Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Week 30

I started weekly vlogging 30 weeks ago. What made me desire to begin is how fleeting time is. I think Reuben was 6 weeks when I began. I don't want to forget all the little moments! I can't capture everything, but one day when I'm old, or when Reuben is old or maybe when my great grandchildren are curious about life in good ol' 2016 we can all look back and see all the small things. And the big things.

I still, of course, edit using a potato. And film whilst holding an 8 month old, so...don't expect quality. It's the thought that counts.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Parenting Competition

"At least you get to go to work!" I told Mr. Adventure, one day. "I don't ever get a break. You get to eat lunch by yourself! In the morning...every morning you get to shower alone without asking anyone to hold a baby, or waiting for a baby to cry because he is tired of you being in the shower..."

Mr. Adventure looked puzzled. "What do you mean?" He said. "You get to stay home all day with Reuben. I would love to do that."

And that's when the fight began.

Whose job is harder? I think we argued about it for a few days before I gave up in exasperation, chalking it up to him just not understanding how difficult staying at home with Reuben actually was. Now that I think about it, I suppose he felt the same?

I remember one thing he said quite vividly. We were sitting on the couch watching Reuben play, and Brian candidly said, "Watching Reuben is easy. Look, he's just playing by himself."

I think my pot boiled over at that point. "When you watch him you just hold him." I said. "You don't have to try to cook at the same time, or do laundry, or go to the supermarket or..."

"I never thought of that." He said. "But it doesn't sound too hard."


But really, I don't know when I got into this mindset that parenting was a competition. Why does it matter so much to me that my husband acknowledges what a "sacrifice" it is when I watch our son every day? Why is it important that he understands how hard my day is, so much harder than his?

I must have a huge ego problem.

I decided to change my thinking. Instead of thinking about how long my days were, and how I rarely get time to myself anymore, and how much I'd love to spend more than 5 minutes in a shower--I decided to think about every day as a gift. Because every day is a gift. One day Reuben will be in college or maybe living abroad and I won't be able to cover his face in kisses every morning and tickle his feet.

And I just don't want to think of raising him as a chore. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's impossibly hard sometimes. But he is a person, and worthy of love. I don't want to spend my years pining away for my personal freedom--I want to spend them learning and growing with Reuben. He is a gift from God, and I am not worthy of him. And he didn't take away all my freedom and time! Instead, he filled my heart and life with happy smiles, warm cuddles, and an occasional poop-filled diaper. I chose to bring him into this world and I couldn't be more happy that he is finally here.

When I started to think of this, my attitude improved greatly. Not only did Mr. Adventure start to arrive home to a happy, smiling wife instead of a grumpy, dissatisfied and worn out wife who demanded attention and freedom, I started to actually enjoy most of my day. Is it still really hard sometimes? Yes! But instead of letting this fact totally overwhelm me, I just think about how much I love my son and how precious this time with Reuben is when he is small and how I'll never get it back--and it helps put things into perspective. I love him. He loves me.

I could care less now whose job is "harder". I don't think that term even applies to what we are doing. We are both raising a wonderful son, and working on a wonderful marriage. Mr. Adventure is doing what he can do, and I am doing what I can do. We are both blessed. And there is no prize like a bowl of ice-cream in the evening to celebrate getting through a day. I don't need praise from my husband, and I don't need him to kowtow to the many "sacrifices" I make as a mom--I just need Brian to support me and Reuben, and he does. And he doesn't need me to remind him of all the awesome things I do. I just need to do them without complaint.

Instead of looking at what I think I should have, I now look at all I have.

And my arms and my heart are so full.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A look at our American budget

So this year one of my husband and I's dreams is to drastically reduce our budget. Last year we spent a lot. We had a baby, so it was to be expected. This year we want to reduce spending to save up again to have another baby in 2017. Our financial goal is to spend no more than $2,000 a month. That includes everything, from bills to food to personal and baby expenses.

We started this goal on the 16th of March! Before we started, I took a look at what we spent from January 16 2016 - February 16th 2016 to see what we were spending monthly. Currently we try to be frugal, but we don't really have a set budget. Here is every penny we spent mid January through mid February.

