Whole30: Mid-month Update

Several of you asked me to continue updating you here on the progress of our Whole30 adventure.  I will say that the last week and a half has been…. not actually difficult…but more difficult to stay devoted.  Which meant, I got a little lazy with food prep but luckily for you, that means I can share some super easy meal ideas because I just didn’t feel like doing anything but EASY.

So far the last several days, it’s been soups, salads and breakfast for dinner.  I’ve made two MASSIVE hauls of soup.  One taco and one veggie.  They are just compliant versions of something we’d already eat. I made enough each time for dinner, leftovers for lunch and even more to freeze for next week. My only tip here is to just be sure to make sure your stock or broth is compliant as well as any spices you use.


We resorted to Larabars the first week if we needed something easy in the car or had a craving for sugar. This week I grabbed a few RXbars as well and I have to say I like them better.  They have a better texture and I prefer the flavors they come in… although, some aren’t compliant so you’ve really got to pay attention to the labels.


The prepared grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s have been total lifesavers this entire time. I just made a run at lunch today to pick up some more! They’re great cold over salads.  I’ve also resorted to just dunking them in guacamole and getting on with my day! Crazy convenience. There are some chicken breasts available there as well but they’ve been marinated and are non-compliant.  These aren’t marinated but still have great flavor.


And lastly, but not Whole30 related per say, are the collagen peptides I’ve been adding to my coffee.  This is a great source of protein in the morning and seems to help my breakfast stay with me longer so I don’t eat up all my snack options before the afternoon grumbles kick in.  G has hip trouble (poor old man) and collagen is great for joints (as well as hair, skin, nails) so I’ve gotten him on board as well.  I use Vital Proteins brand which you can snag on Amazon Prime.


So, the mid-experience consensus is….

I’m down about 5 lbs in a little over two weeks. G is down significantly more.  And while we decided to do this to kick off a lifestyle change and detox, the weight loss sure is great. More importantly to me than the scale, I’ve noticed a change in the way my clothes fit and am beginning to see definition in my arms and legs that I forgot I use to have! HA!

Only 12 more days to go and, to be honest, I’m not really counting the minutes. I’m shocked at how little I miss things like cheese. I mean, there will definitely be cheese happening in 13 days but I’m just not DYING for it like I thought I would be.


Whole30: Surviving Week 1

Last Monday, G and I dove head first into the Whole30 Program. (Let’s not talk about how Sunday, I ate ALL THE CHEESE… I mean, I had to get it out of the fridge, right?).  I’m not going to bore you with a million recipes because that’s what Pinterest is for. But I thought it might be helpful to share some of my survival tips.  I am 7 days into this thing, so obviously I’m a pro at this point. [Kidding – not even really sure I know what I’m doing]. But if I can do it, I think just about anyone can.

First, let’s talk about why we are doing it.  I’ve talked before about my desire to get healthier.  I’ve got a toddler to keep up with and – in all honesty – I want to feel good about the way I look.  I want to set healthy examples for my child so that making the healthy choice will be the natural one for him. G is at a point where he wants to lose some weight as well and he’s got some willpower like nothing I’ve ever seen. Several friends and coworkers have done the Whole30 program recently and it seemed like a tough but good plan for us to kick off a healthier routine… and it was NOT based on deprivation, special shakes or drinks, and weird supplements, which was big for us.

Second, let’s talk about the hardest parts.  For me, that was dedicating the time and energy to meal prepping and coming up with snack options.  The solution to this was to just keep it simple.  Pinterest is full of fancy, complicated and deliciously photographed recipes that require 25+ ingredients only found at Trader Joe’s.  That is so NOT necessary.  A lean meat with some roasted veggies will do you just fine. And who has time to slice and bake 600 sweet potatoes to make like 5 servings of sweet potato chips? Not me, that’s for sure.  So here are some things I did that made things much easier than I anticipated.

