Post Whole30 Update

March 11th, 2015

You might be sick of me talking about Whole30 by now, but I can’t help it!

This is honestly the most effective eating plan Andy and I have ever followed.  It didn’t just change our month, it honestly changed our lives.

WHOLE30 RULES
Our last official day on the plan was March 3rd.  Since then we’ve been systematically re-introducing food groups that had been eliminated (first legumes, then non-gluten grains, dairy, and finally gluten) and figuring out how we are going to move forward since Whole30 isn’t meant to be strictly followed forever.

We introduced legumes by having a dinner that included a side of black beans.

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It was wild cod broiled in ghee, lime juice, and salt with a side of roasted broccoli (which we are currently OBSESSED with) and then black beans simmered with onions, garlic and a few dashes of cumin.

Overall we felt fine after our legume experiment.  I felt tired a little earlier than usual and Andy wondered if he might have had a smidge of indigestion, but nothing too crazy, so I think we’ll definitely add beans back into the rotation here and there.  They are very filling, inexpensive, a nice alternative to meat, and the girls LOVE them!

We had popcorn and wine the Friday night after our end date and let me tell you the popcorn was every bit as delicious as I’d imagined and maybe even more!  We pop ours on the stove with coconut oil and it’s the bomb.com.  I had a bottle of local cherry wine that we chilled and sipped on along with our popcorn and weekly Netflix ritual and the whole experience was a fun departure from our hard-core discipline!

Corn didn’t seem to negatively impact us, so I’ll be curious to see how we handle things like rice, oatmeal and quinoa.  I would have planned to re-into those right after corn, but we ended up having an impromptu family shopping/dinner out outing that fast forwarded our dairy and gluten reintro.

Saturday afternoon we took all 3 kids to the mall and scored BIG at the Sears Land’s End spring sale.  I’m talking $60 corduroy pants for Andy for $20 and $49 cardigans for me for $17!  We wandered the mall a little, picked up matching adorable denim mary jane sneakers for the girls at Payless and even grabbed some flip flops and spring dresses at Old Navy.

By the time we finished shopping, everyone was HANGRY (hungry+angry) LOL.  Red Robin was next door and offered a variety of things we all like (plus I was secretly thinking I could get something almost Whole30 compliant) but they had a 30 minute wait which was TOO LONG for us.

Andy thought pizza might be fun since it’s a favorite of Grace and Avery’s and why not re-intro the ultimate splurge food sooner rather than later!

We went to the Pizza Hut near our house and it was practically empty which is right up our alley!  We got a double cheese pizza and Mountain Dew and cautiously took our first bites and sips.

The Mountain Dew totally grossed me out!  In the book I remember reading that previously normal tasting sweet food and drinks tasted overly sweet and nasty to people after Whole30, but I didn’t think that would be my story.  Turns out it was!  I drank about 1/3 of my Mountain Dew and switched to water.  Soft drinks are just too sweet for me at this point.

The pizza was definitely delicious!  It tasted about 10x more flavorful than the last time I ate pizza.  I think my tastebuds were tuned into the saltiness of the cheese and the nuances of the crust more than usual.  It’s so funny that pizza tasted almost foreign after just a month!

Of course I had to dissect everything I was thinking throughout the whole meal and for a while afterward.  Andy had me cracking up with impressions of how my sister would probably mock our conversation if she was listening to it!

“BABE, THE CHEESE JUST TASTED SO FOREIGN!”

LOL.

Ellen is good for my ego.  She keeps my absurd overthinking in check by mocking me from time to time :)

I ate WAY LESS than usual and felt extremely full at the end. We came home and I was exhausted.  It was like a gluten and dairy COMA.

ICK.

I could not WAIT to go back to clean eating the next morning!  In fact, I’d venture to say that I felt off for several days after indulging.

It wasn’t a great idea to reintro gluten and dairy at the same time, so I plan to see how we respond to them individually too.

But in many ways I’m glad we ripped off the bandaid and ate out over the weekend.  It helped me to see that I can manage a lifestyle change.  We can eat out and then return to healthy eating.

Historically that has not been the case.

We usually leap out of a diet plan right back into our old ways.

Not that we are terrible eaters in general, but we love to indulge and haven’t found a great balance of doing so only sometimes.  Keeping the weekend for splurge meals will help us stay in better shape and health overall.

I’ve got to say that I enjoy the Whole30 meals just as much if not MORE than the things we splurged on over the weekend.  I’ve come to really appreciate the fresh flavors of the healthy foods we’ve been eating and even more than that, I love the way I feel after each meal.

Satisfied and nourished rather than bloated and full.

I can’t get over how crazy it is that this 30 day journey had such an impact on us.  It blows me away.

As if all the benefits we discussed in our Whole30 Video weren’t enough, I’m happy to report that my blood pressure is back in the normal range without medication!

The numbers on the scale are steadily creeping downward and I’m wearing clothes I haven’t fit into since I lost weight after Avery…like 6 MONTHS after Avery! I’m wearing them now even though Drew is only 3 months old!

Whole30 has been shown to stabilize blood sugar in diabetics, reduce pain in people with joint issues, clear up acne, alleviate asthma, and about a million other things for a host of other ailments.

If you are struggling with a health and wellness issue or know someone who is, I highly recommend Whole30!!

