. My heart is to share with you the information that I wish someone would’ve shared with me. I wish you much love, happiness, peace and healing in this season of your life.

Fondly,
Ang

Here’s the lineup: I’ll be posting every few days.

1.My Story
2.Why Preconception Health and Nutrition is so Important
3. Pregnancy Nutrition
4. Quick Snack Ideas
5. Super Fertility Foods and Recipes
6. Alternative Therapies
7. My Favorite Books and resources
8. Importance of preconception detoxing
9. Are your silver (fillings) amalgams causing fertility problems?
10. Readers questions open forum

Two Really Easy Self Care Habits to Start this Winter

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When you first wake up drink a full glass of warm water with a little lemon juice.
This is the best thing to consume upon waking, as it flushes the kidneys and the liver and alkalizes the blood. It also gets things moving, if you know what I mean? The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure. The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well. This cup of liquid gold helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration (obviously) and adrenal fatigue. When your body is dehydrated, or deeply dehydrated (adrenal fatigue) it can’t perform all of it’s proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on.

Moisturizing with coconut oil
In the winter my skin gets so dry, especially around my t-zone, sides of my mouth and nose. Kick your lotion and face moisturisers to the curb and simplify your moisturising regime to one wonderful ingredient. Coconut oil acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. Coconut oil is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin and is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.

For your face: I used to get facial acne and blackheads on my nose, not any more.You can stop using soaps and facial cleansers. Simply wash your face with coconut oil and a small bit of baking soda a few times a week to exfoliate your skin. Be careful to gently rub or your face will feel raw. Use plain coconut oil on the other days. Rub the oil into you face and place a warm towel on your face until it cools. The oil will soak into your skin, leaving your face feeling fresh and moisturised. Gently towel dry and apply make up. This also works great after you shave your face or head.
Disclaimer about clearing up acne: If you eat greasy fast food and lots of processed food and sugar your acne won’t clear up because it’s trying to expel the toxins you are eating resulting in pimples on your face and back. The only real cure is changing your diet. Sometimes the solution is more simple than you think. Of course you could use an expensive acne regimen to clear your skin temporarily but it will only suppress the toxins deeper into your body.

For your body: Bath or shower like normal and before you dry off rub your body down with coconut oil. You will feel warmer and your open pores will drink in the oil leaving your skin silky smooth. Don’t worry about feeling greasy, the oil will soak in. Do this after shaving your body as well. Don’t worry about smelling like a coconut either, when you dry the smell will be neutral. Try keeping a container in your shower for easy use. It will also melt the coconut oil while you shower, it tends to solidify at room temperature. Don’t microwave your oil or it will putrefy and have a funky smell.

Do you have other uses for coconut oil? I’d love you hear how you use it in your self care regimen.

Living Seasonally: Winter

sippingWith the winter solstice right around the corner, I find myself naturally transitioning in subtle ways. Wool socks, turning on our good old fireplace DVD, savoring the heat from a warm cup of tea and my favorite: lots of soups and stews. Winter is my favorite season. It slows me down and causes me to savor life and be thankful for the little things. The last few years have opened my eyes to living seasonally in all areas of life. Most of us modern city folk don’t really understand what that means because we don’t have to live that way. Our ancestors didn’t have a choice. I’d like to find a happy medium some day.

One of the ways we can nourish our bodies in the winter is eating and drinking lots of warming foods I love this blog post at Real Food Eater: Staying Healthy with the Change In Seasons. She highlights the benefits of warming foods and drinks in the winter.

I’m a huge fan of nutrient-dense bone broth because it’s so healing for our bodies. Read for yourself how amazing it is over at the Nourished Kitchen

If you’re interested in what the bible says about living seasonally check out this blog post by Kimberly’s Cup.

Slowly drink a cup of Tea and relish every spoonful of that delicious bowl of soup.

Thanks for reading! If you want to stay updated, Like the Juicy Carrot on Facebook.