Saturday, January 31, 2015

The End of a Whole30 Journey


Back on January 1st, Scott and I embarked on our Whole30 journey. Along the way, we gained and lost so many things. We lost weight. We gained energy. We lost our sluggishness. We gained confidence. Scott learned that he liked taking lunch to work, something he plans to continue.


On the whole, Scott and I found Whole30 to be extremely beneficial for our health and our diet. We had gotten really off track. There were milkshakes because the kids were difficult. Cheesecake because we were happy. Cookies as an afternoon boost. On January 1st, we cut all that out and surprisingly it wasn't that hard. The hardest part was that our meals began to feel boring. They were delicious but after a few weeks, vegetables and meat get boring. 


I lost 10 lbs on Whole30 while Scott lost 6. We still have more weight to lose but this was an encouraging start. I was honestly surprised that I lost more weight than Scott. I suspect that I lost more weight because I've been attending 5 barre3 classes a week. 


I'm excited to have more flexibility in my diet but I know that we'll be sticking to the core of Whole30. More vegetables, more fruit are good things for our diet. I'll be slowly adding back in dairy, grains, gluten and legumes. Today I'm adding in dairy because I have really, really, really, really missed cream in my coffee. Later this week, I'll add in grains, gluten and legumes to see how they affect me. And down the road, I might do another Whole30. It's a great re-boot. 

YIIP: Day 87

Friday, January 30, 2015

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce


Today is our final day on Whole30 and I'm ready for some cheese! I've come up with some delicious recipes along the way that will be staying with us after Whole30. One such one is this Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce which I've made three times in the last week. 


I love the taste of the roasted vegetables simmered in a tasty tomato sauce. This recipe calls for some canned diced tomatoes and canned tomato sauce. If you are doing Whole30, it is super important to read your labels and make sure there are no non-compliant ingredients. 


This is a great sauce for any paleo meatballs, meatloaf, fish or chicken. This would also be delicious over some pasta. This is also a easy and quick sauce to make which is perfect for those busy weekday dinners. 

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce

by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: gluten-free
Ingredients (4 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 leek, whites only, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 cup roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, carrots)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed dutch oven.
2. Add garlic, leek and onion to pot and heat until onions soften, about 5 minutes.
3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes and slice mushrooms along with italian seasoning, roasted vegetables, salt and pepper to the pot.
4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste as needed. Serve over meatballs, fish or some other delicious protein.
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Collecting Memories


I'm always looking for ways to collect our family memories without too much effort on my part. I love looking back at what we've done, where we've been and who we were. I stumbled upon this fantastic idea on Modern Parents, Messy Kids and I knew this was just the memory keeping plan I was looking for.

The idea is simple. You write a line or two, each day of what you did, what you want to remember. I plan to add photos where appropriate. 


I made a trip to JoAnn's for supplies. I looked and looked for the perfect box but didn't find one until I returned home. My box used to hold Thank You notes and once the tape from the notes was removed and covered with wasabi tape, it was perfect! 


I purchased some great Project Life cards to use as monthly dividers. There are so many cute products out there. I also grabbed a date stamp because the secret librarian in me really likes date stamps. For some reason, I had a huge stack of index cards in my office so I gathered those up and counted out the cards for each month. 


I stamped out the dates on each index card for January and will add the dates to the other cards as I come to them. I then wrote in the year (2015) along with my memory. 


I was a few weeks behind on this project but I had a few notes, calendar entries and all the photos I take everyday to catch up with. I spent about half an hour getting my memory notes down. Most of the time, this shouldn't take me more than a minute or two a day. I want to make this part of our bedtime routine. We talk about what we did every day when Scott gets home and that would be a great time to write down our memory for the day. 


How do you collect memories? I'm also trying to think what else would be cool to add to our memory box to really make the memories more robust. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Exercise, Love + Loss and Terrariums make up this week's Wednesday Links Around the Web

I get a little excited about books. I may have quite the aggressive reading to do list.

The Best Time to Exercise to Lose Weight Hey! I'm doing something right with my 6 am barre3 workouts. 

Dubin Iced Coffee This is seriously on my list after Whole30. I've been missing a really good dessert coffee.

Create an Amazing Terrarium I want to make one of these with Molly (ok, ok, ok I just want to make one of these for me!) 

DIY Printable Recipe Cards These are gorgeous!

Writing Your Way to Happiness Daily writing helps keep me happy and sane. 

Vacation Inspiration Great advice to remember in your everyday life. 

