Monday, September 30, 2013

whole30 meals and more!

Well, we are now on Day 23 of Whole30!  It has been a lot easier than I anticipated.  The first few days were hard, but now we don't have to think about it so much.  Additionally, I've noticed that I have more energy.  Some people talk about having "tiger blood" which means having boundless energy.  For me, I've noticed that I crash less often.  I used to go CRAZY waiting for Caleb to come home...I was so tired and could never have him get home soon enough to help with the baby.  Half of the time I had a migraine so I just needed to lay down.  My migraines have been so, so much better (I've only been having them if I haven't eaten or slept enough.  Totally a change from having them day after day).  I've spent more time outside being active with Hadden and haven't been on edge waiting for Caleb to get home.  Additionally, a pair of shorts that 23 days ago were tight can now (literally) fall off me.  I really need to find my belt!

This week I was preparing a meal for a friend, but since I couldn't taste what I was making (it wasn't Whole30), I asked another friend to come over and taste test some apple muffins for me.  Thankfully, she didn't mind that job. ;)  We got around to talking about Whole30 and what we ate so I thought I'd give a brief description.

Here is our official shopping list.  The first week or two I took this with me the store to make sure I was buying Whole30 approved foods.  Now that I have it in my head, I don't usually carry it because I already know what to buy.

This is what WE have been eating.  Sometimes on the different forums, I see people who have different opinions about what is allowed on Whole30 (e.g. one person says to drink only water, but most people agree that other drinks like tea are fine).  To the best of my knowledge, everything I've eaten has been compliant with Whole30, but if someone who is more advanced with Whole30 recognizes that I did something wrong, please don't rake me over the coals! ;)

  Egg casserole with compliant chicken sausage and spinach
  Omelets with peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes
  Fried or Scrambled Eggs

Main Dishes:
Grilled Chicken
Grilled Steak
Salads (including a modified version of this one)
Homemade Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash
Turkey or Chicken Burgers
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Tuna Salad (with homemade mayo)

LARA bars (we've found about 5 flavors that are compliant)
Kale chips
Fruit (sometimes with a side of almond butter)
Vegetables (LOTS!)
Guacamole (we like it served over grilled chicken or tilapia)
Baked Apple Chips
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Homemade beef jerky

Eating Out*:
(*It's especially important if you're doing Whole30 that you are a compete pain in the butt for the restaurant staff double check how that location cooks their might be different from place to place.)
Panera Bread: "Power" Mediterranean Turkey Salad (no pepperocini, add avocado)
                       "Power" Steak Wraps Salad (no pesto, add avocado)
5 Guys:           Burger (no cheese, no bun, lots of vegetables!)
Texas Roadhouse: Steak (no seasoning - just grilled), broccoli (no seasoning), house salad (no cheese, no croutons, oil and lemon as dressing)
Chipotle:           Bowl with carnitas, mild salsa, guac and lettuce)

Are you up for it??  Ready to start Whole30? (I'm hoping at least ONE person decides to do it after me...I have a few people considering it)

Friday, September 27, 2013

currently reading: Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl

This book review is long, long overdue.  Usually I review a book within a couple weeks of receiving it, but this one arrived over six weeks ago!  Yikes!

I am very conflicted about this book - I'll do my best to explain why.  When I read the summary, I thought I would love this book and I was thrilled to be reviewing it.  But when it came and I actually started reading, I really labored over it.  The first few chapters were mind-boggling.  Each time I picked up the book, I literally got a headache and had to put it down within a few minutes.  I was thrown off by Wilson's style and really struggled to keep reading.  It was the first time I seriously considered not finishing a book I was given to review.  For me personally, the first chapters felt like I *was* on a tilt-a-whirl.  Since I wasn't following the book clearly, it felt like I was being spun around and couldn't tell up from down.  

Then, about four or five chapters in, I started to catch on a little bit, like I finally learned to go with the rhythm of the ride.  Soon I was pausing to marvel at Wilson's insight.  He changed the way I thought about creation, heaven and hell.  Throughout my days, I found myself thinking back to the book and looking at the world around me differently.  And isn't that what a good book is?  Not only did it change my thinking, it stuck with me and changed how I viewed life.

