Exciting stuff is happening for the Noel’s…

No, I am not pregnant.

Now that we have that out of the way, I am excited to finally be able to say…

The Noel’s are moving to Richmond, Virginia!

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This move has been in the works for several months, but we’ve been waiting for key pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. And over the last few days they (finally) have.

I really miss my family and being able to spend time with them on a regular basis. (Praise the Lord for Face Time and technology, though!) Thankfully, my husband is incredibly selfless and understanding and loves my family dearly as well and is willing to leave the only state he’s ever known as home for us to go on this adventure.

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We settled on Richmond because:

A) it’s a big enough city, which he is used to (sorry, Harrisonburg, you’re just too small for my city-boy hubby),

B) it’s close to family (a 2 hour drive vs. a 14 hour drive!) and

C) my best friend and her husband (and adorable little girls!) live there! Byrd and I haven’t lived in the same city for a loooong time and now to be in the same place at these stages of our lives is going to be so great.

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(Annie is super excited for play dates with Aunt Kate obviously.)

I will be joining Operator Jonathan Lighty at his new restaurant, Chick-fil-A Willow Lawn, which opens on June 15th!

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I can’t wait for Grand Opening week and to be a part of this new team. Emily is flying down next week to keep me company as we drive up on June 8th since Ron has another few weeks of work here.

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Ron will be working for BroadSpectrum as a Project Manager for the Pocahontas Expressway (above); very similar to what he does now with the Selmon Expressway here in Tampa. (HUGE answer to prayer!)

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I can’t wait to see how much the restaurant has changed since I was last there!

It’s hard to believe this season of life in Florida is coming to an end… honestly, it still doesn’t quite feel real!

Stay tuned for more updates on this adventure of ours!

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What I’m Reading: May

Maybe one day I’ll get into a routine of blogging consistently. At least I’m consistent about being inconsistent! Haha.

Since January I’ve read an additional four books which means I’m 30% of the way to my goal of 27 books in 2017! I’m two books behind “schedule” but I think I should be able to catch up pretty quickly.

What Happened to Happily Ever After? by David E. Clarke

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I was given this book by a  dear friend who is a friend of the author. Clarke gives some good tips on avoiding a boring marriage or becoming ships passing in the night, however (and I have to admit here, I finished this book in February so it’s been a little while) the author perpetuates a lot of male/female stereotypes. Not all men don’t want to talk about their days/feelings and not all women are endless chatterboxes (my words, not his). In the Noel household, it’s quite the opposite lol. Clarke makes some good points and suggestions, but I did find myself rolling my eyes sometimes at his male/female cliche’s.

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

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As women, it’s easy to let our emotions interfere or control our study of Scripture. I know it’s easy for me to forget that the Bible is primarily about God, not me. We live in an instantaneous culture and we expect answers and results immediately. We can do the same with the Bible and expect to be able to open to any page and find the answer we’re looking for for our situation. Women of the Word teaches us how to study the Bible with both our hearts and our minds. I highly recommend this book and it’s one I will definitely be re-reading this periodically.

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

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Another book by Jen, None Like Him dives into the ten ways God is different from us and why that’s a good thing. This book will also be on my re-read list! We are created in God’s image, but are not God, despite our sinful, rebellious tendencies.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

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I was fascinated by Gretchen’s research on habits and why some habits stick while others we never seem to master. She gives a framework for understanding yourself and personality which then allows you to answer the questions “how do I change my habits?” Obviously everyone is different so rather than a step-by-step guide to creating or ditching a specific habit, Better Than Before is a practical guidebook on how we can each discover and master the habits of our everyday lives.

Next up in my queue is The Unholy Trinity by Matt Walsh. The sub-heading is “Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender” so clearly it’s receiving rave reviews from liberals. (HA!) Personally, I find that hilarious because it only further proves his points. -_- And that’s all I’ll say on that for now!