Love + Loss And all of this is so true.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tiny Ballerina


Molly started pre-ballet lessons at the beginning of the month. They were a gift from my Mom along with a dance outfit and ballet shoes. She has been infatuated with being a ballerina, just like Angelina the Ballerina for months. She goes to class once a week and plies around the house every chance she gets. Parents are not allowed in the room during lessons but there is a small video monitor where we can see our tiny dancers. I don't usually get to watch Molly much at all as her sister is usually busy running down the hallway, away from the waiting area. So I was super excited for this week's class which was an in-studio dance recital! We were encouraged to invite guests so I brought my Mom and asked Scott to duck out of work early for the show. 

My tiny dancer & famous non-napper fell asleep on the way to pick up my Mom. Molly was so asleep and wasn't roused by my jiggling of her leg. Traffic ended up being a bit more than I anticipated so we were cutting it close. I dropped my Mom off in front of the studio and then circled to find a parking space. Once parked, I leapt from the car, grabbed Maggie and woke Molly up while yelling, HURRY! HURRY! IT'S TIME TO DANCE! (note: Molly has a hard time being woken up and then having to do something right away. She always ends up crying and wanting to just sit in my lap.)


We scooted inside and I walked Molly down to the rehearsal room. I helped her get her ballet shoes on and right as I was about to hand her over to her teacher, she broke down in tears. I spent some time trying to console her, tried bribing her and even tried being extra firm. None of these worked! Scott arrived and consoled her. Molly began to perk up and I threw in one more last ditch effort, I noticed the girls had crowns and wands! I said, You can have a wand and a crown! She perked up and headed into the studio. Success!


Scott and I headed back to the recital space and found my Mom. We settled in and prepared to watch the show. Five minutes later, Molly came running in, sobbing. She couldn't do it. She was so upset. I was honestly a bit frustrated with her. I was so excited to see her dance and she wouldn't do it. She wouldn't dance with her class! This is where I have a hard time as a parent. I'm excited about something happening with my child and then she refuses to do it. Logically I know I should be the adult and guide her through her emotional times but emotionally I end up so disappointed that I start using poor tactics to deal with the situation. I bribe, I push, I threaten. And none of this works.


And so next time I hope that I'm able to be the adult in these situations and take a deep breathe, push down my disappointment and console my child. Because there are going to be so many more of these situations as the years go on and my role is to provide my children with guidance through emotional turmoil, rough situations and happy adventures. I can only hope that Molly dances at her next recital because it is going to be a big one with a costume and a rented fall. And if she doesn't, I'm ready to smile, hug her tight and quiet my disappointment. 
Monday, January 26, 2015

On Photography

From Above

I love photography and I'm always trying to get better at it. This year, one of my friends (Hi Fran!) reached out and told me about a 52 week challenge of Child Lifestyle Prompts on Audrey Ann Photography's site. I immediately decided to take this on as it fits perfectly into my love of photography, my love for my children and my desire to get better at photographing them. 


There have been easy shots and OMG! WHY WON'T IT WORK shots. I've had great discussions with Scott about photo ideas. I've had some terrible shots and had to re-do them until my children turn into wild things and refuse to participate in my plans. 

Something We Do Together

One huge thing I've taken from this experience is that photographing children is hard work. I applaud all of those family photographers who get great shots of kids. I suspect they too take 1,000 shots to give their clients 20 good ones. Or maybe they are all just super awesome and don't take any duds. 

Molly on the Road to Home

You can follow my 52 week journey on Flickr. I'll be including more than just my final shots as I have some great outtakes already. I'm thinking of making a book at the end of the year to remember these times. 
Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Moment

Some days your courage seems to fail you. Some days your courage rises up and roars out of you. Some days your courage whispers in your ear, saying You can do it. Some days your courage knows that today it can't be there for you but it can help you try again tomorrow. 

Far Away #fmsphotoaday These boats sail far far away at times.

I like to remember that courage can be a quiet feeling. Courage does not always need to be a roaring lion blasting its voice toward everyone. Sometimes being courageous can mean keeping quiet until the right moment. This week, go forward with courage and know that if you don't have it right now, it could be that you don't need it right now and that it will appear when you need it. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thirteen Months with Mag-Pie

Dear Maggie,

You are now 13 months old and such a toddler! You alternate between being the cutest thing I've ever seen and such a little pill. Your favorite game in the world is pulling out your drawer in the kitchen and throwing all the cups, plates, snack cups, etc. out while shaking your head no and giggling. I'll admit that it is pretty darn hilarious even if it means a lot of clean up for me.


Your hair is finally long enough for piggy tails and I love them! You, however, believe they should be ripped out as fast as I do them. I guess we'll agree to disagree on them. But seriously piggie tails are the cutest!


You have moved into your room with your sister and most nights I hear the two of you giggling together when you should be sleeping. I love watching your relationship develop. It's going to be great to have a big sister. I know she's thrilled to have a little sister! 

