Cooking, Daily Life, Jenny

Whole 30

Over the 4th of July, I was talking to Stephanie about how I have been feeling really lousy. Bloated and lethargic and just generally blah. She mentioned that she was going to try the Whole 30 Progam after the holiday. I had read about it before and had always just said no. freaking. way. But I gave it another once over, and it didn’t sound soooo bad (yes it still did) so I agreed to give it a shot with her. My main motivation in trying it were 1). My skin was a mess. I’ve been having a lot of breakouts and it was overall just dull 2). My knees were constantly hurting and swollen and I know dairy is a big culprit of inflammation. 3). I wanted to clean up my diet and stop with the sugar monster and constant snack attacks. 4). Fine. I wanted to lose a few lbs.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this way of eating, here are the basic rules:

*Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.

*Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

*Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.

*Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

*Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)

Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

There are a LOT of rules in the Whole 30. A LOT. And they allow zero room for interpretation. They give permission to eat certain foods but not prepare them in certain ways. For instance, you can eat potatoes. But you can’t fry them…or eat commercially prepared chips (even baked) You can use almond or coconut flour to bread your chicken or add to meatballs. But you can’t use it to make tortillas. (And don’t think of saying the word pancake in their presence. They have a real problem with pancakes. Pancake is a 4 letter word to those Whole 30 people.).

So first of all, let’s be clear…in hindsight, I didn’t exactly follow the Whole 30 plan.  I didn’t read the book. I made microwave potato chips. I put almond milk in my coffee. I snacked on lara bars and dipped my plantain chips (which I bought at giant eagle) in my guacamole. I ate corn. I read labels but not as carefully as I should. I looked for the word sugar and tried to find foods that were minimal processed with ingredients I recognized.  There was some soy in a few things I ate, I’m sure. But I did the best I could and definitely finished 30 days of the WHOLE lot-better-than-I-had-been-eating plan.  And I have no shame.

Here were my WHOLE lbtihbe rules:

No grains (I did eat corn. It’s summer. I’m eating corn.).
No legumes (including peanuts/peanut butter)
No dairy
No sugar or artificial sweetners
No alcohol

And you bet your bottom dollar I stuck to every one for 30 days. Toot Toot!

The first 5-6 days are pretty tough. I’m not going to lie. Not as tough as the first 6 days home with newborn twins after a c-section…but still tough. It’s a lifestyle change and it’s difficult getting used to eating a new way. The hardest part for me was making all of my food. Truly, Lara bars, Pressed by Kind bars and plantain chips were the only prepared foods I ate.  I guess mustard, mayo and almond butter are prepared too but I’m not counting condiments as food.

I limited myself to 1 cup of coffee per day (full disclosure…I drink my coffee out of a 24oz tervis cup. Don’t judge). And I only drank water and unsweetened iced tea. And La Croix. OMG, so much La Croix!

I ate a ton of fruit. Berries, bananas, nectarines, watermelon. Probably 5-6 servings per day.  I ate a lot of raw, cut up veggies but not a lot of salads. Lots of eggs (scrambled, fried & hardboiled).  Lots of “hashes” (potatoes, turkey sausage, peppers, onions).  Roasted and steamed vegetables of all kinds. Grilled or panfried meats and fish. And smoothies.

The results:

I should have taken before/after pictures. I’m kicking myself for not doing so. Regardless…

I lost 8 lbs. Yes, weight loss was a motivation. And I’m proud to say that I lost weight. My clothes fit so much better and I’m flirting with wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years. But we all know this doesn’t mean diddly if I put it back on. So I need keep up the hard work.

My skin is glowing. The breakouts didn’t really stop until around day 13-14 but I haven’t had one since. I also switched to a new organic cleanser so maybe that helped too.

My knees feel meh…just OK. I may just need to face the fact that I have shitty knees and my diet isn’t going to fix them.

I’m definitely snacking less. Good grief, I didn’t realize how much I was snacking. Taking little bites of pretty much everything.  Cheerios, goldfish, Hershey’s kisses. And hitting up the office vending machine more than I’d like to admit. And I’m actually thinking about what I’m eating as opposed to mindlessly grabbing a slice of cheese from the fridge on a whim.

I’m back to cooking more. Which is annoying sometimes. But I don’t get to eat if I don’t cook and I can’t survive on smoothies. I love to cook though so it’s a good habit I want to continue.

I didn’t eat out much but was pretty tough to do following all of these rules. I had flank steak, grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes. No I didn’t ask what kind of fat they used to prepare the food. And there was some sort of sauce on the steak (I think it was Hoisin based, which is basically sugar) that I scraped off as well as I could.

Going forward:

Do I want to eat this way forever? No. Do I want to keep this as a good basis of my diet. Yes. Absolutely! I’m lucky that I love fruit and vegetables. Grains and cheese are my down fall and I need to work hard to keep from overdoing it. I’m going to reintroduce legumes first. And Stevia…I really want to cut out refined sugar and artificial sweetners as much as possible. Non-Gluten grains will follow and dairy.