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Read this book and give it a whirl.  I’ll even be your personal cheerleader if you decide to try it!

The following instagram accounts have also REALLY inspired me:

@teamwhole

@wholejenn

@wholesisters

@whole30recipes

@whole30

Also, my own account: @wholedailyrebecca ;)

I know I was supposed to do a post about what we ate over the 30 days, but apparently I had a lot more to say!

Shocking, I know ;)

I promise I’ll be back next with a food rundown.  I’ve got the collages all ready and I’ll be hunting down links for any recipes I used.

As always, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!


Drew Boo

March 7th, 2015

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Our Whole30 Experience (with videos!)

March 5th, 2015

Hey guys!

Andy and I completed our Whole30 journey on Wednesday!! I’m super proud of us for sticking with it until the end.  We found this 30 day commitment to be life-changing.  Instead of finishing on Wednesday and planning to dive head first into a large pizza, we want to continue eating like this long term.

That’s huge for us.

I wanted to share Andy’s perspective on the whole thing along with my own, so I talked him into doing a video with me!  I actually didn’t have to talk him into it…he’s awesome and was very willing to share his thoughts with me on camera :)

Check it out!

 

Carnitas Recipe! http://popularpaleo.com/2013/01/07/crock-pot-carnitas/

Oh Youtube and the still frames you use for videos! #myface #omg

If you don’t have time to watch the 10:21 minute video, here’s a run down of the questions we covered so that you can skip around to what you want to hear:

0:24 What made you decide to do Whole30?

1:00 How did you feel in the beginning?

1:44 What was the hardest part about it?

2:55 What was the best part about it?

4:03 How do you feel different now that you’re eating this way?

5:38 What was your favorite Whole30 meal?

6:26 What’s one thing (food) you are sick of?

6:58 What are you most looking forward to reintroducing?

8:15 How do you think this will impact you long-term?

9:40 Total weight loss in 30 days?

I also asked my friends on Instagram (@wholedailyrebecca) if they had any questions for us and this next video answers the questions that were posted there.  Sorry I didn’t gather these for the video I did with Andy, but we were in a time crunch last night so hopefully you are ok with Drew and I answering them in this video :)

Again, if you don’t want to watch the whole video, here are the questions and corresponding time markers in the video so you can skip to what you want to hear:

0:40 How feasible is it to do vegetarian meals?

1:40 Was it hard at times not to be tempted to eat foods that you weren’t supposed to eat?

2:05 Did you feel hungry all the time or were you satisfied after meals?

3:04 How much more did you spend on groceries?  How much time to fix meals daily?

4:36 Do you deliver?

5:18 Did you feed your daughters the same thing you ate?

6:17 Did Andy make it to his Navy weight?

6:41 What was the most filling food you ate?

7:05 Did you try to limit natural sugar as in fruit?

So there you have it!  We are big fans of this program and I’m happy to answer any other questions you may have.  Leave a comment with what you want to know and I’ll respond!

I’ll be back in my next post with photos of some things we ate over the last month in case you’re curious and not on Instagram.

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The Haps

March 2nd, 2015

So, what’s happening lately?

Andy and I are finishing Whole30 tomorrow!  I had this hair-brained idea to do a video with him talking about how it has been for us.  Now I’ve just gotta convince him ;)

Drew is doing great.  He’s been sleeping through the night (like 11-7) for almost a month now!  It has made the whole newborn thing feel so much more manageable.  He’s nursing about 6 times a day (roughly every 3 hours) and seems to be growing and gaining weight beautifully.  I wish I knew his exact stats, but our 2 month well visit has gotten bumped twice, so I’ll have to wait till the 18th to get the specifics.

 

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Avery seems to have grown up overnight.  She is talking up A STORM and regularly cracks us all up.  Her facial expressions and comedic timing are insanely cute.  Some of her top phrases are:

In response to I love you: I love you soooo much!

In response to face washing: Stop! That hurs (hurts) me.

Any time of day: Naming ALL the Disney Princesses

Upon waking up: Good morning mama! I want brefast…cereal, toast, cheerios, cereal!

Usually the morning, but often later too: I want juicy mamaaaa…juice pwease!

When looking at ANY picture on my phone: Cuuuute!

When surprised about something: Oh my dear!

I wish I had a recording of her saying each one of these things in her sweet little deep voice.  She makes me melt every day.

Grace is also super grown up these days.  She asks the most mature questions and really wants to know what’s going on all the time.  When I was recently faced with a dilemma and uttered an “Uh oh!” she wanted to know what was up and as I was telling her about it I trailed off, distracted with getting everyone out of the car.  I started up again and she finished my sentence, having already figured out where I was headed with the whole explanation.  It was so “adult” the way she did it and it totally blew my mind. LOL

She has been resisting preschool almost every day lately.  It’s generally the first thing she talks about in the morning…either, “Do I have school today?” or “I don’t want to go to school!”

I can’t exactly figure this out, except that she HATES winter (as much as a crotchety old man desperate to be a snowbird in Florida!) and she likes to wear whatever she wants (which always involves short sleeves and bare legs).  I think she might be happy to go to school everyday if she could wear what she wanted and be transported to and from in 60+ degree weather.

