Change is Good

On the left is seven years ago….on the right, last week. Boy, what a difference seven years makes.

•In 2010, we had five kiddos, but only three home full time.🖐🏼

•I was dying my hair every three weeks or so to make myself look younger.😜

•I had zero concern about what kind of food I was putting into my body. If it sounded good, I ate it.

•I felt like I had arthritis….convinced myself I probably did just because I was hurting all the time.

•I mentally beat myself up all the time because I just felt like nothing was going right.

•I had a heart for adoption but saw no way to ever make that a reality in our lives.

•I was surrounded by clutter and felt like I was drowning with no hope of ever getting my house like I wanted it.

Today….things are different. Not perfect, just better. I feel better than I ever have. I contribute that to the foods I eat and making better choices about my health.

“2017 Jenifer” is better about giving herself grace…could still cut myself some more slack but I’m learning.

I’ve been working towards clearing out the clutter….Bryan is closer to getting my vision now than he was in 2010 so that helps.😜

I’ve embraced “me”. Gray hair and all. I love it. I’m just me. Take me or leave me.

We’ve adopted twice. And are trying our best to help families that are coming behind us. Excited to share something new with you in January that I’ve been dreaming about. 🌎💙💛

Our family has grown! We are blessed with nine children, a daughter-in-law and our first precious grand daughter. God has blessed us more than we deserve.

Change is good friends. Hard but so worth it.


Day 2…thirty days!


Check out day one HERE

Our next step as a family, after beginning to eliminate processed foods from our diet, was to tackle a Whole30.

The very first one I did was in the summer of 2015. Ellie jumped in and joined me and ROCKED it! The rest of the family….not so much. HA! Bryan was traveling a lot so that made it hard for him and the other kids weren’t so sure about eliminating some of the foods they loved for thirty days.

Here are the basics.

  • Thirty days
  • No sugar
  • No alchohol
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • No MSG, carrageenan or sulfites
  • No baked goods or junk food made with approved ingredients


I know what you’re thinking.


No way, I could do that!

Hear me on this…it’s only thirty days. You can do anything for thirty days. Seriously, come on. You can do hard things.

And here’s the benefit…You are going to learn so much about yourself and the way that food makes you feel.

That information is priceless. And worth the thirty days. Trust me.

At the end of the thirty days, you add back in each of the excluded groups, one by one. See if they cause you any issues. If they don’t, toss them back into your diet and move along.

If you add one of the groups back and notice some ill effects, it’s time to evaluate whether or not you want to permanently eliminate that item from your diet.

For me, I quickly realized that gluten and dairy were NOT my friends. They shouldn’t even be acquaintances of mine. HA!

Can I have them from time to time? Sure. Not the end of the world. But to consume on a daily basis, three meals a day? Nope, my body rebelled. Gluten caused SO MUCH inflammation in my joints and body. The way I felt WITHOUT gluten was so obvious. If inflammation is something you struggle with, it is worth thirty days of your life to see if  eliminating gluten can help you.

Dairy…well let’s just agree to not discuss the effects of dairy. Jenifer is much happier without dairy. All we need to say.

If you want to know the WHY of Whole 30, then start with their first book called “It Starts  with Food”. For some, this may be way too technical and more than you ever wanted to know. I’ll let you be the judge. Definitely a great book!

If you just want some great recipes and the basics of the program, grab a copy of “The Whole30: The 30-day guide to total health and food freedom”. Check out their latest cookbook HERE!

My favorite page on the entire Whole30 website is the downloads page. So much great information! I printed it all out and took it to my local office supply store and had it all spiral bound together….cost me about $3 and then I had all the basics in one convenient place. Easy to toss in my bag and have on the go.

Two other books that I LOVED as resources during my Whole30 were by Danielle Walker….she is amazing! Some recipes require some tweaking but lots of great ideas!

You can read about Danielle’s story HERE and how she used food to help heal her body. AMAZING!

Interested in doing your own Whole30? Check out our Facebook group just for mommas! Everyone is always happy to answer questions there and cheer you on!

Day 1…change is good!