  1.  I got some high quality food storage tupperware. I’ve always just grabbed a stack of the basically disposable stuff at the grocery store but I knew that for this kind of meal prep, that wasn’t going to cut it. I love the Rubbermaid Brilliance 14-piece set.  The tops snap on and keep raw items fresh and cooked items from geting mushy.  They stack nicely too!fridge shot
  2. I set aside time before the week started to prep meals.  Even if there wasn’t much I could cook ahead of time, I at least chopped up vegetables, marinated meat and got everything as prepared as I possible could to make weeknight cooking easy and quick.
  3. I cooked extra servings at each dinner.  I’m not much of a salad person – not because I don’t like salads – but mostly because I just always want a “hot” meal… maybe it’s a Southern thing? The best way to keep from burning out on salads was to just make extra servings at dinner so we could enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes I’d even make enough to last us two dinners and a lunch. Cooking every night can be hard when there’s a tiny human trying his damndest to destroy your kitchen so being able to just heat something up is like having an night off!
  4.  I kept fresh fruit everywhere! On the kitchen island and in the fridge.  As soon as I got home from the grocery store, I washed and chopped my fruit, tossed together and kept in tupperware at eye level in the fridge for a go-to snack.  I also bagged up individual servings to grab when we left for work. (NOTE: you’re gonna need alot of ziploc bags). Farmers markets and local farm stands are a great way to keep from dropping Benjamins on fruits and veggies.  I’m always amazed how much more expensive it is to shop healthy! Support your local farmers and save yourself some money. If you’re local to Birmingham, I love J & S Produce farm stand at Trinity Methodist Church in Homewood. They are in the parking lot every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning.fruit
  5. Guacamole has become my best friend.  Sure, I’d love to make it fresh each time but ain’t nobody got time for that. Sabra makes a smallish/medium-sized tub perfect for sharing and snack-sized portions as well.  I’ve been throwing it on salads, dipping carrots (seasoned with chili power and lime juice) in it. Any way you can add avocado to a meal, you’re gauranteed to stay fuller longer and it’s a great source of healthy fat.guac
  6. Portion out and package your snacks so eating on-the-go isn’t a disaster.  It’s those moments when you’re out running errands and hunger hits you that are the most dangerous while doing Whole30.  There is almost no compliant quick fix from the convenient store and eating out is pretty difficult. (We’ve eaten out once so far and there was basically one option on the menu that we could have). Grabbing a bag of carrots or almonds that is premeasured so you don’t binge in one of those Snickers hunger moments can totally save your day.almonds
  7. I stopped stereotyping my food.  Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Grilled chicken isn’t just for lunch or dinner. Eat what you want (that’s compliant) when you want it.  This morning, I had roasted vegetables for breakfast. And I’ll be having a hard-boiled egg with my lunch. The notion that certain foods are for certain meal-times can really box you in and leave you with not enough options… especially when the fridge is getting bare and you haven’t made your next grocery run.
  8. Be confident that you have the willpower to do this.  It really isn’t that hard. You just have to want it bad enough. Want to give you body a boost, rid it of the stuff that shouldn’t be there and reap the rewards.  You’re not really supposed to weigh on this program but I am.  And the scale is moving in the right direction. That may not be your reason for doing this program, but it sure is a nice perk!

So, if you’ve been on the fence about tring Whole30, I say do it! What’s the worst thing that can happen?  You cheat? You fail? You probably would still be eating and treating your body better than you did before. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Let me know if you decide to try it. I want to hear all about it!

Note: Whole30 website has some awesome resources here.

Scroll down for additoinal essentials, tips and suggestions:

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Low Carb Breakfast: Sausage Drop Biscuits

The K List blog

I am about 3 months into my low carb adventure and it has really been paying off. I don’t think elimination diets are a sustainable way to lose and keep weight off but for someone who has alot to shed, it can really produce results.  I am now almost 15 lbs thinner than I was before I got pregnant with III.  I lost the baby weight quickly and easily. I honestly didn’t have much of an appetite for a few weeks after having him, I wasn’t drinking and I was bored so we did A LOT of strolling while on maternity leave.  But then I went back to work and spent most of my day in a chair.  I was struggling with merging two routines – a full time job and keeping a baby alive – so my time and focus on exercising & healthy cooking went out the window for a while.  I managed to put about 8 of the 28 pregnancy pounds back on.  I wasn’t happy with the way I looked and now, more than ever, it was important to me to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Sure, III is a baby but before I know it, he’ll be mimicking the way we live.  And I want him to grow up in an active and healthy family.  With his kidney disease, I want him to understand the importance and benefit of a healthy diet and have the nutrition knowledge he needs to be healthy as a teenager and adult when he is making his own decisions.

After meeting with my physician and doing some personalized tests, I learned that I have moderate insulin resistance so cutting carbs and sugars within reason would be beneficial for my health and waistline.

Bottom line – you should do what works for you.  I’ve adjusted to these habits fairly well and can allow myselfs carbs and sugars…. and wine… within reason without reversing my progress.

My biggest struggle was usually breakfast… Before, I rarely took the time to cook something for myself in the mornings and most grab-and-go items aren’t low carb.  I found a couple of recipes online but nothing I was loving so I just came up with my own… hope you enjoy!

1 package (16oz) of breakfast sausage (opt for turkey sausage if you want to cut the fat… but I’m denying myself enough.. ha!)

3.5 cups of almond flour

3  teaspoons baking powder

8 eggs

Shredded cheese… I used basically an entire bag 🙂

Mix in a bowl by hand the same way you would mix up sausage balls.  Use a large spoon to place on a greased pan. Pat down slightly with spoon…not quite as flat as a cookie.  They will puff up some when they bake.  Bake on 375 for 15-20 mins.  I checked on mine at 15 minutes and they needed just a couple minute longer.

