A book review and GIVEAWAY!

Happy Weekend Y’all!

Recently I read one of the greatest nutrition resource books!  It is sensible, easy-to-read, practical, adaptable, and humorous.

The title would make you think that A) You have to be a woman to want to read it, and B) You have to be interested in losing weight.  But I’m here to tell you that it is not the case!

The title, Trim and Healthy Mama, simply tells you about the authors.  They are both trim and healthy Mamas!  😉  They talk about their journeys with food and share a wealth of information.  (www.trimhealthymama.com)

Here’s an excerpt:

One Size Does Not Fit All

This Trim Healthy Mama approach is fluid. It moulds easily to all personalities. It’s not only for

women who are able to resist junk food and naturally have a lot of will power. You don’t have to

be a scratch cook or a granola mom. In fact, if food is your weakness, that’s okay. If you’re the

indulgent type, it’s a good thing, because many of the meals we want you to eat are designed

to be just that—indulgent.

We want to help you customize your own way of eating that works for you and your family.

We don’t agree with stringent food programs you can never vary. As sisters, we have very different

personalities. Our households run differently, and while our core eating philosophy is the

same, we’re not identical twins when it comes to food.

I love that!

My philosophy on food has always been to find balance for yourself.

What works for one person just might be the death of another!

Research!  Seriously, do the work!  Don’t depend on Jenny Craig, Vegetarians, or anyone else to do the research for you and just assume it’s going to work for you.  (And then get upset when it doesn’t!)

Read.  Dig. Search.

It’s your body.  You know it best.  Listen to it!

Here’s another tidbit from the book:

A carb conscious approach to food, rather than a constant low-carb diet, is crucial to long

term health because most of us cannot constantly live on a very low-carb diet and remain

healthy. It is not long before glycogen (stored glucose in the liver and muscles) becomes

depleted and stays that way. This can lead to a lack of energy. Also, long term, very low-carb

diets can sometimes lead to other complications like a more sluggish thyroid and metabolism.

This is why our plan works. We promote an inclusive diet, rather than an exclusive one. It

includes all three essential macronutrients—fats proteins and carbs, even certain amounts of

starchy carbs. We can enjoy all three and stay slim.

Well I don’t know about you, but they got me at “inclusive”.

I don’t like feeling deprived.

I like feeling healthy!

And I’d like to add, SKINNY does NOT equal HEALTHY!

In addition,….

This book contains some FABULOUS recipes!

It accommodates food intolerances and offers resources.  The recipes include everything from breakfast eggs, smoothies, muffins, bread in a mug, meatloaf, spicy chicken wings, and cheeseburger pie to chocolate nut slab, macaroons, and peanut butter chocolate cookies!

And this weekend,…..I have the honor of being able to give all of you the chance to win a copy of Trim and Healthy Mama!!

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me one activity you do that makes you feel healthy.  Maybe it’s walking, biking, hiking, crossfit,……just tell me one thing.

That’s it!

One lucky person will be chosen on Sunday evening and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 4!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

I think God made a mistake….. ?

Do you know a family that homeschools?

Are you a homeschooler?

Have you ever wondered why some people choose to homeschool their children?

Well, I’m here to tell you that the first time God “called our family to homeschool”, that’s what we Christians say when we feel like God is asking us to do something that He feels is a good idea, I told my husband, “Honey, I think God has made His first mistake!”   (NOT)

See, my husband was a principle of a private school, I (among other things) was an Early Childhood Education major in college, and I personally come from a long line of public school teachers.  So, I just knew, that little nagging thought, that tug I felt on my heart, that “calling” I heard from God, HAD TO BE A MISTAKE.  (NOT!)

You know what I’m sayin’?

When,….you think about something, not sure why.

Then, …. You see it, everywhere.

All of sudden,…. It’s what you hear about on the radio and on the television every. single.time. you. turn. it. on!

You might want to consider that God is trying to get your attention.  😉  Just sayin’.

Well, I prayed about it.  Okay, so I asked God to ‘knock it off’ and pick someone else.  Please.

Then, my husband came home talkin’ about it. (See, told ya.)

