Grow 

Grow where I am planted. Grow a garden. Grow a community. Grow with my family. Grow my ideas, my goals, my dreams. Lately the word “grow” has been on my mind. It jumps out at me from written text. It frequently visits my thoughts. And I can see it applicable in many different areas of my life. 

Grow where I am planted. A lot of times it seems we are waiting for the perfect conditions to grow. The timing doesn’t seem right. There’s comfort in stagnation. My kids are little and needy. I’ll have more time later. I’ll have more energy etc. etc. I can come up with plenty of excuses to keep everything as it is. But the time is going to pass either way and I am perfectly capable of growing in this season. 

Grow a garden. This one isn’t metaphorical for anything. I really just want a garden. I’m dreaming of cut flowers and homegrown vegetables gracing our dinner table. 

Grow a community. This is a big one. It will require the most from me but I am feeling very inspired (one may say called) to start a community. A community of families with similar goals. I want to grow a group where moms can find friendship amongst other moms. Where our children can run and play together. A group where we can grow together, learn from each other, support one another. I’ve already started working on getting this community going and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it makes!

Grow with my family. So these girls are growing fast. And as they grow I have to evolve as a mother. I have to learn new ways to nurture them. I have to learn what they need and the best way to provide that. And as every person who has been in any kind of serious relationship knows, it ain’t easy. The same with marriage. I have no doubt though that Hunter is my perfect partner. Time passes, life changes. As it changes we have to be able to adapt. Some days are hard. We sometimes find ourselves looking at each other in confusion. Wondering how to handle a situation or which step should be the next one. And although there are days that we may not really like each other, we always work through whatever we face. We grow from it. And we will continue to work and grow our family (just not in size 😜). 

And the last one I mentioned, is me. (I feel like I should say that this was in no particular order. I value myself more than sunflowers and zucchinii 😉.) It’s my ideas, my goals and my dreams. For a long time I haven’t known what those looked like. Or, it was more short term goals;  i.e. have babies and live to tell the tale. My top priority is always my family, being the best mom and wife that I can be. Not because I don’t value myself. I find so much value in my ability to love these three people well. And as I think of our future, I am starting to see a little clearer what all that could look like. These dreams I have are big. I have a lot to give and I am starting to see where and how I can share my gifts. It may take me years to cultivate it all. However, there are a lot of things I can do now (where I am planted) that will build up who I am and who I want to be. I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to know more. I want to love more. 

I want to grow. 

Callie 

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Willow Oak Academy

Someone once suggested,that maybe I Homeschool my children. I laughed. I grew up loving school. The smell of the hallways, the squeak of the floors. I was always the teachers pet. Making good grades required little effort. There were rules to be followed. There was order. I loved it. And I couldn’t wait to have children that were in school. I could see myself chaperoning field trips, volunteering on the PTA. Being back in the place that I loved. 

Then I had my girls. I started to think about who I wanted them to be. Or I guess I should say, what kind of people I want them to be. And the traits that I want them to possess aren’t really the foundation of the mold, schools are pressing children in to. I look at Ainsley and I know that she would do exceptionally well in public school. And oddly enough, that is what makes me want to keep her out of it. 

She would make good grades. She would memorize facts and do well on tests. She would sit quietly and follow directions. She would be the teacher’s pet. She would be quiet and calm and float through the next thirteen+ years. 

But I want more for her. I want her to discover her fire. I want to explore so many different things with her, until we find something that excites her mind and heart. I want her to know how to follow the rules but to question them if it doesn’t feel right. I want her to be a kid as long as she can. I want her to run under the sun, feel the ground on her bare feet. I want her to enjoy the freedom of childhood for as long as she can. And I don’t want to squeeze it in between homework and bed time. 

 I want her to develop deep relationships. And not just with kids her own age. But with people of all ages. I want her to spend days helping her great-grandmother in the garden. Reading with her grandfather. I want her to socialize not just with 30 other kids her age but with children of all ages, adults, her family. Swimming, playing, cooking, reading, discovering, engaging, serving, learning. And so on. 

I want her to love to learn. To dig for answers. To understand why things work. I want her to truly know her worth and what she is capable of. That intelligence is more than a standardized test score. 

