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Tuesday, August 19

Jekyll Island 01

Our little family spent a long weekend at Jekyll Island last weekend to celebrate K's little sister's wedding, and let me tell you it was so lovely! We left on Thursday and came home on Sunday, so it was a slight whirlwind of a trip, but it was great nonetheless. 

Elliot loved splashing in the salt water pool and walking on the eerily lovely driftwood beaches. We explored the historic district on Saturday, and I fell completely in love with the big, sprawling trees covered in Spanish moss. We took our Stokke Scoot that the folks at Stokke so graciously gifted us, and it was perfect for strolling along the old streets. I love how E can see everything and still face me! I would really like to make a return trip in the fall or winter when the heat isn't quite so overbearing. 

The wedding itself was perfection, and we are so incredibly happy for the newlyweds. Weddings make me all sentimental about the day I tied my life to that amazing man of mine. I love being a part of that day in other people's lives. I think it is so very romantic to promise eternal companionship, to say 'I will daily choose you above all others for the rest of my life.'

 More pictures to come!

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Saturday, August 9

My (First) Five Practical Ways to Live More Simply

I mentioned a few days ago the weight of my heart to focus on living a more simple life. I'm reading this book, but my type-A personality and restless spirit need some action. So I've started with these five things...

1 - Clean out your closet
For me, I decided this will mean getting rid of half of my clothes, or at least attempting to. I have set a limit of keeping only 50-75% of my current wardrobe for a few different reasons. One, I don't need the same wardrobe that I did three years ago. Two, I really don't need six different pairs of black pants and six different pairs of jeans. Even though each pair has its own characteristics, I really don't need them all. Three, I probably only wear about 50% of the clothes that I own.

2 - Recycle old magazines
I am currently going through all my back issues of Whole Living, Domino and clinical pharmacy magazines and cutting out the articles that I want to keep. I am filing them accordingly and placing them in a special folder in our filing cabinet and recycling the remaining magazines. Holding onto these things for pure nostalgia doesn't make sense. These magazines are just sitting in the floor, taking up space.

3 - Get moving
I have found that my mood often improves with even just a little exercise. So whenever I am feeling worried, anxious, stressed or just plain grumpy I either take a walk with my boys or complete a short metcon.

4 - Focus on someone else
Each week I am challenging myself to do something for someone else. I find that this takes my focus off of me and my problems, worries and stresses and more often than not leaves me more thankful and peaceful as a result. It's easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget the needs of those around us. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor or even a stranger. Carry in groceries for your elderly neighbor, donate to your local food pantry, volunteer with the youth group or children's ministry at your church, whatever you can think of, just make sure you do it sincerely!

5 - Postpone purchases
If there is something I want, a pair of shoes, a clothing item, something for the house, I have started waiting three days or a week before spending the money. This makes me really think about my purchases and prevents me from buying things on impulse.

Here's to making changes, new habits and a much simpler life.

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Monday, August 4

Paleo Basics // Kitchen Sink Beef Stew

Life has been pretty hectic lately, so my slow cooker has been working overtime. If I do nothing else, each weekend I at least roast a whole chicken in the oven and put a beef stew in the slow cooker. This guarantees us lunch and dinner for at least two days with a minimal amount of effort on my part. (Therefore leaving me with a little more energy to devote to baby wrangling.) 

When it comes to the beef stew, I basically just throw in whatever is on hand: a lovely grass-fed roast, aromatics like onion and/or garlic, hearty vegetables like butternut squash or sweet potatoes, lighter vegetables such as bell pepper, summer squash or zucchini, roasted eggplant, and fresh tomatoes and spinach, and lots of fresh herbs. There honestly isn't much of a science to it, which is also the beauty of it! This is a recipe you can really only mess up by cooking the roast too long. So, a word to the wise, don't overcook. Grass-fed beef takes about thirty percent less time to cook than its conventional counterpart. Also, if you choose a tougher cut of meat, as we often do since feeding a family can get pricey, make sure to marinate your meat in acid (vinegar, red wine) and cook it slowly - on low!

