The attempted world domination of Chicken and Broccoli

“But I just get so tired of chicken and broccoli…”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this over the years, I would be able to retire, buy my own island and raise my own chickens and have my own broccoli farm.chx brocc funny

All jokes aside, this is an honest statement; and it was in light of the most recent comment I received on this topic that inspired me to address what is actually a bit of a serious issue.

I am not sure how Chicken and Broccoli became the iconic example of a healthy meal, but somewhere along the line it happened. We try to talk as much as possible about food and healthy choices at the gym, but I think I often forget how many common misconceptions there are out there about how many foods there are that are truly healthy!

I can’t say this loud enough: Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be bland! Quite the contrary actually. Lets take a super simple concept.

Plants and animals.

That is simply what is truly healthy. Within these two simple things are SO many awesome choices, species, colors, flavors, spices…all of which include different amazing nutrients all bundled in a sweet little package perfectly designed by nature to be used by your amazing body…

…if you are only brave enough to disregard the media and try some new things!

I know first-hand that simple and easy are not the same thing. Meaning here, that this is not always easy to implement this simple concept. We are literally bombarded with things like the 500 calorie snack packs and low-fat chemical-and-sugar shit storms that are marketed to us as from all angles as the “healthy choices.” Take Cheerios, for example. The box is stamped with “May Help Lower Cholesterol” right on the front. This is a misleading health claim on its own, and the unfortunate reality of this marketing technique is that Cheerios are full of the things that are actually truly linked to heart disease.  Accompanied now by “Gluten Free” so it must be healthy right?

cheerios

 

It is no wonder people get confused…

Lets talk low-fat for a minute. The demonizing of fat has been going on since the late 1980’s. (Which I have also come to believe is about when Chicken and Broccoli began its attempt at world domination.)

The unfortunate truth is that since the low-fat craze took off, American citizens have only gotten fatter and sicker, as a whole.

So I ask you now to pretty much ignore whatever the media and the government tells you to eat. This will take a bit of re-programming. I ask you instead to think about the way nature has worked for millions of years. This planet produces everything we need to be healthy, and none of it comes from a package made in a lab with preservatives to make it shelf stable.

(Hidden shopping tip alert! This means real food is supposed to go bad!)

Let me tell you about when I discovered chicken thighs. The first time I passed over the ever-favored-but-oh-so-dry chicken breast and grabbed the neglected pack of thighs from the back of the shelf was nothing short of monumental for my taste buds. I never knew chicken could taste so moist and, well, chicken’y!

I think I am fortunate in the sense that I like to cook. But I still had to learn! I had to try new things, I had to fail. Repeatedly. Just ask my husband. We ate a lot of Hamburger Helper and burned peas.

But amidst all those failures were some successes, and many lessons about what tasted good together. This is also likely something you are going to have to do for yourself. And we are blessed with a wealth of information at our fingertips!

(Hidden cooking tip alert! GOOGLE! And if a recipe looks too complicated, skip it. Keep it simple! You don’t have to make everything look like a gourmet meal.)

In case you can’t tell, I like tips. And lists of tips. So here is a no-bullshit list on the subject of cooking and trying new things:

  • Put your big-kid panties on. Seriously. I don’t care if you think you don’t like veggies or think  you can’t cook.
    • Find just one veggie you like and eat it until you get sick of it then try a new one. Then keep trying stuff!
    • Find a way to cook veggies so that they taste good for you.
    • Butter. 🙂
  • Herbs and spices. Make them your friends! I promise, once you quit eating hyper-pallatable crap that comes from a box or a can, real food will start to taste differently. For the better!
  • Lets talk about fat…again. Because you need to hear this and you need to know what the good stuff truly is. Fat = Energy. Fat = Flavor!
    • If it comes from an animal (the way God and Mother Nature intended) that was raised properly (the way God and Mother Nature intended) then it is good for you. Eat it.
    • There are a few fruits (yes fruits, not vegetables) that are naturally oily and these are good fat choices as well; eat them. Short list:
      • Olives
      • Avocados
      • Coconuts
    • Do NOT choose vegetable oils, canola oils, corn oils or seed oils. These are oils you can’t make in your own kitchen, they require chemical processing and a factory to produce and do not belong in your biological human body. If you have some around your house, trash it. If you can’t bring yourself to trash it, it would make good lamp oil, possibly for a squeaky door hinge or wherever WD-40 would otherwise be used.
  • Don’t be afraid to mess up! Keep trying. Then try again. Most of us learn things like this by DOING, not reading recipes or blog posts 😉

And for good measure here are a couple of other super simple recipes, and a couple of links to things I make a lot!

