Category Archives: Challenges

Healthy Challenge

Health is an ongoing CHALLENGE!
Can I Get An AMEN !?!

It is a daily goal to live at my best!

Living at my best involves my physical and my spiritual life in the many roles I have as wife, mom, teacher, friend, and more.

What are your goals?   Do you desire to loose weight?  Do you desire to serve nourishing foods to your family?  Do you want to become fit?  I know how challenging it can be to reach these goals.

Join me on a quest for living a healthy life.

Be sure to check out these healthy lifestyle challenges:

Walk and Talk Wednesday
Walk and Talk button
90 Day Healthy Choices Low Carb Challenge
Change 3 Challenge

You can also check out my recipes and menu plans for a healthy life:
Menu Plans

Please share.

Change 3 Challenge Update

I am still plugging along on my 3 goals for the Change 3 Challenge this month.  I’m not going to lie, it AIN’T been easy!

What about you? Are you working on your 3 goals?  If you are like me and have a long list of goals you want to achieve, try paring it down to just 3 to focus on. 

It is not to late to write down three things you want to change or healthy habits you want to instill in your life.  Even though its is fall, October is a good time of year to get in a few positive life changes before the holidays and year end. 

Here is a RECAP of my 3 goals for the challenge:

Goal #1:
Read my bible daily, and if possible do it first thing in the morning. I would like to start each and every day with scripture, songs of praise, and prayer.

Goal #2:
Drink more water. I want to hydrate my body with water and flush out toxins.

Goal #3:
Play a game or some physical activity outside for a few minutes everyday with my kids. 

My Weekly Progress Update:

Progress on Goal #1
Here is a verse from Psalms about daily prayer: 

“Each morning I pray to you, Lord”.    Psalm 88:13

And I love this verse that talks about how God’s mercies are there for us each morning:
“The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning“.  Lamentations 3:23

And this verse encourages us to spend time with the Lord:

“Let’s do our best to know the Lord. His coming is as certain as the morning sun; he will refresh us like rain renewing the earth in the springtime”.   Hosea 6:3
These verses have encouraged me this week to continue with my goal of spending time with the Lord in the mornings before starting my day.

Progress on Goal #2
Have you ever made a goal that seems so monumental, you are not sure you will reach it?  Or somehow, even though you want to achieve it, you seem to continually sabotage the goal?  Oh yeah!  This happens to me all the time with two goals that seem to be life long efforts of two steps forward, three steps backward: drinking more water and loosing weight.  Yikes! 

So this week I had some good days of getting in plenty of water, and several bad days of not near enough water.  Still working on this goal.

Progress on Goal #3
The weather here is getting colder and colder.  Nights have been dipping below freezing, and now some of the days are too.  Today we woke up to our first snow.

I knew I was cutting it close setting a goal like this so close to the end of nice weather and start of winter weather.  But I wanted to maximize my time outdoors as much as I could before it became too difficult.  It looks like we’ve been cut short of reaching this goal between the cold rainy days, and now the wintery weather setting in.  We will just have to play it by ear and see how the rest of the month turns out.

Several of my kiddos came down sick this past week.  It was no surprise.  Everywhere we have been lately: Sunday church, Wednesday church,  homeschool coop, the park, gas station, etc, everywhere everybody seems to have the cold flu.  Folks are coughing, and sick, and run down. 

4 of my 6 kids have come down sick and each one came down sick about three days apart from each other.  There are still two kids who have not had the heavy day of fever, so I am not sure if it is over or if they will get it next.  So this past week we have been lounging around the house, covered up in blankets on the couches and living room floor, reading books, and watching our favorite shows, doing some school work if they felt up to it, and lots of sleeping.

It started with a run down feeling, and painful headache, and my daughter also complained of a lower backache too.  Then within 24 hours they ran a fever of 101.5 to 102 degrees F.  The fevers lasted about 24 to 36 hours.  During the fevers, they were not hungry, but I made sure to keep them hydrated every few hours. 

First I gave them 2 tbsp of elderberry extract, followed by 6 oz of Amazing mango citrus juice blend.  To the juice I added EmergenC powdered vitamin C packets in the tangerine flavor.  These contain 1,000 mg of Vit. C plus other vitamins and minerals.  They make the juice carbonated and taste like orange soda pop which is very appealing to the kids.   No one refused it! 

Normally if our family is coming down with a sickness, I would give the kids a 1-2-3 regimen to knock out a cold and flu virus: (1) Broth, (2) raw milk, and (3) elderberry.   Broth (made with water, sea salt, leftover chicken bones, garlic, and lots of veggies, simmer on low heat for several hours, then strained and use just the clear broth) and raw milk to help stay nourished and hydrated during an illness.  Broth made this way only costs pennies per serving, and contains minerals dissolved in easy to digest liquid form and the body uses it to fight infection and rebuild strength.  Raw milk also contains natural vit C, vit D, vit A, CLA, live enzymes, protein, minerals, healthy fats, and oligosacharides that boost the immune system and bind with viruses killing them or rendering them unable to replicate.  Did you know your immune system is rendered useless and broken without nourishing fats? Most folks don’t realize how important this is.  You must have these essential nutrients to fight infections.  Elderberry extract binds with virus and renders them unable to replicate.  So only the virus cells already living can do any damage, and future ones are stopped, leaving you with a much milder or no existent symptom outcome.  Fever also kills virus and reduces its attack and outcome on the body.  As long as a fever does not climb too high (over 103-104), or last too many days (over 3) it is best to let the body run it’s course and fight infection.   I did not have any broth or raw milk on hand this week and no finances to buy them either, but I did have a bottle of elderberry extract.  

