12in1: unstuck ~ monthly challenges update

I have absolutely 100% dropped the ball on keeping up with my monthly challenges blog posts. The good news is that we are still keeping them alive and well though, in our family & home.

So, here’s the latest on what we’re calling 12 in 1:Unstuck

Our family is definitely still loving and working through our monthly challenges for 2014, although the newness and excitement from the beginning of the year has absolutely started to wear off a bit.  But we aren’t quitters…or at least Jimmy & I aren’t, so we’re plugging away determined to show our kids that this is worth seeing through to the end.

March was Books over TV month, where we set limits on how much TV we watched, replacing that habit instead with time reading…either alone or together as a family.


Surprisingly, giving up our TV time came quite easily.  The kids never had it on during the week (and rarely even asked for it!), and had at most maybe an hour a day on the weekends, while Jimmy and I stuck to an hour or less just a few nights a week.

But the books part of the plan?
Um ya, not so much.

All of Taylors free time was spent with the Rainbow Loom, crafting up hundreds (it appears) of bracelets I’m pretty sure he’ll never wear but simply wanted the challenge of making, and I found that I love love love Instagram & YouTube more than I ever had before the T.V. was turned off.  Although, I will admit that Jimmy and Chloe, however, did awesome with this part of the challenge. Chloe read to me during nearly every one of my baths and showers, and by the end of the month was even bringing books with her every time she headed to the potty. And I lost count of how many books Jimmy consumed for the month, though mostly because he was working hard to finish a seminary class before our trip to London.

For the month of April, we chose to go along with my friend Laura’s idea, and give up uttering anything negative. And let me just say….Dang. That’s not as easy as I thought it would be. As it turns out, we’re all just a bunch of Isrealites wandering around the desert in this house. I’m kind of thinking we should have done the jar idea like Laura’s doing. But the good thing about all this is, at least we’re now more aware, and spending 30 days being hyper focused on it HAS to bring about some change, right?!?

Ya, more on this at the end of the month.

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12:1 getting unstuck ~ books over t.v.

I still need to write a post wrapping up all that we experienced and learned throughout our February challenge of service and kindness, but given that we are now into the first week of March, I thought I better first address our new months challenge.


This is the month that we’ve decided to limit the T.V. watching and instead focus more on reading and writing books, both individually and as a family. (more on the writing a bit later!)

~ I have some writing to get done & some books stacked up that I have been meaning to read for over a year now…
~ Jimmy has books to finish for his seminary classes…
~ We’ve always wanted to choose a book to read together as a family…
~ And I want the kids to be reminded that reading is actually fun and not just something that needs to checked off a homework list for the day.

And so we’re limiting our TV watching to one hour on the weekends and a half hour each weekday night, (Might be a little more now that I have a dear friend to cheer on!), and instead replacing the extra time rekindling our love for writing and reading books.

Already, I am seeing the changes and I love it.  Just yesterday as I was taking an extra long shower to escape my day for a bit, Chloe found her way in with a stack of books ready to read to me all my quiet time long.  She reminded me it was “book month,” and that she needed to read me some stories so I wouldn’t be alone during my shower.  Never in my life have I ever wanted to give up my quiet shower time more than I did in that moment.  She even took the extra time to poke the book past the shower curtain so I had an opportunity to see each picture that went with the words she was so graciously reading to me.

We also started a new book about Jim Elliot, an incredible missionary, that we’re reading together as a family each night that we’re all able to sit together at the dinner table.  It’s amazing.  We’re making memories.  And I cherish it more than I ever thought I would.

In addition to this challenge, we’re also choosing this month to bring back the first two months challenges as well: Health & Kindness, and do our best to successfully juggle all three. I think every three months, we might bring back the old so as to really keep things a part of our lives and really solidify our new habits.

I have to say, I am LOVING these monthly challenges.  I love that my family is so involved in this with me and that we are actively working together to make positive changes in our lives.  I love that we can already look back and reflect on all the ways we’ve been able to make 2014 really count.  We haven’t been perfect, but we’ve certainly done our very best…making sure to pick ourselves back up the next day when maybe the day before had been a bust.  And in breaking all our hopes, dreams and goals up into 12  thirty(ish) day challenges, we are already so much further ahead in accomplishing our 2014 goals then we ever have been in previous years.

