Robertson Mountain – 1Nov14

It started cold. COLD I say. I wish there were more photos but it was an insanely cold day especially once we neared the top. The summit was so foggy that it was like something out of a Stephen King novel. But the best place to start is at the beginning!

Woke up at 0darkthirty and started the rest of the getting of stuff in the car. I had told the kids to have ALL of their stuff together and ready to go into the car before bed but they didn’t listen :(. So we go and pick up Hannimal. It’s a good thing that we picked her up first. It’s a good thing because she had some serious perfume on and when I had an insane asthma attack and went for my bag with the inhaler in it we found that my bag wasn’t in the car. So…. to turn around and grab my pack (which included my WATER for the day… and my meds)

This is why we were almost a half hour late to the parking lot. It was probably a good thing we started later. As cold as it was when we got up on the summit? I can’t imagine being there half hour earlier.

It was so intensely beautiful. The crisp air only served to intensify the colors on the trees. When we started the clouds were no more than a thought in the air. The weather channel app on my phone said there was to be a high of 51 and only 30% chance of rain. The weather channel app LIED. LIED I tell you!

a view of Robertson mountain from the parking lot

map of Robertson Mountain trail

This is the same place we park when we do Old Rag. It actually takes part of the same trail. We started up the Berry Hollow fire road. First break was at the kiosk where the Berry hollow fire road, Old rag fire road, and Weakly hollow fire road meet with the Old Rag saddle trail. Waited FOREVER for the rest of our party to meet up with us. It felt like the temperature was dropping by the minute.

We continued down the Weakly fire road. It wasn’t long before we saw the turn off to the Robertson mountain trail. And then the UP began.

Elevation map

According to hiking upward there is a 1700 foot elevation gain in 1.5 miles. Again I wish I had more pictures. It was intensely beautiful.

view of Old Rag from Robertson

I like my panoramic shots

Hannah next to the stream on the way up.

This was one of the least steep sections of the way up. Most of it was VERY steep.

near the summit

It started to “rain” on the way up. Well it sounded like rain but it was really ice. Around the summit it turned into snow. It was so awesome that we were above the clouds. It was like something in a Stephen King novel. We kept going in and out of the fog and clouds and it was snowing off and on. By the time we got to the summit it was entirely snow.

Zombie and Jube

Zombie was so worried about Jube being cold that he carried her for a good while in his coat.

trick photography

There was really only one Zombie and one Jube.

Hannah and me on the summit


It was nearly desolate at the top. And it was so intensely cold when we stopped moving. It was horrible for another reason. Shakespeare was carrying ALL my food. So I had an orange and a few slices of cheese and a RX bar. I think part of the reason that I was SO intensely freezing was that I was STARVING!

Freezing hugs

I really wanna see this tree in the spring and summer. I think it would be so pretty!

me and Zombie

It didn’t take us long to get down from the summit. It was so frigid that we hurried just to stay warm. We got back to the car around 1530. We didn’t check to see exactly what time we left the cars but I think it was around 0900. We did it in about 6.5 hours. This is faster than my usual time (I do roughly a mile an hour, especially where there is a good deal of elevation change.)

All in all it was a great time!! I can’t wait to go back again when there is more color in the trees. I LOVE spring hiking and I can’t wait to see it when there are blooms on the trees. I believe it will be awesome. Also there is a multitude of trails up there that I didn’t know about. I am excited to get out there and explore more. There is no camping above a certain point in the back country, but there are so many trails that we could spend DAYS camping and hiking and not worry about that no camping rule. I look forward to planning longer trips in the spring/summer.


Batch cooked “Italian” beef and root veggies

Made this awesome thing that I wanted to share with you!

I work nights, and I work 12 hour shifts (which by the time you count in travel and report and walking the dog after work and whatnot… I only have from about 1000 to 1700 or so to sleep.). Which means that I don’t care much for cooking EVERY day.

Enter my two best friends batch cooking and crock pots!

This is a spin on my mom’s Italian beef from when I was growing up 🙂 this is one of my ALL TIME favorite meals.