So I substituted EmergenC vit / mineral powder packets instead. These packets contain a fine dissolvable powder you can mix into any liquid.  They have Vit. C 1000mg, Thiamin, Ribloflavin, Niacin, B6, Folic Acid, B12, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium 50mg, Phosphorus, Magnesium 60mg, Zinc 2mg, Manganese, Sodium, Chromium, Potassium, ALA, and Quercetin.  These are a lot of the same minerals in bone broth and raw milk.  So it is a viable substitute to get these nutrients into your loved one when you need it.

I did try making an herbal tea for the first child who came down sick and she refused it, so I had to find a plan B to keep her hydrated.   I was really worried about dehydration with her, and her lower back pain as a possible sign.  She did not want water or anything else to drink. 

Searching frantically, I realized I had some Amazing Mango juice blend in the back of the fridge (mom’s stash out of site for kids, sometimes I use a small glass mixed with KeVita to get in some extra nutrients and probiotics, but I was out of KeVita for a while and saved the mango juice in the back of the fridge so it didn’t “get gone” by the kids).   Amazing Mango contains Vit A, Vit C, Selenium, Calcium, Iron, Protein and some Fiber.  It also contains some beet juice, and beets are a blood purifier. So I thought it was worth a try to get her to drink it.

Ingredients in the Amazing Mango Juice:

I wasn’t positive this was going to be something she would want, but decided I had to try something.  It is a little thick, like a smoothie, so I added just a little water to thin it, and added the vit. C pa
cket.   She was hesitant at first.  It took a lot of patience on my part to hold the glass a long long time until she finally was willing to try a small taste.  She like it and said it tasted like Orange Soda Pop and she drank it down then took a nap.  This juice / vit C blend did the trick for her, and so I used it for the rest of the children when they showed signs of fever too!   I gave each of the children the elderberry extract, followed a few minutes later by the juice / vit C blend every 4 to 6 hours during the day, and let them nap as desired, and let them sleep through the night.  They had a bottle of water next to them too incase they needed more to drink, but for the most part, they drank very little water. 

I am so pleased with the outcome!  Their side effects following the fevers are so mild, you might not even know they have been sick.  The first 24 hours after the fever they have a mild sense of feeling run down, and then a little bit of nasal drainage and mild cough that lasts about a week.  But the symptoms are so mild that they might only cough 4 or 5 times for the whole day.  They are not congested.  Yeah!  We beat the virus!  Their bodies are managing the virus and its side effects so amazingly well.  

In total, each child received approximately 8 tbsp of elderberry extract, and 24oz of Amazing Mango juice blend with water added, and EmergenC added.  That was 4,000 additional units of vit. C plus additional vitamins and minerals that come included in the powder mix.  All of this was evenly spaced out during their fevers. This gave their bodies all it needed to stay hydrated during the fever, boost their immune system with lots of vit C to help the white blood cells fight the infection, special properties in elderberry that stop the replication of the virus, shorten the length of the illness, and combined together help the body manage the illness very well.  They did not eat, but did drink water as desired.  Following the fever, they resumed a normal diet.  Seriously, they have handled this so well, if you took them somewhere, no one would even guess they had just been sick. 

Well the medicine / herbal cabinet needs refilled as I used all the elderberry extract and EmergenC I had on hand.  It goes quick with this many kids.  I try to buy the bulk or bigger sizes and it helps to bring down the cost per serving this way.  Elderberry extract costs about $12 for a large bottle (or $8 for a small bottle), and EmergenC costs about $8 for 24 packets.   A large bottle of Amazing Mango costs about $6 (or $3.50 for a medium bottle and $2 for a small bottle).   Grand total cost of health care for this flu illness for four kids was $26  divided by 4 equals $6 each person.  (cheaper than a doctor’s visit for sure!)  But I am so thankful I had these items on hand and this remedy worked!  I didn’t have my usual go to remedies available.  This was an awesome substitute!  


Be sure to check out what other moms are doing for the Change 3 Challenge!
This post will also be linked up with:
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time

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Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Networked Blogs, and Instagram for all the latest discussions, pictures, and ideas going on.  If you want the most recent posts sent to your inbox, be sure to subscribe through our email option too.  

Have a great week and BE BLESSED!

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Update on Change 3 Challenge

Well another wonderful FALL week has gone by. This is my favorite time of year.  I enjoy the bold colors of this season. I love the falling leaves, though I don’t love the look of the bare trees once all the leaves have fallen.  But it is part of the ebb and flow of the seasons.  I love how the fall grass greens back up from the gentle rains after becoming dormant from late summer heat and dryness.  If only it would last!