You could really throw just about anything you want in here and they’d be great… onions and bell pepper or do bacon instead of sauage.  A great vegatarian option would be wilted spinach and feta.  III loved these as well so next time I will probably grate some broccoli in just to sneak in a little extra goodness!

PS – This makes about 20-24 drop buscuits and they are very freezer friendly.  I put a few in the fridge to eat on this week and froze the rest.  You can thaw them out directly in the microwave!

Skincare & Makeup Routine

I have what you would call a difficult skin tone.  I’m fair, pink and extremely freckled… like extremely.  I learned to love my freckles at an early age (and apparently people are getting fakes ones these days so maybe I’m naturally en vogue and don’t even know it).  But, the redness in my skin has always bothered me.  Even before I wore makeup.  My dad said when I was younger I would always ask him “Daddy, whyyyyyy are we so paaaaaank?” My mom and brother don’t seem to have this issue but my dad and I are basically leprechauns.


Before I get hassled by body image acceptance enthusiasts or whatever you call it, let me say this.  I’m cool, guys. I’m good with the way that I look… Heck, I even think I’m pretty most of the time.  But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me improving things that I do not particularly like about myself if I can.

So, makeup has never been easy for me. Anything that “covered up” my redness was either too heavy or didn’t blend well with my freckles.  My face would look super fair and my neck and chest would just look PINKER (not a word but whatevs. <— also not a word). I just started using Rodan + Fields Reverse Skincare Regimen and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some results from that. (I was not asked or paid to endorse Rodan + Fields…. because I’m not a real blogger)

According to R+F, the Reverse system is supposed to be great for dull or uneven skin tones. It uses cosmetic and OTC ingredients to brighten/bleach uneven pigment and skin tone.  I’ve only been using the products for a few days but I’ll be sure to check back in with a result pic in 5-6 weeks… so I guess we shall see.

Now onto makeup.  With a wild and crazy 11 month old, my new getting ready routine has GOT TO TIGHTEN UP.  I’ve started creating some habits that definitely help – shower at night, lash extensions to eliminate time spent applying mascara, laying out clothes the night befre (hello again, 2nd grade!) – but I’d really like to minimize my makeup routine as well. (If you haven’t noticed I’m all about minimizing these days… you can read that post here).  And I feel like getting my skin in tip top shape if the first step in that.IMG_3678

I’m generally happy with my makeup routine now but I’d be happier if I wore less makeup for a couple of reasons. First, it would take less time and effort.  Secondly, I just prefer a more natural look which has always been hard for me because no makeup = weird uneven freckle skin tone.

Here’s what I do now, if anyone is interested:

  • Primer spray (I like this much more than cream or oil-based primers). I absolutely HATE touching my face.
  • Color corrector and concealer under eyes and in the areas where I tend to stay red (chin, cheaks, tip and corners of nose)
  • Blend (kind of but not really according to that lovely photo of me above… thanks Iphone7)
  • Loose mineral powder. I typically use Bare Minerals but keep some of the cheap Maybelline pressed powder in a darker shade for the 2 weeks out of the year that I actually have a tan.
    • I struggle here because most of the powder tones that help with my redness/pink skin tone wind up making my face look super pale compared to the rest of my body.  And the only thing worse than that is using a color that is too dark… so – help! What’s a girl to do here?
  • Tiny bit of contour under my cheek bones and around my hairline.
  • Blush – pretty self-explanatory…. unless there’s some application strategy here I should know about it…enlighten me.
  • Eyeshadow – super neutral (gold/rose gold/browns) unless I’m specifically dressing things up .
  • No MASCARA! I recently got lash extensions which I guess is a little over the top for someone who isn’t Beyonce or a drag queen but it’s actually been so helpful! My lashes (while pretty long on their own) are super blonde and I was spending 1/2 of my makeup time just loading them up with mascara.  I have small and almost hooded eyes so mascara was super important to me.  Now, I don’t even give it a second thought.

So that’s it.  Written out, it kind of looks like a lot but I don’t look like a crazy made-up person so I guess it isn’t.  The question is… how can I minimize it further?  Is there a useless product I need to just cut out? Or is there a product that I need to add that would cut down on the need for something else?  Will Rodan + Fields solve all my problems and turn me into the no-make up, golden beach goddess I am in my dreams?  Either way, I’ll letcha know.

PS – I recently organized my makeup drawer and it made me feel like a new person. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading more about!