Gather your supplies

1 decent sized roast. This one was several pounds.


hot peppers (fresh)

banana peppers (these are HOT)


peel and slice the onions

slice the peppers (I left the seeds/rinds – if you don’t like it as hot cut em out – if you like it mild leave the peppers out all together)

put the meat on top fatty side up and add the banana peppers (juice and all) add your spices

I put a GOOD couple spoons of garlic and a good line of ginger paste

then Italian seasoning to taste – I like to use a LOT of seasoning – I like it a little hotter so I add a bunch of chipotle and cayenne – just a smidge of cumin – I also added some “fajita” seasoning which is basically salt/pepper/garlic –

I don’t really measure my spices.

I added about 2.5 pepper jars of water. Enough to rinse all the spices down into the bottom and about half fill the crock with water.

Then I cooked it on low for about 24 hours.

It looked like this

Take the fat off and save it for the root veggies.

It should just fall apart. I used a couple forks to shred it. Put it back in the crockpot and mix it into the juice. Turn it on low and let it go while you work on the veggies.

Then start to work on the veggies.

I didn’t take a before pic. It doesn’t really matter what root veggies or the proportion. This was:

2 big sweet potatoes

1 very large parsnip

2 turnips

1 medium rutabaga

Chopped and put in the pan:

I put the fat from the meat and several spoons of the juice over the top of the veggies. (I didn’t add any spices except for what was already in the broth)

cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

Then wait for it to cool.

Portioned out. This probably COULD have been 6 servings but I eat a lot.

I also made this for my breakfasts this week.

just a giant egg monster.


“Now, this is a story all about how

My life got flipped-turned upside down

And I’d like to take a minute

Just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I….”


Wait a minute… this is more a story about how I went to this thing with a bunch of nerds and did a bunch of awesome stuff and made lots of new friends and learned some stuff and did new things and got PR’s out the WAZOO and made lots of memories and there was food and trees and and and and…

So let me start from the beginning… and throw out a HUGE thank you to Jessica who bought my ticket when they went on sale and let me pay her back ever so slowly!! Without her there would have been NO CNF and there would have been a super sad Jenn. So let’s all tell her how much we love and adore her!!

(me and Jess)

Ok now the story can begin. I ended up working sun/mon/tue the week of camp. It was long and tiring and when I got off wednesday morning I came home and scrambled and found the last of the things I needed to pack and bring and make sure that the kids had everything they needed (it was my first time leaving them alone and I was SUPER nervous but they did awesome!)

Wednesday I drove down to Roanoke to visit with my super friend Heidi. Life decided to intervene and she was unable to make it to camp and she was sorely missed. We had an awesome time and drank some wine and just generally hung out and laughed about how crazy family can be and talked about plans for the future.

It was a nice drive but I was so incredibly tired

Heidi is this amazing yogi… I love when she does yoga/pilates with her daughter (who is like 40# or something… she isn’t light!!)

We hung out until I fell asleep on her couch. Then I woke up and she made me awesome coffee and I started driving. Over coffee she raised the question “what IS your super power” because everyone always asks what would you like your super power to be. But we believe that everyone already HAS a super power! (Mine is finding the positive in any situation.) I ended up asking this question to many campers over the weekend and made a thing for Heidi.

(I should mention that photography and/or photo editing is NOT my super power… just saying)

please comment and tell me YOUR super power!!

Driving was so super long. So at one point (my cardio trainer says I was in Unicoi County) I stopped for gas and I was so tired and cranky from sitting for so long that I asked the gas station attendant if there was a park nearby where I could sit under a tree for a bit. She did even better than that. Apparently I stopped at the most awesome gas station because they had a walking trail near by.

There was a little river and pond

And then I drove a million more miles and met with Christi (ChristArtist) and her amazing hubs Jim (wildross) and they bought me lunch (because did I mention AMAZING!)

I LOVE her smile!!

Then I followed them the rest of the way into camp. Because I totally suck at following written directions and the camp told us that Gertrude (GPS) would be unreliable and WRONG…

This is the first thing we see


(for some reason the wordpress editor won’t change the Will Byington pictures into real pictures… when I figure out how to fix it I will come back and edit so they aren’t clickable… SORRY!)

And then when we got there THE GOOBER himself (AKA Steve Kamb)  was waiting at check in

It was amazing after so long of chatting with him by email and having skyped with him for the interview for the academy to finally meet him. (And I successfully resisted the urge to goose him. Because he is as cute in person as he is in pictures. Just Saying)

He was like the energizer bunny ALL weekend. I wish I had more time to sit with him and just relax. But it was nice to get a stevehug.

