whole 30; the plan

Thank you to everyone who offered advice, resources and support via comments, calls, texts or facebook after my post last week.  I have to say I feel very encouraged right now!   In fact….I have one amazing friend who offered to do Whole30 with me.  How awesome is that?!  She may live in a different state, but trust me.  I already fear having to tell her that I messed up…so it’s just that much more incentive to do this and do it right.

So now that the dust has settled and I’ve declared to the world that I’m doing this….here’s the plan.

First, I’m focusing on all of the things I CAN eat instead of what I CAN’T  (great advice).  So I’ve really tried to wrap my head around all of the ingredients that are on my “safe” list and just forget about my eggs, almonds, chocolate and beer for now.   Here’s what I CAN eat:

  •  MEAT.  Of all kinds – and it just so happens I have a freezer full of organic deer, elk and antelope (and the Hubs has never been more stoked that it will be on the menu daily).  I will just need to supplement with some organic chicken, fish and pork if I want.  (…and the vegetarian-Janna that once lived is rolling over in her grave right now).
  • VEGGIES.  Of ALL kinds.  And honestly I do love veggies (seriously brussel sprouts might be my favorite thing ever), but I’m looking forward to trying some new ones like bok choy, parsnips and okra.
  • FRUIT.  Of all kinds.  Fine by me.
  • FATS.  (no dairy fats though).  So, think coconut, coconut, coconut (as one friend said).  I already do most of my cooking with coconut oil, and you know I love curries and Indian food (right?).  So bring it on.  Coconut milk, oil and butter:  you’re mine.  Whooo haa haaa haaa haaa.  You too you little avocados and nuts!

So really – that doesn’t sound bad, right?  I mean, I feel like we eat pretty well now, so none of this is THAT much of a shocker.   But I definitely relied on grains like quinoa, rice and even oats a whole lot more than I can now.   I even went through my recipes this week and pulled out anything that will work for Whole30 and I have quite a few…so it’s comforting to know that I can pull out a few of my “staples” and not be faced with cooking something new every night.

But what I’m still worried about are my cravings.  You know, my 2:00 craving for a piece of chocolate or my chocolate almond milk.  And I’m worried about Fridays when we go to the Brewery.  The temptation will be difficult in a social setting.  I’m just bracing myself for that.

As far as my plan goes:  this week I made meal plan and shopping list for all of my meals next week.   We leave for a long ski-weekend Friday – Monday, so on Monday I’ll come home and do my shopping for the week.  I’ll need to cook a couple of meals Monday night (for breakfasts and lunches), but I will have everything in my pantry that I need to eat accordingly for the week.  I start this crazy thing on Tuesday and then the next weekend I’ll repeat the whole planning/listing/shopping process.


Everything I’m reading says that over time, my cravings will go away and I won’t need to worry about my 2:00 chocolate fix.  So really that first week will probably be the hardest to break those habits.

I’m also coming to grips with the fact that while the strict part of this experiment is 30 days…it won’t be over in 30 days.  I’ll have to slowly reintroduce foods one at a time to see if I have a reaction to them.  So I guess I’ll pick whatever it is I’m missing most (I can tell you now it will be eggs) and try eating them again.  Then wait a few days and try something else (almonds).  And so forth.  So it’s a long road that I’m facing….and I know my eating habits will have to change.  I just don’t know what it will look like in the end (maybe I can have some dairy and gluten…or maybe I’ll need to stay away from eggs).  That’s what this is all about:  trying to find my optimal fuel for my optimal mental and physical health.

And in the whole scheme of things?  30 days is nothing.

My friend shared a quote with me recently that really resonated and I think it’s the perfect way to put a pretty little bow on this post:

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”  Ann Wigmore

Here’s to good medicine.

Cheers –
happy Janna


Make way for baby

I imagine most of you spent the long weekend getting out-of-town; doing something wonderfully fun on the last big “summer weekend” of the year.