Simple Curry Stir-Fry

  • Handful or two of meat of choice (Or eggs for a breakfast type scramble)
  • Diced asparagus
  • Chopped cabbage
  • Chopped onions
  • Cashews
  • Yellow Curry powder to taste
  • 1 TBS coconut oil
  • salt pepper to taste

I usually sauté the onion, meat  and cabbage in the oil for a few minutes before adding my asparagus. (Asparagus cooks super fast) Then add the asparagus and spice with curry powder and salt to taste. (I never measure, I add some and taste it then add more if needed!) If you are doing eggs, add them very last!

Quick (and pretty) Salad

  • 1 diced bell pepper (any color but green, more flavor!)
  • 1/2 C Finely chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 diced carrot (2 if small)
  • 1 diced cucumber (1/2 if big)
  • Meat of choice (I go to a can of tuna, salmon or chicken thighs…whatever I have around and ready is how I decide…)
  • Balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 C, depending on how big your salad gets)
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil

I just throw all this in a bowl and usually eat it over 2 meals. Making it the night before is awesome because it marinates in that vinegar. Yum! Lemon Juice instead of vinegar is awesome too, as is homemade mayo as the dressing!

5 Ingredient Pizza Pie from Paleomg – this is SO easy and my go-to for potluck type settings!

I really hope this helps some of you! Stay healthy friends.

~Lindsay

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The Cost of Health?

food blogAround this time of year, I get a statement from my bank, detailing my purchases on my debit/credit cards over the course of the year. I always find it interesting to look back and see where my money goes, and this year the longest list is by far for groceries. My first initial reaction was, “wow I spent a ton of money on food!” But as I kept looking over this statement, I realized that the bulk of my money really does go into other things…various household bills/insurance, etc. Most of you know this song and dance.

The more I thought about it and started breaking it down in my head, I realized that it was only around 10% of my income that actually went to food. I am even accounting for purchases that were made outside of this particular account…in my case, this includes the grass-fed beef that we buy in bulk. Ten percent, in the grand scheme of things, seems so small. Especially where our health and nourishment is concerned.
One of the things I hear most when I get on my “healthy eating” soapbox…eating like this (ie: eating organic and buying wild raised meat) is expensive. Yes, it is more expensive when you put it right next to the cost for the conventional produce and meats. But there are some things we can learn here.

  • You are not spending the extra money on the cheap snacks or junk food. These things add up! If you just drink water, you are not buying soda or juice, so that saves money right there.
  • In 1901, about 40% of a household income went to food.
  • In the 1950s, a mere generation ago, it was about 34%.
  • Fast-foward to a more familiar 2002-2003, and it was 13%.
  • The last report I could find was from 2010 where food had dropped down to 9.8%.
  • During this time, what has happened to our health? Lets look at just one chronic condition; type 2 diabetes. These rates have gone up so much that the name had to be changed from Adult-onset Diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Why? Because too many kids were being diagnosed!
  • What really concerns me is I know too many people who have worked and worked, saving for retirement, only to retire and have their entire lives savings wiped out when they have a heart attack/stroke/cancer. Usually far to early in life.

Fun fact: aging happens inevitably, as the cells in our body are copied and reproduced over and over again. Like a copy of a copy of a copy, the quality of these copies simply decreases over time. The rate of these copies is determined by the stress and demands that our lifestyle puts upon our bodies over the years. If our cells are allowed to make copies at a their normal, homeostatic pace, we should get like 110 years out of our bodies before the copies simply become unreadable and we meet a peaceful end to what should theoretically be nice long life on this earth!

So lets talk about my eating habits and where my 10% went. Do I eat organic and wild meats? Yes, I really do, most of the time, on most things. My priorities towards food quality go to the things I eat a lot of. If I eat eggs 5 days a week, I am going to make sure they are good, free-range eggs from chickens that spend time pecking around outside and in these winter months, are not being stuffed with GMO soy and corn. This is important to me. If I am out at a restaurant, do I go hungry if the salad is not organic and the burger is not grass-fed? Of course not! It is the things we eat/do the most that matter the most.

That 10% really seems nominal when I think about the monthly cost of the now-mandatory health insurance bill. I really find it quite disconcerting that my family pays the same in healthcare costs and the family who is on 5 prescriptions or insulin injections. Apart from well-baby checks, no one in my family has been to the doctor in almost two years.

