Easter 2016

 

This Easter was a little strange for me. First off, it was in March, that ALWAYS throws me off. Secondly, I am going through a sort of spiritual reawakening.

Mr Wonderful and I have been talking about when, how, and what we should do. Jump out or jump in? After we move or right now? Maybe, just wait until the next big trial? I pointed out, maybe we should do it now. We have a 3 year old, whom we drag to church, so let’s decide now if we want to keep doing that.

So we decided to jump in, and it seemed like a perfect time to start our rediscovery journey on Easter Sunday. So we started coming up with some rules.

Dinner at the table, as a family nightly. So that we can do family prayer and scriptures right after dinner.
No TV on Sunday, except religious shows (ie Veggie Tales, or the animated scripture shows.)
No devices at the table during dinner.
We will have couple study and prayer in the morning.

For Easter, I just got some jelly beans and then a favorite treat for everyone. (Chocolate for me, of course!) I have no idea of what kind of fun traditions to do for Easter. We don’t do Santa, so no Easter Bunny. Maybe we’ll start getting new shoes for Easter…

Easter baskets
Easter baskets

Before we gave Mr. Z his “basket” Mr Wonderful gave a brief explanation on why at Easter we give gifts. “Christ died for us, it was a perfect gift of love. To celebrate his gift, we give gifts to one another on Easter to remember His gift.”

Family Easter picture
Family Easter picture

While we were at church today, of course right in the middle of Sacrament, Mr. Z proclaims, “NO! I don’t want Jesus to die!” We try to explain how this is good things, because now he lives again. Then he asks, “Can Grandma Nancy come back like Jesus?” While being able to understand death, the idea of resurrection is a really hard concept all around.

After church, we came home and had a nice Easter dinner, crock pot Leg of Lamb, honey carrots, roasted rosemary potatoes, and gluten free rolls. I think Leg of Lamb will be our new Easter dinner.

 

Body Revolution Phase One: A Review

Phase one is over, two weeks of workouts 1 & 2 and two weeks of workout 3 & 4. It has been hard, but I am impressed by my results.

I started this program Jan 4th at 214.6 pounds. Sunday Jan 31, I am at 202.6 pounds. 12 pounds!

I have been following the workout schedule, mostly. I try on the Cardio days (Wednesdays and Saturdays) to go for a run. Sometimes the weather doesn’t allow for that, so I will do the video. And when I am extremely sore on Sundays, I do a Yoga video.

The program comes with a food guide which limits you to about 1200 to 1400 calories a day. But I am not following that. I am doing Whole30, and try to stay under 2000 calories. I have been averaging right around 1600-1800. I am not sure how accurate calorie counting is, or how helpful it is. But it has helped me to keep from just binge eating, just because I think I am hungry.

I have been posting on instagram almost daily, follow me: @ashlgetsfit.

Some of my IG shots from this month.
Some of my IG shots from this month.

 

I haven’t seen any miraculous changes yet, but I have noticed, my pants not being super tight, a tighter tummy!, and I and feel muscle building in my arms and legs.

I am mostly enjoying the workouts. Sometimes I wish they would just move a step faster between sets. So I sometimes will just move ahead, or take a breather.

Workouts 3 & 4 are a big step up for 1 & 2, so I am nervous about phase two, but it will be good.

January Whole30: Day 26

I can not believe that this January Whole30 is almost over, and I have not been writing about it. Let me give you a brief overview of the things we, as a family, learned so far this month.

Mr. Wonderful learned that changing your diet is HARD!

He was really surprised that at work he was finding himself jealous of people eating non-compliant foods. He told me he never realized how hard it has been for me to make these changes and developed a new appreciation for how hard I try.

Vegetables are CHEAP

I have been really surprised at our last few grocery bills. When I try to keep the bill under $100, I usually don’t make it. But our last 3 trips where right around $80. And this month, was the first month that we didn’t blow out the grocery budget. (I will say that we did go over, but only by $4.74!)

Workouts

Other rounds of Whole30 have just been purely about the food. This time I have been working out too. And I have motivation to go workout and I am finding that I am pushing myself. And the scale, whoa! It is moving! (Yes, I know weighing yourself is breaking a Whole30 rule, but I am doing a challenge with some friends and we have to weigh in weekly.)

Cooking Creativity

This came along as I was either lazy about preparing dinner or because I chose not to get something because of cost. Sweet Potatoes are great bases for almost anything.

