Transformation Tuesday Project 2016. Me. Take 1. December 22nd. 

Today a friend challenged me to do something that scares me.
It requires me to be fully bare (well…not FULLY bare, but you know…) and vulnerable. It requires me to believe in myself. 

It requires me to learn to love myself (mostly MY BODY)…where I’m at. This hasn’t always been something that I’ve done with ease. 

Back in July of 2013 when the girls were mere months old, I started working out in my living room more days than not (haha…generally 5x/week, but not always) and I was challenged to post “sweaty selfies” in my very first online accountability group. I was super uncomfortable -borderline not gonna do it. 

It was just my face. But at that point in my life, I hated having my picture taken. I was embarrassed. I would cheese ridiculously (though…I’m still totally guilty of this. Haha) because if you are intentionally looking goofy, then it is okay (even ideal) if you look goofy versus feeling like I had to look “pretty” or be perfectly poised or posed, to have the perfect smile, etc. I was rarely in pics with my kids. I was rarely in pictures at all. That sucks.

But when I’m “in,” I’m ALL IN. So…of course, I took the challenge and I posted the “sweaty selfies” in the group. And you know what!? 

There it was. 


The face that I’ve had my whole life, but that even at (then) 31-years-old was almost scared to see…there it was…staring back at me… And low and behold…I got used to it! Ha! 

Imagine that. I actually began to be able to see ME not just the scar in my eyebrow, the mole on my lip, the lateral tooth that is a little too short and a little too far back, not just the way my upper lip wrinkles or how my nose widens when I smile. Just ME. Ha. Pretty dang tricky. 

From there, it transitioned out of “sweaty selfies” and into pictures of ME with my kids, my husband and even on occasion, just me standing there all by myself. 

So now the challenge deepens.

Challenge: Take a “right now” BODY selfie every week for a year AND SHARE THEM! It has been a weird couple of months and I’m not going to lie, my body and my strength is not at all where I want it to be…but…does that make me less of a person? Nope. Sure doesn’t. It does make me feel less strong…uhm…because I am less strong. Haha. But that will be sorted out. I have really come a loooong way from where I used to be with body image, but I do still struggle. I see my “nose” for a belly button, loose/discolored skin from my pregnancies, my calves that are sorta “cankle-y”. My thighs that have always been a trouble spot, my cellulite on my bum… I could pick myself apart all day long. Isn’t that what society has taught us women to do? Isn’t that what our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, and friends have (perhaps unintentionally) taught us to do? 

Uhm…let’s change that. So, just like I did with my face, I’m going to do it with my body. I’m going to see my body I’m going to get used to it and then I’m going to love the heck out of my entire self. I believe that I will get there. And you guys are going to hold me accountable to it and I hope some of you will do it with me. 

So here is today. Just me. A super professional bathroom mirror selfie with the toilet and our bath towels in the background. Belly button nose and bloated-too-many-goodies “abs” and all. And I’m going to start loving myself a little more…RIGHT.NOW. Get ready for the outside to change as well as I work through fitness programs and get myself back on track with my strength goals too. 

Wanna jump on the train? Love ourselves more. Teach our children to love themselves. It isn’t about how much we weigh. It is about how we FEEL in our skin.
Accountability group starts January 4th. Change your mind. Change your body. Love yourself. 

Foodie Friday 11.6.15: Top Three Clean Eating Meals From This Week’s Meal Plan

Foodie Friday: Top Meals of This Week's Meal Plan

Here we go! So grateful to have had some help in the kitchen this week. Made it so much more enjoyable! Thank you to my mom for some veggie prep on Monday and to my husband for all the help on Thursday and Friday.

All meals served with a simple green salad with carrots, celery, dressed with EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar.

✨Monday’s Coconut Flour Pizza with TONS Veggies and Chicken Sausage✨

I tripled the recipe and made three sm/med pizzas. It fed three adults, a kid that eats as much as an adult, and two pretty hungry toddlers with nearly one full pizza leftover.  I added a touch of dried rosemary, thyme, black pepper, onion flake, garlic powder and sea salt to the dough and used actual eggs instead of flax “eggs”.

While the crust cooked in the oven, I sauteed the onions a bit first then tossed in the mushrooms, zucchini and squash and seasoned them with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, paprika, and chili powder. Once they were cooked, I removed them from the pan, removed the sausage from their casings and sauteed them up. Once done…same thing…removed from pan and then added in the garlic and kale and cooked them in the little bit of goodies leftover from cooking the sausage.

After the pre-cooking of the dough as mentioned in the original recipe, I topped the crust with tomato paste (so simple, but great flavor…I like Muir Glen brand organic tomato paste…and as a note, their cans are BPA free), and then layered on the goodies before throwing it back in the oven for another 10 or so minutes.