12 in 1: A year to getting unstuck… it’s good.  It’s really really good.



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12in1: getting unstuck: february kindness

Every month for 2014, our family has decided to choose a different challenge to focus and work on.
We’re calling it 12 in 1: Getting Unstuck.
12 different challenges in 1 years time to truly getting our family unstuck.

And for February, the month of love, we fittingly chose to focus on kindness.
An entire month dedicated to serving others.
Loving others selflessly.
Thinking more of others than ourselves.
Being kind at all times, even when it may not come naturally or easily.

kindness quote

Before February began, we went around the dinner table discussing ideas on how we could put this focus into action.  We asked ourselves and the kids, “How can we individually make an effort each and every day to show kindness and love, and how can we as a family serve together?”

I took notes quietly, with misty eyes, as I listened to my children excitedly suggest one kind gesture or loving act of service after another.  Their hearts were alive, as most hearts tend to be when the focus is taken off itself.

Their simple thoughts of kindness, before ever being executed, were already changing lives.
And mine.

And while we have big ideas, exciting ideas, and some ideas we’ve already put into action….after reflecting on this post, it seemed the right thing not to list them publicly.

I want my kids to learn to serve and to love and to do kind things, because that’s how we were made to be.  Because that’s the kind of Love we’re called to live.  Because Loving this way is what repairs hearts and lives, ours included.

But not ever to get noticed or praised.  Not ever.

We love and we serve, because He loved and He served.
And so each morning for the next 28 days (less when this posts), we will be waking up thinking of others first and how can we love better throughout our day.

Yet, just like last month, we will continually cling to grace.
We understand we will falter.
We will be unkind.
We will be selfish.
We will forget to think beyond what was comfortable for us.

But each night as we sit together as a family, we’ll share where we failed and we’ll share where we found success, and most importantly we’ll remind each other that tomorrow’s a new day.
A new day filled with fresh hope and opportunities to love, to serve, to be kind…to try again.

“It’s not about being the best.  It’s about trying for better than yesterday.”


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12in1: getting unstuck ~ get healthy january & february challenge

And just like that, the first month of 2014 is done.  January is over.  And so ends our first official family challenge, Get Healthy January.

I loved this month. I loved this challenge. And I loved how it made us all aware, focused, and constantly striving.

Last night, as we sat down to our family pizza night tradition (only this time – gluten free & organic), we found ourselves reflecting on all that we had learned and accomplished over the month. We shared where we grew, where we struggled, and laughed over the obvious moments we downright failed.

Chloe was proud she had been finishing her daily green superfood smoothies, both Taylor & Jimmy successfully went to Jiu Jitsu three times a week, and I accomplished my goal of working out 3-4 times a week. We cooked (and I use that term loosely) most all of our meals at home, and when we did eat out, we chose the healthiest option available.

However, there was a week where I found myself exhausted, sick and sleeping almost an entire week away.  During that time I held to our standard of grace, remembering it wasn’t about perfection, but about doing the best we could each and every day…and my best that week was simply about resting and allowing my body to recover.

Yet, when Mom is weak and unavailable…the family (and house) seems to fall apart.
Hence the need for even more grace after Filippis pizza, Smashburger, and (iShudder) McDonalds. Now I wasn’t there for that last option, but thankfully when the kids (and Jimmy) got around to confessing, they couldn’t believe how gross the food had “suddenly” become.  Yay!!!

“It’s not about being the best…but striving for better than the day before.”

In our case, it was an entire week before, but whatever. So we had a bit of a backsliding moment, but we caught ourselves, and the following week we were back on track. And we finished the month out strong, organic Z Pizza and all.

I am excited and confident that as we move into February, our month of loving and serving others (more on this in Mondays post), we will absolutely continue our healthy habits, as it’s become just that.
A habit.

And as a finishing touch to Get Healthy January, I thought I’d share our latest health food grocery haul. We seriously loaded up so that as February begins, we wouldn’t be the least bit tempted to stray from our ways. I hope it inspires you to try some new things, or at least gives you fresh ideas for your already healthy ways.


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superfood smoothie recipe for even the pickiest kids (and parents)

Over the last few years my family has slowly made the change to go extra clean and healthy in our grocery purchases.  We only buy organic, and I read the ingredients on EVERYTHING.  If there isn’t a health benefit, it generally doesn’t go into the shopping cart.