Kitchen sink beef stew (variation no. 1):

2-3lb grass fed roast or London broil*
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small sweet onion OR about 1/2 package frozen diced onions
2 cups homemade beef or chicken stock
1 package cubed butternut squash (one of my Trader Joe's favorites!)
about 1/2 cup bell peppers (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup roasted eggplant (or raw!)
2-3 medium fresh organic tomatoes OR 1 large can organic diced tomatoes 
lots of fresh oregano and thyme
salt & pepper

Rinse your meat and pat dry with a paper towel. Season well with salt, pepper and a bit of granulated garlic and/or onion for good measure. Set aside. Place your onions and minced garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker, and pour in your stock. Then layer in your hearty vegetables, butternut squash, red potatoes or sweet potatoes. Place your roast on top of the vegetables and add in the bell peppers, eggplant and fresh tomatoes. Top the entire pot with diced fresh herbs, about 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme and 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano. Cook on LOW for about 4 to 4&1/2** hours. After four hours, remove the roast and shred it with two forks. (Place one fork in the center of the roast and hold it with your non-dominant hand, then use your dominant hand to shred with the other fork.) If the roast is not done to your liking, cook for 30 more minutes. Give the stew a good stir and serve as desired. We like ours with cauliflower 'rice' or just by itself!

Other variations we enjoy include:
butternut squash + roasted eggplant + bell pepper + tomato + kalamata olive
sweet potato + zucchini + bell pepper + tomato + cilantro + lime
red potato + roasted eggplant + tomato + thyme + kale (add in for the last 15 minutes)
butternut squash + cauliflower + curry powder + spinach (add in for the last 15 minutes)

Honestly, you can really throw in whatever fresh or frozen vegetables your have. Frozen diced onions are an easy time-saver for this and many other recipes. Also, I buy organic sweet bell peppers in bulk during peak season, and slice and freeze them for later use. Just remember to layer your stew as follows: aromatics (onions, garlic), then stock, then hearty vegetables (potatoes, butternut squash), then your meat, then lighter vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, summer squash), then top with fresh herbs.

*For more cost-effective cuts of meat, marinate for 12-48 hours in an acidic mixture. I like 1 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons coconut aminos OR 1  tablespoon aminos and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tsp each of dijon mustard and minced garlic. Marinate overnight for best results.

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**I know that sounds like a small amount of time, but trust me. I've eaten one too many overcooked grass fed roasts in my day, and four hours will most likely be sufficient. 

Sunday, August 3

Sunday Truths // Living Simply

I've never thought of myself as rich. Middle-class, yes, but never rich. As an adult, I have a good job... and hefty student loans as proof. I have a house and a car (with their respective payments!) and all the other things that a 'grown up' should have. I am beyond thankful for my worldly possessions and recognize that I have much more than many others. But I never thought of myself as rich.

Probably because I have bills, and a budget, and a retirement fund. Probably because I can't go out and spend money without thinking about it, because I can't shop at designer stores or by a house in the mountains. I mean, the Kardashians are rich, not me.

But you guys. I am rich. Not just in the traditional sense. I definitely have more than enough, but I also have knowledge, resources and access. I have so much access to the gospel that it's somewhat absurd. Podcasts, sermon notes, churches on every street, online bible studies, countless books, websites, theologians, a Bible app on my iPhone and iPad, not to mention my hard copy Bible. I am surrounded by access to the gospel, praise God.

But here is the nagging question... 
If I am surrounded by access to God's word and the truths of His promises, why does my life look like everyone else's in America? 

There are people in other countries who literally hang their lives on the gospel, and they often have only a paper and pen copy of the Word. Shouldn't I, who have so much more access to knowledge, so much more ability to dive into the Word, hang my life on the words of those pages all the more?

Jesus tells us that it is harder for a rich person to enter His kingdom than for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. He also tells us that many will believe that they are following Him, when in truth they are slaves to money. I have always been so sure of my salvation, but in putting those two truths together, I can't help but wonder if my first-world problems are keeping me from the deepest truths of the gospel, keeping me from living a life that points only always and directly to my Maker. 

I don't have the answer. Right now I just have a restless heart and a desire for more.

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On top of this wrestling in my heart has been an insatiable desire to live more simply. I have a few practical ways of making this happen, but for now I am starting with this study. I am also deleting my Facebook account, {attempting} to get rid of half of my clothes, and finally recycling a lot of old magazines that I hang on to simply because of nostalgia. I am savoring every moment I get to nurse my baby boy, the afternoon sunlight in the trees, and my husband's strong, handsome face.

The stress, the anxiety, the over-extension has got. to stop. I was created for a purpose, and that purpose is so much greater than many of the things I spend my energy on. I want to be an encouraging and serving wife, a supportive and uplifting mother, and a godly woman of faith. I want my life to be a legacy that points to the God who created it all. 

