Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Moment in the Life...

                    Lately (if you couldn't tell), life has just been plain busy! One of the bakers left unexpectedly at the donut shop, we are starting our summer hours there (phew), I found out one of our customers (a wise veteran) plays handball, I decided to start donating plasma, I received the computer my dad had purchased in order to learn AutoCAD for his business, and I took a barre class. Oh, and we have been blessed with snow, snow and more snow! It’s currently coming down in chunks and they’re calling for at least six inches overnight. Wooohoooo!!!
                     So anyways, the owners of the donut shop and my manager decided that Mondays and Tuesdays just weren't busy enough to be open and that staying open until 6 pm is also a waste of resources (employee pay, electricity, etc.).  We will now be open Wednesday-Friday from 6:30 to 3 and the weekend from 7:30-3.  This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge relief for me. And on top of that, I am finally going to be trained in the kitchen (what I've wanted since I first got hired).  Since we had one of our lead decorators/bakers quit, my boss/head baker along with myself will be filling the empty shifts.  I’ll keep you updated on how things go!
                     Next on my list of super exciting discoveries, is that I found out one of our regular customers, who I see every other day and always have conversations with, plays handball!  For those of you unfamiliar with handball, it is an Irish sport where the players use their hands to hit the ball while in an enclosed (usually) court.  It’s similar to racquetball, but without the racquet.  Needless to say, the gym we just joined has courts for this game and he just re-joined and agreed to meet up and help me with my game (which doesn't exist, because I haven’t played in two years).  None-the-less, I am stoked that I now have someone to play with every so often.  Sadly it’s a dying sport and women players are even closer to extinction, which is why everyone should start playing it! Seriously, go YouTube some matches, because it takes quite a bit of skill but anyone can play (I've seen an 80 year old whoop an 18 year old's butt…seriously).
                     Now after joining a gym this month and making arrangements for a birthday trip that the hubby and I are planning, we are way over our budget.  Not to mention that the hubby’s car decided not to start last week and we will either have to get it towed or have a friend come and take a look at it.  And on top of that we just paid his car insurance which is not cheap. Point being that we got a coupon in the mail saying that you get an added bonus if you become a plasma donor this month.  So I thought, “what the heck” and now I have decided that the money from donations (20 for the first time and 40 for the second in a week) will be my spending money for Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint products, new shoes or even the vintage market this weekend ;).  Yes, I definitely scheduled the two required times per week to be finished before the market on Saturday so that I have spending money.  My priorities are spot on! The best part is that they give you a handy Visa card that acts like a debit card and can be used anywhere (even online) that accepts Visa.
                     Thankfully, the next exciting part of my week did not entail our bank account.  I received the computer that my dad had ordered a couple of weeks ago in order for me to start working for his business.  Kyle was so excited that he wanted to set it up before dinner.  Boys never really grow up do they?!  Well, it’s all set up in our guestroom/craft room/office now and it looks mighty sharp.  I can’t wait to start learning AutoCAD and get an additional paycheck.  I know it shouldn't be about the money, but it is nice that I am able to work for my dad and from home.  I’m hopeful that this will be the perfect situation for us, especially since we don’t know where we will end up in the future and this job is so mobile.
                     Finally I get to tell you about the coolest part of my week (yes, I did just say “coolest”).  The Peak Wellness Center (our new gym) offers many different kinds of classes including the regulars such as Pilates, Yoga, Cycling, etc.  But the one class I had never heard of is called Barre. Now imagine the life of a ballerina and all the training they have to go through and think also about the insane amount of muscle that they have.  This class provided a glimpse of what it might be like to train (from the beginning) to be a ballerina.  The teacher combines yoga, Pilates, and ballet moves to create an intense workout that I did not necessarily sweat from (this wasn't a cardio dance type of class), but instead worked muscles I knew existed, but had never been worked in their lives.  The routine involves lots of pleats and leg lifts and arm exercises and so much more than I could ever describe.  I've always wanted to be a ballerina or at least learn ballet, and now as an adult I can take a class and move towards the regimen that helps sculpt one of those bodies.  Although I may not be learning the choreography aspect of ballet, the workout to attain the muscles necessary is truly a humbling experience. I’ll definitely be attending every week and have already made a calendar event to make it more of a commitment!