What I’m Reading: January

When people ask me what I like to do for fun, reading is always one of the first things off of my lips. But when I actually thought about the number of books I’ve read in the past few years I realized I don’t actually make time to read like I would like to! Growing up I devoured books like candy. One summer I decided to keep track of how many pages I had read (part of our local library’s summer reading program… but I finished their page requirements in an afternoon.) I don’t remember the exact number but it was in the 200,000’s. I basically just read all the time. We even started going to another library 30 minutes away because we had read all the books we were interested in at our library!

So this year I set a goal for myself: to read 27 books in 2017.

I discovered goodreads.com and so far this year have already read 3 books which is probably, pathetically, the total number of books I read in 2016. Good Reads lets me keep track of books I’ve read, want to read, and am currently reading! I also set my goal for the year and can see my progress which is helpful.

Here’s what I read in January:

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The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
I am 100% on the Chip & Jo bandwagon. (#Shiplap) The Magnolia Story goes behind the scenes to the Gaines’ life in Waco, Texas and their journey to being one of HGTV’s most loved couples. I love how passionate they are about their beliefs and values and their commitment to faith and family.
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The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
I have read this book before, but it’s one of my favorites. I have always been fascinated by the events of World War II and Corrie Ten Boom’s story of bravery. She and her family of Dutch watchmakers were some of the greatest evangelists of the twentieth century and were able to save many Jews and underground workers from the Nazis proving love truly is greater than evil.
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Simple Matters by Erin Boyle
Living with less and ending up with more. Looking for beauty in addition to purpose and function. Being mindful of what we’re consuming on a daily basis. While I can’t say I will ever go 100% zero waste or for that matter even get my husband to give up his beloved paper towels, I am trying to be more mindful of the amount I am contributing to the landfills. Some things are easy… skip the plastic bags at the grocery store (including those product bags!), use a glass water bottle, diy cleaning products, etc. But those things just scratch the surface of conscious consumption. I plan to read more on this subject and slowly pursue living simply with less because it really is a journey and a process.

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I love looking forward to being able to curl up on the couch at the end of a long day and disappear in the pages of a book. I have 2 books queued up for February and am always open to suggestions! You can check out my Good Reads profile here and create your own account if you’d like to keep track of books you are reading and/or want to read!

 

What I Learned from Whole30

I have officially completed my first Whole30! The experience was honestly, a little easier than I was expecting, but that’s not to say there weren’t difficult moments! I can’t say that I truly experienced the “tiger blood” the Whole30 authors refer to, but I am sleeping better, my energy is up, and I have multiple non-scale victories which are wins in my book!

As I think back onto the past 30 days and life after Whole30 (I kind of don’t even know what to do with myself!) I came up with 10 thoughts/things I learned from this experience:

  1. Why did it take me so long to jump on the La Croix train?!
  2. Label reading is key. There are all sorts of unnecessary preservatives and crap added to things.
  3. Ghee over butter all day.
  4. Sweet potatoes are God’s gift to Whole30-ers everywhere.
  5. Cheese? What cheese?
  6. Nutritional Yeast: it’s not as weird as it sounds. And kind of tastes like cheese. (See #5.)
  7. Favorite Recipe right here.
  8. I reeeaaaallllyy missed popcorn. And chips and salsa.
  9. Plantain chips are dangerously delicious.
  10. I would definitely do this again. And will continue to stick to a mostly-Whole30 lifestyle.

Today was Day 1 of the Reintroduction phase and I experimented with legumes today. Peanut Butter with my banana (I actually prefer almond or sunflower butter!), hummus with my carrots, and lentil soup for dinner. I can already tell my body is not a huge fan of legumes and I don’t think it will be that difficult to leave out of my diet completely. Back to Whole30 for the next 2 days and then I’ll reintroduce non-gluten grains. We shall see!

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Richmond, Virginia

This past weekend Hubby and I flew up to Virginia for a weekend with my best friend, her husband, and little one! We flew into Washington DC, rented a car, and drove the two hours to Richmond which was cheaper than flying directly into Richmond!