I hope you'll join me.


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Saturday, August 2

DIY // Cloth Diaper Wipe Solution

Whether you cloth diaper or use traditional disposables, this homemade wipe solution is priceless if you ask me. It it cost-effective, safe for little bums, and smells sweetly of herbs. That's a win-win-win if you ask me. You can also make homemade wipes using this same recipe. Simply place cloth wipes or washcloths in a container of your choice and pour the solution over them. Alternatively, you can cut a roll of paper towels in half and place in a container and cover with the solution, if that suits your preference. For me, I wanted to waste as little as possible, and since we are doing a combination of cloth and disposable diapers, the solution works best for me. We use flannel cloth wipes instead of disposables and most often just wash E"s bum with water. Sometimes, though you need reinforcements.

Simple Wipe Solution:
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon liquid castille soap
1 tablespoon organic oil (olive, coconut or a mix)
2 drops lavender essential oil (or other aromatic you choose)
2 drops tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has natural anti-fungal properties, which is why I chose to include it in my recipe, but feel free to omit if you choose. Also, I love the smell of lavender, so I chose unscented castille soap (I like Dr. Bronner's) and added my own fragrance. If you use scented soap, beware of counter-irritants such as peppermint and stick with more benign, calming fragrances such as lavender or calendula.

Happy diapering.

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Wednesday, July 30

Independence Day

A {very overdue} few photos from our long July Fourth weekend.....

The weekend of the fourth was a long one for me as I had four days off work -- it was glorious! We started out with an outdoor BBQ at a friend's lovely modern farmhouse. We ate grilled chicken, delicious veggies and splurged a bit on this gal's smores bars (divine I tell you), chatted with old friends, made new friends (one of whom apparently grew up in the same county as us!), watched the kiddos play, lit sparklers, watched fireworks and went to sleep so pleasantly happy. It was so fun to see our friends who are at the same place in life as us.. the kiddos hung in pretty well, too! Elliot slept in his carrier for the majority of the party and woke up to see he fireworks, which he actually loved! 

Saturday morning we had a delicious breakfast with friends and headed up to the mountains. We spent most of the day outside in the gorgeous cool-for-July weather and had dinner with old friends. Elliot got to sit in his first tractor and absolutely loved the open fields and beautiful blue sky. Sunday morning we took E for a long walk at the park across from our friends' house before heading back home. On a small side note, we absolutely love our Stokke Scoot that my friend Jodi so graciously sent us. I love having E facing me so I can talk to him while we walk! I also love that I can sit him up and then easily transition him to lying down when he finally falls asleep. Sometimes, it's the little things that make life so much easier!

All in all it was a perfect weekend spent celebrating our independence, family and friends. Hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!


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Tuesday, July 22

An Update of Sorts

Things have been quiet in this space lately for a few different reasons... life has been pretty hectic, juggling a full-time job, a commute, managing a household, planning/prepping meals and wrangling a new babe. In all honesty I've stayed away partly because I didn't want every post to read 'oh my gosh, I'm so overwhelmed with life,' but that is often my reality these days. We are in the throes of the four month sleep regression (hello, two hour chunks of sleep, I thought you were a thing of the past!), but we starting to figure it out and make concessions where we can. I'm focusing on living in and enjoying each moment, not always looking ahead to what's next. And it's so liberating, you guys. Especially for this planning, organizing type-A gal. 

That's not to say that there aren't long, difficult days. And my ability to deal with these days correlates exactly to the amount of sleep I've gotten (read: the amount of sleep my baby allows me). I know this is stating the obvious, but motherhood is such an adjustment. One day it's just you and your spouse and the next there is a tiny little life that requires your complete and undivided attention, twenty-four hours out of the day.

It's hard, but it's glorious.

So, a few things...

This post on the first three months of motherhood struck a cord with me. My sentiments exactly.

Loving the new She Reads Truth app. Today is the first day of the study on biblical justice, and I am already excited about what I will learn. Also, the study packs are so lovely!

Husband and I are planning a backpacking trip to the Wind River Range in Wyoming for next August, and my restless soul can hardly wait.

We are also planning a two night backpacking trip to the Smoky Mountains this fall as a small preparation trip for the Wind River Range.

We are in the middle of redoing our master bedroom. (side note: large house projects with a new babe are not a good idea. lesson learned.) So far we have freshly painted white walls, a smoothed out ceiling, and lovely dark hardwood floors. Next up is replacing the windows with full-view panes and painting our wood trim white and our doors black. You can find some inspiration pictures here.

