Journal Entry No. 7

#grateful

My family

My friends

Being able to travel

Access to good food and clean water

A vehicle that runs

A nice RV to live in

Freedom in my religious preferences

Right to vote

Running water and electricity

A washer and dryer

Able to do the work I love

Able to homeschool my sweet girls

Heat and AC

Opportunities in my past, present and future

Ability to see and read

Music

Knowledge

The ability to be joyful

Creativity

Sunshine

Dirty and Dry

*This post contains affiliate links that help cover the costs of this website and costt you nothing to click on them, unless you choose to purchase the item.

We are in Camp Verde currently and it is chilly here! It’s really nice as there’s hiking trails right next to where our coach is parked, as you can see in the photo above.

After spending a month in the warm Phoenix area, the cooler weather is refreshing. We also had rain which we hadn’t seen in a month.

We met so many nice full-time families in Phoenix. We had a great time becoming acquainted and learning their story of why they went full-time on the road. The scenery was so interesting there as well. Very different from where I’ve visited in the past(mostly south east part of the U.S.). Brent loves that there were no mosquitoes around to bite him. It’s so dry and dusty here! Our family did several hiking trails there(only short ones with all three girls). We really relaxed a lot while there. They had a nice swimming pool and hot tub on the camp grounds.

Brent bought a cool portable speaker so we can listen to music outside since he was able to be outside without getting bit.

I’ve been doing the 30 day yoga challenge through Yoga with Adriene this month. I also have continued doing daily, guided meditation. This has been my self-care. It’s nice to do something little like this and not spend a lot of money on self-care(nails done, shopping, etc.).

I do enjoy adding in essential oils or a nice incense to my daily routine. I also love the warm glow of my salt lamp.

I’ve been trying to do more weekly meal planning as it’s hard to put any extra food away in the RV kitchen area. One meal that was a big hit is Ancho Chile Chicken with re-fried black beans and roasted red bell peppers that I found in a magazine I had.

For breakfast, I’ve narrowed down my girls’ choices to: Kodiak Cake mix

Eggs, bacon or sausage(once a week), cereal or smoothies. I typically have a smoothie, oatmeal or eggs with veggies or even leftovers from dinner the night before.

We do our school in the usually in the morning. The girls have enjoyed doing the workbooks I got them and I read aloud to them. We are currently reading the Little House and the Prairie series.

They continue drawing every day and have enjoyed using Art for Kids Hub on Youtube that another full-time family recommended. The drawings they do are amazing from this channel!

We explored Sedona this past weekend and it was amazing! The beauty of the red rocks and landscape were breathtaking. This photo doesn’t do it justice, you’ll have to come see it for yourself.

IMG_0303

We hiked a couple trails at national parks, Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park. Also, we went to the Montezuma Castle. That place I liked for all the vegetation they had labeled there. I learned about so many neat plants that the people there had used medicinally and eaten.

We had originally planned to go see the Grand Canyon, but with the temperatures in the teens and none of us have cold-weather clothing, we are heading back to Tennessee this week now. There, we will catch up with friends and family, go to the dentist, eye doctor and general doctor check-ups. Yes, we still do normal, everyday things like everyone else.

It’s been a great few months exploring different places and I look forward to exploring more in a couple months!

Look how busy we’ve been!

With spotty WiFi in the RV parks we’ve been camping in these past couple of weeks, I haven’t had a chance to do much blogging. Brent says that I just don’t like to have Wifi, but it is a struggle to find a good Wifi signal at these parks. Many times their websites will state that there’s Wifi available, but like the current one we are at, it is only available in a room next to the office. So, while my laundry is washing, I will try to update all of you on our where a bouts and going-on’s.

We pulled out of our “base camp” site in Tennessee and headed to Louisiana for Thanksgiving with family. My father installed a RV plug for us to plug into and we parked in the front yard. I kept joking we were Eddie and Catherine from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Some of our family from around was able to join us and we had a nice time visiting with cousins.

After spending a week in Louisiana, we drove to Florida for our first winter in the sun. We stayed overnight in a truck stop on our way here. That was an interesting experience. It was rather loud all night with trucks and cars coming and going all night. The big rigs also ran their diesel engines all night. This actually was our second time staying overnight in a truck stop. We couldn’t open any of the slides, so we had to squeeze into the beds at night. I realized we had too much “extra” items around to sleep and move about comfortably and easily with the slides all closed. So, when we arrived in Florida, I went through our stuff to purge more items. Now we won’t have as much to put up on the beds as we drive and then we are able sleep in the beds without moving containers(I had a small rolling cart with some art supplies in it) off of them from the drive.

Aside from the stay in Northern Georgia this summer at a RV park, we’ve been spoiled by being able to park in family and friend’s driveways(and front lawns!).

