Keeping a Visual Food Diary


Food Diary

Can I just gush a little bit about how excited I am that I discovered the app Two Grand?  No, they aren’t paying me to endorse it!

When I first started following a primal/paleo diet about 4 years ago, one of the ways I kept myself on track was by blogging about everything I ate.  No, I didn’t publish lengthy blog posts on a daily basis, but I did keep a private blog as a sort of food diary. It helped. A ton. I lost about 12 pounds in a month, gained a ton of energy, got rid of debilitating headaches, and got pregnant after 6 years of infertility.  I was finally happy with my body and happy to finally be expecting.

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll know that not much can stand in the way of certain cravings.  During my pregnancy, I maintained my healthier eating habits for the most part, but succumbed to occasional cheats, mostly in the form of ice cream and french fries.  I managed to gain only about 25 pounds and take it off rather quickly, weighing less after about 4 months post-partum than I did before I got preggo.

Unfortunately, I guess I’ve never been fully “on track” since those food diary days.  I am definitely an all-or-nothing type of person.  A small bite of cake at a party can quickly turn into a slippery slope of daily bad choices.  Over the years, I have gone through phases of strict adhesion to the Primal lifestyle mixed with days and sometimes weeks of reckless abandon (c’mon, I was on vacation!)  But lately, I have been really kicking myself in the butt for not having a little more self-discipline, especially at night when I usually sit down with a glass of wine and some kind of snack after my cherub falls asleep. Oh yeah, we’re trying to have another baby too, so that’s really my biggest motivation for wanting to get back on track and get my hormones in check.

Yesterday, I started searching for a food diary app so that I could record what I’m eating a little more conveniently without having to fire up the laptop or actually enter it into a blog post format.  Most of the apps out there involve calorie-counting and some sort of database where you can search for every manufactured food under the sun.  I don’t count calories.  Ugh.  I also cook a lot, so entering in the individual ingredients for every recipe and then trying to figure out a portion size is just way too much work.  I was about to give up and then I noticed Two Grand.

This is basically the Instagram of food diaries.  You just take a picture of everything you eat.  Put a caption on it if you want to, then share it with your followers.  That’s it.  You can also follow other members who have similar eating habits or similar weight loss goals or who are at the target goal you would like to reach.  This way you can get ideas for meals or snacks from people who are similar to you.  Once you’ve added some photos, you can see your entire day at once and you can record other data like your mood, health status, etc.  You can also track your water intake and exercise.  All without counting a single calorie.  Hallelujah.

I am really excited to get started with this and I hope it will be helpful.  Do you find it helpful to keep a food diary to meet your health goals?  Would you consider trying this app?  If you do, you can follow me @AScenicDetour

best of fall 2013

I suppose we still have about a month of fall left, but since the holidays seem to be approaching so quickly, the leaves have all fallen, and the days are so much shorter now, it’s feeling more like winter to me.  So, it’s time to sift through the pictures in my Fall 2013 folder and pick out the best of the season.  I have to say, this fall was extremely busy for us and since I was on my own, it was a lot harder to get really great pictures.  Remembering to take pictures when you’re schlepping an almost two-year old around is quite a task.

Michael was out of town for 8 weeks this fall.  His first week away happened to fall on the day I scheduled Evelyn’s long-term EEG monitoring.  I haven’t really talked about that experience here, but I thought I’d share a few photos and maybe I’ll post more about it at a later time.  It definitely wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it was something major that we went through this year.  Evelyn and I were trapped in a tiny hospital room for 4 days and she was hooked up to electrodes and wires during the entire stay.  There were moments during those few days that broke my heart and made me question myself as a mom.  It was an experience I hope to never have again.


On a happier note, one of our first outings in October was a trip to the Pumpkin Patch to go on a hayride, get lost in the corn maze, and choose a pumpkin from the field.

Pumpkin Patch (42)

Pumpkin Patch (30)

Pumpkin Patch (16)

Pumpkin Patch (6)


A few weeks later we carved our pumpkins on the weekend when Michael was home.  My nephew, Noah, was with us.  Evelyn could have spent hours playing in the bowl full of water with pumpkin seeds floating in it.