So, I prayed about it some more.  This time, the ‘right’ way…..asking for an email signed by the Holy Spirit or somethin’.  😉

And,….we decided we should just go for it.  I mean, how bad could I REALLY screw up my kids in 9 months.    (that’s a joke)

Anyway, not that God was surprised, but, it turned out pretty darn good.

Long story short, we’ve been homeschooling on and off, praying each year about each one of our children and following God’s lead.

This year, I’m homeschooling our 12-year-old daughter and so far, we’ve been having a great time.

Does that mean that every day, we do it perfectly? No.

Does that mean that every day, we lead this perfectly harmonious day while the blue birds sing and the mice do our chores?  No.

Homeschooling can sure be fun, but it is NO joke.  It takes time, dedication, perseverance, effort, self-less-ness, humility, patience, gentleness, organization, preparation,….did I say patience?

Any who……

Some days, you just think, I would love to hang out with my girlfriends, grab a cup of coffee, go to TJ Maxx, chat, giggle, and just hear someone say, “Girl, I get it!”  Some days, you yearn for someone to hug you and say, “It’s okay, tomorrow is a new day, I’m praying for you.”

Well, there IS a place to do some of those things!

It is the Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit!

summit photo

This year, The Summit is expanding and having 2 locations!  One in Oklahoma and one in my home state, TEXAS!    *Can I get a WOOHOO?!!?!  😉

The Texas Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit will be in the beautiful and historical town of San Marcos at the Embassy Suites on January 24-25, 2014.

And get this,….they are GIVING AWAY  a Summit pass AND a hotel stay!!  **Can I get another WOOHOO??!!!  😉

 

This is what YOU need to do:

1)**YOU NEED TO COMMENT ON THIS POST BECAUSE YOU COULD BE A WINNER!!**  (Well, if you’re a homeschool mom, you’re already a winner, but you know what I mean.)  😉

2) Check out the The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit website and registration page, and the Facebook page.

3) That’s it!  How easy is that???!!!

You can read some more posts about how refreshing the Summit was at The Pennington Point and The Marathon Mom from mothers who have attended in the past.  *Disclaimer: I have actually only dreamed of going,….BUT, y’all leaving comments could make my dream, AND yours, COME TRUE!!!

So please, leave me a comment!  **The deadline is Oct. 11, 2013**

* Tell me where you’re from (you don’t have to be from Texas or Oklahoma to attend) and that you followed your 2 assignments listed above or that this was just a really great post! 😉 (that’s not a joke)

Praying I see YOU, on January 24-25 at The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit in San Marcos, Texas!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena

The World’s Easiest, no-mess, BEST play dough EVER!!!

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So, what does one homeschooling mother with a very efficient child do?

Well, when she’s done with her Math, she let’s her make play dough!  😉

Some twenty years ago, I began a quest for a recipe for play dough.  It took me a few years,  several pounds of flour, and a few pounds of salt, but I got it!

So, for about 15 years now, I’ve been making our own play dough.

Today, as my 12-year-old was making it for the first time, on her own, I realized that I have not shared this recipe with you yet.

So, if you are looking for a quick fix to some boredom issues, or a fun activity for practicing measurements, I’ve got it! 😉

It really only takes a few minutes to make and provides WEEKS of fun!! That’s right, it takes A LOT for this play dough to dry out!  Unless of course you leave it out on purpose for over 24 hours or in the sun.   *sigh*

We hope you have as much with it as we do!

First, find a pot that you can easily stir in.

Then, add all of the following ingredients:

2 C all purpose flour (given the nutritional value, you’re not wasting anything! ;))

1 C salt (like Dollar Tree salt)

3 T Cream of Tartar (if you buy in bulk, it’s WAY cheaper!)

2 C water

2 T oil (again, Dollar Tree)

*Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the dough begins to pull away.

*Remove from heat, dump on your workspace, and knead.

**It will be hot at first, but will cool quickly.

**At this point, you can color it.  We’ve used unsweetened Kool Aid packets in the past, they give it color and scent.  Today, we added a few drops of food coloring and almond extract.  So, whatever you’ve got, try it out! 😉

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Keepin’ it real,

Elena 🙂

Mother of 8 bares all!

I told you I was going to bare all, and I have realized how BIG that is!  I’m not even sure I could do that in a blog post,…..but I’ll give it a small shot.