Speaking of bedrooms, this quilt is so lovely. I also really love this coverlet in muslin, which would work well with our current monochromatic bedding. I'm all about light, neutral layers when it come to bedding.

This instagram feed in my new favorite. So many great paleo recipe ideas!

Today is my Monday... here's to a great week!

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Monday, June 9

Paleo Basics // The Ultimate Burger

A really good hamburger is not only totally satisfying, it's incredibly simple to make paleo. Nutrient dense toppings such as a fried egg, grilled portabella mushroom cap, and avocado slices more than account for the lack of bun. Also, you needn't forgo any summer barbecues just because of your diet. It's one of our favorite, simple meals, and with summer just beginning, there are a lot of ultimate burgers in our future.

To make 3 large burgers (or 4 smaller ones) you will need:
1lb grass-fed ground beef
about 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
a few healthy shakes of Worcestershire sauce (this has molasses in it. omit if you want.)
a generous few shakes of steak seasoning (look out for sugar and seed oils)
1 small red or yellow onion, whole
1 portabella mushroom cap per burger

1 farm fresh egg per burger
avocado slices
fresh tomato slices
organic spring mix or other lettuce
organic pickles (read ingredients!)
organic ketchup, mayo, Dijon mustard (read ingredients!)

How to:
Marinate your ground beef in the steak seasoning, Worcestershire and liquid smoke for a few hours before grilling. Patty out into three or four burgers and grill until desired cook is achieved {we go for medium/medium well}. Cut the ends off your onion and place it in a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, then close the foil around the onion and place it on the grill for 10-15 minutes. Wash the mushroom caps and brush with olive oil, then place those on the grill as well. Grill the mushrooms for about 3 minutes per side. While the meat and veggie are grilling, fry the eggs for each burger and slice the other toppings.

We like to eat our burgers with crispy sweet potato fries. This recipe is a good one, with or without the rosemary. Also, if you're just really craving a traditional hamburger with a bun, this recipe is a great option.

Happy grilling.

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Thursday, June 5

Vanilla Almond Granola // Against All Grain

Oh, granola. It is one of the things that I missed most when we switched to a paleo diet. I missed granola so much that I would periodically cheat and allow myself some gluten free granola that usually contained seed oils and corn. And until I found this recipe by Danielle Walker, I hadn't been satisfied with a paleo version of my beloved snack. But, like all her other recipes, this one is a definite winner. 
I omitted the flax seed and used 1/2 cup of maple syrup instead of the 3/4 cup of honey. I also substituted golden raisins for red ones. Next time I think I will try it with cranberries!

This granola is great over refrigerated coconut milk, coconut yogurt, with a splash of almond milk or eaten alone. It also makes a great gift!


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Tuesday, June 3

Memorial Day 2014

We spent Memorial Day weekend surrounded with family and friends. On Saturday morning we packed up Elliot and Sambo and headed to North Georgia to spend  the evening at our friends' cabin. K spent many a weekend at the cabin growing up and into college, so taking E for the weekend was pretty great. We didn't do much, just drank coffee on the porch swing, went on a short waterfall hike, ate delicious grilled salmon and talked about life. Perfection.

Monday we drove over to K's Aunt's house to hang out at the salt water pool. Elliot was less than impressed with the cool water, despite his love of bath time, so we left shortly after lunch. It was just enough time to soak in some sun before the afternoon rain showers. We grilled burgers at home and made crispy sweet potato fries {recipe soon!}, then snuggled on the couch as a family and listened to the rain. Again, perfection.

Sometimes the simplest things are just the best.

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Monday, June 2

Paleo Basics // Sauces, Dressings & Marinades

Sauces, dressings and marinades are one of the tricky things to navigate when it comes to eating paleo as most packaged sauces contain sugar and/or seed oils. The best solution, of course, is to make all sauces and dressings yourself, but sometimes that can be overwhelming. So here are some of my favorite paleo sauces that don't have any hidden ingredients.

These dressings/marinades hit it out of the park. I'm partial to the Zesty Ranch and the Lemon Garlic. They also make a paleo-friendly ketchup!

Coconut Aminos:
A substitute for soy sauce, I use this for marinating meats, in stir fry dishes, as an addition to homemade salad dressings, and to season sauteed vegetables. Use as you would soy sauce!