I don’t want this to come across as disrespect for teachers. I think teaching is one of the most noble professions. I do feel that teachers aren’t given enough freedom in the classroom though. They are told what to teach, how to teach it and then penalized when kids don’t do well. There are too many students; with too many ways of learning, for one teacher to address. Schools seem to be becoming more of a machine. And while I understand some of it is out of necessity, there has to be a trade off. And I think the things I love about the idea of school are being lost in the process. 

I often find myself hesitant to share my beliefs on a lot of things. I don’t want it to come across as though I think I am better. I do believe this is the best way… for MY family. And I believe most people are perfectly capable of choosing the best path for their family. What works for us could be a disaster for another family and vice versa. I think a lot of moms are shamed into sharing their “mom fails” versus their successes. We would rather relate to when they mess up rather than be happy for them when they get it right. Especially with social media. I find myself not wanting to post happy moments with my children because I don’t want people to think I’m being fake, assuming I have it all together. But I think if people looked to social media for inspiration and encouragement and push the comparison aside, it can be a great tool. If when we saw a mom sharing a moment with her precious little angel children in a perfectly lit little square, we chose to compliment them, encourage them, imagine what that would do for our own souls, as well as theirs. I believe we are capable of celebrating each other. Even if our first instinct is to roll our eyes and keep scrolling.😄 I mean I’m not going to post a video of me losing my patience, which happens daily. Life is filled with so many moments. Each moment has some type of emotion. And I choose to focus on the times I get it mostly right. And when I mess up, I apologize. I pray for patience. I take deep breaths and I try to do better. But this is turning into another blog post, so I’ll save the rest for later 😉

So, as much as I loved going to school, Hunter and I have decided that the current way of schooling children, is not what we want for ours. And that is the beauty of it all. We are allowed to choose to do what we feel is right for our family. I know how fortunate we are to be able follow the lead of our hearts. 

So we will be enrolling them in Willow Oak Academy. Headmasters/teachers/cafeteria workers/maintenance/etc- Hunter and Callie Beall. Support to all of that- family and community. 

I will explain the name choice in another post. Girls are waking up.

-Callie

Full term

Today I am 37 weeks along with our third pregnancy. I am full term. This entire pregnancy there has been a shadow of anxiety lurking in the corner. Being pregnant after having a miscarriage is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I thought once I saw the baby via ultrasound, I would feel so much better. And I did but no ignorant bliss like my pregnancy with Ainsley. After the first ultrasound, it was getting through my first trimester, then it was making it to the 21 week ultrasound, next I just needed to make it to when the baby could survive outside the womb and lastly, full term.

 We made it. My baby is still here. And I will feel better when I see and hold her. And when we make it through the first year. Then I just have to help her make it to adulthood. And from there I will watch her (and Ainsley) grow and flourish until I die at an old age, with Hunter, “The Notebook” style. I just have to get through one step at a time. 

I’ve said many times that I am not scared of having this baby, I am scared of not having her. 

Two days before my miscarriage I had a very vivid dream, which isn’t unusual for me. In the dream I went to the hospital for an ultrasound. When they did the scan, they said you’re having the baby today. I did and after, I could see myself crying out to God. I woke up and assumed it was a dream about delivering a healthy baby and then crying out of joy and gratitude.

 But two days later I had an ultrasound and began to miscarry that day. I realized my body and perhaps my subconscious knew before I did, that this pregnancy had ended way too soon. This dream has been on my mind a lot lately. 

And so I spent a large amount of this pregnancy with a little cloud of fear hanging behind my shoulder. The cloud has gotten smaller with each little milestone we have hit. And I can see the light. 

I’ve recently had a lot of dreams of labor, delivery and seeing my sweet baby girl. Ainsley even had a dream of playing with the baby and when she described Natalie (the baby) she described the same color hair and eyes that I saw when I dreamt of her. I can’t wait to see if we were right. 

I’ve seen a lot of articles about miscarriage recently as October is miscarriage and infant loss awareness month. I’ve read some. But mostly I’m just trying to keep my faith bigger than my fear. Miscarriage does a lot to its victims (moms and dads). But one of the worst, in my opinion, is that it robs you of some of the joy pregnancy should bring. One thing I’ve learned though, is storms pass and joy comes in the morning!

