Whole30 – 30 days down!

I sit writing this with pizza sauce still dripping down my cheek. I’m kidding, sort of. I did have pizza for dinner, two slices, but I didn’t attack it like a ravenous beast. It was good, but not great. Does that mean this Whole30® thing worked?

I really think it did. I am so much more aware of what my family is eating, and so much more aware of what is hiding in some seemingly “healthy” foods. I lost weight, just shy of 12 pounds, and I lost inches. But, the biggest accomplishment was far and away discovering my WILLPOWER! My lack of willpower around food could be a case study in how easy it is for someone to cave. My sweet tooth rivals no other. I honestly thought I didn’t have the mental toughness to turn down sweets, but for 30 whole days I did! I didn’t cave because “It’s Valentine’s Day” or because “It’s just this once.” These 30 days showed me I can do it; gosh darn it I’m proud of myself.

The plan moving forward is to keep mostly Whole30®/Paleo throughout the week. Mr. F and I really enjoyed the food and some of the new foods we started eating (roasted seaweed snacks, sign me up). I am already planning our second round in June.

If you are thinking about doing Whole30®, let me know! If I can do it ANYONE can; I’ll be here to encourage you along the way.

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Essential Oils – Valor

Disclaimers:

*The information in this post has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

*In addition, I received a sample oil in exchange for my participation in this blog hop and for the purpose of a testimonial. All opinions are my own. By being a part of this hop, I have the chance to receive a referral bonus.

 

Essential Oil Blog Hop

Welcome to the Essential Oil Blog Hop!

Each participating blog has a different post on a number of topics, from how to use essential oils in general to actual uses and testimonials for the oils themselves. We hope that you will have some fun and learn a bit as well! If you are new to essential oils, you may want to start with some of these introductory posts:

Here is some info about VALOR. 

Young Living - Valor

Young Living – Valor

 Information and Uses

  • A blend of 4 Oils (Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, Frankincense)
  • Known as the “Chiropractor in a bottle” helps to hold adjustments and to keep you in alignment.
  • Use before and after chiropractor visit.
  • Valor essential oil blend is formulated to empower the mind and increase self-confidence.
  • Roman soldiers used to bathe in these oils before going into battle to instill courage, confidence, and self-esteem.
  • Increase feelings of self-control and mental strength
  • Helps to find a balancing effect on emotions or an emotional uplift during times of despair
  • Helps when in a stressful situation or when easily stressed.
  • Valor is great for snoring.
  • Oil of choice for kids being bullied, or having a hard time in school.

 To Use

  • Apply 2-4 drops directly to desired area.
  • Dilution not required, except for the most sensitive skin.
  • Diffuse up to 1 hour, three times daily.

 My Testimonial

I have to admit I am still a novice when it comes to essential oils. My essential oil arsenal mainly consists of lavender and tea tree oil. Lately however, I have been digging a bit deeper into natural living and essential oils, beyond just the basics. So, I was thrilled when I got the chance to be part of this essential oil blog hop and dare I say ECSTATIC when the sample I got to test was good for both calming and spine alignment. I’ve mentioned before how I have experience shooting pain in my back here and there since for years; with fingers crossed I started applying a few drop of Valor to my lower back (where I experience the pain), as well as to the inside of my feet (the area of the foot associated with the spine). I applied the oil in the midst of our morning rush out the door, and after using it and smelling I honestly did feel calmer. Over the course of the week I kept up the routine of applying Valor in the morning and before bed. I had been having more episodes than usual with my back before starting with Valor. As the week went on I did notice less shooting pains in my back. I have to say, I really also noticed a feeling of “I can handle this!” With Mr.F being away most nights with coaching, dinner prep, dinner serving, cleaning up, bath time, and the “nigh nighs” (bedtime) all fall on me. Over the course of this basketball season there have been nights I have crawled into bed totally defeated. Mad at myself for getting frustrated with Little Miss CC, tired, and just generally feeling down. The time I have been using Valor I haven’t had one of those nights. I have hopped into bed ready to read, ready to tweak this blog, ready to plan lessons for school.

Bottom line, I am a fan of Valor. I love the “ritual” putting it on became, and how while I did it I was able to focus on my day ahead or the day I just had. I noticed a change in my body and my mind. I’m happy to add another essential oil to my arsenal!

Please spread the love and visit some of the other posts in this Blog Hop!

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We are going to be giving away one roller bottle of Stress Away to one lucky reader! You have many ways to enter!

EO Blog Hop Giveaway

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If you fall in love with essential oils and are interested in purchasing the kit (more on that here), make sure to mention my blog as a referral!

Whole30 – Halfway!

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Here I am on Day #15 of Whole30®; I can’t decide if I want to do an exclamation point or a period. There have certainly been ups and downs. Honestly, I am feeling pretty good!

Days #1 – #3: Felt great, super motivated. Loved making new food and finding new ingredients.

Days #4 – #7: Hmmm, something is wrong with my body. My stomach is not loving these changes. My 3 pm slump is almost unbearable.

