Morning Routine

One of my hopes for this year was to create some sustainable routines to encourage our homeschooling.

Our morning routine has become one of my favorite times of the day.

I wanted to share it on here in hopes of encouraging you and to have a keepsake of what we did. These seasons pass so fast!

First, in full disclosure, I have learned over the past year that I am NOT a morning person. When the girls were younger, I could get away with laying and snuggling them, getting a shower in, and then leisurely making breakfast. Now, within two minutes I hear, “Can you make lunch?” (H thinks every meal is lunch!) and “My belly is growling.” I know I have a very short length of time until meltdowns and arguments happen. Because of this I feel like our mornings can sometimes go from 0 to 60 very quickly and this is hard for my introvert personality. So, one morning after snapping about the arguments that were already happening and the spills that had occurred, I instituted the first part of our routine which is eating our first few bites in silence while listening to a worship song. The girls sing along and it gives me a few moments to breathe and pray before jumping into the chaos of the rest of our day. A few favorites are “It Is Well”, “Good, Good Father,” “Your Hands,” and “How He Loves.”

Next, we jump into our books! My favorite part of our whole routine is when H grabs the books and says “We need to read God!”

We read through “The Jesus Storybook Bible” first. We are now on our second time through and it is so fun to watch their understanding deepen.

Next, we read a passage from “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing.” These are short lessons full of beautiful truths. Right now most of them seem to be too deep for my girls to comprehend, but they are laying the seeds for when we read through it again. The illustrations are beautiful and I have loved the basics of God’s love being poured into my own heart.

After this we spend time answering a question from our “Question A Day” book! The premise of the book is that you ask the same question over three years and see how the answers compare. Sometimes the answers are silly and sometimes it leads us into deeper conversation. It’s a great tool for a momma learning her kiddos!

The last thing we do is work on their memory verses from their “God Time” at church.

This really is such a sweet time together. There is of course plenty of arguing and “I can’t sees!” and interruptions. But it has become a staple of our day. Something that we all look forward to and a time that I really believe will foster growth in our relationship with God and with each other.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.


Whole30 Day 31!

Well, we made it!!

I am so proud.

Full disclosure, the last few days were hard. I had a migraine that felt like the worst one I had ever had. After doing some research, I am pretty sure it was triggered by a supplement that I took which is used to boost milk supply. It took two days to actually kick the migraine and eating healthy foods paired with a low desire to cook made it a challenging last few days for me.

But, I stuck with it which was a huge feat for me.

I also think I was not eating enough. When you are nursing, you are supposed to eat four meals a day of a protein, veggies, and a fat.

Some days the pace of the day would catch up to me and I do not think I was giving myself enough calories and starchy vegetables to keep up! Lesson learned.

I say all of that to be fully honest.

There were, however, SEVERAL days that I experienced what Whole 30ers call “Tiger Blood.” Where you feel GREAT, unhindered energy, not needing typical afternoon naps, and fighting those cravings like a champ (actually not having them at all).

There was a string of days where my body naturally woke me up at six and I would get up, make breakfast for everyone, and stay energized the ENTIRE day. D got a kick out of this, telling me he was so surprised to see me up that early! I love this feeling! It was such a great motivator to keep going. I want to be the healthiest I can be for my family and having lots of energy is part of that.

I did not follow it as 100% with the girls as I wanted to. That was hard for my perfectionistic tendencies. There were a few reasons why I didn’t. One was that we battled a lot of sickness over that 30 days and meat and veggies did not seem to be what they craved. Another was that I think one of my girls has a sensitivity to eggs. Eggs are a huge part of Whole30 breakfast, so I allowed them to have gluten free oats instead. It also just wasn’t possible some days as we were on the go. Starbucks has some really great protein boxes that they would have and I would just remove the cheese and the chocolate raisins. Lastly, it can be expensive! I had to do PB and Js on Ezekial Bread for budget purposes some days. BUT here is where I chalked up my wins with them:

  • No Chik Fil A for 30 Days
  • No desserts (minus Madison’s party) for 30 days!
  • No muffins, bagels, or cereal for 30 days!
  • Their favorite snacks are now Lara Bars, frozen and fresh fruit, veggies with hummus, dried mangos, and almonds and cashews. (Each girl having their own taste of course).
  • We have seen huge changes in mood swings and stability.
  • I have watched them stand up for what we are doing which is SO cool to me- “We aren’t having sugar right now!”

I have loved what they have learned and are learning about how food affects their body. It has been a great kickstart to talking about what food is nourishing and how things like sugar and dairy (for our family) can really upset our stomachs. And they have seen this firsthand as we have ended.

