2 Things I’ve Learned in October and 4 Things I’ve Realized

October is just about my favorite month. It’s also one of the busiest. A few deep (and not so deep) thoughts have slipped through the cracks, though. I thought I’d share those with you.

I’ve Learned:

1.) No matter how many times I swear I’m not going to let myself get too busy or overcommitted, I eventually get in over my head again. I think it’s just inevitable. Now, though, I know when I get this way that I need to take breaks where I just say “no”  for awhile, to everything. Everything. It’s how I recharge. Then I start again, re-prioritize and get back on track.

2.) No matter how much room there is, if I’m in the kitchen or sitting on the couch, every member of my house will be as close to me as possible. All five of them. The Hubs, Lily, Henry and the pups. I basically get dinner ready in a one square foot of space and I’m usually tripping over one of the dogs. I’m mom and right now I’m the center of our family universe. I get it. I love it that my family loves me. I’ll take it for as long as I can get it. But, if you find me hiding out in my room sometimes with the light off you know I just need some alone time. Hey, everyone needs their personal space.

I’ve Realized:

1.) Begrudgingly, that while I can (and do) own a white purse, a white purse cannot be my main, go-to satchel. It just can’t. And it makes me sad. My beloved purse looks so dingy; but it goes with everything. Do you see the dilemma? I could clean my purse I suppose. But, who has time to clean the outside of their purse? I barely keep my eyebrows tweezed. *sigh*

2.) I can eat tacos like 3 times a week and never get tired of it. I made tacos on Tuesday. Come Thursday, I was still eating the leftovers. You just don’t get tired of tacos. It’s the perfect meal.

3.) Some people think I’m old. Ok, maybe older is the better word. Heck, when I was in my late 20’s and 30’s I know, according to my sister who’s 10 years older than me, that I made “old age” comments unwittingly. I thought your 40’s and 50’s were old back then. Now I’m knee deep in my 40’s and I know better. But I see how others see me. It’s all good, though. In my mind I’m still young, spry, super witty and with-it. That’s all that matters.

4.) My puppies are 2 years  and 5 months old. One is a German Shepherd and one hasn’t started shedding yet. Between them and my kids, I sweep at least once a day. Every day it takes me about 15-20 minutes to sweep my house. (No carpet) Unless I want tumbleweeds of black fur wafting across my floor, I will be sweeping a minimum of 2 1/2 hours every week for the next 12 years. That’s a lot of sweeping. Between the dirt from all the feet in this house and the shedding hair ( I just had to get a German Shepherd!), this is my life now. I must accept this.

But look at those faces. It’s so worth it.



There you have it. There was nothing too terribly profound; but there are my thoughts none the less. Now I’m off to make dinner or just maybe reheat the tacos.


September Goals


(Mac, our new puppy. 14 weeks old)

Friends, if I’m being honest, I’m so tempted to type a one-word goal for this month.


Okay, 2 words. Sleep. Read. (I’m never too tired to read.)

It’s been so busy and and everything is starting back up again. I’m feeling a little


Well, maybe a lot overwhelmed. Let’s just say I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’ve said yes to too many things. Now I’m feeling the burn. I’m feeling stretched thin. I just want to curl up in my new sherpa blanket I snagged at Costco last week for $11.99, grab the puppy, turn on Netflix and just do nothing.

But I have the homeschooling, the dispensing of food, the keeping alive of the little people (and puppies), the cleaning of the clothes, and bunch of other things parents do. I also think the Hubs would miss me if I just dropped off the grid.

It’s tempting; but not realistic.

Mac’s life is so simple. He eats and sleeps. He gets picked up and petted and kissed repeatedly on the face. He plays with Boomer and chews his bones (and my wicker blanket basket!!). Then he goes back to sleep. He repeats this about 4 times a day and then sleeps a solid night’s sleep.

So while I can’t just shirk all my responsibilities this month, I can be realistic. I can acknowledge the business of this season (home school, soccer, swimming, Bible Study, and the list goes on) and be reasonable as to what I can accomplish. I love setting goals because it keeps me focused; but I don’t want to set my expectations so high that I feel like I’ve failed at the end of the month because so little got marked off my list.

My list is short; but realistic for me this month.

Quiet Time: With school starting back up, struggling to get up early and the new puppy, my morning quiet time with God  has been infrequent. I have gotten out of a groove. I need to get back into a groove. I really miss my time of reading my Bible in the morning. I know one way to get this time back is go to bed earlier, so I can wake up earlier.

Family: It’s really busy right now with soccer and swimming. This will only last for a season, though. I’m just shooting for one night a week where we stay home, just the four us, and have a family fun night with at least one or two game nights.

The Hubs: A date night or date day.

