Paul and I survived our second Whole30!! This is one of those moments where I want to turn to my ingrained ways and give myself a treat for doing so well! Alas, that would kind of defeat the whole purpose of these last 30 days.

I picked one of the hardest months to do a Whole30 program. The concept was smart, reset our bodies after the excess during the holidays. What I forgot to factor in was the extreme stress levels that I would have in January while completing my 2012 Funder Reports for work. So many nights I came home and felt like  I would kill for a piece of dark chocolate or a glass of wine, or realistically - both!

It really forced me to find other ways to decompress from the stress. Like yoga, praying, watching a trashy TV show, blogging, reading, seeing a friend, or watching Friday Night Lights with my husbuddy.

I also want to give a shout out to Paul who did incredibly well on the Whole30. Paul's favorite past times include coming home and tipping the honey jar (literally) into his mouth. Instead of turning to a treat, he came home and ate a healthy dinner with me and then if he was lucky got a clementine to snack on. No honey for my honey.

My goal in January was straight up lose 5 pounds. And on that note why is it called losing weight? It's not like I don't know where it went. I'm not frantically looking around for the weight! 

I'm very proud to say that I reached my goal!! And a side bonus, - I have had tremendous amounts of energy! I've actually been getting things done. Like purging junk from the house! It has been a win-win for me!

The Whole30 isn't quite up for me. I've decided to extend into February though I won't be as harsh about the compliance component (if you've done it, you know what I mean). Instead I'm going to focus on generally having no sugar and no alcohol. Except for Valentines. I'm taking that evening off!

My goal for February is to lose those last 5 pesky pounds. They have got to go!



I was playing around with a new blog template! Hope you like the new look!



Paul and I have been Paleo now for just over 7 months. We've both 100% bought into the fact that this isn't a phase for us, it is a lifestyle. 

When we first started Paleo in June of last year. I was unwilling to part with any of the food in the cupboards. I wasn't convinced that Paleo was going to work for us, or that I would even like it. And I didn't want to have to go rebuy everything. So I've held onto it all.

And lately, this one cupboard has been haunting me. It started off as the baking cabinet and then slowly became the last resort for so many items. Today, I decided - enough is enough!

Here is the cabinet before with more items tucked to the far right. I found some gems back there:

I generally live in fear that something will come crashing out of there on me one of these days.

Here is the purge pile.

And the After Picture? Glorious if I do say so myself! The best part, having the extra storage space.

The two top shelves can now hold miscellaneous dishes and my cookbooks.

So what made the cut?

3 Types of salt, coconut oil, two paleo marinades, honey, molasses, some spices, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and of course some grass fed beef gelatin!

Dear Husbuddy.... you're welcome!!

2013 Adventure


Team O is going on an adventure in 2013! T-Minus 68 days until:

Then onto:
Moving on:

And Finally:

But you'll probably find us here after we're done looking at the beautiful buildings:

2012 in Books


Thank goodness reading is not a competition in our home! In 2012 Paul smoked me in the number of books read! To my credit, I spent a lot time skimming through Paleo Books/Cookbooks. I guess this is reminder to carve out more time to read!
Paul's 2012 List
·        I.Asimov: A Memoir by Isaac Asimov
·        While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut
·        Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
·        The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
·        The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
·        Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
·        Proving Ground by Aaron Chumbris
·        Echo by Aaron Chumbris
·        Staying Close by Stopping the Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage: Dennis Rainey
·        Geek Love: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) by Katherine Dunn
·        Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk     
·        Incendiary by Chris Cleave
·        How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Yu
·        New World Monkeys by Nancy Mauro
·        12|21|12 by Larry Enright
·        Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins
·        Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland
·        The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller
·        Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Charity's 2012 List:
·        Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
·        The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
·        The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
·        The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
·        The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
·        What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng by Dave Edggers
·        Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
·        The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
·        Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
·        Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
·        The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
·        The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
·        A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
·        The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
·        Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Halfway Point


During the holidays it is so easy to get lax with clean eating. Treats and sweets abound! Self-control does not. In early December, Paul and I decided that we wouldn’t be hard on ourselves if we strayed during the holidays. We knew that come January we were going to batten down the hatches (what?) and commit to 30 days of squeaky clean eating. I probably had more chocolates, truffles, and ice cream then I should have. It just happened.

On January 2nd we began the Whole30 program, which you can read about here. Basically, I call it Paleo+. Practically for us, it means no sugar (real, fake, refined, unrefined), no alcohol, and no dairy. And the icing on the cake (why do I torment myself) is you also can’t paleo-fy junk food. Which is a shame, because I can make a damn good fudge candy with dates and cocoa powder.  Oh and the icing on the icing is that you can’t go crazy on fruit while on the Whole30. Sugar is sugar people.

Here is a nice visual that Paul found of the Paleo train of thought.  The Whole30 tightens up any grey areas.

Paleo Diet Flowchart   

I’ve gone without sugar before. But during that time I was eating lots of ‘sugar-free’ products that were filled with chemicals.  And even though it was so hard getting of the sugar, I also rewarded myself with something that basically replaced the sugar. I wasn’t working on food problems I was just substituting my issues. When I hit a period of depression, sugar rushed back into my life (pun intended).

