Author Archives: Candy

Daily | April

And just like that March slipped away.

I started out planning to take Spring Break week off from blogging. It sounded simple enough. But then I got busy with my daily and with a contract job and homeschool and spring chores and when I looked up it was the last day of March.


I don’t think I ever mentioned it here, but the Daily challenge in March was Organize. And I did some of that. It was a good follow-up to Declutter in February. My files are in better shape. My desk area is (and has stayed) in better shape. There are still some areas to tackle, but gradually things are getting spiffed up.

April has a Daily challenge too, which is perfect timing because….

The daily challenge is the DAILY MILE. And I just bought new running shoes.

So, if you’re interested you can run (or walk) the challenge with me. One mile a day. That’s it. For me, it’ll take about 15 minutes. I’m not speedy yet, and that’s okay. I just want to get out there.

Currently | February 17, 2015


…to podcasts. This American Life, On The Media, Elisa Gets Crafty are all on my list. So much NPR that MOTS asked me in the car the other day, “When did you turn into an old person that loves NPR?” I’ll have you know that I am not old, just looking for something interesting to listen to these days. Have you listened to Serial? For real, go do it now, but block off 12 hours first.


…mostly paleo still. Way more veggies than we used to, lots of lean meat, and an occasional treat on the weekdays. Weekends we eat what we want, but I’ve found I am just not as “hungry” all the time. Make me wonder how much “hunger” was just poor nutrition and opportunity.


…coffee with coconut milk and stevia, water, and an occasional soft drink. I feel a lot better about my drink choices these days, and can drink an occasional soft drink with zero guilt.


…lots of jeans, t-shirts – long and short sleeved, sweaters, jackets, shorts. The weather has been all over the board lately, going from highs near 80 to lows in the 20s. It’s crazy.


…energized. Lots of irons in the fire – furniture to stain, gardens to plan, summer activities just over the horizon, spaces to declutter. So much to do!


…see above. I feel a little crazy lately, waking up one day like a Disney princess, singing with the birds, because it’s warm and sunny with a light breeze. The next day, I can hardly bear to stick a toe out from my electric blankie because it’s cloudy and 20 degrees outside. Gross. VIVA LA SPRING!


…an egg steamer. Looking at this model. It’s a totally STUPID purchase. I can totally make hard boiled eggs on the stove. And they turn out well. And yet….


…to get serious about the garden. This last weekend we went and bought a few early crop seed packets and some cattle panels for another of my endless garden experiments. And Party Boy just nods and goes along. I love him.


…that I seriously need to make a list of all the projects that I want to tackle. Some will be done as part of my Daily challenges, but others are bigger and need a little more time. Also need to schedule a trip to Canton…


…the last bit of downtime before things get really crazy around here for spring and summer. I forget how much we have going on!


Made This Monday | February 16, 2015

Our dog is an insane bundle of energy and activity. About the only thing she is ever still for is pretzel sticks. She also will only give kissies for pretzel sticks. This is demonstrated to full effect in this picture of her and MOTS.

It’s really a testament to having a camera with you, in arms reach, at all times. I couldn’t have gotten this shot without my iPhone being right there. Five seconds later, she was off and running (the dog. MOTS doesn’t run) and the shot was gone.


Click here for a list of supplies.

Daily | Declutter Update February 11, 2015


When I set the challenge ahead to declutter, I had no real plan to speak of. I was just going to choose a space – a shelf, a cabinet, a storage container – every day and really take a hard look at what we were keeping there.

When I declutter I ask myself a few questions:

1. Do we still use this often enough to justify keeping it?

This is especially helpful with kitchen gadgets, toys, and miscellaneous craft tools. For some items, we only use them once a year (a turkey platter) but it has a particular purpose, and we use it every time we need it. Other items I use 2 or 3 times a year, but it’s not my first choice, or I have other tools that can do the same job.