The House: We have been working soooo hard on our 1960’s fixer upper. While we have a lot to do still, we’ve been very blessed to get so much done in just a few short months. We are having a House Warming/ Open House soon and we are making a big push to get some projects done. So my goal is to stay focused and get those things done before our party. After that, we are taking a little break from home improvement projects.

To Read: Lately, when I start reading, I fall asleep and end up taking a 2 hour nap! My goal is to carve out a little more reading time this month. Maybe I shouldn’t do it wrapped in my super soft sherpa blanket that I bought from Costco for $11.99. I have 3 books on my nightstand right now and I want to finish them all.

Do you set goals? How do you stay focused on your goals; but not let them overwhelm you or your schedule?

Whole30:: The Recap



It’s been almost two weeks since we finished the Whole30. Can I just say…..it was a long month!!! Really. This was a challenge. It took determination and lot of saying “NO”. And I don’t regret one minute of it!

I’ll be honest, of course. I had a few “slips”; but just a few. Despite the few slips, I  felt like The Hubs and I ended strong. Lily was amazing. I made some modifications for her; but she was a rock star through this. She said no to things that weren’t Whole30 approved even when we weren’t there to monitor her. I’m super proud of her.

In Lily’s words, “I feel lighter.”

In my words, “I just feel better.”

Two things come to mind right away every time someone has asked me about how I’ve been doing on the Whole30 over this past month.

Number 1: I’m just not  hungry like I was before. It is such a weird feeling to barely snack between meals and not be hungry all the time. Before the Whole30, I grazed all day; yet I always felt hungry. I know this was due to the fact that I was eating “empty”foods, though. When I ate sweets or bread, it only filled me up for a short time and then I was hungry all over again. This past month I’ve been eating protein rich meals and it’s made such a difference.

Number 2: I did something I didn’t think I could do. I didn’t think I could go without sugar and cream in my coffee, without bread and soda. Yet, I did!  And I proved to myself that I can do hard things. I did give up the bread and soda (and many more things) for a whole month and honestly didn’t miss it all that much. I’ve never ever done that. And you know what? I feel really good.

Life got super hectic all of a sudden with our move and I wasn’t nearly as good during the second half of the month about taking pictures of our meals. Here are a few of the meals we ate over the past couple of weeks:




What did I take away from doing the Whole30? Do you have 5 hours? I’ve learned so much. But I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest Version:

1.) We were eating way too much food. All three of us lost weight and we needed to. (* H did not really participate in the Whole30. Except we excluded sugar from his diet.) It wasn’t just the kinds of foods we were eating; but also the amount of food we were inhaling.

2.) I thought my kids were eating healthy; but I was feeding them way, way too much sugar. When I had to say no to every single request for a sugary treat; I realized how much I had been saying yes.

3.) There is sugar in everything, people. Everything. It’s a conspiracy!! My eyes are wide open now to what’s going into all the processed food out there. Even the foods that “seem” to be healthy are just packed in sugar. Not to mention the added preservatives in food.

4.) Some of the stomach issues I was having and my sore knees improved so much. The pain in my knees almost disappeared completely.

5.) There were two times my kids had sugar the whole month. The second time they had sugar, I thought they had gone insane. I’m being 100% serious. The crazy mood swing behavior from both of them just minutes after eating the sugary dessert was really eye opening to me.

The challenge? Well, the challenge for me is two-fold. First, how do I incorporate many of these good habits into my life and the life of my family? We don’t plan on being a hardcore Whole30 family; but I’m encouraged to change a lot of our eating habits. How do I make this a lifelong habit?

Second, how do I make this doable for our one-income budget? We dropped some serious cash this past month and I cannot spend this much on groceries on a continual basis.

We are moving as I write this post. We’ve been packing for the past couple of weeks and renovating the fixer-upper that we are moving into. We have just a little over a week to be out of the house we are in. Our new house has no floors right now! So, we have quite a bit of work to do still. Ya, it’s a little crazy around here.

I’ve begun packing up my kitchen and I just don’t have the luxury of cooking and preparing every single meal right now. I’m giving myself a little bit of grace during this move; but I’m excited to get back to where we were before the move when this transition time is over..

So, there you have it. There’s my take on the Whole30. If you are thinking of doing it, do it. I felt so good while doing. Yes, it’s challenging but if this carb loving, pepsi princess can do it, you can, too.






May Goals:: When Life Gets Wonky

IMG_8976 (1)

It’s been a little quiet around the blog and for good reason. Life can pretty much be described by the picture above. (Which was not planned, by the way. I really found H like this with his tiny voice pleading for help.) Our life has been turned upside down and it’s very WONKY right now. Why???

We very, very, very, (I could add more here; but I won’t.) unexpectedly bought a house. The house, for a lack of a better expression, just “dropped in our laps.” We were not looking; but when the opportunity presented itself, we had to act pretty fast.