Callie

Arrow

December 7

Excitement and nerves filled us. My sister, Emily, showed up with snacks and smiles to distract Ainsley. Hunter and I got in the truck and headed on our way. The interstate was surprisingly clear. The weather was beautiful. I teased him “what if it is twins?”My dad had been offering name suggestions that complimented each other, just in case it was. Hunter was not amused. 

We parked and walked into the hospital, hand in hand, anxious and full of joy. They called us back into the ultrasound room where there were two techs waiting. One, I assume, was training the other. She sat at her computer and resumed her Christmas shopping. The seemingly inexperienced tech began by trying to get the ultrasound from outside of my belly. She didn’t see anything. I wasn’t surprised, as I had a transvaginal ultrasound for the first one with Ainsley. 

They started again, this time transvaginal. What seemed like a few minutes passed, when the “trainer” looked up from her screen. She asked from across the room, “Are you sure of the date of your last menstrual cycle?” “Yes.” I replied and panic consumed me. “Is something wrong” I asked trying to hold back the tears. She got up from her chair and walked over. I can still see her name tag in my head. Her name was Hope. Ironic, I thought. She explained to me how the gestational sac was measuring 5 wks 3 days. 2 weeks less than it should have been. It was attached to my uterus. But it looked empty. She suggested that maybe I ovulated late. And if that were the case, it was normal for them to not see anything. I began to try and calculate days and weeks  trying to come up with a scenario that confirmed her suggestion. It didn’t make sense. Something was wrong. They left the room for me to get dressed so that I could go meet with the midwife. The last one (there were three in there at this point) winked at me and told me to take my time. Another sign something was wrong.

I sobbed as the door closed behind them. Hunter, unsure of what just happened, held me. In between tears, I tried to tell him what I already knew. He told me to wait and see what the midwife said before jumping to conclusions. 

We went back to the waiting room. Pregnant women sitting all around us. A few minutes later, they called us back. They didn’t weigh me. They didn’t take my blood pressure. They put me in the room and closed the door for us to wait for the midwife. And once again, when the door shut, I wept. 

The midwife came in and explained it was most likely a blighted ovum. I should miscarry naturally but if I didn’t, interventions would be necessary. By the time we got home I was already bleeding. 

Empty

The gestational sac was empty and empty is how I often feel. Not my soul or my heart, really. Although there are spaces there I already made for the child I won’t get. I am constantly remindeded of my empty womb. It’s like when you get a new car and suddenly you notice every car similar to yours. I notice every pregnant woman. I see their growing bellies and remember that mine is empty. I hear tiny babies cooing and an reminded that the baby I was supposed to have July 22, 2016 never formed or stopped forming too soon.

 I have one heart beating inside of me when I had already made room in it to love another. 

I had names picked out. 

We had already told our family and friends that we see often. We barely made it a week, keeping it a secret. We planned on telling the rest of our family at Christmas. And then telling the world (Facebook) once we finished the first trimester. 

I looked at our Christmas stockings hanging and joyfully anticipated getting a fourth one. 

I worried about how I would love two children enough. Would my sweet Ainsley be ok sharing her parents? 

I never imagined my pregnancy would end before it should have. But it did. And I felt empty. 

Grief

Grief is weird. We all deal with it differently. I cried a lot. Hunter held it together mostly, for me. I felt better talking about it. This experience isn’t something I just wanted to sweep under the rug. For Hunter and I, it was life changing and something we won’t forget. Some of our family called, some sent texts daily, some visited often. Some avoided the subject all together. I know that it was an uncomfortable one. When people don’t know what to say, they don’t say anything. But I have to recommend taking a different approach, should you have a loved one go through such a tragedy, or any tragedy.

Because it is a tragedy. One that deserves grieving. It deserves compassion and love. It deserves a hug. It deserves a “thinking of you” text. There were many nights I couldn’t sleep because I was so mad and hurt. People I expected more from, didn’t show up. We had to find ways to cope and grieve but also felt pressure to keep it quiet, so we didn’t make others uncomfortable. And it is uncomfortable, I know that. But none of that compares to what Hunter and I were feeling. 

Every cramp or sight of blood was a reminder of what we lost. I had pregnancy symptoms for weeks after the miscarriage, as my hcg levels were dropping. That, I found to be especially cruel. 