Laughter Outlake

You are in constant motion except when you drop off to sleep. You are still taking two naps a day but some days opt for a long mid-day nap. It'll be interesting to see when you drop your morning nap and take on the sweet long afternoon nap. 


I love the sound of your laughter when we tickle you or when you think something is extra funny. You scrunch up your nose and giggle. You spend so much time giggling and nothing makes you giggle more than swinging at the park. You could swing for hours. 


You are a joy, a bundle of explosive energy and somebody I am really enjoying hanging out with. Every single day you develop a new skill or show off a different part of your personality. You are stubborn, lovable and adorable. 


We love you so much, Maggie! Keep smiling and being the fun kid you are. 
Friday, January 23, 2015

Poisson en Papillote


The barre3 challenge recipe this week was not Whole30 approved but I still wanted to do a barre3 recipe in order to place another sticker on my sheet (I'm a bit sticker obsessed, like my preschooler). I did a search and found a delicious looking fish recipe. It reminded me of a classic french recipe that I had seen on a few paleo sites, Poisson en Papillote (basically, fish cooked in paper). I combined a few techniques, ingredients and went from there. 


I really wasn't expecting much from this dish. I thought, ok some veggies and some fish and I'll choke it down but instead it was soooo good that I savored every bite and took longer to eat than normal. I was so sad when I took my last bite. 


This is such a simple way of cooking a delicious meal and can be easily expanded for more dinner guests. The parchment makes a splashing display at any future dinner party. 

Poisson en Papillote

by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Ingredients (1 serving)
  • 1 sheet parchment paper, cut into approximately 12x12-inch sheets
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil + extra for brushing
  • 1 6-oz. piece of fish (salmon, cod, halibut)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2 lime, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425F.
Cut each parchment sheet into a large heart by folding in half and cutting the exterior of the half-heart shape, using most of parchment sheet. Place the open heart shape on a cutting board, brush the right side with coconut oil.
Place the fish filet on top of the parchment paper and top with salt and pepper.
Start layering on the remaining of the ingredients starting with the spinach, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and leeks on top of the fish. Top with the tarragon, cilantro and two slices of lime.
Top the fish with 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil and a dash of salt and pepper.
Fold the packet into a half-heart shape and use a tight, overlapping rolling technique, folding over the previous fold’s edge to create a seal in order to ensure steaming.
Transfer the packet to a baking sheet and bake for 15 -22 minutes until the packet puffs up.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Parenting and Life


Not to brag but I feel like I'm finally hitting my stride with parenting again. That first year with a new baby is just hard, so very hard and last year was harder than most for me. My Dad got sick, my baby wouldn't latch, I had a very energetic two-year old, my husband took on more responsibilities at work which meant a bit more of the home responsibilities were placed on my shoulders, I began taking care of my Mom and life happened. I'm coming out of the darkness of last year and seeing the light. I'm in no way through the tunnel; I still have a very long way to travel but I can see the light. 


I'm shifting into my responsibilities. I'm adjusting with my role as a Mom to two delightful girls and a caretaker for my Mom while also getting a bit more selfish. I took a weekend trip to visit my BFF just before Christmas for my birthday and I'm going back down again in February to meet her new little guy. I'm exercising again and god save anyone who gets in the way of my workouts. I'm enforcing daily quiet time for the non-napping 3 year old so I can write. I'm getting up early on non-workout days to focus on necessary tasks before the kids get up (this part is hard because sometimes they sense that I'm awake and get up). I'm making time for my hobbies. I'm knitting every single day and reading a few pages of a book. I'm trying to stay grounded. 


I love staying home with my kids. I love being a part of their daily lives and taking them on adventures. I'm hoping that we'll have many more adventures this year now that Maggie is getting old enough to appreciate them. I do struggle with the non-stop attention my kids seem to require but I know that while the days are long, the years are so very short. Every day seems a bit like Groundhog's Day while also feeling like everything always changes, always. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Swapping Soup, Documenting and Life Hacks - Wednesday Links


How to Host a Soup Swap - Has anyone done this before? Any tips? I'm planning to host one soon and I'd love to hear your stories. 

The 5 Minute Project A collaborative photography project, "What do you see in five minutes?"

52 Saturday Mornings Another collaborative photography project documenting 52 Saturday mornings. 

Life Hacks for Busy Moms 

Surprising and Excellent Parenting Tips Amazing ideas!

How to write a good, short bio because you never know when you might need to do this. 

Make ahead meals for the kids I need to start prepping the girl's food in advance again and these ideas might be a good start!

Follow Your Arrow 2 Last year, Ysolda introduced a mystery shawl pattern called, Follow Your Arrow. This year it returns with weekly clues. I LOVE this stuff! 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 3 - barre3 Challenge Check-In!

