This week is turning out to be even crazier than I anticipated!!  Its all good crazy though and I'm having so much fun with Sarah!  Everything is just so much more fun when you get to do it with a friend!
Here's a peek at some of what is occupying my time......
The older boys both have birthdays next week so I'm finalizing party plans and finishing gift shopping!!  We're going super easy this year and having the party at a local arcade/laser tag place and they are SO excited! 
We have our last women's ministry event at church tonight before we take a break for the summer and we've been busy planning and getting ready!  Sarah and I were up really late last night making tissue poms and laughing a lot!!  The combo of exhaustion and time with a best friend make for some good laughter and a lot of it!
Sarah sells Origami Owl and I'm hosting a party for her while she's here!!  I'm totally looking forward to a fun girls night and still trying to decide what food I'm making!  Yeah...the party is tomorrow night and I still don't even have food plans finalized...ha!  It will all come together! ;)
Check out her page @ http://sarahsmith.origamiowl.com!
But for now?  This morning we are headed here.....
Life is a little crazy for now but really I'm just crazy blessed!!  What are you up to this week?!  Hope you're all having a great week!

What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?
~Romans 8:31~


Memorial Day & Menu Monday

Memorial Day. 
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
~John 15:13~
Words fail me.  I feel there just aren't words to adequately sum up the sacrifice.  To truly express the gratitude to each person who's heart is incomplete because their loved one left to serve and didn't come home.  Maybe my tears?  Maybe that's as close as it gets.  The tears that fall every time I allow myself to really consider it.  The selflessness of it all.  These men and women lay down their lives for me.  For my family.  For you and the ones you love.  There just aren't words.  So I'll pray peace and comfort that only the Lord can give.  And I'll remember....not just today but often.  Every time I see our majestic flag flying, I'll remember.  When I hear our nation's anthem play, I'll remember.  As I worship God freely each week, I'll remember.  The sacrifice will not be forgotten.
I hope you're enjoying your long weekend!!  We are loving having John home with us today and had such a great weekend full of friendship, laughter, and family!
This week is looking like it will be a crazy one but it will be full of fun!!  Here's what will fuel our crazy and fun all week....
Monday ~ Smokin' Sweet Tea Chicken w/ Broccoli
Tuesday ~ Spaghetti & Garlic Bread for my guys.  I'm going to dinner w/ some girlfriends!!
Wednesday ~ Grouch Chicken w/ Roasted Squash & Onions
Thursday ~ BBQ Sandwiches & Ranch Style Beans for my guys.  A women's ministry event at church for me!!
Friday ~ I'm having an Origami Owl party and the boys will be going out!  So far I know I'm making Sausage Balls and I've got to figure out what else! ;)
Saturday ~ Lemon Poppyseed Baked Chicken over Spinach w/ Sliced Strawberries
A busy fun filled week that will be fueled by some amazing food!!  And my bestie Sarah will be here TOMORROW!!!!  Eeeeekkk....I cannot wait!!!
Have a great week!
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
~James 1:12~


I've Hit a Wall

This is a post I don't want to write.  But this is a post that I need to write.  Because I want to keep it real but also?  Because I need to own this part of my fitness journey.
There has been frustration and tears and questions and far too much over analyzing the last few days.  But I suppose it is best summed up in the title of this post ~ I've hit a wall in this journey.  I keep hearing my trainers voice as he hugged me ~ "you've hit a wall kid."
So what now??  The only option is to keep working hard.  To knock this wall down and turn around and give it the middle finger cherish the feeling of defeating it!  That's not what I feel like doing. I feel like giving up and saying forget it.  I feel like saying "why bother".  I feel like I've worked SO hard for the  last 6 weeks for nothing.  But feelings can lie and that's just what all of those feelings are.  Lies.
So I'll push on, keep working hard even when I don't feel like it and I'll be beyond ready to celebrate when I can write the next post about this journey of mine and say "I did it!!" 