Hunter not only lost the hope and excitement we shared over this pregnancy but he had to see me doubled over in pain. He knew I felt broken and he couldn’t fix it. He couldn’t take my pain away and for him, that is torture. Few people asked him how he was.

Ainsley knew we were expecting. One day she saw me crying and asked what was wrong. So I told her I wasn’t going to be having a baby anymore. She dropped her head and said “aw man I really wanted a brother or sister.” I replied with a lump in my throat “I know. We can just keep practicing with your baby dolls until the time is right.” “But I want a real baby” she responded. I cried more tears. Her eyes welled up with tears and she told me she didn’t want me to be sad anymore. So I sucked it up for my beautiful, amazing daughter. For a few weeks she would randomly tell me she was sorry I wasn’t having a baby. I thought “me too”, as I hugged her tightly. 

Miscarriage is not fun. It is many things. Fortunately, many people don’t know much about it. 

I’m not writing all of this to shame anyone. I am usually pretty good at recognizing what someone’s intentions are. I know everyone meant well. It’s just hard to be reasonable when you feel you are drowning in so many extreme emotions.  I cannot express in words how much I love our family. I am no longer angry. I’ve forgiven those that don’t know they hurt us. I just hope our experience can help someone support a loved one, should they ever find themselves in a nightmare. 

You don’t need to give your theories on why it happened.

I wouldn’t share details I think would make you uncomfotable. 

You don’t need to try to fix it, or us. You can’t. 

Just be there. Whether it’s a text or a meal. Let them (both of them) know you love them.

Simplicity is perfectly acceptable. Avoiding them is not. 

We are at a much better place now. 

I still notice every pregnant belly. I saw a lot at Disney. It could have been because we were planning on doing a cute announcement from there. I would have been just finishing my first trimester.

I had a wonderful time on that trip, enjoying what I do have. But every once in a while, when my heart feels like it’s just about to overflow, I remember my womb is empty. 

Courage 

I choose a word every year to try and incorporate into my life. 2014 was joy. 2015 was peace. And this year it’s courage. I hold myself back a lot because I am afraid of failing. But it’s amazing how something so deep can change so many things about you. Things that used to bother me, are nothing compared to what I felt on December 7.  

I want to be brave. 

I want to have courage, if and when, we get pregnant again.

That thought is very scary. Because I know what it’s like to lose one. It is an indescribable pain. 

And if you have ever experienced it, know that I hurt for you. I know there are families that lost their babies after they heard their little heart beat. They saw their sweet face. Some even held them for a short amount of time. You are so strong and I have hope for you. 

May we all have the courage to carry on.

Arrow

I read a quote about how arrows can only shoot forward after they have been pulled completely back. We chose to use an arrow to symbolize this moment in our lives. It has helped me grieve. 

Just like noticing pregnant women, I now notice arrows too. And I am reminded we will be ok.

We feel like we have been pulled back and have faith that we will shoot forward. 

With love -Callie

Waiting on 30

For years I have felt thirty was going to be my year. By then, I would know “my purpose”. I would have my life all figured out. Thirty just sounds good to me; not too young, not too old. Not a girl, not yet a woman… Or something like that.

But the problem is, I feel something stirring now, at twenty seven and a quarter.

It all started with a little soul searching.

I started to think about what people would use to describe me if they had to come up with my best qualities. I hit a wall. I’ve always considered myself average. I’m “kind of this” and “sort of that”.  Yet, I could easily give you a list of my flaws.

So I looked at that list of traits. The bad ones. I looked at it, studied it, figured out how I could change. But in those moments of criticizing myself, I found them! There, in between the lines of my list of coal, were my diamonds. Because it turns out, they are the same list.

The things I labeled negative could actually be positive, if you looked at them in a different light.

The biggest one being, I am sensitive. I’ve always hated it. I can cry over anything. I get hurt easily. My heart breaks daily for so many people. People I don’t even know, at times.

One time I watched this viral video of some cocoa farmers trying chocolate for the first time. Here they were spending day after day, busting their butts to harvest the beans and they didn’t even know what they were for. I know this may sound silly but think about all the things we take for granted. You probably wouldn’t even think of chocolate. There are people who have never even tasted it. I often tease Hunter when he is complaining about something (which we all do) saying “There are people who haven’t even tasted chocolate.” Search for the video and watch it. I can’t ever explain it well enough to give the full impact of it. You have to see their faces and reactions to get it.