I am so loving this Fall weather too. We have had mostly mild temperatures so far this fall, though I know cold weather is on its way even as soon as this coming week. I am not looking forward to winter this year. If memory serves me right, we will get very cold nights, freezing rains, and the temperatures will freeze at night and thaw out during the day, and sometimes even black ice (frozen ice that sticks to the black top roads) on the roads from the end of October, off and on through November until mid December when the ground freezes for good, and snow and ice start sticking around with no hope of thawing back out until spring.  I want to enjoy the Fall weather, even for however brief time it lasts.

Where am I at on the Change 3 Challenge?

Here is a recap of the 3 goals I am working on for 30 days, and I am linked up with other moms at Adventures in Mindful Cooking for the challenge.

Goal #1:
Read my bible daily, and if possible do it first thing in the morning. I would like to start each and every day with scripture, songs of praise, and prayer.

Goal #2:
Drink more water. I want to hydrate my body with water and flush out toxins.

Goal #3:
Play a game or some physical activity outside for a few minutes everyday with my kids. 


My progress update:

It is hard to work on goals when your life is stressed.  My life is stressful right now and I am struggling.  I feel like my life is like the grass that went dormant during the long, hot, dry, summer, and there has been no rain yet to refresh it. 

With all that I have going on, working on my goals for this month just doesn’t’t make sense some days… so how can I get on here and encourage you all to work on your goals and provide support for you? I don’t even feel I can explain my situation adequately for you to understand. Somedays I just feel like giving up.

But then I think about the “WHY”.   Why do I write?  I am writing to share my story and hopeful that by telling my story on here, you will be encouraged and blessed in someway.   I am determined not to give up, no matter how I may feel.  Perhaps I will find more strength as I share my struggles with you.

So here it goes:  I am stressed because of a lack of finances to meet our needs.  A few months ago, my husband left his job in NC to come to IN to help a friend in his business. His friend asked him to be partners and split the work and profits.  My husband worked really hard for his friend.  He did notice that things were not going like the friend had previously told them they would be, but thought in time it would become what the men had discussed.  After a few months, my husband moved the children and me here too.  

Though the house he moved us to is very old, and needs a lot of work, it was what we could afford.  So I accepted this place as home, and dream of someday making it a viable home place, Lord willing.  The children and I have spent nearly everyday in the yard since we moved here. We were adjusting and starting to really like living here, when the partnership between the men dissolved and left my husband with no job or tools. He could never have foreseen his friend changing like this.  This was very hurtful, as my husband loved his friend like a brother.  It has been devastating to us because we had just rearranged our whole entire life and moved across the country to accommodate their partnership which now is no more.  We were just getting by when we lived in NC.  Now with no job, we are falling quickly behind.

There are no beautiful colors and rays of hope to enjoy as the Fall days go by without a return call for a job, or an income, and we have so many unmet needs.  I am truly struggling with this right now.  My husband has been out of work for a couple of months and we have no finances left.  I don’t have anyone to turn to for help.  I reached out to a few extended family members, and their responses were not infavor of our lifestyle of homeschooling our children and me staying home to raise our six kids.  I will share more about this in my progress on my goals below.  

I know God must have a reason for allowing this to happen and will grow us stronger in some way. But it has truly been a difficult journey.  My husband has tried hard to find work and a new source of income.  He is very smart, and able to manage several huge construction projects at a time.  But week after week, nothing has opened up for him.  The local economy here in Central Indiana area cannot support his level of skills and the work he is used to.  He is devastated, and the kids and I are devastated too. There is no money to pay any bills, or even buy groceries, or birthday gifts.  How do you tell your child, you cannot buy them a gift for their birthday?  It is heart breaking.  Bills are due on everything we have. Yet there is no money to pay for any of it. There is no money to move on if we are forced to move either.

So here is my update for the 3 goals I am working on this month, though it has not been easy to focus on these with all I have going on. Have I been diligent?  To the extent that I could, I did my best.  But I felt like a heavy boulder is on my shoulders and there have been days that I honestly could not see my goals in front of me, let alone see a way to reach my goals.  Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning and each day I can start fresh with renewed strength in the Lord.

Progress On Goal #1
I did better this week reading my bible early in the day, and daddy joined us too several days this week. I meditated a lot on Psalms 23 – 25 this week. It really spoke to my heart, that God would pro
vide for our needs, and that he would take care of those in our life who are mockers and who don’t support us. This meant a lot to me.

Being a Homeschool mom, or a stay at home mom, is not a popular choice in our American culture.  It is not popular with extended family either.  Perhaps you have ran into this situation in your decision to homeschool too.   It is a devastating feeling.  I really didn’t have to face this earlier in my homeschooling years too much, because I really didn’t talk with extended family too much other than family reunions and holidays.  But this past week, it was very clear that extended family don’t value my place in the home or my decision to teach my children.

