Claire's Gymnastics 3rd Birthday Party!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday we had Claire's birthday party at our Gymnastics Gym! The party went so well! I highly recommend having a gymnastics party! The kids got to run around and play on the equipment to get all their crazy energy out! We had an hour of gym time lead by Kenley's gymnastics Coach and then half an hour for cupcakes and presents! 

Claire's Birthday is the 20th and Emma's Birthday is the 21st so we had a joint birthday party with all of our PrePreSchool friends! 

 (Banner made with my Silhouette machine. Water bottle wraps and cupcake toppers downloaded from Etsy and then printed!)

Happy Birthday Sweet Claire! 

Happy 3rd Birthday Claire!

On December 20th our sweet CLo turned 3! 

We woke up to a fresh blanket of snow! 

It has become a little bit of a tradition to take the birthday girl to lunch at the American Girl Bistro. 

We stopped to say hi to Santa :) 

Grammy hosted birthday dinner! 

She was the sweetest little present opener ever! 

We bought her a bike! She loved it! Once the weather clears up I can't wait to take both the girls to the trail to ride their bikes! 

Happy Birthday CLo! You are my sweet little snuggle bug! I love waking up to you crawling into bed to snuggle with me every morning! You bring so much joy to our lives! 

My Whole30 Final Thoughts!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

***I want to preface this post by saying that I know what you are thinking... I have a small frame... I was already skinny... why would I need to lose weight?... (I have heard these comments multiple times)
Well the thing is... I have had 2 children and MULTIPLE abdominal surgeries. Following my surgery in December where we found out I was infertile, I was really really sad and I ate a LOT of feelings. I gained weight and wasn't super comfortable with my body anymore. I was sick of relying on my spanx tank tops and vests. My small frame means that just a few pounds greatly affects my body composition. I wanted a change. Whole30 was the perfect solution for me. 
preface over :)**** 


I made it through Whole30 with no slips and no cheats! When you first look at the Whole30 program it seems so daunting but going through the program it is actually pretty easy! All the food that I ate really was so delicious! I love cooking so this style of eating really lends itself toward the things that I already loved doing!

My Goals Were: 
1. Regulate Hormones! 
2. Get clear skin! (I struggle with food related eczema and hormonal acne)
3. Break free from my sugar dependence
4. Form a better sleep cycle
5. Fit into my jeans better 

My Results:
1. Regulation of Hormones- This was very successful! Sorry for the over share but this is a big part of this process for me so I am sharing! If you are a guy you can stop reading and move on to my next point :)
My cycles since my surgery in December 2012 and being on birth control had been really horrible but my cycle during Whole30 was a complete change. I was WAY less hormonal and crazy and over all my period was lighter and just way easier! This in and of itself is enough to keep me eating clean! 

2. Getting Clear Skin- My skin has cleared up, though I still have a few breakouts. Brian said yesterday that I was glowing. It seems silly but we really do think I look more radiant. I have always been so pale so glowing is a nice change. :) The dark circles under my eyes have lightened a lot too! My eczema has gotten a little bit better but I also found out that I may have a sensitivity to avocados. Total bummer since I love avocados. I read a little online that banana allergies can also be related to avocado allergies. Midway through I got a rash under my wedding ring that I previously only would get when I ate bananas or peanuts. I was eating avocados constantly so I am pretty sure this was the cause. This has convinced me that I need to go have a full allergy panel done so that I can eliminate remaining allergens from my diet. 

3. Break free from my sugar dependence- Today is actually day 35 for me and I still haven't had any sugar or treats. I ate some corn tortillas and corn chips when Brian and I went on a date to a Mexican restaurant the other night. I really don't feel a huge pull to eat off plan foods at all. I think I am going to try out this Chocolate Donut Recipe this week though! I have had lots of opportunities to go to Starbucks for a Peppermint Mocha but I just haven't been able to bring myself to have sugar yet! I really do feel great without it! I have done a few other no sugar months but I have never ended them feeling like I didn't want to devour a chocolate bar! 

4. Form a better sleep cycle- I am sleeping really hard and I do fall asleep a little bit easier but this wasn't the drastic change that I had hoped for.... probably because I didn't put any effort in to waking up earlier... I think that is probably crucial for me to start going to bed earlier... 

5. Fit into my clothes better- I wish I would have taken my measurements prior to Whole30 but I didn't. I did do my weight before and after though and I lost 8.6 pounds! I know that I definitely lost a lot of inches and my clothes are fitting me so much better!  Pants that were about to be packed up for being too tight are now loose on me! I worked out exactly 3 times during my Whole30... Imagine my results if I would have actually worked out! 