Overall, the poetic style of this book was difficult for me to follow.  I wasn't expecting it and I usually prefer books to be more straight-forward.  However, Wilson wrote such profound things that I want to read it again sometime.  Since I'm prepared for the unusual style, I think I'll enjoy it better.

Now that I am (finally!) finished with that book, I can start on the next two books on my list: Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer (a gift from my sister) and The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller (a gift from my friend, Megan).  I'm taking a short break from reviewing books for publishers to read these two!

**A copy of this book was given to me through BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.   

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

brave words

It's been said that writing is easy.  "You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed (Red Smith)."

Open your veins.

And bleed.

Oh yes.

Sometimes I sit in front of the computer and try to transcribe the words in my head.  Essays about the Church, feminism, parenting and all sorts of other things.  But the words don't come.  There is a language barrier between my brain and my fingers.  Can't. Get. The. Words. Out.

Is it fear?  Fear because I know people who won't agree and I don't want to hurt them?  Fear because I know I'm not skilled enough to express it perfectly?  Fear because I have so much learning left to do?

I've heard people say that all bloggers are narcissists.  That no one else would write a publish a record of their lives.  Perhaps they're right.  But at the same time, I think people get something confused.

I don't write because I want to be a writer.

I write because I AM a writer.

I don't say that in a pride or in grandiose dreams of being published.  That's not at all what I mean.  I mean that I have always written: journals, lists, blogs, papers.  It's how I think and how I process.  Calling myself a writer doesn't even mean that I think I'm skilled at writing.  It's just who I am.  I write.  As one of my dear girls in college would say, "I like words."

It is a fearful thing to hit 'publish'.  It is hard to find time to transpose my thoughts and to rework them to make sense on paper.

But I'm trying to do better - I write even though people might not like it.  I write even though I don't know it all or I'm still figuring things out.

If you blog (or journal), I'm challenging you today:  Use brave words.  Write something bold.  And click 'publish'.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

oh, happy day!

To my love,
I'm so, so happy to be celebrating our anniversary today!  Love is complicated and marriage even more so, but I'm glad we're figuring this out together.  :)  This year I hope that we continue to learn to love each other more sacrificially.  Thank you for being so kind and patient.  Thank you for encouraging me to follow my passions and enabling me to serve others (and serving alongside me).  I'm thankful for each day I get to spend with you!  I'm glad that for our wedding we decided to memorize our vows and that we still remember them and can look into each other's eyes as we recite them.  Today I'm looking forward to a wonderful day with you and also looking ahead at another adventurous year!

"I would do it for you, for you
Baby, I'm not moving on
I'll love you long after you're gone
For you, for you
You will never sleep alone
I'll love you long after you're gone
And long after you're gone gone gone"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

the liebster award - a way to discover new blogs

A few months ago, I started reading the blog All Things Life & Air Force Wife.  I've never met Livia, the blogger, but she was a new Air Force wife and the more I read, the more I wanted to read.  Last week, Livia was nominated for the Liebster Award (more about that below) and then chose five nominees, including me!

The Liebster Award is a way to discover new blogs and to share the blogs that you read.  When nominated, you are given some questions to answer.  Then you write your own questions and nominate 3-5 bloggers (who have less than 3,000 readers).  This isn't an official award...just a way to find new blogs and share the ones you love.

Here are the questions that Livia posted for her nominees, along with my answers.

1. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and why?
   Finishing college on time, I suppose.  I got really sick my junior year and had a lot of talks with my parents and the doctors about staying home for a semester or two to figure out my health.  I chose not to and (with so, so much grace from people who made accommodations for me) I was able to go back that semester.

2.  What was your favorite item as a child?
   Hands down, my Cabbage Patch baby, Taylor.  Taylor now has a permanent place in our home among my son's toys (sitting right next to "Beary Bear" and "Little Baby").

3. Who do you consider to be your celebrity crush?
    Eh...I've never really considered it.  But after some thought and discussion with my husband, I've decided it probably a toss up between Brandi Carlile, Patrick Dempsey and Taye Diggs.