This house is a bit of a miracle and I am most definitely writing a post to share more about that in the future. It is such a surprise, though, and I think I’m still in  a bit of shock.

Moving in and of itself is stressful and puts regular life on hold. And our “new” house is not actually new. It’s an older house that needs some work done before we can move in. (Let’s just say that 1968 called and wants its light fixtures back!) We have quite a list of “to-do’s” and about 5-6 weeks to complete them.

Does the picture above make more sense now?

My last 5 weeks of school were planned out perfectly. Those plans are non-existent now. We are still doing school; but I’m giving myself grace and doing what I think is absolutely necessary and letting go of everything else. (This is hard for me!!)

We are still doing the Whole30. Remember that post here? The Whole30 is NOT easy to do while you are ripping up floors, sanding down cabinets and packing china. There is no fast food or take out. We are almost done and we are staying strong, though.

My friend, Leslie, took Lil for one whole afternoon. My in-laws took H for the same afternoon. I was able to catch up with all of my laundry. I had spent so much time at the new house that my laundry was out of control. What a blessing!!! The dirty dishes and dirty laundry don’t stop because we are remodeling a house.

Life is wonky and it’s going to get crazier. My goal is share some of this adventure with my readers. But really, my goal for this month, is just to stay sane. To be okay in the midst of the chaos. To let go of the little things. To focus on how good God has been to give us this house. To ask for help. To let people help me and not to try to do it on my own. To just keep us all fed with clean clothes. Just the basics.

Okay, I gotta go peel some crazy busy floral wallpaper off the bathroom walls now.


Holy Healthy Eating, Batman!!:: Our Whole30 Adventure


Kids, books, wifey stuff, God, trying to be a writer, life in the moment….. you can find all that here.

One thing I don’t often blog about is food and health. Can I refresh your memory about what an awesome cook I am? (Just read here.) If you didn’t catch the sarcasm, it was there, laid thickly.

This is not a healthy food/cooking blog. Trust me. No one would read it if it was! But our family started the Whole30 eating plan just a little over two weeks ago and it has rocked our world! I can’t not not write about it. I’ve spent most of my time in the kitchen these past weeks, so this is what’s on the brain.

This post will be a brief explanation of why we started this adventure. Then, my goal is to give updates along the way.

What is it? To really get the full picture, you should visit their website here. Basically, for a month, we are cutting out all sugar, alcohol, grains (that’s right-no bread, not even the healthy kind), dairy, processed foods, or legumes. There are some other “don’ts”; but these are the basics. We can have eggs, meat, veggies, fruits and potatoes. Again, it’s a bit more detailed than this; but this is the jist.

Why are we doing this? I’ll be 100% honest. For me personally, a big reason was to lose weight. But, for the first time in my life, the other reasons are just as important as my personal weight loss. You see, in the past, it’s always been about the weight and looking better. This isn’t bad; but the focus was never on feeling better or treating my body better. The Hubs and I have had many conversations about how we have not been putting good food in our body and we have felt it. It’s time to put our big boy and big girl pants on and stop eating like we did when we were younger and could eat just about anything.

This brings me to the #1 reason why we are doing this:

We need to set good examples of healthy eating for our kids and we have not been. First, we have to learn how to eat well. We have to know how it feels to eat the good stuff and cut the bad out. We crave the bad, all of us, the sugar, the bread. The Whole30 helps to break those cravings by cutting it out for 30 days.

Reason #2: If you’ve been following me you may have read my thoughts on getting older here. I’ve got the aches and pains that go along with not having a 20 year old’s body anymore. But there are some things going on in my body that I am sure is due to my unhealthy eating. I won’t go into that in this post (TMI); but I’m tired of feeling crappy.

Reason #3: I’m tired of telling myself I can’t do things. A month of eating the exact opposite is going to be challenging for our whole family. It’s not impossible. It’s not too hard. We can do this. The fact that we are doing it together gives us a better chance of succeeding.

What comes after the Whole30 month? I’m taking it one week at a time here! My hope is that we will develop healthy eating habits that will stick with us long after our month is over. We are desiring a healthier lifestyle and relationship with food.

We are not cutting out all the Whole30 No No’s forever. We are going to bring off-limit foods back into our diet in moderation. (You better believe I will have my precious sourdough bread again!!! Now I’m thinking about bread……..) Though, we have already decided on foods we want to nix from our diet for good or cut down on greatly.

Follow me in Instagram. It’s not all posts about food so don’t worry about Whole30 overload. But I’d love for you to follow along here.

Want to see some of what we ate the first two weeks? Our sweet Lulu loved everything but the eggs. So, we didn’t make her eat those.