See, I grew up in a “not perfect” home.  You too?  Whew!  *If you didn’t, I’d love to meet you!*

On the outside, I smiled.  I always smiled. In fact, I had a friend in high school who called me, “Smiley”. 🙂

Are you one of those people?  Are you always smiling regardless of what’s going on in your life?  Okay, maybe I’m just seriously crazy.   Well anyway, I’m that girl.

My theory,….just because I’m mad or frustrated with someone doesn’t mean I have to take it out on everyone else.  No, my life is not perfect, but I firmly believe that no matter what I’ve got going on, there is ALWAYS someone out there who has it worse, therefore, I have NOTHING to complain about.  I am simply grateful for everything and everyone in my life.  That’s just how I roll.

When I told my children the title of my next post, …. Eyes grew large, eyebrows were raised, and I got one, “Gee, I’m glad I don’t read your blog.”   (I think I was offended amused.)

See, as a mother of eight children, ….. I get asked A LOT of questions, A LOT!

Some of the most common/amusing are:

“Are they ALL yours?”  (yep)

“Any sets of twins?”  (nope)

“How do you do it?”  (I don’t)

“Did you REALLY give birth to all of them?”  (yep)

“Do you homeschool too?”  (Yes, when God calls me to it, I do!)

“Wow!  You have eight kids, and you are still smiling!?!?!!”  (this is a good one!)

*I’ve said to my children, “I’d love to see the picture in people’s heads when they hear I’m the mother of eight children.  It must be an awful picture of some miserable woman because they always seem so surprised that I’m happy.”

I also receive A LOT of comments.   Some, very unwanted,…all unsolicited.

“You know, there IS a way to stop this.”  (yep.)

“You do know what’s causing this right?”  (duh)

“You must be Mormon or Catholic.”  (Sorry to disappoint, neither.  Born again Christian, thank you.)

“Girl, you need this wine WAY more than me!”  (maybe)

One time, an Avon lady stopped by our home, knocked at the door and said, “I see you have a daycare here (toys in the yard), so I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a fundraiser!?!?”  (I don’t think so.)

**You CANNOT imagine the laughs I’ve gotten from some of these!!

However, …. I also have to admit that once, ONLY ONCE, I was so “all done” with the questions and comments (and I was having a bad day), I DID reply with more than a polite smile.  In fact, I down right embarrassed the guy.  (Okay, he deserved it.  And besides, my husband IS a good looking man!)

Anyway,…….

The bottom line is, it is all relative.

Yes, I have eight children.  All of which I received one at a time.  (God bless Kate Gosselin.)

Whether you have eight children, three children, one child, no children,……your situation is just right for YOU!

How do I know that?  Well, I know that each and every one of us is created for a purpose.  Mine might be to be a mother of eight children and yours might be to be that amazing person who runs a medical center or programs a computer or defends our country!  I can’t do your job and you can’t do mine.  And that is okay.

Whatever you are called to do, just be the best you can be!

Now, typically, when people ask me, “how do you do it?”  I respond, “I don’t.  I just show up every day and let God do the rest.”  🙂

But for you, my very special readers,….I am going to share my top tips that I use (and anyone can use) to get through a busy day filled with children (or work, or whatever you do) in order to not completely lose your mind.  😉

1)      Plan ahead!  Whether it’s meals, budgeting, travelling, …… plan ahead!  I firmly believe that when you do not plan ahead, when you are not organized, it will ALWAYS cost you time and money!

2)      Have a schedule/routine. Even if you don’t stick to it faithfully, at least you’ll have a guide and know where to “jump back in” if you get off track. Okay, so I’m a little “structured”.  I have schedules posted, specific ways to do things, and I make lists for everything!  *When my oldest was in First grade, his teacher said she needed to make sure all of the students remembered everything she had told them that day.  My sweet son said, “You should call my mommy, she can teach you how to make a list.”  😉  *don’t worry, cancer taught me about being ‘flexible’.  *sigh*

3)      Know your strengths AND your weaknesses.  I have always been a “reactor”.  So, that makes me prone to be a “yelling mom”.  I know, I hate it.  I’m just full of energy, loud, and so I’m passionate,…..about everything.  However, I’m very good at admitting my weaknesses, apologizing, and working hard at changing.  My ultimate goal is to model Christ-likeness as much as possible.  After all, some people will never know the love of Jesus except through me, and I want them to see that He is a generous, loving, gracious, and merciful God.