  1. Internet: 49.45
  2. YMCA: 46.00
  3. Water bill: 65.11
  4. Cell phone bill: 24.12
  5. Netflix: 7.99
  6. Electric: 213.15
I don't see much we can remove from bills. I stopped going to the Y after Reuben was born and Brian removed me from the subscription. It was 75 for both of us, only 46 for just him. He goes 3-4 times a week and enjoys it. The electric bill should drop when spring hits and we are not using the heat, and our water bill comes every two months, so it was really $33ish a month. For our cell phones, we have republic wireless and I actually find that bill quite reasonable, so not much I can tweek there.

Baby expenses

During this month we spent 446.47 on Reuben. He learned to crawl in December so in January we bought him a baby gate. We also purchased a highchair for him as well since he hit 6 months and we wanted to start solid food. There were probably a lot of miscellaneous things purchased too, like I remember buying infant Vicks vapor rub and baby Tylenol when he was sick, and a hat for him because he outgrew his 0-3 month size. We also went to the doctor once for him in the previous month and that bill is included here since it came a few weeks later. The baby expense category should drastically decrease, as the only things we will need for Reuben in the next year is a new car seat (he will outgrow his infant one that daddy has in his car) and perhaps some more age-appropriate toys as he nears 1 year that I am sure one of his grandmothers will buy. We have tons of clothes for him as he has four male cousins!

  1. Eating Out: 146.07
  2. Brian Lunch at his work cafeteria: 120.45
  3. Grocery Shopping: 835.67
Food is the place in the budget that I think needs the most work. For clarification, this was my birthday month, so we did go out to a special place for my birthday, resulting in a higher than normal eating out budget. We try to keep eating out under or at $100 a month. Brian also does not pack a lunch, he eats at his work cafeteria. I've talked to him about packing him a lunch, but he enjoys eating there and sitting with his coworkers. Usually when he packs he eats at his deck and continues to work, so it gives him a nice break. If we are to meet our budget goals, packing is probably the best option.

I was shocked when I saw our grocery shopping budget, to be honest. But then I remembered this was the month I started paleo again, and also the month that I spent around $100 in supplements trying to self-cure my chronic constipation (I included the supplement purchase in the grochery shopping budget). Both those things inflated our budget a lot. We try to keep it under or at $500, so basically $125 a week. We also buy all organic, and that can get very expensive.


Both my husband and I combined only spent 47.75 on gas this month. I think this is a good number. Brian has a very short commute and we really only go out once a week together, resulting in not much gas used.

Personal Money

Brian spent $196.99 in personal money. He bought a Roku for our living room television, as well as miscellaneous things at Walmart and alcohol.

I spent $80 on Dorothy Booth Fitness to jump-start my paleo journey, and $20 on Stitchfix. I didn't end up keeping anything from my January box. My husband also gives me $45 a week of personal money ($180 a month) to just spend on anything I want. I honestly can't remember what I bought, I think I got things for Reuben's nursery.


We spent $20.08 at the Walmart pharmacy. I can't remember who was sick, but it was either me or Brian.

So that is exactly every penny we spent from January 16th to Feb 15, around $2,500. We want to reduce it to $2,000. Do you think we can do it? What does your budget look like? Does ours blow you out of the water or does it seem reasonable? I welcome any suggestions as we attempt pare down our spending!

The 2016 budget series:

January 17th - February 16th
Feb 17th - March 16 
March 17-April 16th
April 17th-May 16th 
May 17th-June16th 
June-17th-July 16th

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Paleo Enchilada Sauce

So, we are dairy free, and my husband currently is not eating tomatoes. I craved enchiladas. What could I do??

I decided to make enchilada sauce out of some leftover butternut squash I had. The idea for it came about as I was roasting eggplant to make vegan cheese for lunch. This sauce mimics the tomato based "red" enchilada sauce really well!

Butternut squash enchilada sauce is vegan, dairy free, and tomato free. Win for the whole family! 

Learn how to make this paleo enchilada sauce below:

You need to have already cooked your butternut squash. I cook mine by pricking it all over with a fork and roasting it in the oven on a pan for 1-2 hours. The bigger the squash, the more you roast it. You also should turn your squash every 30 minutes. Once it's done, remove it from the oven. Slice in half, remove the pulp and seeds, then put your squash in a container. Usually we eat just plain squash that night and the next I use the leftovers for something else.