At check in there was all kinds of goodies!!


free stuff

welcome to the first ever!

This was so full of info that I couldn’t swallow it all in one bite! All the classes and All the TIMES and STUFF And THINGS and AHHHHHHHH

ok… it wasn’t that bad but it did cause a lil bit of panic because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and when. And there was some difficulty because things overlapped or two things I wanted to do were at the same time. Also I didn’t REALLY feel well and so I kinda had to dial back my participation (although from the outside it didn’t look like it because I did so much but I did half of what I wanted to and I didn’t push as hard as I could have when I did participate.)

Took my stuff up to the hotel

It was a Jewish camp (so everything was kosher and there was Hebrew all over the place and these on the door.

Dropped my stuff off

And headed back to HQ. This was on the walk down.

This was the COOLEST little sitting area. I jumped back and forth between them. I felt awesome!

We just kinda hung out and waited around for people to start coming. Stopped at the merch table


Got to meet CHAMMY for the first time!

And then I hung out in the HQ and just waited for nerds to arrive.

I should mention a LOT of the pictures that happen that are just me and a people I am not entirely sure WHEN they happened… so if I get that timeline wrong I am super sorry…

CA SMFTexas and Gabe and me

me and CA

Then it was just hanging out until the opening ceremonies.

group photo opening ceremony

It was so amazing to see the look on Steve’s face as he talked to us. I think the grasshopper never saw it when he started NF so many million years ago (ok like five. but in internet years that is LONG!)

I think that NF is so much more than he ever imagined and it’s going to continue to grow and be ever more amazing. The rebellion will endure long past any of us!

I was so super tired at that point, and had to walk UP (so much up this weekend) nine bajillion steps to my hotel.

the walk up the hill to bed

Apparently there was Karaoke on thursday. And I missed it because I thought it was EVERY night. But it was only thursday 😦

I also visited the campfire 🙂

(they named it the Beacon of Gondor)

For info sake. This includes thurs/fri/sat. I did about zero flights of stairs in the week leading up to it.

Friday morning I woke up at 0500 and was WIDE awake. So I headed down to HQ to get some coffee (COFFEE!)

the view from the deck

Sat down and listened to praise and worship music for over an hour.

A little birdy joined me as I watched the sun come up and praised the Son.

(I have never been so loud so close to a wild animal who didn’t run away. I DID respectfully wait for the sun to come up to have any volume. Although, I was far away from any cabins, I apologize if I woke you up 🙂 )

When it was time I went and met Chammy for the “5k fun walk” to the waterfall.

most of the group that came down went down the stairs. I just went across the top and climbed down over that big log and then walked about on the river and then went down and then back UP the stairs.

At some point I had coffee in a treehouse with Devyn

(witness protection??)

I miss her face

We also walked by the lake (this may have been on the way up to the treehouse or down… time is different at camp 😉 )

I promise I am not as psychotic as I look… really…

Then there was food.

LOTS of food. I never should have worried that the food would be good. I never should have worried that the food would be sufficient. I should have trusted that Steve would know that nerds EAT a LOT.

Meals were a buffet style. Mostly paleo (there was some rice in a couple meals. One it was in the soup so I skipped that and another it was just on the side and easily skipped) The staff was super helpful at telling us what was in things and they were so nice and always smiling!

Yes those are BOTH my drink. I may or may not have a drinking problem. I admit NOTHING.

I don’t know what meal this was… but it was FABULOUS… and yes that’s a guacomole PILE on top of it

(I guess the shirt was the one I wore saturday so it was I think dinner on sat)

So walk, then foodz, then I headed to the low challenge course for “Basic Parkour Skills” with Dakao Do. At first I looked at the things he was teaching us and was so super discouraged. I could EVENTUALLY see me doing those things. But he just made it look so super easy (I don’t know like he had been rolling for like 5,000 years and was just here to show us mortals how awesome the Parkour Gods are.)

Anyway he helped me to SUPER break down the steps because I couldn’t see how to make the babysteps he taught even simpler. And he put it into yoga terms so that I could understand what he was talking about.