Children model our behavior

I think most of us know this already, but it has really been shown to us. Mr. Z turns 3 soon and is pretty good about eating vegetables. He has even told Mr. Wonderful he needs to eat more!

 

It has been fun and an interesting experiment for our little family. I am glad I decided to do this as a family. I know it will help make the next two month easier.

January Whole30: Day 4

Four days down and 26 more to go. I really find these first two weeks to be the hardest. Last night after dinner, I wanted to eat a giant fluffy chocolate chip cookie. Instead I just ate another serving of dinner, with more gravy, and some grapes.

Grapes, why do they still sell grapes with seeds! Seriously, can we at least label them?

Otherwise this round of Whole30, which is the fourth I have started, is going great. Mr. Wonderful is doing well with it. He was a complete zombie Saturday and Sunday, he took 3 hour naps BOTH DAYS! This morning he was up and ready to start the day while I was still hitting snooze…

As for Mr. Z and his Whole30, that ended Saturday, when he couldn’t keep anything down for hours until we got him some saltines and apple juice. Also, telling a 3 year old, “No, you can’t have Cheerios for breakfast, how about eggs?” Only works until he sees the box of Cheerios… But we don’t have any milk, and so he just eats it dry. At least he is off dairy.

I have been doing daily workouts. Currently I am doing Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution. It is a 90 day program, with 30 minute daily workouts. (Sunday, is technically a rest day, but I am going to be doing Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Yoga Fix to have a more active stretching rest day.) I started on the first, but since it was a Friday, I have officially started today which makes my projected finish date, April 2. At the end of the month, I might repeat a week or two of Phase 1, depending on how strong I am feeling.

I am obviously not following the prescribed diet plan, since I am doing Whole30. I am planning on doing Whole30 for the whole 90 day program. I do have a “cheat” meal planned though. I promised Mr. Wonderful that on the 31st we would have homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. (This is the recipe I will use–>HERE)

Budget Tips:
I told you that I would share budget tips as we progressed through this January Whole30 so here is one that requires some time, work, and freezer space, but yields delicious bone broth.

 

Save your vegetable scraps and bones!

I keep two bags in the freezer, a bone bag and vegetable bag. Each are a one gallon freezer bag. I put in the scraps throughout the month. When both bags are full, I dump them into my crockpot with some apple cider vinegar and about 10 cups of water. I let it cook for 24 hours and strain away the bones and vegetable remains. Then you can pressure can, or freeze it. It doesn’t take much active time, but you now don’t have to buy broth.

Freezing broth

If you choose to freeze it, you can freeze it in different size portions. I like to do a ¼ cup and tablespoon portions.

Broth pucks, 1/4 cup portion of broth frozen
Broth pucks, 1/4 cup portion of broth frozen.

Whole30 Differences

 

Now that it is January, we have started our January Whole30, and I told you that it was going to look different for all three of us. Mine will look like a more traditional Whole30, minus my smoothie breakfasts.

Mr. Wonderful works full time and is in school full time. Usually, he eats a bowl of sugary cereal (seriously, I have tried to convince him he does not need to add sugar to Cheerios, a banana is just as good if not better…), a turkey sandwich for lunch and then whatever I made for lunch.

Convincing him to do Whole30 with me, was a little bit of compromise. He will not be doing a true Whole30. Why? Because telling him, you can’t do x, y, z, q, w, r, t, p and f was like I was killing him. So we sat down, and for his “first round” we made a list of compromises.

  1. I will always pack him a lunch, whole30 approved.
  2. Except Wednesday’s, when his company has lunch meeting a feeds the company. (They have a chef, and usually it some fancy dish.)
  3. I will provide him with nuts to take to work for snacks.
  4. He can snack whenever on nuts and fruit
  5. While he is on his grad school interview trip, he will be free to eat “off-plan”
  6. I won’t make him drink green smoothies
  7. He won’t complain

For those that know the Whole30 rules know that this is FAR from a true Whole30. But for him it is a start, and I am hoping that he will see that it is improving his life and will stick with it and maybe do a true Whole30.

For Mr. Z, his experience is going to be very similar to mine, since we will be home mostly and I will be making all of our meals. The only difference is we are potty training… So dates are going to replace his potty treat. He loves them so hopefully he will adjust. We started offering them after Christmas, so it helps.

January Whole30: Week One-Grocery Shopping

 

I was planning on going grocery shopping Friday morning, but we had done a really good job cleaning out the fridge before we left for vacation. Now that we are home, we need something more than carrots… I want to share my experience, feeding a family of 3, while also doing Whole30 on a budget. Our total food budget for the month is about $450.