2. Do I love it? Does it provide beauty?

I am sentimental, so I allow myself to keep some items based on that alone. I still have a stuffed animal that I got for Christmas when I was three. He holds a place of honor on a shelf in my closet. He’s my “velveteen rabbit” of sorts. Well loved and cherished.

3. Does it still fit? Do I (or the owner) still wear it?

No more holding on to outgrown clothes for that day that I might be able to wear them again (never mind that they’ll be years out of date!).

With that in mind, I decluttered the game room last week. It was a chore, but I was able to clear an entire toy storage unit that can now go to charity. This, in turn, clears a wall in my house! Yay for less furniture!

This week I have (so far) cleaned out the medicine cabinet. This is so important! Get rid of your old and expired medicines people! Do it safely by following these instructions, especially with prescription drugs.

I also, removed a bunch of extraneous plastic cups. We hang onto a bunch of Fuzzy’s Taco cups because they discount your drink when you bring your own cup, but we don’t need 50 of them, and we don’t really need all of the other giant plastic souvenir cups…

Next up… craft shelves and kitchen cabinets.


Daily | Whole 30 Wrap-up


We finished our Whole 30 last Friday. Here’s what happened:

When I first suggested this last year Party Boy was not thrilled. The kids even less so. They all only agreed because I kept up the mantra “It’s only 30 days.”

We started on January 4th (a conscious decision that I highly recommend) in order to not set ourselves up for failure over the holidays.

By the end of week one, we had both noticed a difference, just in how we felt. No real cravings. No deprivation. We weren’t walking around starving all the time, which I think was key #1 to making this a success.

At the end of week two, we agreed that this was really working. We liked the food. We felt great. My almost daily headaches were completely gone (I only took Tylenol twice all month – down from a near daily dose of Advil) and he didn’t get sleepy at work in the afternoons. I also kicked my afternoon nap habit.

We were successful in navigating the landmine that is eating out. Most restaurants have something that you can eat. We also discussed and decided that relationships trump food. This way of eating is a choice, not a requirement (no life-threatening allergies), so we eat what is offered and enjoy it, knowing we can start over at the next meal.

We never really felt the effects of “tiger blood,” but that’s okay. Feeling good every day and getting better sleep was good enough for us.

I learned to tolerate coffee that was only “meh.”

I never really panicked about what happens after Whole 30, since we decided halfway through to keep it up.

Going forward:

On weekdays we eat paleo style. This lets us have treats that contain natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. It’s nice though, because I don’t really crave them.

I have added stevia to coffee and tea. I can once again enjoy my beverages. The coffee still gets the coconut milk treatment, now with one packet of stevia. It doesn’t really make the coffee sweet, so much as temper the bitter flavor. It does really sweeten the tea.

On weekends we can eat whatever we want. We can go out and if we want pizza, we have pizza. We plan to fail. That makes it easier to get back on the wagon on Monday. There’s no “poor me eating” here. You know what I mean – I ate a slice of pizza, ruined my diet and now I should go ahead and eat an entire package of oreos. Not allowed. Being free to eat what we want on the weekends also keeps us from developing the newest trend in eating disorder.

The results:

I didn’t take measurements before we started, but I know my clothes fit differently. My skinny jeans are looser, for one thing. I lost a total of 8 pounds. Before you write off those results, you need to understand that I didn’t work out. It wasn’t water weight – I drank more water last month than ever. I lost 8 pounds just by making better food choices. That’s it.

Party Boy lost 5 pounds. Again, no measurements, and no working out. Just better food. But he slimmed down enough to be noticeable. And truthfully, that’s how he loses weight, slowly at first, then in a landslide. He’s started to work out agin now that his schedule is more manageable, so I expect that he’ll be shedding pounds like crazy soon.

I’m shocked, honestly. If you had asked me a few months ago if I thought that my “healthy choices” were making me fat, I’d have laughed. I really was trying to eat right. Low fat, etc. And the weight just kept piling on. And I felt gross. And hungry.

Now? I eat what feels like more food. I’m almost never hungry between meals, and I lost weight. It’s crazy.