Basic girls’ guide to a weekend in Birmingham

I had so much fun this weekend, I just had to share. For a few years now, the Birmingham I once knew has slowly become unrecognizable… in a good way. I’ve always loved living here but now this little big city has really become the best version of itself. There’s almost always something going on and new restaurants or bars to try.  And with so many kid-friendly options, it’s easy to still feel hip after having babies!

Warning: the weekend itinerary below is about as basic and it can get. And that’s how I like it. So if you’re cool with being a basic chick, here’s what to do with your Saturday in Birmingham.

Not picture: Copious amounts of coffee. So basic.

8:15am – Hit the gym with girlfriends for a good workout before eating your weight in James Beard award-winning dinners…. and also wine.



11:30am – Brunch so hard at Rowe’s Service Station with baby in tow (sorry not sorry for all the scrambled eggs on the floor!)


1:30pm – Drop baby and husband and home for a nap and do a little retail therapy. Didn’t snap any pics but hit two of  the favorites: At Home Furnishings and Stock & Trade Design Co.

3:00pm – Go home. Chill. Snuggle with adorable tiny humans… becuase you’re too old for all these activities and vokda before 7pm. Also, open wine.

7:30pm – Get cute but not too cute. Force husband to take your photo while you wait for your Uber. Pro tip: Take photo in your formal living (aka – the only room in your house not taken over by baby toys and sippy cups).IMG_3277

8:00pm – Drink all the champs and eat all the escargot at Chez Fon Fon. Start to wonder if you should have gone somewhere else because you come here all the time and then decide absolutely not because Chez Fon Fon is the next best thing to heaven on earth.

10:30pm – Hit the newest hipster hangout The Atomic  for a DELICIOUS cocktail and feel super cool because two of your buds are featured on the wall. (What’s up Randall and Rashid!)IMG_3283

11:15pm – GO HOME. Because you’re old and you turn into a pumpkin a midnight. And, also, you’re responsible and are already thinking ahead about losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time and maybe panicking a little becuase you’re heard it turns children into little tiny devils and you’re not sure what kind of monster your 10 month old might be in the morning.

5:45am – Wake up to tiny monster cackling in his crib and breathe a sigh of relief because it turns out he’s still really adorable and all he wants are a diaper change and some snuggles.

And then do a little jig because you managed to be both cool and responsible in one weekend while soaking in some good quality time with some pretty awesome ladies.


Putting your best foot forward for Spring

And, yes, in Alabama, we consider late February to be spring.

It’s inevitable. It comes every year… that awkward weather phase where booties and sweaters are just too much but it’s not quite time to bust out the Lilly (no offense to those year round Lilly girls). I’ve been literally living in two pairs of Chinese Laundry booties this fall but the girls need to go free… and by girls, I mean toes.

But it’s not quite free-the-girls sandal season yet. (For example, it’s 79 degrees as I type this and tomorrow night will dip below freezing… suck it, global warming). So what’s a girl to do? Google. Internet shop. Load up carts. Check out.

I’ve rounded up my picks for neutral and transitional sandals and wedges to get you through those awkward months and beyond.


  1. Target Women’s Leigh Laser Cut Shield Heel Pumps – Merona
  2. Nordstrom Halogen ‘Clarette’ Wedge Sandal
  3. Nordstrom Kirstin Cavallari ‘Larox’ Wedge Sandal
  4. Zappos Joie Block Heel Sandal
  5. Nordstrom Andira Platform Wedge Sandal



I am a very, very messy person


Total honesty here. Being tidy just does NOT come naturally to me. I am was always the girl who had to spend couple of hours cleaning and picking up before we had guests… god forbid, overnight guests. I go all out in so many other aspects of life, I guess when it came to the end of the day, I just never wanted to deal with whatever mess I may have created. And I never thought it bothered me.

(In my defense, my house was rarely ever DIRTY… just unkempt.  And sometimes, not even that to the naked eye… because I’d probably just stuffed everything in a closet somewhere.)

But then I had a child. And being messy was just no longer an option for so many reasons. Now, there were 90 million bottles and bottle brushes and bottle parts and formula cans to add to my stuff. Now there were bouncers and swings and walkers and boppies on the floor. Now there was a baby crawling on a rug that may or may not be covered in pup hair. JK – I became OCD with the floors one III started crawling… but you catch my drift.

(Disclaimer: I have help with the housekeeping. Between working and parenting and general adulting, it’s just something I need. But sometimes I found that she was just having to clean around my clutter.)

So the time came and I had to do it. I had to become a more organized and tidy person. I had to take control of my procrastination and my lazy tendencies and hunker down. And I’m so, so grateful I did.