Pumpkin Carving (18)

Pumpkin Carving (12)

Pumpkin Carving (9)


A trip to the park on a cool fall day…

Belles Springs (11)

Belles Springs (4)


Later in October we went on a Fall Foliage train ride with some friends.  The 2 hour ride was a bit much for Evelyn, but we had fun overall.  We got to sit in a dining car and she and her friend, Maria, played, had snacks, and gazed out the window together.

Bellefonte Train Ride (15)

Bellefonte Train Ride (11)

Bellefonte Train Ride (4)


This is just a cute iPhone shot of Evelyn on one of our evening walks.



I’m kind of sad that this is one of the only pictures I got of Evelyn in her Halloween costume.  By the time she was dressed up, it was too dark outside for pictures.  She had a blast trick-or-treating.  We only visited a few close neighbors, but she loved walking all by herself and talking to people as we went door to door.  We trudged through the rain for about a half hour before Michael called and needed us to pick him up.  He got stranded along the interstate on his was home from training.




After 8 long weeks, Michael finally returned home from training for his new job.  I walked in the living room one evening to find them like this.  They have such a special bond.

daddy's home


More park play…

October 20 (49)

October 20 (4)

While we had a lot of fun, this fall was a little stressful for us.  I can honestly say I am glad to put it behind us and I am looking forward to what’s ahead…

a day in the life

When Evelyn was 6 months old, I did a “day in the life” photo project.  Basically, I just took pictures of what a typical day looked like for Evelyn at the time and added captions to them.  I uploaded all the pics to flickr, but I never really shared them with anyone except the ladies from my pregnancy/birth message board.  With Evelyn’s 2nd birthday approaching, I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit about her infancy and looking back at old pictures and videos.  I thought it would be fun to share the slideshow here…

shorter days, longer nights

Our shadows were long in the late afternoon, as we set out for a walk to the park.


Little Miss Independent didn’t need a stroller or backpack to go.  She wanted to get there “all by myself.”


Only a few golden leaves remained…


Our clocks have since been changed and our days of basking in the late afternoon sun have passed.




the best of summer 2013

I have a zillion photos saved on my laptop, phone, and on my camera’s SD card.  Yes, a zillion.  In this digital age, it’s possible to take a hundred photos and weed out only one that is frame-worthy.  Then there’s the question of what to do with all those other pictures.  Even if they aren’t the “best” photos, they might still be good.  As a first-time mom, it’s really hard to delete any picture of my kid.  But truly, I can’t save all of them and who (besides me) will want to look at them anyway?  I realized several months after Evelyn was born, and I had managed to accumulate 1,000 photos of her on my phone, that I needed an intervention of some kind.  Or I just needed to figure out what to do with all of them.  So, I’ve come up with my own little method for saving pictures.  For her first year, I reserved the right to take as many darn pictures as I want…and save as many as I want.  Since her first birthday, I’ve been trying to come up with a system that is manageable.  Here’s what’s been working so far.

Each time we have an outing, event or other photo opportunity, I take as many pictures as I please.  When I have some time to myself, I plug the SD card into my laptop and begin the pruning process.  I get rid of photos that are blurry, have bad composition, or duplicates (often created when I use the rapid-fire setting).

Once I’ve chosen the photos I want to keep, I save them into a folder on my computer.  At this point, I have folders labeled by the season and year (for example, Summer 2013).  After they are saved, I highlight all of the new pictures and then rename them based on the date or event.  Renaming them in a batch will give all the files the same name, but with a number after it (for example, Memorial Day (5)) so that they will all stay together within the folder.

Now, all the photos are saved on my computer, but what if it crashes and I lose everything?  For that, I use flickr.  For $25 a year, I can have unlimited storage of my photos.  I suppose if the fit hits the shan and the internet no longer exists, well, my pictures will be gone.  But if that happens, I’m thinking we’ll all have much bigger problems to worry about.  So, I save them in sets labeled by the event or season, depending on how many pictures I have.  I’m still working on dumping all the pictures from my phone onto flickr.  It’s a tedious process, but once I have it done, it should be pretty easy to just dump them on a weekly basis.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to have some of my pictures printed out so that I can physically hold them in my hand.  So, each year, I will be creating a family yearbook of sorts with the highlights and best pictures from the past 12 months.  Last year I created one that was basically Evelyn’s first year.  I used one of the more popular online scrap-booking sites, but was very disappointed to find that after spending literally HOURS working on the book, it disappeared after I ordered a copy of it.  So, if I ever wanted to order another copy, for whatever reason, I would not be able to do so…and that really ticks me off.  So, this year, I will be looking for a different program to use.  I have downloaded a few to try and will play around with them to see which one I like the best.