Please note, I do think there is a time and a place for modern medicine. Two years ago, when I did make my last trip to a hospital, it was because I split my shin open and exposed bone/muscle. I was super grateful for the actions of those medical professionals who helped me clean and dress the wound to help prevent infection. No amount of healthy food and stress management would have fixed this acute injury. (I did not include the photo. You’re welcome. 🙂

Notice that I have now used the terms “chronic” and “acute.” This is where we need to differentiate between the use of hospitals/doctors and the use of say chiropractors/exercise/healthy lifestyle choices. If you fall and break an arm, I hope you are not going to try and treat it with a grass-fed steak and salad. If you have a heart attack, I do hope you get to an ER and a cardiologist, not a gynecologist. However, after the heart attack, are you going to take nutrition/lifestyle advice from that same heart doctor? I hope not. This doctor will have had little to no education in food and nutrition for the body. It would be like calling the fire department back to rebuild your house after they put out the fire. They simply do not have the right tools.

Healing from chronic conditions really is like healing your house after say mold/fire/flood. You have to do some rebuilding on your house and that can start with the food you put into it. Food and the nutrients it provides, are what replenishes all of the cells in your body. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and it replaces the outer layer (the epidermis, the part we see) every 35 days. Every 6 weeks you get a new liver, and every 2 months you get a new brain! Every 5-7 years you actually pretty much get an entire new body. We are amazing creatures! If you give your body what it needs to do all of this, you really can heal yourself from the inside out. The ideal situation would be to just keep the proverbial house clean as the years pass. Basic maintenance if you will. When it comes to the only place you truly have to live, it is in your amazing, wonderfully complicated body. Don ‘t you think you deserve to give yourself and your family the best chance possible?

Year of Firsts

One of the things that stands out in my mind, after losing my dad 6 years ago, was how hard that first year was after his death. I refer to this in my head as the Year of Firsts. With both the approaching dates of our daughters first birthday, as well as the one year mark for when we lost our nephew, my family has once again found ourselves in a Year of Firsts. How bittersweet it has been. IMG_0235
There is truly nothing harder than that first year after loosing someone so close to you. Holidays especially hold a bit of an emptiness to them, as you find yourself going through the motions with nothing to fill the space where a loved one used to stand. Traditions change, lights remain dark, as we stumble around trying to find our new normal. I ran across this statement today, which sparked the urge to write this:

If we don’t transform our pain we will just transmit it.

How profoundly true, and what a hard truth. Everyone grieves and rejoices differently and needs to be allowed to do so. However, I know I am guilty of passing my junk on to the ones I love most. It has been a learning process but I feel I truly am on a path of learning to be at peace with who I am and where I am at. This is something we can all do and I fear that if we don’t, we are just going to continue transmitting the junk we have to others. This world does not need anymore junk!
We have in turn, been fortunate this year to have had to clear out some junk to make space in our lives for a new person. Charlie has kept me grounded and given me purpose over this past year; a year that has tested my marriage, my friendships and more. I am so grateful for her place in my life! She has filled a hole in my life that I didn’t even know was there. Her big heart and strong personality just flow from her little body.
I am also blessed to be in touch with my faith. To a point that I feel I can rejoice a bit in both my blessings and my sorrows. This is the season, so many years ago, when our Father sent his Son to save us all! To give us someone we could see and touch, to lay our path to heaven; where we we will be able gather as a whole family again. Where all of our lost loved ones are waiting. Where we can celebrate together forever as kings and queens. What a gift this is! The true meaning of Christmas is so often lost in what our society has become.
I invite you all to take a moment, regardless of your religious beliefs, and stop telling yourself that “you will be happy when….” To reflect on the giving you are doing this season. To stop seeking happiness in materialistic things and rejoice in the good that is in front of you. To take joy in your children, your spouse, your family and friends…the loved ones who are still here. For they might not be here tomorrow.
Take a moment to think about what you will want from your deathbed. Are you going to wish you had more time to spend on Facebook? Or maybe watch one more episode of your favorite show? Or are you going to wish you had put down your phone and read your child more stories? Or that you had slowed down and taken the time to hug your spouse? I already wish I had more time with my loved ones and I try to remind myself of this often.IMG_0890
So to all of you out there suffering or rejoicing in a Year of Firsts; May your hearts be open to see through the holiday stress to find peace and happiness in the moments that are right in front of you. To those of you who are specifically suffering a loss; I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. But that is not the right choice of words. I feel more like you just get used to it. You do find and settle into your new normal. And to those of you who are fortunate enough to believe in the wonderful Christmas gift our Father gave to us, then rest assured. You know you will see them again.