Here’s How:

  1. I did some research.  This may sound silly to many of you who pick up and put away and organize with ease. But, for me, I really needed to learn how to create and maintain these new habits. And I’m a nerd. So I wanted to research how to set my neat and tidy priorities and then tackle them. (This so reminds me of how Gidget decided to learn to surf by reading a book thus winning the heart of Moondoggy. If you have no idea, what I’m talking about… that should accurately illustrate my nerdiness.). My favorite resource for this was Allie Casazza. While I will never be a minimalist, her tips still proved to be invaluable.
  2. I evaluated my time. This is a huge thing that Allie focuses on in her blog. I always blamed ignoring a lot of household chores on not having time but – in reality – that was a LIE. I literally plotted out my typical day. What I spent my time on. And while there wasn’t a lot of “white space” on my daily calendar between baby and work, there was enough. And there were inefficiencies I could tighten up.
  3. I tackled a few big things first. Before I really started implementing this stuff in my every day life, I tackled a few big projects. One was my closet. I have a huge closet. Bigger than I’d like to admit. Full of clothes that I love… and full of clothes that I hate.  I took an entire Sunday (put G on daddy duty) and went through every single thing.  I purged, then organized. I cannot even describe the sense of relief I felt after. And, I can’t life. I freaking love walking into that closet now.
  4. I let the big stuff trickle down. Once my closet was organized, I took on the laundry room. A smaller task but still one that needed a lot of attention. I figured out what I spend the most time laundering and why. I made that more efficient. I organized our hampers. I got smaller hampers so it would be impossible to let things back up because they’d have nowhere to go.
  5. I fit it in my every day. Allie talks a lot about something she calls rhythms. Basically creating certain habits throughout the day, every day. I’m not quite there yet (and may not ever be) but I’ve found myself doing some of these things unknowingly. I take 2 minutes in the morning after getting ready to throw in one load of laundry. And heading upstairs right when I get home to toss it in the dryer. That may be the only productive household thing I need to do that day and I just made it a part of my routine that I hardly even think about. And pretty soon, without even thinking about it, I just starting putting things away when I was done with them. Some days, I would even shock myself.


Here’s Why:

  1.  It was an underlying stresser.  Remember earlier I said I didn’t think any of this bothered me? Well, apparently it did. It just added so much unnecessary stress. And once, the mess or clutter started to disappear, I started to notice how much happier of a person I was. I recently forgot we were having overnight guests for a weekend and my husband reminded me the night before.  My reaction… “Oh yeah…ok.” No panic to pick up, no stress about the condition of the upstairs of the house. That was NOT the me I knew even just a few months ago.
  2. My environment was affecting me. Take my closet, for example. It was such a messy disaster full of so many things that I didn’t wear. I ended up where the same 7-8 things repeatedly. And I just wasn’t into.  That is NOT like me. I LOVE clothes. I love fashion and design and it’s always been a major way of expressing myself. But that was fading. Since I took control of my closet, I’m actually wearing things I love again. Putting things together that make me feel great… some of which I forgot I even owned. When my closet was a mess, I was beginning to look like a mess. And if I didn’t like my outfit, I was putting less effort into my hair and makeup.  I was becoming my environment. Now, that’s a good thing.
  3. I have time for the things I want to do. My spending my time more efficiently when it came to keeping up the house, I discovered I could actually spend more than an hour doing what I wanted during the weeknight. I could spend time with III and G. I could watch TV, read a book, go to the gym. It was liberating. And I now no longer have to spend long chunks of time on the weekends mass-cleaning my house. Some days, I even have to come up with something to do!

If I’m being honest, I’m not sure why I’m sharing all of this here. I guess I’m just really proud of myself. I decided that, instead of a resolution for 2017, I would just pick a word and try to live by that word for the year in anything I did. I picked the word “improve” because I could use a little of that in so many aspects of my life. I want to improve my health, my household, my mind.  I want to improve as a wife and a mom and a daughter and a sister and a friend.  And by implementing the things I’ve talked about here, I’m able to focus my time and energy on those things. And that’s something worth being proud of.

(Another disclaimer: I’m still not and may never be a completely tidy person. My office at work is a disaster. My email inbox would make some of you cringe. But, hey, one thing at a time, right?)

Going low-carb & a Pinterest recipe round-up

In a somewhat recent endeavour, I’ve spent a lot of time and effort focused on my physical well-being. Post-pregnancy, I wasn’t happy with the way my body looked but that wasn’t exactly a new thing. I’d been uncomfortable in my skin for years.  And now, with a little one, I decided there would never really be a “good time” to make it a priority so I might as well just do it.  After all, I now have a little one who will eventually learn his healthy (or unhealthy) habits from me.

I’ve almost gotten a handle on how to fit exercise into an already overwhelming schedule (along with some time for my mental well-being) but my main focus as of late has been on our diet…. that’s for another post.

