the whole 30

I never posted this blog post. I wrote it back in April, and I think I felt weird since it's about a diet. But I found it and thought the pictures were inspiring and I really did appreciate my 30 days on the Whole30. So here's that long, and picture-full post:

When I was pregnant with Alden my number one craving was Whole Milk. I drank glasses of it each day. And even now, while in the season of nursing, I still love the stuff. And every day in my coffee I pour a whole lot of heavy whipping cream.

When we got Miracle back from the vet we looked up Lamb's Milk Replacer and found a recipe that called for whole milk, heavy whipping cream and two raw eggs. It promised to fatten our lamb up nicely.

Sometimes the dots have to be reeeealy close for me to connect them. But these ones got connected. I was consuming all the same things that promised to fatten up my lamb. So I knew my days of Whole Milk needed to come to an end. But then I started thinking about all of dairy and how they add growth hormones to the cows and how that is affecting the size of people in the world. And so I googled, "no dairy eating plan" looking for inspiration as I try to lay off the cow's milk.

I started reading about The Whole 30, which has been around for a while and decided that very moment to start. It was quite impulsive. But I was excited. I needed this swift kick in the right direction. It was time.

So thanks to Miracle, I am now heading in the right direction. I will say this is pretty extreme cleanse, and I will add some things back into my diet after the 30 days, but I will also say I feel incredible. My energy has not been this consistent in a long while. Even at 4:00pm I'm still feeling good. That's a real wonder with Alden teething and Miracle's feedings.
Also, I have been taking pictures of my food, something that really motivates me to plate my food and make it look delicious and I want to share those here. I have taken so many pictures of my plates that Elsie has started asking me to take pictures of her plates as well. She's the best. And not on the Whole30.

Here is the page that explains the Whole 30 Shebang if you're at all interested. I will say to eat this way has felt incredible, and to get off of sugar is quite the experience for me. They call it 'the sugar dragon' and say, 'don't wake your sugar dragon.' Waking your sugar dragon could be taking just one bite of a brownie. And suddenly that dragon inside you is awake and ravenous. It wants more sugar. So you feed it more and more and more.

But if you can get off of sugar, that dragon does go to sleep, and sugar does not have a grip on you. Easter was a real test. I was surrounded by cookies, brownies, reeces peanut butter eggs (!!!) whoppers (another personal fav), snickers, dots, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies...all of it! And it's all been in the house since then. But my sugar dragon is sound asleep, and I do not even feel tempted. Truly. It is quite the phenomenon for me to experience. Because if I wasn't on this Whole30 and if my Dragon was awake, I would have eaten it all. It would all be long gone by now. I just love candy and sweets so much. But because I'm off of sugar, it doesn't hold that control over me. My Dragon is asleep, and life is less tempting. How incredible is that?!! If you've never had a sleeping sugar dragon, it really is something amazing to experience.

The Whole30 is an eating plan that says for 30 days I will not eat any 1)dairy 2)grains of any kind 3)added sugar of any kind 4)beans and legumes. Which leads a person to wonder, then what in the world can you eat?!!

So here's what I have been eating. And man, I have been eating well! So many eggs, sweet potatoes, kale, peppers, cauliflower rice and asparagus. My body is getting better fuel than it has in months. And though this is a challenge, it is not hard. I'm doing this because I want to feel my best.
 This is sort of a taco bowl: taco meat, kale, cauliflower rice and homemade mayonnaise,
The family was eating spaghetti. So this is my version.
 Mediterranean lamb patties with cauliflower rice
 We've got beef, lamb, goat and chicken all in our deep freeze right now!
 I almost got a spiralizer but figured out I could just cut my zucchini with a knife. :)
 Leftover Easter Frittata: ham, asparagus, sweet potatoes and onions
 Shepherd's Pie with lamb and sweet potatoes (so good, but next time I'd use yellow potatoes.) 
Along the lines of the Sugar Dragon...I am realizing through this Whole30 that I typically put sugar on everything. BBQ sauce on my chicken? Sugar. 57 Sauce on my steak? Sugar. Ketchup on my fries? Sugar. Dressing on a healthy salad? Sugar. Marinara on my Spaghetti? Sugar. We take foods that are good for us and cover them in sugar. At like every meal! This is really eye opening. All my condiments are now all under scrutiny and will likely be either handmade or well researched from here on out.

My cast iron skillet is used daily on this eating plan. I am cooking a lot, but I am feeling really good about it. Also, I checked out all of the Whole30 books I could find at the library, and they are great for giving me new ideas of what to eat each day. And the Whole30 isn't new. So there are TONS of ideas online, tons of one-week-eating plans with grocery lists. It takes some prep time in the kitchen, but it's worth it. Energy is up, mood swings are gone and I feel great. I once said the thing about eating less processed foods is that YOU have to do the processing. That is true here, but it feels really satisfying, just like everything that is worth doing. If you're feeling like you're in a eating rut, give this a go. It makes for a great, empowering, learning month.

lake city daycation 2018

It's one of my favorite destinations. It's just an hour from our front door to the water. It's a glorious country drive to get there. And there is always a picnic, ice cream cones and blue water to enjoy. It's a day in Lake City.
This time my folks came along and pushed the kids on the swings, cut up food for Alden and generously payed for the ice cream cones and fried chicken. :) We loved our time together and feel so fortunate that we have grandparents close by for these special outings.
Hattie was overjoyed that she got her very own ice cream cone. She clarified that point many times before hand, "ice cream, me. ice cream, me." And though much of the ice cream ended up on her dress, it was still all her own.
Then we went to Lark Toys in Kellogg. It's such a great store. Of course the kids love it there, but I do too. It's got something for everyone and many of their toys are unwrapped to be played with as demo toys. So it is super fun for the kids. Ivar and his dad talked dragons for a long, long time.
We ended by attempting the carousel, but both of my girls panicked and had to get off the ride before it began. Still not sure what that was all about, but I thank the kind people who let us exit with flare before their ride began. We took it as a sign that it was time to head home for naps. But not before Grandma bought us all jelly beans. I love a good daycation!

worst july ever.