I like to add a splash of this to our chicken to give it a bit more flavor. I also use it in stir fry or the sesame orange chicken recipe from this book, which is amazing!

Add this to slow cooker chicken tacos, put it on eggs or atop a taco salad. It is especially good when combined with homemade guacamole - no salad dressing needed!

I add this to grass-fed beef marinades and slow cooker roasts, salad dressings, and splash over sauteed Brussels sprouts and oven roasted butternut squash with cranberries.

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We do use a couple sauces that aren't strict paleo because they contain sugar. We are okay with this since we use these items sparingly and avoid them completely during a Whole30. 

Sweet Ginger Chili Sauce:
This one isn't strict paleo because it contains sugar, but it is delicious nonetheless. A bit spicy, a bit sweet, a bit gingery, it's great over grass-fed burgers and in stir fry. 

Another item that contains sugar/molasses, we use the lower-sodium Worcestershire sauce mostly for marinating steaks and sometimes for grilled chicken. 

As a general rule, we make most of our dressings and marinades from simple but flavorful ingredients like olive oil, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, raspberry champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon or lime juice, and spices. Sometimes we add honey or maple syrup, which we are okay with, but you choose for yourself. That being said, it's nice to be have things in the pantry that are paleo-friendly when you just don't have time to make your own!


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Thursday, May 29

Healthy Living // Post-Baby Fitness

Weeks after giving birth and experiencing the healing that then ensues, the reality of working out was overwhelming. Nonetheless, post-baby fitness is so important to me. I honestly only have about  five pounds that I want to lose, and I am certain that eating paleo throughout my pregnancy and breastfeeding have allowed me to get really close to my pre-baby weight quickly and with minimal effort.

Just to give myself a set schedule and not have to think up workouts, I joined EPLifeFit for the next couple months. The basics of the program include Olympic lifts and short metabolic conditioning workouts. And after only a few weeks, I can tell a difference. I am also back to eating strict paleo with an allowance for a few extra carbs and calories since E is still exclusively nursing.

This is what my current workout schedule looks like: 

-- I workout on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday and complete a two part workout. 
Part one: Heavy Lift Rotation (back squat or deadlift or bench press)
Part two: Metabolic conditioning workout (metcon), always less than 20 minutes

-- On weekday afternoons we take walks around the neighborhood. As I mentioned last week, Elliot loves to be outside, so late afternoon walks as a family are one of our favorite things.

-- If possible, I try to sneak in 30 minutes of yoga at least once a week. This usually occurs while little E is napping, but I often have to choose between practicing yoga and prepping dinner... and dinner typically wins.

-- Saturdays are for trail runs, swimming laps, long walks in the woods, yoga, riding my road bike or any other sport type activity. If  we have time or feel like doing one of these activities, we do them, but there's no pressure. I no longer use running or swimming as my means of maintaining fitness. Instead it is a hobby, a sport I enjoy. {Read more about why I've made this change here.}

-- After listening to this super interesting podcast, we also recently started making mobility exercises a priority, aiming for at least three days a week of committed stretching, foam rolling, or completing one of these alignment videos.

Also, it is super important to note that exercise isn't enough. Eating whole, paleo foods is absolutely essential for good body composition, fitness and general well-being. And we can't forget sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep cortisol levels low, which allows for good body composition, fitness and well-being.{That being said, I am probably not getting enough sleep these days, but with a 10 week old and going back to work, it just isn't possible some days. I do my best to get at least 6 hours and have at least one night a week where my sweet husband takes over night duty so I can get some uninterrupted sleep. I definitely notice a difference in my workouts on the nights that I get less sleep, though!}

Hope this helps any of you working to get rid of baby weight or anyone trying to improve overall strength and body composition. I truly believe in this plan and this type of exercise!


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Monday, May 26

Paleo Basics // Grilled Salmon + Sauteed Vegetables

I am including this recipe in the Paleo Basics series because this recipe is easily adapted to whatever you have in your refrigerator. The key is simple seasonings that provide lots of flavor. This dish easily becomes grilled chicken with sauteed onions, zucchini and bell pepper. Or how about flank steak with sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts and cabbage? You get the idea! 