YES.  YES I will break through this wall and YES I will keep going and Yes I will choose to not believe the lies that my feelings are.  NO I won't give in and NO I won't give up. 
So here's to shooting the middle finger at breaking down the walls we hit in whatever journey we may be on!  I'd love to hear of times in your life that you've hit a wall ~ maybe in your own fitness journey?  Or in your career?  Whatever it may be, I'd love to hear about it!!  And to hear about your triumph when that wall came tumbling down!!
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
~Proverbs 14:23~


Build 'em Up

I'm linking up with Kelly, Erin, Courtney & Jennifer again today for their Build 'em Up series!
Today's topic is confidence in motherhood.

There are two things that i know without a doubt.  Absolutely for sure.
1) Jesus is my savior & His grace and love the sweetest gift.
2) Women hold SO much power at their fingertips.
It's so true, isn't it?!  A woman on a mission is not to be messed with.  But it's so hard to watch it over and over......women use this power of ours to criticize. To tear each other down.  What if we used all that power to encourage each other!  What if we used all that power for good?!  What if we quit spending so much time and energy worrying about how so-and-so does it?!  And just be confident in doing what we see as best for our families?!  For ourselves?!  I saw this on facebook the other day and i wanted to scream it from the mountaintops because it's SO true......
*To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.

*To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

*To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

*To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.

*To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.

*To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.

*To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

*To the mom who gave her kids a home cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

*To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

*To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.
**I don't know who wrote it to give credit but if you do know, please share so I can give credit!!**
We all do things differently.  We are all different people, with different husbands & families, with different needs, etc, etc.  What if we all celebrated our differences?!  And looked for what there is to be learned from each others differences?!  How much sweeter would life be if we weren't always judging or worried about being judged?!

There's one more thing I know for sure....God doesn't make mistakes.  Your circumstances, your marriage, your family, your career, your friends.....none of it is a mistake!!  Embrace who God made you to be!  And the life He has blessed you with ~ no matter how different that may look from Sally or Sue or the "has it all together" chick next door.  Be confident in the choices you make for you and your family and find joy in learning how differently someone else does it!!  Differences are like the accessories of life ~  how boring would it be if we were all the same?  And did everything the same way?  Just like accessories spice up an outfit ~ our differences make life & relationships interesting!
Let's all use the power that we, as women, possess for good!!  Let's embrace our differences and choose to cheer each other on instead of tear each other down!!  Motherhood is beautiful and hard and crazy and emotional and you get the idea.....ain't nobody got time for being judged or criticized! ;)

Be sure to head over and visit Kelly, Erin, Courtney, & Jennifer to read what they have to say about being confident in motherhood and then check out all those who link up!!  Building up instead of tearing down ~ it's a beautiful thing!!

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
~Hebrews 3:13~


Menu Monday

Happy Monday Everyone!!  We enjoyed spring weather for longer than usual here in Pensacola but that is OVER. =(  The temps are rising and the humidity has made itself at home.  Yuck!  But it does mean that it's time to bust out the water toys and the boys may even get to go for their first swim this week! =)

Here's what will be fuel for our fun this week.....

Monday ~ Bacon & Corn Risotto
Tuesday ~ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans
Wednesday ~ Beef Fajitas w/ Peppers, Onions & Homemade Guacamole
Thursday ~ Smokin' Sweet Tea Chicken & Broccoli
Friday ~ Skillet Sausage, Cous Cous, & Mixed Veggies
Saturday ~ We're having friends over and grilling burgers & hotdogs!  I'm also making the homemade guacamole again ~ it's 2 times in the same week kinda good y'all!!!
Sunday ~ ha! we couldn't think of anything so we're leaving it open and we'll figure it out this week!
(just keepin' it real~haha!)

