Monday, April 6, 2015

Daily Challenge - Updated

I invite you to join me in my journey to a homemade home.  I have been wanting to make more of the items we consume on a daily basis using as many natural ingredients as possible; as well as start a journal of my recipes and instructions so I remember how to recreate them.  My memory at the ripe age of "30-something" is fading fast ... or maybe it's just the busyness of being a coach's wife and working mom of four!

So what may be the course of action I am going to taking? Starting tomorrow (4/7/2015), my goal is to make and replace one item in our home that is store bought each day for the next 365 days. WHAT?!?!? Ya, I know, this girl comes up with some crazy ideas! But keep reading and be sure to follow all of the updates, because with life comes change.

You may be wondering ... what are you going to make? when are you going to find the time? where are you going to find these natural ingredients? why not just buy all natural?  how can she NOT be overwhelmed?  Honestly, I ask myself these very questions and it usually comes down to these answers: EVERYTHING possible; I will start small with 10-15 minutes a day; not quite sure yet ... this may turn into a collaborative effort and a lot of research; I'm all about saving money; AND trust me, this could be overwhelming which is why I am looking at it as a "Day by Day" challenge.

Life doesn't allow for much time to devote to my goal but I also strongly believe that if I want to make something happen, I need to make the time for it!  So due to the minimal amount of time I have to invest daily into this can only mean one thing for you ... short, sweet, to the point, and easily carried out! The plan is to find one item daily that can easily and fairly quickly be converted from store bought to homemade.  There are so many unnecessary ingredients that lurk in the foods that we eat and the products we use around the house that I can't pronounce or even want to image what it really is.  So I am committing myself to a new lifestyle to fulfill a childhood dream to live simply and go back to the basics ... to some that know me all too well will tell you it's my dream to be a pioneer!

I have already started a list of series that I will be covering not only to motivate myself to be looking ahead in this challenge but also to share with you what areas of our day to day life I hope to transform.

Series 1: The Hub of the Haley House ... THE KITCHEN
    Part 1 - Cooking: From the Cupboards and the Garden
    Part 2 - Baking: The Sweets and Treats
Series 2: The Bathroom
    Part 1: The Cleaning
    Part 2: The Grooming
More series to come ... my end goal is to eliminate as many unnecessary ingredients and chemicals from my home, save money by cutout shopping list items and using more cost effective items, and lastly help the environment by minimizing waste from all the packaging we won't be throwing away.

Continue to check back as new series will be added. As I embark on this journey I can only expect my perspective to change and new ideas for homemade items to flood my mind and yours! Please feel free to comment, Facebook, or email me with ideas, needs, wants, and/or suggestions.  I love helping people out, so if I know you are there waiting and looking for guidance I will be much more motivated to keep plugging along in this challenge!

Today's Question: What is something from your cupboard or pantry you already make from scratch?

Disclaimer: I want to be very upfront and inform you I am in no way an expert in any of these areas. I am learning much of this as I go along and will be borrowing and adapting much of what I find to fit my family's needs.  All copyright information with be handled professionally and the rightful owner will be acknowledged.  A blessed life is one that is filled with borrowed ideas, because your own may not always be the best! If you have any concerns about the information being posted please contact me at

Updated 11/9/15 - As I have been figuring out a plan to make time for my blogging again, I decided I wanted to go back and reread all of  my posts to remind myself of where I had left off. So back to the beginning I went and decided I should share an update to my original plan. 

When life brings change God often reminds me ... "Kara, your plan is great, BUT my timing is better." I often get discouraged when I think about all the 'time lost' on my blog over these past few months as our family has adjusted our day to day routines since I started working outside of the home on a full-time basis again. Priorities, expectations, and responsibilities have had to be realigned with what is feasible for our new schedule ... and this is still a work in progress. Although multitasking doesn't always have the best outcome for me (something burning in the oven, overflowing sinks, something left in the microwave for 3 days, and a million other catastrophes), I like to think it's one of my specialties. Before my job change when part of my day was working from home it was much simpler to keep household stuff maintained: a few minutes here to start a load of laundry, a few minutes to pull the freezer meal out for dinner that I had forgot to do in the morning, and the last minute anything! Over the past few months I've gotten better about putting the blinders on to keep my OCD (Overly Coordinated Design or undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ... don't we all have a certain degree of this in our lives!) at bay.  However, even though the intentions are great, there are more days when it looks like we just hosted the big family Christmas gathering, there are enough dishes mounding on the counter to think we should have enough food prepared for a month, and the clean laundry basket is overflowing onto the floor next to the dirty laundry, so now we question what is actually clean! A pretty typical site in most homes I am sure but one we don't always like to admit :)

Needless to say all of these family adjustments have forced the blog posting to the back burner. I have had lasagna on the menu for 3 weeks now and I have yet to make it because I 'refuse' to buy ricotta cheese. Yogurt still hasn't made a regular appearance on our breakfast menu. Dagwood sandwiches or Shrimp Po'Boys on homemade ciabatta bread, but it's now 8:30pm and the kids are FINALLY in bed and quiet ... oh sofa you look so endearing. 

Some days, my priorities are right in line where they should be according to God's plan for me and other days I feel like they are upside down, inside out, and backwards all at once! For this reason, I have a note on my desk to remind me daily to make room for more of God and less of me :) because through that my own expectations will be blown away by HIM. I'm being open to change around AND within me!

All of this brings me to where I am today! My initial intent was to do 365 consecutive days of homemade items, and now my goal has adapted to just 365 homemade items. 

New UPDATE 1/13/2017: As of today I have made {and documented ... oh dear me, the HARDEST part!} 104 items since starting my challenge on April 6, 2015. And in the attempt to organize and keep track of my progress, I decided it was time to post a list inclusive of everything I have made thus far and a link to that item. See the 365 list here. The whole series list is a grand idea, but will be one I need to revisit once I have completed my 365!


  1. pizza sauce- sort of from scratch- I use canned tomato sauce, tomato paste and add my own spices.