Surrounded by Ainsley’s toys on Christmas morning, I felt sad. I thought of all of the children without any toys to play with, as we were trying to figure out where we could put all of hers. And there went another piece of my heart. 

I start to think, what can I do? It’s so overwhelming. It is much easier to just shut it all out and return to my circle of comfort. How can I make a difference? I don’t have any gifts or talents. Oh, but I do. I am sensitive. Or to rephrase it, I care deeply. I love fiercely.

And maybe that is my purpose. To show as many people as I can, a little love. There are so many people in this world, better yet, in our towns who don’t feel loved. If we could each spread love and show kindness to just a few people, think of how far it could go. Because they could take it, add their talent and gifts to it, and pass it along.

Because goodness is contagious, when you allow it to be. Maybe for you that’s buying someone coffee. Maybe you can buy just a little bit more at the grocery store to donate to the food pantry. Find a credible charity to help out. Or it can be as simple as smiling at a stranger as you pass them by. Touching the hand of the cashier as she hands you your change. Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, just to let them know you’re thinking of them. Complimenting someone. Etc.

Spread goodness. Share laughter. Search for joy. Be the light.

I feel the flicker of a flame in my heart. My light is getting brighter. I don’t know exactly how I will change the world. But I can start with sharing love and kindness with as many people as possible.

So, if you’re having trouble finding your best qualities, look at what you have already labeled as your worst. Maybe your purpose is hidden in your “faults”.

I think there are big plans for this average girl, yet. And I’m not waiting on 30.

Callie

Building a stronger tribe

We have all heard of the mythical mom tribes. A group of  women that would join together and build each other up so that together, they could achieve so much more than they ever could alone. Instead of competing, they embraced each other’s talents and accepted each other’s weakness. Together they covered each other’s gaps and in return had theirs covered as well. 

Sounds nice doesn’t it? But to me, relationships seem so difficult at times. Of course, they all have hurdles but typically relationships are founded on all of the good stuff with a little difficulty sprinkled in. We need to magnify that good stuff. We should be laughing with family and friends around a table. Sharing a meal that was made with love and effort. We should be listening to those who are hurting. Encouraging those who have fallen. We should be searching for ways to serve one another. We should love and be loved in return. Yet it’s not happening in so many of our relationships. We are losing deep, personal relationships that we truly need with so many people.

Life has become very social, but only through screens. If we want to know what someone is up to we check their Facebook. We often ask each other “how are you?” But don’t truly listen to their response. We just read hashtags and try to decipher what the meaning of their post is.

We have lost touch with each other. We have lost living, breathing, warm relationships. We have substituted care with likes. I am guilty. It seems easier to just say happy birthday on Facebook vs calling or going to see them and really connecting. It’s  easier to just say “get well soon” or “let me know if you need anything” rather than really showing up for somebody. When is the last time we knocked on somebody’s door with some soup and Kleenex when they weren’t feeling well. And if they have something contagious, drop that stuff off, ring the bell and give them a call. (Obviously this isn’t appropriate for every person you’re friends with on Facebook.) But many times we don’t know our family or our friend is really sick, unless they post it online. Being virtual friends is easier than truly listening to people and seeking out their companionship. 

But what have we traded for ease and comfort zones?
Where are our hearts? Our cup runneth over, how can I love you better, hearts. Not the ones we leave on a picture with a “double tap”.

Where are our hands? The ones capable of comforting, reaching out and lifting up. Not the emoji ones we use to 🙏🏻 or 👍🏻.

Where are we? We need each other. We need people to check on us. We need to check on people. We need people to reach out. We need to reach out. We need arms to hug us, mouths to encourage us, ears to hear us. And to show that same love and attention right back.

We need more love and less likes.

I think many of us are looking for our tribe or trying to strengthen the one we have. The more we lift each other up and help other people, the stronger we will be. I saw a quote earlier by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

If you need a friend or someone to listen to you, reach out to me. Email me, call me, come see me. I truly mean it. I can be a great listener.

If you need someone to care, I am your girl. I am in a season of learning to love and accept myself. One of my strongest traits is how deeply  I care. And I have decided to stop seeing it as a negative one and to accept it as a gift of mine.