We are struggling in our finances, and this past week I reached out to family to ask for help.  Instead of receiving the help I need (rent, electric, phone, insurance, auto, food, gas), I received SCORN.  I was told it was “tough love”.  But that is not what I would call it.  Tough love is what you share with someone when they are doing wrong.  I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, steal, abuse, etc.  I don’t need tough love.  I need financial help.  But instead they scorned me and told me to put the kids into public school and go get a job. They have told me it is not their burden to bare to help me in my time of need. Instead, they have told me to go get public assistance or find a church to help me while I look for a job.  They also told us not to have more children.  They never expressed concern that I could end up homeless with six children.  They never expressed a desire for God’s will in my life. They never expressed real love.
It has been heartbreaking to learn the extent that they don’t value me or my faith or my beliefs. I did not expect their scorn when I reached out for help. I truly believe families should help each other and support each other, and not with conditions or judgements.   I don’t understand why this has occurred.  I have always been a giver.  I give everywhere and everyway I can and never withhold helping anyone. But I am being treated completely the opposite. Extended family point to me as a failure as a mother for choosing to homeschool instead of working outside the home.  I am shocked at their definition of a bad mother.  (bad mother = stay at home mother). One family member has reiterated several times over the past week or so that my duty is to place the children in public school, move to the city, and expose my children to all faiths and walks of life, and for me to go out into the world, and get a job and use my college degree.  They were serious when they said there are people in society who need my skills, and made it very clear they don’t think my children need my skills, but instead they could be looked after in public school and by a babysitter.  I was also told to stop nursing my baby, and wean him.  They say that I am letting my children down by choosing to homeschool them myself, that they will miss out on life and having an open mind from living on a farm in the country and being homeschooled.  They said all of this even though they know we go to church, the kids have been in 4H clubs, shown animals in the fair, community groups, lots of activities, and homeschool groups so the kids are around other kids and families several times a week.  We have six wonderful kids who are social, smart, loving, and well behaved.  Everywhere we go, we recieve compliments about our children.  They are beautiful outgoing kids.  They are not deprived of anything.  Unless they go to public school and I go to work, then they would become deprived of my time and attention.

They also say we are at fault for our financial situation because we choose to raise our family while living on one income when “both parents” have a “duty to work outside the home”.   But they said, there is nothing wrong with my husband staying home with the kids for a while if there are no jobs openings, and me “the mom” go to work.  Jobs that were suggested to me would barely make minimum wage too.  How in the world could I support a family of 8 people on a job that makes minimum wage? 

My husband and I totally disagree with this point of view.  It is our choice for me to stay home and raise our children while dad works and earns a living.  We looked at the “money factor” long ago, and it was less expensive for me to care for my own children, than to hire someone else to do it.  Also I have nursed all six children while they were babies.  It would have been costly to provide formula for them instead of nursing them, medical care for weaker immune systems because they were not nursed, and afford a baby sitter to care for their needs.  My income would not have offset the costs.  It has been an emotional blow to know the people you hold dear are the very ones who can hurt you the most if you believe and live differently from their lifestyle.

If you have experienced this kind of persecution and scorn from your family and friends because you choose to sacrifice a second income, stay at home and raise your kids and homeschool, I am sorry.  I know your pain.  I am sorry for how you have been treated.  May God give you the strength to forgive, and to push forward to do what you believe is right and do it well, no matter how unpopular your decision may be with others.

The bible talks about circumstances similar to this and one event even involved Jesus.  Even Jesus was hurt by family and friends in the town he grew up in.  He could not work miracles in his own hometown because everyone knew him when he was growing up.  They expected him to work as a carpenter.  They expected him to act like the rest of society and not be different.  They mocked his vision and his beliefs and said “he is just the carpenter’s son”.  They didn’t see who he really was or what he did or could do.  Their limitations they placed on him were so strong, that he could not work miracles there in his hometown and bless them and he had to move on.  I guess if the people who knew Jesus and had watched him grow up, can reject him, then I can accept people who reject me even though I thought they would be my biggest supporters.   

This pressure in regards to our finances, and lack of acceptance and emotional support from extended family, has propelled me and my family to read more of the bible and draw even closer to God.  The bible has what we need.  So I am searching to find answers to our situation, and to find strength and peace in the midst of the storm.  It has been a tough week, but my faith is stronger.

Progress On Goal #2
I am still trying to make this a good habit. This will be an ongoing challenge for me. I have a lifetime habit of not drinking enough water. So I have not reached this goal yet. I can’t seem to get beyond the 4th cup and sometimes the 5th cup of the day. I just don’t want anymore water. How can I drink my goal of a gallon? I don’t know. I will keep working on this for this week. I want to make some quart jars of water and have them ready ahead of time. I did not implement this task last week.  Instead I just filled a glass when I thought about it.  But I think if I had 4 quart jars filled with water and ready to drink, it would help me reach this goal.

Progress On Goal #3
We have had a good week of activities with the children, though due to rain, we have had a mixture of some days inside and some days outside.   We have had a family fitness goal this year, and I have been working on loosing weight and trying to be he
althier.  It has had its yo yo moments.  Playing physical type games outside helps me burn calories, have more energy, and helps to enrich my relationships with my kids.  Playing games inside doesn’t do much for my weight loss goals, but is still very positive and does allot in building up my kids.

Though we are at home most of the week, as we have limited gas in the vehicle to do much, we did manage to go a couple of places too that helped with my goal of playing with the kids.  We went to the homeschool coop on Friday, and to church and the local park on Sunday.

The Yard:
Playing in the yard has been a lot of fun in the cooler weather.  Though we haven’t started wearing coats yet, it is getting to the point on some days that I am too cold without one.   I love to be outside with the kids.  My husband enjoys playing outside with the kids too.   This week we played ball and tag on a couple mornings to get the wiggles out and take a break from our school work.  In the evening, a couple of the boys have walked the back field with daddy too.  They have seen deer, turkey, birds, squirrels, and smelled a skunk too.  I was really glad they didn’t run int to the skunk.  They have seen lots of animal trails, tracks, and poop too.  This has been a great time of bonding for daddy and the older boys this week.