Other than the daily school battle, she’s come really far with many of her behavior struggles.  She’s sharing with Avery almost all the time now which is a WELCOME change from where we were 6 months to a year ago.  She is an incredibly good eater, especially when things are plain.  She likes meat with no sauce, veggies with no seasoning, and “separates” meals like meat/potato/veg rather than casseroles, rice or pasta dishes.  She loves tidying up and will frequently straighten the living room or go upstairs to make her bed.  Her love of reading is propelling her into identifying and sounding out letters all the time.  She’s developed an interest in math too, and I think she’s going to really enjoy stepping up her learning next year in kindergarten.

Such a smart and spunky little thing :)

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Andy continues to work hard at each of his rotations and with his exams.  He makes it all look so easy that I often forget how much is really on his plate.  He’s such a disciplined hardworking guy, it’s incredible.  He’s also very helpful around here and so thoughtful about each one of us.  He’ll frequently come home from running errands and surprise the girls with something fun that caught his eye.  Everything from Frozen socks to wooden puzzles to Lego sets he just knows they will love.

Lately he’s been including items from my Amazon wish list on each order that he places.  I’ve been surprised with an eyeshadow palette, hand cream, and just today this cuticle oil I’ve been pining for.

You guys, I don’t deserve him.  He’s so patient and gracious and forgiving with me that it makes me want to cry.  Plus, I can never seem to out do him!  He’s always one step ahead of me, giving and serving.

Oh how I do not want to ever take him for granted…

Me?

I’m doing pretty well.  Constantly in my head about everything.

Thankfully I’m starting to turn the mental gymnastics over to God, asking Him to help me slow down and trust his sovereignty.  It really helps.

I’ve realized recently that I white-knuckle my life.  My daily routines, my parenting, my housekeeping, my goals, even my relationships.  I’m just so damn focused and intense about everything all the time.  I usually feel like I’m treading water, just keeping my face above the surface of the ocean of expectation I place on myself.

This is not the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

No matter how many things I accomplish as I white-knuckle my way through every day, it doesn’t accomplish the one thing my heart aches for.

Intimacy with God.

Deep knowledge of his mercy and truth.

Security in my identity as His daughter.

Only my desperation for Him brings that kind of freedom.

Instead of being desperate about so many things that don’t even matter, I want to be desperate for the One who does.

Oh the freedom that will flow forth when that happens.

He is so good.

All the time.


Getting Nostalgic With Netflix

February 27th, 2015

This morning the girls and I took a trip down memory lane.

vividly remember reading The Boxcar Children chapter book when I was in second grade.  It was a random choice from the school library and I loved it SO MUCH.  I read it a bunch of times and got so excited each time they fixed up the boxcar with pretty little touches like a makeshift table and chairs with old teacups and fresh picked wildflowers.  The boxcar seemed so cozy and quaint and I ached to have a boxcar of my own.  It was a good old-fashioned story of children beating the odds and winding up with a happy ending and I gobbled it right up.

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When browsing through Netflix recently I saw they had an animated Boxcar Children movie!  I wasn’t sure how good it would be or how much the girls would like it, but they LOVED it!  Grace wanted to start it over from the beginning as soon as it ended.  I watched the entire thing too (which is a rarity since I often tend to zone out on my phone when watching kids movies…true story) and I also loved it!  The animation was really cute and they did a great job with the scenery and characters.  I totally recommend this movie if you have little ones…it’s a good, wholesome tale :)

My browsing session the other day ended up being a total blast from the past.  I saw movies like Honey I Shrunk The Kids which was also a favorite of mine from childhood.  Remember when they camped out inside the holes of the lego piece?  Or grabbed gobs of frosting from the middle of a fallen cream sandwich cookie?  Such a fun movie and I think I might watch it soon!  I know Grace would be straight up fascinated by the kids getting shrunk, but I think it might be too mature for her still, so I’ll have to give it a trial viewing :)

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Another movie I remember from my childhood is Crocodile Dundee.  Thinking about this now I realize I was too young to watch this movie, but boy did I love Mic Dundee!  This is such a classic 80’s movie and I can still remember cracking up about him in the bathroom trying to figure out the bidet!  Or almost getting mugged by a guy with a knife, but pulling out his giant outback blade and saying, “That’s not a knife…THAT’S a knife!” Hahaha.  Such a good, adult movie!  Come to think of it, Dad you let me watch Miami Vice too!  When mom’s away…LOL.

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I also remember piling into my parents room at night to watch shows.  It was pretty much always Dad’s pick, so we spent many a night watching M*A*S*H.  Funny how I’d never be into that show on my own, but watching it all together is a happy memory for me.  I don’t know that I’d be into it now, but seeing it when I was browsing made me smile :)

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Another childhood favorite that we love around here is Annie.  I haven’t seen the re-make, but I don’t know if it could compete with the original.  Much like the boxcar, I was enamored with Daddy Warbuck’s magnificent mansion and wished I could live in such gorgeous estate.  I loved watching the love grow between Daddy Warbucks and Annie, resulting in a super sappy happy ending!  I also love hearing Grace sing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow!”  Precious.

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What about you?  Any old favorites that you’ve been able to enjoy all over again thanks to Netflix?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Much Ado About Nothing (Hair Poll!)

February 18th, 2015

I’m getting close to needing another hair appointment.

My last one was the day before Drew was born and that was a whopping 10 weeks ago today.  10 weeks is how long I go between appointments, so I’m itching for a salon pick-me-up right about now.