So, leftover night. Let's make amazing vegan paleo enchilada sauce that is also tomato free! 

You will need a food processor.

In the processor place 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 cup coconut milk from a carton (not a can) (also, today when I made this all I had on hand was vanilla favored coconut milk, but it still worked and tastes great, hah!)
  • 1.5 cups packed butternut squash

I put about 1.5 cups packed butternut squash in and processed it on low for about 30 seconds and then 10 seconds on high. You can add more or less squash, more will make it thicker, less for a thinner sauce. Just pulse it until it's all mixed together. Give it a taste and see if it's missing anything. If not, top your favorite dishes and eat! You can heat the sauce up separately or just bake/cook it all together. If cooking on a uncovered stove-top, add the sauce to the mix last or it will thicken up quite a bit.

It's amazingly creamy and delicious! This makes, in my opinion, four servings. Enjoy! I put mine on a plate of cooked chicken, onions, and bell peppers for the perfect paleo enchilada.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Isolation and Mom Guilt

Mom guilt.

I didn't really know this was a thing until Reuben exited my birth canal, but it is. In the shower I feel guilty when he cries and I'm trying to wash the soap out of my eyes and sing to him at the same time. I feel guilt when I desperately want a few minutes to myself. And I definitely feel guilt over how little time I have for my husband and my friends.

Mom guilt is real.

My heart nearly breaks when Reuben looks at me with all the trust and love in the world. I know I cannot be a perfect mom. Yet right now as Reuben is only 8 months old I am basically his whole world, his safety net and the milk machine that comforts him and keeps him alive. And I love every sleep deprived minute of it. To Reuben right now I am a perfect mom. One day he will realize I am not. One day I will hurt him, even unintentionally with my imperfections and selfishness.

This is why I am glad I have a savior who is perfect who I can point my son to in all moments, not just the ones that hurt. I need Jesus more then ever as a mom, although honestly I am sure I needed him just a much before. I just wasn't desperate enough to realize it. Now I know that the way Reuben loves me without question and without judgement is the way I want to love God.

And I know God sees me when I get frustrated and overwhelmed and he sees me when I'm nursing and thinking about crochet...he sees me when I feel like I've gotten nothing done all day. He mourns with me in the evening when all I want is an hour alone with my husband but my son is teething and clingy and not napping. He knows my struggles and the desires of my heart. Yet not my will but his. That has stuck with me a lot this month-- not my will but his. When I just want a few minutes to myself but the dishes need to be done and Reuben is crying and I just want to go crochet something and be creative, because I haven't crochet anything in months and I feel so guilty about that too...God sees me. And sometimes I get time to crochet and sometimes I just nurse Reuben. Through it all I just want to honor God, and I want God to be enough for me. Not my will, but His.

And I am done with mom guilt. Mom guilt tells me I'm not good enough, and you know what, I'm not. But God is. And he's given me Reuben for a reason and He's also given me a big soppy mommas heart to love and enjoy and cherish all the little and big and messy and poopy moments. When I feel like I'm not good enough, when I feel defeated and sad and broken and done...I just remember that God is big enough. And I look at Reuben with new eyes, with Gods eyes-- and I see a little boy who needs me the way I should need God, with all of my heart.

And I go on. Not my will, but HIS.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What I Eat in a Day

I think I eat a lot. I mean, I'm breastfeeding a 8 month old (he's eight months old TODAY!) and trying to get 30 min of exercise daily as well! I also love food, so let that speak for itself! 

Here is exactly what I ate Monday. I love watching these "what did you eat" in a day videos, so I decided to make one myself! What do you normally eat? All the food in this video is paleo as well. Noms!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Paleo Week Four

We are now officially paelo. And I am loving every second of it. Why did I ever quit (oh, yeah I remember I had a baby. That's a valid excuse!) This was my last week with Dorothy Booth Fitness (worth EVERY penny) and now I am on my own, so to speak. At this time I cannot imagine going back. Not only do I feel better, I also think I look better. Who knows?