Maybe I’m not your cup of tea, find somebody who is. Let down your guard and look around. Who can you reach out to? Who can you love better? 

And even if you don’t think you need somebody, maybe someone needs you. You may not have to look far.

-Callie

…Now don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a great way to enhance relationships, just as long as we aren’t replacing them.

Raising Ruth (girls) 

Recently, I have seen several articles/posts made about raising girls in a World that teaches them to hate themselves. Crap. One day Ainsley is going to be told she is ugly. Crap. Ughhh. What am I going to do when she is crying because somebody made fun of her red hair? Who am I going to have to hurt for teasing her because of her fair skin? (Kidding, kinda). What can I do now, to possibly help us later? These are just a couple of questions floating around now that I realized I have a little girl who will one day feel like she isn’t good enough. Break my heart, future Ainsley. 

So what do I do? Hell if I know. 

I think back on my younger self and I remember all the things I wanted to change about myself. The red hair had to go. I wanted to be blonde. I used a cream to try to fade my freckles. I have tried about every drugstore sunless tanner you can find. I have dieted and seriously restricted calories. 

Now, I love my red hair. I am starting to accept my pale skin. I learned to eat foods that made me healthier and when health was my goal I became happier. I had to learn to love myself. And I honestly do. Of course there are times when I feel like I am not trendy enough and have a brief relapse of self doubt. But lately, I have been focusing on who I want to be and how I want people to see me. 

I want to be that person people are comfortable around. You know that woman that just loves you. She acts like she doesn’t notice a bad haircut or a few pounds of holiday bloat. I mean really,  those things don’t make you who you are. You aren’t a better/worse person because of how you look. When people see me I want them to see a happy woman full of love. 

That’s the woman I want to be. That’s the mom I want to be.

I want to teach my little girl to love herself. When other people are pointing out her “flaws” I want her to punch them in the face. Wait, I meant I want her to know how loved she is for who she is. 

We all feel down on ourselves every now and then. But we are so much more than our looks. I don’t know how to embed this in Ainsley’s head. I hope to learn as we go. I hope to show her that I love myself. I want her to see that with red hair and fair skin, I am a good person. I am beautiful. (<that was harder to type than it should be.) I want her to know that beauty shines past your skin, from inside. I haven’t always been the kindest person or the least judgemental. But these are the things I want her to see as beautiful. These are the attributes I want to portray. 

I want to be who I want my daughter to be. Crazy, how a two year old girl can teach me so much about myself. 

Love yourself, love others. After all no one is more beautiful than a woman who loves and loves deeply. 

Callie 

Flawed

Finding beauty in flaws is much easier said than done, especially when the flaws are our own. I think we all feel flawed at some point in our lives. Not in the everyday, simple mistakes way, but the deep down, not good enough way. It hurts. It especially hurts a people pleaser like me, to feel like there is always something that someone will find wrong with you. Your efforts aren’t good enough. Your life doesn’t look pristine. You aren’t changing the world. You are not enough.
I hate feeling judged. It is the absolute worst feeling. It hurts my feelings every time, but when I think about my flaws, they aren’t all that bad. I don’t look at people and see their flaws. I love deeply. I give my all to my family. I am a little girl’s world. I grew her. I am still growing her. I nurture her. I love her. I cherish my husband. He is my best friend. And I am so grateful that he is mine. I am not perfect. I never will be.
My life may not look magazine worthy. My grass is tall. My sink is full. There is some strange smell coming from the fridge. But in that grass, I race my wobbling baby. Those dishes held a nutritious meal I made with love. That dirty fridge is not as important as hanging out with my husband in between his long work hours.
  My life isn’t pristine but it is so amazing. I share it with two people that God made for me.  I am in love with their love and I am enough.

Foodie Friday

Whew!  That week flew by!
So… I forgot to take pictures of what we ate. Here it is anyway!

Sunday: Steak & carrots
Recipe: Hunter seasoned the steaks with sea salt, pepper and garlic then grilled them. We used organic baby carrots. We first toss them in olive oil then season them with sea salt and rosemary. We roasted the carrots at 400 degrees for about 30 mins (until you can cut them with a fork). Easy peasy.

