#Chase2015: Finding Balance

The older I get, the more I realize that life truly is a balancing act. We are always balancing work life with home life, healthy eating with “cheat days,” or hours at the gym with “couch potato status.” Now that I’m a mom, I’m also juggling kid time with chore time, mommy/daddy time with sleep, and my list goes on. However, despite this circus act, I have resolved to make a change in my life. And even if it doesn’t end up being a physical change, I have resolved to make an attitude change, but more on that later.

#Chase2015: Finding Balance

First off, if you have been reading our blog for the last couple months, you will have seen my posts about completing the Whole30 challenge and the diet changes we made in the months following it. Here we are in September, and for the most part we still eat a diet that avoids grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. We love the way we look, and feel, but when it comes down to it, eating this way is just plain pricey. If you’re like us, and most other young adults these days, student loans are in repayment and money is tight. Throw a couple kids in there and a mommy who stays home, and pennies get squeezed a little tighter. So we have found a balance for our diet; if we have dairy or grains, we try to stick to one serving in a day. That not only helps stretch our budget, but it also keeps those grains in moderation for us. Sugar is limited to when we go out or the weekends when we get a craving for something sweet. Peanut butter is one thing we have made a firm decision on though: it is definitely a staple in our house. And we love it.

Secondly, I have been trying harder to really be present with my kids lately. By that I mean, putting down the phone and staying off the phone/iPad/computer unless absolutely necessary or its nap time, being selective with what chores really need to be done while kids are awake, scaling back my DIY hobbies, and making simpler dinners that don’t take one-two hours to prepare. One day I realized that I wasn’t truly giving my kids the attention they need and deserve, instead I was saying “hang on a minute” way too often as I searched Pinterest for another recipe or toddler activity, or checked another status on Facebook.

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Writing all this makes me feel like such a horrid mommy, but if you are a mommy then you know exactly how it goes. When you spend all day and every day with little ones who can’t communicate at your level, it’s all too easy to get enveloped in worlds (aka internet or texts) that actually do. I thought about what my kids would remember me as when they were older and realized that if I was honest, it would be a mommy who was always distracted with other things.

I don’t want to be that mommy. I want to be involved and interested in my kids’ lives! I want to be remembered as a mommy who took time to look at the bug that was on the windowsill instead of saying “uh-huh, that’s cool honey” with my nose buried in my phone. So my first step to being the “new” mommy I desire, was to take Facebook off as one of the tabs in my browser. This way, when I open my browser, I’m not immediately sucked into reading about a friend’s adventure that leads me to a distant cousin’s wife’s brother’s fiance’s bridal shower pictures (know what I mean?).

The third area is balancing my personal time; what do I do when it’s just me? I don’t get a lot of time to myself but there are moments for sure. I’m aiming to include a small work out into my days a couple times a week, and my husband usually wants to join so that doubles as “hubby” time too. I also have joined a MOPS group which so far has been wonderful for my overall well-being. It’s quite amazing what some adult time can do for a mommy’s brain. I have been more focused on getting chores done in a timely manner so that I do have bigger chunks of time that I can choose to do what I want with. I am a big crafter/sewer and so that is usually what I spend my time doing. However, lately I have been striving to reduce stress in my life. And sadly, a lot of my unfinished craft projects cause me stress because I’m trying to “schedule” them into my personal time to get them done. I have been learning to say “no” a lot more and have been reaping the benefits of not feeling rushed or stressed all the time.

Overall, I have been striving to change my attitude towards all aspects in my life. If a day doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay; life will go on, and I can try again the next day. My house is a mess? It’s alright; we LIVE here. Baby didn’t sleep well last night so now mommy is tired and toddler is asking for milk….again….and again…and again….? I choose joy. I am choosing to smile and to live a life full of joy and involvement and free from “mommy guilt.” “Mommy guilt,” if you didn’t know, is this ugly thing that makes you feel bad that you didn’t give your child the perfect lunch, or have the house sparkling clean when daddy comes home and you’re been chasing 2 -year-olds all day. It is also a nasty weed that will grow and grow if you don’t catch it before long and deal with it. Avoid it like the plague.

I want to live a life of purpose, one that is filled with things I chose to do, instead of things I ended up doing because I wasn’t paying attention. What about you? What things have you found a balance for/need to balance in your life? Let’s make the rest of 2015 a great one, and learn to balance our lives. No one is perfect, so lets stop expecting perfection from ourselves and live with joy.

Confessions of a Former Carbaholic: A Kitchen Transformation

If you had met me a year ago, you would have been greeted with a loaf of freshly baked bread drenched in butter, some homemade jelly and a smile. I loved to bake, and whatever I baked, I most definitely ate. Not only was I addicted to anything filled with carbs, I had an obsession with cheese and a love affair with sugar. Sure, I ate “healthy” but you better believe that I indulged in baking up any decadent recipes that crossed my path. But all that changed when we participated in a Whole30 this past May.