4)      Try new things.  Remember, if you keep on doing the same thing the same way,…you ARE going to get the same results!  Try something new and see what happens!  😉

5)      NEVER GIVE UP!  I may be a lot of things, but I’ll tell you one thing, I was raised by one determined woman who worked hard and taught me to NEVER give up!  My kids translate that to “go BIG or go home”,….. and we typically have some type of competition going on,……. BUT you only have one life to live,…..so LIVE IT WELL!  😉

Do I do it all perfectly every day?  Oh heck no!  And I live with nine other people who will confirm that.   I am not perfect, nor will I ever be, and I am a sinner.”    *Sorry to let y’all down, but this is the real deal!

I am always on the go, I usually have several projects going, and I’m known to forget to eat and get frazzled when my blood sugar drops and I just can’t think.  Ugh, I hate that too. Fortunately, I love to cook, so there is always something yummy I can grab quickly and keep on going!  😉

BUT,…..you can bet, without a doubt, that I will be there for you when you need me.  You can bet, without a doubt, that if you need a cheerleader, I’m your gal!  You can bet, without a doubt, that if I can help someone in some way, I will.

I love my family, I love my God, and I love my life!  I’m the mom rockin’ out in the car to some really cool Christian tunes, singing out loud, and not embarrassed when the guy at the stop light is staring.  😉

I will do everything I can to live my life to bring glory and honor to my wonderful savior, Jesus Christ.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

Coconut Oil Giveaway WINNER announced!

Today is the day!!  Today the winner of my very first giveaway will be announced!

But before I do that, I want to make sure you know about the upcoming post, which is actually going to be something I think you’ll want to tell your friends about!

See, as a mother of eight children, I get asked A LOT of questions, especially once they find out that we’ve had one child with cancer, we’ve home schooled on and off as the Lord leads us, and all of our family lives hundreds and thousands of miles away.

Therefore, my next post is going to be a “tell all”!  Guess we’ll see if my older kiddos read my blog or not!   😉

Whether you have one child, eight children, or no children at all, THIS POST WILL BE FOR YOU!

Now, on to why you are really reading this today,……..

winner is

Ginger McDonald!  Congratulations Ginger!!  Please email or message me so that I may get your prize to you!

Thank you everyone for participating in my very first giveaway!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

My first give away!!!!

I LOVE COCONUT OIL!    (Want some for FREE??)

I use it every single day.

I cook with it.

I bake with it.

I clean my face with it.

I put it in my hair.

I put it in my tea.

I.LOVE. IT!  (Wouldn’t you like some for FREE??–READ ON!!)

Don’t you??

What do you do with it?

What would you like to do with it?  (Especially if you got a whole quart for FREE?!?!!!)

Have you ever even tried it?

Well,….check out the following links!  (and read on!!!)

What is Virgin Coconut Oil: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/what_is_virgin_coconut_oil.htm
How to Use Coconut Oil: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/how-to-use-coconut-oil.htm

Tropical Traditions, my favorite company for coconut oil has given me a quart of Gold Label Coconut Oil to give to YOU!!!  http://www.tropicaltraditions.com

NOW,….HOW DO YOU GET SOME FOR YOURSELF FOR FREE????

1)  Go here:   http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/virgin_coconut_oil.htm  and check it out!

2)  Come back here and leave a comment about what you will use your FREE coconut oil if you are the winner!

3)  For another entry, like our page on Facebook, and come back here and tell me you did!

4)  For TWO ENTRIES, share this post on your wall.  *Don’t forget to come back and tell me about it! 😉

*** A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, August 21 and announced right here!***

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under NO obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product!  I just LOVE it!  😉

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

Cancer in our home and how YOU can help!

I grew up with two working parents, eating a lot of foods made from scratch (but a lot of processed foods as well), and one dream, …. I wanted to be a mother.

I am now blessed to be the mother of 8 beautiful children here on earth (1 in heaven) and I have an amazing husband who has given me an amazing life!

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s been all roses.  In fact, we’ve had our share of challenges; things that my husband would categorize as “Cadillac problems” and things that we would consider absolutely life changing.

See,….five years ago today, one of our eight children was diagnosed with leukemia.