We met a very nice full-time family here in Florida at one of the parks we stayed at for a week. They’ve been traveling for about a year and a half now. Check out their YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ng2ZTS31rtA , called Unroot Me. Their son also has an Youtube channel about nature and animals. https://youtu.be/irWZ8t-Fbxg

They are off to another part of Florida. Hopefully we’ll meet again!

Since the internet is spotty here, I bought some school workbooks just at Target to work on while we are here. We’ve been doing this program online, loosely: https://allinonehomeschool.com/ We generally lean toward “unschooling” type of homeschooling. I incorporate lots of hands-on activities, outdoors time, playing, and exploring the area we are in.

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in my Instant Pot( Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer)* as of late due to not having much propane in the tank to use the stove top or oven. I’ve tried out the convection oven and it works nicely, but it is only able to bake small amounts at one time. Some of my favorite meals to make in the Instant Pot are, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199706564709843715/, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199706564709819038/, https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/minimalist-baker-3831052/vegan-sloppy-joes-4825066241are just a few. We love to make sweet potato fries and I make them successfully in the convection oven!

We decorated the inside of the RV for Christmas yesterday. It’s not much as we don’t have much space. My three year old and I made a paper chain to help it look more festive. She loved helping making it! It is made from pink and orange papers as that’s all the extra paper I had available, but it matches some of the other Christmas decorations as I used many of my daughters’ decorations from the years past that were used in their bedrooms, which equals lots of pink. christmas in rv

We went to Animal Kingdom this week. It is the girls’ Christmas gift. We only spent one day there and goodness, there is a whole lot to do there! It is pricey, so we only had one day to explore. We all loved the new Pandora ride, except for Avery as she was not tall enough. I was given a fast pass since I wasn’t able to go on with Avery. It worked out because Iliana and Emme were able to go again with me. While Avery and I waited on the others to get off the ride, we explored Dino-land. Avery has been into dinosaurs as of late.  When I met the others back in an hour and a half(yes, it took that long to wait ti get on the ride), I passed Avery off to Brent.We all thought it was an amazing ride. It was so realistic! We also went on the Safari ride, which is on a safari-like truck. It took us around an area to show us various animals of Africa. Then we took a train to a petting area and a building with so many insects and amphibians in it! Avery saw some characters too there(one was Doc McStuffins, the other was a character from Lion King). We all enjoyed the day and were so tired by the evening time. The only thing that my girls’ wished was that there would’ve been more rides in Animal Kingdom.

We are not doing Christmas gifts this year, only stockings as we don’t have the space for more toys. The girls did agree on going to Animal Kingdom in lieu of physical gifts.

Well, I’m going to stop here and update everyone in a couple weeks! Have a wonderful holiday season!

 

*affiliate link(this doesn’t cost you anything to click on, but does help me with the cost of the upkeep of this website)

 

10 Comforting Hot Drinks for the Winter

Two weeks into November here in Middle Tennessee area and we are experiencing some chilly weather. Especially today when it’s rainy and dreary, I crave a warm drink to sip on while I type at my laptop or read to myself or my children.

Soon, we will be in a warmer climate, but I still enjoy a comforting, warm drink.

Here are 10 comforting hot drinks for you to enjoy too!

  1. https://draxe.com/recipe/turmeric-tea-recipe/

Oh, try out this ghee:

Vanilla Bean Grass-Fed Ghee Butter by 4th & Heart, 9 Ounce, Pasture Raised, Non-GMO, Lactose Free, Certified Paleo(this is an affiliate link) for the ghee in the tumeric tea recipe above!

  1. https://wellnessmama.com/25946/apple-cider-recipe/

Yes, I do drink bone broth warm and so does my oldest daughter.

  1. http://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/?s=instant+pot+bone+broth

This one is perfect for holiday time when we are exposed to extra germs and sweets:

  1. http://www.healthhomeandhappiness.com/ginger-tea-for-gaps-and-sore-throats.html

A classic with a twist:

  1. http://nourishedkitchen.com/mexican-hot-chocolate/

I love a good Chai Tea and this one is perfect to make up extra to give out as gifts!

  1. https://www.mommypotamus.com/masala-chai-tea-recipe/

I’m all about a homemade pumpkin-spiced latte!

  1. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-pumpkin-spice-latte-even-better-than-starbucks-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-96277

My little sister got me into these:

  1. http://thebusybaker.ca/earl-grey-vanilla-tea-latte-london-fog/

A little night-time drink:

  1. https://minimalistbaker.com/chili-cinnamon-bourbon-hot-toddy/

Yummy Matcha green tea latte!

  1. https://rootandrevel.com/matcha-green-tea-latte-recipe-vegan/

 

Why Some Women Experience Cravings During Pregnancy

It is unknown for sure why some women experience cravings during pregnancy. It is most likely due to shifts in hormones. Some women may even crave non-food items such as, dirt, clay, ice, laundry starch, or coffee grounds, which is called pica. These cravings should be discussed with the pregnant woman’s care provider.