Days #8 – #12: Alright, I GOT THIS! I’m in a rhythm and things are flowing. my clothes fit great, I’m not craving, my energy level is UP UP UP!

Days #13 – #14: It’s the weekend. I want to go out to breakfast. I want a glass of wine. It’s Valentine’s Day, I want the chocolate that I am entitled to!

Day #15: Not even hungry. I know I am supposed to eat within 1 hour of waking up. Not happening, I can’t even think of food right now. Energy is UP!

So far the positives far outweigh the negatives. Even though you aren’t supposed to weight yourself I can tell I’ve lost weight. My clothes are fitting great, finally – 16 months after having Little Ms. CC. Both Mr. F and my mom have noticed my middle is looking slimmer! (Confession time – I’ve been weighing myself and YES I have lost a decent amount of weight.) My body doesn’t ache like it was before and my energy level is great. My skin is nice and clear too.

There have been three slips, two unintentional…one not so unintentional. Early on I had a Lara Bar that I thought was compliant, turns out it wasn’t. The other, I used coconut oil spray, then realized it had soy. DAMN YOU SOY! WHY ARE YOU IN EVERYTHING?

My intentional slip has been a great learning experience. This morning I had a latte. Just a latte with milk, no added sugar. My rational – “I have been sooooo good, I deserve this”. While drinking my delicious, warm, frothy latte it hit me. I reward myself with food. Lesson learned; I am putting a stop to that thinking… right after I finish this latte.

I’m back on track and excited to finish the Whole30® out strong!

Have you done the Whole30®? Any tips for the second half? Are you thinking about doing?

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Google – the Frenemy of New Parents

Google The Frenemy of New Parents

I recently found out one of my nearest and dearest friends (and her husband, of course) are expecting their first mini! Cue overwhelming excitement! Now, this is the first friend to get pregnant since I had Little Miss CC. Obviously as the now experienced parent (sarcasm), my mind flashed to us shopping, helping her navigate all the complicated essentials for bringing home her mini. Soon I snapped out of my daydream and realized maybe she wants to get through her first ultrasound before listening to my parenting wisdom. Fine, fine.

Since then, I have been thinking about what I wish I knew when starting this whirlwind adventure in parenting.

I wish I knew that what lay ahead was an Alice In Wonderland trip through Google; “researching” everything I could about the “right way” parent. It started innocently enough, searching “first thing to do when you find out you are pregnant.” It progressed, still innocently to “what to eat for a healthy baby.” But soon I was in deep; the more I looked, the more I realized I knew NOTHING. This awesome friend, Google, who helped me through the first stages of pregnancy was now telling me I wasn’t good enough.

To use a pacifier or not to use a pacifier?

Sleep training, what? You need to train babies to sleep? Wait! Don’t sleep train, your mini will have unresolved issues causing her to not to speak to you for the majority of her 30’s.

Elimination communication – that can’t be a real thing… OH, that’s a very real thing.

It went deeper and deeper. I found online forums for moms who were due in the same month as me! Perfect, we can go through this together! Google and I are really friends! Then I started reading and WHOA, some of these mamas are clearly trying to relive their youth as the mean girls in high school. I was what is considered a “lurker,” I never posted, but read what these ladies had to say. (Something told me not to join in). Some of the advice was great and I enjoyed hearing different viewpoints from around the country, but Lord be with you if said something they didn’t like! Like a pack of rabid wolverines they would descend on anyone they sensed as weaker.

It was around the time I was Googling “if my child gets her two year molars by 18 months is she a genius?” I snapped out of it. Google was just masquerading as my friend for all those months.

You can Google a thousand things, read hundreds of online forums, and spend hours comparing yourself to other parents, but only YOU know how to parent your mini. You won’t believe at first, you will seek answers from the depths of the internet, but trust me – follow your instincts, it’s the right way to parent.

If I could go back, I would remind myself of this daily. Now, back to making my spreadsheet of items my friend will need for her mini…

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Whole30 – The Journey Begins

It is time. Time to reset this achy, lagging mom body I have come to know as my own. I know all too well that a juice cleanse isn’t for me. By the way, if anyone is interested in a top of the line juicer I have one for sale. I also know just eating “healthier” works, but I always work in a cheat day. One cheat day becomes a cheat weekend, then I am right back to slipping into old habits. I did some research and decided to commit to doing the Whole30® reset. In a nutshell, Whole30® requires you give up grains, dairy, sugar (dammit!), and legumes. It’s kind of like Paleo taken up a notch, but there are some differences. For one, Whole30® mandates that you can’t make a concoction of coconut flour, mashed week old bananas, dates, wishes, wheatgrass juice, Ume pasta, and unicorn tails, pan fry it and call it a pancake. You can read lots more about it here.

Of course I want to lose weight during the reset, but I also want to be more aware if what I am putting in my body. (I’ve started to change my beauty supplies over to natural-based products as well, but more on that in a different post.) Did you know the tuna you eat has soy in it? Seriously, look at the label – tuna, vegetable broth, soy. Why?