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After eating on such a restricted diet for a month, I was a little nervous about what would happen once we completed our Whole30, but I was in for a big surprise. I assumed that we would be so proud of sticking it out (which we are), a few pounds lighter (I lost 15 lbs and hubby lost 5lbs!), and probably go back to our prior diet, being mindful of keeping things in moderation. Three days after completing Whole30, we went on vacation for a week. When coming off of Whole30 you are supposed to gradually add food groups back in to see if there are any food allergies or sensitivities that you never knew you had. We tried to gradually add foods back in but it was tough to go slow. Continue reading “Confessions of a Former Carbaholic: A Kitchen Transformation”

Whole 30 Adventure

Hello! I’ve been gone a while, adjusting to life with two little ones. And can I just say, there is definitely a learning curve going from one child to two! Also, since I’ve been gone, my husband and I have decided to really kick things into gear health-wise. First challenge: Whole 30. What is this, you may ask? Check it all out at Whole 30. The basic idea is that you cut out all “bad” foods (things that could be causing health problems, bloating, etc) and feed your body with good, whole foods for 30 days in the hopes of “resetting” your body. Many people have overcome health issues that they thought would plague them for life, so we were really interested in trying it. On this “diet”, you can eat unprocessed meats, eggs, fish/seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds (no dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, beans etc.). Sound restrictive? It is, but I’ve found that there are a lot of good things we can eat, I just have to get creative!

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The Trial Run

We tried starting the 30 days April 1st, and for a week did really well. Then we realized that since we were going to be gone for over a week (hubby on a work trip and myself and the kids going out of town), that we probably wouldn’t be able to stick to the plan while we were away. That being the case, we restarted our 30 days this past Tuesday. So far so good for me! If you poke around on the internet, you will find that you will go through stages during your 30 days due to food withdrawals. I’m not sure if I have felt these symptoms seeing as I already feel pretty gross due to lack of sleep (yay for having a newborn around again!), but I’m sure I will feel some symptoms eventually. This time around, my hubby’s parents are joining us in the challenge. Their lives are a little busier than mine, so its definitely more difficult to come up with food items that can be grabbed in a hurry. That being said, there IS hope! I want to share with you some great recipes I have found while preparing for this challenge; recipes that will make you forget you are eating super healthy.

Where to Start

First off, clear your panrty and fridge of all things NOT allowed on this diet. This is key; “out of sight, out of mind” really rings true here. Secondly, find some great recipes! There is some really great advice on the blogs What I Wore and The Clothes Make The Girl, so make sure to check both of them out. For breakfasts, its eggs, eggs, and more eggs. Many Whole30 veterans recommend just looking at your day with “meal 1, 2, and 3” in mind instead of “breakfast, lunch, dinner”. A good idea, but I find myself still wanting breakfast type foods in the morning (no 8 am pork chops for me-ha!).

Three Daily Meals

I get bored with eating the same thing every day so I bounce back and forth between scrambled and fried eggs. I usually pair it with some fruit and like to also add some homemade hashbrowns; I have to eat a big breakfast these days I feel faint; nursing a baby football player is no silly business (seriously, he is only 2 months old and already 16lbs!). Lunches are typically salads with plenty of protein mixed in. Dinners have been what’s changed the most around here, but I have found some super flavorful meals that fit the bill. The big thing is that you make sure to eat a ton of veggies on the side to make sure that your stomach feels full. I know I have a long way to go, but I’m excited to see what this month brings. I am finally on board to becoming a healthier person and it feels great! I will definitely keep you updated this month on both how I’m feeling and what recipes/resources I find.

Have you completed the Whole30 challenge? If so, what advice do you have for the newbies? If not, seriously give it some thought; it could change your life 🙂

 Some Recipe Ideas

Kale, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, sunflower seeds, brussel sprout salad

Olive Oil Mayo

Morrocan Dipping Sauce

Sunshine Sauce (haven’t tried this one yet but am dying to try it! Waiting on obtaining one ingredient then I can try this deliciousness)

The Bump that Just Keeps Growing

Babies are being born just about every other week around here and it’s been going on for the last two months. It reminds me of when everyone around me was getting engaged or married; just a weird stage to be residing. I say that, and yet I’m due in two weeks! Ha! You catch my drift though, right? It’s just interesting when you realize it. If you’re sick of hearing about babies, then maybe you should just wait until tomorrow’s post “Today is BABY day!”

I have to say, I have been pretty fortunate as my pregnancies thus far have been very easy compared to some. The most “morning sickness” I get is a bit of nausea, but no puking (praise the Lord!). My biggest complaint is the heart burn from not eating, eating too much, eating spicy or carb-loaded foods, etc. Yes, I have had back pain this time around, but I have also gained more weight than I did with my first. At first, I couldn’t see how since this time around I am getting better sleep (not working night shift at the hospital and flipping back and forth between night and day) and I am eating better, but then I realized yesterday how when I was working, I wasn’t snacking all day long. These days if there is food on the counter, I will most likely eat it. It might not be at 10am when I first think about it, but by the time 3pm comes around I just have to have it. Ah well, I’ll be fine, yes? I hate to think that way, but it’s not like I am about to go start a diet while pregnant. Next pregnancy, I will just have to watch what I eat a little more closely (and keep sweets and baked goods off the kitchen counters).