4. What is your favorite comfort food?
   Freshly baked anything (homemade) with a glass of cold milk.  Right now I'm dreaming about pumpkin cream cheese muffins and hand kneaded honey-wheat bread (but because of Whole30, I'm definitely not having anything like that for at least two weeks!).

5. If money was no object, what would you do?
   I would move my family to a different country every 2-3 years and settle down in a little town.  During the day, I would divide my time between exploring the city as a family, studying in beautiful libraries/taking seminary classes, volunteering in an orphanage and going to cooking school.  Along with about 30 other things.  ;)  I have big dreams!
6. What is the best piece of advice someone has given you and you would like to pass on?
  Oh man!  I have honestly considered doing a blog series about this subject!  I must just have a lot of awesome, inspiring friends/teachers/mentors because they've passed on so much wisdom.  Here's one of my favorites though, pertaining to Air Force life.

Marlena Graves was my RD in college, but she was much more than an RD to me.  She was a mentor and a friend.  She and her family are still so dear to me.  When Caleb and I got engaged, I was discussing the challenges of being married to someone in the military, especially when it came to moving often.  For instance, I really wanted to go to seminary (a GOOD seminary), but, of course, the Air Force isn't going to take that into consideration when they move us. :)

When Marlena and I talked about this, she said that it would be easy to use moving often as an excuse to not get involved.  Three years can seem like a short amount of time, but Marlena reminded me that Jesus' whole ministry was three years long.  Think of all that can happen in three years!!  I love that advice and, after living here for only a year and a half, we've gotten involved and gotten connected to people.  I'm glad that I had the encouragement to use our time wisely.

7.  What is the story behind your blog title and/or why did you start blogging?
   My blog title is a play on my last name (Glorioso-Mays) and the fact that sometimes you look back at your life and think about how you wouldn't have planned what happened, but sometimes that's a wonderful thing.  

I started blogging in college.  I was getting burned out writing papers all the time and just wanted somewhere to write for enjoyment.  Five years later, I'm still enjoying it although I wish I felt more free - I need to spend less time thinking about who isn't going to like my position on topics or how unqualified I am and just more time writing.  Analysis paralysis. 

8.  Are you a purse or shoe person?  Or neither?  Why?
   Shoes.  I guess.  If I had to pick one.  I definitely like shoes, but I am not the type of person who spends a lot of money on shoes or even has that many.  I just like them to be cute and practical (read: flats).
9.  Walmart or Target?  Why?
   Target, all the way!  Target is a suburban mom's paradise.  You can get food, household items and cute clothes all in the same place - AND THEY HAVE STARBUCKS!  Whoever thought of that was truly brilliant.

10.  Favorite vacation spot?
   That depends.  If we're going just to relax, I'd chose somewhere like my family's condo in Florida.  It's nice to have your own place, lay out on the beach and just enjoy your vacation.  On the other hand, I love to learn and see new places, so visiting a historical site or a city would also be fun (just more busy and stressful with a toddler in tow).

My nominees are:
Livia (tagback)

And here are my questions for them:

1.  Congratulations!  You're now the owner of a new puppy!  What breed is it and what is it's name?
2.  What's your favorite reality TV show?  (Project Runway?  Anyone??)
3.  It's cold outside so you grab a mug and make yourself a cup of your favorite warm drink.  What is it?
4. You've been banished from the United States and have to choose another country to live in for the rest of your life.  What country would you chose and why?
5.  You've been given $5000 with the stipulation that you must give it away to a charity/someone in need.  Who would you give it to and why?
6.  It's Friday night and it's the end of a very hard week.  What do you do to relax and refocus?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

whole 30 (alternate title: why I haven't had milk, sugar or bread in 14 days)

My and my husband's favorite foods include milk, cheese, bread, alcohol, and any form of sugar.

But we're on day 14 of being gluten free, alcohol free, dairy free, legume free and sugar free.

Thankfully, we're only going to 30.  :)


It would take a long, long time to explain everything about Whole30, so I'm just going to do my best to summarize.  Whole30 is a 30 day challenge focused on eating whole foods and rewiring how your body and brain approach food.  For instance, my body spent a couple days detoxing (not fun).  And my brain is learning that I don't really need to eat when I'm stressed and especially don't need to reach for sugar to make me feel better.