                     Well, that’s it kids! Until next time…

P.S. No cheats on the Whole30 thus far and the hubby is counting down the days.  I believe Sunday is the last day, but not for me! I’ve decided to do a Whole60 to continue to reinforce the good habits I have just made.  Here’s to doing things that everyone else thinks are nuts!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Next Step

                 Well, after an over-the-top fun-filled weekend of new things, not much has been happening in the land of Missoula.  Oh, except it’s SNOWING!!!! Yes, after six years of living in Montana, Kyle and I still get giddy when we see those dainty, white flakes falling to the ground.  We both love to shovel and find it fun…which apparently is weird to most people who have lived in a state that gets snow most of their lives.  We on the other hand, cherish a change in seasons and become kids again when our favorite season rolls around.  After all, Maui doesn't get much snow in the winter time ;). The best part is that they’re calling for more! And while most everyone native to this state is cringing at the “white crap” as they call it, we will be happily rejoicing!
                To add to our pure joy, we have also joined the Peak Wellness Center which has three locations in Missoula to workout at.  We mainly joined for the discounted initial cost in the month of February, but the hubby also gets a discount through his work so that we pay way less than the average person monthly as well.  What attracted us to this facility you may ask? Oh, it may be that all locations have saunas and steam rooms, or that their main facility has a pool, or that they recently built a “racquet club” building featuring racquetball, or in my case, handball courts, tennis courts, and a couple of squash courts as well. Any of these answers work, because now we have an outrageous amount of options to choose from when we want to work out. And the best part is that they offer a SCUBA training course as well as kayaking at their main location; two things on our new experiences list! 

                It’s beyond exciting to begin the next step on our personal fitness journey and I look forward to all of the classes (yoga, Pilates, barre, swimming, butt buster, and so many more) that will make the trip even better!  I hope that you all have the opportunity to take a similar journey, because it’s amazing that we all have the power to change our lives for the better!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Whole New World

                Now I've got you singing that Aladdin song, right?! Well, this weekend definitely had some similarities to the song, but it wasn't a Disney movie. Unless Disney princesses get peed on by a lead sled dog (yes, I am referring to myself and no, I am not a princess…but I did get marked at The Race to the Sky).
                Before I get into some of the amazing experiences this weekend had to offer, let me proclaim my utter frustration for technology.  As I was putting the finishing touches on this post, the computer decided to run an update and completely closed my Word program and deleted everything I had written.  Well, now I have to hurry up and write it again before work at 11:30 (which was yesterday and I'm just now posting this). Gah!!! Live and learn I guess.  And the lesson yesterday was to save your work often no matter how excited you are to copy down your experience in a hard copy.
                Anyways, we (two friends, the hubby, and I) had a fabulous weekend over in the Rocky Mountains of Montana.  We spent Friday and Saturday in Helena (the capitol), MT and started off our volunteer work while mushers were doing their Vet checks.  This entails having at least 12 dogs (the most you can have on your sled dog team) and often a couple more back-ups out on a line and having the Veterinarians (volunteers also) check each individual dog.  They make sure the dogs are fit to race and that they don’t have any injuries or muscle pulls that will cause problems out in the wilderness. Most commonly cracking paws or stiff joints/muscles are what afflict the dogs (from what I could overhear anyways). 
                After the mushers for the 350 mile race (eight of them) were all checked in, most everyone headed over to the Spaghetti dinner fundraiser for war dogs.  Most people don’t know that there are dogs in Iraq that help save lives and that they need supplies for the extremely hot weather, etc.  There is more on The Race to the Sky website if you’re interested in donating and helping out an awesome organization! At this dinner, the committee also auctions off four, four-mile rides on each of the teams sleds. They go for around 300 dollars and also benefit war dogs along with the winning purse at the end of the race.  Finally, the mushers draw a number from a hat and that will be their number in the race.  