So, that brings me to the reason for this post in the first place, to feature some of the best from this summer.  I can’t believe how quickly this summer has passed by!  We just completed our final camping trip of the season and Fall is in the air.  Time to say goodbye to Summer 2013…

Memorial Day – She loves marching bands!

Memorial Day (9)

Aww…there’s nothing quite so cute as daddies and daughters.

Memorial Day (25)

Can’t take credit for this one.  My friend Lisa, of Charlie the Cavalier, took this one of a brief moment when our cherubs (along with Sarah of The Clerical Error‘s little girl)  were not crying or stealing food from one another.  Why is the song “Ebony and Ivory” running through my head?

trio on piano

A trip to Knoebel’s


Much to my chagrin, she LOVED this group of singers/performers at the park.  We watched the ENTIRE show.


Strawberry picking…

June Strawberries (24)

June Strawberries (33)

Evelyn and her great-grandma


4th of July, baby!

July 4th (1)

July 4 (2)

Evelyn loves to go for walks in our neighborhood, and she especially loves searching for gnomes in this neighbor’s landscaping.


Fun on the lake…

Halfway Dam (9)

Halfway Dam (8)

Before you start talking smack, just know that I do realize how pasty white I am.  I’m ok with it.  This is my year-round color.  And when I’m old and gray, I’ll be less wrinkly than all you sun-worshippers.  😉

Halfway Dam (5)

County Fair

Clinton County Fair August (16)

Clinton County Fair August (18)

Camping with the family…



Camping July  (14)






Camping July  (1)

Summer, we had a good run, but bring on the Fall!

sunshine and berries

After days of rain, this weekend brought sunshine and blue skies for one brief, glorious day.  And what better way to harvest the sunshine than to pick strawberries? On Saturday morning, we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, fueled up with breakfast, slathered on the sunscreen, and headed out to the fields.  I love strawberries.  Evelyn loves them too.  I had it in my head that she would scamper around in the fields with my nephew and that she would be able to wait, at least until we got in the car, to eat the berries.  Ha ha…I have no idea what I was thinking.  As soon as she caught a glimpse of the bright red among the leaves, she said, ‘ohhhh, berries,” which sounds more like bay-eez.  There was no stopping her.  She was picking them out of my basket just as quickly as I could put them there.  When I moved the basket out of her reach, she started picking them on her own, eating stems and all, and even picking up squashed ones from the ground.  In the end, I had to keep giving them to her to prevent her from eating the really yucky ones on the ground.  She ate berries for the full hour or so that we were there.

June Strawberries (26)

June Strawberries (10)

June Strawberries (4)

June Strawberries (18)

June Strawberries (13)

June Strawberries (29)

June Strawberries (36)

June Strawberries (51)

June Strawberries (34)


Picking your own berries is incredibly inexpensive, so we picked a lot.  I suppose my eyes were bigger than my stomach and after we got them all home, I was hit with a slight panic about what in the world I would do with all of them.  I scoured the internet for some healthy ideas and ended up with these:



Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream


Strawberry Shortcakes (Grain Free)




As is (with a splash of cream)



What’s your favorite way to eat berries?

a little miscellany

Well, we managed to weather the storm and come through unscathed.  We had just a trickle of water in our basement and we lost power for approximately 8 hours.  I am so grateful that’s all that happened.  It could have been so much worse and my heart goes out to those who lost homes and loved ones.  It’s amazing how situations like this can make us realize how very blessed we are and how dependent we are on the everyday luxuries that shape life as we know it.  It actually scares me a little to think about how very dependent we are…that if we suddenly didn’t have electricity or running water, could we survive?  Conversely, I saw several of my facebook friends posting about how upset they were because they lost cable service.  Really?!  Don’t even get me started.  I had to really, really bite my tongue to resist responding with a preachy comment.

