Whole 30 - First Half

22 October 2014
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This is more for my own record than anything else, but if it's helpful to someone else, then I'm happy to make it public. I know as I prepare my meals and grocery lists weekly, I peruse others' blogs to get ideas and see how other folks are taking on this Whole 30 challenge. And, it's helpful for me to actually see what I eat each day, so I like documenting with pictures.

It's not easy to do this Whole 30, but it is possible, and we're making it work. I've found that reading ingredient lists, not just the nutrition label, is eye opening. Who knew that SO MANY items have added sugar? Most bacon has freaking sugar. What? And the "healthy" foods, several of which I'm debating on working back into my diet, have some of those unpronounceable ingredients. Like Almond Milk. Who knew?! I feel like I'm definitely following the preferred and approved foods, but I think I'm probably eating a few too many fruits and sweet potatoes. And I know I'm not supposed to make coffee creamer or smoothies, but I'm doing that too.  This diet is a massive change for me, so I'm taking some leeway in order to navigate this month successfully.

Here's the first two week summary: I'm sleeping better at night and waking up more easily in the morning. I feel less bloated. Up until this week, I've felt a consistency in my energy level, but the past few days I've been tired. (Two week hump perhaps?) I've lost 6 pounds (I know you aren't supposed to weigh yourself, but I couldn't resist), and I'm happy to be back in the kitchen making real meals after a long sabbatical from healthy cooking and eating. The hard part is the amount of time I'm planning and preparing meals. Lunch is the hardest, because I have to cook for just myself, and that's annoying. Ain't nobody got time for that. So I'm cooking three full meals a day, and it's a bit exhausting, and difficult with three kiddos running around. I've got to make this part easier...just not sure how yet.

Also, I pretty much have coffee with homemade date creamer each morning, so at some point, I stopped including that in my daily log.

Picture time...

-fried eggs, strawberries, spinach and pancetta.
-coffee with date creamer
-rotisserie chicken, sweet potato, peas and avocado
-fried bananas, strawberries and cashews
-ground turkey spaghetti squash

-cashew cookie lara bar
-salad and burger with mustard
-bananas with cashew butter, almond shards, and blueberries 
-salmon, sweet potato and broccoli
-bowl of fruit with lots of grapes

-coffee with date creamer
-fried eggs, strawberries, spinach and pancetta
-date coffee smoothie (coconut milk, ice, left over coffee, banana)
-avocado chicken salad on spinach and watermelon
-ground beef lettuce tacos with roasted plantains

-fried eggs, watermelon and pancetta
-leftover beef tacos without the plantains
-bananas with cashew butter, almond shards, and blueberries 
-beef roast with carrots, onions and small potatoes

-fried eggs with spinach, watermelon and strawberries
-leftover roast with carrots, onions and potatoes
-cherry pie lara bar
-chicken spaghetti squash

-banana flaxseed pancakes with blueberries, almond butter and ghee
-Chipotle carnitas with grilled onions, peppers and guacamole 
-simple salad, bowl of butternut squash soup and veggie soup

-eggs and apples
-fried sweet potato hash with spinach and fried eggs
-kobe burger with spinach, sweet potato, red pepper and guacamole 

-blueberry lara bar, 
-fried sweet potato has with spinach and fried eggs
-crockpot hawaiin pork with greens, sweet potato fries, pineapple and plantains

-fried eggs with sweet potato hash, mango and spinach
-baked potato hash browns with pancetta, eggs, spinach and pineapple 
-ate at The Block: pork chop with mustard rosemary sauce, greens and sweet potato and bacon hash

DAY 10
-cashew cookie lara bar
-kale and chorizo quiche
-date glazed salmon with sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower

DAY 11
-leftover kale and chorizo quiche
-lemon Lara bar
- leftover kale and chorizo quiche
-steak, sweet pot chips, avocados and tomatoes

DAY 12
-2 eggs, 3 pieces of pancetta, 1/2 apple
-small portion of butternut squash soup
-Chipolte carnitas
-banana, almond butter, spinach, coconut milk small smoothie
-grilled chicken with broccoli
-banana, almond butter, coconut milk small smoothie