I did my first forward roll. Then the one we caught on video was more of a sideways roll. But I actually went down and rolled and stood up at the end. I call that success. I can’t figure out how to load the videos from picassa web albums (my hosting site) so I may end up having to download them all and upload them to youtube and make a new post with just videos. It will happen. Eventually. There is awesomeness!

After parkour, it was grip strength with Jim Bathurst. After listening to class I talked to him about my arthritis and he suggested doing grip exercises with a dumbbell (picking it up one handed from the roundy end and just holding it) and working on that kind of strength first and then doing the other strength exercises. I thought it was sound advice 🙂

Went straight from there to the success stories panel. I was surrounded by greatness! Saint, Joe, Staci were all there. This is the event I was most nervous about because I WAS UP THERE WITH THEM. For the longest time I debated talking on this panel. I don’t FEEL like a success. I mean. LOOK at those guys. They are all ripped and skinny and amazingly strong. Also, I had told myself that I would be “successful” if I had made it to less than 200# before camp. With all the injuries and illnesses I have had this year (and PREDNISONE three times!!!) I was lucky to just maintain. But I have REALLY inspired a LOT of people and I was strongly encouraged to just “manup” and talk. So I did. And nerds aren’t as scary as I thought they would be. And no one laughed at me except for when I made a funny.

success panel

After the success panel I went to alignment and movement with Kate. I think this was the only workshop I attended that I wasn’t entirely happy with. She was very full of energy and knowledge but her teaching style and my learning style didn’t really mesh. And I thought it was going to be more about moving and aligning my body but the first 10 ish minutes were about energies flowing through your body. My yoga is more about stretching and strength and less about chakras and energy.  After that though she taught us some good shoulder stretches and hip stretches. And afterwards she helped me to figure out one of the issues with my squats.

Then it was straight to the big 4 lifts taught by Staci and another guy (who’s name I forget SORRY!!! I think it is nightwatch)

We did some lifting with PVC pipe. And they form checked us. My biggest issue out of the big 4 is my squat. I have a SLIGHT kyphosis (curvature of my upper spine) that isn’t big enough to cause pain/need intervention. But it does interfere with things (like a back squat!) He helped me figure out the right place to hold the bar so that I could avoid the hump and be comfortable and still squat. I didn’t get a chance to try my new form with weight (and won’t until after the 3rd because of issues with health/gym membership 😛 ) but I am certain when I actually get to try it for realz I will have serious gains.

Then it was dinner and hanging out for a bit before going back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the costume party!! Take a look at Will’s pics (link below to the gallery) where you can see lots more pics) I didn’t stay long, the music was louder than I like. I went upstairs after photos and played games 🙂

I went as the mad hatter.

The academy girls and our flexing friday foto. Aren’t we flexay?

when we were together it was Jenny Ginny and Jenn 😛

the guy who came as Steve (do I need to say more?)

I went to bed kinda early (for me.) I think I was back at the hotel by 2230 or so. I was so tired and not feeling well at all. I had this nagging ache in my right upper quadrant in my abdomen and it wasn’t getting better. I had invited Ginny to share my room so she could get some good sleep and it was nice to chat for a while before falling asleep. I love that girl!

I actually slept in (until 0730! gasp!) and started heading down and ran into Chammy on my way to the COFFEE. She was going to the fun walk so I took her some coffee before I went down to breakfast. I decided that it was time to “rest” and switch to 50% activity since I was feeling crappy. Not going to post them here but there is a link to the whole folder of my pics and you can see the giant bruise I had on my belly. It wasn’t pretty.

I am kinda confused as to my timeline here because I circled the big 4 lifts on both fri and sat. I don’t remember when I went! I did breakfast and I know I did inversions and slackline and “body image and self esteem” then dinner and closing ceremony. I spent a LOT of time sitting in the dining room on saturday, staying out of the heat and just relaxing. I felt like crap.

So, Inversions. Taught by Jim again. This man doesn’t need slowmo cameras. He creates his own slowmo. So impressive. He taught us some stretches. Warm up for the hands and wrists that I need to incorporate more. With the arthritis in my hands it’s kinda hard to practice on my handstand. With the warm ups though that Jim taught us I didn’t have ANY arthritis pain afterwards. Which is phenomenal. Normally I have an insane amount of pain after a session like that.

rebel gym sign

First we did some hollow body holds and rocks trying to get the main alignment necessary for handstanding.

