Spring Garden Line Up

So we finally have all of our seedlings in the ground! And if you have been following me at all you know that this is slightly a big deal for me. I am good at lots of things, but keeping plants alive is not one of them. We currently have some kind of green plant hanging in our kitchen that I just noticed today is starting to turn brown. I’m chalking that up to the fact that I have been focusing all of my plant energy towards the garden. Watering that sucker has just slipped my mind! I did give it a good water today.  So hopefully that will bring that little guy right back to life, fingers crossed!

The whole brown thumb part of myself is a little hard for me to digest. Someone with big dreams of becoming a homesteader should be able to keep a house plant alive! And growing our own fruits and vegetables would be a huuuugge step towards the self sustainability I’m after, right?? But you have start somewhere and learn along the way!

Soooo getting everything in the ground is a huge milestone for us! Now keeping everything alive and growing strong is the goal! Hopefully our baskets will be over flowing with delicious fruits and veggies in the next few months. And I can put my new pressure canner to good use!

We are kinda flying by the seat of our pants here and really have no idea what we are doing, so say a little prayer for us and send any and all gardening tips you have my way! Our biggest challenge so far has been our crappy soil. We technically live in the “Slate Belt” region of Pennsylvania. And that became totally evident when we started tilling our garden space. Sooooo much slate and sooo many rocks. Maybe raised beds would have been a better idea but hopefully over the years the soil will get better and better.

We are also keeping our garden as organic as possible and are steering clear of pesticides and fertilizers. But I have already noticed some critters have been chomping on some of plants. Any tips for natural pest reducers and fertilizers would be greatly appreciated, please leave me a comment!

OK so here is the rundown of most of what we planted this year or that has come back from last year. A bunch of fruits and a whole lot of veggies!  Let’s start with fruits…

We planted a bunch of strawberry plants last year and much to my surprise they ended up coming back beautifully this year. The patch needs a little weeding, but that’s somewhere on the to do list. We have already got a few delicious berries and have tons more that will be ripe soon. Except some little jerk creature seems to love my fruit as well.

We also have blueberries and raspberries that are coming in pretty strong! Our property has hundreds of wild black raspberry bushes and we also planted some red raspberry bushes of our own. So hopefully soon we will be up to our necks in berries!

A tiny orchard has always been something we wanted when we moved to this property. So when we first moved in we planted peach, pear and apple trees. We got a few small peaches last year and have some teeny pears and peaches coming in this year! So exciting!

OK now for the veggie line up… We planted lettuce and beets in some extra containers we had lying around as well as in the ground in the garden. The container plants are looking AMAZING! The garden plants are coming along as well! We planted a different type of lettuce in the garden and it is just starting to sprout!

We planted a ridiculous number of tomato plants, as well as bell peppers and jalapeños! So hopefully I will be able to make lots and lots of salsa, tomato sauce and bruschetta in the coming months! Garlic and onions are starting to come up as well!

Butternut squash, zucchini, cauliflower, kohl rabi and beans are among some of the other things we have growing. I also have a good variety of herbs growing in some planters as well. So I will hopefully have a delicious variety of healthy veggies to choose from when meal planning!

Potatoes also seem to be growing strong as well. After a good amount of research we decided planting them in pots would be our best bet. Hopefully we get a great harvest from these beautiful plants!!

 

So that is pretty much the rundown of what we have growing plant wise around this place this Spring. I’m excited and hopeful that all our hard work will pay off this year. I will keep you updated on ur progress over the next few months. What is everyone else growing?? Leave me a comment with your favorite things to grow and any gardening tips you can share!

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Whole 30 Go To’s for Lazy Days

So far today has been a struggle! Usually I am on top of my mom game. The house is clean, dinner always made, kiddos groomed and happy… but these past few days I have been LAZY! I am attributing it to running my half marathon on Sunday, combined with little Miss A and big brother not sleeping so well lately. I’m talking up every hour with one or the other. Being a mom is rough.

It’s so easy for bloggers to put only the best of their lives out there for everyone to see.  But seriously no one is perfect, everyone struggles. I am no better than anyone else, and am just trying to get through each day! Some days are harder than others… like today!

Things are far from perfect in our house. Today the laundry is piled way too high, dishes are in the sink, and instead of completing all my mom chores I snuggled on the couch with baby girl for her nap and indulged in a few episodes of Criminal Minds. I feel guilty because there is so much that needs to get done, but I have learned that I need to listen to my body and mind when I get in this mode.  Usually I’m telling myself to chill out.