It was busy day and I was still tired from being out late last night watching Weezer, so I skipped my barre3 studio class. But I got my #barre3challenge 10 min workout in while the kids were playing in the tub. #winning

Hello, my name is Rebecca and I'm a barre3 addict! I'm actually leaping out of bed at 5:15 a.m. because I get to go workout. Seriously guys! LEAPING OUT OF BED! OK, part of that leaping might be that my children have not been sleeping well and keep ending up in our bed and I might be running away from their kung-fu kicks but let's not factor that into this situation. 

I felt the addiction on Sunday when I missed my workout because I had been out way too late the night before. Even though I needed the sleep, I still wanted my workout! That night I did a 10 minute barre3 workout while the girls were taking a bath. Molly didn't like how I was doing my plies and got out of the tub to school me. She's been taking ballet (she's had three classes) so she is an expert on plies.  


I really felt the addiction when my instructor told me this morning that she planned a lot of carousel moves for us. I got a little excited. The excitement level did go down a tiny bit when my legs were burning after 100 billion carousel tiny moves. 

I'm also loving my challenge sheet where I get to stick stickers on my calendar when I've completed a workout. I'm considering using stars on a calendar when the challenge is over because I don't plan to stop my barre3 workouts! In fact, I'm planning on signing up for a 3 month unlimited membership to keep on keeping. I'm also thinking about running and how I want to work that into my life again. I probably won't start on that until Spring though as I need to continue to rebuild my fitness level and I want it to be warmer!

I've completed two workouts of my four this week with three more scheduled (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday). I'm planning on doing the 10-minute workout on Thursday and Friday to get through the end of the week slump. I was disappointed that this week's recipe doesn't fit into Whole30 but I found another one that I think is going to be awesome - Winter en Papillote. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and those Chocolate Truffles were amazing! I still can't believe they were Whole30!
Monday, January 19, 2015

It All Comes Tumbling Down...

I broke out a set of blocks for M and now all I hear is wood crashing on wood (with giggles).

The day is carefully scheduled to allow for proper feeding, napping and energy elimination for the children. It is so carefully scheduled that if something goes awry, I often feel like it is all going to come tumbling down. The funny part is that this is all in my head. Things always go awry, things are never as carefully planned as I'd like for them to be and my kids, well while kids need routine, my kids also need flexibility.

As I embrace the word, Simple this year, I'm also trying to embrace a simpler routine. I'm trying to remember that one big activity a day is enough. More than that and everyone starts feeling overwhelmed. Molly is a super energetic kid and we work hard everyday to wear her out but that does take some planning. I like to have a plan for her (and now Maggie) everyday because otherwise the day goes sideways by 8 a.m. and it is hard to recover. But sometimes plans don't work out and then you do have to be nimble on your feet.

This morning, I went to barre3 class and grabbed my phone afterwards to make sure Scott hadn't tried to call me (which is silly because he never has and maybe I'm neurotic). I noticed that I had a text message from a friend. Her daughter, who we were going to play with today, had a fever so our playdate was canceled. At first I felt some panic because I was already exhausted. The kids haven't slept well the last two nights and I had an awesomely hard workout. Then I remembered my promise to myself to keep plans simple and that I can be nimble. I promised Molly last night that we'd go to the park today and so we shall. And that's it, we will just go to the park and play. I texted a few friends to see if they'd like to join us but if they can't, we'll still go to the park and run around like banshees. Then we'll come home and have lunch before enjoying some quiet time this afternoon. I'm hoping to have some time to cast on for Ysolda's newest shawl mystery knit-along, Follow Your Arrow 2!
Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Moment


Grief finds you in the most unexpected places. You might be out walking when you smell a familiar scent and are confronted with your grief. You might think, "I just need to call Dad to ask him about this situation" when you remember that you can't call Dad anymore. You might be searching for peanut butter in the store when you are reminded of your Mom. It finds you when you least expect it. 


I have this app on my phone called, TimeHop and I love it. It shows you what you posted in previous years. Scott and I love seeing Baby Molly and Newborn Maggie. We marvel and gasp about how much they've grown in such a short time. We love seeing what we were doing just a few short years ago. 

Earlier this week, my TimeHop reminded me of my Dad. Five years ago, Scott and I were preparing to marry and my parents were so excited. My Mom was calling me every night to ask me wedding questions and my Dad was busy scanning in photos for our wedding video. 

Five years later, my Mom has anoxic brain injury and lives in Assisted Living. Five years later, my Dad is gone from pancreatic cancer. Five years later, I have two amazing little girls and a fantastic husband. Five years later, everything is different. 
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