Monday, August 10, 2015

Our Whole 30 Experience

A few weeks ago my husband and I completed a Whole 30. To learn more about what a Whole 30 is you can read more here. But, basically it is a detox/body reset. Long story short we ate meat, eggs, fruits, veggies and nuts. No grains, sugars, or processed anything. I had several reasons for wanting to give it a try but more than anything I was hoping to find something I would stick with. I have tried every diet out there... for about 5 minutes. I tend to do better with "all or nothing" type situations so after reading A LOT about the Whole 30 and other people's experiences I decided I really wanted to give it a try.

Surprisingly, my husband agreed to give it a try with me and I think one of the biggest contributors to our success in completing 30 days was doing it together. Also, knowing that if we cheated even the tiniest bit we would have to go straight back to day one helped a lot too!

I am not an expert on this at all but I thought it would be fun to share what I feel were the pros and cons of doing the Whole 30 and then answer if I would do another Whole 30!


  • I lost 12 pounds in 30 days (the hubs lost 13). That was super exciting. I also lost a lot of inches and went down a pants size.
  • I felt great. I often have tummy aches (and really didn't think much of it) but duirng our Whole 30 I never did.
  • I felt GOOD after eating. I didn't just feel "not bad". I felt good. I felt better for having eaten. It was strange.
  • I slept really well.
  • I was hardly ever hungry between meals. This is big for me. I always felt like no matter what I ate I was hungry a few hours later. During our Whole 30 I had to remind myself to eat sometimes. I also rarely had "seconds" of anything. 
  • I thought about food a lot less. Since my eating was so structured and somewhat limited I didn't spend time daydreaming about pizza or ice-cream. I really didn't have to think about food. It was amazingly freeing.
  • I knew I was eating things that were good for me. I often find myself just avoiding things that are "bad" for me. But, during our Whole 30 pretty much every single thing we ate was good for us and nourishing our bodies. It was kind of cool.
  • Our kids did not do the Whole 30 with us but I know that they ate a lot healthier during this as well.
  • I learned a lot about myself. I realized how often I turn to food for reasons that are not hunger and how I look to certain foods for comfort.
  • I did not miss things half as much as I thought I would. Even if it was hard to not eat something in the moment I never later regretted not getting to eat something.

  • You aren't supposed to weigh yourself at all during the Whole 30 and that is really hard. Honestly for me that was the very hardest part.
  • It is really hard to eat out or at other people's houses. So, socially it was challenging because our culture is all about food!
  • It was hard to get used to.
  • I wanted to keep things pretty simple so our meals did get a little "boring" after awhile (but this was also a good learning experience because when did we decide that every meal has to be "fun" and "exciting"?)
So, as you can see, the pros really outweighed the cons. But, would I do it again...

Maybe. I think so. It was such an awesome experience and I learned so much about myself. At the risk of sounding odd it was really good for me spiritually and I felt that God really used the Whole 30 to teach me some very important things.

Our plan going forward is to eat this way most of the time. We just feel better and know that it is better for us. But, it is a little bit harder for me when I don't "have to". Like I said, I am kind of an all or nothing girl! So, I will keep you updated!

So, that was our experience. Please let me know if you have any questions! Or if you would like to know some of my favorite ways to stay on track or anything like that!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Morning Coffee Chat

Good morning! It is Friday morning and magically all of my kiddos are still sleeping soundly in their beds.  So this is my current view...
My kids have been up super late these days. Last night we got home late from my parents house. They watched our four so the hubs and I could go out to dinner since last night was our 10 year anniversary.

I thought it would be fun to pop on her and do a little "coffee chat" and basically tell you everything I probably would if we were sitting here together drinking a cup of coffee. 

