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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Slowing the Negative Self-Talk

Do you ever feel like an impostor? Like you're going through the motions and wondering when someone will notice you aren't doing the thing they think you are.

I feel like an impostor when grace is extended to me from the last place I expected.

Earlier today, I expected to be perceived as a disapointment. Instead I was met with an unexplainable dose of grace. Words of affirmation were spoken.

I'm hard on myself and I don't think I'm alone in that.

When I leave the house a few minutes behind schedule on a workday, I can let it get the best of me. And by best of me, I mean I talk myself into a bad mood in the fifteen minute drive from daycare to work. It was five minutes, Beth, relax. That kind of self talk is dangerous.

It got me thinking: what positive things do I tell myself? 

Tomorrow, I am going to write them down throughout my day. I'm going to consciously take note of those things that go well in an effort to NOT beat myself up. Because, honestly I need to give myself a break.

I need to put the brakes on the negative self-talk. Because when I'm thinking negatively about myself, I start to think negatively about those around me. I get critical and that often leads me down a treacherous path.

I may not start the day like this, but on second thought, why not?

What has your self-talk tape been playing?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Stuff Swap with Good Cheese

Transition is hard. Each time I go through one, I am somehow still surprised by the challenges that come with a new place. I find this baffling because I often tell people about my upbringing as an Air Force brat with a sense of pride.

I am proud to have moved around as a kid and often point to those experiences as growing pains that allowed me to succeed in college or even make it on my own as a single girl in a new city fresh out of grad school.

But I have to admit, I still struggle with change.

The past year and a half brought change in both my professional and personal life. The biggest change being motherhood. I've struggled with friendships and making "mom friends."

Around New Years I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining to my husband once again. He lovingly challenged me and asked "what have you done to get to know them?" referring to a group of women I would classify as acquaintances.

Although his question was what I needed to hear, I did not receive it so graciously.

I wish it would have stopped me in my tracks, but instead I thought about it for about a week. It wasn't pretty, but I realized I was expecting people to come to me and ask me all the questions I had assumed they had. I made it all about me. Yuck.

I had not considered what ways I needed to put myself out there and open myself up to let them know I was looking to forage new friendships.

I decided I should host this group of people in our home. As uncomfortable as it might be, I needed to open the door to my unfinished, not-even-mid-renovation house and feed these women I hoped to build a friendship with some wine and cheese.

To make it more interesting than "come hang out with me," I decided we needed something to do. I had heard of clothing swap parties before and loved the idea of an accessory swap (it is more inclusive of all shapes and sizes), so I went for it.

I created the event/invite on Facebook and was encouraged by people responding that they were coming, asking me what they could bring when they saw me in person and commenting/asking questions via Facebook.

People were talking about it!

As the night of the event drew closer,  I decided to keep the food simple with a cheese spread from Trader Joe's, wine, crackers, and other nibble-type things. After all, I had finished the Whole30 earlier that week and all I wanted was bread and cheese!

For the swap part, I tried to keep it simple and had everyone lay out their items in our dining room. We used the dining table and mantle to display the scarves, hats, purses, necklaces, bracelets and more. Once everything was laid out, we drew numbers and took turns selecting one item at a time. Everyone walked away with 5-6 new to them items and the remaining items are being donated to a local family shelter.

By the end of the night, we decided a kitchen gadget swap was next!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Weeks Post-Whole30 and Our New Kitchen Staples

I can't believe it's already been two weeks since we ended the Whole30 diet. I promised I'd be back with some of our staple foods while we were doing Whole30. And two weeks later, our habits have stayed the same in terms of the types of things we keep in the pantry and refrigerator.

Our kitchen "staples" look a little different and our grocery shopping list contains more fresh ingredients and a lot less dairy and processed products.

We still eat raw nuts and use them in recipes. Eggs and veggies are almost always on our breakfast plates. We've replaced pasta with cooked veggies like broccoli and zucchini. I am still drinking my coffee black, but I was glad to re-introduce red wine into the routine.

We may not be sticking to Whole30 anymore, but we are generally eating "clean" from one day to the next. I've found some great flour-less recipes for sweet treats.

Some of our favorites from Trader Joe's include: 1- plantain chips (great for guacamole or on their own) 2- Ruby Red Chai Tea 3- 21 Seasoning Salute 4- broccoli slaw (we boiled this a few times and used it as pasta with meatballs and marinara) 5- kalamata olives (great on salads and on their own) 6- macadamia nuts 7- raw cashews

TJ's isn't exactly around the corner (it's a 30 minute drive), so some of our staples aren't pictured. Other kitchen staples include: coconut flour, almond flour/meal, ghee, medjool dates and dill pickles.