Keeping an eye out for the storm

It’s the end of the month.  That means it’s time to update Evelyn’s book on shutterfly.  I decided to create a baby book of her first year using the templates on shutterfly.  Each month I upload the best pictures I’ve taken of her and write a narrative of all the things we did as a family that month and all the milestones she reached.  I’ll end it with her first birthday and then order the book and have it sent to us.  I can’t believe how close we are to that one year mark.  Here’s a few of my favorite pictures from this month.  It’s always so hard to choose!

Trick or treating got postponed in our town because of the storm, so instead of handing out candy tonight, we’re on the couch with a glass of wine.  It actually worked out fine since Evelyn wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early.  The end of the month also means that I’ll be starting up the photo-a-day challenge again for the month of November.  You can follow along by liking my page on facebook or following a_scenic_detour on instagram.



Ok, just needed to take a deep breath before November is upon us.  I’ve got guests to entertain, parties to attend, parties to plan, family to visit, gifts to buy, work to accomplish, projects to start (and hopefully finish).  I’ve got a crazy two months ahead of me.  Here’s to getting through it with my sanity intact!

Oh, and before I forget…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

i heart philly

I’ve been a little MIA for the past week or so and that’s because we’ve been on vacation in Philadelphia.  Well, we were house and dog sitting for my brother-in-law while he was on a tropical vacation.  We poor folk with a young baby have to stay close to home.  Anyway, since Michael’s brother moved to Philly about 3 years ago, it’s been kind of a home away from home for us.  We go to visit and sometimes stay for a week at a time, if we’re holding down the fort, like we did this past week.

I decided not to lug my Nikon DSLR with me, since I have already used it to take a ton of pics there.  This week all my photos were shot using Instagram on my iPhone.

It seems like Evelyn grew by leaps and bounds these past few days.  Looking after her was a bit of a challenge in a house that isn’t baby-proofed, especially since she is super mobile these days.  We tried our best to keep her corralled, but she managed to get into every sort of trouble.  First, she found the stairs…and even made it to the second step on one occasion.

Michael put this box on the floor, so that she could use it for support while standing…then she promptly crawled ON TOP of it.

This is the look I got when I told her “no.”

She had a great time playing with her dad’s shoes (I let this one slide as long as she wasn’t trying to put the shoe in her mouth!)

…and she had no trouble chasing all three dogs off of their bed, so she could play on it.

Despite all the mischief, Evelyn was a trooper.  We dragged her all over the city and she was in her glory most of the time.  I have to admit, it was a little difficult for us to do the things we would normally enjoy doing, because we had to work around her nap times, fussy times, and eating times, and she is too young to really appreciate all the fun kid things to do in the city, but we still managed to do a lot and she was right there along with us, absorbing every minute of it.

One day when we went out, it poured down raining, so we popped the little canopy up on her stroller, covered her lap with a blanket and pressed on.  Michael and I were a little disgruntled, but Evelyn didn’t seem to mind it at all.  When the rain finally stopped and I pulled back the stroller canopy, she was sitting up, taking it all in, and enjoying herself immensely.

She also finally began to sign “more” while we were away.  At first, I though it was a fluke, but then she did it again and again.  We had been signing with her here and there, mostly “more,” “milk,” and “all done,” but I had actually been getting pretty lazy about it.  Now that she seems to be doing a lot more imitating (she waved for the first time to a random lady in the check out line at Ikea), and picking it up, I will definitely start introducing more signs and using them consistently.

So, what did we do while we were in the city?  Well, we had already done all the basic touristy things (Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, Museum of Art, Phillies Game, etc) during previous visits, so we decided to try some low key activities.

One of our favorite places to visit is the Reading Terminal Market, but on the day we decided to stop there, it was closed (duh, it was Labor Day).  That also happened to be the day it rained buckets.  Blah.

Crossing the Ben Franklin bridge into New Jersey, home of our favorite destination…Total Wine!

And more rain…

The neighborhood where we stay is full of little restaurants, cafes, and shops.  We stopped at Cafe Lutecia for breakfast one morning, a little slice of France in the heart of Philly.

We were also located close to the University of Pennsylvania, so we visited the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  The had a special Mayan Exhibit, I’m certain capitalizing on the 2012 Apocalypse theories.