For once, I did not.  In fact, I was insanely giddy about staying home.  Alone.  For 3 glorious days!  Doing what I want, when I want.  No schedules.  No packing.  No unpacking.  No traveling.  No appointments (er, except for my pedicure appointment on Sunday).  It was my first weekend at home in over a month and I desperately needed one.   The Hubs is not someone who understands needing to be at home once in a while.  He is perfectly happy leaving town on Friday after work and not returning until Sunday evening just in time to go to bed.  In fact, he prefers it that way.   Me?  I kind of go crazy after too many weekends of that. 

So this was the first of many weekends to myself as The Hubs embarks on his coveted hunting trips for the next few months.   For now, I am ok with it.  Ask me again in October….

Anyways, on my To Do List for the weekend was to start getting things ready for the nursery.  I know, I know!  I’m all over the place these days.  You think I’d finish the living room mess before moving on.  Ha!  Hormones think differently.

Don’t worry, I’m not buying baby stuff yet, just getting things ready for when I do start.  Allow me to explain.  We have a three bedroom house that somehow the two of us have managed to fill.  Don’t ask me how or why we have so much stuff.  But we do. 

Up until now, we have each had our own “spare bedroom.”  So The Hubs gets to use one of them as the holding grounds for his hunting/outdoor gear (and gazillion backpacks that those activities seem to necessitate), and I got to use the other room for my stuff, like sewing and crafting.   Seems fair, right?  Well, it was fair up until the point that we decided that my room would be the nursery….meaning I would have to be the one to go through every square inch of the room and “do something” with all of the stuff. 

Oh well.  In the end, I figure it’s better me than him who has to do this because (1) I’ll actually do it and (2) I will do it in somewhat of an organized and nonmessy fashion. 

Can I just start by saying I love my room?  Er….wait.  Aside from the white wicker furniture…I love my room.  I allowed myself to decorate it with all sort of colors that I wouldn’t have the guts to do anywhere else in the house.  It always felt light and cheerful in there.   So I am somewhat sad to see it go. 

Here’s what we’re working with:

Here’s where I stored all of my supplies for beading, knitting, gift wrapping, sewing, crafting.  You name it.  I probably had it in there.

Here’s where I would sit and work on things…or put my sewing machine.  I love the magnetic strip above the desk that I could put patterns as I sewed, inspiration, or most recently the birthday drawing from my nephew.

And since it’s kind of hard to see some of my favorite details….I made a fun little collage.  Just because it will be fun to look back on someday!

Ahh yes.  I love(d) that room.

This past weekend I forced myself to stay indoors and painstakingly go through each and every item I hoarded in there.   And you know what?  It felt really good to go through it all.  I can’t believe some of the stuff I kept in there (let’s not forget the closet I didn’t show you…)! 

Of course I quickly realized that this was going to turn into a trickle-effect project.  Big time.  Because all of that stuff had to go SOMEwhere.  Right?   So it progressed into me cleaning out the hall linen closet so I’d have some space in there.  Then I cleaned out our downstairs storage area so I could put some things in there. 

Luckily, a few years ago I had the bright idea of purchasing this IKEA desk (and some matching bins for the cubbies):

The goal was to fit all of my sewing and craft items in this desk.  Yep.  Take the contents of one entire room (that is bigger than our master bedroom) and fit it into one itty bitty desk.   Great idea Janna…and hence the trickle-effect clean-outs I just mentioned above.

But you know what?  It’s done.  I did it.  In two days I got that sucker cleared out and got everything organized in its new home.   Albeit, some of the new “homes” are more appealing than others.  For example:

Welcome to your new home:  in the garbage.

And for things that I don’t want anymore, but are still good?  To donate:

That’s a lot of stuff!  Yikes.   Makes me thankful that we itemize deductions on our taxes!

Here’s what the room looks like now.

I suppose to you these pictures look very similar.  Ha.  But trust me when I say every drawer is empty.  The night stand, the dresser, the desk, the trunk, the closet.  All of it gone.  And it feels oh so good.  My only regret is that I couldn’t sit back with a glass of wine after everything was done!

Oh, I suppose you want to see what the new desk looks like, right?   Well, I wasn’t going to show you because it’s not quite polished yet…but here’s my new craft corner.  Cozy, isn’t it?

Lots left to do...please ignore the piles of stuff on the floor! And the photo ledge will not be hung there anymore...instead I'll probably re-purpose my favorite little magnetic strip!

