Joyful Chaos

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Whole 30 wrap-up and a recipe!

My Whole 30 ended yesterday. Well, it was suppose to end yesterday, but really it ended Sunday when I started binge eating homemade mac-n-cheese and cookie dough. I’m not proud of this, but it tasted so very good while I was eating it. I’ve decided to keep going with the Whole 30 parameters Monday-Friday, though. I’m going to keep the grains and the sugar out for the most part, too (even on weekends) but I’m going to allow myself wine on Friday and Saturday nights. There are just some weeks that call for wine, and going without for a month was not always easy. I lost about 8 pounds just changing what I ate, so I know it was working for me. And I feel great! 

I have lots of recipes I’d like to share, but I don’t always get photos of them. I hate posting without photos. They kinda make the post worth reading in the first place IMO. I did get photos of a pumpkin souffle I made though. I took them with my cell phone, don’t judge. I won’t admit to how many times I made this during the past month, but Anna and I both love it and got plenty of it! It’s incredibly easy to make and is grain-free, gluten-free, and free from added sugars. It’s also a perfect fall treat if you like pumpkin!

Easy Pumpkin Souffle



  • 1/3 cup pumpkin (canned or home-cooked, but DO NOT use pie filling. It is no good for you!)
  • 1/2 up banana – smashed (I don’t measure. I like bananas, so I just mash two small to medium sized ones)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more depending on taste)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter

Whisk eggs together in a microwave-safe bowl. Add mashed bananas and stir. Add remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed together. At this point I usually scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula so that the sides don’t get crusty in the microwave. Place bowl in microwave, uncovered, and nuke for 4-6 minutes. The time really depends on your microwave. Microwave until it is set and “souffle-like.” I got this recipe from a someone in a Facebook group I belong to. I have no idea where she got it. There are a lot of versions of pumpkin souffle online, but this one is incredibly simple. You can serve it in slices with berries or raisins on top…..or just eat the whole thing out of the bowl like a meal like I do :) You can even adjust the ingredients to fit your tastes. Don’t like almond butter? Skip it. Hate bananas? Use less and instead throw in extra almond butter. It’s really quite easy to change it up. Enjoy!


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Whole 30: Day 1

Earlier this year I began eating less carbs, more meat, and nearly no sugar except those naturally occurring in my fruits and veggies. Then, I want to the Bahamas. I drank, I ate, I fell off the wagon. I’ve been off the wagon ever since, even though adopting a “paleo” lifestyle was making me feel better. Now it’s time to hop back on the wagon and start fresh. Starting today I’ll be refreshing with a Whole 30. What’s a Whole 30, you ask? It’s 30 days of eating extremely clean. No grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, or dairy. You can learn more about the 30-day program by clicking here. 

I won’t discuss it at length, because there is a lot of information out there that is much more factual and eloquent than me saying, “It’s going to be awesome, you guyzzzz!” I’m just going to chronicle my progress and what we’re eating, because at first glance one might think our meals are going to be boring without any of that good stuff I previously mentioned. One would be wrong!

Last night we got a jump start on our month of clean eating with delicious marinated steak and sauteed collard greens. It was the first time I’ve actually ever made collard greens, but everyone here loved them. Win! Lunches were made of leftover steak and veggies. Tonight we’ll have lean pork and chicken, roasted turnips that I picked up last week at the farmer’s market, and a salad of butter lettuce and tomatoes from our garden. We’re kind of drowning in tomatoes right now, so they’ll be a common player in our meals.

Wish me luck! I have a long way to go to meet my health goals, but I have to start somewhere!


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Super Simple Recipe: Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

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I was asked for this recipe on Facebook, so thought I’d share it here for all three of you that read this blog :) This recipe is a modified version of several out on the Internets and is amazingly simple (an ridiculously delicious assuming you like asparagus and bacon….but who doesn’t like those things!?)


  • Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
  • Bacon

These directions are easier than those on the back of a shampoo bottle. Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Line a sided cookie sheet (not the flat kind) with foil. Wrap 2-3 spears of asparagus with one piece of bacon to form a bundle. If the asparagus is really skinny, I use three spears. If they’re thick, I use two spears. Determine what your perfect veggie to bacon ratio is and go with it. Lay the bundles on the cookie sheet. Stick the whole caboodle in the oven for 20-25 minutes, checking periodically after the 15 minute mark until the bacon is cooked to your desire.


I do not brush the bacon or asparagus with anything. Some recipes call for brown sugar or butter or seasonings. I don’t use any of that. Not because it doesn’t sound delicious, but because I am lazy and want as few steps and ingredients as possible! Also, I’m back to following a strict diet,  one I had been following before I ventured to the Bahamas in May and got off track :) So I’m avoiding sugar among many other things. Maybe I’ll write about it sometime. Enjoy! We loves these in our house .

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New beginnings. Again.

The original intention for this blog was to post some of the fun experiments and activities I do with Anna on a weekly basis. Over the summer we built wooden cars, tested aluminum foil boats, played with ooblek, and learned about some of the wildlife in Colorado. We bird-watched, converted trash to treasure, and grew our own salad in the back yard. In short, summer was fun. During that three months I was also working full time as a TA at a summer camp in Boulder. It was a far cry from working nights at the retirement community and I LOVED it. It was incredibly fun. However, I was exhausted when I got home each night. I had just enough energy to spend some time with Anna, wash my staff shirt, and fall into bed. Writing blogs and sharing photos? No, not really on the top of my priority list.

Now I’m “technically” unemployed. I use quotes because I am still on call at the retirement community, I have a photography business that I take occasional jobs for, I’m a personal assistant one day per week, and I’m a full-time student. So while this may seem like a lot to some, it’s nothing compared to how much I was working just a year ago. I have some down time in my days now. I might actually keep my house relatively presentable in case unexpected visitors drop by!

All of this is to say that I hope to write regularly again. I hope to share some of the fun things I do with Anna to spark her curiosity and creativity. I also want to chronicle some of the changes we’re implementing in our home. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last year and are embarking on a remodel of our master bath, back yard, and sun room. We may add more to that at a later time, but right now I feel like this is going to be a really great way to start anew and have a family project. The best way to love your home is to put a little hard work into it, right? I hope so :)

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A child in a beer garden

This weekend was mostly spent catching up on the week’s work and preparing for the end of the school semester, photography work, and attempts at sleep. Sunday, however, we stole a few hours to meet a few friends at the Lowry Beer Garden. It’s adjacent to Wings Over the Rockies, the air and space museum. Somehow this nerd family has gone this long without visiting the museum, so after seeing the outside we resolved to return for a full visit for mother’s day.


We were initially skeptical that a beer garden would be a suitable place for a child and then we thought,  “Pffft, of course a beer garden is a suitable place for a child!” We all had different dogs and shared a ginormous 12″ pretzel (totally worth breaking the paleo diet for.) Anna played a little foosball with the hordes of other children whose parents don’t mind bringing them to a beer garden and then she joined us for a rousing round of Hedbanz, a game in which you have to guess what card is on your head by asking only yes/no questions.  In my opinion, it was a pretty perfect Sunday (aside from me not getting any sleep, but I only have two weeks left of working nights!)




Oh, I almost forgot!  We ran into these lovely ladies on the way home:


Have an awesome day!

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Easy DIY bath paint


Saturday was a day for cleaning up the yard and getting ready to plant new grass and clear out some old to make room for an expanded garden. Anna used the opportunity to “explore” in the yard, which basically just means she got dirty. I threw together some bath paint and let her finish her exploration in the tub. Bath paint is so incredibly easy to make. You’ll need clear liquid soap (I use SoftSoap that I get in a giant bottle at the grocery store), gel food coloring, cups, and paint brushes.



 I’ve always used little disposable shot glass sized cups for this, but New Year’s and my birthday last month seem to have rendered us shot-glass-less. Red Solo Cups to the rescue!


Simply mix a small amount of soap with a few drops of food coloring. Put your child in the tub, hand them some paint brushes, and tell them to paint themselves. They think they’re playing when it’s really all just a scheme to get them clean. Excellent.


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