Browsing Category


Blog, Whole 30

A Picky Girl’s Guide to Whole 30

Alternate title–“How Guacamole Saved My Life.” Because you better believe I’ve incorporated it into as many meals as possible.

Okay, but seriously. This isn’t actually a guide. If you want one of those, the internet is full of those. But I wanted to keep up with my weekly progress and encourage anyone who feels like they want to do it but has no clue how they would even do it. (And also post a few family pictures, taken by our sweet friend, Mayci.)

If you have been on the internet for more than a week, you’ve probably heard of Whole 30. It was something that I had heard of at least a year ago and thought “well, there’s no way I’d last a day on that!” So I’d hear other people talking about it and think about how I wished I could try it out as well. It sounded great to go through the detox, reset my body, and see if I could learn what foods trigger reactions. And maybe, hopefully, oh please, oh please, help me lose some weight. But even after hearing a dear friend telling me about her wonderful experience with it, I thought there would be no way I would even find enough to eat. I am such a picky eater.

But as I started thinking more on it and reading more about the program, the more I thought that I could possibly do it. I gave myself a few days to think about it and decided to start the day after my “cancer free day” so I could celebrate with ice cream on that day haha. There’s no way I’m skipping out on that! There are a few events that I saw on the calendar that I would be inconvenienced by or have to miss out on. But I realized there’s never going to be a 30 day time slot with nothing going on. So I took the plunge and started on May 12th.

Day One

I woke up feeling super excited about starting. I had eggs and fruit for breakfast and a Prosciutto, lettuce, and tomato wrap for lunch. Then Don texted me and said that he thinks he wants to do it too. So now there was officially a group of 8 of us who were all going through it together. He grilled that night and I remember thinking “this is going to be so easy.” Little did I know haha.

Day Two

The excited, optimistic feeling didn’t go away when I woke up. But as the day went on, a headache started to set it. According to the Whole 30 timeline, it came right on track. So that was pretty tough. I’m already forgetting what I ate that day but I can tell you one thing, I probably was already tired of the food.

Day Three

By day 3, eggs were not sounding so great to me anymore but they were fine. My headache was gone and I was feeling better. I made a taco salad for dinner that night and all felt right with the world. Until….

Day Four

Day 4 was the hardest day so far. I woke up and felt completely weak and drained. I could barely move because my energy levels were so low. The thought of eggs made me want to gag and it took me hours of working myself up enough to actually get up and make them. As the day went on, I felt discouraged and disgusted by every thought of food. My homemade mayo failed–twice. And I couldn’t imagine going another day with these foods. I would have given up this day if I didn’t have 7 other people going through this with me. But since I didn’t want to be the quitter in the group, I forced myself to make it through the day. But then Maggi saved the day. She texted a picture of compliant ranch dressing that she had found at Whole Foods and gave me just what I needed. Hope. In the form of a bottle of ranch. Hope. That I could also find compliant ketchup. All was not lost. I still had hope. Haha dramatic much? But really, my mood perked right back up and right then and there, I knew I could make it to the end. I will admit that I ended up eating an RXbar for dinner (compliant–but totally not recommended) but at that point, it was that or nothing. I was NOT eating anything else.

Day Five

I woke up on day 5 with a renewed sense of excitement. I knew I would be getting my ranch and ketchup and felt so encouraged about the program again. I know you’re not supposed to be making treats, compliant or not. But I discovered my new favorite snack that I would consider a treat–sweet plantain chips and almond butter sprinkled with ground cinnamon. Total love. And after a day of shopping, I came home with my prizes–whole 30 approved ranch and ketchup. (spoiler alert–they taste….healthy. But they will do, I suppose.)

Day Six

AKA–sleepy day: day one. We went strawberry picking that morning and all was wonderful (blog post coming soon, hopefully!) but the rest of the day was rough because Don and I were both so sleepy. It set in right on time with the W30 calendar. Then we came home and I made spaghetti with some spaghetti squash. This was one of the meals I was so looking forward to but Don was dreading. Then I took the first bite and was disgusted haha. I’m telling you, I’m so picky. Don didn’t love the texture of the squash but he ate it all without a problem. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. Oddly enough, I have rarely felt hungry over the past week. Though I do eat at all the meal times. But we grilled for dinner that night so all was right with the world again.