Who would have thought getting ready for a baby would be so much work?!  And I don’t even know the half of it yet I’m sure.

Next up for the nursery?   Immediate next steps are to work with the “bones” of the room.  Wall color, furniture and arrangement.

– Paint (?)  I’m in love with the idea of painting the walls a light grey. 
– Convince The Hubs that it’s a good idea to sell the white wicker.   He’s pulling the practical card with me on that one though.  How do you argue with practicality?!
– Assuming I get to sell it….find a new dresser for the room
– Determine whether or not to keep the bed in there
– Purchase a crib
– Look into rockers and gliders
– Make a final decision about using a wall decal or mural

Once all of those are done I can move on to the more exciting parts….like colors and accessories.  And speaking of all that…I found my color inspiration from one of the most unusual places.  I’ve got a post coming up soon all about that!  Stay tuned!

P.S.  Did any of you spy the Eden Pendant lamp already installed?  Hee Hee.  Tricky I am.  I even managed to capture the dimmer install so I’ll be doing a tutorial on that soon too!

Living room makeover

Thank you everyone for your kind words and well-wishes in my last posts’ comments and on Facebook!  We are super excited about the impending arrival of our little one.   I’m also excited to plan and prepare for him/her, which ya’ll will be privy to I’m sure.  However, I did promise my friend Adam that this wouldn’t turn into a baby blog and I intend to keep that promise.  Most of the time.  Speaking of… 

I consider myself a fairly patient person.  But I am done, I repeat, DONE with our living room.    Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with it (a fact that The Hubs is much too quick to point out).   We have decent furniture (er, ok, “had”), things matched, and as a room it worked.  The room looked nice and even kind-of put together.  The problem is that I had always been “just dealing” with it.  So you have hand-me-down forest green couches that you can’t afford to replace?  Let’s buy some pillows, fancy it up and make it work (any idea how hard it is to coordinate with forest green?!).  Oh?  And the room is pretty dang small?  Well that’s ok, we’ll keep it minimal and pick out some smaller items to go with it.  Like a GIANT 52″ flat screen TV.  Side-eye to The Hubs.  

Perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones kicking in, or perhaps it’s the fear that I’ll never be able to spend money on myself again come January…but I decided that I must tackle this project.  Now. 

I went ahead and put together a quick and dirty mock-up to portray our current situation.  I only included the major pieces of the room so it looks a little baron (I promise you it’s a bit more inviting than this floor plan leads you to believe).  The door to the bottom left is the front door to our house.  If you proceed through the room (to the left of the couch) you walk past the stairway (leading upstairs) and into the kitchen.   

Allow me to break down my annoyances for you:

1.  Turns out forest green couches just aren’t my thing!  It’s so hard to coordinate colors and accessories.  I always felt extremely limited when picking out pillows, rugs and decor for the room…often passing on items I loved because they just didn’t fit.  

2.  The couches are actually the “overstuffed” kind…which in my opinion is just too big for the size of the room we are working with.

3.  The whole style overall just isn’t me.  

4.  Lack of seating.  I think we could make better use of the limited space we have so more than a few people can sit down at once.   A 52″ HD TV typically means there’s a lot of hockey, football and (sigh) hunting-show watching done at our house and in reality about 5 people could sit comfortably in the room.  And five is generous because it includes me sitting on a trunk that sits in the entryway (not pictured above).

5.  It’s really hard to get to the closet (see it there in the back right hand corner) to get the vacuum out.  Maybe that’s why The Hubs never does it…

6.  The room feels very boxy to me.  Immediately upon walking in the front door you’re met with the coffee table which makes the room feel closed-off and uninviting. 

7.  I have tried every, and I mean EVERY furniture arrangement you can think of with this space.  And the only combination that works with our current furniture is what you see above.  I distinctly remember The Hubs coming home from hunting one weekend and asking me what I did that day, to which I replied “re-arranged the living room.”  He looked at me a bit like I’d gone crazy, peeked back in the living room and said “um, sweetie?  It looks exactly the same.”   Yes.  Yes it did look exactly the same despite the fact that I had spent my entire day pushing and moving heavy furniture around to every possible location.   