He was 8 years old at the time, and going into fourth grade.

He had been a healthy little boy, no major traumas, no major illnesses ……needless to say, we were shocked.

We were devastated.

Our world changed in a matter of seconds, in fact, it was shattered.

We had been having a great summer and life was movin’ right along.

Then, my son noticed that he had a few bruises that hadn’t been there the day before.  He didn’t feel sick, although he did have a slight cough, but he had asthma, so that was ‘normal’.

However, on that fateful day, as he played outside with his siblings, he went from a few bruises, to over 20!  They just kept spontaneously appearing, and they didn’t hurt.  He began to look like a little dalmation puppy.

He became nervous, as did I, and like any good mother of this century would probably do, ….. I consulted ‘google’.  I didn’t like what I found, but I didn’t share it with him, instead, I called his doctor.

LONG story short,……

The doctor instructed us to be at her office FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.

What started out as a 20 minute appointment,  turned into a life-changing event.

Her words (the doctor, whom we love and consider a dear friend) were, “I have bad news, really bad news.”   She continued to tell us what they discovered (in a matter of minutes since he was so sick) and as he sat on my lap, my little son turned to me and asked, “Mommy, did she just say I have cancer?”

That day will FOREVER be engrained in my mind.

We walked into the appointment thinking we’d be done within an hour and instead, ended up staying in the hospital for over a week.

My dear husband had to go home and break the news to our other children, all by himself, while I stayed at the hospital learning a whole new language and experiencing a whole new world.

The days were long and the nights seemed even longer.

Were we going to lose him?  I just couldn’t bear the thought.  But I knew it was a possibility.

I spent every minute during the day focused on our son and getting an education that many parents wish they never knew at all.

I spent every minute of many nights on my computer trying to learn everything I could to get him better, prevent the same thing from happening to one of our other children, and praying.

As I read, I learned about eating whole grains, organic fruits and vegetables,….I learned that sugar feeds cancer!

I had already known that our diets needed changing; and we had already started transitioning to some of those foods before our son was diagnosed. But, I knew we needed to do more. (Disclosure: I am NOT blaming food for his illness!)

I continued to read, research, and learn.

I read, learned, and studied about anything and everything that would help get our son healthy and/or prevent him from getting worse. I vowed to do whatever it took, above and beyond what any doctor was already doing to save my son.  Most of all, I was praying that God would spare his life, knowing, that it might not be God’s will to do so. I accepted that, but I had to do whatever I could.

My mission to help save my son became my life.  It was real, permanent change that needed to occur, and I was determined to achieve it.

I enrolled in distance learning to become a certified Holistic Health Coach, and I studied furiously.

Since that time, I’ve learned even more from life experience and most of all, God.

I did become a certified Holistic Health Coach.  We do eat a very different diet now than we did before our son was diagnosed.

I firmly believe in BALANCE.

I firmly believe that FOOD SHOULD BE THY MEDICINE.

I firmly believe that although all of the things I did, all of the things the doctors did, and all that science provides HELPED save my son’s life,….it was God, ONLY GOD, who CHOSE TO HEAL HIM.

Our son is now 13 and doing well.  Praise God!

He is cancer-free, but still goes for frequent check-ups and will have an oncologist the rest of his life.

I know there are some people who would never even consider chemotherapy or radiation.

I know there are some people who would never even consider NOT getting chemotherapy or radiation.

I think that each family must decide what’s right for them, and I respect their decision.

Every day, I still pray for the doctors and nurses who give of themselves to help families at the children’s hospital.

I pray for the families going through these trials, even though I may not know them, because I know God does.

Every day, I thank God for the time I have with my children, every one of them, for I know now, better than ever, that each day is ever so precious and should not be taken for granted.

It breaks my heart to see children struggling through chronic illnesses and parents struggling to support them emotionally and make ends meet financially.

But today, I want you to know that I am SO grateful to God for sparing our son’s life and for all that the doctors and nurses did for him and our family!

Today is a gift, a gift I humbly accept.

** During my son’s time of severe illness, he started a fund to help families in need, it’s named “Be Positive for CHaD (Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth) kids”.  You can google it and donate by looking for “Cam’s story”.  PLUS, anyone who is interested in my services or Thirty-One products this month, PLEASE let me know! ALL proceeds will be going to his fund.