I am trying to exercise 3-4 times a week, and I am loving meals. I am still eating peanut butter...but I'll take this one "exception" (many paleo recipes allow for peanut butter, actually!)

One thing I will add...if you are a Christian, you will need to talk to your church about communion. This WOE (way of eating) is a lifestyle--there is no 80/20 aspect to it. No wheat, at all! Especially for me, because wheat bloats me up like nothing else. I was lucky, because my church already offers gluten free bread! Score. I will be using the gluten free bread from now on when in church. (it does have rice in it, but I am willing to compromise in this aspect, as long as it does not have gluten).

A photo posted by Carolynn M (@moonofsilver) on

I finally mustered up the courage to measure myself. I want to track my body over the next few months to see if paleo and exercise can help me lose a little bit of postpartum weight. I have been feeling really good about my body, and wanted to see where it was. The only thing I measured before starting paleo was my belly--it was 39 inches. I couldn't measure the rest of me then because I was really really struggling with body image, and the thought of actually counting my "fat" terrified me. I am happy to say I no longer feel this way.

My measurements, after four weeks paleo, and 3 pounds lost. (My husband lost about 15 pounds. To say I am jealous is an understatement...I blame nursing.)

Thigh: 22 inches (each thigh)
Bust: 38 inches
Underbust: 33 inches
Hips: 46 inches
Belly: 37 inches (I lost two inches going paleo. That's a lot!)
Upper Arm: 13 inches

From here on out I plan on doing monthly paleo recaps! Have you guys enjoyed hearing about my paleo journey? Would you ever go paleo? I am glad to see that most of my autoimmune issues have vanished with this WOE!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My March Stitch Fix

I love love love stitch fix! Every month I eagerly await my box.

For this fix I asked my stylist for tunic type pieces and told her I was interested in a black skirt and a black cardigan. If you are interested in seeing what she sent me, the video is below!

What do you think? I think I chose well! What about you? Do you subscribe to any fashion boxes like Stitch Fix? What would you have kept?

Friday, March 11, 2016

a day in the life of Reuben

This is what a typical weekday looks like to Reuben when we stay home. Or, what I imagine it looks like to him, since he can't talk much yet! This has been our standard routine from about 4 months until now (7 months). Who knows when it will change? I also didn't have time to take pictures throughout a whole singular day, so these are from various weeks.

7am: I wake up even through Mommy still wants to sleep.
8: Nursing! Then Mommy plays on the floor with me.
9: More nursing, Mommy plays with a white square thing and it distracts me, but eventually I fall asleep. 
9:15: Mommy tries to lay me down for some reason. I wake up. Mommy!
9:20: Mommy unsuccessfully tries to nurse me again hoping I will sleep. I'm too interested in crawling on her face.

9:25: What is this? I am put in a cage and mommy stares at a glowing light. She calls this "me time"
9:45: I don't like me time. I will throw a fit.
10:00: Back in the living room, mommy plays music and sits on the floor with me holding a bowl of oddly smelly "toys" she won't let me play with.
10:20: Nursing time!!
10:45: I get to play with mushy stuff while mommy makes clanking noises in the kitchen!
11:10: Mushy stuff no longer amuses me. Whereforartthou mother?
11:20: Bath. Mommy washes me in the warm place. How did so much mushy fun things get all over me? Suddenly I'm cold and mommy wants to put clothes on me. Time to cry!
12:00: More nursing, I fall asleep again. Mommy tries to put me down and I sleep for 15 minutes. I don't know what mommy does when I am asleep.
12:20: Play. Mommy goes in and out of rooms singing to me as I play in my play-place. What fun! I try to eat her knitting she left on the chair.
12:22: Knitting is removed from my paws. Time to play with blocks! I love blocks. They taste WONDERFUL!
12:40: Where is my mommy? I must be attached to her! She puts me on her front and we go for a walk.
12:50: I love to look at all the wonderful neighborhood things and try to jump out of my carrier. But Mommy is warm and she sings to me as I walk, and kisses my face. Kisses are funny.
1:10: Post walk nursing.
1:30: Mommy reads me a book! I love books.
2:00: I play in my play pen while mommy lays on the couch. She looks tired. I should go crawl on her face!
2:10: I can't reach Mommy's face from the floor. I will stand next to the couch and look pitifully at Mommy until she picks me up.
2:30: Mommy turns on loud music and jumps around the living room. I watch her and laugh.
3:00: I am back in the cage and mommy is in the shower. 
3:10: I loudly let mommy know I am tired of being in my cage.
3:20: mommy tries to sing to me while she puts clothes on herself. I am still in my cage. I am upset. 
3:30: Yay mommy is holding me. Post cage nursing.