So today I am going to rock my leggings and a baggy T-Shirt and relish in my laziness and snuggle my babies. And the cherry on top of my struggle is that I am in the middle of my Whole 30 and I don’t feel like cooking at all! So today I have been turning to all of my easy grab Whole 30 foods. Take a look at my favorites below!

 

Quick and Easy Whole 30 Foods-

 

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  1. Eggs- I think this one is so easy for me because we always have eggs on hand. I usually always hard boil a bunch and have them in the fridge.  Or it takes me 2 minutes to fry up a couple a eat them with a baked
    potato or some leftover veggies.
  2. Larabars- These awesome bars have always been a favorite for our family. So yummy, kid approved and not full of crap.
  3. Fruit and Almond Butter- Apples and bananas are my favorite! And lately I have been subbing Cashew butter for almond butter because it has been cheaper. Whatever works! Just be sure to check you labels for added junk
  4. Dump Ranch and Veggies- My
    favoriterecipe for Whole 30 approved Ranch is from Nan and Nicole at Whole Sisters, find the recipe here! I always have some in the fridge and pair it with whatever veggies I have on hand cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, carrots… whatever!
  5. La Croix Sparkling Water- I enjoy and Diet Pepsi now and then… agh I know how horrible they are but I do my best to stay away! During my Whole 30 these babies help satisfy my soda craving!

 

There are so many others I can add but these are for sure my top 6, and are all included in my Whole 30 meal plan pretty much daily. Hopefully this list helps some of you when you are in a bind and looking for something quick and easy to grab! Here’s to hoping the second half of my day is more productive than the first! Happy Tuesday 🙂

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Ramblings of a Sentimental Mom!

img_0079This morning our littlest lady had her 9 month well visit. 9 months! It’s amazing that the moment you become a parent it seems like the fast forward button is pushed on your life. Time simply just starts to fly. This time last year I remember enjoying these quite mornings at home, while both of the big kids were at school. I remember thinking just how am I going to manage being a mom to three children. Now I sit here watching this amazing little girl crawling around here like a mad woman! Seriously, where have these last 9 months gone?!

 

When I was pregnant with my first child everyone and their mother told me how fast time starts to go once that baby comes.  I remember smiling, nodding and thinking ok if I have to hear that one more time! But seriously… Everyone is right! Sometimes, I still can’t believe I am 31 and have three children! Seriously, wasn’t I just in college living it up in Boston?! What happened to the last 10 years?! I would not change a thing about my life, except maybe just slow it down a little.  With all the day to day tasks that need to be accomplished, I feel I don’t get to appreciate all the little moments! I am making a conscious effort to live in the moment and celebrate every little thing!img_4421

 

I am not a very sappy person, but when it come to the kiddos I have a soft spot, obviously. I am so thankful to be able to spend so much time at home with them.  And when I think about how truly fast time is going I get a little choked up!  I’m not sure we ever really planned on have three children. This is just kind of where life took us. We moved around a little when Collin was in the military and it just so happens we had a new baby with each home we have had. Now we don’t plan on moving again any time soon, so I’m not sure if there are any more babies in our future.

 

As a mom and woman I’m not sure if I will every truly feel like I am done having children. I think about this often.  We are not at a point where we are ready to say we are completely done having children, but we are content for now. I am putting all my energy into being the best mom I can be to these three little crazies I have now. If another one comes along later then that’s a huge blessing, if not then that’s fine too.  Of course money and time play huge factors in the decision to expand our family. I think we are at an amazing place right now and we are trying our best to live in the moment.  As we all know those moments go way too fast!

 

Ok sorry! This post got to be little Dear Diary, but I am using this blog as a place to put out exactly what is going on in our lives right now. These are the thoughts that go through my crazy mind and some of the conversations Collin and I have been having lately.  So amongst the messy house, sleepless nights, struggled days and dinner thrown on the floor I am doing my best to get by and enjoy every little moment. I am sure there are so many moms and parents out there that face these same struggles. I would love to hear how you are all navigating the mom life and what special things you do to help you live in the moment!?

 

 

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Whole 30 Check-In and Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe

Happy Tuesday Everyone! Wow, things have been busy! And with picking up an extra day at work this weekend I feel like I haven’t posted in forever!! I just wanted to give a few updates on how my Whole 30 has been going and share what I have been eating especially super easy and delicious dinner recipe!

 

Last week I confessed that I was really struggling with finding the time to eat. But I have found that if I can entertain the kids for an hour I can get a ton of meal prep done. This allows me to have compliant options always available, making it so much easier to throw a meal together. In one hour I can make an egg bake that will take care of breakfast for a few days, boil eggs for a quick protein component to a meal, and prepare and roast a bunch of veggies to always have on hand. As busy mom’s planning ahead is essential. If not I ponder over what to eat until I give up and eat nothing because I can’t make a decision. The other things need to be taken care of and eaten gets pushed to the back burner.