** “Even when you can’t help yourself, you can always help someone else….pray for them.”

Our lives have changed dramatically in the last 5 years, and it’s been a learning experience.

Whatever your experiences have been, use them to help someone else, it’s one of the best gifts you can give someone.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena   😉

Christmas in July!

gift

Is it Christmas in July???

Sure seems like it!  😮

Christmas is a gift, right?  Well, after growing up in the south,… on the beach I might add,…..and now living in the Northeast, summer is a REAL gift to me!!!

I LOVE SUMMER!!!

Summer means sunshine, beach time, cook outs, gardening, berry picking, and flip flops EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!     Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!   😉    WOOHOO!!!!!

After a LONG winter, my body is happily making vitamin D, my skin is darkening with each sun-filled day, and fresh fruits/vegetables are in abundance!!!  I LOVE SUMMER!!!

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Now, I don’t know how you schedule your summer, but I have very specific goals for summer!

This summer, my children are working on:

1)      Math facts

2)      Spanish vocabulary

3)      Etiquette and Biblical Femininity

4)      Bible Verse memorization

Personally, I am spending more time reading, writing, and enjoying my business.

What am I reading?

Right now,….

1)      Passionate Housewives Desperate For God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald (it’s a re-read for me because it’s SO good!!)

2)      The Resolution (the book that goes with the movie “Courageous”—again, a re-read and re-dedication to my husband and family)

3)      For new recipes and WODs (Work Out of the Day), my latest acquisitions are “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso and “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo

4)      For knowledge and helping my clients, “Digestive Health with Real Food” by Aglaee Jacob (remember (?) I’m a health and lifestyle coach)

** I LOVE to read**  😉

As far as enjoying my business,….

I am writing more, developing more meal plans, working on my ‘techie’ skills, helping people get more organized with my newest tools made by an awesome company called Thirty-One (remember (?) I’m a health AND lifestyle coach), and assisting people in their journey of health and wellness.

Summer has really just started, but, I’ve been planning this summer for so long, my children and I are off to a running start!

That may seem like a lot, but really, it all comes down to one thing.  One goal.

Loving my family and enjoying every possible moment with them; and helping others  while glorifying God through it all!

What are you doing this summer??  I’d love to hear about it!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

Learn Something New Every Day

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“Learn something new every day”, a motto I live by, just ask my kiddos…..I say it all of the time.  Even if you mess up, learn from it.

So as I’ve traveled this road of a “Whole 30”, I’ve learned and confirmed, quite a few things.

1)      Doing a Whole 30, or any other endeavor, is harder to do alone.  Having a support network or someone to do it with you is better.

2)      I used to eat a lot of cheese.

3)      I love vegetables, especially sautéed in coconut oil.  Yum!

4)      I now appreciate and enjoy sunbutter.

5)      I can drink black coffee and enjoy it without gagging.

6)      Seafood makes me happy. I feel healthy, happy, and “light” even after a full meal.

7)      I can live without cheese.  *Prefer not to, but I can survive.

8)      It is a challenge to do a Whole 30 when you are the momma and your husband and children are not doing it with you,…..

9)      Meal planning is essential.

10)   When planning to do a Whole 30, account for parties and stress,…..it could really throw you off!

And now, my latest update on how my Whole 30 is going and how my 30-day squat challenge is going….

I could lie.  I could tell you how wonderful it is, how it’s so easy, how you should do it too,…….

But that’s not me.

And,……

I could go on and on.

I could give you a list of excuses.

I could tell you that being the momma of 8 kiddos who eat 24/7, having a hubby who works endless hours to provide for us, living 20 minutes from the grocery store, OR dealing with a birthday and a graduation is all to blame,……………but it’s not.

This last week, I just wasn’t thinking.

huh girl

My meals were planned, my house was stocked, and I just wasn’t thinking……
My daughter chose one of her birthday foods to be corn on the cob, a no-no on a Whole 30, and well, without the blink of an eye,……I ate it.

Maybe my brain was just thinking, “it’s a vegetable”.   ??

Maybe my brain wasn’t thinking at all.

I just ate.

Needless to say, I “fell off of the cart”.

I was devastated.  I wanted to cry.

