Honestly, I don't remember how I discovered the Whole30 at this point. I know I got the book from the library (then wound up buying it), read it cover to cover, and something (probably the promises it made) just made me inspired and determined that I was going to do this!

What is the Whole30?

The Whole30 was created by Melissa & Dallas Hartwig. I would consider the Whole30 an experiment. The creators emphasize, it is NOT a diet (and it's not). Diets are about losing weight, and you typically do them until you reach a set goal or fall off the wagon. The Whole30 is done for a predetermined amount of time, and the ultimate goal is to figure out how different foods may affect you, with the added benefit of breaking food addictions.

You cut out the following food groups:

  • Dairy
  • Legumes/Soy
  • Grains
  • Sugar

At this point you might be thinking sheesh, what CAN I eat?

  • Meat & Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts & Seeds

And you can eat until you're satisfied! No counting - carbs, calories, or anything else! As they'd say on Whose Line Is It Anyway - the points don't matter!

I cannot recommend enough to read the book for yourself. I cannot tell you how many times I've been browsing Pinterest and seen recipes for "Whole 30 approved xyz" (Fries, Pudding, Waffles - you name it!), that are NOT Whole30 approved at all! But you wouldn't necessarily know that if you didn't read the book for yourself. This is where the idea of food addiction comes in. If you can use whole foods to recreate a food that is more commonly known as "junk" food (including the list I just mentioned, think pancakes, ice cream, etc.), it's still not allowed. This is basically an effort to rewire your brain so that you don't see food as some sort of a reward, as that can lead to serious eating problems.

After 30 days of eating this way, you then reintroduce the food groups you eliminated, one at a time, and take a couple of days to see how your body reacts to having the food back in your system. While they reintroduce the foods in an order that is supposed to have the least effect to the greatest effect (legumes, whole grains, dairy, gluten), it was actually the opposite for me; and hey, that's okay! That's what this program is all about! Legumes wreaked havoc on my stomach and whole grains made me an emotional mess.

While it is recommended that you take measurements and weigh yourself before and after doing the Whole30 to see visible results, what the creators really want you to pay attention to are your "non-scale victories". For me, this included things like: MUCH clearer complexion, clothes fitting better, leaner appearance (I didn't necessarily notice this, but people at work kept asking what I was doing, so someone noticed it!), not needing (or feeling like I needed) an afternoon nap, control over cravings, and in my children: improved behavior!

It's a serious program (if you cheat, you have to start from the beginning!), but it also yields serious results!

Why not give it a try? What do you have to lose?

The End of a Journey. The Start of Something New.

Sometimes the greatest miracle in your life... takes time. -- Todd Mullins.

I've been having posts pop up in my Facebook timeline from last year. Posts about seeing our trial getting moved the third or fourth time (I lost count). I referenced it to Baymax chasing the soccer ball or Charlie Brown & Lucy with the football.

Right now, our church has been going through a series on miracles: seeing God move in our lives and accomplish great things. As part of my weekly schedule, I volunteer each week pulling out quotes to make graphics for our church's social media. Last Sunday, the quote above came out of our pastor's mouth and I almost began to cry.

See, in September 2014, we were told the boys were coming back into care and would be placed into our home for the third time. We were also told that this would be an "Expedited TPR" -- which made it sound like this would be quick, considering permanency is supposed to happen within a year when a case isn't "expedited."

Well, whatever my expectations... they were wrong. VERY wrong.

For those who know us well, for those who have heard us rant and vent... you know this path has not been easy. Our journey has been incredibly rough. Some who have heard the stories asked "why? or "are you sure you want to do this?" I can't blame them. They've seen us cry. They've seen me shove my face while stress eating. They've watched us beg and plead for help when no one believed just how bad some of it was. But these are our boys. These are our sons. They have been since the first time they were placed in our home. Recently, Elisabeth and I stood back and simply watched the boys. A smile crossed our faces as we said to each other "they've come so far." You see, these boys are our miracles.

1050 days. That's how long it took. This does not even include the back and forth that happened with them coming and going in and out of our home. Like I stated earlier, it felt like us that it took forever. Court dates set. Court dates cancelled. Court dates set. Court dates delayed. Then, FINALLY, a trial... and an appeal. Ambiguity as to when we'd ever ever hear the words: "You can adopt them." So often it felt like we were living in a state of limbo. Would this ever happen? When the boys came to us they were 2. Now they're 6. 4 years. 1050 days in our home. 3 or 4 trial delays. An appeal process. Lots... and lots... of time.

So here we stand today. 5.15.17. Proud to finally announce Jacob & Anthony Neumann. Four years ago, as we took the Orientation, I never imagined we'd be here today. But, as Pastor Todd said: Sometimes the greatest miracles in your live... take time.

Mini Star Wars Notebook


Supplies needed to make Mini Star Wars Notebooks:


  1. Measure the size of the Star Wars Trading Cards.
  2. Cut a strip of ribbon the length of the Trading Cards
  3. Use the ruler to draw rectangles (the same dimensions as the Trading Cards) on paper.
  4. *I have typically used 20-30 rectangles, but you may try more or less, depending on how thick you want your mini notebook to be.
    **You can also just trace along the outside of the trading cards to make the rectangles if you are short on time, but this will cause the paper to be slightly larger than the trading cards.
  5. Cut out rectangles, then (using the binder clip) clip together the rectangles between two Star Wars Trading Cards.
  6. Generously apply glue to the top long edge of the paper/cards.
  7. Wait until the glue dries, then apply a second (wait to dry) and third coat of glue.
  8. After the third coat of glue dries, apply a final [lighter] coat of glue, and stick on your piece of ribbon to provide a "binding" for the notebook.