Today, I went grocery shopping with the goal of spending less than $100. Here is what I got:

Grocery shopping haul
Grocery shopping haul

Frozen Mango, Frozen Broccoli Spears, Frozen Asparagus, Ground Turkey (4 pounds), Pork Tenderloin (4 pounds), Ground Beef (93/7, 2.5 pounds), Canned Chicken, Tomato Sauce, Plugra Butter (for ghee), Raisins, Zucchini, Red potatoes (5 pound bag), Carrots (2 pound bag), English Cucumbers, Oranges, Raw Cashews (1 pound), Lettuce (red and green leaf), Parsnips, Cilantro, Kale, Spinach, Garlic, Sweet Potatoes, Lime, Grapes, Mandarins, Guacamole, Eggs (Medium, 5 dozen)

For a grand total of $117.29

Now, there was a few things I didn’t get (bacon), and a couple of things that I could have not gotten, like guacamole and mandarin oranges. I did purchase everything at Winco, and nothing was specifically purchased as organic.

We are excited to start on Friday, well at least me. Mr. Wonderful, is convinced he is going to starve.

3-Month Food Storage

One thing that Mormon’s are known for is how they hoard food. I have been working on a little, yet huge project as part of an assignment for school. (Did I forget to tell you about how I went back to school, I will have to tell you all about the later.) For my project I am working on setting up a 3-month food supply of food my family will actually eat. 3-month food supply of food that fits our budget. 3-month food supply that fits our dietary needs.

For my family, I need our food storage to be gluten-free, mostly dairy-free (we can eat a bit of dairy but too much causes issues), and bean-free, no legumes here. One exception is that I can handle fermented yeast bread. So we will have some wheat flour in our storage for that. I will have to tell you more about fermented bread and how it is “gluten-free”.

With the help of Preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com, I was able to create a list of food items for us. Here is a link to PLDS Family’s plethora of knowledge. Seriously, there is no way I could even touch on all the information that site contains.

As a family of 3, having a 3 month supply hasn’t ever been this thing that I have felt I needed to get done ASAP. I also, would not consider myself a “Prepper” by any means. We have 72-hour kits, ready to go, will BASIC BASIC supplies. Ideally, I would like have a lot more for them, but funds are tight and so is space.

Monday, I was driving to do our Monday stuff, and I got to catch The Diane Rehm Show, one of my favorite shows on NPR. The part of the show that I caught was the interview with Ted Koppel. He recently wrote the book, Lights out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared Surviving The Aftermath. This interview really hit home the importance of getting our 3-month supply and getting it fast.

This is the part that really got me:

KOPPEL: …the government doesn’t have enough food to supply tens of millions of people for a period of a month or two.Even if they were to invest, let’s say, $100 billion in buying freeze-dried foods, which keeps for 25 to 30 years, it would take years before that much food could be grown, harvested, processed and accumulated. We need to start beginning. We need to start doing something. We need to talk to people about what would happen if one region of the country were blacked out and how we would accommodate those people if they needed to move to another region of the country.
REHM: What…
KOPPEL: Without plans we can’t do it.
REHM: What about investing greater resources into our own cybersecurity?
KOPPEL: I think those of us — I’m not sure that we can individually protect ourselves in the context of cybersecurity. Can we protect ourselves in terms of having adequate food and water available? Look, I’m aware of the fact there are millions of people in this country who can’t put food on the table every day. But those of us who can afford to have a supply, if we did and if we began rotating that supply — so it’s not a question of sitting on a three-months supply and never using it, rotating, eating it, consuming it and then replacing it, then at least if the government steps up to help those who can’t afford it, it would be a lot easier and there would be fewer people to take care of.

(continue to read or listen the interview here) I know it isn’t a shock the the government won’t be able to support us. But, having 3-month supply isn’t just for me and my family, it is for all of those around me.

One of my goals for my 3-month food supply, is to create rotating food storage, and a one that is affordable. Our goals is to create a weekly shopping list keeping the items to under $15 a week.

It is taking a lot of work, and it is frustrating. There are things that we go through SUPER fast, and things that take a while. So finding the balance of when to buy something so that we always have it, has be hard and I think I have finally done it. PHEW!

We are lucky that in the place we are staying, has this really nice setup in the basement perfect for storing 75 pounds x 3 people…