Day Seven

Yesterday was a quite a bit better. I wasn’t nearly as sleepy (the opposite of Don.) And I finally made a meal that enjoyed! Pulled pork over baked potatoes. The seasoning was perfect and hot sauce made it a bit more exciting. I have been having dreams about accidentally eating foods that are off plan–or about going to LA while being on Whole 30 and not being able to try all the amazing foods out there. Oh my! Can you imagine? But besides that, I haven’t had many problems with cravings. I do miss cheese quite a bit. And of course I would be happy with a dessert. But I’m not actually thinking very much about the foods that I can’t have. And that surprises me. We’ll see how that goes when I make homemade pizza for the kids tonight for dinner.

So that’s week one wrapped up in a blog post. I could have bored you even more by telling you every single meal or every single thought I’ve had. At this point I don’t feel like I can say much, negative or positive, about my experience. But if you are super duper picky like I am, I’m living proof that it can be done!

Have you done Whole 30 before? If so, I would be thrilled if you shared some of your absolute favorite recipes in the comments. And let me know if you have any questions. I wrote this all with kids running around me so I’m sure it’s all over the place.

Have a happy weekend!

birthday, Blog, kai

Wallowing in Birthday Fun

How do you like that title? A good pun can never be resisted. A couple of weeks ago, Kai (our second oldest,) turned 7 years old. It always amazes me how quickly time goes by. I feel like just recently, Kai has grown up quite a bit. Don had asked me to find a picture of Kai to use for the thumbnail for his birthday vlog. But as I was scrolling through the pictures, I realized how much his looks have changed over the past 6 months. Even a picture from 2 months ago made him look so much younger.

With all the birthdays, I have the kids get a picture on the front porch. I totally slacked this year and didn’t take these pictures until last night. And you may notice something about the door behind him. It’s not teal anymore! We loved our teal door but I was wanting to change it up. And my super kind husband agreed to a pink door (though now he’s acting like he doesn’t remember saying that. Too late now 😉 ) I thought it may look like too girly of a background for his birthday pictures but I kind of love it. Anyway, I feel like these pictures sum up his personality pretty well. He is fun, silly, joyful, and so very loving.

On his actual birthday, he requested donuts for breakfast. We drove to 2 different places that he had picked out and neither of them were open. We ended up at Krispy Kreme, which was not as exciting to me but it made him happy so that’s all that matters. We had to take a detour to the doctor for his brother before we went to the park. We had hoped to see pigs but there was only one super fat pig hanging out so we didn’t stay too long. The big deal for birthdays is always the trip to McDonald’s. As we were trying to unload the kids to get inside McDonald’s, the skies opened up and poured all over us (while Evangeline kept saying she didn’t know where her shoes were.) I grabbed her shoeless self and we ran to the restaurant. But not before I got soaked and my eye makeup ran all down my face.

We ended the evening with his favorite, homemade pizza–aka “mommy pizza” and his dessert of choice, this giant scoop cake from Sams.

This is a caption that I shared that night on Instagram. I wanted to include it here too.

At the end of the night, he gave me a hug, told me he loves me, and thanked me for all of the fun things we did today. You guys. We went to mcdonalds (and we even had to make a pit stop at the doctor to get his brother’s ears checked.) We didn’t throw some party that would be worthy of Pinterest (though those are amazing and I wish that I was able to always do that for my kids.) He loved this day because we were present. He loved this day because he felt loved. He loved this day, not because of what we did for him, but because of what we mean to him.”

He loved his birthday and I loved that he loved his birthday. But he had no idea that we were about to make his dreams come true. You see, Kai has a major obsession with pigs. If you want to have an engaging conversation with the boy, start talking about pigs. I had asked around on Facebook to see if anyone knew where we could find some pigs to pet. Multiple people suggested Purina Farms. So a couple days after his birthday, we told him we had one more surprise for him. We asked him “if you could do anything in the world for your birthday, what would you want to do?” His response “See a piggy and pet it!” So he was extremely excited to find out we were going to do just that. Don recorded that whole conversation on the GoPro but for some reason the audio didn’t work–which is a huge bummer because his reaction was adorable. And this look really tells me the whole day was worth it.