I've never done a riostto before but Shay over at Mix and Match Mama says not to be nervous and she's never led me wrong so I'm goin' for it!!  The smokin' sweet tea chicken?!  Hubby is uber excited about that one ~ it's another one of my trusty McCormick marindes that I posted about here so I'll have to let ya know how it turns out!  It sure sounds interesting!

Hope everyone enjoys the week!  Holiday weekend comin' right up ~ woo hoo!!!!

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
~Lamentations 3:22&23~


A Collection of Random Thoughts.....

There is alot of random stuff floatin' around in this head of mine so I figured I'd share some of it with all of you! Lucky you huh?! Ha! ;)
*Felt like a true Floridian for the 1st time last night ~ top down, wind in my hair, headed to a beach yoga sesh!!  So fun!!  It was a night of firsts for me....1st time in a convertible & 1st time doing yoga!
being silly!

I've got some gorgeous friends don't I?! Love them!
*Ever heard of no-see-ums?!  UGH!!!  The tiniest most obnoxious little bugs EVER.  They bite and leave red welps that itch and last for days!  We have been getting eaten alive at bootcamp!  And?!  We've tried bug spray ~ doesn't even phase these punks!!
see that tiny black speck?! that's a no-see-um. tiniest bug ever.  worst bites ever!
*One of my best friends, Sarah, will be here from Washington in 11 days!!!  But who's counting right?!  Cannot wait!!
*Has anyone out there heard of the show Ready For Love?!  Erin, over at Bringing Up Burns, introduced me to it and I'm hooked!!  It was airing on NBC, got chopped, but they are showing the remainder of the season online!  I'm hooked!
*Speaking of reality tv ~ Its almost time for Des's season of the Bachelorette!!!  And Big Brother starts next month!!!  To know me is to know my deep deep love for the Bachelor/ette and Big Brother!  It's a serious relationship y'all!!
*I'm making Mix and Match Mama's chicken tortilla soup for dinner tonight and I'm far more excited about it than one should really be about food i think!!  ha!!  I have been looking forward to this allll week ~ its THAT good!! =)
Anndd....I think that's about it for now!  I'm looking forward to a fun, relaxing weekend with my sweet little family and hope you enjoy yours too!!
**FYI ~ I've scratched my legs about 871 times while writing this. Grrrr.  No-see-ums are jerks.**
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
~Hebrews 12:3~


A Special Gift

I received the following text the other day from an amazing friend.....
"Need to thank you for something. Watching you weather this storm in your life is teaching me a lot about reliance on God in times of trouble.  Sure, you break down....but then you get back up and smile again.  You are helping me learn what it is to have faith in the storms.  I think you are doing amazing. So thank you."
I'm so incredibly humbled and honestly blown away!  Y'all.....I feel like a big 'ole hot mess lately.  I certainly wouldn't pick myself as a prize winning package on how to deal with huge life struggles.  But from the very beginning of the storm our family has been facing, I have cried out to God in the lowest of times and begged that if nothing else that He would somehow be glorified in all of this.  That He could somehow takes this overwhelmed, tearful, mess that is me and use it.
Please hear my heart and know that I'm not sharing this to say "look at me" or "look how good I am".  But I just think its so important to be open to sharing our stories.  To be authentic and real about it!  When I look at myself all I see is the "sure you break down" part.  I feel like that's all I do!  ha!  But God can use that.  All He asks is that we trust Him.  Follow His lead.
The other thing this text did for me was reinforce what a gift encouragement is!  There are times the thought of emailing or texting someone crosses my mind and I blow it off.  I fight that little nudge.  But we just never know how God may use that seemingly insignificant little bit of love or encouragement!  Listen to those little nudges and do it!!  I'm pretty sure that my sweet friend had NO idea how much that text would bless me!  I cried and cried because that text was the encouragement I needed from the Lord that day. 
Sharing.  Authenticity.  Encouragement.  Love.
These can all be such special gifts!  So don't hesitate to share the seemingly uglier parts of your story ~ be authentic in sharing and God can and will use that!  Don't hesitate to call, email, or text that person that's on your mind ~ it may just bless them more than you could ever dream!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another......
~Hebrews 10:24&25~


Mothers Day {2013}

My Mothers Day weekend was simple which makes it perfect for me!!  I really am so incredibly blessed by these 3 boys of ours and I am so overwhelmed by the realization that they are mine! 