You see, the whole point of a Whole 30 is to be perfectly consistent in order to let your body reset itself.  If you cheat, at all…… you’ve blown it.  No. Cheating. At. All.

So, guess what I did?

Yep, I said, “to heck with it”.
How often do you hear that on a blog?

I decided that I’ll need to plan better and try again another time.

I considered just starting my Whole 30 all over again the next day, but I was just an emotional mess due to my screw up.  (I’m usually my worst enemy….can you identify?)

The good news,………..

I’m kickin’ butt (no pun intended) on my 30-day squat challenge!!!  I’ve lost almost a whole inch on my thighs and hips!  My pants feel comfortable and loose and it gets easier every day!

Now, many of you have asked, “what program are you following”?  Well, here it is:

30 day squat challenge

Today I’m at 105, and I am so psyched to be able to say, “I did it”!!!

So, as I move forward, my plan is to complete my 30-day squat challenge, continue with my gluten-free (almost grain free) eating plan, and continue doing what I do,……”always strive for balance, learn something new every day, and Praise God for every single second”!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena   😉

WEEK 1 — Whole 30 – Complete!

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Woohoo!  Today is day 7 of my Whole 30 challenge, and I’m goin’ strong!

I can’t lie, I’ve missed a few foods, but over all, really not a big deal.  I think it’s more of the “I can’t have it right now, so I really want it” mentality.

I’m also chuggin’ right along on my 30-day squat challenge and today I did 75 squats…..whew! It’s hard to imagine that by the end of the 30 days, I’ll be up to 160 squats a day!

I have to admit, I know it’s only been a week, but I am noticing a few changes in my body.

I’ve noticed that my breakouts are clearing nicely and my rosacea is much more calm; my psoriasis is doing ‘something’, by that I mean, it’s not as bad but my skin feels very tight (not sure what that means, but I’ll be keeping tabs on that); my chest and waist are definitely changing too, my clothes are fitting differently (not like crazy weight loss, more like a little loss with redistribution);  my cravings are changing; and lastly, I’m also sleeping really well and when I wake up, I feel very refreshed.

Have you joined me yet?  You can jump in any time…..  😉

The biggest tip I can give you is, BE PREPARED!

When I’m not prepared, I just want to fill my face with anything that’s convenient, not good.  So it’s really important to have the kitchen stocked with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins that are easy to prepare or eat “as is” (like boiled shrimp), and keep avacados close by.   *One of my favorite snacks has been half of an avacado with lime juice on it (one time I also added a tablespoon of fresh pico de gallo—YUM!) and 2 oz. of cooked chicken or turkey.

Since being prepared is my biggest tip, I thought I’d share my menu ideas to help you plan for the week. I hope you enjoy it and get some inspiration.

Breakfast:

  • 2 eggs with veggies sauteed in coconut oil, salt/pepper to taste
  • Smoothie with one banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of sliced strawberries and coconut water
  • 1 banana and an apple with sun butter and an 1 oz. chicken/turkey
  • Leftovers

Lunch:

  • Green salad with spinach, lettuce/mesculun, 4-6 oz. diced chicken/turkey or shrimp/beef, sliced almonds, ½ an avacado and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • “Sliced turkey wraps”—the vegetable of your choice (asparagus, red pepper, cucumber…) wrapped in a slice of turkey with some apple slices
  • “Lettuce wraps” –same concept as above only I use romain lettuce as my ‘wrapper’
  • Leftovers

Dinner:

  • Baked chicken with “rice” and roasted veggies (paleo rice is cauliflower “riced” in the food processor and sauteed in coconut oil—it is awesome!)
  • Beef and broccoli stir fry (feel free to add in any extra veggies on hand)
  • Roasted spaghetti squash with coconut oil topped with ground beef and salsa
  • Salmon and roasted veggies with a side salad
  • Leftovers!

Snack:

  • Half of an avacado with lime juice/salsa and 2 oz. chicken/turkey/boiled shrimp
  • 1 banana with sunbutter
  • 1 apple with almond butter
  • Cucumber and red pepper slices with a splash of rice vinegar

I hope you’ve found some inspiration and encouragement today, and I hope you’ll continue this Whole 30 journey with me.  If you’ve completed a Whole 30 before and would like to share some tips, I’d love to hear them!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena  😉