4:00: If I am good I stay in my play-place while mommy makes clanking noises in the kitchen. If I miss mommy she puts me in my highchair. If I hate my highchair she puts me on her back. Yay mommy! 
5:00: Post cooking nursing. I fall asleep nursing, mommy tries to put me down. I wake up. Hi mommy! 
5:30: Mommy says she's had enough. She turns the loud box on. I play on the floor while mommy watches the box. 
6:30: Mommy calls daddy and asks where he is. She nurses me while playing with fun squishy things that she won't let me touch. Why can't I touch the fun things, mommy?
7:00: Daddy comes home and plays on the floor with me!
8:00: Mommy nurses me! I decided to be wonderful and fall asleep nursing at a reasonable hour.
9:00: Mommy carries me up to bed and snuggles right next to me. I wake up but she nurses me so I fall back asleep because mommy is right next to me.
11:00: Mommy nurses me.
2:00: Nursing more. Also time for me to randomly wake up and crawl on daddy's face. Whee, hi daddy!
6:00: Nurse me mommy.

...and repeat from the top... Whats your day look like with your little one?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Paleo Lemon Mug Cake

I've been trying lots of paleo mug cake recipes around the internet lately! And while I've liked all of them, many of them have an almond flour or coconut flour base and taste either very nutty and dense or very dry. I missed light, fluffy yellow lemon cake!

So I decided to try to make my own mug cake. This is what I made, and it's very good! It's reminiscent of yellow cake.

And it's super easy to make. I stir all the ingredients in the cup I'm going to cook it in, because less dishes and less mess and less time.

What you need:
1/2 tablespoon (tbsp) lemon juice
1 tbsp Coconut Flour
1 tbsp Tapioca Flour  
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
1 egg
1/2 tbsp honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
1-2 tbsp coconut milk (see directions)

Put the lemon juice in first, then add the coconut flour on top. Coconut flour absorbs liquid, and I like this flour to absorb all the lemon juice. Next add everything but the coconut milk, and stir it making sure to scrape the sides and the bottom. Last, pour in the coconut milk and stir. Start with 1 tablespoon (I ended up using 1.5 tablespoons). You want it to be the consistency of thin pancake batter. Just use two tablespoons if you are worried--more is better then less. 

Microwave 2 minutes. It should fluff up nicely! I paired mine with some dairy free coconut whipped cream. It's good--and the tapioca flour makes it taste nice and sweet.

Monday, March 7, 2016


When six months hit, I was really excited about feeding Reuben his first food. I already knew it was going to be avocado. Not only is it the food I hear most babies try first, it's my absolute favorite. (well, besides peanut butter, but that isn't a recommend first).

So I placed him in his highchair one morning and scooped about 1/4 an avocado onto his tray and let him play. We do baby lead weening, so I just let him control how much/little he ate. He mostly smeared it around his face and laughed. It was cute.

A photo posted by Carolynn M (@moonofsilver) on

A few hours later I noticed that his face was oddly red. Looking back, I don't know why I didn't correlate this with the avocado, but it hadn't happened right away after eating it. I posted a picture of the red face on my nursing Facebook support group and was told it looked like chapped cheeks from the wind. The redness got worse when I nursed and better when "aired out", so I assumed it was coming from contact with my skin and the lotion I use on my stretch marks. I stopped using the lotion, but fed Reuben avocado one more time in his highchair. The redness remained. I was stumped.

Two weeks later I fed him avocado again (for the third time) and he immediately broke out in hives.

This wasn't redness--it was a full on allergic-reaction! And it happened within about 30 seconds of me feeding him the fruit. I will be honest, I was more perplexed than panicked at this point. I posted this picture on my facebook asking what the bumps were (I didn't even realize what it was yet!) as I pulled him out of his chair and started to wipe him down.