Day 13
-1/4 pear, 1/4 banana
-sweet pot hash browns, 2 eggs with spinach
-sausage, potato hash with a couple slices of fruit at MO Bot Gardens
- roast, sweet pot casserole, roasted veggies
-cup of Trader Joes Apple Cider

Day 14
-sweet pot hash browns, 2 eggs with spinach
-5 cashews
-tuna with toms, olives, red onions, cabbage mix and avocado
-baked chicken salad with toms, avocado, pancetta, olive oil and red ving dressing

(Not sure why I forgot to take pics on these last few days :/)


The 21 Day Challenge

28 May 2012
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Eating right, working out, body issues, clothes not fitting well, feeling controlled by the sweets that beckon me...UH, I'm so sick of the worry and stress of it all! It never goes away, I'm almost never successful at sticking with a plan, and I've generally just been extremely disheartened by the difficulty these issues pose to my life. 
At probably the peek of my diet misery (this year anyway), this diet and exercise challenge was introduced to me by friend Ashley a few weeks ago.  I thought, you know this might be just what I need to get myself in gear. And so, I signed up, got the food plan via email and committed to my first ever "detox" and a very strict eating plan.  The first three days, I lost 6 pounds! Right now, I'm two weeks in and have lost a total of 9 pounds. This diet isn't sustainable long term for me, but it is completely "resetting" the way I need to view eating.  It's only a 3 week challenge, so the short term goal is motivational and doesn't feel overwhelming. I'm feeling lighter, less bloated and less guilt about my choices when I wake up in the mornings. On top of feeling better, I'm also enjoying how pretty most of my meals are. Whole foods just are more beautiful by nature. 
Here are a few that I snapped pictures of:

good food is pretty

30 April 2012
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as with most things, i really appreciate it when my food looks beautiful. and i've noticed that most whole foods are really pleasing to the eye, unlike many processed foods. although tasty, does a plate of doritos look as pretty as a piled plate of greens? no comparison! here is some of the food i'm not embarrassed to share!

we joined fair shares csa back in february and have absolutely loved it! it's pushed us out of our box, and we've been making more interesting meals and cooking with ingredients we've never used before. plus, much of the food is organic and all of it is local. fresh produce, pasta, local chips and pizzas, canned and jarred jams and fruits, local breads and cheeses and fish or meat.

DIY: Crinkle Tag Toy

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I've been collecting these wipes bags because they are perfectly noisy for a little baby toy. Every time I have wipes in London's proximity, she tries desperately to grab the pack. She loves the noise it makes. And one of her favorite things is a Baby Einstein cloth book that crinkles. So, I wanted to make her something that gives her this pleasure, and that I'm OK with her munching on...and of course, by making it, I get to choose the fabric that makes me happy.

I've been collecting these wipes bags because they really are perfectly noisy for a little baby toy. I have way too many now, which means I need to make lots more crinkle tag toys or throw them away! I have several friends with new babies, so I should probably just get busy.

Here's how I made London's crinkle tag toy:

Cut out the hard plastic opening of the wipes bag and both ends. Now, I have a flat plastic piece to fit inside of my fabric. I turned in inside out so that the bright colors would be less likely to show through my fabric.
I chose a few different materials to use as the "tags" for the tag toy. The gray ruffle pieces are a little stretchy, while the blue and yellow pieces are not. Each of them have a different texture so that London has a variety of textures to munch on.
I cut out two pieces of material...I think my dimensions were 7x8. In short, I measured the length and width of my plastic piece and cut my fabric accordingly.Next, I pinned in my plastic and tags.
I pinned both sides of material together and sewed around the edge three times. Two for stability, and an extra for the look. 