  • So, let's start there... yep, 10 years. It's definitely one of those things where I feel like we have been married forever and like it was just yesterday. We went to a steak and seafood restaurant for dinner (Bristols for my local peeps). And then of course we ran to Target. That is just what we always end up doing on a date. 
  • My sister, brother-in-law and adorable nephew are coming into town this weekend to celebrate summer birthdays and we are so excited. My kids are basically obsessed with their little cousin and it basically melts my heart.
  • We haven't nailed down our first day of school yet. We were planning to start the 25th but there is a small chance we might be able to go to Branson for a little trip that week so if that happens we will start the 31st. (One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is definitely the flexibility!)
  • Before I start homeschooling I have got to get my homeschool room cleaned up. I was able to paint and "re-vamp" our homeschool room over the summer and it looks really cute. But, when I got all of our new materials for this year I put them all on my shelves but now all of my old stuff is scattered everywhere! So, some organization needs to happen!
  • We have a park playdate today with homeschool friends that I am looking forward to. (Confession: I planned and announced these park playdates in our homeschool group before summer started and have ended up having to miss several. So today we will BE THERE.)
  • Speaking of events I have planned... I have been hosting a monthly book study in my home going through my all time favorite homeschooling book "Educating the Wholehearted Child" by Clay and Sally Clarkson. We are having our third meeting at my house on Monday evening. It has been so good to chat about this book with other moms. And somehow the Lord put together this awesome group of homeschool moms... Some with several kids, some with one, some new to homeschooling, some veterans of many years, and moms from all different homeschool styles. It is such a blessing!
  • We have had a really great summer but I am a little excited for fall because I love the routine, cardigans, and everything pumpkin!
All right, well I am starting to hear some stirring upstairs. I hope everyone has a great Friday!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upcoming school year!

Wow! Summer is flying by! There is so much talk of "back to school" and I think most public and private schools will be back in session within a couple weeks! We plan on waiting until the very end of August to start up our school year. We are loving summer and I love taking advantage of those few weeks when everyone is back in school and we get to have the pools and parks to ourselves :)

I finally bit the bullet and ordered our homeschool curriculum for next year. I was really having a hard time deciding what to use next year. We have tried several different curriculums but most of them just were not a great fit. I decided to give my Father's World a try for next year. We will be doing Adventures in U.S. History for Max and Sophie. I am looking forward to it and after talking to lots of my girlfriends who use it I think it will be a good fit for our family.

This coming year Max will be in 3rd grade, Sophie in 2nd, and Jack will be in Pre-K. I am sure Sam will want to join in on some activities as well.

For Jack (and Sam) I am planning on sort of doing our own little preschool thing. I am thinking it might be fun to pick a "theme" for each week (like tractors, pets, boats, on the farm, etc.) and borrow a bunch of books from the library centered around the theme. And then using my good friend Pinterest to find a few crafts or activities that tie in. I am also planning to use our favorite Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD. And then when Jack is ready we will dig into our Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. But if he isn't ready for it until next year I am in no hurry.

So far this year I have not committed to any co-ops or extra-curricular activities. The kiddos will have piano lessons on Monday mornings and so far that is all I know. I have told them they can each chose one extra-curricular activity and at the moment Sophie is leaning towards gymnastics and Max towards basketball. But, we will see!

I think it is going to be a great year. I am going to use these last few weeks to get my house organized and ready for the school year and to work on getting a routine down for the school year. Right now I am loving the care-free days of summer but I know when the time comes I will be ready for the order and routine that fall brings!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer is here!

Well, school is out (sort of...) and summer is officially here! Now, where is the warm weather? I signed my kids up for swim lessons for this week and next thinking it would great to refresh their skills right off the bat. But, oh my goodness it is so cold this week! On Monday they cancelled lessons because of the cold but yesterday they just went with it. My kids were shaking so hard and were literally blue by the end!

But, no one complained the whole time and they said it was fun. Huh!

The funny thing for me is that I actually really don't love it when it is really hot, so NORMALLY I would be in love with the weather this week!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Social Media Ramblings

I can't believe it is already into April! I have such a love/hate relationship with blogging. I enjoy it so much but the perfectionist in me when it comes to this sort of thing rarely lets me type out a full post or hit send. I know I need to just get over it... I am a mess, what can I say?

But, since I do enjoy it I thought I would pop in today and post what was going on in this little brain of mine!

I have had to laugh at myself today as I was thinking about the internet at two different times today. Earlier this morning I was listening to an Ask Pastor John podcast about social media while folding laundry and I started thinking about how much there is to dislike about social media. I waste so much time and energy and get so sucked in... It is so easy to get upset and frustrated... So many people use it as a forum to whine and complain and it just drives me crazy!