Then we worked on headstands

(yes that’s my butt… and Devyn is a good spotter)

I feel like I fell a lot

headstand is difficult for me. I feel like I suffocate myself trying to get into the knees on elbows part. (my BOOBS get in the way… sigh… it WILL get easier.)

I did manage to lift that second toe for a microsecond. Which is better than EVER before.

Then we did chest to the wall handstands. I got that. I got pictures of me all over the country doing handstands on stuff 😛

(and most of this is in video… so you have to wait for those to be uploaded to youtube over the next bit)

Ginny was goofin off

Then he taught us how to pivot our legs forward in order to get both feet off the wall. I am SOOOOOO close. I managed a microsecond of both feet off the wall. I was no where near as graceful as Jennifer thougth.

GRRRR sorry I can’t show the videos yet!!

screenshot I made… because… I wanna

Then I went to lunch and had more amazing foodz. So much foods. Saw this sign I don’t remember when they put them up but I thought it was nice 🙂

I met this guy

(he plays the puppeteer on Heroes – Save the Cheerleader Save the World!)


After lunch was the slackline class, again by Jim. I got there a few minutes after it started and missed the first bit but they looped me in and I started practicing.

just sitting on the slack line

It felt so natural!

So Jim was over on the other line (they had two set up) teaching more advanced moves and everyone was pretty much just standing around so I kinda showed the new people who came and took lead and was encouraging people to try it. It was pretty cool.

me spotting Ginny on slackline

spotting on the slackline

spotting Colette
At one point one of the girls kinda was afraid to lean into the spot so I broke into “Lean on me” and everyone started singing as I was spotting her. It was amazing!

Most of my slackline photography was in video form so you have to wait but I am just gonna leave a couple screen shots here

yeah. I never did anything like that. I keep wanting to qualify it by saying “yeah but I had TWO people sitting on the line to stabilize it”. But NO! I am just going to accept it. I walked on a slackline. There is video proof of BOTH times I walked. I am so excited.

I wasn’t planning to go to any more events. I just wanted to go and rest up a bit before dinner and the rubix party. But I kept feeling pulled to The body image and self esteem workshop. So I went. And it was good. I got hooked up with a girl with Asperger’s who spoke out during the workshop about some issues she is having. And I stayed afterwards and talked to her with Amy for a bit. (That’s about all I want to say about it publicly but I am glad I got hooked up with her!) Then I stayed and talked to Amy for a while. She’s an amazing woman who has struggled with depression and totally turned it around and now helps others find their strong.

Pay her a visit. Pass her website on to anyone you know who might be dealing with depression.

Please. Depression isn’t weakness. Unleash your strong!!

And then it was dinner (seriously, this was the one event where I felt I had enough to eat!)

It was super sad to head to the closing ceremonies. SUPER SAD

camp picture

And the rubix cube party. Basically we showed up wearing the colors of the cube. And then we traded with people to solve for the color we wanted.

rubix night

I went for red

most people stayed and did multiple colors. If you go to Will’s site you will see so many colors… I went upstairs and played a game where it was quiet and less flashy (they had dance/club/strobe lights and it was irritating my head)

Sunday morning Christi and I went down to the lake for a bible study. She wore the bandanna I made her

isn’t it pretty?!

We stopped to take pictures on the way to breakfast

I love this swing

I don’t know what this was but thought it was pretty

again… I don’t know what this was/said but thought it was pretty

Then it was breakfast and lots of “see you laters” (but no good byes!)

I called her pigtails all weekend and she called me Jennenn





my Jenny


did I mention photography isn’t my super power?

my Judi (and photobomber!)

Liam this kid is old enough to drink… I don’t believe it!




I ❤ her so much!!

it’s funny how much Shukar had to crouch to be my height… or not funny… something


food and friends


my fav pic of devyn

leaving 😦

I stopped at Heidi’s again for dinner before going home. This was the most beautiful sky

All in all it was an amazing weekend. I love what Christi wrote on my thread.


Posted 20 September 2014 – 11:09 PM

I lost jenn in the midst of colors… but every where she went, something awesome happened!

