Thursday, August 30, 2012


*Warning: this post is chicken-talk heavy.  If you're not interested in chickens, skip it.

Back in March, we decided we wanted to have some chickens.  So we got four cute itty bitty baby chicks, and now we have four beautiful hens.  I'll be honest, I'm still not sure if we'll be keeping them.  Troy doesn't really like them.  But the rest of us love them, and now that they're finally laying eggs, maybe that'll be enough to sway him over to the chicken side.

Now for some pictures.  This first one is Mary and Ruth.  They are definitely best friends, and are nearly always together.  Ruth (the white one) is so funny, and definitely doesn't like to be by herself.  If she does find herself alone, she'll run to the other chickens; usually Mary, and usually Mary's face.
Side note: look how dirty their run looks (and under the coop).  I had it completely clean just this morning.  These girls are messy!

I can't say the chickens love to be held, and Kaitlyn and I have noticed that Ruth is especially hard to hold.  She's a little flighty, and just runs away when you try to pick her up.  Except for Kevin.  He holds her all the time.  Like she's a baby even, and she doesn't seem to mind.

Phoebe is Kaitlyn's favorite.  She seems to be the most gentle one, and the nicest.  She is also one of the two that is laying (I think).  She is also loud.  Kind of a weird combination: gentle and loud. 

Here's Kaitlyn holding Lydia, who is my favorite.  Lydia is the other hen who is laying right now.  I love this picture, by the way!

Here's Mary.  Ruth is not in the picture because Kevin was holding her at the time, but as soon as Kevin put her down, she ran right over to Mary.  I think Mary's molting right there by her tail feathers.

Here's a close-up of Ruth.  I think her colors are so pretty!

And Lydia.  I love her white fluffiness.  I didn't think that I'd like the looks of a nearly plain white chicken, but I really do.  I think she's just as pretty as the rest of them.

I wanted to get a picture of Phoebe alone, but she was sitting under the coop.  She's not as social with the other chickens.  This morning when they were out, she was sitting in a corner of the yard by herself, not moving, for at least five minutes.  I thought for sure she was going to lay an egg right there (she seemed to be assuming the position), but she didn't. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kevin's in 4th Grade!

Here's Kevin leaving for his first day of 4th grade.  How did he get to be so old already?  He's still my little boy!  Sometimes I hate year round school, because it feels like we should be busy having some summer fun still.  This summer ran away from me, and I didn't even do a fraction of the fun things with the kids that I wanted to.

I know this picture isn't great, but he was already on his way when I thought about it, and it was bright and sunshiney outside.
Here's Kevin's after school treat.  It's pretty yummy, and was easy to make at the last minute when I realized I wanted to have a treat for him after his first day.

1/2 cup honey
1 cup nut butter (whatever you've got on hand)
4 TBS cocoa powder
2 cups oats

Heat up the honey, add nut butter and cocoa powder, stir, add oats.  Stir some more.  Make balls.  Eat 'em.

At the Zoo with Annabelle and Kids

Not too long ago the kids and I went with Annabelle and her kids to the zoo.  We had a great time, and the new Rocky Shores area was really neat.  We love spending time with these guys.  Here are a few cute pictures:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Adventures: Snow Hiking

Since the weather was so nice yesterday (low 80's), we decided to head up into the mountains for a hike. It was a blast! This whole "level up your life" thing has given me a new perspective. I've started to see life as an adventure, and this hike was definitely adventurous. The first part of our hike was a paved road and nothing special. But once we got to the trailhead of our real hike, that's where the fun started. There was snow, and lots of it. It was mostly packed, but every once in awhile, your foot would sink in. It was up to the knee for us taller people, and just about the whole leg for my boys.

Troy wanted to turn back cause a snow hike didn't sound very fun to him, but I wanted to go on, and I'm the boss. So we continued up, and it was fantastic. Between the slips and faceplants my boys were doing and the sliding down a snow-packed mountain on our butts (not on purpose), a good time was had by all. Kaitlyn and I hiked all the way to the top for a closer view of the waterfall, and it was beautiful. I'd love to go back in the summer to see what it's like without the snow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nerd Fitness!

So, you guys have heard me talk about BodyRock, and how much I love it and how great it is.  Well, it's come to a point where I can't support it anymore.  I have always had to ignore the sexualized nature of the site, and just focus on the workouts.  And the workouts were mostly good.  But I definitely had reservations about their workout schedule.  Working out the same muscle groups day after day, without allowing for rest or rebuilding, isn't a good idea for anyone.

I hated that I couldn't recommend the site to just anyone.  Lots of people would be offended by the pictures, and with good reason.  But it has gotten worse.  I'm not going to post pictures or go into any detail.  If you're really curious, feel free to go to the BodyRock website and see for yourself. 

