First meals of Whole30

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new year as much as I did. Titus had his first sleepover at my sister’s house, so Nathan and I went out and had a great time with some awesome friends. We stayed out way to late, ate lots of tasty food and didn’t really get to sleep in. That’s why we decided to start Whole 30 on Tuesday instead. My plan was to get all of my groceries in the morning, cook and let you all know how wonderful my food turned out. BUT life with a kid changes plans sometimes. He decided that he wanted to be grumpy, clingy and needy. Anytime I tried to get some cooking done he wanted to go through cabinets and took out every ziplock bag out of the box and throw them on the floor. Then decided to spike a temperature, very relaxing night.

Thankfully though I was able to get a big chunk of my cooking for the week done. I have our dinners and breakfast for the entire week prepared, Whole30 approved and ready to be eaten.

  1. Breakfast muffins: I didn’t follow a recipe which is probably why I didn’t work the way I had planned. I wanted to cook them in my awesome “egg bit cups” but after talking to a friend and doing some research if you use too much almond milk in the egg bites they won’t congeal when you cook them. So I will attempt this recipe again. After I tried in my instant pot twice I just put them in the oven. So they are still super tasty, but I don’t want to write a recipe up until I tweak them to be cooked easy and perfectly in my Instant pot. That’s the great thing about this blog, I’m learning new things everyday and hopefully you get to learn from the things I mess up.

     

  2. Chicken Enchilada Soup: This recipe was super easy, to the point and tasty. I put all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot and cooked it on Manuel high for 20 minutes, quick release and then I shred my chicken in my new KitchenAid. Then it was ready to eat. You can add Avocado, put it over cauliflower rice, or eat it as is, delicious soup.

 

If you started Whole30 with me, good luck! Remember the first week is the hardest… it can only go up from there!

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Whole30 Prep

Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone. Merry (late)Christmas by the way! And now it’s about to be a new year which means I need to get my butt in shape. I have been eating junk food for over a month now. No joke, I am having some time of sweet, chips or soda almost every evening and eating out way more than I would like to admit.

One of my friends made the announcement that she was going to do Whole 30 and would love people to join in with her, share recipes and keep each other accountable (Thanks April for encouraging me to do Whole30 again! I need it) So that’s where I will be starting January 2nd…… eating healthy, grumpy and going through sugar withdraw I’m sure. Yes, I will be all of these things in the first 24 hours. And from past experiences of doing Whole 30 and Paleo I will probably be this way for the first 5 days. So strangers BEWARE!

I know some people are thinking, Why in the world would you even put yourself through that? But that’s exactly why I do. We shouldnt have to go through Sugar withdraw, I shouldn’t be this tired all of the time and I should eat better for the sake of myself and my family.

What is Whole 30? Whole 30 is basically a reset for your body and you only eat whole foods for 30 days. You eliminate Sugar, Dairy, Soy, Legumes, Wheat and Alcohol.

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Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long-term health, body composition, and feelings around food. -Whole 30 author

How I plan for Whole 30: As some of you may know from past blogs I like to be organized and have a plan for almost everything in life, this is no different. I plan 2 weeks at a time (15 days). I have a calendar, plan out my meals, and make a grocery list. I know that if I don’t plan it out and have the groceries at my house I will make excuses for not sticking with it or even starting it.

  1. Calender – I write out what we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner of every day. I usually stick to 1 casserole and egg bites for breakfast, and then 2 lunch and 2 dinner recipes so that I can change-up what we are eating. I don’t want to feel like we are having the same thing for dinner every day. So will 4 different options throughout the week it’s already prepared and Nathan and I don’t have to eat the same thing if we don’t want to. Print Your own Calendar here: Whole30 Calendar
  2. Grocery List – Once you have your meals planned out, write out everything you need for your meals. Print your own Grocery Check list here: Whole30 Grocery List Whole30 Prep
  3. What’s in my kitchen I check my list before I head to the grocery store. I can usually cut my grocery list in half by seeing what I already have stocked in my kitchen. Print Your own What’s in my kitchen checklist here: What’s In my kitchen checklist

Here are a few of the recipes I will be enjoying my first 2 weeks:

I hope this makes your Whole30 journey a little easier! Check back on Monday, January 1st and I’ll be posting a few videos of my meal prep. I’m going to try to make as many recipes as I can in my Instant Pot!

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How my life has changed since Titus

I remember, before having a baby, other moms saying enjoy every minute because the time will fly by. It’s crazy how real and true that statement is. I can’t believe that I have officially become the mama to a toddler, a strong, kind, and happy 18 month old little boy. My life has changed so much since becoming a mom. It’s been a year and a half of constant learning and I know that there is SO much more to learn.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned as a wife, mom and friend since my new title of mama:

So much joy has been not only added to my life, but my husbands, our family and all of our friends. The day that Titus was born I never knew I could love something quit like I love him. His cute little round nose (like his mama) and his beautiful big brown eyes surrounded by long eyelashes (like his dad) stole my heart the moment I saw him and that hasn’t changed since. His nose is still so cute and those brown eyes help show every little expressions that he is trying to convey. His laugh his contagious and he if you cheer him on for any new thing he does, he will clap for himself afterwards. Joy is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the past year and a half.