But I think the biggest irk about this room is that it’s just not me.  Sure, Monty Dolack paintings are great, but it’s not really the look I want in my house.   Sorry Monty. 

In addition, I feel I’m working hard (and a lot) and we should have stuff that is ours.  Not just hand-me-downs that we’ve “made work” for the past five years.

So one night while sitting on my beloved forest green couch I got to thinking…what if…

What if we scrapped this whole damn room? 
What if we got a new couch and put it on the opposite wall under the window?  Oh my god I’ve never been able to have those windows open or reap the benefits of glorious sunlight shining in…thanks to the giant TV placed in front of them. 
What if that meant the new couch could be a sectional that could seat multiple people?
What if we moved the TV to the opposite wall?

I was onto something and it wasn’t going away.  It was going to take some convincing, some reasearch and some saving, but in the end my vision was something like this:

I love that the layout addresses so many of my previous concerns:  it completely opens up the space, allows for more seating, offers new options for colors slash accessories and opens a whole new world of opportunities for decorating.  

I did have concerns with this design however.  The sectional had to be just the right dimensions to work in the proposed area, and moving the TV to the other wall meant that there is potential for glare from the window on the screen.  Also, there’s no cable hook-up on that wall so we’d either have to run a new cable, or deal with one stretched down the baseboard to the new TV location (um, no thanks).  

So it’s not like this idea didn’t have risks, but god bless hormones because as of last week our living room looked like this:

Aye Carumba

Sayonara couches and get ready to kick-the-curb coffee table and rug.  

Obviously I’ve pulled the trigger on the move, but it’s going a bit slower than I thought.  We’ve found (and purchased) a couch, but we are working on getting cabling done, carpets cleaned and the rest of the furniture sold before moving anything around.   And since you know I’m a planner, here’s my entire to-do list for the room:

  • Look into cabling for cat5 and coax 
  • Research and purchase a couch
  • Move couch inside!
  • Rearrange furniture and see what still works and what doesn’t 
  • Find or DIY some fun patterned pillows for the new couch
  • See if previously-purchased West Elm curtains will work, if not sell on Craigslist
  • Sew curtains (if West Elms don’t work)
  • Sew curtain for front door windows to reduce glare on TV
  • Consider painting living room
  • Be on the lookout for a console table for the entryway
  • Be on the lookout for cheap frames to put a frame gallery in the entry way
  • Paint mirror
  • Replace boob lamp with a some sort of drum shade light (Eden light at CB2?) and install dimmer
  • Find a fun patterned rug (8×10) 
  • Update the leather tray for table (line with fabric?)
  • Decide on wall art (maybe some covered fabric canvases) for the wall with the couch.  Something to fill up the big space and bring in some color. 

This list may take me 17 years to complete, and I’m not opposed to waiting on a few things so I can find something I love.  I don’t want to rush through the list just to cross something off….since I’m starting from scratch I really want this to be a room that makes me happy and is full of stuff I love.  Plus, aren’t time and budget always a concern (that was for you Hubs).   Luckily I have a whole lot of Janna-time coming up in the next few months while the Hubs is out hunting…so hopefully I can make a bit of progress soon! 

I’ll be keeping you in the loop as things progress, but for now you can imagine us sitting in our camp chairs when we need to veg.  Yes, the camp chairs are inside and let me tell you….we both agree they aren’t as comfortable when you’re not sitting by a campfire.

Patio Table Plans

Ever since our backyard master plan was developed….I’m having a hard time not fantasizing about the finished product.  Read:  I want it done NOW. 

I know…I know.  The whole idea of this plan was so we could complete it in baby steps.  A phase here, a phase there…so it would be easier on us and less overwhelming on our bank account.  But I still can’t help but imagine myself sitting back there under my pergola with a cup of coffee in hand admiring my perimeter garden flowers.   Unless I win the lottery however (note to self:  start playing the lottery) I’ll be waiting for awhile to live out that scenario.

