Cooking and cleaning

June 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The boys are at Pioneer Camp this week.

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While they are busy making bricks, digging holes, forging iron, and mostly just getting dirty, I am trying to get the house back in order after termite-ageddon.

Yesterday the screens on our pool cage were repaired.

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See Maggie…that is a pool cage. Or a bird cage around the pool. Or a screened-in pool. Or whatever you want to call it. Apparently not common in California? Very common in Florida. When they tented the house for termites they had to cut all the screens abutting the house. It was so sad. All of the accumulated debris on those screens just fell through onto the pool deck and into the pool.

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It doesn’t look as bad in the pictures as it did in real life. There were branches and leaves and dirt everywhere. It was depressing.

But now…

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no more debris!

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I spent most of the morning sweeping the whole deck. Deck sweeping attire (which I would never wear in public, but apparently I would share with the interwebs…plus, this reflection is nice and blurry, mostly obscuring my squishy parts):

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Next up will be pressure washing the deck with Chad’s new pressure washer. I think it was a pretty nice gift considering labor was included.

Of course as soon as they put up the new screens some more branches fell on them.

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It was quite an ordeal just to find a company to repair the screens. What is it with contractors of all sorts? They don’t return calls. They don’t want to give estimates. I called six companies and was only able to get a written estimate from one of them! Luckily, the guys were great and did a good job, but I have no idea if their bid was competitive because I couldn’t even get a second bid. We went with Reliable Screens and they were nice to work with. They came when they said they were going to and knew what they were doing. It’s crazy how they walk around on those narrow bars on the cage ceiling.

They told me they are a “one call does it all” kind of business, and I am also going to use them to clean out and repair our gutters and clean off the roof. Maybe I can get them to remove all the branches from the top of the pool cage while they are at it.

In addition to cleaning the pool deck today, I also did a bunch of cooking.

I have Chinese five spice pork ribs in the crock pot (recipe from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2).

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I also made cole slaw to have a side dish with dinner (recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain). It is made with my awesome homemade mayo (recipe from Well Fed).

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We’re also going to have cheddar garlic biscuits that I made on Sunday. Everything is #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) of course. I’m almost 10 months NSNG now, and loving it. This is the way to live…for me and my family anyway.

I also have bone broth on the stove, but it’s a 2-day process.

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I am using Wellness Mama’s method for making bone broth. The organic grass-fed beef bones are from Rosas Farms. They are in Ocala, but deliver to St. Pete and other areas twice a month. I pick up my meat in the Home Depot parking lot out of the trunk of some guy’s car…this is normal, right?

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I’m also making a new batch of mayo since I used up all that we had for the cole slaw and we must always have homemade mayo.

Whew. I also did two loads of laundry. I feel like I got a lot accomplished today. The boys will be home soon.

In other random news, I was excited to see the progress on our Trader Joe’s…just a mile or so from my house:

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Since the new Trader Joe’s opened in Tampa in March I haven’t even been over there! I’m not quite as enamored with TJ’s as I used to be, but I’m still psyched to be getting one here in St. Pete. I like options, and I will never run out of coconut cream!


Goodbye September and Whole30

September 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Today is the 30th day of my Whole30! The last day! Woohoo! I did it. As far as I know I was totally compliant the whole time. Well, still have half of today to go, but whatever. I did not weigh myself at the beginning of this whole30 so I don’t know how much weight I lost. However, I am very happy because all of my fat clothes, which were tight when I started, are now loose. Don’t you hate when your fat clothes are tight? That’s the worst. I feel great and very detoxed.

My plan is to forge ahead tomorrow with a basic NSNG (no sugar, no grains) approach. Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit and dairy are fine. I will, however, be mindful not to overindulge in either. And I think I’ll be fine with that. I don’t eat or crave that much fruit anyway. I’m going to start by reintroducing dairy slowly and see how I do with that. I’m starting with heavy whipping cream in my coffee in the morning. If I feel like it’s making me crave sugar then I’ll re-evaluate. I think it will be fine, though. I’m staying optimistic that I can reincorporate dairy in a moderate way and be ok. I’m not always so good with “moderate” though, so we’ll see.

So what has happened in my fascinating life since I last overshared…last Thursday?

That day I met with the awesome ladies behind Molly and the Hoola Monsters, a new kids’ DVD soon to be released starring MY friend Molly. Here’s a little preview:

They are having a FREE premiere screening at Sunken Gardens on Sunday, October 20th. They will also have hooping demonstrations, treats, and all of the cast of characters will be there. Click HERE to RSVP and get more information (or let me know if I need to send you an invite…but it’s open to the public!). We’ll be there to cheer Molly and her friends on!

Later that afternoon I had great parking karma at Publix.