Homeschool Coop:
We attended the local homeschool coop for art class, creative writing, and games.  This was a great way to learn some valuable skills and meet up with friends. 

Some folks were absent due to illness (about five or six families were missing), but there was still a nice size group to spend time with.  There were 10 older kids, 7 younger kids, and 6 adults at the coop.  We enjoyed spending time with them and learning together.  I hope to post a story about the art class soon and tell you more.   After the classes were over, the kids played tag, and also tossed large balls in the gym with one of the teachers.


We really enjoyed our day together Sunday.  We got up early, made breakfast, and headed to church.  We have been attending two local churches, one on Sunday for fellowship and praise and worship, and a different one on Wednesday nights for their kid’s ministry.  We would like to find a small group bible study for closer fellowship with other believers too.  We need these three things right now in our life.  I wish it wasn’t in three different places.  But right now I can’t seem to find a local place that has all three that meet our needs, so that seems to be the way it is for now. 

After church we made a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Hagerstown Park.  It was a beautiful day to be outside together.  We took a nature hike to see the fall trees and discover what was growing or dying in the park. 

Besides the leaves dying, and many already brown and crunchy leaves on the ground, there were pine cones, pine needles, acorns, walnuts, maple seeds, mushrooms, birds, squirrels, insects, and so many more fun things to observe.  There is a very large man made bear carved out of a tree trunk from a tree that had died and the kids thought that was really special.

The Hagerstown Park has so much to offer the community.  It has two great modern playgrounds, basket ball court, baseball fields, picnic shelters, a rolling landscape with lots of mature trees, a paved path for walking, a paved parking lot, bathrooms, an old fashioned mary-go-round, and a supper duper tall swirly slide, and more.  It is a wonderful family friendly place. 

I hope next week is a better week for me and my family and for you and your family too.  I hope you are doing well in your walk with the Lord, and working on your goals too.  Even when life is stressful, we still need to take care of ourselves.  Mom’s are important and we do have value to our children and spouses.  Our culture may not value stay at home mom’s, but I can guarantee you are special to your spouse and your children, and most of all, you are special in the eyes of God.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Networked Blogs, and Instagram for all the latest discussions, pictures, and ideas going on.  If you want the most recent posts sent to your inbox, be sure to subscribe through our email option too.   BE BLESSED!                  

Check out the progress other moms are having on the Change 3 Challenge.    This post will also be linked up with Raising Homemakers and Sharing Time. 

Please share.

Week 2 On The Change 3 Challenge

Well I have just finished my second week of the Change 3 Challenge.

                                Adventures In Mindful Cooking

Here is a recap of the 3 goals I am working on for 30 days.

Goal #1:
Read my bible daily, and if possible do it first thing in the morning. I would like to start each and every day with scripture, songs of praise, and prayer.

Goal #2:
Drink more water. I want to hydrate my body with water and flush out toxins.

Goal #3:
Play a game or some physical activity outside for a few minutes everyday with my kids.

My progress update:

Progress On Goal #1
I did better this week reading my bible early in the day, but I am still having a tough time getting it in before breakfast.  Part of the problem is that by the time get up and feed the kids and start our schoolwork for the day.  I don’t get a break to think about my own needs until about 10 am.  Then I am starving and wanting something to eat.  That is when I usually get to have my bible study with my late breakfast.  I think this next week I am going to assign each of the children a role in our bible study.  Someone can open the bible to the scripture. Someone can lead the opening prayer.  Someone can lead the closing prayer.  Someone can pass out coloring pages for the kids to sketch the story we study, etc.  I am hoping this will help me get everyone settled and quiet quickly in the mornings so we can begin earlier.

Progress On Goal #2
I am still trying to make this a good habbit.  It is not there yet.  I can’t seem to get beyond the 4th cup and sometimes the 5th cup of the day.  I just don’t want anymore water.  How can I drink a gallon?  I don’t know.  I will keep working on this for this week.  I want to make some quart jars of water and have them ready ahead of time.

Progress On Goal #3
Still working on this one too.  I actually did not do as well with this week, and did better the week before.  I don’t know why.  So I need to plan better for this coming week.  I am working on loosing weight, and I know this goal to play a game outside everyday will help me have more energy and help me towards my other goal in addition to spending quality time with my kids. 

Dad spent a couple evenings scouting for deer and teaching our sons how to find them.  Each night he took one or two boys boys to look for signs like poop, tracks, hair, their trail paths, and where they bed down. They saw a beautiful buck one night on their walks.


We did go to the Hueston State Park.  It is a free park and nature center.  There is a lot to do there with kids.  We saw lots of wildlife, boats on Action Kake, ducks geese seagulls and blue herons, the Nature Center had turtles, snakes, cougar, bobcat, owls, eagles, hawls, vu;tures, we also went to see lots of history at the Pioneer Farm, and played on the playground.  If you are in the ares, do check on this free resource.

Be sure to stop over and read what other mom’s are doing on this Change 3 Challenge.  If you want you can also link up too.

So what have you been working on?