 

 

Trick or Treat?

Halloween really feels to me like the kickoff to the holiday season. Let’s get right to the point and call it what it really is: The Holiday Season of All Things Sweet and Tempting. There is good news; you can still be healthy and enjoy some holiday treats. There are many things I have learned and here is an important one: You don’t have to enjoy every single holiday treat that comes your way. Pick and choose the stuff that is worth it! Let’s just focus on the upcoming celebration of Halloween.

candyThe truth is, most manufacturers are only out to make money. Unfortunately, when it comes to food products, this hurts more than just your pocket book. They don’t care about quality or your health; they care about how inexpensively they can make a product and how much they can still sell it to you for. Over the years, most ingredients have changed. More sugar, in many different forms, has been added, cheap fillers have been popping up and the things that are sold and fed to us are becoming less and less like food and more and more like a chemistry experiment. Let’s take a look at one of my old favorites: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Straight off of the Hersheys website:

REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups INGREDIENTS:

MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR; COCOA BUTTER; CHOCOLATE; NONFAT MILK; MILK FAT; LACTOSE; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER); PEANUTS; SUGAR; DEXTROSE; SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE)

reesepbsmaller0504This doesn’t look too bad at first. Honestly, it is not even as bad as I had expected. The one good thing this candy has going is that there is at least no high fructose corn syrup in it. But what happens when we break down what’s in it?

MILK CHOCOLATE: (SUGAR (1st ingredient in milk chocolate? What happened to chocolate?); COCOA BUTTER (getting closer…this is the fat separated from a cocoa bean); CHOCOLATE (here it is! Thank goodness…); NONFAT MILK; (dairy-stripped of the fat-which leaves the sugars and proteins that are harder to digest without the fat) MILK FAT (added back in because the nonfat milk was nasty without it); LACTOSE; (a milk sugar-aka more dairy and yet more sugar.) SOY LECITHIN; (an emulsifier. Soy- one of the most genetically modified crops in existence. Soy Lecithin – literally a waste product made after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process.  It contains the solvents and pesticides from the soy crop and ranges in color from dirty tan to reddish brown. But wait! Let’s not waste it, lets bleach it and put it in food! *note sarcasm) PGPR, EMULSIFIER (Short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate…this is a goopy yellowish liquid made from castor beans, used in place of cocoa butter so your chocolate is creamier. One of the aforementioned fillers that cuts costs and increases profits. I even ran across some sources that said “The FDA deemed PGPR safe for humans as long as you restrict your intake to 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.  Otherwise you’d be open to reversible liver enlargement at higher intakes, as shown in animal studies) PEANUTS (here is some actual food at least); SUGAR (because we all need more of that); DEXTROSE (ok, maybe just a bit more sugar); SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE) (TBHQ (also known as E319) stands for Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, which is an antioxidant which keeps the peanut butter from becoming rancid. A quick Wikipedia search says: Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have evaluated TBHQ and determined that it is safe to consume at the concentration allowed in foods. The FDA sets an upper limit of 0.02% of the oil or fat content in foods. At higher doses, it has some negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumors and damage to DNA. My question: What happens if someone eats a lot of Reeses? Cancer does seem to always be on the rise these days…)

Granted, a lot of this is inconclusive and when you see sentences that include “open to” and “linked with” it means that the verdict really is still out on this stuff. There are many reasons for this…such as how most of these food-like substances are still new; making long-term effects undetermined. You also have to think about how many things there are in this world that are linked to something like cancer. To pinpoint one cause of cancer would be nearly impossible. As far as food is concerned, what we eat is supposed to nourish us; it is supposed to make us feel good. It is supposed to come from nature, which means food is supposed to spoil. It is a living thing that feeds our living bodies, to helps us to live better. All of these preservatives that are added to make food last longer on a shelf? Well, when I start having to break down the alphabet in my food, I become hesitant to put it into my body. There are so many questionable things in this world that are out of our control, but we CAN control what we put into our mouths and the mouths of our children.