You all know my love for pizza. I’m not giving up pizza (EVER), but I am going to eat a lot less of it.  As I am someone who thrives on structure and fails when allowed to wing it, my plan for the foreseeable future is to live by the 80/20 rule.  With 21 meals during the week, 4 of them can be off plan. Not that I can have a free-for-all, but I can eat normal portions of carbs/dairy/sugar without guilt.  So most meals will be still protein/veggie/fruit/good fat. As will snacks. When you only allow yourself cheese 4 times a week, it ain’t gonna be American. My hope is that I continue to really think about what I’m eating and choose high quality food versus empty crappy carbs (yes, I’m breaking up with you Doritos). I don’t believe a healthy relationship with food is one where you don’t indulge on occasion. What is summer without ice cream?! But continuing with this new food mentality will make me appreciate what I’m eating a lot more.

I’m really happy Stephanie convinced me to give this a shot. She stuck to the true plan and is basically a rockstar! I came close enough to be proud of myself. I’ll check in next month to let you know if I’ve stuck to my new habits.

Daily Life, Fynnlee, Greyson, Jenny, Jerry, The Beans

Day in the Life – Winter 2016

Day in the Life posts are some of my favorites as a blog reader…and I’m super excited to be linking up with Julia @ My Life in Transition for Winter 2016. Considering I’m using this blog as a big ole diary of our life, I should have started doing these a long time ago! But there’s no time like the present…so here goes.

January 21st, 2016
Babies are 8 1/2 months old (or exactly 38 weeks)

4:15 am: I hear Greyson fussing in the nursery. I stumble into his room and replace the Bink he’s spit out at some point. Turn the music on his mobile and stumble back to bed.
4:20: Fynnlee starts to babble and I drift in and out of sleep
4:27: Greyson is fussing louder and I nudge Jerry to go shush him. Jerry is the baby whisperer.
4:45: There is a symphony of sounds coming from the nursery…Fynnlee singing and Greyson whining…and Jerry announces “they’re both up”.
Normally Jerry does diapers while I warm bottles and take out Jacob, but for some reason this morning I decided to grab Greyson and take him with me. (See his top teeth?? I can’t stand the cuteness)

Make it quick, Jacob…it’s 11 degrees outside.

5:00: Bottles are warm and babies are dry. We tag team feeding and then put them on the floor in our room to play while we get ready.

5:20: Jerry hits the shower and I start beautifying. I keep an eye on the babes while I get ready. There are random stops…someone spits up, Fynnlee falls over 4 times, Greyson gets stuck in the corner…but I manage to get myself dressed and whatnot within 45 minutes.

6:05: Greyson poops so he’s first to get dressed. (Not his poop face…)

6:15: I get Fynnlee dressed…apparently we still think it’s Christmas around here.

6:25: The Babes play on the floor while I get their bottles and food ready for the school.

Greyson needs his extra clothes supply replenished as he soaked himself with drool twice yesterday. They each get 2 bottles (Greyson 7oz and Fynn 8oz) and a fruit/veggie puree. Fynn has apple/green bean & Greyson has apple/prune (little dude needs a little help getting things going).

6:35: Jerry takes Jacob out for his long walk and I pack up the kids and our junk.
6:38: On the road! We have an 8 minute drive to work/daycare
6:46: Check in the kids, fill out their daily experience sheets, fill out a form to dispense saline for Fynnlee (she had a bloody nose due to dry sinuses) and put their food in the fridge. Kiss, Kiss…I’m off to work!
7:10: Grab coffee in the cafeteria and head to my desk.
7:15: Eat breakfast and fire up the computer. Work, work, work.

I get a daily report on their day from the Daycare. Their notes in italics.
7:55: Greyson gets a 7 oz bottle. Fynnlee gets an 8 oz bottle
8:10: Diaper change for Greyson
8:15: Diaper change for Fynnlee
9:45: Fynnlee goes down for a nap
9:50: Time for more coffee and a snack. I’m back on a Clementine kick, big time. Maybe I’m pregnant.

10:00: Diaper change for Fynnlee
10:05: Greyson starts his nap.
11:30: Fynn wakes up and gets a fresh diaper
11:35: Head to daycare to see the babes. Greyson is asleep when I get there but he wakes up when within 10 minutes.

11:30 We play for a bit. Fynnlee is trying so hard to crawl. Not in this picture though.

11:45: I help feed the Beans their lunch (I try not to take too many pics at daycare for privacy reasons)
12:00: I head back to work and eat lunch at my desk. Work, work, work.
12:40: Diaper change for Greyson
1:15: Diaper change for Fynnlee

1:45: What in the World hits my Inbox. Daycare sends us a daily newsletter of the day’s activity. It’s pretty much the highlight of my afternoon.