My dark roots are growing in which I think makes my hair look GREASY no matter how clean it is.  Too bad I can’t pull off that “roots on purpose” look that so many blondes get away with.  But alas, it just doesn’t work for me.

You’ve heard me sing the praises of my stylist so I know she’ll do a fabulous job with whatever I decide, but right now I’m completely torn about what direction to head with my hair!

I’m ready for a change.  I’ve had this blonde angled bob for a really long time.  It’s been easy to style and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, so I’m almost hesitant to mix things up, but I love to change up my hair so I’m in a pickle!

As I said in the title…this is much ado about NOTHING.

Total first world concern.

I’ve been asking Andy and Ellen what they think I should do next.  Andy said he missed my long hair the other day when he was playing with Grace’s long hair (collective awwwww for that sweet dad moment!) and Ellen’s vote is that I keep the angled bob, but go darker…back to my natural color (sans gray!).

But I don’t know!!!

Ellen has recently allowed me to have a hand in planning her wedding (yipee!) so we’re narrowing in on a September date.  If I keep growing my hair, I could have some real length by then which would be fun for wedding hairstyles.  Plus, I have to admit it would be nice to put my hair up in a ponytail or messy bun this summer.  Right now I can’t put it up at all (well, without having a weird stubby ponytail and lots of short pieces falling out at the base of my neck) and that can be a bummer.

The upside is that styling this cut straight or curly is super easy when it’s clean and when it’s a couple days dirty, so I don’t usually need to resort to a ponytail.

Dilemmas dilemmas.

I thought it might be fun to take a look at my hair through the years to get some votes from any of you who might care to weigh in!  I’ve pretty much had it all…long, short, brown, blonde, red, bangs, no bangs, you name it!

For about 12 hours I even had blackish hair in high school when a dye job went bad.

Oh, and I can’t forget about the spray-on black hair I had for my Kat VonDee Halloween costume back in 2009!

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Isn’t that quite a look?! LOL

Ok, so I’m going to show the history of my hair for about the past decade (in random order).  I’ll include numbers on each collage and if you’re willing to cast a vote for which direction I should head, that would be awesome!  At the bottom, I’ll post a couple Pinterest pictures of looks I like and I’ll number those options too.

1. Med-long/no bangs natural color with some highlights

no bangs collage

2. Long brown with minimal blonde highlights and side swept bangs

long brown with highlights collage

3. Long very blonde with side swept bangs

long blonde collage

4. Long red with side swept bangs or dark auburn with side swept bangs

red and auburn collage

5. Short dark brown with side swept bangs

short dark collage

6. Long dark brown with side swept bangs

long brown collage

7. Short blonde with side swept bangs

short blonde collage

8. Long dark brown with caramel blonde baylage

long brown baylage
 9. Brown angled bob (keeping my current longish angled bob, just going dark again)

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10. Ombre angled bob

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Ok, so I know these pictures span a LOT of years and numbers on the scale for me!  Try not to be swayed by how young or thin I may look…ha!

Just focus on the hair, people.

Is it ridiculous that I’m polling the internet?!

It’s so me though.

Isn’t it? ;)

Ok, cast your vote!!

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Sorry mobile users! The polling tool might not work on your device, but don’t let that stop you! I’d love for you to leave a comment with your pick! :)


Lash Factory 3D Fiber Lash Review

February 13th, 2015

From time to time a company will contact me to see if I’m interested in checking out one of their products.  It’s definitely a fun part of blogging!  I never say yes to items that I wouldn’t normally consider using.  This is just not that kind of blog and I’d feel like a phony reviewing that kind of item for all of you who know me.

When the Lash Factory emailed me about trying their 3D fiber lashes I was like, ” HECK YEAH!”

Historically I haven’t had a problem with my eyelashes.  They weren’t very long, but weren’t short and sparse either.  They’ve always had a decent natural curl to them and when I find a mascara that works well for me, I’m usually pretty content with my natural lashes.

However…

After having 3 kids, my hormones must be pretty different.  I’ve noticed over the past year or so that my lashes are shorter and more sparse than they ever used to be.

I was wondering if it was a matter of mascara, but I’ve tried a variety of great mascaras and you can just only do so much with what you’ve got.

All that being said, I was very excited about having an opportunity to check out a product that might beef up my puny lashes!

Although it’s outside of my comfort zone, I thought it might be fun to do a little video of my first impressions of the Lash Factory 300x 3D Fiber Lashes.

300x 3D Fiber Lashes
I’m no YouTube Beauty Vlogging sensation or anything, but here’s an 8 minute clip of me trying these fibers for the first time.  No throwing tomatoes!!

 

Since you probably couldn’t see a whole lot of detail in the video, here are some photos…

both eye lash comparison

both eye lash comparison pic

The left eyelashes might look a little “spidery” but that’s because I made the mistake of applying my normal mascara to the fibers after I finished applying them.  The result is MUCH BETTER without doing that, so learn from my mistake :)

The two pics below are of my other eye with the fibers applied, but no additional mascara added.  Much smoother!

Aren’t they awesome??

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Right now the Lash Factory is having a sale on this item.  It normally retails for $29.99 but right now you can grab it for $23.99 which I think is a great deal!

I was skeptical before trying these fibers, but I’ve gotta say I really love them.  I’m gonna have a hard time not using them every day!