That’s not to say that we don’t eat UNorganic or UNhealthy sometimes too.  But, when it comes to what we buy at the store, it’s rarely junk.  And Trader Joes, Whole Foods & Sprouts seem to be our go to stores.

On the flip side, Jimmy & I both despise cooking and so often times we’ll find ourselves at Rubios or Panera for some take out, because eating taking out is the closest thing we can afford to having a personal chef.

One day, one day…

All that said, our kids have sllllloooooowllllly become accustomed to eating things that aren’t the normal grocery store items.
For example, they love roasted seaweed, coconut ice cream is a treat, and green superfood smoothies are a daily MUST HAVE.

In fact, Taylor begs me to make them nearly every single day, and I do because it gives me such a peace of mind in that if they eat nothing else of substance the whole rest of the day, they will ingest all that they could possibly need in one single SUPERFOOD smoothie.

So for todays #GetHealthyJanuary post, I wanted to share our most made and loved recipe.  I first got the idea from one of my dear friends, Kendra, and am constantly making little tweaks here and there, but the basics always stay the same.



1 cup Pineapple chunks (from Costco, because we go through so much!)
1/2 cup Mango chunks (also from Costco)
1/2 cup Orange Peach Mango Juice (Trader Joes) *any juice works, as we change it up!
1/2 cup plain or coconut water
1 cup Frozen Kale (We buy the organic bag from Costco and keep it in the freezer so its nice and cold.  Plus it lasts longer!)
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds or Flaxseed (1 tablespoon for my kids)
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tablespoon for my kids)
OPTIONAL VARIATIONS WE’VE ADDED: Protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1/2 apple

Recently I was talking with another friend who was struggling with her own very picky children, and she had no idea how to get them to eat healthy.  I gave her this magic recipe to try, and a few days later she texted me that it had been a GIANT SUCCESS!!!

If you happen to be like us, or our kids, and you struggle to get in all your “health” each day, try making this most delicious smoothie and watch the health benefits happen before your eyes!!!

Also, if you have a smoothie recipe you’re obsessed with, leave the recipe in the comments, as I’d love to try it next!


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12:1unstuck ~ get healthy january

It’s a week into the New Year, and I still have that giddy butterflies excitement you tend to experience with new.  I love when it still shows up with Jimmy, and it’s a feeling we all tend to long for and cling to whenever it so desires to show it’s face.

The New Year is like that for me.  It’s a new relationship, a new love, and it is filled with hope and passion and potential.

Last week I shared how 2014 was to be a year of Getting Unstuck, and how we, as a family, are going to make each month intentional by focusing the 30-ish days to a different theme, goal, or value. We had a little impromptu family meeting where we threw out the idea to our kids, and the excitement was contagious. Everyone had their own ideas and desires to throw into the mix, and within minutes a list was created, and a plan was formed.

And because we’re Americans and also because of the gluttony that came with the Holidays, we chose to make Getting Healthy the focus of January.

Although for us, getting healthy is so much more than just eating right and being active, while those are still definitely among the top of our list. But, in addition to that, we long to get healthy in our minds and spiritual lives as well. Though we intend to delve even deeper into those areas in other months, it’s always good to start positive habits as early as possible.


Though all of this, we’re keeping the mindset of striving towards excellence all while maintaining a heart of grace. We realize we may not perfectly achieve our goals, but what’s most important is that we never stop trying. If we mess up, or begin to get off track, we’ll pick ourselves up, learn the lesson and move on towards better moments.  It’s called, Getting Unstuck.

So the question on our minds and lips this month, whether related to our actions, thoughts, food, or activities will be:
“Is this healthy for me, or can I choose a better way?”

I’m excited and more than ready to be mindful of this, and my plan is to share here every Monday our tips, tricks and examples of how to make this month (as well as the rest of your life) a more healthy & happy one!  I want to document this year as much as possible and make it a year of intention, a year to remember, a year to Getting Unstuck.

Are you in?

And, as always, if you have any ideas, tricks & tips as well, please be sure to leave them in the comments so that we can all check in to feel motivated and inspired!!!  Also be sure to use the hashtags #12in1unstuck and/or #making2014count with your posts!


*** for those of you that like to keep up with my YouTube channel, here’s a link to todays video: YAY or NAY? Reviewing Products I’ve used up (empties)

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