Monday: Maple mustard chicken, roasted brussel sprouts and green beans.
Recipe: The chicken recipe Is found here. This chicken is really good and is pretty easy to make. Win win!
The brussel sprouts recipe is found in Against all grain’s ebook Thankful that you can get for like $2 on amazon. (It has a really good pecan pie recipe, also.) These are REALLY good. They will make you a brussel sprout believer.

Tuesday: Tacos
Recipe: I used a recipe I found online but it wasn’t that great so I kept adding seasonings until it tasted right. I browned the meat with diced onions then used a lot of cumin, chili powder and sea salt until I got a good flavor.
I also threw together a “salsa”. I diced up two avocados, two tomatoes and tossed them with about 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil,  the juice from one lime and a couple sprigs of cilantro.
We ate these on sprouted corn tortillas.

Wednesday: Cracklin’ Chicken, broccoli and squash&cheese.
Recipe: I used nomnompaleo’s Chicken Recipe. It was good but I probably won’t make it again. I feel like I can get the same taste and crispiness from broiling/baking chicken; which requires less effort and time on my part.
I roasted the broccoli in Evoo (extra virgin olive oil) seasoned with garlic powder and sea salt. It cooked for about 20 mins at 400*. I like to cook mine until it starts to brown.
The squash&cheese was just spaghetti squash ( first roasted upside down on a baking sheet for 25 mins at 400*, then remove the “noodles” with a fork) cooked on the stovetop with kerrygold butter and grassfed cheddar cheese. It was ok. Probably would not bother with it again, though.

Thursday: Mexican Chicken Soup.
You can always trust Against All Grain for a good recipe. This is made in the crockpot so it is pretty easy to make and to clean up after. The most time consuming part is cutting up the chicken. I may try using chicken peices next time, to support my laziness.

Tonight, we are eating out. We are going to spend the night in Biloxi and enjoy a day away from home. There is something so wonderful about eating and not having to do dishes!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
-Callie

Why I feed my family weird food.

Anytime I bring food to a party or dinner, it comes with a warning. If someone is getting too close to it with hunger in their eyes, you are sure to hear ” It’s paleo” or “Callie made it”. It is then labeled healthy, diet and/or weird. I don’t blame anyone for doing this. Everyone wants to know what they are eating prior to consumption. Even now, I find myself issuing the disclaimer.
For Ainsley’s first birthday, I made her a grain free cake, free of refined sugars. I sweetened it with some local honey. The frosting was a buttercream made with real butter and cream, also sweetened with honey. But to really get ’em talking I colored it pink using beet juice (which is flavorless, by the way). WEIRD.
I know it is unusual. But I don’t do these things just for the fun of it. So why do I do all of this? Why is eating a certain way such a big deal to me?
After a year or so of dating, Hunter and I both found ourselves overweight and sick all of the time. We ate out A LOT, drank cokes with every meal, never passed on dessert. We were blazing our own paths to diabetes and we didn’t even realize it.
I always hear everything is okay in moderation. This is true. But what is moderation?  If we decide to have the cake and ice cream at every party we go to and on every holiday, that is probably 2-3 times a month. For some people that may work.  But for us that version of moderation is too much.  We start sliding back down the slippery slope and quickly find ourselves wanting more. It is addictive. And we are recovering addicts.
Food is powerful.  It can be comforting. It can be your way of showing love. It can be linked to fond memories of your past. But it can also control you. So many people stress over food. Is this bite going to make me sick?  How long will I have to exercise to burn the calories?  I have been there. That kind of relationship with food did not work for me.
So two years ago I changed it. Hunter joined me. We have lost 75 pounds together and we are so much healthier.
Both of us have diabetes and heart disease in our families. These diseases can be managed and prevented to a degree with diet and exercise.  So if the food we eat can potentially save our lives or prevent illness then of course I am going to try.  This is what works for us. We are healthy. We are happy. And a couple of times a year we eat “normal” food.
Everyone has to decide what honestly works for their family. What is going to make you happy and healthy?  A lot of people think they are healthy because they aren’t as bad off as others. But we have to each strive to be as healthy as we can be. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones.
I want my little girl to be happy and healthy.
I want my husband to be happy and healthy.
I want to be happy and healthy.
(and we are) 
That is why we eat weird (real) food.

Callie