From the accounts I have read many people have seen other benefits from sticking to the program; better skin, chronic aches have lessened, hair looking and feeling healthier. I have had shooting back pain if I move a certain way even since Little Miss CC was day 1 in utero. My doctor seems to think that when my ligaments stretched for accommodate my adorable mini they never really tightened up after she was born. I’m hoping with Whole30® and exercise I will see an improvement.

So, here I am on Day 3 of the 30 day program. So far so good. Yesterday I had a major headache that I am attributing that to my sugar withdrawal. Mr. F is doing it with me, having his support is s huge help. Since there is NO CHEATING allowed or you have to start over; I am motivated to see this through until the end! I’ll definitely be updating at least weekly about the progress. For now… give me strength to get through the first weekend.

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Okay okay, I know I might be sounding like the Girl Who Cried Blog Updates, but I am serious this time. I have felt a creative void ever since I put event design on permanent hiatus… then life took over. I put this blog on the back burner because I didn’t IMMEDIATELY have the content I wanted to share and wasn’t finding the time to create that content either. Creating makes me happy. I fell into a sad place and it has taken me a while to get out. I am VOWING to make my happiness a priority, and that means really focusing on this blog as my outlet.

I am also going to be starting a page on “natural living.” I’ve been experimenting with making body wash and eating more natural; I would love to share what I have!

Thank you for continuing this journey with me.

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Two Things Tuesday

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Remember that great idea I had about coming up with a consistent post every Tuesday? Maybe I should have tested it out before proclaiming that I would do it. In my defense, since the holidays Little Ms. CC, Mr. F, and I have been playing the game “Who Gets Sick Next?” In trying to get back on track today’s Two Things Tuesday is a simple one – Random Thoughts…

1) Never leave a paint can without the lid properly secured around a toddler. (*Hint, if you do make sure you have nail polish remover handy to clean off your floors.)

2) If you have a daughter, start with headbands right out of the womb. If not you run the risk of her NEVER wanting to wear them no matter how cute they are. This may be my biggest regret in life.

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Creating Traditions

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When I was young, and even into my not-so-young-but-still-living-at-home days my mom and I would start baking Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving. My mom would then continue baking cookies every weekend right up until Christmas. Even though she baked cookies for weeks, it was our tradition to make sugar cookies together after the Thanksgiving mess was clean. Even as I write these words I am transported back to my childhood kitchen; my mom on one side of the counter, me pulling up my stool on the other side of the counter; rolling, cutting, sneaking dough. My mom and I didn’t always have the easiest relationship, but we always put whatever else might be going on aside to make our cookies. Not long ago I realized this was our tradition. It wasn’t formal, it wasn’t set in culture or religion, it was just ours.

Today Little Ms. CC and I were on the floor making Christmas ornaments. I was reminiscing to Mr. F about my cookie tradition. I mentioned how I wanted to start a tradition with the mini, but a cookie baking tradition while trying to cut out extraneous sugar wasn’t going to work. Mr. F looked at us, and the pile of glitter around us, and said “You already have a tradition, making Christmas ornaments.” And that is how to create a tradition.

I hope when Little Ms. CC is older she will want to always spend a cozy Sunday afternoon making ornaments with me. I hope when she is my age she will look back, remembering every little detail about our tradition, and want to form a tradition with her family.

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Two Things Tuesday

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I need to admit I have been a having a tiny pity party for myself lately. Mr. F is away a lot with his coaching job, so it’s just me and Little Ms. CC most nights, which is fun until she is in bed and it’s just me cleaning up…always cleaning up. On top of all that solo night time cleaning, I’ve been hearing about my friends’ upcoming vacations – a safari in Kenya, a ski vacation in France; not to mention my friend that MOVED to Italy last month. So yup, pity party + envy. To try and get myself out of this funk, today I am focusing on the positive side of the “negatives”.

1) Cleaning up the nightly Little Ms. CC messes leaves may not seem like it has a positive side, but it does. The messes mean I have this adorable, spunky, expressive kiddo. It’s a little reminder of how life changes and how lucky I am to be a mom.

2) So what I can’t pick up and take off to France for a ski trip? I don’t ski anyway. When the initial envy wears off I can step back and see the bigger picture. These friends that are telling me about their vacations are my best friends from high school, HIGH SCHOOL. I’m well removed from my high school years. These girls and I still talk nearly daily and still all get together at least once a year. They are true friends. We have come through weddings, kids, moves, rough patches, and more, and we still make each other a priority.

It’s not always easy to find the good when you are in a funk, but when you do it certainly turns your mood around. Pardon me while I go peek in on my adorable mess-maker, then call my friends to tell them I love them.

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Healthy Toddler Tots

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I’m well aware of the “Terrible Twos” and the “Threenager” stage, but the “Suddenly Picky” stage we are going through now is new to me. Last week Little Ms. CC would eat anything we threw on her tray, this week she turns her head away and says “Nah!” I’m not caving! (I say this over and over to myself during mealtime, over, and over). I know she still likes some of her staples, so I figured I work from there and see if I could come up with a healthy, toddler friendly food. BAM – Healthy Toddler Tots were created today! Little Ms. CC approved; Mr. F may have had a few too.

Find the RECIPE HERE!