When I got home it took like twenty minutes of running and jumping before Ezra finally settled. … then she is laid so close to my arm (that she accidentally scratched) that I feel her breath on me. …I think she missed me

She wouldn’t let me get up 🙂

I think my favorite thing of the weekend was that we all felt like family. And more like “good family that likes each other” than “Jerry Springer family”, I felt utterly at home all weekend and I don’t usually feel so relaxed among strangers. Many of you though I have known for SO LONG on the boards it just meant that you were coming from my own home. You have been in my home (on this little electronic screen) for so long you are automatically family. I was SO super impressed with the encouragement and the fellowship and the way we just fit together and did amazing things.

And in the “aftermath” (as it were) seeing so  many new “friends” on facebook, and this #CNF365 tag that keeps popping up. So many people with renewed vigor. So many new goals. So many new PR’s. So many people trying new things because of courage found at camp. Truly we learned how to conquer our inner demons. Whatever they may be they hold us under their power NO MORE because the rebellion has our back. We met new nerds and branched out and learned that the world is maybe not as scary as we thought it was. And even if it is scary, we learned that we aren’t alone. There are people who have been on the same trail we are on. Some are ahead of us and will reach back and pull us up when we get to the parts that are too steep or difficult so that we in turn can help those behind us. Some are right next to us on the trail and are compatriots and they understand our struggle and they are a sounding board for frustrations and they are our cheerleaders and our support. They are our family! But we know now that we aren’t alone in REAL LIFE it’s not just images and words on a screen. We learned that it’s OK to reach out to strangers and that amazing things will happen when the rebellion amasses.

And we know that the best is yet to come.

Until next year (and all the years after) my friends 🙂





Most of the pictures here aren’t mine. Some of them friends posted on facebook. Some of them come from here (those are watermarked with the CNF logo and Will’s copywrite. If you borrow any of them PLEASE give him credit and don’t remove the watermark and stuff! That’s just rude to crop it out!) Some of them are indeed mine and you can see my whole folder here ( Or on my facebook ( I didn’t get everyone’s names and whatnot when I took pics… and I tried to only put pics on here that I was in… so if you see a pic on here that you don’t want on here please let me know and I will take it down)

my motivation and whatnot

This is just intended to be a list of the things that inspire/motivate me… so that I don’t have to retype out for every six week challenge 🙂 planning to edit this as I go… add new charts and pictures and whatnot…

2017… this will be mine

 (summer 2014)

I like to share these because WEIGHT LOSS ISN’T LINEAR!!!!

and lifting gains :) 

obviously I have more than a 0% increase… that’s a change of 206#…. SIGH… the numbers don’t work…

but look at those lines!!!

I got issues with my squat… trying to figure them out :)

Let’s talk about “healthy”

There’s a lot of ads showing up in my feed on facebook lately about “healthy diets”. It’s all over the menu at restaurants “healthy choice”, “heart healthy”, “healthy this” and “healthy that”. It’s enough to make me want to scream! And then, we see in magazines “eat this and lose 20 pounds in a month” and ” with this diet you can be swimsuit ready!” and all kinds of claims (some of them substantiated some not). 

There is some fight to it as well. Every group insists that their diet is “the one true diet”. I’ve seen it get downright ugly as well. The paleos say that grains are evil. The vegans say that meat is evil. The calorie counters say that calories are evil. The low-carbers say that carbs are evil. Each group has their thing or things that they eschew. 

What if I were to tell you that there is no ONE TRUE DIET? 



But what? 


I believe that each person has their own “healthy diet”. What works for one may not be best for others. Some people do very well on a low carb diet. Me? If I don’t get enough carbs I am liable to go to jail for murder. Some people do very well on a vegetarian diet. Me? I can’t get enough protein without eating meat because many of the high protein veggies either irritate my gut (beans!! and grains/gluten!!!) or stall my weight loss when eaten in quantity (taters!). 

So where does that leave us?


Find out what is YOUR healthy. 

Take 6 weeks and try something new. Define the parameters of your experiment. 

Decide what you want to test. Personally I prefer small changes. It’s easier to find WHAT made the changes if you only change a thing or two at a time. Then perform your experiment. Record your observations. How do you feel? What’s your energy levels? Have your measurements changed? (I have shared how I track goals in another post. Also if you would like to know what measurements I track, let me know and I will write a post on how to measure and what I measure.)  If so, how? Has your strength/endurance changed? If so, how? 