To get to the museum, we had to cross the South Street Bridge, which provides an awesome view of the city.

We visited the 9th Street Italian Market

…and enjoyed a gelato at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Then we stopped at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which was featuring the works of Maurice Sendak.  The photo below shows a mural that was painted by Sendak on the wall of a friend’s home.  The painting was donated to the museum and they had to remove the wall of the home in order to put it on display.

Finally, we visited Penn’s Landing, along the Delaware River.

And we couldn’t go to Penn’s Landing without stopping at The Franklin Fountain for some ice cream.  I got the green tea, and even though Evelyn shouldn’t really be having dairy yet, I let her try some anyway.  She gave me this look when I started to eat it and I just couldn’t sit and eat it in front of her.  Needless to say, she loved it!

Ah, well, as much as I love being on vacation, it’s good to be home, surrounded by the familiar.  Where did you vacation this year?

The Great Outdoors

We ventured into the great outdoors this weekend for a little family time and some rousing conversation.

Evelyn enjoyed her first camping trip

and the kiddos played games by firelight.

Morning in the woods


We took a drive up to Hyner View and the men spent some time on the hang glider launch.

Weiners and “smush smellows” over the fire.
We took Evelyn for her first dip in a real pool.  Unfortunately, the surrounding mountains and trees don’t allow the water to get very warm.  She was none too happy when we put her in the icy water.  Poor girl.

Ahhh…much better!

Bathing beauty

Time for a well-deserved nap
A little daddy-daughter time 

Chief cook and bottle washer

 Michael taught the boys how to skip stones in the creek.

 Evie survived her weekend with the boys…but she doesn’t look happy about it!

Road Trip

Wow this week has been so busy! Last weekend we went to Philadelphia and I am just now having a chance to write about it. Michael’s brother came into the city for a job interview, so we decided to meet up with him and spend the day there. I think we both realized our limitations after driving 3 1/2 hours, walking around the city for 7 hours and then driving back home. We agreed never to do it again with out booking a hotel for the night. (or now staying with Mike’s brother, since he got the job!) Michael’s stomach guided us to our first stop at the Reading Terminal Market. I think the idea was to have lunch there, but it was so crowded and overwhelming and there were so many choices, that we ended up not eating anything at all.

I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t a huge fan. It really just seemed like a giant food court to me and we didn’t really find too many exotic things that we couldn’t buy here at home. I guess it’s becoming a small world after all. There were plenty of great eatery choices. I found a little place that made French specialties and I seriously considered ordering a giant crepe (boy, do I miss those!), but didn’t feel like fighting the crowd to elbow my way up to the counter. Yeah, I am not really a fan of big crowds…or small crowds…or people in general…does that mean I am not cut out for city life?

We did find a few points of interest. Mike wanted to track down the Indian spices so we browsed there for a bit. Here he is, seriously considering his choices.

He finally decided on some kind of masala blend which ended up strongly perfuming the inside of my purse. Seriously, men should carry their own purses. We also wanted to check out the produce section, but only found a few unusual items like giant aloe leaves and sugar cane. At least it gave me an opportunity to use my new camera.

Eventually, we left the market and decided to stroll around the city for a bit and be the tourists.

Then we ducked into the Gallery Mall for a bit to get out of the sun.

We finally met up with Mike’s brother and a friend around 4 o’clock and by then we were famished. We decided to go to Chinatown for some Thai/Viet food. We found this little place called Pho Xe Lua, which I found out later on after doing some research, is sometimes known to locals at the “Choo Choo” restaurant because of the train on the facade.

The atmosphere wasn’t very impressive, but it was busy, which usually means good food, in my opinion. The food was great! I got the green curry with bean curd and decided to try an avocado shake after a recommendation from another customer. I was very curious about the tapioca pearls in the drink. What an unexpected surprise! The shake was creamy and delicious and not overly sweet. I liked it so much that I even tried making one at home this week. It didn’t turn out the same as the one I had in the restaurant, but I am planning to try again.

Well, after dinner we were thoroughly exhausted and decided to make the trek home. Hopefully, since Mike’s brother will be living in Philly soon, we will have a little extra motivation to make some return trips!