The weekend kicked off on Saturday morning w/ some time with girlfriends.  Our plan was to hang out by the pool, drink mimosas & eat good food.  The weather had other ideas!!  It was rainy all morning and then too chilly to get in the pool but that didn't stop our fun!  We relaxed in the hot tub, drank mimosas, ate good food and laughed a lot!!

Jamie, Kim, Marci, Despi, & Me ~ they are the best!

look one way, there's the pool!  look the other way, the ocean! 
Then I came home to THE best hubby and sweetest boys who gave me the gift they had been working on.  I had been wondering all week because John had been working on something in the garage for me and I couldn't figure out what in the world it might be!

LOVE it!!  Wish I would of taken a before pic of my jewelry mess but I was too excited about getting it all organized and I forgot!  But here is the after pic and I love it!!
I had talked about wanting to make a jewelry organizer/holder a few months ago and then it never happened.  I was so shocked that he remembered and made me one!!  So sweet!  And he took all 3 boys to his office Saturday and used the copier to make a handprint card!  He got the idea off of pinterest!!!  I about died when he told me that!  His theory?  I love pinterest so if he wants to do something I will like, he'll go to pinterest!  Smart man!!  Oh how I love him!!
Sunday we went to church and then the boys had their buddies over afterwards.  I SO enjoyed listening to their laughter and seeing the joy in their eyes as they played tag & basketball & hide-n-seek & all kinds of carefree games!  I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day!
best friends! =)
I'm so grateful for this Mommy gig and all that comes with it!  They challenge me in ways I never imagined possible and they bring me more joy than I ever could of dreamed.  I'm thankful that God knows what he's doing and that He gave me the perfect boys for me!!  And I'm so blessed to have an amazing husband and best friend to share it all with!!

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
~Proverbs 31:29&30~


Menu Monday

It was a great weekend here at the Miculka home!!  A little relaxation and a lot of fun!  We've got a little bit of a case of the Monday's around here this morning but its nothing a little Avengers and breakfast can't fix!! ;)  I'm grateful for a new week ~ here's what we'll be eatin' this week.....
**Monday ~ Rotisserie Chicken, Cous Cous, & Broccoli
(yup...didn't go grocery shopping yesterday so hubby is picking up a rotisserie chicken on his way home from work ~ no shame in my game! ha!)
(we sub coconut oil for the olive oil in the potatoes ~ this meal is SO good!!)
**Wednesday ~ Italian Meatballs w/ Marinara Sauce & Green Beans
**Thursday ~ Chicken Tortilla Soup
**Friday ~ I'm doing a Scentsy party so I'll grab a quick salad before I leave and the boys will be on their own!
**Saturday ~ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes & Asparagus
**Sunday ~ Breakfast for Dinner ~ Scrambled eggs, Sausage, Pancakes & Fruit
Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and that your week is off to a great start!!
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
~Proverbs 16:3 & 9~


That one dreaded word.....

This journey as a military wife is a blessed one.  In so, so many ways!  But there are some really tough things that come along with the calling to be a military wife.  Goodbyes.  Lots of them.  And ya know, I keep waiting for it to get easier but it doesn't.  It hurts so much. 
I'm so thankful that God continually gives me the strength to open my heart to new friendships knowing our time together is short.  I've wondered so many times if it would be easier to just not get close.  To not let my heart grow attached in a way only genuine friendship allows.  But over and over I'm flooded with all the richness these friendships bring to my life.  I cannot imagine walking through the struggles of life without the friends that God has blessed me with.  And so I put my heart on the line again and again and let the pain of the goodbye be a reminder of all that the friendship has brought into my life.
Veronica ~ I'm still not sure how I'm going to make it through each day without you here. Your friendship is such a cherished blessing! I still remember the first time we met ~ you were big & pregnant, I was sick & pregnant and we were gettin' our bunco on. You will forever be my valley girl mexican chica! Our friendship is effortless and I'm so so grateful for each day we got to walk this journey together. I'm so excited for this amazing opportunity God has blessed your family with and I can't wait to hear all about life for you back in Cali! It's not "goodbye", its "see you later" right?!