Now, I am NOT one of those people who thinks carbs are the devil and then eats a bajillion grams of fat and various other alwful things. Can’t you tell how well-versed I am in healthy eating??  But I HAVE found that one of the most effective ways for me to lose weight and slim down is to carefully monitor my carb intake. This means that whenever I easily can, I keep carbs to a minimum so that when it’s a little hard (for example, co-worker lunches or girls’ night out), I can just not worry about it.

This is a great article about carbs, blood sugar and – most importantly – insulin resistance.  And those facts are what ultimately led me decide which route I wanted to take with me new diet/lifestyle. I found Pinterest to be a treasure trove of delicious low carb meals and ideas to “feel” like you’re getting your carb fix without actually doing it.  These are not my recipes but I will share some details on what I tweaked.

1. Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie – We’ve all heard about using spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta.  I’ve alwasy felt that the squash just wasn’t “noodle-ey” enough but this dish really does it.  Once you baked the squash and assembled the meat sauce and layered it like baked spaghetti, you bake it once more (WITH CHEESE) and the second go ’round in the oven really softens the noodles.  This is perfect dish to make double the portions and freeze for later.

2.  Taco Turkey Burgers – We eat these OFTEN. I typicaly don’t have tortilla chips so crush up and use in these (and that would carb it up) but I will use a small amount of panko bread crumbs or almond flour to help bind the patties together, which ground turkey often needs a little help doing. I also tend to mix in diced onion and bell pepper.  I found the best finish for these in to broil in a cast iron skillet and add cheese for the last 45 seconds-1 minute for a nice golden brown topping. So basically I don’t follow this recipe at all. Still, so yummy.  I make about 12 patties total and make 4-6 depending on if I want to take leftovers to lunch the next day (1.5 for me, 2 for G, and 1 for III to eat on for the next two evenings for dinner, and an extra 1.5 for me to take for my lunch).  The other 6 patties get frozen individually to cook and eat later.  And they are awesome with just about any sides… you could do an avocado salad, sauteed brussel sprouts, or sweet potato fries.

3.  Cauliflower Mash – talk about some TRICKERY! Ok… if I’m being totally honest, these aren’t a perfect replica for eating mashed potatoes but honestly, it’s super tasty and typically appeases my carb cravings! I follow this recipe exactly but I’ve also done it greek yogurt… and a little extra butter never hurt! This also freezes well so you can make it larger batches.

You can see these and more on my Low Carbin’ Pinterest board!  Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my meal planning and prepping process!

What I learned during 7 months of baby reflux


After a somewhat complicated delivery and extra week spent in the CCN with III, I was SO relieved to come home.  I had struggled with breastfeeding during the 11 days we were in the hospital but I blamed it on us both being on antibiotics and him being connected to IVs and monitors for 7+ days.  I assumed once we got home, relaxed and found a rhythm that things would fall into place.  But that just was not in the cards for us.  I continued having a difficult time producing. I ate ALL the oatmeal, was taking up to 9 fenugreek tablets a day, baking lactation cookies and even drinking some digusting green flavor Gatorade that somebody told somebody told me helped with production.

It was my mother who finally convinced me to just let it go. God bless her!  I was legitimately overwhelmed and Tripp was starving.  Even when he wasn’t starving, he was screaming. Let me say here that I totally understand the benefits of a mother’s breastmilk but there’s also a benefit to having a fed baby and a mom who doesn’t feel like she’s losing her mind. All of that to say, this is not meant to be a breastfeeding post.

Once we were on formula, things normalized a bit but III was still unsatisfied – even unhappy – after feedings.  His reactions to mealtime began to worsen until he basically refused to eat altogether. We were on the cusp on heading to the ER for IV fluids when our pediatrician finally conceded to the idea that he might have acid reflux. We moved to a gentler formula and were prescribe Zantac. That was at 6 weeks old. Over the course of the next 6 months, we saw numerous specialists and increased dosages little by little as III gained weight until he was at the max dosage for an infant. Because he was gaining weight, doctors didn’t seem to be too concerned with the “inconvenience” of a baby that fought and screamed at every feeding.  I remember one particularly bad night calculating how many HUNDREDS of bottles we had left until he hit the magical 6 month date where most babies stop having reflux issues.

That date came and went and we still needed meds. Because of all the tests that were required of III during this process, we discovered a chronic health issue that has the potential to be far more serious than the reflux we were dealing with.  (That is a post for another time). So, in a way, I am grateful for our reflux experience… although that’s hard to admit when I think of the worst of it.  But I learned a few things along the way that might be helpful for some desparate new mom our there googling the heck out of baby reflux hoping to find some answers.