These 30 days are not just about hitting the reset button on my body. They are also to help make me more aware of what I turn to in moments of ______ (fill in the emotion). Why do I need wine at the end of a tough day? Why do I want sugar at around 2 or 3 every afternoon? Why do I need to snack when bored?

I probably won’t find all of my answers in 30 days but it sure is easier to think about them when you’re not turning to food.

I found this great timeline that spells out the phases of the Whole30 and if my predictions are right, tomorrow is going to be a great day! Seriously though, the first week for me was hell. It was probably hell for Paul too since he had to deal with me. Week two has been easier. And week three hasn’t started out too shabby.

Check out the Whole30 website. This might be up your alley. And my motto is that you can do anything if only for 30 days! We plan to do this at least once or twice again this year.

Happy New Year!


We rang in another year on the Oregon Coast with our dear friends the Kaetzel's! It was a fun weekend of eating, sleeping, reading, playing with the boys (3, 5, 8), playing when the boys went to sleep, and enjoying nature! Here a few snapshots I took of the weekend! I look at these and smile, good memories were made.

Our Family Photo! This was after throwing lots of ball with Charlie on the beach. It's her happy face!

Speaking of happy faces. Paul and Jack on the beach. Look at those smiles!

 I always love being near the water.

 Throwing the ball with Charlie is always fun.

These photos were some of my favorites. Jack liked asking me to take his photo with Charlie. Then I would show him the photo and he'd ask for another! I have quite a few!
All in all, it was hard to come home!

Anything but Resolutions


When I (Charity) was single I would always take time to write about my “Reflections and Resolutions”. I have always loved starting a new year. I love the idea of starting afresh and changing ways. Even if January 1st really isn’t that different from December 31st. It is the concept of change that resonates with me. My resolutions were always a mixed bag. I might have something about losing weight, or getting healthy, or ditching a relationship, or making better choices with relationships – or all of the above. The thing was, that within a few weeks of the year I would have forgotten my resolution. Or keeping them became too hard. Or, I just stopped caring. And out the window they went – until the next year that is.

Now when a new year starts I don’t think much about resolutions (other than hearing what everyone else is doing). Though, I still love the idea of change. And the funny thing is that not having resolutions feels both freeing and at the same time sad. Sad as in, what are my goals for the next year? What do I want to accomplish?

As we entered into this new year, Paul and I found a wonderful middle ground. At the end of 2012, we sat down over steaming mugs of chai tea, warm tomato soup and a salad to talk about 2012 and 2013. We had a list of questions that we had separately spent a couple of months thinking about. We took three hours and hammered out the details. At the end of our time we had a roadmap for 2013 and goals for each of us. What I like about this is that we’re on the same page. We know and agree on our goals as a couple and our separate goals. We can encourage one another. We can point out when something will not align with our goals. These are not just fleeting resolutions.

We also built in a quarterly check-in system to talk through our notes and see where we are at. Are things working? Why are they not working? Do we need to change course?  Below is a list of the questions that we worked through. I highly recommend it! And if you’re single – find someone that you can ask to hold you accountable. Find someone willing to check in with you quarterly, someone who won’t mince words when it comes to speaking truth!

Here is a snapshot of the questions we worked through. Do you have specific questions you think or work through when a new year starts?

Re-look at our monthly budget break down.
Is the budget working?
What needs to change?
What is our plan for saving?
How much are we going to tithe?
How much are we going to spend as an offering?
What spiritual areas are we going to focus on as a family?
How do we add more prayer into our daily routine?
Where do we want to serve/volunteer?

Who are the people we are investing in?
Who do we want to start investing time in?
Who are we being mentored by?
How can we add more margin in our schedule so we can spend more time together?

What big trips do we want to take?
What small trips do we want to take?
What are our fitness goals?
What are our lifestyle goals?

Wrapping up Advent


Where did the rest of December go?  I have no excuse for not blogging about the rest of our advent season, other than the fact that I was enjoying quality time with my husband. We had a week and a half off together and it was delightful!

So here is a list of our final Advent activities. Some of them we didn’t make it to, and we were okay with that! The moral of the story is that we were connecting during the chaos of the holidays and remembering the reason for the season. I think we earned an A+.

Day 16: Scripture Reading & Candle Lighting

Day 17: Create/Buy an ornament that symbolizes 2012 (I had a great idea, but wasn’t able to find the supplies to pull it off)

Day 18: Make Snowflakes and write what we’re thankful for.

Day 19: Enjoy Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows. I even made us Paleo Marshmallows to enjoy. And boy did we!

Day 20: Dance to our favorite Christmas song.

Day 21: Go Ice Skating (What a blast! We had never done this together!)

Day 22: Stocking Stuffer Challenge (1 store, a set amount of time and money. GO!)

Day 23: Scripture Reading & Candle Lighting ( We did this with our dear friends the Kaetzel’s!)

Day 24: Attend Christmas Eve Service at church (This was really nice and we even had some friends join us!)

Day 25: Celebrate Jesus’ birth