If you’ve ever considered a Whole 30 I’d encourage you to try it. It’s only 30 days, right?

Tagged ,

Daily | February

Welcome to February! It’s month #2 in the Daily 2015 challenge and I am so excited!



That’s right! It’s time to declutter.

We moved into this house 2 years ago. I had worked really hard to declutter as I packed up the last house. It was really effective and we got rid of a LOT of stuff that we just flat didn’t need anymore. I am questioning if I got rid of enough or if the last 2 years really just added more junk to our lives. It’s hard to separate out the junk eras, you know?

Anyway, we specifically wanted lots and lots of storage in this house, something our last house sorely lacked, and yet, cabinets are filling up. Things topple out when doors are opened. There’s no excuse.

This month is dedicated to getting rid of the excess one small space a day. One cabinet, one shelf. Over the next month, we will get rid of stuff that is outgrown, broken, unloved and unused. Some will go to the trash, some will go to charity where it can be loved and used by someone else.

It’s time.

P.S. I’ll have a wrap-up of Daily | January later this week!

Whole 30 | Two Week Check-In


While I wouldn’t categorize the Whole 30 as easy, it hasn’t been terrible either. Two weeks in and here’s the report:

* We will continue this style of diet into the foreseeable future probably 90% of the time. We can both acknowledge that we feel better and sleep better and every other benefit, but we also know that sometimes you just need chips and queso or a big old piece of pizza. So, we’re being realistic too.

* There’s no sense denying that we’ll never eat another sugary morsel. We totally will. But we’ll be moving those back to true treat status and only have them occasionally. And probably no more sodas, since we can’t ever drink just one. We’ll see, I guess.

* No tiger blood. Oh well. 😉

* I had a bad day and wanted to eat the remaining 4 GIANT COSTCO BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. But I didn’t. Cause, let’s be honest. They might be delicious, but I’d feel worse after eating even one, much less four. And that’s really the first time I’ve felt truly tempted to eat something totally off plan. Not too bad, I guess.

* I am pretty sure that I have lost weight. I know for a fact that my clothes fit differently, so there’s that. I guess we’ll find out at the end of next week!

Daily | The Truth About Whole30 Coffee

According to me, of course. You may have an entirely different opinion. And, for the love, if your coffee actually tastes good, do share your magic. It goes without saying that if you drink your coffee black with no sweetener or cream, then you are the real MVP and should totally skip this post written by a coffee pansy.


Whole 30 coffee is gross.

There. I said it.

It was one of my biggest concerns before starting Whole 30. Could I still have coffee? Yes.

Could I still have creamer? Well, no! It’s heavy-laden with sugar! And chemicals! And probably causes cancer! And is delicious!

So, I rolled over to Pinterest to see what I could find. And what I found was loads of blog posts extolling the delicious virtues of coconut milk in your coffee. I was heartened and hopeful. I bought cans of coconut milk (not the stuff in the dairy case, which has added sugar. You want the cans. I found mine near the canned milk at my grocery store).

I tried that day 1, and wound up with black coffee and chunks of slimy coconut goo. Gross.

Back to the blog posts. Ah-ha! I need an immersion blender. I needed one to make mayo anyway, so after church I ran to Target and picked one up. I got this one. Works great.

Monday morning I had coffee with coconut milk, blended with an immersion blender.


But, I muscled through. I choked down that horrible coffee every morning for no other reason than giving up all my favorite foods AND caffeine at the same time seemed like a recipe for disaster. Or murder. Maybe both.

There is nothing delicious about this coffee. Not. One. Thing.

Then I found a blog post that said flavored coffees tasted better with coconut milk. I grabbed a box of French Vanilla coffee. It was…..okay. Not great. Not delicious. But it didn’t gag me either.

Then, more research led me to try it iced, rather than hot.

Better. Still, not great.