That doesn’t mean I can’t still fantasize about it.  So lately I’ve been thinking about patio tables.  I figure with our expanded patio, we’ll need a bigger table.  I’ve had my current round table for almost 8 years now and it’s definitely showing its years.  I’ve thought about trying to fix it up a little (perhaps a new coat of paint) but I’ve also been thinking about making one.  On my own.  With saws and drills and stuff.

Maybe I’m crazy.  I’ve never made anything of significance out of wood (well, except for our fence….but that was pretty straightforward).  And the bookends, wall clocks and cutting boards I made in wood shop back in middle school probably don’t count.  So am I crazy to think I can pull this off?!  It just doesn’t seem that hard to me as long as I keep the design simple.

Here’s some of my inspiration.

Mendocino Collection from C&B

Regatta Collection from C&B

Weekender from CB2

Wood-Slat Collection from West Elm

Hmmm.   Maybe I just want to be where those tables are?

These tables all cost at least $500 if not more which I can’t justify – not to mention the shipping I’d have to pay to get them all the way to Montucky!

So….am I crazy to think I can do this?!  Because I truly think I can not only make this sucker…but make it look good too.  I’ve even drawn up my own design – which is based primarily on the Weekender Collection from CB2.

Sorry - the quality isnt the best on my scan! Click on the drawing for a bigger version.

The idea would be to make a table and a bench (that is just a smaller version of the table itself).  You can see this concept in most of the inspiration pictures above.  The table would have a bench on one side, then 4 chairs (two for the other side across from the bench and then one for each head of the table).  Heck, I could even use my existing chairs if I gave them a little pick-me-up (like a new color paint and to re-cover the seats).

In my eyes, here are the steps I’d need to take to accomplish this task:

1.  Drink lots of wine to convince myself I’m really doing this.

2.  Confirm the table will fit in the planned expanded patio area by staking off the patio area and then staking off the new table dimension.  (um…check.  Already did this.  hee hee).

3.  Purchase a kreg jig  so I can join the pieces of wood together in a somewhat professional manner.  I’d prefer not to see the screws on each slat of wood. 

4.  Purchase lumber and have them pre-cut it.  I already know the exact sizes that I’ll need.

5.  Assemble  (this makes it sound so easy!)

6.  Stain

7.  Drink lots of wine with my feet on the new table to celebrate that I really did this!

I did some preliminary calculations…and the cost of making just the table (not the bench) would be under $200.  The final cost of course will primarily depend on the type of wood I go with (some are better for outdoor use than others) and the quality of stain, etc.  But some rough estimates had me coming in under two hundy…which would be fine and dandy with me!

Now here’s the disclaimer and potential buzz kill.  I have no idea if this is even a project that I can start this year.  Trust me, I really want to!  But the new patio is definitely a pre-requisite to building this thing because it would overpower our existing space.   If however the patio gets poured this spring (like I’m hoping it will)…this will be high on my to-do list and you know I’ll keep you posted along the way.

What do you guys think?  Am I being too confident with my non-existant wood working skills?  Or do you think I should go for it?  Because if it all works out….I’ve got big plans for making one of these too:

I’ve got big plans…

Whew!  It’s been awhile since I’ve written and I do apologize.  We had another bank conversion last week and it turns out that there’s just no time for blogging while I’m driving from city to city, working late at the branch and doing it all over again the next day.  I’m sure you all have missed me terribly!

The good news is that long bouts in the car also get my mind a-goin…and I needed something to distract me from going crazy with work.  So I turned my attention to a project that’s been on my mind for over a year:  planting a garden.   I know, how hippie of me, right?  Actually it’s been something The Hubs and I have been interested in doing for awhile now, but for whatever reason never pulled the trigger on it.  Actually, I know damn well what the reason was but it just seems stupid now….but I’ll get to that in a second.

It all started two years ago when we were in Hawaii visiting my friend Erin and our jaws dropped at the sight of her lemon, lime and avocado trees.  How awesome would it be to have that type of produce at our fingertips?  Feeling like a mojito?  Just go pluck that lime from the tree in your front yard and some mint from your garden.  Sah-weet.  (Before I go on, let me just state that YesIKnow Montana’s climate is not conducive to growing any type of citrus fruit let alone avocados as big as your head).  But Erin also had a square foot garden out back that she uses all year round. Which is totally unfair if you ask me…I’ll have 3 months for a growing season if I’m lucky.  But I digress.  The point is that the proverbial seed was planted.