I've given up on the idea of ever getting better at goodbye.  I'm not good at it.  It hurts so bad.  But there is good in it ~ and today I'm going to take time to thank the Lord for all the amazing ways this friendship has blessed me.  Cherished memories and lots of them!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ~



Kelly over at Kelly's Korner, along with several other great bloggers, is doing a series called Build 'em Up where every other Tuesday they present a topic and you can link up with the intention of encouraging & building each other up!  Such a great idea and it has been a great encouragement to me!!  Today's topic is "unglued moments".  I feel almost shamefully qualified to chat about this one...
A few years ago, we had two boys and they were both in school and I thought I had this whole mommy thing down. (key words being "i thought". ha!)  I had a system that kept the house clean, laundry done, etc so we thought....let's have another baby.  And after a bit of struggle we found out we were expecting our 3rd baby!!  We were thrilled!!  Then Dylan was born and we were over the moon in love with him!  But what I didn't expect was how overwhelmed I would feel adding a 3rd little person to the family.  Baby #3 derailed.my.train.  In a huge way!  And then less than a year later God called us to homeschooling.  Say wha?!  Right now Lord?!  And His reply was yes. now.  And so we jumped into that world too!
i know. i know.  how could i ever come unglued w/ those sweet faces?!!
Fast forward to today.....I have 3 amazing healthy boys.  They each have birthdays coming soon and will be 12, 8, & 2.  And I homeschool the older two while trying to keep the baby from destroying himself or the house.  I feel I do a pretty good job at keeping him in one piece but the house??  Not so much.  My house has never been so disorganized.  And I don't do well with the lack of organization.  I don't handle messy very well.  Add in some really intense life circumstances that we're facing right now and it is a recipe for an overwhelmed mommy!  Unfortunately, when the house is messy and I'm overwhelmed, I tend to come "unglued".  Hardly my finest moments for sure.  I always feel so awful after losing my patience and blowing up. 
I'm slowly learning some ways to help me handle those "unglued" moments.  I'm far from avoiding those not so pretty moments all together, which I hate, but the following things do help me to control it more often!
**Quiet time ~ a few months ago, I decided enough was enough.  I desperately needed time with the Lord each day and I wasn't finding that time consistently during the day or in the evenings.  So I began getting up earlier so that I would have that time.  It has been a game changer!  It just gets my day off to a positive start!  It definitely doesn't change the pressures of each day but it helps me to maintain perspective and it keeps the Lord and His word in my heart & mind all day!
**Prayer ~ there are A LOT of times that all I can manage is a "Jesus where are you??  Help!!!"  But even that quick desperate prayer when I feel myself coming unglued is a difference maker! 
**Communication ~ I've learned with the older boys, if i can calmly communicate to them that they are really pressing my patience or that the baby's behavior is overwhelming me before I lose control, they typically will try to do what they can to help.  They are certainly still kids and it doesn't always happen that way, but it does help sometimes! 
I'm so blessed by him! and he loves me even through all of my unglued craziness!
Same goes with John ~ why is is that the one person we love so much tends to be the one that we take out all of our frustration on?!  I used to think I had to put a smile on my face and pretend like the day had been perfect and all was well when he walked through the door each evening.  But then the tension of the day that I was ignoring and hiding behind a smile would bubble over and I'd come unglued with him. =(  I've learned that if I can let him know that I'm having an overwhelming day or that I'm struggling to hold it together, then he can try to work with me to help me avoid coming unglued.  Unfortunately, I'm not perfect and I still struggle with snapping at him and taking out frustrations from the day on him, but the communication does help!
**Girlfriends ~ having a close few friends that I can call on those particularly rough days and know that they will encourage me, pray for me, help me to laugh about the craziness is priceless!  And I love being that for my friends too!!  We're in this whole mommy & wife thing together!! 
Also??  Taking time to get away sometimes for coffee with a friend, a girls night out, pedicures with a girlfriend, lounging by the pool....time to laugh, cry, chat and just be us outside of our roles as mommy's and wives is so so so important!!
I wish I could say that all of these things have eliminated my "unglued" moments, but that would be a total lie!  These things have helped me to maintain control sometimes though and for that I'm thankful! 
Be sure to head over to Kelly's Korner and be encouraged!!  We're not in this whole life thing alone!!  And please do comment and share how you handle your "unglued" moments ~ I'd love to hear from you!!
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
~1 Peter 1:13~


