Whole 30…. Actually Whole 13.5

We decided to do a whole 30.  Actually my husband decided to do a whole 30.  I decided I wouldn’t give up peanut butter or my half of a whole wheat English muffin before my work outs so I didn’t follow it.

But I had to cook and prep breakfasts, lunches and dinners as if I did.

So here is how it worked.

Hubs picked one lunch he thought he could stand to eat all week, and one breakfast casserole.  This way it was a Sunday night of prep work between making the casseroles and getting lunches mostly prepped except for some last minute chopping of avocados and eggs.


Here is a breakfast casserole.  On the first layer I cooked some ground Italian sausage, and chopped up a sweet potato.  Then I loaded the top with tomatoes, zucchini, onions and bell peppers.  Next I scrambled 12 eggs, added some almond milk, salt and pepper.  Then dumped the egg mix on top of the veggies and meat.

In the oven it went for 45 mins at 350 and…viola…


It was a delicious breakfast for 5 days!  I just sliced it up into 5 strips, put them in a Tupperware container…..easy peasy!!

So here is our disclaimer:

One- It was not a whole 30..  More like a whole 13.5.  Hubs dropped the weight he wanted and was ok with being “done”.

Two- I did not sacrifice on my budget for “sugar free or no sugar added” items.  Ok well I did once when I bought some coconut oil for a dessert after the first week.  But a tiny tub was $5.  Then I also bought some Aminos that was $6 which was literally 3 times the low sodium soy sauce.  So when it came to bacon for a salad I was making, that was $8/ pack, that is where I drew my line.  I bought regular sugar added bacon and didn’t care if my ground sausage had additives in it.  I have a family of 5… I have to budget accordingly.

Three- I ENJOYED the whole 30 dinners.  My kids like things plain and not mixed together.  So a lot of the meals really satisfied the kids’ taste buds.  However, instead of zoodles (which I grew to LOVE) and spaghetti squash (another new found LOVE) I would make them regular noodles.

In fact I Liked the Dinners so much so that for the last two weeks (which would have been the end of the whole 30) I have been planning a lot of whole 30 meals…or meals that are close to them.

Last night in fact we had an AMAZING butternut squash and carrot soup I found from the peas and crayons blog! It was so easy to make and SO delicious!  So much so that I spatula licked my magic bullet clean after blending the roasted veggies up!

Anyway,  even if your whole 30 turns into a whole 13.5 like mine did, maybe you’ll find some amazing recipes and new goodies like spaghetti squash that will turn into some favorite meals.





Pre-deployment Communication? A Piece of Cake…

Would you like to know how EASY communication is with your spouse during work ups?

SO easy….

It’s easy because I don’t expect it!

My husband was home 9 days last month.  In and out, here and there.  He even had to pull all nighters during a brief time he was home to get ready to head out again.  Everything about anything last month was unplanned and last minute.  It drove me batty!

When are you coming home? Wait you’ve been home 3 days and your’e leaving again?  Where are you going?  Why can’t you tell me? The kids want to talk to you, can you call when they’re awake?  Why are you in the same town as me but can’t come home!?  Can we just have a conversation?

Needless to say, while he was gone we tired different ways to communicate…

At first we tried Facebook messenger to communicate but that was using up all our data and when we could reach each other communication was choppy and most of the time cut off.

Then my husband tried calling me via Skype.  You can call internationally using Skype, by calling a land line (notice this is not the face time you both have an Internet connection type thing).  This worked better for the connection, but only he can call me.  I cannot call him back…. Once again everything falls on his time.

Lastly, there’s the email.  Tried and true email.  At least our connection doesn’t get cut off, I can work it in without taking up all my data, and I can initiate a conversation.  But really?  Men don’t exactly write detailed emails.

“Yes, sounds good,” “How are the kids?” “Love ya babe.” “Talk to you soon!”

Really, talk to me soon? You get my point….

Would you like to know which way was the easiest way to communicate….

To forget about it!  I have decided to pretend like he’s really gone for good.  Not in and out or reachable.  No expectations.  No plans.  No “I can’t do …. because he may call” or we can’t do this without dad.  Just when he’s not home he’s gone.