I learned that they don’t all start at the same time, but instead are let go in three minute intervals.  If you ever experience a race, you will understand why.  The dogs are absolutely pumped to get out there and pull a sled, so the beginning of a race is absolute chaos.  This is where we came in to help along with ATV’s. And to clarify, the winner is not necessarily who comes in first over the finish line, but the one with the shortest time from start to finish.
                Now, at the start of a race, the mushers have bag checks (which we performed) and these checks make sure they have all the necessary items for out in the wilderness (i.e. food for dogs and themselves, extra booties, parka, first aid kit, etc.). When those are all done, it’s time to start hooking the dogs up to their lines and getting ready to roll (or slide in this case).  At this point the dogs are beyond excited.  They’re howling, barking, jumping in circles and pulling at their chains like you can’t imagine! As they start getting hooked up to the sled, they have to be held in place, because even the most well behaved dogs will immediately start pulling.   

There's the hubby!

I'm the middle "holder."

Not only do volunteers need to hold the dogs back from taking off, but there are also four-wheelers that have a rope attached to the sled so the dogs can’t take off with the sled before the start time.  Utter madness is the only way to describe this, but I definitely was pumped up too!  And then you wait for their countdown, and let go on one and those babies take off like there’s no tomorrow.  Once that team has gone, you move to the next to help again until they are all on their way.
                After being attentive for the first seven teams I thought I had the knack down, until the eighth handler (these people are experts in the event/sport usually) gave me the lead dog to hold on to. Needless to say that I was paying attention to who knows what and not the dog who decided that my snow pants were a good place to mark his territory. Yes, I got peed on by a sled dog and I will tell this story for years, so get ready to hear it often!
                Anyways, they all got out on their way and all made it to the next checkpoint (Elk Park near Butte, MT) where we recorded times and counted the number of dogs that came in.  Now sadly, there must be a reason they count the dogs that come in, because they have to have the same amount of dogs as when they left.  We speculated it’s because some a**hole left a poor pup out in the wilderness when it got injured or something along those lines.  Whatever it may have been, someone did something stupid and inhumane and now there is a rule (but that’s how most random rules come in to play).  After that long day, we drove over to Lincoln, MT where the next leg of the race started.

Harnessing our inner child at Elk Park while we waited for the teams to come in.

That's me on the far right just flopping down in the snow.

Snow angels!

Volleyball with snowballs!

And this is the race mascot...Hula Harry.
Here is the first team to the Elk Park checkpoint: Brett the Dentist from Great Falls, MT.

And this is who we were rooting for: Laura from somewhere in Washington (my friend who has done this race for a bunch of years always roots for her, because she is super friendly and always wins the award for best cared for dogs).

Close up of Laura and her "wheeler" dogs (technical term for the closest dogs to the sled).

                Luckily we got to Lincoln around 11 pm and got a good amount of sleep as the next leg didn't start until 2 pm on Sunday.  When we arrived at the site it was as windy as I have ever experienced in Montana.  Kyle and I were in ski gear with face masks and goggles.  Sadly, we were one of the few prepared for the bitter cold that awaited and the gusts that blew right through you. 

Kyle and I at the start in Lincoln, MT.

My buddies and I.

                The hubby and I were assigned to be road guards which I thought would be lame, but it was absolutely amazing.  We got to stand about a quarter mile from where the race started, block the road from traffic and keep the dogs going on a straight path (remember they are super excited and don’t listen as well at the very beginning). There were no crowds in our area and you could see the dogs running the way they would with no one around and just a wide open area of white.   Needless to say it was a whole new world!

Where they were headed (over the hill and into a valley).

A team coming towards us from the start.

                After that, we had to come home since we both had work, but the race will continue until Wednesday morning and the awards ceremony will be Wednesday night. As for lessons learned, we now know that this race is an Iditarod qualifier, which means the teams have to make the journey in a certain amount of time and without any problems to be able to run in the Alaskan Iditarod. There were also teams that were only doing part of the race and they were the “100 milers.” These included one junior entry who is only 12 years old! And in case anyone else is curious, there are three women in the 350 mile race, one of which is only 18 years old!  Among hundreds of other questions we had answered, the most important one I asked was what the dogs do when they have to poop.  And the answer is: they poop while they’re running! 