  1. YOU know YOUR own baby. Well-meaning friends and family may unintentionally play down what you are dealing with in an attempt to comfort you or make you feel like nothing is wrong. I can’t tell you how many times others suggested that maybe he was “just a fussy baby” or had colic. I’m a smart person. Common sense can tell me that if my baby is seemingly normal at all times OTHER that feeding times, our issue is definitely feeding-related.
  2. Find a pediatrician YOU TRUST. And I don’t mean trust as in your think they’re a nice and honest person. Most are… there aren’t alot of evil pediatricians out there. But find a pediatrician you have confidence in. Many tend to not worry too much if you child is gaining weight (which mine was…becase I was basically force feeding him). Acid reflux in infants is extremely overdiagnosed so they will often avoid the diagnosis or attempt to let things “take care of themselves.” I resented our first pediatrician for not listening to me or taking my concerns seriously and then when she finally conceded to a reflux diagnosis, she seemed very overwhelmed and uneducated as to why things were not improving.  I had ZERO confidence that she could help me keep my son healthy (especially after a later and unrelated diagnosis). So…I consulted other moms and found one I trusted. And we love him.
  3. Don’t compare your baby to others.  This can be said about alot of things when it comes to parenting… parents tend to compare their children to others based on their size (what’s the obsession with having “big” babies these days???), the timing of their milestones, how quickly they hold their bottles… the list goes on. In the same vein, your baby’s reflux and someone else’s will likely not be the same. Tripp’s reflux lasted months longer that most babies whose moms I’d spoken to and I got so discouraged. And then one day, it stopped. All that desparation and concern that something else was wrong with him was gone. I had done so much unnecessary worrying.
  4. Rely on other moms. Someone else is going through the same thing. I had mom friends that hooked me up with others that they knew had gone through similar situations.  I texted my best friend and III’s godmother an ungodly amount of times throughout our “battle” with reflux. I had a million questions and sometimes just frustrations that needed venting and I would have been much worse off without them.

Here’s the things about acid reflux in infants… it’s not life-threatening (unless you’re in a failure to thrive situation).  But it’s more than just an inconvenience.  I used to feel so guilty about feeling sorry for myself when there were so many mom and babies out there fighting much more difficult battles.  But you know what? No matter the source, it’s terrifying to watch your baby be in pain. It’s gut wrenching to feel like you have no power to help them. And you’re ALLOWED to feel that way.

Here are some specifics about our reflux diagnosis in case you are interested:

  • Diagnosed at 6 weeks, prescribed Zantac
  • Hospitalized at 3.5 months for refusing to feed for 2 days
  • Dosage eventually increased to 1.5 ml 3 times per day
  • Sought chiropractic care at 8 months
  • Stopped usage of meds at 8.5 months
  • Reflux free

I’m not interested in getting into a debate or feeling judged about our decisions to seek chiropractic care but I will share this with you (and you’re welcome to contact me directly if you’d like to discuss further). Around 5 months old, III was coming home with constant run of the mill daycare colds.  Every kid in class had the same cold but III was being sent home because he was vomiting.  Think about that for a minute… consistent (and massive) vomiting with EVERY SINGLE COLD. The average child gets upwards of 10 colds in their first year of life. Our assumption was that the reflux was causing this reaction… either way, one puke and you’re outta daycare for a full 24 hrs…. imagine what that was doing to my paid time off at work.

I’d been advised by many to at least look into chirorpractic care. After speaking to others and doing my own independent research, we decided to take III in to Homewood Friends and Family Chiropractic (PS – they do NOT pop and crack babies so let’s please not go there).  It was the chiropractor that suggested that perhaps it wasn’t III’s reflux but his reflux meds that were causing the vomiting. You see, Zantac is the type of reflux drug that neutralizes stomach acid.  At that point, the only thing III’s body had to digest was breastmilk, formula and watered down fruit purees. Imagine if he was constantly draining (because babies don’t have sinuses) and his stomach acid was not acidic enough to break down that mucus. (I know… this is all very gross). So after just two sessions, we decided to take him completely off the Zantac. Since that day, III has been reflux (and cold-related) vomit free.

I’m not here to recommend chiropractic care as an acid reflux solution for ALL infants. I’m certainly not qualified to do that. You should BY ALL MEANS find a pediatrician you are confident in and trust the diagnosis and prescribed care they give your child. I do fully believe that Zantac was the right solution at the time it was subscribed and that it helped to decrease the symptoms of III’s reflux… until it became the problem. That’s where chiropractic care came in for us.

With their help, we are lucky to be out of the reflux storm now. At 9 months, Tripp is eating, drinking and sleeping like a “normal” baby (whatever that really means).  I personally found motherhood as a whole to be quite overwhelming and dealing with this only made things more difficult for our family. BUT I am a better mom because of it. In just a few months, I went from the new mom that panicked about everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) to a mom and wife who can actually enjoy the fun parts of motherhood.  Who can handle a cold or virus like a normal person without a total meltdown. Who can intentionally time with her family. We are lucky.  And my hope is that you will be too.