Halloween-Pumpkins_2560x1600_1192Now I swear I am not out to ruin Halloween. I have no plans to be the mom who will never let my kid trick-or-treat or eat candy. One night here and there is not a big deal. My personal opinion is that the poison really is in the dose. It is when these things become part of routine, or even a regular reward that the problems begin. I have a strong passion and firm belief that the answer to correcting the healthcare crisis is in our children. In order to change our broken system and help turn the health of America around, we have to start teaching our children the correct path. We have to change the reward system! Am I saying to hand out apples this Halloween? Of course not. Nothing screams “Please TP my house” like an apple on Halloween. I usually spend about $25 on Glo-Stix and Silly Putty and most kids get really excited about this. It’s fun, and it doesn’t break the bank. Stick with just Glo-Stix and you can get away from the dollar store for super cheap. Plus, kids get enough candy, so something different stands out a bit.

I am also not going to say I am never going to eat a Reese’s again. Saying something like “Never Again” is negative and sets you up for failure. Plus, I love them too much! (Especially at Easter when they have the eggs with like, double the peanut butter…OMG…) However, if I do decided to eat a peanut butter cup, I am probably going to at least consider one that is organic. (Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups perhaps?) Or better yet, make it myself, with real food and almond butter. The last point I want to stress on this matter is that if you DO decide to have a treat, ENJOY it and MOVE ON! (Please see recent blog post titled On “Cheating” for more on this topic.)

real foodTo conclude here today, I want to step away from the treat topic and focus for a minute on the children. I mentioned above how I think we need to change the reward system. This is something I strongly believe in and want to elaborate on. Just getting kids to eat their vegetables is not enough anymore. We live in a generation where for the first time in history parents have a longer life expectancy than their children. It does not have to be this way, and we have the power to change it!

Birthday parties today don’t just mean cake. The last kids birthday party I went to included cake, ice cream, bowls of several different candies and then a goodie bag full of candy that they sent home with the guests. Sugar, topped with sugar and then some more to take home for later?!? And we wonder why kids have trouble focusing in school… I promise, if you put a birthday cake on a table and surround it with fruit and veggie trays, maybe some snack sized meatballs or a meatza, (meat pizza = best invention ever) NO ONE will miss the bowl of M&Ms or the goodie bag of candy. Why? Real food tastes good! Plus most kids have more fun with balloons and playing together anyways.

So what can we as parents do to encourage healthy eating in our children? Here are some of my own ideas and things I plan to do as my little girl grows up:

  1. Help children learn where their food comes from, who grows it, and why it’s vegetable gardenimportant to share meals with friends and family. This leads right into growing your own food. I am writing this from the Midwest and suspect many of my readers are from the same area. The soil here is awesome. I barely have to pay attention to my garden.
  2. Create your own reward system. I plan to treat Charlie to things she enjoys doing. Good grades may mean a day trip to a water park or a mani/pedi. Kids don’t need a treat, they need time with you. Create an experience with them!
  3. Keep yourself educated. There are TONS of books/podcasts/blogs out there with GREAT information and thanks to the World Wide Web, it is available with a few quick key strokes.
  4. Play games. More and more computer and video games are incorporating food, like DooF (the word ‘food’ backwards), a combination of computer games, videos, and a website where kids can read and learn about food-related topics. DooF takes a comprehensive approach to food, exploring not only the food itself, but also the culture, science, and history behind it. Kids can play “Planet DooF,” geared toward teaching children the origin of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.
  5. Encourage kids to try something new, all of the time. If they don’t like something one week, try again. They are still growing, their taste buds are changing every day! Preparing it differently helps too. Plain steamed cauliflower doesn’t even smell good. If you steam it with some garlic, throw it in a food processor with some butter and salt to make a mash…then you have a whole different thing going on.
  6. Include kids in meal planning. I bet if a child picks out a pretty red bell pepper at the store, they will be more inclined to eat it when they get home. Create shopping lists together, take trips to the grocery store and the farmer’s market…this will help them understand the process of where food comes from and what goes into getting a meal together.
  7. Establish family meal times. This is something I REALLY want to get better at in my own home. I had some wonderful memories of everyone taking their place at the table when I was growing up. My mom used to make us share one good thing about our day over dinner. I was always annoyed about it at the time and now I miss it!

This is just a start…just the opinions of one person. The possibilities are endless! As always, I hope this helps. And if you have hung with me this far, I hope that means you foundIMG_3827 something that you can try for you and your family. I have a strong passion for nutrition and nothing but a desire to give this face —->  the best possible start to her life!

