Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October and Stuff

I was sitting here browsing the good ole web (do people call it that anymore?) and I heard the happy little chime of the dishwasher go off. Currently the dryer is still clack-a-lacking away. My daily chores are being done as I sit and type. Literally being done for me, like magic.

How easy do we have it? I mean seriously?

I have been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series to my girls at night before bedtime, and we read about the daily chores, and the once a week baths and the long winters and I am humbled.

This isn't the first time that little pioneer girl has slapped some sense into me.

I complain about the piles of laundry and the stacks of dirty dishes. I swear about the endless cleaning and picking up in circles around my two little ones.

What I wouldn't give for a simpler time.

Then it hits me. I have it six thousand times more simple than the pioneers did. I am the one who is making it hard on myself.

My kids could stand to lose over half their toys and they would still never get bored. They have so many clothes that their dressers won't hold them all. No wonder the laundry pile grows to enormous proportions!

I could pitch about twenty magazines on any given day and the stacks of mail would quickly dwindle. Laura didn't have it more simple than me, she had it so much harder and instead of complaining about it, she just did something about it.

Since we just built this house, I don't think the hubs would take kindly to me telling him I am ready to jump into the new micro-mini living fad. In fact I think he would probably have me committed! So instead I will downsize within my own setting. I will purge a little here and make a little more room there.

I am my own worst enemy for clutter and it's time I kick myself in gear! So here's to the first of October, may it be the month I jump start my hibernating induced desire to purge!

Buuutttt,  if you don't hear from me, it's because I have gone off the grid and am living here...



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn

It's here! It's here! It's really here!


Ok, I have been going on endlessly about Fall for so long that you all knew this was coming.

In honor of the official start of all things pumpkins, I am busting out old and new copies of my Fall magazines for inspiration and my box of Fall decor and browsing the internet for ideas as well.




We have been blessed with beautiful fall weather here today, cool and overcast, which makes it even better to do all things Fall-ish.

I have been simmering a creamy vegetable chowder with bacon since ten a.m. I just had my first bowl for lunch. The five year old told me it was "the best fall soup". Yes, I am starting them young.

Also rising on the counter right now is Mom's Homemade Bread. My mouth is already watering.

And just for fun here, are some other ladies from around the web who are just as excited about Fall as I am!

Grab a cup of apple cider, a warm muffin and a cable knit throw. Wrap up and click around for some fall inspiration!

(Or if you're at work, just think pumpkins and cinnamon and click around and close your browser when your boss walks by!) 

Love how she uses what she has to make the transition to Fall.

I have been coveting this couch for longer than I care to admit.

This lady has got the touch for all things comfy and beautiful!

I just recently discovered this lovely home and she is hosting a fabulous Fall Home Tour!

I am off to go put pumpkins and gourds in random places around the house, and make it look like Autumn up in here!

I hope you all have a wonderful first day of Autumn! Enjoy!


P.S. Do you call it Autumn or Fall? I can't decide, so I am using both!



Saturday, September 13, 2014

One Year Ago Today

Today I looked back on the blog to see what was happening around this time. As luck would have it, I actually posted this exactly one year ago. It's hard to believe that was a year ago.

It has gone by so fast!


I know everyone says that. Especially when you are in the thick of things, and it is overwhelming and you are stressed out, people will tell you, "Soon you'll look back and this will all be a memory." And at the time, you kind of want to punch them in the face and say, "Yeah, well right now this sucks."


That's not just me, is it?

Anyways, people said that to me a lot. And I didn't punch them in the face, I plodded ahead, knowing that someday they would be right.

And now, here I am, a year later. A lot wiser, on the home building front, a little wiser on taking things one day at a time, and none the wiser at keeping up on laundry



One year ago today we finished excavating the basement. I was in the middle of scheduling the house movers and concrete workers and electricians and plumbers and coordinating more people than I ever had before.

And I loved it.

It meant there was progress.


A year later, I am very happy with where I am. I am still struggling with the insecurities of this season of life, but overall I am so pleased with how far things have come.


Things are moving at a much slower pace than a year ago when I was scheduling a million different people, and at times I miss the progress and the action. Now it's a lot of small things that get pushed aside or put off. I liked having deadlines to work towards.