And a happy baby :)


18 August 2011
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warning: this post is a bit of a departure from my normal subjects on this blog.
this post is probably very very premature, as i've just started the study i'm going to reference. but already, god is doing amazing things in my soul. somehow, he has given me this opportunity to be surrounded by a group of women who are proving to be absolutely invaluable in their love and insight. we're going through wendy alsup's study, "by his wounds you are healed," and the introduction alone was enough to knock the wind out of me. where am i finding my identity? what defines me? where do i get my kicks? if it's not from christ, then i don't really get it. i don't get what grace is, i don't get what peace is, i don't get what my purpose is, and the kicker is that i don't really get what he has done for me.

my initial thought: "that's ludicrous!" i've been in the church all my life. i get that christ died, therefore taking on my sin and providing a way for me to be with him in heaven. (wow, even writing it so flippantly right now feels so grimy.) i've been walking around with this head knowledge for so long, and somehow my heart hasn't completely gotten it. i don't know that i'm capable of ever totally getting it actually, but if i can begin to grasp what grace really is, then i can begin to see christ clearly. and if the spirit can help me see christ and his saving grace clearly, then he will change me and give me a new lens in which to view my life, my roles, my identity. and the outflow will be what i've prayed for for so long. purity. pure motivations. pure attitudes. pure thoughts. pure actions. oh lord, i want to be changed!

i was enlightened to find out that even amongst this group of strong, spiritual women, i was not alone in feeling insecure in who i am. even admitting out loud that i'm insecure is a huge work of the spirit, because it's the opposite of what i always try to portray. i want to be hip christian lady with her crap together - polite toddler, baby in sling, gourmet dinner on the table, social life swingin', great marriage, eclectic taste, lover of beauty, church volunteer, all with a genuine, strong and obvious love for god. this is where i find my identity. this is who i want to be. yet, i'm insecure because i'm not finding the foundation of these roles in christ. i'm not defining my life as a follower of christ, i'm defining it through these particular roles i've given myself. he's working on me, and my impatience wants the work to be done. i want all of the things listed above, and i want it all to be because of god's doing, and i want it all right now please.

pretty sure my plan is not god's. he's working though. i can feel his love and his spirit, and i'm becoming so grateful for a god who sees christ when he looks at me rather than me. he's given me so many good things in my life, but it's all for naught if i'm finding my worth in those things rather than in his grace.


century old heirlooms

05 August 2011
comments: 1
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my uncle sandy and aunt pam, pictured below, generously sent me an incredibly special and sentimental gift today that will be in our family for generations to come; as i absolutely plan to pass it down to london when she has a daughter.

the beginnings of this gift came several months ago, when my aunt pam emailed and told me that she and my uncle sandy were planning to send me some of my great grandmothers ("gaggy's") clothing for our new baby girl.  since that email, i've been anticipating the package that arrived today! i thanked the mail lady, ushered the large box in, and quickly gathered my scissors and my camera.  i deliberately began removing the layers of tissue paper that protected and separated the vintage dresses, bibs and bonnet that my aunt and uncle had had restored from gaggy's early childhood. she was valerie davenport french (1898-1986), and is one of the girls pictured below. if i had to guess, i'd say she's the blond on the far left. and i think it also quite possible that the dress she is in, may be one of the dresses i received. (although, that could simply be wishful thinking!) regardless, i'm completely giddy to own such endearing pieces of my family's history.

the package as i received it. i was a little worried about the condition of the box, as it looked a little beaten, but everything inside was perfect.

 i needed better light, so i moved the box into the living room before emptying the contents.

 inside this initial envelope were pictures of each item of clothing before and after it's restoration, along with a card from uncle sandy and aunt pam explaining the items.

and here they are!



dress 1

dress 2

front of bodice

back of bodice

 card from uncle sandy and aunt pam explaining the gift

in addition to the heirloom gifts, they also sent gifts from their recent trip to ireland. noah received an irish penny whistle (which he instantly loved!), and london received adorable baby shoes and a sweet lamb (that noah also took a liking to).

noah, enjoying his new whistle!

i can't say thank you enough for these incredible gifts. i am blessed to have such a rich family history and sentimental items to remember it by. thanks uncle sandy and aunt pam for entrusting me with these pieces!