Now begins the reintroduction process! Yesterday I started with gluten free grains. The point is to introduce foods you had removed for a day, then go back to Whole30 for two days to see how your body reacts. There were pros and cons to these grains even though they were gluten free. The pro is that I finally feel full and I could eat something other than eggs for breakfast! The con was that I woke up with some crazy joint pain today. So, I think no matter what I will be limiting grains in my diet.

Oh, and can I just give myself a pat on the back for making it through Valentine’s Day with no sugar or chocolate?!

Next I will introduce dairy, legumes and then gluten grains. I’m interested to see how these go!

The Whole30 truly is life changing. It teaches you SO much about what actually goes in our food because you have to read every single label before you buy something. It will make you angry when you realize just how many foods sugar and soy is unnecessarily added to. It will force you to truly listen to your body, asking yourself “Am I actually hungry, thirsty, or feeding another need that is emotional or psychological?” This is my favorite part. Learning how to listen to my body and figure out what makes it thrive!

I learned that my body LOVES greens and movement. I mixed in some different forms of exercise throughout the thirty days and that is when the tiger blood truly hit. I had times when I was very hungry and a salad loaded with eggs and chicken filled me up AND gave me boundless energy. I learned I don’t do well with red meat. It is empowering when you listen to your body and give it what it needs.

My other favorite part is all the meals our family shared together. Because eating out is VERY challenging (hello soybean oils and yucky additives), we spent much more time around our dinner table enjoying nutritious foods together. This was not always pleasant as tastebuds were challenged, but I love the memories made over a good meal and in the kitchen as D and I cooked more together!

If you haven’t done a whole30, I HIGHLY recommend it and would love to give you any tips I can offer!

The whole point of Whole30 is to find your food freedom- the ability to give your body what it needs apart from addiction to food, emotional attachments to food, or social pressure to eat certain things. To boldly say no or ask yourself “Is it truly worth it?” before eating certain things. Melissa Hartwig has been great at explaining this in detail on her Instagram. I would check it out. Or better yet, read her books “It Starts With Food” And “Food Freedom Forever.” This round of Whole30 has really encouraged me to press in and make lasting changes for me and my family. To find food freedom and stick with it past the thirty days. Im determined to have us keep growing TOWARDS health, not slipping back to old ways. I’m really grateful for this round of Whole30 and all the ways our family has grown. Thank you to everyone that has cheered us on (especially my sister who did it with me-accountability was huge for me)!!

Whole30 Day 17

Yesterday was a huge lesson for me in the Whole30.

I LOVE that the Whole30 is so much more than a physical reset. It’s an emotional and mental one as well.

At school there was an incident where I really hurt M’s heart. I shut her down when she was trying to stand up for our families decision to not eat sugar.

Why did I do that? Because I’m too afraid of offending anyone. Whoa. Stop right there. The way we choose to eat should not offend others so really it’s my own insecurity speaking loud and clear. I was forced to face that and call it what it was. A fear of man. Lesson number one learned.

After I apologized to Madison, I was very emotional. Feeling like I failed. Feeling so bad that I had hurt her. When we got into the car, I immediately grabbed a Lara bar and ate it. As I was chewing I was struck by the fact that I WASN’T even hungry. Although complaint, I had just emotionally ate. I had tried to literally stuff my emotions. I realized then that I was feeling my emotions so deeply from my mistake because I could not feed it with things I normally would- sugar and grains. I think that over the past year or so I have been avoiding negative emotions- not always through food but through other avenues as well. Although it was challenging to feel something so hard for me, I was really grateful for this huge realization. Lesson number two learned.

One of the premises of Whole30 is that you would find “food freedom forever.” I feel like this was a big breakthrough for me. I want to keep feeling things and actually working through them, not masking it by grabbing food. AND I want to make choices for our family unabashedly. Not worried about how other people might perceive them.

I’m excited to see what these next two weeks bring as I continue to walk closer to freedom.

Praying you would live in freedom, too, friend.

Whole30 Day Seven

We’ve made it seven days!

I knew it was going to be hard on all of us, I had NO idea how hard. The first few days felt like a breeze for me, chugging water and eating good fats like olives and avocados to prevent myself from getting too hungry. Day Four and Five, however, were tough. Headaches, irritability, extreme exhaustion, and wanting to fuel emotions with food. That’s one of my most unhealthy mental patterns that I’m trying to break. “I just did a hard thing. Or went through a hard thing. Or had an awful day, so I deserve this treat.” No good. I DO think that because I want to see changes so bad that the mental/emotional battle has not been as bad as it was for my very first round of Whole30.