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One big change this time around is that I have a very active two year old who I have the privilege of chasing around no matter how I’m feeling. Up until probably last week, I was able to keep up pretty easily, but exhaustion has begun to set in. The belly is big, and mommy is starting to feel the strain. I am really hoping this baby doesn’t hold out to make his/her appearance until 41 weeks like baby #1 did. Being pregnant with baby number two definitely has made me aware of how important my time is with baby number one. Soon I will have my attention split between two kids and will be sleep deprived all over again so baby number one will most likely not see a very patient mommy for a few months. Continue reading “The Bump that Just Keeps Growing”

Lyla and Ruth’s Tropical Paradise Smoothie

Lyla and I like to create delicious smoothies in the kitchen. This week we created a treat for this very cold winter to help remind us of the warmer up and coming (not coming soon enough however…) summer sun. Who doesn’t love the thought of beaches? Sand? Or smoothies pool side?! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Lyla and Ruth’s Tropical Paradise Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup cubed ice
  • 2 tbsp flaked coconut

Continue reading “Lyla and Ruth’s Tropical Paradise Smoothie”

The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting

With the new year comes many resolutions that cover a variety of topics. From weight loss to organization…to eating better or quitting bad habits; every where you look there are people who are determined to make their life better once and for all! My husband and I did not make resolutions this year, rather we shared what we would like to see happen in 2015. Our discussion included finding more time to truly relax, making an effort to be healthier (eating better and exercising more), trying to be present in our interactions with others (aka put down the electronics), and a lot about money.

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Budgeting seems to be a never-ending mountain that we are climbing; there are some months where we do great and others where we completely botch our plan and then continue to botch it for a few months before we wake up and realize we are totally off course. It’s awful, and it seems to keep happening. With a new baby coming this year, Continue reading “The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting”

DIY Gifts For The Whole Family

When it comes to Christmas, I am all about making gifts for my friends and family. Not only do I like saving the money, but I also like to make their gifts extra special and personalized. For those of you new to the DIY scene, do not fear; there are so many gifts that are super simple to make. Today I will share just a sampling of my favorites, but definitely search on Pinterest for more ideas (just a warning: you will most likely get more results than you ever dreamed of and therefore want to make them all).

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Continue reading “DIY Gifts For The Whole Family”

Easy Thanksgiving Decor on a Budget

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for inexpensive ways to decorate your house, especially when the holidays roll around. Every year since I’ve have been married, I have wanted to decorate for every holiday, but mainly Fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m ashamed to say I’ve utterly failed in that department. Until last year, that is.

This year is my first “stay at home mommy” holiday season and I’m so excited! If only you could see inside my head – it’s filled with ideas for pretty much every area in my life (or room in the house that is) and I know I will never have the time or money to make my imagination a reality. A girl can dream, right?

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Continue reading “Easy Thanksgiving Decor on a Budget”

Family Ties: Part 2

A few months ago, I wrote about how my husband, daughter, and I had moved into live with my in-laws. We did this for multiple reasons, of which you can read about here. Now, almost six months since I first wrote, and a grand total of eight months since moving in, I’ve decided an update is in order.

Other than the “normal” challenges of having a very active toddler getting into everything as she grows and moves through her learning stages, things haven’t really changed around here. Life is going along smoothly and for that I am grateful. Do I miss having a place of my own? Yes, most definitely. Sometimes when it’s just our little family at home in the evenings, I think about how I really want that all the time. Just the power to choose who is in the house, or whether or not the tv is on etc would be nice. Not that either of those things bring up problems for us, but sometimes I just like the quiet; it’s nice to have a calm and relaxing evening after a crazy day of chasing a toddler around (go figure). Even if it is not completely quiet and the room is filled with giggles as daddy instigates a tickle fight, it’s still more peaceful to me than a sports game being viewed on the TV. Continue reading “Family Ties: Part 2”

Ladybug, Fly Away Home: DIY Toddler Costume

I’m not a big Halloween fan, however if we have an event that we are attending, I definitely jump into “DIY costume” mode. Two years ago, I was pregnant with our daughter and my hubby and I attended a party as Chuck (Tom Hanks) and Wilson from the movie Cast Away. My hubby just needed tattered clothes and I drew a volleyball on my t-shirt and my belly was the volleyball! Simple, yet fun.lylaladybug

This year, it was a Halloween walk through a local historical village and since it would be dark out anyways, us “old farts” didn’t get into costume, but I definitely wanted something sweet for our little one to wear! We love to read books in our house and she has grown to love the series of “Ladybug Girl”. It’s about a girl who dresses up as a ladybug and plays with her friends in the “Bug Squad.” Cute book with fun pictures, and she just loves it (especially “bumbabee boy”, as she likes to call the little boy character). Continue reading “Ladybug, Fly Away Home: DIY Toddler Costume”

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