About Me

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Bonjour!  I'm Christen!  Been all over the U.S., and just moved from Utah down to Texas for my husband's new job!  After having been in the Navy, I am now a student of Anthropology, a stay at home mom to my new baby, a half arsed writer, belly dance instructor/student and performer, and just general, all around "Jack of all trades, master of nothing." 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Writing Prompt Challenge: Day 1

As I wrote about in my last post, I am terrible at making time to blog, and will let tons of time go in between posts or even series.  It's a habit I really need to correct, especially if I am going to try to become more serious in all my writing aspects, both in the blogosphere and on paper for a novel.

To catch up, you can see my post and the Challenge Prompt here.

Day 1: Self Portrait and 5 Random Facts About Myself.


Man, what to put.  I used to have a life, but now I'm a mom.......



  • I used to teach Belly Dancing.  Belly Dance has been my outlet for years, but now with the time constraints of my kid, and my nanny schedule, I haven't been regularly in over 2 years.  I really need to fix that.
  • I can't eat food if it's slimy or squishy.  It grosses me out to no extent.
  • Even though we are a Paleo household, I'm a vegetarian naturally.  Food poses a huge hurdle for me in this house.
  • My most favorite place in the world is the Pacific Northwest (PNW for you locals ;) )
  • I'm a Gemini so my interests are wide and varied, but since I am a true Gemini and distracted easily my huge aspirations often are thwarted by another interest or pursuit.
And a bonus 6th one for you all ;) ~ It will probably be a long time before you see a current selfie of me.  I have avoided the camera like the plauge since the baby was born.  The weight has all been lost, but I also lost my self confidence after birth and just can't stand to see how much I've changed.  This picture is from the last photo shoot I did in 2013, about 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Becoming a More Efficient Blogger

ADD at it's finest does not make for a very efficient blogger.  Weeks will literally get away from me before I realize I need to write another post.  Or I will end up spending so much time on 1 or 2 different posts, that I get overwhelmed and step away for a little bit.  I don't have huge aspirations for the blog, but getting more traffic would be nice (yes, ego brushed, I will admit it).

I noticed the other day that my good friend Shannon over at Only the Betz blog had put up some 31 day writing prompts.  I think that's an amazing idea!  It takes 3 weeks to create a habit, and this has a full month for me to concrete the routine of writing and getting the juices flowing.  It will also allow me a little bit of leeway to get going on my next Paleo Toddler Series post.

Here is the 31 day prompt challenge from Pinterest:





Part of me is so excited to write these, I love exploring different topics. The other part is terrified.  Fear of rejection, having to put really personal things, and you know actually thinking about things other than my family..... that's a lot to deal with for a person who is trying to reclaim her individuality!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Basic Pantry Building and Shopping

So now that I've given you all some amazing looking recipes to try, I just know you're chomping at the bit to go out and restock your entire pantry, and start looking like these guys in the picture!
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But emptying all your old processed chemical foods into the bin and completely replenishing is just not an option for almost all of us out there!  We didn't have much of a choice since our Baby B's health was at stake, and luckily we were mostly Paleo so there wasn't too much of an overhaul, but it still ate up quite a bit of the grocery money that week.  

Now that we've been doing this for a bit, I'm starting to get the hang of finding out where to save money, how to get the best buys for what we need, and how to do our shopping so that we don't end up wasting a bunch of produce (that shit adds up!!)

Figure out what you eat most.  Spend a month playing around with different meals that are Paleo or Paleo-ish and see what you eat the most of.  If you aren't ready to go full Paleo, incorporate 3-4 meals a week with your standard fare.  For example, we found that we eat a ton of eggs and beef now, leafy greens are here and there, and that we upped our consumption of sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado and peppers.  After you find what type of foods work best for you and your family, meal planning and grocery lists are so much easier to handle.

Plan, plan, and plan some more.  Go through Pinterest (you can take a look at The Paleo Toddler Board, Dinner Time, or "Man Food" for inspiration and take aways) or Google to help find recipes with the foods you eat most often.  Then go ahead and do the handy dandy meal planning.  I Heart Planners is having a September Meal Planning Challenge that I just signed up for, complete with free calendar printable!

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Shop small, shop often.  This one I'm not a huge fan of, but it does help minimize our waste.  At the very least, I buy only what we need for the week's meal plan plus a few snacks on hand, and at the most I will end up at the store 2-3 times a week for new produce as it runs out.  This way it stays fresh, and we are sure to use it! 

Don't be afraid of the bulk bins.  While produce is best bought in small quantities, dry goods you definitely want in larger amounts!  We go through coconut and almond flour like crazy, and B can eat lentils and quinoa so it's a much cheaper option to buy big bags and pour in tidy containers! Sprouts has an amazing selection of bulk products, and even stores like Kroger are getting in on the act by having bulk section that they keep adding to.  
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Also, if you have access to Costco, a membership will benefit you greatly!  Costco has tons of organic items, which can vary from store to store.  A 5 lb. bag of almond flour costs around $25, much better than $11-$12 for 10 oz at the grocery store! We also use them to stock up on grassfed butter, organic seasonings, eggs, and meat. Be sure to stick to your list otherwise it's too easy to walk away with chocolate cake the size of a small dog, and car batteries!

Phase out old food.  Realize this is a process.  As you finish off your bad foods, simply don't replace them.  Put that money you would spend on inferior food in a jar or in your budget towards clean snacks or grassfed meats.  If you do that for a month, there should be a nice sum to use for your new clean shopping list.  I calculated the amount we would spend on fast food, candy, or bags of chips with hydrogenated oils and my jaw dropped.  We could have had grassfed steak 2-3 times that month at home, and vodka, if we hadn't spent that money!  

Homemade is the way to go.  I know we are all busy, and many of you out there are busier than I am.  I implore you to set aside just a couple hours a week to pre-make a few things.
They taste better, you know what's in it, and it saves you money since you can make huge batches.  I've started making our Paleo English Muffins in bulk and freezing them so we can just pull a couple out to toast  and be on with our day.  Having pre-made food also makes it sooooooo much harder to justify bad food when you know you have options at home.

I promise just like with anything else, it gets easier as you go.  One day you will look back and wonder how you managed without the food-style you have now!  Cheers!


How do you prep and budget for your clean meals? Let me know!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Paleo Toddler Series: Homemade Lunches and Dinner

After getting together our breakfasts and snacks, it's now time to move on to the next step:  lunch and dinner.

This one is a little harder for me since we love breakfast foods in the house. Seriously, we eat breakfast for dinner every Friday, and if we can't think of something to eat, it's bacon and eggs for dinner.

After scouring my trusty Pinterest, I've posted some amazing looking meals that can double for lunch or dinner to The Paleo Toddler board.

Stock up on grassfed ground beef, turkey,