                I hope you all learned something, and I am definitely making plans in my head to return next year as a volunteer and stay the entire race.  Hopefully you all will have the chance to experience something like this sometime in your lives.  It’s beyond worth it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Busy Bees

                 Holy Moly it’s been a while folks! Well, the hubby and I have been working hard, entertaining ourselves with the snow, and continuing to try new recipes. Apparently the universe also thought it would be fun to help me on my quest to try new things by giving me a sinus infection.  Yay!  Although not on the top of my list, it is something new that I have never had before. Oh well, what can you do?!
                So what’s been going on with us? Well, we have been making guest appearances at a local gym as we were offered a free week trial.  Perfect timing to allow me to use the steam room to kick this illness to the curb! 
                Along with that, we have been enjoying the pleasant surprise of snow the last few days and then sadly watching it melt.  It was the most snow we have seen all season and hopefully there is more on the way! We don’t like mild winters here, because that means bad fires in the summer time.  Not good!!
                Aside from Mother Nature’s gifts, I have been teaching myself to knit (or re-teaching I guess).  I now know how to do both a knit and purl stitch (the two stitches of knitting). Along with a few “patterns” that can be made alternating those two stitches.  I’ll share the finished project when I’m well…finished!
                Lastly (and definitely the highlight for the week), the husband and I will be spending our Valentine’s Day and weekend volunteering at Race to the Sky.  It’s a sled dog race in Montana that is a qualifier for the Iditarod (definitely thought that was spelt Ididerod-whoops) in Alaska.  I am mainly familiar with the Iditarod from the movie Snow Dogs, which my parents loved watching far too many times when I was in high school.  Anyways, we will be helping the Vets check out the dogs to make sure they are healthy and have no injuries.  We will also be setting up a dinner on Friday night and potentially helping at the starting line on Saturday morning. It’s going to be cold as can be (my friend gave me a packing list that says “wear ski clothing minus the ski’s”) and it will be a new experience in all its glory!
                So here’s to doing something non-traditional on Valentine’s Day. What will you be up to? 

P.S. On February 14, 2014 Kyle and I will have been together for seven years!!! (yes, we do have a cliche anniversary for when we started dating)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Real Food

Yesterday was a whirlwind of cooking that felt like it lasted all day, but in reality only took a few hours.  We are at the point of snippy-ness in our Whole30 (no, that isn't actually a thing in their book) and both the hubby and I were constantly throwing snide remarks back and forth.  At one point I even labeled a seasoning we made “Jerk aka Kyle Seasoning.” Yes, we can get immature, but at the end of the day we had made chili, ground meat and spinach “muffins”, paleo ketchup and mayo, and dinner for the night of chicken burgers with butter lettuce “buns” and sautéed asparagus. Please note that all the mentioned recipes besides the chicken burgers come from Well Fed or Well Fed 2.  Both are amazing cookbooks helping us on our journey and teaching us to get creative in the kitchen!

Scotch eggs with sauteed green beans and mashed cauliflower (a Well Fed dish from last week, but delicious).

The home stretch of our cooking journey last night.

The remnants of the ground beef and spinach muffins.  I used some of the leftovers with my eggs this morning!

A horrible shot of the "muffins" that will be snacks this week. My man is a big dude and seems to need food all the time!

Along with cranking out a bunch of meals for both dinner and lunch this week, we did our traditional grocery shopping outing.  Now, I know you’re thinking “shopping on a weekend is not the brightest idea, especially at Costco,” but Saturdays are usually the only days we both have off from work and also when we are actually running low on food.  Yesterday was a bit different than most excursions to the scary land of Costco on a Saturday.  We got up early to get there closer to when they opened.  Okay, so it wasn't early being that we got there around 10:30, but you can’t believe how different it is before the late risers get there!
Not only is it less crowded, but people move faster than turtle pace and their carts are full of nutritious items as opposed to the chocolate covered almonds, 24 packs of pop/soda,  frozen chicken nuggets, etc. that we normally see piled high later on a Saturday.  This got me wondering if healthier people have more energy (which the book claims) and therefore easily make it to Costco earlier in the day and then buy nutritious items as opposed to the processed crap that is usually falling over the brim of the cart.  Now, I haven’t done a scientific study, but maybe there is a correlation here. 