See, and that expectation right there is why communication during workups is a  piece of Cake!

The Tears of Back to School

I love summer.  There are so many reasons why I love summer.  I could talk days about the better weather, I love to be outdoors, flexibility, the beauty, fun water activities, late nights, late mornings and easy school.

Easy school? Yes, I home school. Summer though, had some math, reading, six weeks of more “fun” lessons and projects then came camps.  When the kids had week after week of camps we eliminated the formal lessons and just stuck to chores, math and reading.  It was easy.  It was flexible.  It was less intensive for me!

Last year was the first year of home schooling a 3rd grader and a 1st grader.  It was a huge adjustment.  A lot of tears and frustration, but definitely fun also.  I liked knowing exactly what they were doing and what kind of instruction they were getting.  They also enjoyed it as well.

This year enters my kindergarten child.  She is more rambunctious than most and more of an “independent thinker” than my others… if you know what I mean.  Yesterday was the first day of “fall school” and it was miserable.

I lost my cool, there were tears from the kids and my youngest had some major chore duty yesterday because she just wouldn’t be respectful….

So…NOT how I pictured my first day back going.  I rarely have days where I am “done” and need time to myself, but yesterday was one of them.  I was spent, it was over, I was mad and grumpy.  (However, for the first time in 12 years I was able to relay that I had a sucky day, I wanted to be left alone and was probably grumpy- without getting mad at him for whatever…so that was a plus)

Anyway, new day….

Today is day 2.

Here we go…

Skinny Taste!

Wow I am such a bum!  End of summer is here and we got so busy that I forgot to post last week.  Well we weren’t in town, but then I forgot on top of that!

This week is another busy one as we begin our formal home-school year next week!  I am getting everything ready curriculum wise and getting things ready for my kindergarten gal also.  We had to find her a desk that would go down our basement stairs, and get her all set up.

But alas, I have something I want to share with everyone!  Ready?


Gina has this wonderful website called, you guessed it,  Her recipes are light and simple!

You know what the best part about her recipes are?

  1. I don’t screw them up
  2. Easy…hence I don’t screw them up

My husband is not a fan of one my cooking, and two of the light meals I cook.  The recipes at are full of flavor that you are pretty much kidding yourself by thinking they are healthy!  We have yet to find one that has not been a winner!

This website has made my cooking nightmare go away.  When dinner is good, my hubby asks, is this from that skinny website again?  🙂

Check Gina’s website and try a meal!  You won’t go wrong!

Pre-Deployment Thoughts and Workups

I have been a military spouse for over 12 years.  We’ve had our fair share of separations; training operations, field exercises, MEU’s, one actual deployment, and years of working 18 to 20 hour days. Several trainings took him away for months at a time, and various schoolings that we had to live apart for.  We know separation, we know the stress that comes with it.  I am here to take you on a 9 month journey through deployment and back.
Let’s Start Here….
Being married to a Marine, isn’t glamorous like the movies make it out to be.  It’s hard,  it sucks sometimes…ok a lot of the time.  It’s long hours for my Marine with back breaking hard work. It’s raising kids alone, sleeping alone, vacationing alone, family outings alone….IT’S LONELY.
As we prepare for our 2nd big deployment that we’ve known about for months,  the stress has started to grow. The buildup of him leaving, or WHEN WILL HE LEAVE? “CAN YOU JUST LEAVE SO YOU CAN COME HOME? ” becomes unbearable.   It starts to become the only thought on the brain.  He’s leaving, oh we can’t do this or that, My Marine will be gone….  missing holidays, anniversaries & birthdays, milestones in the kids lives.  The kids and I make special plans for when he’s gone and we try to focus on those plans, count the days, to distract us from the fact that “ya, he’s gone again….”

Hubby is supposed to leave this fall.  When you may ask?  Ha! I don’t know.  Yet behold, last week he had a last minute trip to Japan for a week.  Yes, we found out Wednesday he was leaving Saturday.  And yesterday, after he had been home for 2 whole days, we learned that on Thursday he will be leaving again, this time for 2 weeks.

