Carina’s Jungle Baby Shower

One of my best friends is expecting!  She is due in March and her baby shower was a few weeks ago.  Her family threw the party but I was able to help out by planning some cute little favors.  The theme was the jungle.  Her mom, sister, and sister-in-laws did a great job of decorating.  Here are a few highlights.

Carina’s mom spent a few weeks of January in Africa on a missions’ trip so this theme was very fitting for her.  She made this adorable diaper cake with a resident monkey in the tree.

There was lots of jungle inspired foods such as Jungle Juice and Monkey Trail Mix.  I love the happy lion and elephant watching over the drinks and cake.

This giraffe was a big hit with the little girls at the shower.  He was pretty abused loved as a punching bag, animal to ride, and an animal to carry around while a bunch of little girls chase you.  We did manage to steal him for about 30 seconds to get a picture.

At the end of a great afternoon everyone was sent home with a boxful of little jungle animals in the form of animal crackers.  These boxes remind me of my childhood.  I fancied them up a little with a bow made of leftover ribbon from my wedding and added a note to the top that said “We’re not even lion.  Thanks for celebrating the upcoming arrival of baby Zachary with us!”

Now we just have to anxiously wait a few more weeks until Zachary makes his big arrival!

Posted in Friends, Parties | 1 Comment

Detox Challenge: A Look Back

Looking back I can’t believe I made it 10 days without chocolate, bread, sweets, cheese, meats, and such.  I don’t consider myself to have a lot of self control when it comes to food, especially when it comes to sweets.  For the last week and a half our refrigerator has probably held more healthy food than ever before (at least at one time).  And I think Jason is ready to proclaim the next 10 days as a meat/cheese/bread only “detox” to make up for the amount of veggies he’s been “forced” to eat because of me doing this.  How over dramatic right? ;)

Things I’ve learned:

1.)  Eating good for you foods prevents food comas.  Many afternoons at work around 2 or 2:30ish I’d start to get drowsy.  I wouldn’t be really sleepy but I would feel like I couldn’t keep my eyes open for another minute.  Over the past ten days I haven’t noticed this issue at all.  This would probably be helpful at Thanksgiving, although I would definitely miss the Thanksgiving staple foods!

2.)  I realized that I don’t need to eat meat/bread/cheese/sweets at every meal.  I can be satisfied with fruits and veggies only.  This is especially important for snacking at home.  At work I’m limited to what I take with me which is usually just fruit but when I get home I have a whole kitchen full of tempting foods.  I think accessibility is a big part of deciding what to eat, not a new concept by any means, but I have started to put fruits out on the counter and having the veggies visible as soon as I open the fridge.  The next step in my eating plan will be to hopefully incorporate more veggie & fruit only meals into my normal routine and by just filling my plate with more of those and less meat, bread, and cheese.

3.)  I can do whatever I set my mind to (especially with support from friends, family, and coworkers).   At the beginning of this challenge it felt a little overwhelming, like I signed up for more than I could handle but with the encouragement and accountability from everyone I was able to overcome and succeed.  No matter what your goal is, lose weight, get healthier, stop a bad habit, etc.  make sure you have someone or everyone in your life to keep you accountable and also encourage you along the way.  It’s much easier to “stay on the wagon” that way.  So a BIG thank you to everyone who helped me!

Do you have any goals like this?  Feel free to share, we can keep each other accountable :)

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Detox Challenge: Day 6

Today was day 6 and I’m still hanging in there!  Here’s a recap of the past few days for me.

Days 1- approximately 3: At the beginning I was on super high alert for food.  I realized that I drive by A LOT of food stores and restaurants on my way to and from work.  I also longed for my coworker/husband/friend’s food to be on my plate instead.  It’s not that I was necessarily hungry I was just very aware of what I was not eating.  I did enjoy what I was eating though.

Days 4-6:  Now I’ve gotten to a place where I’m more comfortable and satisfied eating what’s on my plate.  The weekend proved to be more interesting since we went out to eat twice.  The first time we went to Ruby Tuesdays since I figured their salad bar would be a nice mix up from the plainer salads I’ve been eating.  Our waiter took our order and then tried to convince me to order an entree (“Did you see our salad combo meals? Did you know the salad bar comes free with any entree?”).  Jason finally got him to go away by commenting that I was just weird.  YES, I know that it would have only cost like $2 extra to get a whole meal plus the salad bar and NO I don’t want anything else.  Once that was out of the way I made a huge, delicious salad.  The greatest part was that I tried so many different things on it.  I knew that I would have to nix the pumpernickel croutons, cheese, and my usual dressing choice, French, so instead I added pretty much every vegetable they had out.  It was amazing – so many different colors and flavors that are usually masked by piles of cheese and dressing.  Yum!