The honest truth is this: I probably won’t go back to the creamer, sugar, splash of coffee that I used to drink. It wasn’t a healthy way to start the day and probably contributed heavily to the dreaded mid-afternoon crash. After Whole30 I will most likely stick with the coconut milk, immersion blender, and add some stevia. I think that just a touch of sweet could really put me over the top so far as my opinion of this concoction goes.

So, caveat reader. Let the reader beware. Sometimes, raves about how delicious something is, is in the taste buds of the taster.

TL;DR:* I am barely tolerating Whole30 coffee (black with coconut milk). Flavored coffee is better. I want stevia.

*TL;DR = Too Long; Didn’t Read.


Daily | Eating Out and Other Whole 30 Challenges


Weekends are the hardest. Contrary to what my kids seem to think, we do have a social life. We go out, we eat out. And we have actual real-life friends. Who also like to go out, and eat out.

Which is not entirely easy to do when you’re Whole 30.

Challenge #1 – What’s left that I can eat?

We went to a dinner meeting on Friday. It was a fajita bar. Yay! I love fajitas.

Only, no tortilla chips, no tortillas, no salsa, no cheese dip, no adobo pie (corn)… And that was 3/4 of the buffet. Sad panda. We ate guacamole and sweet potato chips and meat. Because that’s what there was for us. I didn’t ask about what oils had been used or if there was sugar in the guacamole (because you’d be surprised where you find sugar these days!).

Instead, we decided that people are more important than any diet. Relationships, being together, having a nice time, it all trumps my personal choice to eliminate certain foods.

We ate what we could, we walked out feeling pretty good (if a little dehydrated from all the salt) and had a great time with good friends. A successful evening.

Challenge #2 – But I want what I always get….

On Saturday, we wanted to go out just the two of us. We try to do that a couple times a month, usually at least dinner, sometimes a movie.

We wanted to see Taken 3 (I love Liam Neeson), so we decided to go out. There’s a Chili’s next door to our movie theater so I went to their website to see what was up.

They just revamped the whole thing, and they added a bunch of tasty lighter choice options. Bonus! They’ll substitute, too.

It was hard, because I always get the chicken crispers. It was hard not to default to that. But, we were good. I got the Mango-Chile Chicken, subbed the rice for potato wedges and the steamed broccoli. Party Boy had a small cut of steak and broccoli.

Again, full, but not stuffed. I didn’t stress or over analyze every bite. Just enjoyed the meal.

Sidenote: We really like Taken 3. And we didn’t even look at the concession stand.

Challenge #3 – The lies we tell ourselves.

A little sugar never hurts, right?


And salad bars aren’t always a good thing.

We went to Jason’s Deli for lunch on Sunday. I was exhausted, and cooking lunch while my family watched like expectant vultures just didn’t sound all that appealing. My back was hurting (don’t know why, but my lower back was all kinds of sore and my hamstrings were way tight. Ugh).

We ordered the salad bar. And that’s when I discovered that I like the salads I make better than theirs. Huh. The avocado makes a big difference in my salad enjoyment.

I used their balsamic. I decided to just turn a blind eye to the probable inclusion of sugar.

And I had a muffin. It was tiny! Okay, maybe a couple of muffins. They’re really little!

And, it turns out sweet enough to make may mouth feel like it had a coating of glaze. It was unpleasant. I didn’t enjoy it. Party boy had a small plate with a small scoop of banana pudding. It’s his favorite, and he showed great restraint. He didn’t eat much of it. Too sweet.

And Monday, we paid. It was serious sugar hangover. Neither of us slept well Sunday night. We were grumpy and out of sorts on Monday morning. And Monday afternoon we hit the slumps. The slumps that we shook last week.

So. Not. Worth. It.

We’re back on track now. And feeling better.

What I learned…

1. We used to eat way too much sugar.

2. The food we eat really does have more effect on us than just extra pounds.

3. This style of diet probably needs to be a forever way of life, with some caveats. I’ll write a little more about that later, though.

Now that I can say I am cleanly back on the wagon, I need to figure out this coming weekend. Failure to plan is planning to fail, right?

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