 

So this past week I have done much better and I feel fantastic! It really makes me realize that this is how my body should feel all the time, and that the food I eat can have such a huge impact on my health…craziness! Hopefully I feel this good for the next 18 days!

 

Breakfasts have consisted of either an egg bake I throw together or eggs and veggies. Find me awesome Spicy Sausage and Veggie Egg Bake recipe here! We always tend to have a surplus of eggs from our backyard chickens this time of year, which is perfect for a Whole 30! Lunch has been leftovers or a big salad. And dinner is meat and lots of veggies. I look for recipes that are quick, easy, filling and nutritious!

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Typical Breakfast… Egg Bake and Roasted Veggies!

 

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Great Lunch… Huge salad with HB Egg, Avocado, Bacon and Grilled Chicken!

 

I work weekend nights as a nurse, usually just Fridays and Saturdays, but this weekend I also worked Sunday. So dinners on these nights need to be quick and easy, as well as filling and nutritious. I am going to share a family favorite of ours, we call it Butternut Squash Lasagna. Perfect warm, filling meal for this time of year!

 

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

 

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:

1 large Butternut Squash

1 lb. Italian Sausage

2 26 oz. Jars Sugar Free Spaghetti Sauce

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Brown sausage in skillet, once browned combine with sauce
  3. Peel and slice squash, remove and discard seeds
  4. Pour enough sauce/sausage mix to cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
  5. Layer squash and sauce/sausage mix as you would a lasagna
  6. Cover with remaining sauce/sausage mix
  7. Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until squash is tender

 

So easy and so good! Hope you all can add this to your Whole 30 recipe rotation!

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Whole 30 Round 3

Summer has really gotten the best of me! Between attempting to keep three kiddos busy and entertained, working, and taking care of all the day to day tasks around the house and on our little farm I somehow lost my way. I gave into all the craziness and took the easy way out with our eating at times. We ordered out, strayed from our clean eating, and my digestive system has definitely been suffering! So what do I turn to when I need the ultimate reset? The Whole 30 Program of course!

 

I discovered the Whole 30 program a little over three years ago.  At that time I was a few months postpartum from baby number two and just starting my journey to better health. I read the book It Starts with Food and it was mind blowing. I am a nurse and have a health and science background and from that standpoint everything made sense. You need to read the book! Life changing! I discovered the foods that I am eating and feeding to my family, are actually having a huge negative impact on the way my body is functioning! Bloating, headaches, skin problems, digestive troubles…all of these things that have been plaguing me for years can be directly related to the foods I have been eating. Seriously?!

 

After my first round of the Whole 30 I felt amazing! Headaches… gone! Skin… clear! Bloating and tummy troubles… not an issue anymore! When I am doing a Whole 30 I tend to feed my family that way as well, I refuse to make two dinners! So not only do I feel great at the end of the program there is also a noticeable difference in the behavior of my children.  The listen a little better, go to bed a little easier, and temper tantrums are at an all time low. It’s amazing the difference fueling yourself with real food has on every system in your body!

 

As I slowly started adding dairy and grains back into my diet I learned how not good they make me feel.  As time goes on I tend to lean more towards convince and start adding these foods back into my diet.  And low and behold all these old problems start rearing their ugly heads again.

 

Established by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the Whole 30 is a short term way to reset your system. In those 30 days you cut out sugar, dairy, grains and legumes, all of which could be wrecking havoc on your system without you even knowing! Check out the Whole 30 website for all the nitty gritty details on the program, or better yet read It Starts with Food! The book goes into detail on the science behind the program, the stages of the program, and gives lots of helpful recipes!

 

So I’m starting my third round of the Whole 30 program tomorrow! My husband is giving me crap because it’s right before Labor Day and we have several picnics to go to.  But I’m ready now, and I am a little Type A and need to start on the first of the month. So be sure to follow me on Instagram and stay tuned here for all my updates! Wish me luck! I would love to hear all of your Whole 30 tips and success stories! Here are a few things I find helpful to do before you start you first Whole 30!