So, what are we really eating two weeks after finishing our Whole30? Our weekly menu consists of mostly paleo meals and I've been pinning them on this board.

Of course we have had our "cheat" moments, but they are usually planned and with good reason. We ate donuts this past weekend, but I made this flour less cake for our at-home Valentine's Day treat and we ate these pumpkin pancakes.

Honestly, I don't feel like we're missing out, but I do love a good donut...on occasion of course!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Links I LOVE and ALL the Snow

Have you heard? New England is covered in snow. I mean covered! We have been hit with one storm after another for three weeks in a row. The college students I work with who have Monday classes after 3pm have not met yet!

This is not normal winter. I lived most of my life in places where it snows a decent amount (upstate NY, Colorado Springs and greater Boston), but the snow we've had since mid-January is unreal.  The snow is piled high. When I shoveled this morning, the most tiring part was walking down the driveway with a shovel full of wet and heavy snow and then hoisting it up on to the ever-growing snowbank.

Getting out of the driveway has become an event.

Last week, I dreaded backing on to our busy street. On Saturday, we prepped the driveway to fit multiple cars in the driveway for a get together I hosted. And then more snow came. Two feet of more snow in case you were wondering. I am literally scared to back out of the driveway when I have to go to work tomorrow.

Since I've had FIVE snow days since January 26, I have had a chance to do some unexpected housework (organized Maggie's closet and too small clothes) and spent too much time on Pinterest.

The Influence Network podcasts. I've only listened to three of them, but each one has been awesome. Even if you're not an iPhone user, you can listen online.

Audiobook (via Scribd): Surprised by Motherhood written and narrated by Lisa-Jo Baker. I'm sure I will listen to this one again and again. Her writing is beautiful and I can so relate to her feelings of pregnancy, giving birth and mothering without your mom.

Podcast: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey I've only listened to the with Jen Hatmaker and I just loved how I felt like it was girl-talk with two old friends. I'm so ready to start my own supper club. Who's in?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Whole30 ((what we ate))

I had been hearing about Whole30 from my internet friends for about six months. I was curious and started doing some research searching Pinterest for the details on the mysterious diet that had people raving. As I read, it made sense and I wanted to know more.

After a long December of one sickness after another, I started to plan how I could get my husband on board. It turns out, he didn't need much convincing. We bought the book, It Starts with Food and he was very interested, as someone who had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes as an adult.

Our first Whole30 started on January 4.

We prepped the kitchen, by cleaning out the pantry. We literally boxed up almost everything the diet does not allow -anything processed, containing refined sugar, grains or dairy. By removing the temptations from the pantry, we were setting ourselves up for success. The only exception was leaving a portion of the shelf for our 18 month old's animal crackers, cheerios and veggie sticks.

So, what did we actually eat?

Breakfast is my favorite meal and I was a bit worried about getting sick of eggs, but I can honestly say I did not get tired of them. We had fried eggs, cooked greens, roasted potatoes, sausage/sweet potato/broccoli casserole, eggs topped with salsa, proscuitto and eggs, brussels sprout breakfast hash, scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash and the list goes on. My favorite breakfast recipes we used were:
brussels sprout breakfast hash
sausage and sweet potato casserole

Lunch was always a bit more tricky, since we both work full-time. Planning ahead is key in the Whole30 (I will talk more about that in my next post). We ate a lot of tuna salad made with homemade mayo and soups, along with dinner leftovers. My favorite lunches included
healing chicken noodle soup
avocado chicken salad (not pictured)

Dinners were my favorite. We had a great variety, from fish on weekends to crock pot prepared meals on weeknights, there were so many great recipes to try! My favorite meals were:
butter chicken (skip the flour) over riced cauliflower
crispy buffalo chicken wings and homemade ranch dressing (on Super Bowl Sunday)
meatballs over steamed broccoli slaw

I'm happy to say, we made it through January free of sickness. My husband saw the most drastic changes within days of starting Whole30; he was using less than HALF his daily insulin by the third day of the diet. We both lost a little weight (I'm kicking myself for not taking our measurements at the start) and feel great.

I'll be back later this week with a rundown of our grocery staples and food prep tips!