Kai and Kingston have a small brotherhood rivalry–Kai loves pigs/hates dogs. Kingston love dogs/hates pigs. They like to make it known to each other that they do not enjoy the animal that the other brother loves. But even Kingston couldn’t resist the pigs that day.

Sorry for the overload of pig pictures but that was the highlight of the day. It brought him so much joy and it brought us joy to see him so happy. But, of course, there were other animals too. Liam was particularly fond of the bunny.

And Desmond really wasn’t interested in much that day (more on that on the vlog.) He’s just at a hard age right now. 

I don’t think we’ve ever done Easter bunny pictures before but since it was free, we went ahead and did it. You can just tell from Desmond’s face how much he loved it.

We had so much fun and hope to go back again sometime (maybe on a day that it doesn’t end up raining.) And here is his birthday video–which is pretty adorable

Happy weekend!!

baby, Blog, Clementine, product review

Clem’s Favorite Toys (6 Months Old)

I have been wanting to put this post together since Clem was right around 5 months and just starting to hold on to toys and play. With all the sickness and all of the other things going in our lives, this post got pushed to the back burner. But now she’s 6 months old and loving these things even more. So I guess it worked out.

Before I start, I will tell you that these items were all gifted to me by the companies. However, all I was asked to do in exchange was to post an Instagram picture, which I have already done. I was not asked to write a blog post. The only reason I am even writing it is because Clem truly does love these toys and I wanted to share in case anyone was looking for beautiful, quality, small shop toys for your own baby or for a gift. Sometimes it’s hard to know what kind of toys are ideal for those first toys. So this is not a sales pitch. This is just me sharing some things that have been in constant rotation around here.

I will start with this amazing lovey from Stella and Lu because it was the first toy she ever “played” with (and you can see in this ^^ picture how much she loves it!) I have shared a bit about this small shop on my blog before because we also have a gorgeous blanket from them. But this lovey has been getting more attention lately. She loves to snuggle it and play with the ribbon. They have so many fabric options and I think the pricing is so reasonable. And I’m not even kidding–the girls who run this shop are probably some of the sweetest people I have ever “met.” They truly care about their customers and their products.

I can honestly see this lovey sticking with Clem for many years, as all my other kids have had lengthy attachments to their blankies. This just happens to be way cuter than what any of my other kids had 😉

Another favorite is Willow the Deer. I had been admiring all of the Cuddle + Kind dolls for months when they reached out to me to ask me to spread the word about their company. I jumped right on it! First of all, yes, the dolls are SO adorable and so, so soft. But more importantly, they are helping out so many people with the sales of their dolls. Each doll is handcrafted by women artisans in Peru, which provides them with a fair income. And with each doll sold, Cuddle + Kind provides 10 meals to children in need. Just recently they reached their goal of 1 million meals! And through the month of April, they are donating one meal for each new follower on the Cuddle + Kind instagram page.

We picked out this beautiful deer (and I have to admit, the ice cream shirt was one of the biggest reasons why haha.) Those pictures above are blurry but I couldn’t help sharing them because this is exactly what Clementine does every time we lay Willow next to her. She smiles and attacks it. I plan to hold on to this doll for her to give to her own child some day.

The toys that probably get the most use right now are our rattles from Bannor Toys. I don’t like to leave the house without a couple of her rattles to switch out throughout the day. They are the perfect size to fit in her tiny hands and of course, they always end up in her mouth.

(This is the classic rattle.)

Of course, in addition to them being functional, they are so aesthetically pleasing. The quality is so good. I also plan to hang on to these to pass down. Ever since I saw the state rattles, I had to have one. They have almost all 50 states to choose from. But I do majorly regret not getting a little heart engraved on St. Louis.

The heart rattle is another one of Clem’s faves. I love that it has her name engraved. We usually take the classic rattle, this heart rattle, and her lovey with us everywhere we go.

And this really isn’t one of Clem’s favorites yet but the other kids have all been obsessed with this wooden camera, also from Bannor Toys. It has the screen and functions lasered on the back of the camera to make it more realistic.

And of course it leads to them imitating me–taking tons of pictures of Clementine.

As much as I would love for Clementine to stay a tiny baby forever, it is so much fun to watch her learn new things. It’s sweet to see her already loving to play with toys.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a happy Easter yesterday. Thank you for reading and allowing me to show off the cutest baby girl 😉  I hope you have a great week!