So what to do, then?  I wanted to find a fitness website or program that I could embrace without reservation.  Where I don't have to ignore half of the website to get to the good parts.  One I'm not afraid to tell my loved ones about.  And guess what?  I found it!  And I love it! 

I have just begun to explore it, but there are so many great posts I've read.  Here are just a few:
How to Level Up in the Game of Life
Beginner's Guide to the Paleo Diet
Why People Suck at Getting Healthy
How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

I have seriously spent hours reading around that website, and I have loved everything I've read.  There has been no aspect that I've hated, but was willing to look past for the good stuff.  It's all good stuff. And there's a great community too with message boards and super supportive people.  So anyway, this is my find for the year so far, and my only regret is not finding it sooner.  Check it out!  Especially if you're a nerd/geek like me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Halfway Through my Whole30

Just thought I'd check in at the mid-way point of my Whole30.  I've definitely had my ups and downs.  I've had headaches and dizziness while my body is adjusting and while I try to figure out what exactly my body needs to perform optimally.  Despite that, I feel healthier than I've ever been.  There have been times when I wanted to quit so bad.  But more times that I'm so very thankful that I didn't.     

I have not weighed or measured myself.  That's off limits during the whole30, and besides that, I don't really care about numbers.  What I do care about is how my clothes fit.  And they don't fit anymore.  Here's a picture of me in my size 6 pants that used to fit me perfectly:

I have not been exercising a lot while my body adjusts to this way of eating, so any inches lost has been completely diet-related (granted, the muscle that I've built up burns more calories).  Exercise is definitely important, but what you're eating is so much more.  When I exercised 5 times a week for an hour a day (and didn't eat as well), I wasn't anywhere near this.

I can't say I have it all figured out.  I'm still trying to work out a balance that works for me, but I'm looking forward to the next 2 weeks, and then beyond that not straying too far from what I eat now.  I haven't gotten my family completely on board, and there has been complaining for sure.  I got a fantastic cookbook called Eat Like a Dinosaur, and every single thing we've cooked from it so far has been absolutely delicious.  I'll probably be doing a more in depth review soon.

So that's it for now.  I'll report again at the end of the 30 days, and try to maybe post some recipes or things that we're eating and loving in the meantime.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doing the Whole 30

I've always been skeptical about low-carb/Atkins style diets.  I thought they were anything but healthy, and then I came across the Paleo diet (links to follow).  At first I had the same thoughts, but for some reason I kept coming back to it.  There's something about it that resonates with me.  Something about it just makes sense.

Although our society is much more sedentary than our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we don't have to be.  My main concern with the Paleo diet was that we shouldn't eat like they did because we aren't as active as they were.  But that's a silly concern because I can move as much as I want to.  I can do a lot of housework, I can go for walks, I can exercise.  I can easily be as active as they were.

So that brings me to the Whole 30.  In a nutshell, it's this:
We eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
This is not a “diet” – we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat animals and a significant amount of plants.
 My personal reasons for doing it are not to lose weight.  I feel like I'm generally in pretty good health, but I do have nagging things that are always there.  I get migraines at least a few days every month.  Sometimes I have no energy at all.  I get really bad PMS.  I'm not "regular".  The list could go on.  Just little things that I wonder if I could fix if I changed what I ate.  So I figured I would just go for it.  I've just finished day two, and even though I thought this would feel really restrictive, I'm hot having a hard time with it at all.  (We'll see how the weekend goes when movie and snack time comes up).

Here's what I ate for day two:

Scrambled eggs with spinach and grape tomatoes
Leftover garlic burger, lettuce and tomatoes drizzled with sesame seed oil
Spicy pepper chicken, ginger garlic chicken, and asparagus

And I had a banana for an afternoon snack.

What I've found whenever I eat paleo is how much I really love to cook.  It gives me a chance to experiment with spices and different veggies.  And I love garlic--I put it in just about everything.  I'll try to keep anyone who's interested updated on how my whole 30 is going and what I'm eating.

If you want to dig into what Paleo is a little more, here are some helpful links:
Mark's Daily Apple
Robb Wolf
The Paleo Diet
Everyday Paleo
Paleo Parents

And I have to add a little bit of a disclaimer.  If you buy all your meat from a grocery store, and don't have any intention of changing that, I wouldn't recommend the Whole 30 or the Paleo Diet.  Even if you're not interested in Paleo, check into local meat sources.  It may be slightly more expensive, but it tastes better, it's healthier for you and the environment, it's more humane for the animal: the animals are fed what they are supposed to eat and do what animals are supposed to do.  On top of that, you can support local farmers, and who doesn't want to do that?  There are so many very good reasons to get your meat locally that I don't know why you wouldn't. :)