Let’s start at the very beginning….a very good place to start…(bonus points if you can name that movie reference!)…

Growing up, we ate well, mostly. Vegetables from my grandparents’ garden, southern staples like cornbread, meat…not at every meal, but lots.

My mom cooked from scratch, I don’t remember many boxed, processed foods as a child. Some Chef Boyardee thrown in for convenience, sure, but not everyday.

Then Bryan and I get married.

He had two small sons and I might have fed them mostly Hamburger Helper and canned green beans. YIKES!

I didn’t know better and MAN were those Hamburger Helpers EASY!!!

We went out to eat fast food a lot…McDonald’s was a staple as well as other fast food joints. The kids loved eating out at kid friendly places and it felt like we were good parents when we regularly treated them to a fun meal out.

Then along came Ellie.

My first born.

Dare I say, the foods that crossed her sweet little lips suddenly mattered to me more than I could have ever imagined.

Did we do a complete 180?

No, but my eyes became a bit more critical of food labels, I made her baby food myself and breastfeed for fourteen months. We bought her milk from a local dairy and thought we were doing pretty well.

Add in babies number 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

With each little one’s arrival, I began to realize that we thought we were doing well but we were fooling ourselves.

This week, I wanted to share with you a bit about our process and some resources we used along the way.

My first goal was to cut back and eliminate, as much as possible, processed foods.

While I was doing well with the kids and at mealtime, I was still a glutton for treats from the snack machine at ballet, trips to Starbucks and “healthy” fast-food. Who can resist Chick-Fil-A, am I right?!?!?

I continued to pack on the pounds. Many from pregnancy and many from the foods we were eating.

In August of 2014, I ran across Lisa Leake’s website…100 Days of Real Food.


This book was such a great place for us to start! It wasn’t TOO crazy radical! HA! It was easy to make these very simple changes. EAT.REAL.FOOD. She suggests that if you DO buy something processed, then choose something with real food ingredients and no more than FIVE ingredients on the label.

This one book started us on a journey of intense label reading and we have never looked back. Even my kids will pick up an item in the grocery store, read the label and say “YUCK, we don’t eat that”!

Maybe the thing I loved most about this book, was that Lisa was just a mom like me. She didn’t have a “title” that made her new food choices possible. She just wanted to do better for her girls. She did the research, made changes and saw results. For her, this isn’t about a diet or losing weight. It was just about making better choices for life.

Lisa has also come out with a second book entitled “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous”.  Check it out HERE on Amazon!

Check out Lisa’s Facebook community HERE.

Join me right back here tomorrow for the NEXT step in our food journey!

*Affiliate links included.

Let’s talk about food, shall we?

I had no idea, when we started to change the foods we ate, that other people would have such strong opinions.

I’ll admit that we’ve made a lot of changes over the last few years. Some worked for us and some were a no-go.

We’ve learned a lot along the way.

Bryan and I still don’t agree on all the changes.

We might never completely agree. Ha!

Hello….sweet tea = marital discord.

The kids are learning too and a lot of the time making some really good choices.

Starting Monday, for the next few days, I’ll share a bit with you about the steps we took to get where we are today.

And I’ll tell you, I’m still trying to figure it all out.

I’m trying to figure out who to believe when it comes to research.

I don’t have all the answers.

But I can tell you this….I’m just a momma trying to make the best choices for my babies. And I love seeing you make the best choices too.

Let’s figure it out together.

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I just can’t do it yet…

Can I be honest? I haven’t read all the articles this week. You know the ones….Australia, Iceland.

Let’s wipe out all the babies with Down syndrome and then pat ourselves on the back.

Those articles.

I just haven’t had the heart to read it all yet. I plan to.

But I know the disgust that will come with the reading.

I’ve seen enough posts to know that I probably already know what they all say.

Friends, the world is not a safe place for my children. Yours either.

The world is not a safe place for “different”.

That becomes more and more obvious each day.

How about this quote from one article I skimmed….

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”


No other words.

I want to read all that my friends have written this week.

I want to go back and read all the articles.

Then, maybe, if I can stomach it, I can share more.

You and I need to talk about these things.

Lay it out on the table.

Shout from the rooftops about it.

Many of you have no clue what I’m talking about.

That’s part of the problem.

We have to do a better job of making sure you know.