I knew I needed to give this a try because I knew I was too dependent on sugar and milk (along with basically every other food on the list).  Also, I was really interested to see if it would help my migraines and fibromyalgia.

For 14 days now we've been eating a lot of lean meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  In some senses, it's easier than I thought it would be.  I was DREADING beginning this, but once we got started, I fell into a routine.  On the other hand, there have been a couple times when I cried over food.  Like this week when Hadden was really ill and I was so busy taking care of him (and falling into bed the moment he went to sleep) that I honestly forgot to eat lunch.  Cue mini-meltdown.

Here's What I Love About Whole30:

No Cheating
For some reason, this make sense to me.  Maybe because I like rules??  If there wasn't a "no cheating" rule, I would probably find myself cheating on the first day.  But I'm on Day 15 and, to the best of my knowledge, have been fully compliant.

You aren't allowed to weigh yourself
I love this.  I love that it's not about weight-lose, it's about a healthy lifestyle.  We can already feel our clothes fitting differently, but I like that the focus isn't on that. 

It's called Whole30 and not Whole365
I can do 30 days.  I like knowing there's an end.  Of course, many people say that at the end of Whole30, they don't WANT to go back to their old eating habits and instead learn to indulge occasionally.  I know myself and there's no way I'm going to be eating this strictly for the rest of my life.  But I am hoping to be more conscientious in the future and especially consider the way my body reacts to certain foods.  If they make me sick, why eat them? 

I don't have to be hungry
I'm not doing any counting of calories.  I don't have to walk around with a growling stomach.  We try to make sure we eat meals with plenty of protein and vegetables.  And if I need a snack during the day, I eat one.

Here's What I Hate About Whole30:

Losing food as a connection point
Yes, yes, yes, I know that it's good to eat healthy.  Yes, I'm sure I could learn to cook Whole30 compliant meals for guests (and I did last week).  It doesn't change the fact that for these 30 days I have felt very anti-social.  I HATE that.  I love to cook.  I love to have people over. for meals  I think food is a way to bring people together.  It is HARD to lose that.  During these 14 days, we have eaten before we've gone to someone's house and, another time, brought our own food.  Of course we explained about Whole30 ahead of time and our hosts were more than gracious, but it was still unpleasant. 

In Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequest talks about her four months of eating limited foods by saying "I felt like I wasn't living in the same world everyone else was living in."  That's exactly it.  Entertaining is one of the major reasons I know I won't eat this way forever.

Giving up sugar, bread, alcohol and dairy - obviously!
I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I hated it!  I know it's for my good and I know that i chose to do it, but STILL! ;)

Have you ever tried a restricted diet?  Did you stick with it or was it just for a season?

Friday, September 20, 2013

{sick notice}

We've had a sick little boy this week which is why I haven't posted.  I've been running on way too little sleep, forgetting to eat and spending most of every day with a babe in my arms.  I can't complain about that last part, but, of course, it isn't worth the extra cuddles when I see how miserable he is.  Hopefully he's feeing better soon.

In the meanwhile, three cheers for baby tylenol, three sippy cups at the same time, and endless rounds of Barney.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Myers-Briggs for Harry Potter Characters!

When I first saw this, I thought, "Yes!  The world needed this!!"  I love books and I love psychology so I thought this was a fun mix of the two.

I'm either Dumbledore or Lily Evans-Potter.  Who are you??  :)

(p.s. if you don't know your MBTI, click here to take a free test based on the original)

good reads + FREE BOOK {september 12th, 2013}

Sometimes you read something so good that you can't keep it to yourself - you want to forward it out everyone you know.  Usually I do that on Twitter.  But today I wanted to share a few good reads on my blog, like I did a few months ago about mental health and the church.  The first is a series about parenting around the world (written through the eyes of ex-pats).  It's been fascinated to read and I've been looking forward to each new post.  This link is to my favorite from the series.

This is the type of article I need to re-read again and again and again.  I really appreciate how RHE wrestles through issues and I loved her honesty in this post - it's easy to caricaturize on the opposite side of an issue, but, like Rachel points out, sometimes they have done as much thinking, praying, studying and wrestling as we have...we've just ended up in different places.