100 Days of Gratitude…30 down!

photo-6Day 19: I am so grateful for the Friday Farmers Market today and the first night off in ages so I could go! Charlie and I braved the heat to stroll the vendors and came home with some great food. Oyster mushrooms and okra filled my plate tonight!

Day 20: I am grateful today just to get to hang out with my family. We don’t get the opportunity to do this as much as I would like and I am just happy to be in a room with the hubby and baby. The hot and cloudy day means we may even have an excuse to do as little as possible. I am grateful for my friend Meghan, who regularly shops for me at Costco and Trader Joes. She just texted me the good news that Costco is carrying avocado oil again. So I guess I am really grateful for avocado oil and a friend who gets me.

Day 21: Grateful for a new dress to wear on this muggy day (thank you again Meghan!). Grateful for family time at church, a picnic, and a birthday dinner for my niece Sayla. Kevin called it an activity filled day 🙂 and I am just really feeling the love for a wonderful weekend with my husband and child! It was so nice to feel connected!

Day 22: Kevin goes back to work today and I am grateful for wonderful babysitters to leave my Charlie with! While I hate being away from my baby, I also love the flutters of excitement I get when I get to pick her up. She is starting to get excited when Kev and I get home after not seeing her for awhile and it just makes my heart leap with joy. Being a mother is simply amazing!

Day 23: Bit of a tough day today. It is amazing how quick we forget things and I had forgotten how hard it is to go a whole day without touching base with my husband. He got home at the end of the day and I was exhausted and on my way to bed. I didn’t want to just rush off to bed and I hate feeling like I have to cram the whole day into a brief conversation. Especially when we have both had heavy things weighing on our minds and hearts. So much going on…too much going on really! I have doubts that humans are meant to handle so much stimulation. So today I am grateful for my faith. Being able to turn to God in these times that cause stress and anxiety makes so much difference in how I handle things.

Day 24: A new day brings a chance for a new attitude and new look at life! Today I am grateful for the gratitude!means to buy tickets to go see my mom for Thanksgiving! It was a relief to get the tickets purchased and now we can focus on the excitement of the upcoming trip. I am also grateful that this is the last day I have to do burpees before the upcoming Burpee Mile event at work! 550 down, 4000 total for the month of August and two glorious rest days…my arms are spent!

Day 25: I am so grateful for my sister-in-law, Lindsey for giving up one of her days off to help watch Charlie! Truly an awesome thing to have family around, but even more awesome when the family is close and there for eachother. I love you sister! (I also feel that the squat rack Steve ordered for the gym deserves an honorable mention. I put it together today and am super excited to use it!)

Day 26: Always grateful for a Friday! I am grateful for an awesome husband who goes out of his way to bring baby to me so I can pump less. I am grateful for a morning with my family before work. I am grateful for being able to come home and have things like ribeye steaks and fresh garden kale for dinner. I am grateful for my friend Meghan and our conversations that I am pretty sure no one else would understand. And finally, I am grateful for the writings of Stephen King. I spent my Friday night in bed at 8:00 with Dr. Sleep.

photo-7Day 27: It’s Burpee Mile Day! And while I am not necessarily grateful for the Burpee Mile, I am grateful for the healthy body that will (hopefully) allow me to do this! As I am writing this before the mile, I will have to update the end results later… I am also super excited and grateful for the trip to see my sister and nephew today too! Celebrating Ethan’s birthday with them will be wonderful. – Update on Burpee Mile (All 4 laps completed, and the only reason I did the 4th lap was because I NEVER want to do this again…My body was CRUSHED for two days!)

Day 28: A wonderful day at the Childrens Museum for Ethans birthday! I so enjoyed the day with my sister and her family. I am grateful for the awesome relationship I have with my sister. She is one of the few people in this world who I feel just “gets” me. Thank you for being you Mally!

Day 29: I am grasping at straws for something today…the end of my SoDak trip was a little rough. I am grateful for my husbands sense of humor today. When I got home he joked that Mallory and I needed to start planning destination get-togethers…We are both inclined to agree! I am also grateful for a wonderful baby who could have made a long drive home even longer, but when she wasn’t sleeping, she was chattering and playing happily. #rockstar

Day 30: So hard coming back to work after a long weekend and always hard to leave the baby! Grateful for a wonderful set of babysitters who watch her in our home. Grateful for homemade mayonnaise, which makes an otherwise boring meal a zesty mouthful of fun. And since we are on food, I am grateful for ground beef. It is versatile, it’s delicious, it fills me up and more importantly, there is still around 20# in my freezer!