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Lately I have been making a concentrated effort to eat more fish. Ever since I was a child I've been less than a fan of seafood. It's that distinct fishy taste that I just can't get down with. That being said, when we vacationed in Panama last year, I ate fresh tuna steaks every night and absolutely loved it. So far we've grilled tuna steaks from the farmer's market, wild caught turbot from Whole Foods, and now wild salmon from Trader Joe's. {You can find some of my favorite paleo TJ items here!}

Grilled Salmon Fillet + Sauteed Vegetables

For the fish:
2 salmon fillets (preferably wild caught)
Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute
Olive oil

For the vegetables:
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced in half
1/2 package organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 package organic spinach
1 tbl spoon ghee or grass-fed butter
olive oil
salt & pepper
coconut aminos

How to:
Drizzle your salmon fillets with a bit of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and season with 21 seasoning salute or other seasoning mix (no sugar or seed oils, please!) and place in the fridge for about four hours or more before cooking. When it's dinnertime, remove the fillets from the fridge and place on a hot, oiled grill. We cooked the skin side first and removed the fillet when it started flaking, about ten minutes. While the salmon is cooking saute the onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of ghee/butter. Once the onions are translucent, add in the mushrooms. Saute for about 2 minutes, then add in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more. Finally add in the spinach and cook for just a few minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper and a splash of coconut aminos just before serving. Remove the salmon from the grill and serve with a lemon wedge and a side salad of organic greens and balsamic dressing.

Happy (paleo) eating!

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Wednesday, May 21

Motherhood // Thoughts of a New Mom 02

8 WEEKS...
Has it really been eight weeks since I brought this sweet little man into the world? In some ways those first few overwhelming, sleep-deprived but oh so wonderful days feel like yesterday. And in other ways it seems like we are figuring this thing out and finding our new normal. I've said it before, but the best advice I received about this whole process... 'Don't. Blink.' So true.

I am back at work but only part time for now. I will eventually go back full time, most likely in June or July, but for now having a few days during the week at home with E is essential. The first day back was difficult but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Still, those evening cuddles with my little one are oh so precious and necessary after 11 hours away from him. Luckily, my amazing/generous/rockstar mom is keeping Elliot while we are at work. Such a blessing, I can't even begin to explain.

A few other miscellaneous thoughts from this new mom trying to figure this whole thing out...

-- Babies should come with a dashboard that has indicator lights for bored, overstimulated, I need to be held, I just need to cry and so so sleepy.

-- One on one time with my husband, although sometimes difficult to obtain, is so crucial. I miss that guy so much some days even though he is in the same room.

-- My babe's coos are my absolute favorite sound.

-- Little E is growing so fast it's insane. Despite the fact that his mama is somewhat of a shrimp, he already fills out his three month clothes. What?!

-- Those deep blue grey eyes are the best sight in the world after a long day at work. I seriously hope they don't change color... but if they do, a deep brown like his daddy's would be so handsome. 

-- Elliot loves being outside, a trait he inherited from both his parents, but especially his papa. Our new trick is that when he is starting to get fussy, we simply walk outside and talk about the trees and flowers and squirrels and he quietens down immediately. I may have been known to put the Roo in front of the window so I can prepare dinner. ;) Peace at any cost, right??

Also, we are planning to switch to cloth diapers here in the next month or so. Any suggestions, techniques, tip and tricks are welcome!


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Monday, May 19

Paleo Basics // Trader Joe's Favorites

Today I'm starting a new series about paleo basics. When I published the Whole30 meal plans in January {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} I received quite a few questions about things that I take for granted. Like how to make chicken salad, where to find certain products, and how to eat paleo and not break the bank. All of theses things are second nature to me now since we have been eating paleo for four plus years, and I sometimes forget what it was like in those first few months. It can get overwhelming quickly, so my hope is that this series will help you seamlessly ease into a paleo lifestyle.

When it comes to saving money and eating paleo, one of my favorite places is Trader Joe's because I can get good quality paleo items for a good price. There are a few produce items that I will only buy organic {spinach and sweet potatoes are on the list}, and TJ has good prices on these items as well as some pantry staples and oils. Because we live an hour  from the closest TJs, we go about once every 2 weeks and stock up. We build this into our grocery budget by making the in between week's budget smaller and buying less that week. So every other week we have more to spend on our grocery budget.

See my list of TJ favorites here.

A few notes...

-- We buy meat from our local grocery store or online because we can get free-range chicken and grass-fed beef from local farmers. However, if I can't make it to another store or we are out of our freezer supply, I like knowing I can get decent meat products at Trader Joe's as well.  

-- We get our eggs from our backyard hens or from a local farm. Before we had the ladies, however, we purchased the organic eggs from Trader Joe’s.


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