We made this a cheese-less pizza and it was amazing, but just for good measure, I added a little cheese to the kids’ pizza (on top of the sauce and under the toppings like a good ol’ fashion pizza). As a final touch, I diced up fresh tomato and tossed them on top of the pizza.


✨Thursday’s Ham and Bean Soup✨

Out the door early today with my little guy to volunteer for a good chunk of the day in his classroom and his school’s library, so Daddy was on duty with dinner prep. He doubled all veggies (and used both rutabaga and parsnips) and used three cans of Great Northern white beans. He also substituted chicken broth for water, added in some bonus seasoning – garlic powder, onion flake, dried thyme and dried rosemary, and used the slow cooker on low for about 7 hours.


✨Friday’s One Pan Mexican Quinoa✨

The hubs was at it again tonight…This time I was lucky enough to have some time for myself tonight to get some work done while my fabulous husband prepped and cooked dinner AND entertained the kids. Swoon. He used 1.5 times the amount of quinoa and broth, doubled the garlic, added 1/2 a diced onion and some bonus seasoning – garlic powder, onion flake and paprika. Also..super important … we RINSED the quinoa first. We also diced up, seasoned (same seasonings as used in the quinoa), and sauteed a couple of chicken breasts to throw on top. Yum.

Foodie Friday: Top Three Meals of This Week's Meal Plan- One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Let me know what you think and share a picture and how you liked them, if you give them a try!!

Comment, like or share this post with someone who may wanna have a few new ideas for meals thrown their way each week! Thanks for checking in!

How to Harvest Heirloom Tomato Seeds to Save for Next Year’s Garden

Daylight savings time. That special time of year when it is suddenly pitch black by dinner time. Ha. I guess that means we are really in the thick of Fall. I guess that also means that the days of bountiful harvests of delicious, juicy and flavorful tomatoes is fast coming to a close. Darn. We had a few really delicious tomato varieties this year in the garden. Our plant that produced the best was a Black Krim organic, heirloom tomato plant (as far as I can tell, I don’t remember what the gal who I bought it from said). Woah. So good. We had some really good Romas too, but they just aren’t as overwhelmingly delightful as the Black Krims. We also had a yellow-ish heirloom variety (the larger ones pictured below), but it didn’t fair too well in our crazy heat wave. Anyway…the point is, I WANT MORE! And so…I have harvested and prepared some seeds to save for next year’s garden! Genius, right? You should do it too!!

Here’s how I harvested my heirloom tomato seeds to plant again!

1. I picked a few really ripe and delicious looking Black Krim tomatoes from the vine.

2. I cut them in half (stem part up as I cut, to reveal the most seeds) and sort of squeezed the seeds AND the gel and juice surrounding them (basically all the goodies) into a small glass container.

3. I added enough filtered water to cover the top of the tomato goo, covered the container, and let it sit out to mold. Oh…you read that right. I waited about five days, though the article I had read said to wait 3-5 days. I kept forgetting about it. The molding process separates the gel from the seeds.

4. Once a layer of white mold formed on top (and I actually remembered the plan), I drained the gnarly concoction and let any floating seeds go right on out with the liquid. They would be duds come Spring and wouldn’t germinate. Boo. Then I saved (obviously) the seeds hanging out on the bottom.

5. I used a fine sieve and water to rinse off the good ones. You will want to really get in there with your hands, making sure all the gel is rinsed away.

6. I placed them on a labeled paper plate for a couple of days to let them dry out. This worked really well as the seeds didn’t stick to it too terribly! Nice!

7. When the seeds were completely dry, I transferred them into a small (think lunch sack size) paper bag that I had cut most of the top off of, taped it up, labelled it and tossed it in the fridge. You can also store them in any dark, dry, cool location, but I figured I’d go refrigerator to be safe.

That’s it! Now…this is my first time attempting to harvest heirloom tomato seeds to plant again, so we’ll see how it turns out next Spring. Haha. But, it seems like it should work perfectly and that next year I will have loads of amazingly delicious organic, heirloom Black Krim seeds to plant and share!

Now … all I need to do is find a rockin’ gluten free, somewhat clean, fried green tomatoes recipe for my late crop of tomatoes that I just don’t think are going to see the light of the sun enough to ripen at this point. Bummer. Or…is it? I hear fried green tomatoes are pretty dang goooood! Stay tuned for that adventure!

Have you every harvested seeds, tomato or otherwise, and had success with them producing the following year? I’d love to hear about it!