We had so much fun, stayed up really late, and my best friend was super sweet and had Whole30 food ready for me. She’s the best.

In other news, my two youngest sisters are coming down to visit in ten days and I can’t wait! Even though we were only an hour-ish away from my family this weekend we didn’t get to see them, so I’m looking forward to Emily and Joelle coming to Florida!

In other, other news… I will do a Whole30 recap hopefully later this week. Tomorrow is the final day! Kind of hard to believe I’ve made it thirty days! Almost time for the reintroduction phase… which may need to be expedited a little bit with my sisters coming haha!

Whole30:Day 4

On a scale of one to kill-all-the-things, today really wasn’t that bad. (Well, on the Whole30 scale. We won’t talk about the work scale…) I made a scrambled egg (Yes one. It’s a struggle to eat more than one and a half eggs!) and steamed spinach. Not the greatest, but certainly not the worst.

For lunch I packed a hard boiled egg, some carrots and cucumbers, pineapple, and raw cashews. Only at a couple cashews… I’m thinking about roasting them myself. Trader Joes has delicious roasted and salted cashews but of course they would use rice bran oil and that’s a no-no.

But let’s talk about dinner…. I started beef bone broth in the slow cooker last night and let it simmer all night and today while I was at work. We made beef brisket with butternut squash and it was SO GOOD. Hubby laughs at me when I say this, but the flavor profiles were amazing! Where has ghee been all my life?! And where can I find it for less than $8 a container…? Definitely keeping this recipe on our favorites list!

I haven’t really had a sugar craving. Knock on wood. I mean, as I’m sitting here on the couch typing this at 10pm I would love a scoop or two of Publix’s Bearclaw ice cream. It pained me to throw away the half empty container the other day, but it was necessary.

Sleep wise I haven’t noticed any patterns yet. First night was bad, second night was great, and last night I kept waking up. I’m hoping if I stay up a little bit later tonight I’ll sleep well.

Off to finish The Magnolia Story. ❤

Whole30:Day 1-3

Six months later, I remembered I had a blog. Oops.

I started the Whole30 on January 2, 2017 and I am officially 3 days in. Here’s a quick recap:

Day 1
Holymotherofpearl I feel like crap. My head hurts. My body hurts. My stomach hurts. Everything. Hurts. Sugar Dragon is not happy and he’s letting me know it. Went to bed early (as in before 9pm early) and woke up feeling slightly better. Also started Kaila Itsines BBG and it’s unbelievable how out of shape I am.

Day 2

I can do this. I feel like all my time is spent in the kitchen and all I think about is Whole30. I’m loving that the Whole30 week 1 meal plan is all laid out and tells me exactly what to do each day. Win. Started Yoga with Adriene (hello, old friend!) this morning. Thirty days of yoga. Thirty days of Whole 30. Why not?
Also, I haven’t really been hungry… frittata for breakfast again, a banana with sunflower butter  and a few bites of egg salad over spinach for lunch. I had to work late so hubby made Perfect Seared Chicken and I’m never cooking chicken in anything other than ghee again. (Insert praise hands.) Leftover spaghetti squash and roasted red pepper sauce makes for a quick and easy meal after a long day.

Day 3

No headache for the first time since I started this Whole30 thing. Still not crazy hungry… but I have a fridge full of food we need to eat. #Freezer. Did the Abs & Arms workout this afternoon and I’m still sore/hobbling around like an old lady. Seriously, this is bad. Way bad. Behind on the Whole30 Week One meal plan already because it’s SO MUCH FOOD and we just haven’t been eating that much! Bone broth is simmering in the slow cooker for Beef Brisket tomorrow night. Time to heat up some spaghetti squash, ground turkey and homemade tomato sauce for dinner. Poor hubby is going to be tired of spaghetti squash after 3 meals in a row.

To be continued.