The girls on the other hand have had a rough time. H especially. The first few days were lots of meltdowns, asking for a snack (chocolate) every five minutes, whining, etc. I felt bad and tried my best to coach her through it, but was also affirmed that our tolerance for sugar needed to be broken. By day 5, I felt like my sweet H was back and old patterns were beginning to be broken.

M has been the biggest champ because she gets the negative impact of sugar on her body. She has not melted down over not having any although she was experiencing the bodily impact of it. But the one day I had to laugh because she asked for coffee cake muffins, blueberry muffins, yogurt, Cheerios (to which she said “awww that has sugar TOO?”), and then detailed what she wanted her birthday cake to be like- “chocolate and frosting and sprinkles.” It was fascinating to see how her body was craving sugar. They woke up the second day crashing with the shakes and feeling weak- so I quickly shoved some eggs, bananas with coconut flakes, and made M a protein shake and they were just fine. Crazy!!

As much as I wanted them to do the entire program with me, I had to let some things go. One of the girls was sick with a high fever and trying to get them to eat foods outside of their comfort zone was hard. So, they have had oatmeal and Ezekiel bread and popcorn. One of them has sensory issues and does not like certain foods- like eggs and chicken- which you need to eat a lot of on Whole30. That has made it challenging as well.

I was getting frustrated that they were not eating my meals that I thought they would love! D encouraged me that this was huge changes for them, ones that they didn’t premeditate, so I needed to have grace on them and myself.

I have stuck completely to no added sugar so for snacks we have had lots of fruit- frozen berries are a favorite, applesauce, RX bars, and smoothies. It has been AMAZING to see changes already. In their moods, their skin, and their sleep.

The biggest challenge was when we ventured to Earth Fare and were hit in the face with allllll the things they wanted- “chips!” “Mac n cheese!” “Pizza!” “Muffins!” “Cookies!” We settled on chicken nuggets, carrots, grapes, and smoothies. It was a win and a great teaching experience both for them and myself.

My eyes are beginning to be open to all the junk I was willingly giving them just to appease them or make things easy. Which isn’t always bad! But it had become a habit that I’m glad to break.

I’m feeling so great! A goal I have for this week is to simplify more. I overdid it with excitement the first week that I felt like I never left the kitchen. So am trying to make easier meals that the girls will like – which changes everyday!

Here’s to week two!

Whole30 2018

The word that I felt was going to define our 2018 is health. One of the biggest ways health is needed in our house is in our physical health. There are lots of reasons for this. One, I personally know what is right and do the opposite because sugar addiction is real. I will eat or drink things that I know will upset my body and every time the food proves me right. Two, most of 2017, I was pregnant! And we all know how much fun cooking is during the third trimester. Or not. I got out of the habit of cooking and then postpartum was a whirlwind. Which is so sad because it’s the time your body needs nutrition the most. It’s hard to put effort into cooking and clean up when you are just plain exhausted. Third, I’m seeing lots of health issues play out in my kids. God gave them to me to steward and teach them well and I want them to grow up with healthy rhythms and relationships with food. A food blogger I admire recently told me, “You are what you eat and the first five years of childhood are when the foundation of your tastes and eating habits are formed. I take this seriously and think of it as a gift I can give my children.” Amen. The swift encouragement that I needed. (Check her out at thefamilyfoodproject).

And what better way to put all of this into action than to start a Whole30?!

It is such a great reset to nutrition. I am planning to do the plan full on. D is out this time because his schedule is just too crazy. But, he is supportive in every way and will eat whatever crazy meal I concoct. As for the kiddos, I am also trying to get them to do it as best as I can. I’m sticking my guns 100% to sugar being cut out minus M’s birthday party which we already had planned. Whole30 can be expensive for a family of six, but I am brainstorming ways to make it work for all of us!

Here’s some things I’m hoping to see changed:

  • Decrease in headaches for me
  • Better sleep at night for all of us
  • Less mood swings/tantrums
  • Finishing our food
  • Less food waste
  • Slayed Sugar dragon

I’m excited and nervous for this journey. All good things take hard work. Hold me accountable! I’ll be blogging through our journey, not to document every single food we ate, but more as a journal for me to see our progress and hopefully as encouragement to you!