That's a joke. Very early in July Ivar informed us, very dramatically, that this was the worst July ever. He had his reasons. His first few days of July had been filled with 7-year-old disappointments to be sure, but it was a little much to call it the worst ever. But Rory and I took this phrase and used it often, as a joke, every time anything went sort of wrong the rest of the month. And it often served as a reminder that the month was actually quite awesome. But still. Worst. July. Ever.

I have so many pictures I never posted from this month, so here are a few (I still have Elsie's birthday and a trip to Lake City to post as well...) from The Worst July Ever.
We enjoyed our last Campfire and Communion with church friends and neighbors.
I milked our goat each morning which I found to be a great way to start the day!
Many hours have been logged in the rock box. Alden is delighted when the dump trucks are dumped.
I know I am their teacher, but sometimes the spelling is just so sweet...
Rory's cousins came from CA and MN. I told them, "You all have the same great grandma!"
Which is a really great thought. I hope my great grandkids gather together one day.
We spent so much time picking blueberries and raspberries. And making jam!
Mimi and Papa are always favorite visitors.
And more CA relatives! Special visits like this make us wish we all lived so much closer. 
We spent one evening at the local pool. And honestly, it was totally stressful.
Well, not for the kids. But for the parents watching the four kids...
The tent got set up a few times outside and a few times inside. Nothing is more exciting than a tent.
The Hoovers came to visit and Cora took to our Mary and Laura fort very quickly.
These two were delighted when I pulled these dresses out of the attic. (Hattie is on a step stool)
"Happy to be here" as always.
These two came out to watch me milk the goat.
Rory was sick in bed, so they got to come and eat popcorn while I filled the bucket.
Breakfast and a show I called it.
Hattie Helper. She can do it. By herself. All by herself. And totally two.

family bible camp

Friday night we got back from a full week of family time at Bible Camp. It was a great week and so good to be together. We celebrated my parent's and my aunt and uncle's 50th Wedding Anniversaries with relatives from Alaska, Kentucky, Washington, Missouri, Florida and Minnesota.

The topic of the week centered on servant leadership and how to lead your family. I believe Grandma and Grandpa Bredberg would have been very happy to see the family they led all together, swimming, golfing, singing, horse-shoeing, eating, fishing, laughing and playing. Family is the best.

I took the most random assortment of pics from the week. A few poorly lit ones of Ivar and Uncle Mark doing a puzzle together. A few from the Anniversary Party of the room before anyone arrived. Clearly I had other things going on and rarely picked up my camera. So I am so thankful for this gorgeous shot, taken by a fellow camper who is clearly a professional. What a gift to have such a great picture of so many of our family together!

And now we're home and I'm lonesome for this crew. It really is fun to be altogether, watching our kids play together, catching up, remembering and telling funny stories. My heart is so full when I look at this picture. Thank you God for Family.

A few favorite moments:
+The first morning of the adult session, the microphone came to my Aunt Jane, sitting alone in the back row. She said, "My name is Jane and I am actually related to all of those Caucasians sitting up there..." (Aunt Jane is from China)

+My cousin Michael signed up to dance in the talent show with his niece Audrey. He's 30-something and Audrey is 5. When they got up there Audrey froze and Michael danced all around her, leading her, getting her to move, and it was so, so sweet.

+My Uncle Ed who is older than 70 went down the huge slip and slide.

+I golfed in the golf scramble with my Uncle Ed, second cousin Nick and second cousin Greta. We listened to 40's music and it was one of my favorite moments of the week.

+There was an afternoon that I got on the inflatable cupcake and floated around by myself on the water for a very, very happy amount of time. It was so peaceful and I tried to pocket up that moment to help get me through the month of March.

Hay Day...Hooray!

Look at those SMALL SQUARE BALES! People, this is such a huge deal for us. Yesterday Rory was able to use our tractor and our neighbor's baler (our baler still has parts that are at the shop) and after some more generous time with our neighbor, he was able to bale half of our field into small bales. We were thrilled.
Here are the Peanut Butter Boys. They were so proud of their dad! Alden laughed a humming laugh while watching the tractors go back and forth. He LOVES tractors. Usually he has his little John Deere in his hand and holds it up in the air when the tractor goes by. 

Our incredible neighbor cut and raked the field again this round, and as payment got to bale half of the field for his own bales. It was pretty fun having both tractors going at the same time.
And then the fun really started. I got to drive the truck with Elsie next to me (babies were already asleep for the night) while Rory and Ivar lived the dream, lifting our own bales into our truck and hauling them into the barn. And in this moment I kept thinking, "we are making the happiest memory right now." It was such a stunning night, Rory was so relieved that he finally had small bales and Ivar transformed into a hard-working farm boy right in front of my eyes. He proudly flipped bales and said to me, "My body feels strong and tired at the same time." He rode in the back, sitting on the bales (we were very safe, Dad!) and was Rory's equal in enthusiasm that we had made another big step forward towards baling our own field. If we make progress at every cutting, we are moving forward. And we are! It's so much to learn. It's really hard work. But we are all giving it our best effort and growing every day.