This post will be linked up with
Adventures In Mindfull Cooking

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Change 3 Challenge

I recently accepted a challenge from a homeschool mom friend, Amber at Adventures In Mindful Cooking, to write about 3 things I would like to change in my life for the next 30 days.  Amber is a sweet mom with 3 kids and writes about recipes she is enjoying with her family, encouragement in motherhood, and homeschooling.  She is re-gaining her strength through changing her diet and habits.  She shares her story and many of the recipes she is enjoying on her website.  Be sure to stop in and read more about Amber when you get time. 

Change 3 Challenge @Adventures In Mindful Cooking!

Change 3 Challenge

For the next 30 days I will be posting at least once a week with updates on 3 goals I am working on.  I actually started the challenge this past week so I could concentrate on what was really important to me, and would be able to write my progress about it.  I had a hard time choosing only three goals, as I have a list of things I am working on that is a least a mile long.   But I have tried to narrow it down and I have listed my goals, my plans to reach those goals, and what progress I made toward reaching those goals this past week.

My Goals

My goals in the Change 3 Challenge are:
Goal #1: Read my bible daily, and if possible first thing in the morning.  I would like to start each and every day with scripture, songs of praise, and prayer.
Goal #2: Drink more water.  I want to hydrate my body with water and flush out toxins.
Goal #3: Play a game or some physical activity outside for a few minutes everyday with my kids.

The why? 

Why these 3 goals?  Well it was a hard decision to make.  I have so many goals, it was really hard to choose only 3.  But out of all of them, these 3 are the most important to me and will bring me the greatest satisfaction if I can master them in the next month.

Why Goal #1: I want to be sure to read my bible everyday and study scripture and commit to prayer because this will set my focus for the day. It will give me time with my creator. It will fill my need to commune with God, It will keep me focused on being thankful and giving praise, instead of focussing on problems, stress, or worrying about what my life is lacking.

Why Goal #2: I want to drink more liquid and especially more water because I am consistently dehydrated. I don’t drink enough. It is not healthy to be dehydrated. Getting enough water will help lower my PH level. It will keep the detox highway moving so to speak in flushing out toxins.

Why Goal #3: I want to play a game everyday because games are fun, they bring laughter into one’s life, they lift the countenance. Games build team work amongst the players and provide a healthy outlet for friendly competition.. I want to play games with my children because children need the positive interaction with an adult. They need one on one time. They need to be appreciated. I want to include one outside game a day to build our relationships, and our bodies. Fresh air is healthy and movement combined with fresh air helps to oxygenate the body. Running and playing outdoors builds skills, stamina, Vit. D, boosts the immunity. Winter is headed our way and we many not have many chances for outdoor fun during the winter months.  So now is the time to get this done!


The Plans

My plans to reach my goals include:

Plans for Goal #1: Get up, shower, dress, make something to drink, and set out the bible every day to read either alone, or with the kids. Make a prayer journal and write down scriptures, and things to pray about, and answered prayers too. Include prayers each day for my husband and each one of my children. Sing a new song of praise to God from my heart each day.

Plans for Goal #2: Make large jars of water or beverages for each day the night before or first thing in the morning. Sip through out the day.  It is weird because I have known to do this since I met the Amish bishop’s wife 15 years ago.  She told me she fixes two half gallon jars of water, or water with herbal extracts (like raspberry leaf extract), or tea (either tea or tea extract), in the morning and sips on them all day long.  I just never put this idea into practice.  Now I read the same advice everywhere, including in a new book I am reading called the Trim Healthy Mama.  So my plan is to take 4 quart jars and fill them first thing in the morning and begin sipping on them for the day.  At least one jar I want to include some fresh lemon juice in the water too.  I want to make up an additional jar or two of other beverages too and be sure to consume all of this each day.  I am going to need a separate refrigerator just to hold my beverages, hummmmmmm…..something to think about.

Plans for Goal #3: Have a list of games and supplies ready to play each week. Place the names of games in a jar and have the kids pull one out each day to play. Ideas: kickball, jumping race, jump rope, hop scotch, catch, baseball, capture the flag, hide and seek, tag, freeze tag, musical chairs, dancing, bike ride, frisbee, frisbee golf, yard darts, ladder ball, corn hole, volleyball, parachute, make tents and a campfire, and more.  Some of the outdoor learning and games we have done in the past, I have posted in PE and Outdoor Learning, and Walk and Talk Wednesday posts. 


Progress on Goal #1: This is the hardest one for me to get it the way I want it.  I get up, get breakfast for the kids, make my self something to drink, start homeschool with the kids, but don’t always get to read my bible until later in the day.  This week really helped me narrow down the reasons why.  One reason is because I don’t get up until 6:30 or 7 am.  At least 3 or 4 of the kids are already waking up at that time.  That does not leave enough time for me to read the bible before we start our day, so I find myself reading the bible at 10am or later.  I don’t mind including the kids in my bible study, as a matter of fact, I want to include them in bible study every day.  But I would like to have a few minutes of study alone, to collect my thoughts, and meditate on the word.  It is impossible to meditate on anything with 6 kids bouncing all around.  So, I need to get up earlier, despite my desire to sleep in longer.