Then, a few months later for my birthday, The Hubs gave me this book:

I just love this cracks me up every time. Good 'ol Mel.

I read the whole book in a couple of nights and was stoked to garden!  He makes it sound so simple, as if anyone can do it, even those of us that have killed every single house plant we’ve every owned.  The whole idea of square foot gardening is to be more efficient in your growing:  grow more in less space.  Which is brilliant for those of us that don’t have a lot of space to begin with (for instance, if you only have to move the sprinkler twice to water your backyard).   I was convinced.  The Hubs was convinced.  We were totally going to do it, so off I went.

Step 1:  Design your garden.  This is where you figure out if you want a 4×4 bed, 2×4, 2×6, etc.  Seems pretty simple right?  Not to mention awesome because you can totally adjust the design of your garden to fit your particular space.  WRONG.  This is the point at which I bailed.  Yep.  That’s right.  Step numero uno.   I froze.  How did I want the garden to look?  Where was I going to put it?  What if I put it in the wrong spot?   What the heck did I even want to grow?!  Terrifying isn’t it?  Unfortunately for me it was, but give me a minute to try to explain.

1.  I’m a planner.  We all know this by now.

2.  Our backyard isn’t what I would consider “done.”  When I moved in I insisted suggested we build a cedar privacy fence (because while it’s awesome that our yard opens up to a giant park…it’s not awesome to have other dogs poop in our yard or other people’s kids play in it).   So a year later, we built a fence (and dug every stinking post hole by hand because The Hubs thinks us “desk people” could use some manual labor.  ??!!).    But other than the existing patio, the fence and a few Hops plants….we haven’t done anything.  No landscaping; not a single tree, no flower beds, zip.  So in my mind, the backyard still has a LOT of work to be done and I can’t just be throwing in  a garden all willie-nillie!  I just can’t do it.

In order to free myself from indecision, I decided that we needed a Backyard Master Plan.   Not a to-do list and certainly not something that we would have to stick to….but at least, at a very minimum….some ideas about how we wanted the yard to end up long-term.  Because then I might have a better idea about where the right spot to put a garden would be.

Makes sense, right?

So first thing I did was sketch out our backyard as it stands today…which honestly wasn’t very tough to do!

Next, I made a call to my favorite landscape designer – my sister.  How conveeeenient.  She was able to help me whip up a plan in no time at all.  It really made me feel silly for putting it off for so long.

Quite a little oasis, isn’t it?  The plans call for an expanded patio (part of which would be covered with a wooden trellis), some perimeter gardens (exact plants not decided yet….but probably some native grasses and bushes), a couple of stone walkways to our gates, a compost area, a few aspen trees and of course gardening area.  Plus, the bonus to this whole Master Plan business is that we can totally “piece-mail” projects from it.  You know, tackle a garden this year and perhaps the expanded patio as well?  Then maybe next year the perimeter beds and some trees?  Then the following year a trellis and some more shrubs/native grasses to fill it in?  Yeah, a plan.  Nothing bad can come from a little planning!

I know it looks like we’re eating up our whole backyard to patio and landscaping.  And it’s kinda true.  The only reason I’m ok with this approach is because our gate opens up to a huge park – so even today when we have people over we end up using the space out there for any sort of lawn activity.   Plus, one of The Hubs favorite things to do is have summer BBQs with friends; so the idea of a patio that’s big enough to host several couples (and um, did you see the “bar” drawn in?) would bring many advantages to us.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here anyways…as excited as I am about this whole plan, I know it will be several years before the whole thing comes to fruition.  I’ve gotta take it easy on The Hubs (and the pocket-book)!

But we ARE back on track to get our garden going this spring.  Yep.  One 4×4 square foot garden coming up.  I’ll be sure to document the whole process, from building our raised bed and installing it, to mixing our soil and planning/planting our seeds.  Oh, and of course the harvesting.  And if by chance that harvesting includes any limes…everyone’s invited for mojitos!