These next two are reactions to that post that went viral this week (an open letter to teenage girls, I think it was called).  Both of these responses were gracious in addition to being well reasoned.

Also, remember last week or so when I reviewed a book and did a giveaway??  Erica at Minner Winner Chicken Dinner was also given the book to review - she's also a military spouse who I've met through blogging.  Check out her post here and leave a comment to be entered in her giveaway!  Who doesn't like free books?! :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

my favorite

My favorite is when he wakes up, rosy cheeked and clad in footy pajamas.

My favorite is when he carries his "lovey" (blanket) around in his mouth.

My favorite is when I say "Let's go upstairs!" and his sweet little legs race over as fast as they can.

My favorite is sharing a bowl of oatmeal with him each morning.

My favorite is how he blows raspberries on my legs and then giggles with delight.

My favorite is when he brings books over for me to read aloud.

My favorite is when his eyes light up when his papa walks through the door.

My favorite is strawberries smashed all over his highchair (and his clothes).

My favorite is when he fetches the ball we threw for him.

My favorite is giving him kisses and hugs before his nap time and saying "I'll be back soon."

My favorite is when he claps along with TV shows.

My favorite is his amusement at brushing teeth.

My favorite is his little hand clutching our clothes.

My favorite is every night when I hold him in front of the mirror after his bath, all wrapped in his hooded towel, and say "Who is that CUTE boy?!" and he smiles at my silliness.

Oh sweet boy, you are my very favorite every moment of every day!

(and your dad isn't half bad either ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

staying organized during a PCS: part three

I've written before about the two notebooks that we use religiously during our moves.  We love these notebooks so much that we've nicknamed them Big Blue and Little Blue.  Today I'm going to share another hint to staying organized on your move: the first-to-unpack box.

Just like its name implies, this box contains everything you'll need when you get to the new house.  It STINKS to be in an empty home, in a new town with 100 boxes and missing something important - like scissors to open your boxes!  You'll never know where the movers put it!

The first-to-unpack box (or boxes, if you pack more than one) is the usually the last box you tape up at your old house and the last box to go on the truck.  Or you can even have it in your POV.  Here's an idea of what we usually have in ours.  Asterisks indicate something that I'll need as soon as I get into the house, but won't be able to put in the box.  For instance, moving trucks won't take any liquids or chemicals, so we put those in our car for the move.

First To Unpack:
  • Toilet paper (one per bathroom)
  • Hand soap (one per bathroom)
  • Hand towel (one per bathroom)
  • Trash bags
  • Paper Plates, Plastic Cups, Plastic cutlery, napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors/Box Cutter
  • Swiss Army Knife 
  • Phone/iPad/Computer Chargers
  • Snacks
  • Flashlight
  • Bandaids, Tylenol, etc. 
  • Printer Paper/Sharpie (label each room so the movers know where to put the boxes)
  • Cleaning Supplies**
  • Vacuum**

Second To Unpack:
  • Shower curtain (and hooks)/bathroom rug
  • Toiletries
  • Bath towels (one per family member)
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Coffee pot/tea pot (if you require that first thing in the morning)

Additionally, here's a list of things you'll want to do soon after arriving at the house.
  • Clean bathrooms and kitchen (probably just a quick swish as they should be cleaned before you arrive)
  • Label each room so boxes get put in the correct room (if you have movers)
  • Put trashcan/bag in kitchen (and in bathrooms?)
  • Put toilet paper, soap and hand towels in each bathroom (and the shower curtain if you're staying the night there)
  • Put dish soap and dish towel in kitchen
  • Vacuum where furniture will be (if it's dirty - you'll probably need to vacuum the whole house after the movers are finshed bringing things in)
  • Wipe down fridge
  • Put sheets/blankets on the bed

What am I missing?  Anyone else have good moving tips to share??

p.s. the giveaway for The Tender Soldier is open for three more days!  I consider it a must-read for all Americans.

Staying Organized During a PCS - Part One
Staying Organized During a PCS - Part Two

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