Over the last ten years I have come up with my definition of healthy. For me I eat grain (except for limited corn) and gluten free 100% of the time. I allow limited dairy (in the form of REAL cheese or cream less than three times a week). I don’t eat processed foods, because it’s difficult to find processed foods that are gluten free. I allow sweets (mainly in the form of chocolate) under certain parameters (during a hike or major bike ride).  I don’t count calories because I find it tedious. I don’t worry about food because I know if it fits within my parameters it will work for me. 

But what’s healthy for you?

I don’t know! You are your own laboratory. I find 6 weeks to be a great time frame for finding results. It is long enough to see results (both positive and negative). It’s short enough that if you totally HATE the changes you’ve made that you don’t have to stick with it. 

If you would like help to determine your parameters for experimentation, drop me a line and we can chat!  

Root veggies au gratin and bacon wrpped tilapia

For the Ranger mini challenge this week we have been tasked to get rid of some of these blasted rutabegas. They are taking over the island!! All these stinking root veggies! We also found some wild boar and since I had to sit out the mileage portion of last weeks  mini challenge I spent a lotta time on the shore fishin (isn’t that what every girl does when they gotta sit out??) 

So I propose some Root veggies au gratin and bacon wrpped tilapia 

(I don’t know how that boar and fish got into those wrappers… they um… MAGIC!) 


(not my art)

Start by preheating the oven to 350. Although it doesn’t matter if you don’t. It would just take a few more minutes to cook.

Au gratin Sauce

1/2 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 wheel gouda

a couple pats of butter (I think I used like 2 T)

those tiny peppers that came from my garden (optional) seeded and minced



chop up the gouda and put it in the pan on low to melt


while that gets all melty and great and super nom chop up the root veggies


I used 

1 1/2 turnip – peeled

3ish carrots

2 big parsnips 

some radishes

a sweet potato (this had been previously a BAKED potato… but this would work out fine too if it was raw) 


it will thicken. It gets all gloopy and great  just keep it on low on the stove while you do the next thing


eh you have to forgive my photographer. He tends to not understand actually being able to tell what’s going on in the picture. 



That’s better. See that cheezy stuff still simmering over there? It took a while. 


For this part wrap the fish in the bacon. Our favorite is catfish but the store was out so this is tilipia. This is the HARDEST part. 


When I was done wrapping the bacon the cheese mixture had thickened to amazingness. 


Mix it in with the root veggies. I put a little more butter because it didn’t mix well and I wanted to make sure it didn’t stick. 


Then put the au gratin veggies in the oven. For 20 min. Sit down and start your blog. 


(strawberry ale is OPTIONAL but recommended)



After about 20 minutes it will stir NICELY. Mix it all up and stick the fish in. 



Pretty much EVERYONE in the house kept wanting to look in the oven!


After about 10-15 minutes give it a turn and let it cook for 5-10 more minutes.

I finished it up on broil on high for about 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon. 



That’s a Zombie cutting the peppers for to have on the side. 


Ummm… this




yeah… I ate it all… there are ZERO leftovers… the kids actually scraped their plates and it was amazing… 



the non paleo-ish among us had cake for desert. You can thank the one with the hair for the really awesome clean kitchen in the pictures. 

look beyond their behavior

When I was in nursing school I heard one of the most influential pieces of advice I have ever heard. It has totally shaped the way that I approach my nursing career and has impacted my personal life as well. Cathy Ryan (one of my instructors) would frequently tell us to “look beyond the behavior”. At the time it seemed like it was just one of those kooky things that the professor was saying, but I have since realized it’s wisdom.


Basically all behaviour is an external expression of an internal process. If we look solely at the behavior, we can often times MISS that internal process. If someone is mean to you, could be because they are tired or crabby or they don’t like your shirt. Not necessarily because they don’t like you or you did something to cause it. Not everything that someone does TO you is BECAUSE of you.


That leads me to the subject of this post. I was asked something along the lines of, “how do you feel when people judge you”. (Either because I am eating something “unhealthy” or my usual MASSIVE amount of food or because I am sweating WAY too much or whatever non skinny person thing I am doing in the moment) My short answer was roughly “I try to understand that it isn’t about me. Their judgement is more about their shortcomings than anything I am doing or saying.” It got me to thinking.What are some of the reasons that people become judgey and how should we deal with them?