As you can imagine, I got a lot of help from my Facebook friends who immediately informed me it was hives! So I tried to see if he'd eaten any (he hadn't, only all over his face) and, like a good first time mom--promptly panicked. When I realized he hadn't eaten any I was more calm--his throat and mouth and tongue probably wouldn't swell.

It was 5ish, so I called Daddy who was already on the way home while monitoring Reuben's breathing (he was super itchy and upset but breathing fine). But mostly I was stumped. I'd fed him avocado twice before! Why now, the third time?

The next morning I called his pedi and they explained. First, they were shocked he'd had a reaction to avocado. But they explained that food allergies compound with repeated exposure-- i.e. the red face was his reaction the first and second times, but repeated exposures makes it worse. They also told me I had to stop eating avocado while nursing. I quit for three weeks, tried to reintroduce once by eating some guacamole right after breastfeeding, but it clearly still bothered Reuben even through my milk. Now am 100% avocodo free...did I mention it was my favorite food? (By the way, this is what his pedi told me to do to see if it caused a reaction, it wasn't just my "need" for avocado that prompted me trying to eat it again.)

A photo posted by Carolynn M (@moonofsilver) on

Since the avocado debacle we've successfully "fed" (he really just plays with food at this point, I don't know if he's actually eaten much) spaghetti squash, butternut squash and broccoli to Reuben. Daddy also gave him some peas.

Yesterday I tried banana for the first time and his face got red again, so I'm adding banana to the list of his allergies. I always watch him while he's eating and monitor his face and breathing after any food. I never thought of that when contemplating motherhood! I honestly didn't expect my kid to have any food allergies.  Who knew feeding a tiny human could be so scary?

Reuben's pedi did say most kids outgrow infant allergies. I mostly just can't wait to eat avocados again!

Do you have any allergies? Have you ever seen any in your kids?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Paleo Recap, Week 3

This was my first week full paleo. Well, I did still eat peanuts, but since I've given up my favorite food (avocado) since finding out Reuben is extremely allergic to it, I think it's still a win.

My eczema is totally gone! And, my scalp itches less. I have also invented a lot of food lately.

A photo posted by Carolynn M (@moonofsilver) on

I also made eggplant cheese! Yes, that is vegan "cheese" made from an eggplant. It's actually quite easy, but it did not resemble the taste or texture of cheese at all. Maybe that's because I subbed coconut milk for the almond milk? I would say it's more akin to eggplant hummus. As long as I didn't think of it as cheese, and thought of it as a sauce, I was fine.

Next week I plan to make cashew cheese. I hear that is more like the actual cheesy goodness I miss.

Another thing I tried to do this week is exercise. I exercised three times this week using Youtube videos. I'm currently using Fitness Blender to exercise. As soon as Reuben gets a bit older I plan on returning to the YMCA, but for right now it is so much easier to just work out in my home. I don't have to drive me or a baby anywhere, and I can do so in my PJs. Win.

Anyone have any good paleo recipes to suggest to me?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fuctional Scarf

I wanted a pair of wool scarves to wear this winter--super warm wool scarves. I finished the black one awhile ago, and started on the wine one right after. I finished it about a week later, months and months ago, but I never posted any pictures! Honestly, I wear this one more than the black because it's shorter, using only 3 skeins of yarn instead of 4 (what was I thinking?).

I used wool of the andes bulky weight yarn from knit picks and a simple half double crochet stitch. If you want to make one, the beginner crochet tutorial is here!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Remembering and Honoring my Miscarriages

Remembering the pregnancies that I lost is very important to me. Each of the children I have carried in my womb are important to me, no matter the amount time they spent there. I wanted a memento to remember them all by and my friend Jessica, who sells Origami Owl has helped me do just that!

I will be hosting Jessica this week in an online Origami Owl Facebook party. Check it out if you are interested in origami owl products like the locket above that my husband bought me to memorialize my miscarriages and also the birth of Reuben. In full disclosure, as a host, I receive a discount from Origami Owl and "hostess gifts" that are based on orders from my party. But I truly love their products and what they mean to my life.