But with the new job title I’ve also seen more and more how my marriage needs to be first. I wrote about this in a past blog, but my relationship with Nathan needs to constantly be nourished and filled. Date nights needs to be mandatory and can’t be the first thing to go when life gets busy. Honestly, we still struggle with this. By the time the work day comes to an end and Titus is asleep we usually end up doing our own thing so that we can both unwind. And date nights go longer and longer without happening. We are regularly trying to get better at this and spend intentional time together. And that doesn’t have to be going out to a fancy dinner (not really either of our ideal date) but just a night in, good food, time to talk and relax together. It’s so important to make sure that our relationship continues to grow since one day, yes I know there’s a long time until then, but there will come a time when it’s just Nathan and I again and we need to make sure we still like each other.

One of the toughest things since becoming a mama is everyone’s opinion on how you should do x, y and z. It’s great to have experienced, amazing mamas out there to help you out when you need it but I’ve found that most of the time 2 other moms don’t agree on almost anything. I’ve seen that I need to stand firm on my convictions as a mom, like struggling with my child walking (read past blog here). I contemplating even writing that blog because I thought about how people would question why Titus wasn’t walking yet. Or the fact that we have started to discipline or how we chose to. Another hard one was when I talked about us letting him cry it out, no that does not mean that we put our child in his crib and let him scream for hours on hours. We read up on it, we learned about it and we put it into safe guidelines to help Titus enjoy and get a healthy amount of sleep. So for as long as I can I will be tough for my kid and stand firm on how I feel as a mom.

And last, I think I’ve always known but it has become more real now that I actually have a child but he watches my every move. Even though he isn’t old enough to fully talk he is taking in everything that happens around him. He is looking and listening to how I react to things, the ton of my voice, my attitude, what I spend time doing and how I interact with others. He is taking all of that in and that will be helping in because the kid, teenage, young adult and man that he will become. I want him to know that conflict will arise, you will not ever agree with everyone, BUT you determine your actions. I want him to be a compassionate, kind, generous, strong, God honoring man. And that starts now. That starts with the actions of me and his dad. It also goes further with the people he is around regularly. He is taking it in everyday.

Like I said, I know this is just the start of a lifetime of learning I have ahead of me but I am so thankfully for the last 18 months. I can’t imagine a life without our sweet boy, and I am so blessed to be his mama!

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Mac and Cheese; Instant Pot

If you follow this blog you have probably already learned that I love my Instant Pot, I love food and I love any new way that will help me save time and spend more of it with my family. So as the Holidays are about to be here I thought I would give you another favorite recipe. This is the quickest, easiest and taste as homemade as it gets Mac and Cheese. I am a lover of most mac and cheese, my mom makes a delicious homemade recipe and I also love Velveeta. But as good as Velveeta is, it never taste homemade. And as good as my moms recipe is I don’t like the amount of time it takes to boil the noodles, make the sauce and then bake it. This recipe takes 6 minutes!

Now, I can’t take credit for this recipe. My sister introduced me to it and she found it from another awesome blogger who makes tons of delicious recipes. Check out their blog here.  This is now my staple go to for parties. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Watch this video to see how easy this is to make:

Recipe for Mac and Cheese

 

 

 

Pasta Sensory Box

I am all about finding new, cheap ways for Titus to have fun and learn. I’m sure almost every parents out there has experienced buying your child a new toy and they play with it for maybe 10 minutes and then it’s on to the next thing. Or if you just give them an empty box they somehow play with it much longer than any toy that they actually own. That happens often in this house. I like to think that I’m a minimalist when it comes to toys (you wouldn’t know that if you looked in his room) but I’m more of a puzzles, books and blocks type of mom. So I try to find new, inexpensive crafts or toys that I can “make” for Titus to enjoy.

Well, the other day he got a hold of a box of bow tie pasta, which I was fine with. He went all around the house shaking the box, laughing and dancing at the sounds of the pasta. Next thing we knew the entire box opened right in his lap. He thought it was hilarious. He spent the next 30 minutes putting them all back in the box and then pouring them on himself, still laughing every time. I had to take everything away for him to actually go and eat his dinner. I thought man, he is rarely entertained by something for so long that I actually have to take it away. So I decided to create a sensory box with the pasta.

I grabbed a Tupperware box that I had in the attic and added the bow tie pasta along with a box of rotini pasta. Then I found a few smaller toys and some of his magnet letters and added them to the box.

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You would have thought I just handed my little boy the world when I put out the sensory box the next day. It has consistently been a “toy” that he spends at least a few hours a day playing with. Finding the things hidden in the pasta, or dumping everything out and putting it right back in the bucket. I am loving this new toy that we made and I’m sure your kids would love it too! Everything is available at the dollar store so its very inexpensive.

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What you need:

  • Tupperware box/bowl with lid
  • 2 boxes of pasta
  • Little toys

I’m loving the fact that Titus loves this toy. Sensory boxes are shown to help with language and playing skills, as well as help focus and calm a child. Check out A Little Bin for Little Hands Blog about the benefits of a sensory box.