 

 

craving chocolate pregnancy

 

It has been noted that cravings are particularly prevalent in eating and weight-related issues. Interestingly, food cravings are seen most commonly in North Americans.

 

Cravings in pregnancy are seen mostly in the first trimester of pregnancy and taper off toward the second trimester. Along with cravings, food and smell aversions may happen at this time.

 

Some hypothesis for why some women crave certain items during pregnancy may point to a biological nature of preserving the well-being of the fetus by which a women’s olfactory sensation and taste sensations are heightened during this time to prevent ingesting any toxic substances. Another is that she may be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, such as commonly seen in the second trimester of iron deficiencies and craving sweets or chocolate. One last reason may be that the woman craves the pharmacologically active ingredients in certain foods.

 

Bringing awareness to a woman’s attitude and behavior toward her eating habits is the best way to help combat food cravings, at least for now, the studies suggest.

 

http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/cravings-during-pregnancy.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172095/

 

 

The easiest, yummiest, Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa Meal to Make

best instant pot mexican quinoaI have joined the Instant Pot community since becoming a full time RV family. In the RV, there’s a stove, oven, and a microwave/convection oven. So why would I need something else to cook with you may ask? For one, I am not a big microwave fan and I have never cooked anything in a microwave/convection combo oven before, but I have used a pressure cooker and slow cooker for many years and feel comfortable with those. Also, the oven and stove run off a LP tank and we have to have it filled. That means taking the 37 foot RV to somewhere to fill the tank which is not too bad, but still a bit of a hassle.

So, enter the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot has saved me space in that I am able to use it for sauteing, pressure cooking, rice cooker, and slow cooking so far(there are several other functions, such as yogurt function, that I have yet to try, but want to!). It does not create much, if any, moisture when cooking, which is great in an RV.

So, on to my yummy, easy, mexican quinoa recipe I made! I was trying to use what I had already in my pantry and refrigeration, so this is how I came up with this dish.

Mexican Quinoa Instant Pot Dinner

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 onion, diced

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced(I had mini colored bell peppers on hand and used about 6)

1 tomato, diced(or use 1 can diced tomatoes Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes, Diced, 14.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12))

1,4 oz can diced green chilis ( Ortega Diced Green Chiles, Mild, 4 Ounce (Pack of 12))

1 can black beans( Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans, 15 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12))

1 can corn(Green Valley Organics Whole Kernel Supersweet Corn, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)

1 cup quinoa(White Quinoa, 4lbs, USDA Organic by Anthony’s – Gluten Free & Non GMO)

1 1/2 cups water or broth(Frontier Broth Powder, Vegetable Flavored, 16 Ounce Bag), you’ll add this to the blended mixture to make up to 2 cups worth combined.

1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Blend, 2.9 oz

1 teaspoon cumin(McCormick Gourmet Organic Cumin Ground, 1.5 oz)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste(Redmond Real Salt, Ancient Fine Sea Salt, Unrefined Mineral Salt, 26 Ounce Pouch (2 Pack))

Method:

Saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes on the saute function in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Add in the garlic, stir for one minute, add in tomato and saute for five minutes. Scrape the saute mixture into a blender. Add the green chilis to the blender along with the cumin, chile lime seasoning and salt and pepper. Let cool in blender while sauteing the sweet potatoes. Put sweet potato pieces into the Instant Pot on the saute function, adding oil as needed.   Saute for five minutes, or until slightly brown. Turn off Instant pot and add the quinoa(make sure to rinse the quinoa in a sieve first). Blend the mixture in the blender until smooth. Taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Put in enough water or broth to make 2 cups of liquid and pour into Instant pot and stir gently. Put the lid on the IP(instant pot) and press the rice button.

Serve with avocado, cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream, and cheese, if so desired.

*this post contains affiliate links that cost you nothing when clicked, but may help pay for this blog if they are clicked upon. 🙂

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food journal diet weightloss

Why you need a food journal(free pdf!)

Have you ever wondered if a food journal might help you with your health and wellness journey? Do you have unexplained symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or nausea? Do you feel like you have been dieting and watching what you eat, but still are not losing the weight? If any of these apply to you, a food journal will most definitely help you! By writing down what you eat and drink everyday for a couple weeks, along with how you feel after eating, you will many times, pinpoint where you are struggling diet-wise or find foods that cause those unexplained symptoms. When I was practicing midwifery, I would always give my clients a handout to chart their food and water intake for the first month and bring it back to me at their next prenatal visit. Many times, the women would be amazed at what they ate, what their diet was lacking, or even discover they were not eating enough. It is also a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us go about each day dehydrated. It’s amazing how much better our bodies work when hydrated properly.