Here's our Costco cart filled with organic eggs, raspberries, organic chicken stock, wild canned salmon, organic ground beef, avocados, organic spinach, cauliflower, garlic, lamb leg, and pepper.

And part of our Good Food Store purchase.  We get the majority of veggies that aren't organic at Costco at the Good Food Store.

The point being is that it feels so good to only have meats, fruits and veggies in your cart and to see others with the same thoughts/routines.  I plan on going early to Costco from this point on! Luckily our bill this week was half of what it was last week, because we weren't stocking up on things such as avocado oil, coconut oil, almond flour, etc. that usually last at least a month. Also what’s different this week is that we ordered grass fed meat online from US Wellness Meats as suggested by the Well Fed cookbooks.  If you are what you eat, then I don’t want to be a hormone and E. Coli ridden steak or an inhumanely treated chicken breast! 
I’ll let you know what we think of the meat, especially the beef bacon free of nitrates/nitrites and no extra sugar additives such as honey, high fructose corn syrup, and even evaporated cane juice.  The hubby is definitely excited to have some bacon with his breakfasts!
Other than prepping a ton of food for the week, we are going swing dancing tonight at the Missoula Winery.  The Ed Norton big band plays there every second Sunday of the month.  It’s going to be a blast!

Until next time…

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve (or close)

As requested by my mother (thanks mom for always supporting me), here is the finished sweater with a new heart patch covering the old hole:  

This was definitely a bargain sweater! Also, do you like the giant white sheet covering my crap pile in our guestroom/craft-room? Another project!

LOVE stripes (this angle makes my dress form look quite busty, but she's not)!

I used a contrasting thread, because I thought it would give the piece character (and I didn't have the matching thread color).

              So you might ask "how did this sweater come to have a hole in it?" Well, there used to be a swirly flower thing on the sweater, but it started hanging off one day and instead of trimming it off, I just ripped.  Yes, I am that impatient and yes I have a minor in costuming for Theatre, but it looked awful! This idea of a patch has opened my mind to so many other quick fixes.  As I have mentioned, I work at a donut shop and there is ALWAYS shortening everywhere, and that includes my clothing.  After I finished patching the sweater I decided that I could put patches over grease stains or any stains for that matter. AND I could make those adorable elbow patches on a sweater in the shape of hearts (I've seen them on Modcloth and adorable hipsters).  To top it off, I don’t even necessarily need to cover anything at all.  I could just add a scrap patch anywhere to make a unique piece. The new possible projects are endless and I don't have to buy new clothes to get a refreshing look! Anyways, the patch is made out of a sleeve of an old t-shirt that I used for another of my recycled projects and was simply zig-zag stitched on with my sewing machine (no mom, you can't have it back!). BUT, for all of you out there who think they can't do this because they don't have a sewing machine, you're wrong! Some super simple hand stitching would look just as cute and everyone can do it with a little bit of patience. NO EXCUSES!!
                As I mentioned, here are some of my reversible mittens I made for Christmas gifts this past year. 