 

 

The Lash Factory was kind enough to provide me with their 300x 3D Fiber Lashes at no charge.  I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions stated are my own.

 


Bulletproof

February 11th, 2015

For whatever reason, I cannot seem to get myself to sit down and type out a blog post lately.  I have the best intentions, but between wrangling the kiddos, making lots of Whole30 food, getting a shower once in a while, and trying to keep the house in order I just haven’t been making it happen.

And I miss you guys!

I usually spend a lot of my words transitioning from topic to topic when I blog and that can get tiring for me and for you, so today I’m gonna go with bullets.

Little snippets about what’s happening these days…

*Our Whole30 journey is going surprisingly well!  Many people experience discomfort (headaches, bloating, major mood swings) in their first weeks, but somehow we’ve avoided that!  I’m not sure we are exactly to the “tiger blood” phase, but I for one feel incredible!  I’m falling asleep quickly at night and sleeping hard.  Andy has often joked in the past that I sleep so hard the bed hurts!  That is totally the case right now.  I hit my pillow, fall asleep fast, and am completely unconscious till Drew wakes up in the morning!  Praise Jesus for that!

*Drew is sleeping through the night consistently!!!!  We’re talking 11-7 just about every night.  I couldn’t be more grateful. Lack of sleep is my kryponite and it seems like the sleepless newborn phase was shorter with Drew than it had been with either Grace or Avery.  I’ll take it!

*Winter is in full effect here in Michigan.  Snow everywhere.  Freezing temps.  Lots of time spent inside.  Or having tantrums about long sleeves, pants, coats, and mittens.  That would be Grace.  Although I can’t fault her too much, I’m a bundling up hater too!  Unless I’m skiing or something you’ll never see me in any type of hat or ear muffs.  I bought a couple pairs of gloves this year and I pretty much never wear those either.  At least I’ve graduated from wearing a fleece jacket or puffer vest only to wearing the nice coat Andy bought me for Christmas!  I’m really growing up! Ha.

*Valentine’s Day is this weekend and unlike last year, I haven’t pulled out or made any decorations.  This actually bums me out.  I know how much the girls would love to see everything looking festive.  Hmmm….maybe tomorrow after school we’ll bring out the V-day stuff.

*I may have mentioned in a previous post, but my sister has turned me into a bit of a beauty junkie!  It started innocently enough with suggesting I follow @youngwildandpolished on Instagram because she posted a ton of incredible manicures.  Then I tiptoed into watching YWP’s YouTube channel, and the rest is history!  One thing led to another and I found myself watching all kinds of YouTube makeup and skincare videos while I was up all hours of the night nursing Drew.  Makeup has always been fun for me.  I remember my friend Karen and I having sleep overs in my parent’s RV and playing with makeup and nail polish till the wee hours of the night.  In highschool she and I were all about Revlon’s Sandalwood Beige lipstick.  The perfect 90’s tawny brown :)  As I’ve been watching videos I’ve been making a list of the things I want to try out.  Ellen even has me couponing at CVS to get good deals on things!  My sweet Andy saw a high-end eyeshadow palette in my Amazon wish list and surprised me with it last week.  Isn’t he a doll?!

*I’m cooking up a storm for Whole30 but feel bad bombarding you guys with all those “recipes” since I feel like everyone and her sister is doing Whole30 right now.  Is there any interest in me posting those meals here on the blog?  I have a dedicated Instagram account (@wholedailyrebecca) were I’m posting just about every meal I make, so I hesitate to post things here too.  But maybe I’m just being a weirdo!  I know I love to read any and all blogs I come across that talk about the Whole30 plan, so maybe it wouldn’t be too annoying…

*One of my Whole30 favorites is bulletproof coffee!!  I was pretty hooked on my hazlenut creamer but I think I’ve found something MUCH healthier that I enjoy just as much!  It’s basically black coffee blended with coconut milk, ghee, and cinnamon.  SO rich and delicious.  I think I’ll do a blog post about that soon :)

*As much as my darling kiddos can drive me up a wall these days (3 under 5 is really something!) they are each so incredibly precious.  In between moments of sheer chaos, I’ll sit and look at all of them and feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  I can’t believe they are all mine and that they are so incredible.  I’ve been trying to capture more photos of them so that I can look back and remember these precious days.  I really need to pull out my big camera to get some really good shots, but here are some recent iPhone pics…

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 Not wanting me to get a standing up picture before church on Sunday. LOL

Wearing tights of her own free will!

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The cutest pig tails ever :)

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Church clothes :)

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All tuckered out.  And so snazzy!

My brown eyed girl :)

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Morning jammie cuddles.

Playing a game on my old iPhone.  Don’t judge! Lol

The “first time” he fell asleep on her.  She was SO EXCITED!

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Sweet boy :)

Poor only boy with two sisters. LOL

I love how Avery is looking adoringly at her cool big sis :)


Hopping on the Whole30 Bandwagon

February 5th, 2015

Andy and I have been joking that 95% of posts on social media right now are about Essential Oils or Whole30.

We suspect that if you’re doing both, you probably have rainbows shooting out your rear end! LOL

But seriously, I know that our country as a whole is more mindful about health and wellness than ever before, so it only makes sense that holistic healing methods are taking the world by storm.

I’m the kind of person who very easily becomes obsessed with stuff like this which is why I’ve been hesitant to dip my toe into these waters.