I have a free printable Food Journal page for you to give it a try. This is just one easy method. If you like this printable, you may print multiples and hole punch them to put in a 3 ring binder to keep it all together so as to see your progress. Or, you could get a notepad, small notebook, jot it into the notes section on your device as well, whatever is easiest for you!

I will write more in another blog post about using your food journal to help you reach or maintain your health and wellness goals. Happy food journal-ling!

 

Yummy ways to get your stomach bug fighting vitamin defense on

The other day I listened to a webinar from the Franklin Institute of Wellness on the stomach bug and ways to combat it along with pertinent information about it.

There are so many misconceptions about the stomach bug  and what works effectively to protect yourself from it and how to keep form getting it. One of her recommendations was vitamin A. I never really think of vitamin A much. I’m typically looking at vitamin B, D, or C frequently. Vitamin A is so important to our health though!

It helps specifically with inflammation and boosting the immune system, two key factors to fight and build defense against illnesses like the stomach bug.

It is best to get your daily intake of Vitamin A with food as it is easy to get too much by supplementing with it. I have a couple recipes below for you to try out that has some vitamin A rich nutrients, such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Ginger is great for inflammation and boosting the immune system as well, so it is incorporated into these recipes.

Here is the link to the webinar: https://franklininstituteofwellness.com/free-stomach-flu-webinar/

I believe she leaves it up for a year.

 

Gingered Carrot Soup

I modified an old recipe card I had from Williams Sonoma.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. coconut oil

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped

2 cups water

2 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbs tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 Tbs grated fresh ginger

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and celery leaves and sauté for 5 minutes.

Stir in the water, broth and tapioca flour. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 2o minutes.

Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.

To serve hot, return soup to pan and stir in milk and green onions. Reheat for a moment over low heat, not letting soup boil, then stir in ginger.

To serve cold, pour into a large bowl and stir in milk, green onions and ginger. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Serves 6.

 

The next recipe is Orange Creamsicle Smoothie. It is so delicious! It’s from a Clean Eating magazine. Here’s the link to the recipe though: http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/orange-creamsicle-smoothie

A couple of things I did differently; I used a whole orange in place of the orange juice and I didn’t have fresh turmeric, so I used dry powdered tuneric from my spice shelf.

 

Have fun trying these out and stay healthy!

RV’ing and a failed meal plan

49352847 - class a motorhome
49352847 – class a motorhome

I typically go to the grocery store on Tuesday’s as the toddler story time at the library is near the grocery. So, on Monday’s I try to make a meal plan, but I don’t usually do a very good job with it. When I get to the grocery store, I will see some organic meat on sale or an interesting vegetable will catch my eye and my meal plan will go out the door, as well as food accumulating in my freezers. It’s amazing to me to see how much I am able to fit in my freezers!

Today I looked through my pantry, my two freezers(yes, two) and tried to plan out meals with just what was in those. I will need to get a few items to make some meals from what I have on hand, but I am going to try my hardest to go through with this.

We are planning on traveling about in an RV very soon. I need to use up almost all of my frozen items. Which I have been trying to, but again, in my first paragraph, you see what happens. Also, the RV will have no second freezer and it might even be a tiny freezer if we don’t get an RV with a residential refrigerator. I am hoping to enjoy using mainly fresh produce weekly and stick to a meal plan while traveling. I do use a lot of fresh produce, but I do tend to freeze a lot for later(or I could just be honest and say that I bought too much or I was too lazy to make it all).

Tonight we had leftover meatballs with red sauce and quinoa pasta. I had broccoli sprouts with my meal. I made an interesting smoothie this morning with random frozen fruit and had a soup from my freezer for lunch. I made a cantaloupe bread from cantaloupe I had frozen from this summer. That will be breakfast for my girls for the next few days.

I took a small lamb roast out of the freezer to thaw and just put a bottled marinade I found on it to marinate overnight and I’ll pop in the slow cooker in the morning to have for dinner tomorrow. I’ll make potatoes and carrots on the side. I pulled another jar of soup out of the freeezer for my lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday will be leftover quinoa pasta with shrimp that is in the freezer. I’ll make a garlic butter sauce for it all and have peas on the side. I have corn tortillas and several frozen Cajun chickens. On Thursday it’ll be Cajun chicken enchiladas. Hopefully, they’ll turn out well as I’ve not made this before! Friday will be white bean chicken chili(using frozen shredded chicken), dry white beans from my pantry and I have a box of cornbread mix I need to use. Saturday will be jambalaya made with another frozen Cajun chicken and frozen andouille sausage. Sunday will be pizza since that’s what we typically have!

I hope since I’ve written this all out on the blog, that I will be held accountable to not stray from my meal plan this week!