*the original info that I used to know what to do came from:

Why This Busy Mom Will Be Oil Pulling For 30 Days For Better Health

why oil pulling

Ever heard of oil pulling? I first heard of it a handful of years ago when I first started diving into the world of Real food, holistic healing and natural living. It is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that is basically swishing unrefined oil (I prefer coconut, but I’ve heard you can use sesame or other oils as well) around in your mouth a la mouthwash style for 5-20 minutes (ideally 20). It is pretty much a wonder cure all…or so the rumor goes. Hormone regulation, reducing toxins in the body, increased energy, healthier and stronger gums, whiter and remineralized teeth (cool!), reduced throat and sinus congestion, improved sleep, clearer skin, pain relief for TMJ-related jaw pain and headaches, and more are some of the health benefits that have been associated with oil pulling. Sadly, whenever I have started, I have lacked consistency. But I can tell you that my teeth felt so much cleaner and my gums felt healthier after doing it even the few times that I did. Now..flash forward to the end of October 2015 and…I have a…

Confession: My son has a dentist appointment in the morning. You know, the ol’ every-six-months-you-head-to-your-dentist-for-a-cleaning-and-a-check-up type appointment? Right. Uhm…so it made me stop to think of the last time that I made such an appointment like that for myself. Let’s see…*thinking* I had one when I was pregnant with Nolan. I had a couple when Nolan was really little. I may have had one when I was pregnant with the girls, but I am sorta thinking not. And that’s it. How old are my girls? Oh…*ahem* they are two and a half. Crap. It is possible that it has been over three years since my last trip to the dentist.

What!? I haven’t been to the dentist in three years! That is madness. It is no wonder why my gums have been super sensitive lately. I am an avid brusher and flosser, but there is just something about a deep cleaning of that pokey little metal scraper. The worst part of it all though is that now I’m cared to go. Ha. I have never feared going to the dentist because my teeth and gums have always been quite healthy. It was never painful. I rarely had a cavity. Easy peasy. But now…if I really get serious with the little plastic scraper at the end of my kids’ little flossers (because I really don’t want to risk losing a finger on a nightly basis as I keep their little gums and teeth healthy), my gums hurt…bleed even. NOOOOOOO!!!

So what is a busy momma to do? Obviously I need to get to the dentist, but first, I’m going to take a month (what is one more at this point, right?) and oil pull daily and see if it makes a difference in the comfort and health of my gums before heading to the doc to be reprimanded.

I have read that the ideal oil pulling situation is first thing in the morning as you sit with your feet on the ground and just sort of chill out. Ha. Right. THAT isn’t going to happen. My son is up by 6:15am pretty much every day and that is when I need to get up and start cooking breakfast and getting us ready for the day. As soon as I get out of bed, the girls follow soon after. I can see it now, three newly up for the day little people, bursting with energy, hungry for breakfast, running around like crazy people (by the way, how in the heck do they do that? don’t they know there is a vital slow-to-start wake-up process?) while I sit on the couch, with my feet on the ground, resting peacefully, in complete silence (as I have a mouthful of coconut oil and definitely can’t speak), swishing…for 20 minutes. Ha! I think they would combust!

So…I will do what mommas do. We improvise. We try our best to take care of ourselves here and there and in the in-betweens. This Monday that meant pulling on my drive to the market and as I sat finishing an email in the parking lot before spitting said oil into a mason jar to take home and dispose of later. On Tuesday that meant forgetting about this plan completely. Today that means…well…it means I should be doing it right now as I type, but I’m sitting outside my girls’ room on the floor in the dark hallway encouraging them over and again to lay down, relax, be quite, close their eyes and go to sleep, which again doesn’t work all that well with a mouthful of oil. So instead, today it means I will do it later, after I finish this, after I workout, after I shower (hmmmm…maybe while I shower? that is a relaxing environment…but not for 20 mintues…eh…anyway), when I’m hanging out, replying to messages, and at some point finishing three panda bear costumes for the Halloween carnival at school that happens in two nights. Yup. It isn’t perfect. But that is how life is. I try to fit my oxygen mask first when I can, but it is so much easier said than done, right?

Today is day three (and already one slacker day) of my thirty day self-challenge to oil pull daily and try to heal my mouth a bit prior to my next appointment. I’m excited to see if I feel some of the above mentioned healthy benefits of oil pulling over the next month. And then hopefully I’ll avoid the side-eyed look, shaking head, and waggling finger of the dentist when I get there. Ha! I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I go along. I’d love to have some company on this oily journey, if you are up for it! Comment and let me know. We can swish, spit, smile and share together. 🙂

Here are a couple of articles about it for more scientific information. 😉