 


My Pre Whole 30 Tips

  1. Read It Starts with Food or go through The Whole 3o website to be sure you really understand the program and what foods you can and cannot eat. The website is extremely helpful in helping you determine if a food is Whole 30 compliant or not.
  2. Meal plan and grocery shop before you start the program. I cannot stress this enough! Plan out what you are going to eat each day so you are not tempted to turn to non compliant foods because you are hungry! Pinterest is a great tool for finding Whole 3o recipes!
  3. Meal prep. Cooking during a Whole 30 can get very time consuming, especially if you are use to eating out. Do as much of the prep work ahead of time and always have foods you can eat on hand.
  4. Prepare your friends and family! You can get a little cranky during the program, especially when you are detoxing from sugar so mentally prepare those around you!
  5. Stick with it, even though it gets tough and you really want to eat that doughnut or enjoy the foods everyone else is at your family party. It is all worth it in the end and what you learn about your body not worth that doughnut!

 


 

Oook there you have it! My top tips for starting a Whole 30 successfully. Stay tuned for all my updates and if any of you are starting a September Whole 30 tomorrow, Good Luck!!

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Surviving Night Shift

I am very fortunate to have a job I love. More importantly, that job offers a non traditional schedule allowing me to have a little bit of both worlds. I consider myself a stay at home mom during the week and a working mom on the weekends.

 

As a nurse there are so many different areas to work in, with a variety of different schedules. I am currently a “Weekender,” which means I work 12 hour shifts on Friday and Saturday nights. Then have off Sunday through Thursday. This is awesome because it gives me the opportunity to be home all week. I can take the kids to school, do homework, go on field trips, stay home with the baby and all the other fun things stay at home moms get to do.

 

It also allows me to bring home an income and work in a profession that I truly love. But to be completely honest, night shift sucks. So I have thrown together a list of the things that help me to survive and perform at my best, even when I’m really feeling like a zombie.

 

Sleep When you can

I have to put this as number one. As a new mom I think we all have been told, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Sleep is essential in making you feel human, and when we don’t get enough it is seriously hard to function. So, my number one piece of advice is to sleep when you can! If you are a mom and have someone who can watch the kids for a few hours so you can sleep, take advantage of that.

If you work a schedule like I do and have an amazing husband that is home during the day before work, pass off the kids and sleep! Or if you have kiddos that still nap, leave the dishes in the sink and sleep when they do!

Things like black out curtains, a sleep mask, and a white noise machine can also really make sleeping during the day easier.

 

Exercise

For me life is all around easier when I am able to keep up with an exercise routine. I sleep better, have more energy and all around feel better about myself. With my schedule now I am able to get workouts in on weekday mornings and Sunday evenings. Some of my other coworkers plan their workouts into their days before or after work. I notice when I am not exercising I feel sluggish, run down and overall lazy, so I make it a point to make time in my day.

Also I recently purchased a Garmin VivoActive HR watch for my half marathon training and have been wearing daily to track my steps as well. I think I have created a monster with this and have become slightly obsessed with meeting my 10,000 step a day goal. This has helped me get through those long nights at work because if I’m feeling really tired I now feel compelled to get my steps in and will take a few laps around our unit. Just that little bit of exercise is usually enough to give me some energy to finish out the night.

I think I am starting to be labeled as the crazy nurse on our unit though! During my breaks I can now be found in the stairwell getting in my flights of stairs as well!

 

Drink TONS of Water

And avoid the energy drinks, I should add! Caffeine really does not have much of an effect on me, so I am not one downing coffee to get through my shift. Water just makes me feel better, and keeping hydrated makes it easier to function. Those energy drinks pack a huge punch but also leads to a big crash and they aren’t easy on the wallet either! Staying adequately hydrated helps you to maintain a more steady energy level. Many of my coworkers swear by their coffee and if that’s what works for you, drink it! Just try to avoid it too close to the end of your shift as it may affect your ability to sleep when you get home!

 

Eat Real Food

I almost always pack a real dinner to eat at some point during my shift. Usually this is whatever I cook for dinner for the family before I leave for work. This prevents me from snacking throughout the night and keeps my energy levels more even. Try to avoid processed foods full of sugar, saturated fat and salt as these will just make you feel like crap in the long run.

 

Find a Job and Coworkers you Love

Seriously, I could not make it through some nights at work if it wasn’t for the amazing people I work with. I look forward to going to work because I know I am surrounded by my second family. If you have to spend time away from your family, doing something you love with a group of people you know you can count on makes it a little bit easier.

 

Find a routine that works for you

These are just some of the things that make night shift a little bit easier for me. I am lucky to have the same schedule week to week. This allows me to get myself into a routine that I can stick with. It is all pretty much trial and error until you find out what works best with your body and your life.

 

 

Well there you have it, my tips to survive night shift. Night shift isn’t for everyone, but if you are one if the millions of people working this schedule for one reason or another hopefully you find something here that helps you get by. Some days it is really a struggle but knowing I am helping to provide a better life for my family really helps me push through. I would love to hear what helps you all survive this crazy schedule!

 

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