We tried to rearrange the summer and fall plans so that he can be here, but now, he’s not.  I just have to try to remember that it is important to plan life as if he is not here.  Waiting around and trying to plan things to include him while he still is technically “here” is pointless.

I have done this before.  I have friends who are currently living this life.  I know what to expect, and yet, it doesn’t help at all!

Disney Tips

  1. Disney lets you bring in your own food-  Yes, you can bring your own food into the parks!  This can help cut costs for your family since most plates at the walk up windows cost $10.
  2. Disney will refill your water-  When my family and I went we packed water bottles into the park.  Not one water bottle per each person, but multiple water bottles for each person!  Finally a security guy who was checking our bags told us Disney will refill your water for free where there is a tap, or ice water available! Too bad it was our last day on our trip when we found that out…
  3. Phone Number Note Card-  We wanted a method to be able to locate our kids if they got “lost”.  We put our phone numbers on a piece of paper and then stuck the paper in the kids’ back pockets.  Just remember to  switch out the phone numbers or add them each day to new clothes.  Once again, we got separated from our oldest and forgot to replace the phone number card!
  4. Go Early-  It is worth it to GO EARLY!  Don’t sleep in.  Crowds are heavy from 12 to dinner time.  It is worth getting up early, being there when the parks open, and leaving the parks to take a nap midday if necessary.
  5. Hit Big Rides During  Parades and Fireworks-  If you have multiple day passes and have kids who are willing to skip some parades and fireworks, some of the big rides can be accessed during those times.  We were able to get on the 7 Dwarf ride at WDW and Winnie the Pooh at 7pm in the middle of the fireworks.  We walked on to Winnie the Pooh, and the 7 Dwarves ride took us 10 minutes to get on.
  6. Learn the Fast Pass System-  Disneyland Fast Passes and WDW Fast Passes work completely differently.  WDW has a newer online system where your passes need to be electronically completed before you get to the park.  The Disney land system includes physically redeeming fast passes at each ride before time to use them.  The passes save a lot of time so learn to use them before you get to the park.
  7. Plan Ahead-  Obviously if you are reading this it is because you want to know more about Disney to help your upcoming trip.  However, many people in the parks do not plan and spend a lot of their time discussing what to do next, where to go, and how to use the fast pass system.   Take some  time to look up other tips and maybe check out a book from your local library about Disney trips!  It greatly helps!

Should you get a Disneyland Annual Pass Part 2

I thought in this post I would add some of the benefits to being a Disney AP holder.

  1. Bragging Rights– How cool is it to be a Disney AP member?  Super cool….
  2. February–  February is AP month at Disneyland.  Each week in February there is a different theme to the week, with different freebies to give away.  We tried to make it to Disney each week during AP month to really soak it in.  There are tables all over with AP activities for the kids, free popcorn stands, coloring tables and some amazing SWAG.  In fact we picked up so much swag, I sent some to my good friends in Idaho to share the AP love.
  3. Private Events– ok the events aren’t private, but there are “pass holders only” events.  For example, last time Laura came down to visit me, we had a mommy day at Disney.  But at closing time, AP members were able to go to this party in Tomorrowland while we had to leave the park…
  4. Secret Character Sneak Peaks–  At Baymax’s debut in the park, AP members were able to meet him  first before he was announced to the “regular” park goers.  My kids were so excited and needless to say it was pretty cool being one of the first people to “meet” Baymax!
  5. Refillable Drink Cups or Popcorn Buckets–  AP members get certain other perks during the year like this refillable popcorn bucket, or a refillable soda cup.  We were able to purchase an AP popcorn bucket cost $15 to buy and each refill was $1.  With 4 popcorn loving kids, we refilled that bucket over 20 times!  Do the math yourself, just to fill it 4 times at regular cost is $60!  That’s insane!
  6. The Magic–  Since we got to spend so much time at Disney this year, we were able to take advantage of special events going on in the park, that as a random visitor, you may not do.  For example, there were park wide Easter Egg hunts, Disney style.  You got a map and had to find different character eggs throughout the park.  Now this was something everyone could do, but really if you only have 4 or 5 days at a Disney park, are you going to spend your whole time looking for eggs or getting on Splash Mountain?  This was probably THE biggest benefit to season passes, being able to enjoy the magic.