2:10: Diaper change for Greyson. Greyson starts his nap.
2:25: Fynnlee starts her nap
3:00: Greyson wakes up and gets a diaper change
3:15: 7 oz bottle for Greyson
3:20: Fynnlee wakes up and gets a fresh diaper and an 8 oz bottle

4:00: I head to daycare to pick up the kids. Jerry meets me to do the heavy lifting.

4:15: We get home and get the kids situated on the floor. Jerry plays with them while I empty the dishwasher.

It’s a daily occurrence.

4:35: Jerry has some work to do so I put the kids in the jumpers and they entertain themselves while I prepare bottles and food for tonight and tomorrow. Helmets off for their hour or 2 of free time!

Bottles for bedtime, wake-up and daycare ready to go! Pumpkin, banana, spinach puree for tomorrow’s lunch.

5:00 Time for dinner!

Fynnlee has mangos and bananas

And Greyson enjoys green beans and apples. Oatmeal mixed in for both!

5:45: We facetime with Grandma & Poppa in Florida and the kids tell them stories and show them their playtime skills.  I pop our dinner in the oven (Salsa Chicken).

I get the kids room ready for bed (fill up humidifier, get the ipad set up, lay out sleep sacks) and pick out their clothes for the next day. We’re expecting a big snow storm so I choose appropriate outfits.

6:00: Kiddos are getting cranky and rubbing their eyes. No baths tonight so I take Fynnlee upstairs first to get changed into jammies.  And a bib bc omgsomuchdrool!

6:10: Next up is Greyson.

I have to clean up a bit more so I plop him in the (dry) tub for a couple of minutes so he can’t get into trouble. Brilliant plan until he squeezes water from his ducky all over him and gets soaked. New jammies follow.

6:20: I feed Greyson

and Jerry takes Fynnlee

6:30: Both babies are asleep in their cribs so I finish up dinner. Corn and black bean sauté comes together quickly.

7:00 Jerry and I eat and watch The Challenge. We tag team clean up and are relaxing by 7:45.

8:00: We watch Flip or Flop

8:30: I take my shower

9:09 Lights out. 4:15 am sneaks up on you.

And that is a little peek into our day.


Fynnlee, Greyson, Jenny, Jerry

What a year!

I’ve been blessed with a pretty good life. But I think this might have been my favorite year yet!  Jerry and I got the family we’ve been desperately wanting for so many years. And I’ve found an inner peace I didn’t know existed. Our days are long and sometimes exhausting but they are filled with so much happiness and love. I am so thankful for my wonderful family, my amazing husband and these two precious babies who made me a Mom and changed me in the best way possible.

2015, you were fabulous!


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238 243 3MONTHS


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2016…let’s do this!

Jenny, Jerry

4 Years

I can’t believe it’s already been four years.

I can’t believe it’s only been four years.

So much love

So much laughter


Always laughing


There have been a few hiccups during the journey, but we have made such a beautiful life together.

I love this man with all of my heart

For better, for worse

And the better always makes up for the worse.

Thank you Jarrad, for giving me a lifetime of happiness in these last 4 years.

Looking forward to many, many more!

photo credit JCL photography and design


The first rule of Run Club…

Is nobody talks about Run Club.

Well, I’m mainly not talking about Run Club because I have, once again, determined that I HATE RUNNING!  I want to like it. I really, really do.  I see those girls, jogging along, high on endorphins, happy as can be…


Yeah, no.  This is not me…

I’m miserable the entire time.  My feet hurt, my face is beet red, my lungs burn and I curse the entire time.  But I want to run a 5k.  Cross it off my bucket list.  I’ve signed up with Mojo’s Couch to 5k program which will wrap up on May 24th with the Band on the Run 5k.

I’m also doing this plank-a-day challenge from The Fitnessista.  I hate planks almost more than running but my abs are the weakest part of my body.


So there you have it.  I’m getting back in gear and getting this old body back in shape.  Swimsuit season is right around the corner!


Hair DO

When Jerry and I got married, it was kind of a joke that he thought I would cut all of my hair off as soon as we said “I do”.  Well not only have I not cut it, it’s longer than it was on our wedding day.

But long doesn’t equal good.  If you ask Jerry, he’ll tell you it does.  But it was dull, lifeless and the ends were a mess.  So I booked an appt with RB’s infamous stylist, Shawn at Eikon Salon and he worked a small miracle on me.  Behold the before and after!


I wish I didn’t look so stiff and awkward in selfies.  And I wish they never would have come up with the word selfie.  Bleh!

My head looks about 1000% better, however Jerry keeps insisting that it is So Short!   I had to remind him that it looked like THIS when we first started dating:


Awwwwwwwww.  This was about a month into our romance.  And I look awkward in this picture too.  And young.  And skinny.  Dammit!