Menu Monday

Last week was rough.  Just emotionally and mentally draining and I've been battling horrible headaches for a few days now.  No fun!  But I'm thankful for a new week and I'm determined to make it better than last!!  A couple of this weeks meals are repeats from last week that didn't happen ~ flexibility is key for my sanity!! ;)
*Monday ~ Hobo Dinners (this is one John learned in boy scouts and he likes to do it with the boys every once in a while! Its basically ground beef, carrots & potatoes cooked in foil pouches!) =)
*Tuesday ~ Maple Mustard Chicken w/ Broccoli
*Wednesday ~ We'll be at a friends house to celebrate a birthday!
*Thursday ~ Chicken Enchilada Stew w/ Cornbread
*Friday ~ Pecan Crusted Chicken w/ Green Beans (I'm including this recipe below!)
*Saturday ~ Roasted Sausage & Veggies
*Sunday ~ Grill Hotdogs & Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob & Baked Beans
The pecan crusted chicken is not one that I found online but I think it is share worthy!  Super easy and you could easily use a different nut instead of pecans!!
1/2 C. spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp raw organic honey (or whatever you have!)
1 C. pecans, crushed
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sea salt (optional)
*Preheat the oven to 350. 
*In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard and honey.
*Toss the pecans into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.  Pour them into a large bowl and set aside.
*Using a paper towel, remove any excess moisture from the outside of the chicken breasts.
*Taking one chicken breast at a time, roll the chicken in the honey/mustard mix and coat on both sides.
*Transfer coated chicken into the chopped pecans and again cover both sides.
*Place the crusted chicken into a greased glass baking dish and sprinkle each breast with just a little sea salt if desired.
*Bake 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
You could also try coating the chicken with bbq sauce, or ranch or whatever other sauce you might like!!  Super simple and tasty!!
Hope everyone has a great week!!  I'm loving the cooler temps and planning to soak it up because all too soon the heat & humidity will take over!!
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
~Isaiah 12:2~


