Sweet Shoppe Mom

Monday, February 1, 2016

14 Things I Love About You, Valentine's Day Countdown

I like to do something special for my son each holiday. Each year on Valentine's Day I do a '14 Things I Love About You' countdown.

materials needed: mailbox, stickers or ribbon, red or pink cardstock, Valentine's Day treat

Step 1: Purchase a small mailbox (one for each child) - these can often be found in the dollar bins at craft stores or Target.

Step 2: Decorate with stickers or ribbon and personalize with your child's name.

Step 3: Cut out 14 hearts from cardstock - you can freehand or use a Cricut or Silhouette machine to cut out the hearts.

Step 4: Write 14 "I love you because...", "I love that you...", "I love your..." notes

Step 5: Each day place one of paper hearts in the mailbox and raise the mailbox's flag.

Step 6: On Valentine's Day I add a special treat - this year I've purchased to special Valentine's Day chocolates and a pack of baseball cards.

You can also add daily treats or a small surprise. I've decided to stick with a note each day. I'm been trying to limit daily sweets and reduce the clutter of 'small gifts' - I think this helps to focus on how special a simple note can be to someone you care about.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I Wore

Today I'm participating in Pleated Poppy's What I Wore - holding myself accountable for getting out of PJs or yoga pants.

Jacket { H & M }, tank { Express }, jeans { Gap flare}, purse { Kate Spade }, necklace { Express }, earrings { Kate Spade }, bracelet { Charming Charlie }, shoes { DSW, Naturalizer }

jacket { Express }, tshirt { Nordstrom Rack }, jeans { Lucky Jeans }, boots { BCBG }, necklace { Nordstrom }, earrings

purse { Cole Hann }, rings { Charming Charlie }, earringgs { Kate Spade }, bracelet { Charming Charlie }

hat { Billabong }

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What I Wore Wednesday

Today I'm participating in Pleated Poppy's What I Wore - holding myself accountable for getting out of PJs or yoga pants. Doing a bit of catch up too. First time posting #WIWW in 2016! Hope to post more frequently this year.

Jeans { Old Navy Rockstar }, Boots { Frye }, Flannel Shirt { Costco }, Scarf { Walmart}, Vest { Gap Outlet }, bracelets { Wrist Soiree }

Jeans - Flare { Gap }, Boots { Nordstrom BCBG }, Tank { Express, last year }, 'leather' jacket { Express, last year }, Necklans { Charming Charlie }

Jeans { Old Navy }, Socks { DSW }, Boots { Frye }

Jeans { Lucky }, Boots { BCBG }, Shirt { Nordstrom }, Scarf { Target }

Jeans { Banana Republic outlet }, Boots { Frye }, Black T-shirt, Sweater { Nordstrom Rack }, scarf, bracelet { J Crew }

Jeans { Banana Republic jeans }, Boots { Frye }, V-neck sweater { Target }, Scarf, Sunglasses {Micheal Kors }, Earrings { Kendra Scott }

Did you make any resolutions regarding how you dress?

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Half Way Through Whole30 - Update on my Progress

With the start of the New Year, I decided this was a perfect time to focus on getting back to eat right for my body. I've been dairy free for 3 years now and eat a mostly whole foods and a Paleo influenced diet. But I was straying more from this, more than my body likes and I was feeling bloated and lethargic. I decided to try Whole30. If you're not familiar with this diet it means eating clean for 30 days - this includes no dairy, gluten, corn, soy, added sugar, or alcohol

How do I feel?

I feel great. I don't feel bloated and I've lost 6 pounds so far. My joints ache less.

What am I eating?

When purchasing foods, I was surprised by how hard it was to find foods without added sugar. And a few brands that are well known for being Whole30 approved, have been sold out - so many people doing Whole30 with the start of the New Year.

I often cook Paleo meals and cooked those that fit with Whole30 or modified if possible. One of my family's favorite meals is Against All Grain's Beef Chunk Chili - so delicious and made in a slow cooker so works great for a weeknight dinner.

I've eaten a lot, A LOT, of roasted vegetables and potatoes. Every few days I roast a large quantity of vegetables and reheat them for meals (they're best reheated in the oven or a pan rather than microwaved) - potatoes, onions, red peppers, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts. I mix the chopped vegetables with avocado oil, salt, and roast at 425 degrees.

I made my own chicken broth - when you cook from scratch, you can control the ingredients and avoid additives. I portion the broth into mason jars and freeze for future use.

For breakfast and lunch most days, I eat roasted vegetables and potatoes with protein.

If I have leftover meat from previous night's dinner I eat that, otherwise sausage or deli meats - there's a few I've found that fit Whole30 guidelines: Applegate's Roast Beef, Trader Joe's Chicken and Herb sausage, Proscuitto (some brands but not all so check labels), Applegates Hotdogs, and Pederson's bacon

I purchased a few sauces that fit with the guidelines - Coconut Secret's Coconut Aminos, Tessemae's Ketchup, Tessemae's BBQ sauce and Coconut Secret's Teriyaki Sauce.

Snacks - Even though it's discouraged as part of Whole30, I do like to snack especially when I'm working late at night. I stocked my pantry with foods that fit the guidelines and keep fresh vegetables and fruits prepped in the refrigerator. Nuts work great, either raw or dry roasted is best - roasted cashews, raw pumpkin seeds, pistachios are my favorites. Dried fruit without added sugar or sulfites - I found raisins, pineapple, apples and shredded coconut at Trader Joes. Epic and Larabars make some snacks are great when you need something you can stick in your purse for longs days away from home and you're not sure what you'll be able to eat.

What about my family?

I'm doing Whole30 for myself and I gave my son the choice and he decided he didn't want to do it. Most nights I cook one meal, modified for each of us. For Taco Tuesday I'll have salad, and he has tacos with flour tortillas. Spaghetti night he'll have pasta and I'll have zoodles. Other nights I'll make my meal with cauliflower rice and he has rice or bread.

What has been the hardest part of following the Whole30 diet?

At first it was a challenge to find foods that didn't have added sugar - I was already eating relatively healthy brands, but was surprised to find sugar in so many foods. It took a few days to get my fridge and pantry stocked with the right foods and getting used prepping enough food so that when I was hungry, there were good choices. One thing I didn't expect was the large quantity of dishes, its hard to keep up with all the cutting boards, roasting dishes, storage dishes, etc. Finding ideas for breakfast is hard especially because I also have an egg allergy.

Eating out is difficult because you don't know oils are being used to cook foods and if sugar has been added to sauces. A quick search online suggested Chipotle - pork carnitas with lettuce, salsa and guacamole (pork is their only meat cooked in an oil that is Whole30 approved).

What foods do I miss?

I haven't missed sugar, which surprised me. I do miss an occasional drink at home or meeting friends for cocktails.

Have I cheated?

Yes, I have. Going into this I wouldn't be 100% strict. I'm a blogger becoming more involved in the local restaurant and cocktail scene - I already had a few events planned and didn't want to miss them. There's also been a few nights out with friends - I've tried to stay closer to the guidelines than normal when eating out. At home, I have been strictly following the diet.