So in no particular order or rank this is what I thought of and how I would deal with it.


1) Maybe they are judging what is on your plate because they are jealous. I get this one a LOT “I wish I could eat that much”, or “I’d weigh nine million pounds if I ate like you”. Either they think that it’s an inappropriate  amount or frequency or content.


It really doesn’t matter what they think. Maybe they weren’t given enough acceptance as a child and so they can’t be accepting. Maybe their dog was abducted by aliens and force fed until its stomach exploded and it died and what is on your plate is the last meal their dog ever ate. Maybe they think they know something about “nutrition” and how it applies universally to every human on earth. Maybe their husband called them fat this morning and they are taking their self pity/hatred out on the world.


How I deal with it depends on the person and how well I know them. Sometimes I just smile and nod and make some comment about how lifting weights makes me have a super metabolism. Sometimes I just ignore them. Sometimes I just hand them my phone with my progress photos and say nothing. Mostly I just smile and ignore. It doesn’t matter what they think because what I do is what works for me and I am not going to change because of them.


2) Or possibly they think it’s wrong. They think that “fat people” *shouldn’t* eat certain foods. They think that “fat people” shouldn’t eat at all, especially in public! I think that this one usually comes from people not having an understanding of what it means to have food addictions. Or what is actually required for the human body to sustain life.


These people are easier for me to deal with. I eat what makes me happy. Period. End of thought. I pay no attention to what makes OTHER people happy if I eat it. Granted I don’t eat grains and I don’t eat MUCH dairy so I get less of the “why are you eating a box of twinkies?” and more of the “you ate a whole jar of peanut butter this weekend?!” kind of thing. But no matter what I eat, I only eat what makes me happy. If it doesn’t make me happy I don’t eat it.


It is easy for me to understand that people don’t know me or my story or what works for me. They don’t know what I have been through and they don’t know my stress/success. I  can remember that and eat my food that makes me happy and smile and ignore them!


3) Sometimes I hear people say something like “women shouldn’t lift weights” or “women shouldn’t lift heavy” or “that’s a man’s lift”. People get judgey because they feel like women might get all veiny/muscular/whatever, because they don’t understand that women who aren’t on the juice won’t look like Arney! Or maybe they feel like their opinion of “sexy” is the only one that is REAL. Or maybe they are genuinely concerned that I might hurt myself in the gym. They might possibly think that the “one true exercise” for weight loss is CARDIO, hours and hours of  fast treadmill.


This one is another one I deal with on a case by case basis. If it’s just some random stranger in the gym? Chances are that I didn’t even see/hear them because I had my headphone on and music loud. I tune people out in the gym. If it’s someone I kinda sorta know, I don’t really bother with a response although “thanks for your concern” is usually a good one. My family has done given up judging me on this one out loud because they know it’s a lost cause.


4) When people hear that I don’t like to do the treadmill and that I prefer hiking, mountain biking, long distance trail rides, or mountain climbing (which are generally considered “extreme”). I sometimes get judged. It could be because they see me having massive amounts of fun doing zany things and they are jealous. Could be because they think that “extreme” things are dangerous and that women shouldn’t do them.  Maybe they knew a friend of an uncle’s sister’s neighbor’s third cousins twice removed’s ex fiancee who went hiking and never came home and left her to deal with six dogs and three children and a parakeet and her life was NEVER the same! Maybe they don’t like dirt/bugs/heat/extreme sweat/being alone and away from amenities/whatever and think that no one else should like them either.


This one goes right back to I do what makes me happy. If people question me I usually just smile and say “it makes me happy”. Just because someone else doesn’t like it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t like it either. If God had made us all the same the world would be a terribly boring place.


5) Sometimes I hear “you shouldn’t dress like that” or “a lady should look like” or “NO CARGO PANTS”. I think people who want to impose their way of dress upon the world are people who really don’t understand individuality. Maybe they grew up in a home where individuality was frowned upon. Maybe they think that conformity to the ideal that they hold is the only way that anyone can be happy and they really want me to be happy. Maybe they LIKE not having pockets??


I usually smile and nod and go on about my day. I don’t worry much about what other people think. If someone who doesn’t pay my bills is that concerned with what I wear they can just not look at me 😉

This is really the biggest things that I personally get judged on. How about you?