Preparing for Baby: 3 not so obvious things to get done around the house during your 3rd trimester

Full discolure: I didn’t actually do all of these things before III came home… some of them I did and some I just wished I had done.  There are tons of “preparing for baby” posts out there and I found that they mostly say all the same things… and to be honest, they’re kind of obvious. You don’t want to bring baby home to a messy or dirty house.  So yes, put things away and wipe down, vaccuum and disinfect your little pregnant hearts out.

But there were a few really unique tips I got and things I realized would have been better to tackle before I got home.  For example, I was going to totally purge, sort and organize my master closet as my “maternity leave project.” LOLZ, right? You know what your maternity leave project is? Tending to a newborn’s every need…. and just about nothing else. Maybe a few naps…. a shower here and there.  Unless someone has the world’s chillest baby, there will be no massive organizational undertakings happening in what little time a working mom gets to stay home with their super cute tiny human.  Which leads me to my first and probably most obvious tip…

  1.  Closets: You will quickly find that baby’s come with more stuff than you can possibly imagine someone that tiny could need. Unless you plan on running 2-3 loads of laundry a day, you’re going to need multiple of everything… like 8-10 sets of PJs in each size, at least 4-5 baby bath towels, 8 million bibs and burp cloths, and the list goes on…. We put III in the bedroom closest to ours which also happens to be the smallest bedroom with the smallest closet. Luckily it has its own bathroom with a linen closet where I can store bath-related items, massive boxes of diapers and wipes, blankets, etc.  But with all the things that come along with baby (and the need to declutter and put things away for the time being – ESPECIALLY when they become mobile and obsessed with putting things in their mouth), I found a need for organized space where I could put things away for short and long periods of time. So, the one thing I didn’t do before coming home with III that I wished I had was organization all of our closets.  Having mine and G’s personal closets tidy would have just been one less thing to stress about but especially things like the downstairs general throw things in/coat closet and guest bedroom closets that keep out of season clothes or a tub of decorative items that have now become “hazardous.” Now after 7 months, I’ve gotten them almost to where I’d like them but my time to handle them comes in 1.5 hour nap increments… handling it before delivery would have been much easier and efficient (although I’m not sure I would have been able to bend over at that point.)
  2. Rugs: This was a really helpful tip we got from a single Dad friend of ours… and I would have NEVER thought of it until it became a problem. Our downstairs den/keeping room is where spend 80+% of our free time at home.  I’ve always had jute, seagrass or natural fiber rugs in rooms like these because – first of all – I love them and – secondly – they hold up really well in high-traffic areas. When he and his little one were staying with us for a weekend, he pointed out that we’d probably want to change it out for something softer; that it would definitely tear up the baby’s knees and hands when he started crawling or even rolling/scooting around.  Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that?  We had a huge Persian rug in our master that was perfect so we just switched them out and now at 7.5 months, I’m so glad we did!  Note: Some natural fiber rugs are softer and this may not be necessary or you can always go with a puzzle floor mat in some areas to be a little more gentle on the baby (we just ordered this to cover the hardwoods in his little play corner of the room).
  3. Kitchen Cabinets or Pantry:  Babies eat… often.Your newborn may be taking anywhere from 9-12 bottles a day. If you’re not breastfeeding, that means A LOT of bottles and A LOT of formula – whether it comes in jugs, pouches or canisters. Flash foward 6 months and now you’re adding baby food into the mix. It only makes sense to go ahead and clear some space either in your pantry or in a kitchen cabinet that can be dedicated to all things feeding-related.  Unless you want to be constantly hand-washing or running the dishwasher for only a top shelf’s worth of a load, you’ll want plenty of bottles to get you through the day.  And even when the babe starts daycare, you don’t want to be in a panicked rush in the morning because you forgot to turn on last night’s dishes.  I’d suggest no less than 12 bottles. That way, if half of them are in the dishwasher or dirty, you’ve still got plenty to get you through. Personally, we keep bottles in a cabinet close to the sink and dishwaser, and III has basically an entire shelf of baskets in the pantry dedicated to his baby food pouches and formula jugs.  Again, just not something you think too much about until your kitchen counters are a disaster and nothing is in the right place. I was lucky enough to get and follow this advice ahead of time.

For those first time moms who have been spoken to for months like you don’t know anything..I won’t bore you with the obvious things like general cleaning (maybe even hiring someone to come in and do a deep clean for you the week before delivery), pet hair eliminating , etc.  I think you’re all probably smart enough to figure that stuff out.  Hope this was helpful!!  I’ll leave you with a pic of III’s nursery (the last time it was clean…. before he was born.)