Very hesitant.

I’ve posted about food again and again and again and again, so if you’ve followed me for a while you know I’m on a quest to see what ultimately works for me and my family.  Along this journey I’ve experimented with being Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, and at times I’ve thrown in the towel and eaten garbage.

Not real garbage, but you get my drift.

My Recipe Index is even a history of the twists and turns my eating has taken over the past several years. Lol

What ends up happening is that I get so obsessed with all the “rules” that I create an idol in my heart which takes my focus off God – or – I start feeling so restricted that I throw in the towel and eat like crap just to rebel.

Neither one of these is good for my overall health and well being.

I want to have my heart and mind focused on Christ while also taking care of my physical body so that I have the health and energy to serve God and my family well.

That’s why I’m doing Whole30.

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After Drew was born I went into survival mode.  It was all kinds of “Don’t worry about what you eat, just get through each day!”

Then it became, “Well, you ARE breastfeeding so go ahead and soothe yourself with ice cream and junk food every night!”

All of that has left me feeling overweight and overwhelmed by my poor choices.

Andy started the plan before me since he’s working to lose “holiday weight” before his upcoming Navy physical and he’s had really great results in just the first week.

I gave myself until Monday to get started because I wanted to eat up some of the non-compliant foods we had in the house.  Let me say they weren’t near as enjoyable as my mind always thinks they will be.  My nightly bowls of ice cream have become so habitual that they don’t even feel like a treat anymore.

It was definitely time for a change!

While most people feel optimistic on day one, I felt total anxiety.  I wanted to quit after lunch and the idea of 30 days eating like this felt like the end of the world.

After a nap and a good dinner I felt slightly more hopeful, but still doubted that I’d be able to see this through till the end.

Drew had a rough night getting to sleep and as a result, I woke up late the next morning.  Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but I co-lead a Bible study at church on Tuesdays, so I had to get my booty in gear!

This would generally mean I’d down a cup of sugary creamed coffee and grab a high carb snack as I rushed out the door, but thankfully I was prepared and had some veggie egg “muffins” in the fridge so I ate two of those and grabbed a black coffee at church.

After Bible study I came home and made the girls and myself lunch and felt even better.

There really is something to feeding out bodies nourishing foods rather than subsisting on things we know aren’t good for us.

Of course I still get hit with cravings and urges to eat foods that are not compliant with the Whole30 plan, but I’m not dreading the next month the way I thought I would.  It’s even been kind of fun to plan and prepare meals that follow the “rules” of the program.

Here are some of the things I’ve made and enjoyed so far:

Homemade mayonnaise

Compliant tuna salad in butter lettuce wraps (with mayo above – wild tuna no additives from Costco)

Roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts with pre-cooked compliant roast beef from Costco and this incredible chimichurri

Crockpot roast beef with onions, carrots, and potatoes

Sauteed broccoli slaw with onions and Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning topped with fried eggs

Giant salad with tons of fresh veggies and compliant smoked pulled pork from Costco, topped with a Wholly Guacamole cup and Trader Joe’s salsa verde

Italian chicken fingers with steamed asparagus and broiled potatoes

Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles

and a bunch of other random “meals” we made up with meat, eggs, and veggies.

I’ve got a Whole30 Pinterest board going to provide some inspiration and variety as we continue on this journey and there are a bunch of Instagrammers who have great Whole30 feeds (@teamwhole, @wholesisters, @whole30recipes)

Have you done Whole30?  If so, what did you think??


Netflix Is My Sister-Wife

January 31st, 2015

Since Drew came on the scene things around here have been a little less predictable.

How much sleep I’m going to get, when I’ll get to take a shower, how I’ll have to get creative to make dinner…

oh yeah, and HOW MUCH SLEEP I’M GOING TO GET.

Mostly that.

As we all know, newborn babies eat around the clock.  They also tend to have their days and nights mixed up, at least initially.

This makes for one tired mama.

Add to that the fact I get pretty antsy when I don’t know how things are going to play out (hashtag control freak) and you have one cranky mama.

I do that whole “If he falls asleep now I’ll get X hours of sleep” game.  That game has no winners.  I just end up a grumpy mess.

As much as I think God has bigger fish to fry than worrying about my sleep issues, I do believe He cares deeply for me.  I also believe the things I worry about matter to Him.  Just like the things my kids worry about matter to me.

This phase of life has been deepening my faith in cool ways and I’m thankful for that :)

BUT, when I’ve been up much of the night feeding and comforting Drew and he finally falls into a deep sleep in the wee hours of the morning, I just want to get some sleep too.

And then two sweet little rosy-cheeked brown haired girls come to my bedside saying, “Good morning, mama!” and I’m supposed to be awake.

Even though it’s 7am and I’ve only slept a couple hours.

It’s at this point I’d love to ring a bell and have a wonderful nanny whisk the children away to a hot breakfast while I get back to bed.

No such luck!

I don’t agree at all with a polygamist lifestyle, but part of me thinks having a sister-wife around might not be so bad! LOL

She and I could take turns watching the kids while the other one sleeps!

Or SOLO GROCERY SHOPPING!

Remind me why I don’t believe in polygamy again?

Oh right!  That whole “sharing a husband” thing.

Ok, ok.  Enough kidding around.

Lately my morning solution has been to let the girls watch a little Netflix while I doze just a little longer with Drew.