PicMonkey Collage


March Goals:: Finish The Unfinished


Hello March! Hello days that have made me pine for spring to come! Rain is coming to our parts but we’ve had some really nice days this month. A few times the weather had me tricked into thinking winter was over. I welcome the rain, though. We here in California do NOT want another drought dry summer.

So how did my February Goals go this past month?

Marriage- Our goals were to have a date night (out) and start a couple’s devotional book together.

We did have an amazing Valentine’s date out at a delicious steak house, Starks. (Though, we’ve stopped going on Valentine’s day. Too many people; too busy.) We did pick a book for a couple’s devotional that I think will be really good, Powerful Promises For Every Couple by Jim and Elizabeth George. Once we get a little deeper into the book, I’ll do a review on it.

Family/Health-  This month, I really wanted us to get out into nature more as a family, walk the dog and start getting Lily ready for our Kids on the Run group that will be starting soon.

I did not walk Boomer as much as I had planned; but we definitely got out and started taking family hikes (We have some great places to hike here.) and Lily and I have started our training for the 5K coming up with our running group. The best news this month is that Lily learned to RIDE A BIKE! Now that’s all she does. She spends hours riding up and down our street.

To Read- I wanted to read, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and The Fringe Hours. I wanted to finish Money Making Mom.

Yes, to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. No, to everything else.

Home- Decluttering the garage.

We’ve made really good progress here. We have a little more decluttering to do.

Jen-  This month I was DETERMINED to get to bed early, get at least 7 hours of sleep and get up earlier than my kids.

I’m still struggling with getting up before my kids. But…..I went to bed much earlier than I was (most nights) and I have been getting at least 7 hours of sleep (most nights). I think that once I started getting more sleep, my body relaxed. I’ve been so very tired at night and I really struggle to stay awake. This is a good thing. I think my body is definitely in sleep catch-up mode right now.

So how is March looking?

Well, it hit me this month that I have a lot of “unfinished” things laying about the house. Unfinished projects, unfinished  books, and not to mention the unfinished baskets of laundry!!

So, I think before I set any new goals, I need to finish the old ones.

Marriage– There’s really nothing new here; but I want to make sure we make this date night thing a habit. So, my goal is to have another date night with The Hubs (in or out) and for us to pick a day we will read our devotional book together.

Family/Health- Again, nothing new here. I do want us to continue with the family walks/hikes, though. So, my goal is one family hike/long walk once a week, weather permitting. Lily and I will be walking/running together as well.

Jen- I didn’t realize how truly lacking I have been in sleep until I started getting a healthy amount of sleep. My goal is to get 7 hours of sleep at least EVERY night. (I’ll settle for MOST, though.) My other goal is to have my lights out between 10:30 and 11:00. I’m still striving to get up before my kiddos. Here’s the deal, though. If getting enough sleep means I get up with my kids instead of before,  then for now I’m okay with that. It is still my ultimate goal.

To Read- This month our book club is reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Other than this book, I’m trying to finish all my unfinished books. Oh boy! There is a stack of them! You can check out my stack by reading my last post here. I have four books to finish as well as my book club book. That’s a tall order for me. I’m going to give it my best shot.

Projects- My list of unfinished projects is looooooong. Here’s my top two: I started painting a “You are My Sunshine” palette sign for Lulu. I wanted to finish that as well as repaint a rolling cart I have in the kitchen. I started to repaint it, didn’t like the color and left it partially painted with the unloved color.

Finish the Unfinished. That’s my mantra for this month!

What about you? Any unfinished projects or stack of books around your house?

What I’m Loving Mondays:: Around the House

What I'm Loving Mondays

This edition of What I’m Loving Mondays is a peek at a few of the things I’m loving around my house.

Letter B- Cut from an old book.


Seriously how cool is this?  We were in the little town of Truckee last month when we headed up to the snow. Downtown Truckee has the cutest shops and we stopped into Gratitudes. I also found some on Etsy. That’s when I spied these books cut into every letter of the alphabet.

Wooden California Sign


I had been looking for a sign like this for a long time. When we went to Monterey last November to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we did some sightseeing and found a cool shop with several wooden signs. I’m sort of in love with wooden pallete art. My friend Sarah helped me make this sign. And I’m in the process of painting a You Are My Sunshine Sign for Lulu.

It is in really small print; but it has the various CA city names as the background.

It is in really small print; but it has the various CA city names as the background.


Metal B Family Sign


This was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law and my new brother-in-law. My sister-in-law made it with the help of her mother-in-law. This is my favorite new piece of wall art for the house.

Red Chairs


These chairs were our grown-up Christmas presents to each other. We are saving up for two more arm chairs to go on the end of our table.

That’s what I’m loving around the casa these days. As always, I’m loving my kiddos and my handsome Hubs.

IMG_8454 (1)


IMG_8526 (1)