Then not even an hour later as I was making lunch for my kiddos I was thinking about how blessed I have been by the internet. I didn't come into marriage and motherhood having any real homemaking or cooking skills. But, I have been able to learn so much from women on the blogosphere. If left to my own devices (and given a lot more money to throw around) I would totally be one of those women who goes out to lunch several times a week, makes multiple Target and mall trips on a regular basis and spends a large chunk of my free time consuming. But, I have been so blessed by blogs and articles that have given me a vision for stewarding our finances and time well. I have been able to be encouraged and uplifted to fulfill my role at home. And while I am still working on it (I'm a mess, remember?) I am just so thankful for my online mentors who have helped me on this journey.

So, all to say... I think I will always have a love/hate relationship with my time online. I am finding that for the most part reading several good encouraging blogs everyday is a pretty positive experience. I also really love Instagram as I feel like it is easier for me to enjoy pictures and see friends without getting so sucked in! So, I guess Facebook is probably the social media platform I struggle with the most. In the past I have tried cutting out Facebook but I do have people I like to stay connected with that way and I am a part of a few groups that do all of their planning via Facebook. So, I guess I need to figure out how all of this translates into living life well in the midst of social media... I guess I will keep you posted ;)

Do you struggle with social media? Are you one of those awesome people that doesn't get sucked in and can take it or leave it?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snowed-in Sunday!

Happy Sunday all! We are snowed in over here in the St. Louis area. Church was cancelled and I just read that the highway I live off is closed right near my house. Good thing we have no plans of leaving the house today. My only regret is that I didn't plan ahead and do a big grocery shopping trip so I think our meals will be a little bit random over the next few days. I had planned to do my big grocery trip for the next couple weeks today. Maybe I should become one of those people who actually looks at the forecast? Probably not.

We were able to get outside and play with the kiddos for a bit this morning! Sam didn't last very long so he and I went inside after about 10 minutes. But, Nick and the big kids got almost an hour in.

I have to admit, there is something pretty cozy about being snowed-in with my sweet little family. I hope everyone is having a great day of rest!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Some new systems

I am always looking for new systems. Ways to tweak something to make our home or life run just a bit more efficiently. For this new year I have come up with two new systems to help things around our casa and I thought I would share them in case they are helpful to anyone or spark a new idea!

So, the hubs and I have gone back and fourth a lot on video games with our kiddos. We aren't totally against them but we have both seen first hand how quickly they can take over people's lives and ultimately hinder their quality of life. But, we are parents who love their kiddos and want them to be happy and have fun too! So, originally we decided to get our kiddos Nintendo DSs for Christmas along with a few games. We had even purchased one already. But, as Christmas got closer we both started feeling uneasy about it and the hubs finally decided we needed to go another direction. We decided that handheld devices are just not something we want to delve into while our kiddos are young. But, we do have some video game systems (including the Sega Genesis from when I was a kid!) that the hubs and the kiddos like to play together.

All this to say, in order to come up with a good balance for video game time and well, not video game time, we have come up with a new system. We decided we didn't want to have the kids playing video games on school days but we wanted to offer some incentive and make video games a privilege. So, I came up with a little chart and in order to play video games over the weekend (max 30 minutes at a time) they have to earn check marks. They can earn three check marks a day through doing their chores, doing school work with a good attitude, and completing their quiet reading time for the day. In order to play video games they have to have 15 checks (so a perfect record). But, if they have 13 or 14 they can "earn" back those checks on Saturday morning with extra chores or jobs from mom and dad. 12 checks or less and no dice... or controller? :)

Here is the very fancy and official looking chart I made up ;)

The other little system I came up with is for my kiddos quiet reading time. In order to be a good mom, wife, teacher, etc, it is pretty much essential that I get a little quiet time in the afternoon. As an introvert at heart after having 4 little people talking to me all morning I need to recharge my battery a bit. To make their quiet reading time a bit more fun and structured I decided that they have a choice as to where they do their quiet reading time. They can do it in their bed, on the couch, or they can make a "reading nest" out of all sorts of blankets and pillows. The only catch is they have to clean up their nest afterwards. They get all the books they need and then I set the timer for one hour. This little change has made my kids super excited about quiet reading time. And the use of  a timer really helps them to not ask if they can be done!

So that's it! Nothing earth shattering but hopefully some little changes that will help things run more smoothly at our house! Have you implemented any new systems to help things run more smoothly at your house?