I think that Whole30 is awesome and I would highly recommend it to anyone! 

My top 5 tips for a successful Whole30
1. Plan Plan Plan! Every single meal. Seriously. EVERY ONE! Even if you just write Eggs for breakfast.. Write it down or you will be blankly staring at the fridge come meal time! It worked best for me to plan 1 week at a time. 

2. Do not ever plan a cheat! If you plan for a cheat then you are in essence NOT doing a WHOLE30. It is ONLY 30 days! You are strong enough to persevere for 30 days! Plan your Whole30 around holidays so you won't be tempted to cheat for any special occasions.

3. Do not start a Whole30 without first reading the It Starts With Food book. In the beginning, it is hard enough to avoid grains and sugar but it would have been so much harder if I hadn't understood the science behind WHY I was avoiding those things.

4. Be okay with leftovers. I have never liked leftovers but for convenience sake it really is so much easier to make extra dinner and have leftovers for lunch. 

5. Find a tea that you love! Whenever I would get snacky I would make some tea. 9 times out of 10 tea would do the trick! 

My Favorite Recipes for Whole30
Breakfasts were typically over easy eggs and some veggies and fruit on the side. Around week 2 you will be sick of eggs and need a little change these recipes will do the trick! Thankfully that aversion to eggs goes away after a few days! 
Blueberry Breakfast Clafouti- We all love this! Kenley calls it Blueberry Pie and asks for it frequently!
Pizza Quiche- I added thinly sliced zucchini, peppers, and caramelized onions to this. It does not taste like pizza but it is really good. It makes a great grab and go breakfast since it is Protein, Veggies, and Fat in one! 
Frozen blueberries or strawberries with Coconut Cream is a super satisfying accompaniment for eggs too! 

I mentioned it earlier, but make peace with leftovers for lunch! 
Egg Salad and Tuna Salad were nice go-to's when I didn't have leftovers available!
(Costco sells Wild Harvest Tuna for a great price!)
NomNomPaleo's Spicy Tuna Cakes (from the app)- These are super yummy and easily portable! 
Trader Joe's sells frozen grass fed beef burgers. These are great for quick lunches! I like mine with topped with caramelized onions and homemade mayo! 

BBQ Pulled Pork- This might be our favorite meal. It is super delicious and everyone who has tried it likes it... even non healthy food obsessed people! 
Damn Fine Chicken- This chicken is ridiculously yummy! I want to try using this marinade to cook salmon. I think it will turn out fantastic! 
Restaurant Style Steak- I grew up as a vegetarian so cooking (and eating) meat is pretty foreign to me. This recipe has turned out perfect for me every time. It makes for a perfect at home date night meal! 
Meatloaf with Autumn Mash- This is the meatloaf recipe that I base mine off of. I have tweaked the recipe quite a bit though! Eventually I will get around to posting my recipe!
Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets- I really love these chicken nuggets! Making chicken nuggets out of ground chicken was such a realization for me! No cutting up chicken breasts! Yay!! 
Paleo Coconut Chicken Nuggets-  These are Brian's favorite version of Paleo Chicken Nuggets! 
Salsa Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos- Throw some chicken breasts and salsa in the crock pot, cook all day, shred, and serve in pieces of lettuce w/ guacamole and salsa! 
Tenderized Steak- I didn't actually make this on Whole30 but I made it today for lunch after church and it was super yummy! It was easy to prepare and inexpensive purchase so I think this will make it on our regular rotation! 

Homemade Mayo- I will never buy mayonnaise again!
Homemade Ghee- This is so simple! Ghee is delicious and it is so simple to swap out the butter for ghee in recipes! It is also great for roasting vegetables! 
Cinnamon Ghee- Once my homemade ghee is strained I pour it into two separate containers. One stays plain and to the other I add a ton of cinnamon. As the ghee cools I mix it every time I walk past so that the cinnamon doesn't all just sink to the bottom. Cinnamon ghee is so delicious on baked sweet potatoes or mixed with sunflower seed butter and stuffed into dates! 
Tessamae's Balsamic Dressing- It isn't super hard to make homemade salad dressings, but when you are preparing every other component of the meal it is so nice to have a pre-made salad dressing and have one less thing to prepare! This dressing is has no sugar, gluten, or soy and it is so tasty! (I purchased it at Whole Foods)

Exactly what I ate every day:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4 and 1/2 

Going Forward
I am really happy with how my Whole30 turned out. I think that this is a great way for me to eat. I was a (pescatarian) vegetarian for 18 years and doing Whole30 has really shown me that MY BODY functions best when I eat meat. My skin is glowing, my hair is shiny and strong, my hormonal mood swings have lessened greatly, I am not bloated, I don't feel the need to snack constantly, and overall I just feel great. In the beginning, eating so much meat was the hardest part of Whole30 for me but now that I am through it I actually crave and like meat. Weird but good! Sorry Mom :) 

Have questions about Whole30? Ask me! I would love to help however I can! 