Now enjoy the fun!

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

I will count this Thanksgiving as our first, Titus’s first real thanksgiving. Last year we spent Wednesday-Sunday stuck in the house, all sick with fevers and couldn’t go anywhere. My mom quickly dropped off food at the front door but that was it. No family, no pictures, no left overs, and no sitting around the table eating together. So this year that all happened. So I will say that it was our first Thanksgiving as a family of three.

Nathan, Titus and I have 3 families that we get to spend our holidays with and sometimes that can be stressful. But all I kept thinking about this year was how that really just means that we have 3 times the amount of people loving, supporting and encouraging us regularly. We have a big blended family that would do anything they could for us and love spending as much time as they can with us.

(Not pictured, his awesome Papa)

I have an amazing set of friends that not just love me, but love my family. I am blessed enough that I have friends that always have my back, are willing to call out my crap and who push me to be a better friend and mom. Whenever I need someone to cry to or laugh with they are there. And as much as I know they love me, they also love Titus.

(Lots of friends not pictured)

And I am beyond thankful and bless that I get to be this little boys mama. He brings more joy to my life than I ever though possible. I always knew that I wanted to be a mom, but being a mom has forever changed me. He keeps us on our toes and he always has us laughing. I love spending my days watching him learn and grow. I am so lucky to be his mom.

I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for Nathan. The man that I get to do this crazy life with as my partner. He encourages me to follow my passions, supports and allows for me to stay at home with Titus and continues to show Titus what a loving father and husband look like on a daily basis. He handles my countless mood swings with grace and always knows how to make me laugh. Even though there will be time when things aren’t perfect and when times get hard I know that I am so blessed to have this guy by my side.

And I am also so thankful for all of you! Thank you for supporting my writing and also encouraging me! I have so much to be thankful for this year. I hope you all had a great thanksgiving too!

Our family costumes!

I know Halloween has come and gone and lets be honest, all of my Christmas decorations are already up but before I moved on to how much I love Christmas, I needed to show just how much I also love Halloween.

As a kid I don’t ever remember a time not going out Trick-or-treating. Of course when we were younger my mom occasionally had my sister and I in our matching costumes but when we weren’t matching she was great about letting us pick out whatever we wanted to be. Minus ANYTHING that was scary, mean or evil. That was her one rule for Halloween. We could get as much candy as we wanted, eat as much of it as we could and she would always let us stay up past our bedtime. The little baskets that kids walk around with now make me chuckle…. we would take a pillow out of its case and that was our candy bag. And trust me, that pillow case was a full as we could possible get it.

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When we would get home we would separate our candy out. First in to piles of what we liked and didn’t like. We would occasionally trade candy that we didn’t like. Then we would sort it into sweet or sour and start to chow down. I remember those days like they were yesterday. Halloween is one of the traditions that I can’t wait to have with Titus every year.

I’m so thankful for all of those memories as a kid and love the traditions that we have already started. Every year my sister and her family come to my house as well as our parents and closest friends. Everyone in their costumes, we eat pizza in the front yard, spend forever taking pictures and then were off. My favorite tradition is that I dress us up in a family costume. I cherish this time because I know in a few short years Titus will protest dressing up in a matching costume with his mom and dad. Then us dressing up at all and then him even wanting to hang out with us on Halloween. So like so many other things I will make these memories count. I will dress us up in corny matching costumes, let him eat a crazy amount of candy and stay up late. And hope that one day he will remember all of these things, look back, laugh, and make these kind of memories for his family.

3 years in the making.. Ninja Turtles (Titus was just a little peanut in my belly), a safari family, and Finn Rey and BB8. I can’t wait to see what we come up with in the years to come!

Its been a while..

So its been almost 6 months since I wrote last. Life continues to change, time flies by and life gets busier. I don’t know how that is possible. But life is good. Our sweet boy is almost 11 months old, he loves to clap, gives kisses and has the biggest personality. He is happy 95% of the time, laughs at us but finds his cousins hilarious and sleeps like a champ. This mama feels like she sleeps more now that she has a kid than before… I know, I know thats something I should keep quiet about! He isn’t crawling yet, but he is a big boy. He is a whooping 25 lbs! Yes, I typed that correctly. My 10 month old is 25 lbs! I get the best arm workout of my life on a daily basis. He just recently started doing planks, lots of moms tell me crawling is just around the corner.

My husband is working a ton so that we can have the life that he has always imagined for all of us. There are days that he works from 8am-8pm and Titus and I get brief hugs and kisses. But we are willing to do this so that he can pursue his dreams while he also makes it possible for me to stay home. You should check out his website. He is incredibly talented and makes some pretty epic arrangements. www.beyondtheguitar.com

And I spend my days taking care of our boy, taking care of Nathan and taking care of the house. Whoever said stay at home moms have it easy has obviously never been a stay at home mom. But I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love that everyday I get to wake up with Titus, watch him grow and don’t miss a thing. I also love that I can to be at home keeping our lives and house together while my husband pursues his dreams.

So thats a little update on us. I promise no more 6 months breaks from writing. A lot has been happening and I have a lot to tell you. So stay posted!

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