Progress on Goal #2:  Didn’t reach it.&nbs
p; I have never liked the taste of water.  Why?  I don’t know.  I have tried, and tried.  I always revert back to my old ways of not drinking enough.  I did make progress to drink more liquid this week.  But not enough water. 

I make several beverages each week, despite my interest in water.  I have learned to sweeten them with stevia and or chickory sweetener, but in the past I sweetened with maple syrup, sucanat, or raw honey.  I have been exploring natural alternative sweeteners this summer and I am pleased with the taste of NuNaturals Pure Stevia and Just Like Sugar brand chickory sweetener.  Both are delicious and do not spike the blood sugar.

One drink I am making a lot of lately is called the Shrinker from the Trim Healthy Mama program.  It is an iced tea drink that has a few “extras” added in to help you loose weight while you hydrate. Their recipe is to consume two quarts a day.   I have adapted it, OF COURSE, and call my version the Dragon Shrinker.  I have added a lot of extra spices and increased the healthy aspect of the tea and it tastes just like a Chai tea I used to drink with friends in college over 20 years ago.   I drink only one quart or 32 oz a day.  I hope to share the recipe with you soon.  I’ve posted a picture below for you to see. 

I am also drinking an 8 oz Bulletproof coffee (coffee blended with butter and coconut oil) that really sustains me for several hours.

On off days from the coffee, I drink a protein drink.

Then everyday I drink a 16oz glass of either Kombucha or Kombucha and juice blend, or a KeVita and juice blend.  I drink this to get in both some probiotics, enzymes, and nutrients.  Nutrition gets into the blood stream much quicker when it is in liquid form.  So I try to include at least one juice drink a day.  Below is a picture of the peach drink I made several times in September using organic peaches from my own tree in the background.  This was a wonderful treat while the peaches were ready to be harvested.  They are finished now, and I will be making it with other flavors until next year when they are ripe for harvest again.  The second picture is one made with KeVita and carrot and apple juice.

Lastly, but not my favorite, I also drink 24 to 32 oz of water.  I know, it is not enough water.

So currently on an average day, I am consuming around 80 oz to 104 oz of fluids.  But seriously, I want to consume at least a gallon (128 oz) of water, and a half half gallon (64 oz) or more of other beverages.  So my daily fluid goal is 190 oz or more.  My current intake on an average day is about 104 oz of combined liquid.  190 – 104 = 86 oz .  So I have a ways to go (at least an additional 86 oz) to reach my goal. 

Progress on Goal #3:  I only managed to work on physically playing outside with the kids three out of seven days this week.  I did have bible study and feed them lunch outside 5 out of seven days that the weather was nice.  The kids managed to go out and play all seven days, they don’t mind the rain one bit.  But I was not so diligent.  On Sunday afternoon we walked around Metamora IN for a couple of hours and rode the train (see upcoming story for details). On another afternoon this week I played tag for about 20 minutes.  And another afternoon I went for a short walk and played catch with a big ball with the kids.  Two days I lost my motivation because it rained.  The other two days, I just didn’t feel like going out.   I have a ways to go to making this a daily priority and I am running out of time.   The weather has changed here and it is really showing signs of fall now.  Mornings and evenings are chilly.  Some afternoons are warm, and some are chilly, and off and on we have rain.  I really want to reach this goal this month, because I know soon enough, the weather here will get so cold, I won’t want to go outside, so NOW is the time to make this happen before I loose my opportunity.

My Additional Goal List:

To be honest…I have way more than 3 things I want to change this month, and my list grows and grows every month.  It was so hard when Amber asked me to choose three things to work on to make my life better in the next month, because I have so many goals that I am continually working on, that even though they are all great goals, it is overwhelming sometimes. 

Here are just a few of my additional goals I have been working on the past couple of months and will continue on through the end of the year:

*I want to get to bed earlier and get up earlier.  This is so hard for me to do!  I am a night owl.  I prefer to get my work done when the kids go to bed for the night.  But sometimes this means going to bed too late when I am really involved in a project.  Sometimes I don’t make it to bed until 12 or later.  This is not a very healthy routine as it upsets the body’s natural rhythm.  I want to have a set time each night to be to bed no later than 11:00 for example.  It is a work in progress, lol.
*Use facebook and other social media less each day, perhaps 30 minutes max and value my time with my family and my hobbies more.
*I want to write my blog stories for 2 hours a day five days a week, and take weekends off.  I want to be able to be able to write about family adventures, homeschool, and complete my product reviews all within this window of time.  I need to learn to type faster I think!  I currently find that if I miss even one day, I easily get behind.  It takes a lot of time to write stories.  But I hope to keep publishing about three a week, and be able to keep it in balance with my family and my own interests too.
*I want to make home remedies and have them ready in my medicine cabinet or freezer if needed.  Remedies like: elderberry extract, elderberry syrup, and elderberry variations, garlic extract, garlic oil, apple cider vinegar, 50 garlic soup or the modified version, and more.
*I want to make my own homemade “safe” hous
e cleaning and laundry products.
*I want to do some fall cleaning (spring cleaning in the fall).
*Prep the garden for winter.  I would like to get all the old plants pulled out and composted.  I also want to disc the ground and sow winter rye or alfalfa that I can till under come spring for green manure and enrich the ground with all those extra organic nutrients. 
*I want to harvest the walnuts that will soon be dropping all around and make fresh walnut oil, and sprout and freeze the nutmeats for use in snacks and deserts. I hope to post a lot of recipes using walnuts later this fall if I can get this goal reached.
*I want to make every meal from scratch this month according to the nourishing principles of the Weston A Price Foundation, using their cookbook Nourishing Traditions, and following the diet plan and recipes of the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD).  I am also interested in the program called Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and I am in the process of reading their book and studying the science behind it.  I lost 17 lbs on the FMD program back in April and it was a good place to start on revving up my metabolism.  But I stopped following the specific steps of the diet when I moved to Indiana due to too much stress and other priorities taking first place.  I kept using several of the recipes, but without following the specific steps, the weight loss stalled.  My goal to loose weight went on the back burner.  But I need to, and I think I am ready now to, get back to it.
*I want to prepare some of the FMD meals ahead and freeze in the freezer for easy prep later (like cooking soaked oatmeal, meats for tacos and fahitas, and foods like chili, soaked rice pudding, and breakfast egg casserole), ahead of time in the crock pot and divide them into meal size portions for the freezer.  I find that if I use the crock pot. We have more variety in our meals if I have this step done ahead, because meal prep is that much easier and faster when we are hungry.
*Re-read the FMD book.
*Finish reading the THM book.
*I want to make a new ferment starts of Kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir, fermented pickles and other fermented veggies, and sourdough starters.  I can’t wait to have some sourdough pancakes, sourdough waffles, and sourdough cinnamon rolls with kefir frosting!  Most of these recipes are listed in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions easily available on the internet.  I’ve been saving lots of them on my Pinterest boards and on my facebook page.
*I need to find a grassfed RAW MILK source for my family.  I would love to keep a Jersey cow again.  But I just don’t have the funds to buy one right now.  I need to find a source soon.  Raw milk provides so much protection for the immune system and with flu season (stomach and respitory) coming soon, we need it.  Oligosaccharides in raw milk bind with bacterial and viral toxins and render them harmless.  Grassfed raw milk is also a wonderful source of Vit. D, Vit. C, and Vit. A and Lord knows all my kids need more of these wonderful nutrients in our diet with the coming of winter.  It also has CLA and complete protein with 22 amino acids to build muscles, Vit K2 to promote blood health and prevent arthritis, B12 & B6, fatty acids that help the white blood cells fight disease, and more.  God made a perfect food in this resource.  Deuteronomy 26:9 “You brought us here and gave us this land rich with milk and honey”.  I feel so much better when we have this fresh raw milk as part of our daily nutritional routine.
*I want to update my calendar / planner daily so I can keep track of what is going on and what is coming up soon.  Currently I update it once a week or less, and I can so easily loose track of what is going on and forget to plan enough ahead.
*I want to keep a daily food journal this month.  I have kept them off and on over the years.  I really helps me a lot to keep one and see what I have been eating and where I need to make changes.
*Take a weekly outing to the park.
*Take a weekly outing to the library.
*Spend more time with my husband discussing future plans, hopes, and dreams and nurturing our relationship.  We have been married 22+ years, but it always takes a “first place” focus to keep it strong.
*I want to have one on one time with each one of my kids and do something special together.
*I want to learn to sew.  I will be learning to sew a doll outfit this month.  That is a good start!  But I want to learn to sew pretty things for my daughter.
*Remember to take my supplements and vitamins each day.  It is so easy to forget.
*I want to loose weight.  That right there is a huge goal for me and one that is always on my mind.  I haven’t lost any weight since we moved in May, and well the lack of progress in this area has me discouraged.
*T-tapp two times a week (even at least once would be better than none at all), walk one or two times a week, and strength train once a week.  FMD encourages one day of cardio (M), one day of strength (W), and one day of stretching like exercises (F), and then off on the inbetween days (like Tue and Thur) and for two days (Sat and Sun) then start over each week to stimulate the metabolism.  I don’t get enough physically activity and any or all of these would definitely improve my physical health and my mental outlook, and may keep my metabolism up high enough to burn some extra calories and help me loose weight.
*I want to get out of debt and be able to save money for the future.
*Go through all the clothes (for all 8 of us) and figure out what we can and can not wear, and find clothes warm enough to get through this coming Indiana winter.  We have lived the last five years in North Carolina and it didn’t get very cold.  We didn’t have to wear coats and boots and gloves and things that are a neccessity to get through the Indiana winter.  So I am feeling stressed with how to do this with no money to buy the things we need.  But going through what we have to work with is a good and nessessary place to start.

…and my list goes on and on and on.  See, I told you it was a lot!  It was so hard to choose only three things to focus on for this challenge this month.

But I hope by focussing on 3 of my goals for the next 30 days, I will make progress and permanent change for the better.


So what are your goals you are working on?   Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.  
Would you like to join us in the Change 3 Challenge?  If so, you can list your 3 goals on Amber’s facebook page, or if you write a blog post about it, you can leave a link to it on her website.  

                    Adventures In Mindful Cooking

Be sure to stop in and read the challenge links at Adventures in Mindful Cooking.  You will glean so much and be encouraged when you read what 3 goals other mom’s are working on this month too. 

Be blessed!

This post will be linked up with:
Adventures in Mindful Cooking
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time
Walk and Talk Wednesday

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