Whole30 Week 4 and 4 1/2

Here is my last few days of Whole30 Meals! I'll do a final post about Whole30 in a day or two!

Day 21
Breakfast- Blueberry Clafouti

Day 22
Breakfast- Bulletproof Coffee, 2 eggs, Sweet Potatoes w/ Cinnamon Ghee
Lunch- I wasn't super hungry so I ate a few macadamia nuts
Dinner- Pulled Pork, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Chips

 Day 23 
Breakfast- Leftover Pulled Pork and Avocado
Lunch- 2 Eggs, Pistachios, and Blueberries
Dinner- Leftover Pulled Pork, Avocado, Sweet Potato, and Roasted Cauliflower

Day 24
Breakfast- 2 Eggs, Macadamia Nuts, and Blueberries w/ Coconut Cream
Lunch- Leftover Pulled Pork w/ Avocado and Salad
Snack- Date filled w/ Sunflower Seed Butter and Cinnamon Ghee
Dinner- Leftover Pulled Pork w/ Steamed Broccoli, Sauteed Zucchini, and half a Hard Boiled Egg 

 Day 25
Breakfast- Apple Cinnamon Scramble topped with Sunflower seed butter
Lunch- BBQ sauce mixed w/ Tuna and Sweet Potato Chips
Snack- Macadamia Nuts and a Date
Dinner- Meatloaf and Autumn Mash

 Day 26
Breakfast- 2 eggs w/ Blueberries and Coconut Cream
Lunch- Leftover Meatloaf, Autumn Mash, and 2 dates filled with Sunflower Seed Butter and Cinnamon Ghee
Dinner- Steak topped w/herbed Ghee, Roasted Asparagus w/ Shallots, and Salad w/ Tessamae's Balsamic Dressing
(That was the best steak I have ever eaten! I don't even really like meat and I loved that!)

 Day 27
Breakfast- Macadamia Nuts
Lunch- Salad w/ leftover pulled pork and Tessamae's Balsamic and blueberries w/ coconut cream
Dinner- Salad w/ Tessamae's Balsamic, Coconut Chicken Nuggets, w/ BBQ Sauce mixed with Mayo
After Dinner- few clementine segments

Day 28
 Breakfast- 3 Hard Boiled Eggs and Blueberries topped with Coconut Cream
Lunch- Leftover Chicken Nuggets w/ Dip, Sweet potatoes sauteed in Cinnamon Ghee, Mac Nuts, and cherry tomatoes
Snack- I shared an Opal Apple w/ Brian
Dinner- Leftover Pulled Pork, Tomato Soup, Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Pepper, and Strawberries topped with Coconut Cream

Day 29
Breakfast- Hardboiled Egg w/ Raspberries
Lunch- Pulled Pork, Yellow Pepper, and Tomato Soup
Snack- Cashews
Dinner- Leftover Meatloaf, Autumn Mash, and Roasted Asparagus w/ Shallots

Day 30
Breakfast- 2 Eggs, Cherry Tomatoes, Opal Apple and Sunflower Seed Butter w/ Cinnamon Ghee
Lunch- Leftover Chicken Nuggets, Leftover Tomato Soup, Raw Veggies
Dinner- Salad and Salmon topped with Herbed Ghee
Snack- Cinnamon Ghee filled Date

Thanksgiving in Ocean Shores!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We headed to Ocean Shores with my family for Thanksgiving!

My mom had presents for everyone the night before Thanksgiving..

We all got new jammies! My mom LOVES the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade so this way we were all in new jammies to watch it together in the morning! 

My Man...

The parents...

Playing in the pool. Kenley is so brave! 


Before we left my parents bought a bunch of cat food, then brought the girls in their car, and then they threw it out the window for the seagulls! 

It was an untraditional Thanksgiving but we had a great time with my family!