Saturday night Jason wanted shop for a new laptop so we ended up eating dinner at Hoss’ and I ended up eating another buffet type meal.  Another huge plate of salad and a cup of vegetarian vegetable later and I was full and ready to shop.  I was really surprised how easy it was for me to pass up their regular dessert selections for a few slices of kiwi and some sliced cantaloupe and honeydew melon.  If you know me you’ll know that I have a HUGE sweet tooth so this is a ginormous accomplishment!

I have always loved the (never home) maker blog but recently it has become extra near and dear to my heart.  Ashley and her husband Stephen always have such creative recipes to share.  I have tried the Roasted Sweet Potato Stew and Dill Potato Salad and both were winners in my book.  Different but delicious.

Speaking of the sweet potato stew…I got out the sweet potatoes and onion and apparently sat them too close to the edge of the counter.  I ran to our basement to fold a load of laundry and heard a thud.  I yelled for Sadie and she came down with me for a minute or two then got bored and went back upstairs and as soon as she did I heard a crunch and I came upstairs to a guilty looking (but still cute) dog.

I have 4 days left of the official detox challenge 2012.  This Friday is the last day.

Anyone else dieting or keeping their typical resolutions to lose weight/exercise more?  Any wisdom or recipes to share? 

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Detox Challenge: Day 1

One day down, nine to go.  Today was the go day which started off with deciding what I’d eat on my work lunch outing Friday…we’re going for Italian and I ordered a salad only.  It feels like a crime. But I survived one day and no cheating!  Here’s a breakdown of my day and a little recipe to share.

Breakfast: Frozen strawberry, banana, and yogurt smoothie.  Delicious!  Which is a good thing since I have a lot of strawberries left!

Morning Snacks: Half of a small grapefruit and a teeny tiny apple (one at 9 and one at 10am)  Both were satisfying, but then a little while later my stomach was growling.  I guess it’s used to getting lots of morning carbs.

Lunch: Small garden salad and a strawberry greek yogurt.  We have a pretty decent cafeteria at my work.  Unfortunately they were also serving one of my favorite soups too.  I think it was just tempt me. :)

Afternoon Snack: Handful of homemade roasted chickpeas (yummm) and 2 clementines.  I tried to spread them out but by the time I left work I was getting seriously hungry!

Dinner: Homemade Vegetable Soup.  Let me just start off by saying that I normally like to have a recipe to follow but today I mostly just winged it and threw in whatever other veggies I could find in our house.  The result – dee-lish!  Which is good because I made a huge pot of it!

To recap in a recipe-ish way.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 box of veggie broth
  • 3 small bags of veggie soup mix (or whatever vegetables you would like)
  • 2 small bags of corn (ours were bags of corn that we froze in the fall)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Pour olive oil in a large stock pot on medium heat.  Add in onion & garlic and allow the onion to begin to soften.  Then add in your veggie broth and veggies of choice.  Keep on medium to medium-high heat and allow it to simmer.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

And even though I got comments like “I like my vegetable soup with dead animals in it,” Jason still managed to go back for seconds and thirds.  I’d call it a success!

Update:  I’m taking the liberty to include potatoes & olive oil to my “can eat” list.  Both in moderation though!

I feel like it’s very true that as soon as you can’t have something you want it even more.  I’m to use that as my excuse for the intense urge I have to eat chocolate (and any other foods that I see that are not included in my current “diet”).

Does anyone else feel this way?  What are some tricks to overcoming the temptation? 

Posted in Detox, Recipes | 5 Comments

Detox Challenge

Two of my good friends are doing a detox/fast challenge that I have decided to join in on.  Each person decides what type of foods/drinks they are allowed to eat and for 10 days that’s all that we’ll be eating.  I believe that our bodies were created to naturally detox themselves and wouldn’t go to extreme measures to “detox”, but I do know that there are many things in my diet that are unhealthy…processed foods, refined sugar, and high fructose corn syrup to name a few.  My goal for the next 10 days is to cut these things out and see what that does to my energy level and mood.  Stocking up for this challenge was very interesting.   Our grocery cart had the most healthy food I’ve ever seen for us and I hope to use this experience as a chance to try new foods.  Kale is one of the things on that list!

Starting tomorrow my personal food choices are:

  1. Unlimited fruits & veggies
  2. Yogurt (mostly for smoothie making)
  3. Balsamic Vinegar (as a salad dressing)
  4. Green Tea
  5. Lots of Water


I will be sure to give some updates throughout the next 10 days as to how I’m feeling and if I had to tweak anything.  My friends and I are planning video chats so we can share with each other our difficulties, victories, recipes, etc.

The one thing I am looking forward to most tomorrow morning is making a delicious breakfast smoothie! :)   I’ll be back with more details soon!

Have you ever tried a detox diet or just cut certain foods out of your diet?  Any tips you could share with us?

Posted in Detox | 2 Comments