They were so simple with three stitch lines and required less than 30 minutes for a set (with lining) that I couldn't help but make way too many.  These are a few of the leftovers that I made after I had finished all the friend and family gifts.  I ended up cutting all the pieces at once and then sewing all at once; as opposed to cutting one pair and sewing that pair and so on. 
                If you couldn't tell, I love to be crafty and go through phases.  I used to make friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread for a while, then graduated to beading with my mom, then sewing in college (hence costuming), and now I’m into decorating/painting along with the little sewing projects along the way. And today, I added another craft skill to my list: knitting. 
                A wonderful donut shop patron and I got talking one day, and I learned that she has years of experience knitting. She is part of a group of women (now spread across the country) and some of them have traditions in knitting from their families (Irish cable, socks, sweaters, etc.).  Basically, she knows tons of helpful tips and tricks! And although I learned the knit stitch in my first year of college and cranked out about 20 scarves for Christmas gifts that year, I have never made anything past that simple task.  So here we go…something new and exciting and I’m sure I’ll be obsessed for the next month knitting whenever I can.  Good thing I finished three books in the last week! I’ll definitely post about my new projects, triumphs and failures. 
               Oh, and remember how I mentioned Pride and Prejudice in my last post? Well, here’s one of my sewing projects where I made an empire period dress to be Elizabeth Bennett for Halloween.  

There's the dress on the left and I'm with a friend who was a grandma. Her visor says "I love bingo"

And here's a picture of the bonnet from the back.

And then things started to get weird.  We all started changing up our head-wear!

Yes, I stole the Marie Antoinette wig and grandma visor.

And then dancing with a skeleton happened. We're cool kids!

Anyways, I fell in love with that bonnet at a local vintage fair and it was the inspiration for this piece! And there you have it; just another fun project to share!         

Get crafty ya’ll!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two Adults with a Curfew

Yes, you read that right. My husband and I had a curfew last night and that wasn't the first time.  Don’t get us wrong, we love to hang out with friends and dance all night long. But when you both have to work the next day, 3 hours of sleep just doesn't cut it (especially for the hubby’s 12 hour shifts at the hospital).
So what were we doing you might ask? Well, a few months ago a friend had free tickets to see Polecat and the Infamous String Dusters at the Wilma theater (a “vintage” venue in Missoula – so cool!).  Anyways, I fell in love with Polecat's beats of Reggae interspersed with Bluegrass and an absolutely amazing (and adorable) fiddle player named Kaleigh.  Okay, so the whole band is adorable/good-looking, but I truly go to enjoy a fun and exciting show of Americana (what they are considered with their mixture of genres). When a poster was hung at the donut shop that they would be in town again (they're from Bellingham, WA), I knew I had to go - and I drug two friends a long as well (Ok, I didn't physically drag them, because they wanted to go)! 
Not only did Polecat put on an amazing set, but their openers the Lil’ Smokies (a local Missoula Bluegrass band) were out of this world! I had never seen them in concert, but I had heard so much and was so excited to actually see them in person.  AND we went early to the venue (called the Top Hat – where most popular/local bands play) and avoided the cover charge of five dollars each (that’s ten dollars we saved) and on top of that, since we can’t have alcohol on the Whole30, we got club sodas with a lemon and lime wedge.  I thought they would be at least a couple of dollars, but they were totally FREE!!! We of course tipped our waitress, but other than that, we paid two dollars to see two awesome bands blow us away and got four drinks for absolutely free! Man I love small towns!
Well there you have it; we were able to be social while sticking with the Whole30 plan and not look awkward without drinks.  If we can do it so can you! And I’m not just referring to the Whole30, but to the dancing the night away.  Sometimes all we need to make life a little more joyous is to dance!

Here's a picture (I know it's poor quality) of the Lil' Smokies. I was too giddy to remember to take one of Polecat!

P.S. On a side note, two nights ago Kyle and I were making a couple of dinners for the week (for days when we both work) and I had him put on music. He chose Celtic Fiddle Festival (or something like that) on Pandora.  We were transported back in time to something similar to Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kira Knightley – if you haven’t seen it, you better watch!) and the group dances that were so lively and fun.  My man and I even had an impromptu dance in the kitchen while the soup was simmering.  It’s these little moments in life that truly make it worth living!