2018 Goals

Another year flew by. It is so crazy how fast time flies. A lot happened this year! We (and by we I mean Dan) remodeled the whole first floor of our house- tearing out walls, replacing flooring, putting in a bathroom, replacing every piece of trim, installing crown and built ins. The end result was well worth it, but being in the midst of a remodel with three kids in the middle of winter was no easy task. While this was happening, D ramped up remodels for his business which is so exciting!! He has talents given directly to him by God and I love having a front seat to watch them unfold. I learned things about him this year I never knew which makes marriage so fun! With owning a business, however, there is always hardships and there have plenty moments of growth for him as he learns his business better and for us as we navigate reallllly long hours some weeks. On the school front, the girls love homeschooling and Classical Conversations. It has certainly brought about growth for me as I have had to work hard to be diligent and graceful as I teach them. They are wonderful students! And, of course, we had a new baby!! C has been the best addition to our home. He is super laid back, easy to please, and full of big, gummy smiles. I feel overwhelmed with joy because God gave him to us. Having a baby in the house has caused for things to shift as mom is needed a little bit more. Other things have had to take a back burner as I seek to meet the needs of every member of our family.

All that to say, while 2017 was filled with an abundance of good things, it also felt like a whirlwind and a bit of survival mode oover here.

So as I have prayed over 2018, the word that comes to mind is health. Health in every sense: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Now that we are settled into our home and pretty well adjusted to family as six, I am eager to implement more things that bring health to our family and those around us.

Here are ways I hope to see that play out:

  • More healthy meals happening for our family.
  • Working to cut out sugar completely.
  • Regular use of supplements and herbs to boost our immune systems.
  • Me getting to run and work out.
  • A better bedtime routine.
  • Regular Date nights.
  • Regular times in the word. Both for me and D and for the kids.
  • More read alouds.
  • Less TV
  • Regular one on one time with our kiddos.
  • Organization within the home.
  • No more Facebook.
  • Actually, really becoming a doula this year. I have talked about this since M was born!!! But, the whirlwind of kiddos and sleepless nights just kept holding me back. This year it’s a must.
  • Listening to God on next steps for our family.
  • Loving our neighbors well.

The no Facebook goal I have thought about a lot. It’s a pull for me because lots of good things happen on it! It’s a fantastic resource to keep in touch and show family that lives far away things about our kids. I love to read encouraging articles on health and child rearing. But, the negative side is weighing heavier right now. I struggle with anxiety and sometimes being bombarded with every single news event, diseases that are being passed around, and arguments that are being had. And then of course is the comparison game. More than ever in motherhood, I have found myself comparing myself in negative ways or wanting to prove myself! Not good. So, for a year, no Facebook for me. Instagram will stay because I learn a lot of nutrition information, it seems to be happier snippets and encouragement, and it forms an awesome scrapbook for me! After C was born, I was very emotional about how fast the girls were growing and feeling like I missed it (hello postpartum hormones!) and it was so good for me to be able to scroll all the way back to M as a baby and see all the ways we lived life. For this reason, I love Instagram.

My hope is to pick back up with blogging this year as a means of updating family and as a resource to scroll back on in future years! So keep checking in here to see what’s up with us!

I’m really looking forward to 2018. There is a subtle anticipation in my soul. I can’t wait to see all that God teaches us!!

Meal Planning Winter 2018

One of my big goals for before C came was to have this meal plan done. I️ started it but never finished! We have been blessed with meals since he was born three nights a week. Anyone else struggle with cooking in the newborn season? While I️ am so grateful D is more than willing to go out, as in whenever I call him and ask what we should do for dinner his answer is always “go out!,” I am ready to take our nutrition back. We just went through a two week period of sickness and every time we are sick it reminds me of how important taking care of our bodies is. So, in comes this meal plan. I made a plan based on themed nights of the week, found recipes from my favorite bloggers, and then compiled them into a list! That way every week I can simply click on a link, write down the ingredients, and head to the store. Most of the meals on here are paleo and Whole30 Compliant- minus pizza night. This has become a fun night of the week for us to do pizza and a movie. The breakfasts and lunches will be rotated and I am hoping to add one fun recipe a week- just in time for Christmas cookie season. 😊

I wanted to share in case you may be in a rut with cooking, too in hopes that it would encourage you and make life easier for you. I would love to hear your favorite go-to healthy meals!

Monday- Stir Frys

Tuesday- Crockpot/Instant Pot

Wednesday- Soups, Chilis


Friday- Pizza

Saturday- Out- Date Night or Family Night

Sunday- Comfort Food

◦ Roasted Chicken and Veggies


◦ Oatmeal

◦ Eggs and Bacon/Chicken Sausage

Lunch Ideas

◦ PB and J