Don’t judge.

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and for now it’s this.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about them switching channels to anything I don’t want them to watch.  And unlike the Sprout channel, there are no commercials on Netflix so they won’t be bombarded with marketing.

They know the shows I approve of and they stick to those.

Both of my girls love animals and this month’s Netflix Stream Team Theme is four-legged friends.

Netflix has launched a new series based on a beloved character from Shrek: Puss in Boots.

Adventures of Puss in Boots

 

They’ve released 5 episodes so far and all of the reviews look great.  Targeted age is 11-12, so if you have kids around that age, or you’re a kid at heart, you should check it out!  Even though I’m not an animal person, I was a total sucker for his sweet manipulative face in Shrek 2.  I mean come on!

Real life puss in boots

Since that series is a little grown up for my little ones, I’ll share two of their favorites animal shows on Netflix :)

One of the very first shows Grace ever enjoyed watching was Kipper.  It’s a sweet British cartoon about a dog named Kipper and his animal friends.  I loved the innocent content and irresistible British accents and Grace loved the physical comedy and cute animal aspect.  If you have a little one who likes animals (especially puppies) this show is really great.

kipper the dog

Lately Grace and Avery both love watching Clifford.  Grace’s love for puppies runs deep!  But only cartoon and stuffed animal puppies.  She’s totally freaked out by the real deal.

clifford

Fun fact – If I’d have been a boy like my parent’s thought (and the 1980 ultrasound indicated) my name was going to be Clifford James.  After a soap opera character (Cliff on All My Children) and my Grandpa and Uncle (James).  Thank God I was a girl!  I can only ever think of the big red dog when I hear Clifford.

So, as much as I should drag my tired booty outta bed when they come calling in the morning, I feel better knowing they’re at least watching sweet and innocent shows like Kipper and Clifford :)

Now that Drew is sleeping longer stretches at night (over 7 hours last night!) I’m feeling hopeful that I’ll start waking up more ready to face the day and we’ll save our shows for the afternoon like we usually do (hello pre-dinner witching hour!).

Until that all levels out, I’m glad I have Netflix as my sister-wife! LOL

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Things I’m Loving Lately

January 22nd, 2015

Finally!!!

I’m getting around to posting about some of my recent favorites.  All the stars have aligned and all three of my children are simultaneously napping!!!

Praise the Lord!

Ok, for the good stuff…

AMAZON PRIME

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We’ve had Amazon Prime for over two years now and I can’t remember life without it!  We are talking FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING ON THOUSANDS OF ITEMS.

I fell in love with the hand creme I’m about to mention, but it can be difficult to find so I checked Amazon and sure enough it was there and qualified for Prime shipping!

Two days later I’m sitting here with soft, smooth banana scented hands.  The UPS man has become my favorite person.

Not really, but I’m always very happy to see him!

We took advantage of a discounted membership price when Andy started med school a couple years ago, but now that I’m totally hooked on this service I’d gladly pay the $99/year fee.

Amazon Prime features include the following:

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Besides the hand cream, I’ll give you another example of the awesomeness that is Amazon Prime…we fell in love with these Mama Chia fruit pouches at Costco.  They are tasty, nutritious, and a HUGE hit with both of my girls.

As often happens, Costco stopped carrying them.

Womp womp womp.

I checked Amazon and they had boxes of them at a fair price!  They qualified for Prime shipping and I was even able to subscribe to have them sent to me on a monthly basis and that saved even more money.

If you like to order stuff online but hate paying shipping, check this out! I figure you only have to order about 10-12 times to make it well worth the annual fee!  That doesn’t even take into consideration all of the other membership benefits!

Amazon has no idea who I am, so this is not a paid advertisement.  I just LOVE this service.

BURT’S BEES BEESWAX & BANANA HAND CREME

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I have been seriously battling dry skin this winter.

Nothing I seem to do is helping my problem and I feel like I might go crazy from being dry and itchy all day long!

I have various small tubes of hand lotion laying around the house.  Most of them are from gifts or free samples and they range in scents and supposed benefits.

None of them have been doing anything for me.

Until!

I was rooting around my bathroom stuff and I came across an old jar of this Burt’s Bees Banana Hand Creme.  The jar was well used, but still had some cream left so I decided to give it a try.

I will say it goes on very thick and a little greasy so you don’t want to put it on just any old time.  This cream would be great before bed or watching tv so you have time for it to soak into your skin and lose it’s greasiness.

But THIS STUFF WORKS.  My hands were shockingly soft, silky and smooth once the cream absorbed.  No more flaking, itching or dryness.  It was miraculous considering how futile all of my hand lotioning efforts have been so far!

I’m not a big fan of banana scent or flavor, but I find this lotion to be very pleasant.

If you have dry skin, check it out!

MOBILE CHECK DEPOSITS

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We bank with Charterone and have really been pleased with their service. Our local branches are staffed with the friendliest people!  So much so that my girls LOVE going to the bank to see our favorite tellers.

And get suckers.

The suckers are probably the real reason they love the bank!

Now that I’m juggling 3 kiddos and it’s winter in Michigan, going to the bank is the last thing I feel like doing.  Even going out of my normal route to stop at the drive thru seems like a pain for the most part.

Enter mobile deposit.