Paleo(ish) Tips & Tricks

Like I shared on Monday's menu post, I'm not super strict about Paleo.  I don't have a manual open double checking what I can and can't eat.  But here are a few of the things I've done/do to improve my nutrition habits....
*I've cut grains....no bread, no pasta, no oats, etc.  I do have rice very occasionally when I'm really needing something heavier but by occasionally I mean I've had it maybe twice in the last couple of months! 
*I go for organic and as few ingredients as possible when shopping for food.  I aim for primarily fresh or frozen fruits & veggies.  I found a local farm where i can get fresh eggs & local honey.  When buying things that aren't fresh I aim for a product with as few ingredients as possible!  I like to be able to pronounce each ingredient and know what each of them are w/o tons of research! ;) 
*We tried coconut oil and fell in love!!  We use it for every and anything!  We also use olive oil but primarily coconut oil!!
Those are a few of the major changes we've made!  With that said, there are still times that I break away from these norms!  I've consumed bread one time and pasta one time since I started this journey and it was enough that I won't be doing that again for a long while!!  I felt awful!  :/  And yes, i still occasionally use processed and/or non organic food and its okay!  But I strive for our norm to be different than that!
A couple of other little things that have made this easier for me....
*Marinades ~ We eat alot of chicken.  I CANNOT stand bland, ick chicken.  So, marinades are my boyfriends. ;)  There are lots of recipes out there for marinades and we use them!  We also use McCormick Grill Mates marinade packets.  There are tons of flavors!! We've tried 3 or 4 of them and loved most of them!!  Quick and easy makes this mama happy!
*Presentation ~ Lunch is probably the most challenging meal of the day for me!  Basically all of the foods that my kids eat for lunches are no-no's for me now, so I've had to learn ways to make lunch easier.  I do ALOT of salads and mix it up.  Different proteins, different fruits & veggies, different dressings. Kelly over at Kellys Korner actually did a post about salads here.  Check it out ~ lots of conversation in the comments about different ways to make salads!!  But mostly?  Make it look pretty!!  For me, it makes the process of preparing my lunch more fun and its more fun to eat when it looks pretty!!  Get creative and have a good time making those veggies look pretty!! =)
this was  my lunch one day.  nothing fancy...deli meat, a little cheese, tomatoes, olives, yellow pepper, cucumber & a little honey mustard.  simple stuff that i made look pretty!
*Snacks ~ I struggled with snacking at first because I felt like there just weren't any quick, easy snacks i could grab.  I'm a busy wife and mom and sometimes I don't have lots of time to "make" a snack!  So here are a few of the things that I've found make quick & easy snacks....
these bars are SO good and have simple ingredients.  and it doesn't get any easier than grab-n-go!!

i make trail mix.  quick & easy!  and sometimes I'll throw in some dark chocolate for a special treat!! =)

cheese sticks are super easy!  i love greek yogurt!!  we like to mix some honey & pecans into plain greek yogurt ~ delish!!  I also love vanilla greek yogurt!!
Strict and stressed is not for me!!  I do my best to put the best into my body and I'm seeing significant results!  Like i mentioned earlier, I've consumed bread one time and pasta one time and i was so foggy headed, had the worst headache and just felt like crap.  I was skeptical when i first started, I'll admit!  But I'm finding ways to make this lifestyle work for me! 
Questions??  Please ask!!  I'm no expert for sure but I'm happy to share what little experience I have with this!  What are some of your favorite snacks??  Or tips/tricks for making healthy eating work for you??  I'd love to hear from you!!
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but  not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
~2 Corinthians 4:8-9~


The Many Faces of Papa

Remember when I posted about Dylan meeting my Dad for the first time here?  Ever since then??  Every man that has a beard is Papa.  It is hilarious and has made for a couple of semi awkward moments when he insists that a random man in public is Papa!  Ha!  But the best ones that have made us laugh so hard are random characters in books or people on tv. 
Here is my Dad w/ the boys....


And here are just a few of the many "faces of Papa".....
Jerry Jenkins ~ one of the authors of the Left Behind series. ha!!

Ki-Adi-Mundi from Star Wars ~ LOL!!

don't even know this guys name but he's on pawn stars from time to time!

This little dude cracks us up!!  He was only 14 months old when he met his Papa but my Dad sure made an impression and our little guy LOVES his Papa and looks for him in every face with a beard! We look forward to the next time we get to see & spend time with his real Papa!!
(hint hint papa & grama terry!!  you need to come check out the beaches while you have a free place to stay!!) ;)
**side note...Dylan walked up while i was doing this post and did some kind of happy dance while chanting papa when he saw all of the pictures....hahaha!!!**
....Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
~John 16:22~