Happy Thursday Y’all (yes, the Montanans say this and they've got me doing it too)!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

More on the Whole30

Well, it has been a long weekend for us here in Montana. Just when we all thought that Mrs. Winter was going to pass mildly this year, we were proven incorrect with about six inches of snowfall and howling winds.  The snow was absolutely welcome, but the winds were not.  And for those of you wondering: no, that is not a lot of snow, but sadly it is the most we have had this winter L.
You see, both my hubby and I grew up on Maui, which is about as tropical as you can get! We moved to Missoula to attend college and of course for the four seasons; winter being our favorite.  And let me tell you that the snow sure does make the town.  It becomes a quaint and cozy sight when it’s all bundled up under a recent snow.
But enough of that! We kicked off our Whole30 challenge/program on Saturday and are having a great time thus far.  I may have mentioned, but my hubby and I had definitely cut out a lot of unnecessary items from our diet months before we started such as: pop/soda/coke (depending on where you’re from), most pasta, most processed foods, and a few other things.  Now, however we are strictly eating meats, veggies, fruits, and good oils/fats (some nuts, avocado oil, coconut oil, avocados themselves, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, etc.).  That means all dairy is out along with wheats/grains, legumes, and all processed foods (duh!).

Some of the products that I was "collecting" and threw out! We don't use miracle whip, so I'm not sure where that came from... Most of this stuff was at least a year past expiration too!

So why are we doing this? Well, I encourage you to read the book It Starts With Food, but we are trying to get in better tune with our bodies.  I personally am trying to re-balance my hormones that have been thrown off by food and weight gain while the hubby is trying to create better sleep patterns.  My mom is trying to kick her frequently occurring migraines to the curb and my friend is trying to help her skin conditions get better along with her bacteria in her gut to take back their territory.  All I can say is read the book! It’s not going to hurt you and if you want to make some major changes not only in your health, but the way you perceive food, then 30 days of your entire life is absolutely worth it (and that’s before I have even finished my challenge)!
Let me address another common response to this life change: “I’m still young, I’ll do it when I’ve lived a little.” Well guess what? Adults are getting heart disease, diabetes, cancer and have so many other problems way earlier than ever before. Why wait and have to break bad habits that are even harder ten years down the line?  Take back control of your body and its wants/needs.  I don’t want to be a slave to my cravings! I would love to re-balance everything so that my body tells me when I’m hungry and then that is the only time I eat. And then when I do eat, it’s filling and nourishing so that I’m not hungry again in an hour.

What have I learned so far on my 30 day journey?
1.       I have to eat more at the normal meal times of the day in order to stay satisfied for longer. (i.e. three eggs instead of two with at least a cup of veggies and some healthy fat like avocados)
2.       I love to cook, and spices/flavors are so much simpler now when I know exactly what I’m adding to a dish and how everything will work together.
3.       Prep time and shopping is more time consuming as you have to read labels and make sure the “bad” things aren't in any of your good things.  (i.e. peanut oil in plain not roasted cashews, or soy in my herbal tea, or sugar added to pretty much anything) This truly opens your eyes to how many unnecessary ingredients you are consuming when you want simplicity.
4.       I have cravings like most people (go figure)! Just last night I wanted chocolate, but as the book suggested I waited 20 minutes and that craving vanished.  We had also gotten used to a little dessert after dinner most nights (even if it was a little sea salt caramel). That has been tough to overcome - a built in response to grab something sweet after dinner even though I’m not hungry and it won’t actually make me happy in the end.
5.       There’s so much more, but I’d rather not bore you!

So with all of that laid out for you, I can only hope that you take a leap of faith and join the thousands who have chosen to take control of their lives.  And if you don’t, (as my mom said) there’s nothing I can do about it! 

A fridge packed with veggies and protein, a simple yet beautiful thing!

                Oh, and I have been doing other things of course!  I finally fixed the wobbly end table that I acquired a couple months ago (oh my, is it February already??), hung some pictures on the walls that were empty, sewed a heart shaped patch (out of recycled t-shirts) on a hole-y sweater, sewed some tabs on two cloth shower curtains to make them real curtains, and cleaned the house! 

So simple, but they make the room!

The sweater hole before the patch.

I sure do love a clean kitchen, am I right?!

               And now we’re off to pet kitties at the local Humane Society for some volunteer work. Until the next update…