I have a Charterone app on my iphone and once I log into my account I can easily enter info about my deposit, photograph the front and back of the checks I’m depositing and BAM!  The deposit is entered and the money is available by the next business day.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to deposit checks this way from the comfort of my own home!  See if your bank has an app with this feature, you’ll be so glad you have this option if you ever can’t make it to a branch during normal business hours!

DISHING IT UP WITH LISA

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Lisa is a friend of mine and besides being one of the kindest women I know, she’s an incredible cook!  Her recipes are all fresh, beautiful, and healthy!  I get hungry every time I visit her blog and I secretly want to move into her house so I can eat her food every night!  She develops her own recipes so they aren’t run-of-the-mill repeats you see on Pinterest.  I really want to try these two…

Roasted Grape Bruschetta

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and Kale Pesto!

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Add her blog to the list of sites you follow.  You won’t be disappointed!

SONIA KASHUK No 105 BRUSH

 

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This brush is the ultimate brush for cleaning up the edges of your nail polish!  I really admire a beautiful, clean-looking manicure but I’ve struggled with getting my polish on as neatly as I’d like it to be.  This brush makes such a difference!! My sister turned me on to Young Wild and Polished on YouTube and she’s not only hilarious, but she does incredible manicures!  This brush was her recommendation and it really is as awesome as she claims!

Target sells Sonia Kashuk, so you should have no trouble finding this brush at your local store and it’s only $5.

These are a few of my favorites lately, but I’d love to hear what you’re loving these days!  Let me know in the comments :)

favorite things


Random Chit Chat

January 21st, 2015

Drew had been making strides in his overnight sleep habits and is now, shall we say, regressing.

I know newborns don’t sleep through the night.  I know breastfed newborns wake even more often than formula fed newborns.  I know this too shall pass and that these baby days are quickly fleeting.

But mama wants some sleep.

I just want to go back to laying him down at 11 and having him sleep till 2 or 3.  I don’t mind being up for an hour feeding him and cuddling him and going back to sleep for another 3-4 hours.

That’s not my perfect world scenario, but by golly I’ll take it!

Just a couple of good stretches with Drew in his crib and me unconscious in my own bed.

Snoring and drooling like it’s my J.O.B.

But alas, he has different ideas lately and I’m trying to be patient.

Trying being the key word there.

Funny thing is that I think of the girls as not having done this to me.  I’ve almost totally forgotten most of the sleep woes I had with them.

I think God does this.  So we keep having babies!

Forget all the hard parts so that you’re willing to do it again.

Touché, God.

Touché.

In other news, Andy and I are planning to do a Whole30 soon but I keep pushing back the start date.

I was going to start on January 12th to do it along with a group of my online friends, but then I decided t0 wait till Drew was 6 weeks old.

Then I pushed it back so I’d have a chance to use up my coffee creamer. It would be a crime for it to go to waste, right?

Now the coffee creamer is gone and I’ve survived 2 mornings without it, but I can’t conceive of a life where I don’t binge watch House on Netflix while stuffing my face alternating sweet and salty treats.

Pathetic, I know.

But this junk food thing has got a serious grip on me at the moment.

Kids are napping? How about a cookie! And then some random leftover Halloween candy!

Hubby is gone for the evening? How about some white cheddar popcorn!  How about the whole.giant.bag. in 2 days.

O_o

Yeah.  That’s my M.O. lately and I’ve got to quit A.S.A.P.

The craziest part is that I’m eating like this while I’m reading the Whole30 book It Starts With Food.  That’s like watching the Biggest Loser while eating a giant sundae!

Ultimately the issue isn’t a food issue, it’s a heart issue.

Things feel out of control right now with the 3 kiddos, sleepless nights, assimilation into real life now that Drew Boo is getting a little older and I can’t hide out claiming “newborn!” forever.

On top of all that, Andy is starting to make plans for his final year of med school.  Plans that include traveling for 2-4 week stretches to visit the various military hospitals he might be placed at for his residency  Planning those trips is tricky enough from a scheduling standpoint, but he also has to plan them based on what he wants to specialize in.

That adds a whole other layer to things.

We spent years wondering what Andy wanted to do when he “grew up” and when he decided to go to medical school it seemed like we found our answer.

In many ways we did, but now there’s the issue of “what kind of doctor do you want to be?”

He’s had a lean toward family medicine from the start, but now that he’s rotating through various specialties he’s having different thoughts.

His classmate was dead set on becoming an OBGYN since well before medical school.  She recently did an OB rotation and discovered that she hated it.

She honestly didn’t like it one bit and is now excited at the idea of becoming a family doctor.

Andy has maintained an open mind from the start.  He knew his personality would be a good fit with family med (he’s one of the most approachable and disarming people you’ll meet) but he knew rotations could change everything.

His recent Neurology and Anesthesiology rotations have really piqued his interest.

For now we are in the thinking and praying stages…well mostly Andy is because I kind of have my head in the sand about all this being real.

I fully support whatever he decides to do.  I feel so very fortunate to be able to stay home and take care of our babies and I’ll continue to do that no matter what he picks, so I want him to make a decision he feels excited about.

Poor guy has to carry the burden of that looming decision on top of everything else he’s juggling.  Good thing he’s so awesome :)

Well, now that I’ve rambled for 850 words, I think I’ll wrap it up.

My plan is to do a favorite things post next!

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the new year so far :)

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