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I ended up having a late lunch and wasn’t very hungry Friday night so this was my dinner:

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Chewie knows when fruits and vegetables are being prepared that he is going to get a bite.

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Friday morning Mack, Chewie, and I walked to school.

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Friday breakfast:

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Friday afternoon, lots of decorative gourds at Fresh Market.

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Also Applegate Farms organic hot dogs on sale until October 8th.

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Interestingly I posted that picture on Facebook and about half of the comments were, “Whoa, that’s crazy expensive” and half were, “Wow, that’s a great deal.” I guess it’s all relative. Apparently even the regular price on these at Fresh Market is less than at Publix (and about the same as Target).

Friday night I made Cocoa Toasted Cauliflower.

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You can find the recipe here on Melissa Joulwan’s blog, The Clothes Make the Girl.

It may sound strange, but it was really delicious.

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The boys loved it and Chad said it was the best cauliflower he had ever had (and I make cauliflower fairly frequently).

Saturday breakfast:

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The star fruit is from a tree in my friend Debbie’s yard. She is my Annie’s Organics coordinator. She also has a big Florida avocado tree in her yard. We get bonuses in our shares from her yard!

I did some food prep on Saturday.

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Saturday dinner:

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Sunday breakfast:

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Sunday morning the boys and I met my friend Ali and her daughter Molly (of Hoola Monster fame) at Artpool for an indie market.

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There were lots of Etsy sellers there.

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All kinds of handmade cuteness.

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I loved these tote bags, all made out of livestock feed bags.

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The craftsman told me that most of the bags come from feeding their own animals, but friends also save bags for them.

One of these catfish feed bags came home with me (I can’t resist a good aqua color).

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They were only $7 and I wish I had bought another one as a gift. I have to say that they do sort of still smell like animal feed inside. I can live with it.

I also loved all this found-object art:

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Bicycle chain bracelets!

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In the bicycle theme, I could not resist buying this adorable bunting for a friend (and she may be reading this and is guessing it’s for her and she’s right):

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This artist/craftsman (em lee) had so many adorable applique objects…

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This little pillow of hers also came home with me.

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Cal REALLY wanted this beat up suede trench coat…

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but it was out of his price range so we had a discussion about delayed gratification. I hope I learned something from that discussion.

Mack and Molly both found something to buy:

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I also let both boys buy a novelty pack of gum.

Cal chose:

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Mack chose:

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Which is not true and is almost ironic since the only “bands” he’s seen in concert are The Wiggles, Hi-Five, Jack Hartmann, and Flo Rida at the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Pete Half Marathon. And I may be old but I DID get to see all the cool bands. Or at least a bunch of them.

After shopping at the crafty fest we went up Central Ave. to Beak’s Old Florida for lunch.

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It pays to check in on Yelp at Beak’s. There is a BOGO first drink check-in offer on there. I had already used it the last time I was there because I am The Duchess!


I got a burger with a house salad (no cheese) on the side with oil and vinegar. Then I removed the burger from the bun and plopped it on top of my salad.

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It was pretty tasty.

Dinner Sunday night:

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Chad roasted some salmon and on my piece he used the last of the Moroccan dipping sauce as a marinade (from the “Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat” recipe here). I used that sauce at about half a dozen meals. It’s a great recipe.

This morning Mack, Chewie, and I walked to school.

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When I got home I was in a hurry to get ready to go back to school to volunteer, so my LAST whole30 breakfast (for this time at least) was a quickie.

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OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day):

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This top is from Gwynnie Bee, the “Netflix” for women’s clothing size 10 and up. Dang, that is dizzy-ing.

At school I put together the homework packets, as usual, among other things.

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School pictures!

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I sat with Mack in the courtyard while he ate lunch.

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Then I went home and had my lunch.

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That’s two Applegate Farms organic hot dogs, sour kraut, and a chopped salad with lettuce, spinach, tomato, golden beets, grilled chicken thighs, bell pepper, avocado and a homemade mayo-based dressing. Kind of a mess, I know.

This afternoon has been mostly picking up and dropping off boys. They are at karate now. I need to go make my LAST whole30 dinner.

Don’t forget about the October Instagram Challenge that I’m co-hosting with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, sponsored by Parkesdale Farm Market starting tomorrow!

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Be sure to follow @parkesdale on Instagram and post a photo every day based on the daily photo prompts listed above. Use the hashtags #Octogram and #Parkesdale, and link up at the end of this post. You could be one of 12 winners of a $65 gift box from Parkesdale!

Disclaimer: This Instagram #Octogram #Parkesdale photo challenge is a sponsored collaborative effort between the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Parkesdale Farm Market.  Other than prizes to be awarded as giveaways for the Instagram photo challenge, the Tampa Bay Bloggers did not receive any compensation for this campaign.