So there are six very important factors to consider besides just cost when thinking about Disney Annual Passes.  There is always something new to be discovered.

Remember “There’s no magic in magic, it’s in the details.” – Walt Disney


How to Eat Cheap at Disney World

My family and I live in Idaho so we do not have access to lots of Disney.  However, we do Disney and try to go often!

My husband and I went to WDW for a week each the first two yrs of our marriage.  We then took a 6 yr hiatus to pump out 3 kids in 3 years and get them old enough to manage rides.  As a family with kids, our first trip was 2013 and we went to Disneyland.  This year we hit Walt Disney World with the kids in January.

Now, when we went to Disneyland, we brought as much food as possible in suitcases.  The kids were small and lived off of snack foods.  We packed oatmeal, bagels, granola bars, pretzels, easy mac, ramen and other non perishable items.  This allowed the kids to eat in the lines and whenever we came back to the hotel for a nap or were done for the day.  My kids were so picky at that point that I was not paying 10$ for meals they wouldn’t eat.

The same went for Disney World this year.  Although, instead of packing the food to bring, we had snacks shipped from WALMART!  I had 175$ of snack foods and kitchen items such as sandwich bags, tape, gallon bags, bowls, plates, plastic utensils and WATER, lots of water,  shipped to our resort!  With the right addressing, WDW held the boxes (and I had 10 boxes!!) until we arrived for our trip!

What I had shipped, was enough to keep our family fed for most of the day.  We ate about one meal in the park or at our resort.  When we got our credit card bill when we got home, we only spent $500 on food and souvenirs!  Not too bad for a family of 5 for 7  days at Walt Disney World.

Granted your address needs to be correct.  I called our resort (we stayed at Caribbean Beach) and asked what information was needed for package delivery.  The cast member was really nice and helpful!  I had looked up the information on forums but the specifics were conflicting, such that I recommend calling your resort for shipping information.

So if you are planning a trip to Disney… any type of Disney… try to look for non perishables online and have them shipped before you go.  Sure they aren’t healthy but, really now, it’s vacation…. loosen up a bit.


Should You Get a Disneyland Annual Pass? Part 1

YES of course!!!!  Ok, ok, ok, I LOVE DISNEY!  But if you are thinking about getting an Annual Pass (AP) then you must live close like I do.  In this post I break down the cost of a Disney AP done right!

We live about 1 hour 15 mins to Disneyland.
That means from my driveway to being parked.
Here’s the breakdown of cost:
$329 per pass per person X 6 persons =$1974
This pass gets you into both Disneyland and Caifornia Adventure parks 170 days of the year. However, that is never on weekends, major holidays, or summer. But that’s okay! Those are times that Disney is always more crowded and summer is too hot.  Fall is our favorite time to go!
A lot of school districts have half days during the week.  Ours has half day Wednesdays! I pick up my kids from school at 1pm, with lunch in tow and off we go to Disney.  With our passes, we can only go during the week, so any days off or half days we head to Anaheim.
JUST using this pass 8 times makes it worth it.
We have gone about 25 in the last 6 months. Now with our pass level, the California resident basic pass (cheapest possible) you do NOT get free parking.  So we need to add in the cost of parking which is $18 each time.
Here’s a break down of per person per visit cost with parking included.
25 visits X $18 parking = $450
Total pass cost per person + total parking so far =$2424
$2424÷25 visits÷6 people = $16.16 per person per visit. And once summer is over we have at 15 more visits planned out if not more until our passes expire in November.
So really the per person cost is minimal for a day of fun. Not just any fun, but DISNEY fun (which trumps all fun in my opinion).
Granted that calculation doesn’t include gas.  We are talking here just Disney cost.  Next year, we are going to spend the extra money for one pass to have parking paid for.  At our rate, this year we will have paid more each time for parking, than we would have had we bought a parking pass for a child. As long as that child was always with the adult that went parking would have been free.

This post was mainly about the numbers.  Look out for my next post about the actual benefits of being a DISNEY AP MEMBER!

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