But I also love seeing all the little details coming together when I do finish a project. Like yesterday when I finally got around to hanging the sign above the kitchen entry. I still need to hang the cabinet door in there and theres a box of old paperwork on the floor that needs to be sorted, but the sign is hung, and that makes me happy!


Fall is coming and its not slipping in quietly. It has hit hard here the past couple days, and I am embracing it with open arms. The other evening the house smelled of pot roast in the crock pot and bread toasting in the oven and it was like Lucky was coming alive. We are slipping into our groove, our season is upon us and we are loving it!


Bring on the pumpkin and gourd decorations, slow cooked meals and cool evenings. It has been one year since this journey really got going and so many changes have come our way. Time hasn't stopped and life hasn't paused, so it's up to us to take the time and look back and remember.

Remember how far we've come, how much we have to be thankful for and to look forward with optimism and enthusiasm.

Have a beautiful weekend!




Monday, September 8, 2014

Time for a Slow Down and a Party


We have been in Lucky for nearly eight months now! It has been amazing. The functionality and practicality of this house is wonderful.


Remember back here, when I said I was working on before and after updates? Yeah, I'm still working on that. I am hovering in the last remaining days of summer craziness, but I can smell the slow down coming. Autumn skies and temperatures are popping in to remind me that summer will soon slip away.


The Hubs has been wanting to do an open house for quite sometime. Our way of saying thank you to all those who helped make this home a possibility, and also for a chance to invite over all the friends and family that have been asking what are you guys up to in that house?!

The thing is, I keep dragging my feet. I always tell people I have an open door policy, if they can step over the toys, they are welcome anytime to come see us or the house! And I truly mean it.


But an open house? It seems so formal. It brings all the unfinished projects that I live with daily right to the forefront.

I desperately want to throw open my doors and say 'welcome to our home', but I find myself apologizing, or rattling off the list of to-do's to visitors to make sure they know that I don't plan on living half finished like this forever.


Then I read this, "America spends more on garbage bags than 90% of the world's 210 countries do on everything." ~ Dr. Wess Stafford in Too Small to Ignore, via the Nester.

That is startling and really puts things into perspective.

It really makes me think about what I'm wasting and what I'm complaining about. Who cares that my dining room walls still need a finishing coat of paint? Who cares that we still have bare bulbs hanging in some of the rooms? Who cares that we don't have a couch in our living room or a flat screen tv, or the gallery wall is half finished?



I care. But I am trying really hard not too. There are so many hurting people in the world. There are too many people not just wanting a better life, but desperately needing it. There are people in the world who would give anything to have the stuff we're throwing in our zillion trash bags a year. They would trade me my first world problems any day.

I need to focus less appearances, and focus on what really matters. The people around me. My neighbors and friends. They aren't waiting for a perfect home for an invitation. They just want a chance to spend time together. They want to see my family, and my home, not some page out of a magazine.

I am working on pushing aside my fears of looking lazy or unfinished. I am learning to let go of my insecurities and acknowledging that all things take time.

One of the reasons I wanted this house now, was so we could spend the rest of our lives here growing and changing and making memories here. From the beginning I have been the proponent of taking our time, saving our money and slowly making it our dream home.

And to be honest, it already is. It is a dream that we are even here. I remember the tears and the fights and the days when I was convinced we would never leave the trailer house.

Those days are over. We are here. And everything else will take time. This is real life. I'm learning to find beauty in the things I would normally overlook.

(That is at my barn. I haven't let the house get quite that bad yet!)

Our house will never be 'finished'. There will always be another project, another decorating idea.
But our home is now.

Our home is in the walls that need another coat of paint, but gets pushed aside because my girls need help painting pictures. Our home is in the love seat that is too small but forces us to snuggle when we sometimes don't want to! Our home is a kitchen without back splash tiles because baking pumpkin muffins for the baby bump took precedent.


Bike rides on beautiful days with my girls, become priorities to mowing the lawn. 


Rare evening at the river make me thankful for so much, including my messy, unfinished, beautiful home.

I am not going to pretend that the unfinished projects and decorating dilemmas will no longer bother me, they will. But I am going to put them into perspective and remember that they do not define who I am.

A messy house does not make me a messy person, an unfinished project does not make me lazy. It is just the stage of my life I am in right now.

I am going to shake off the self doubt and schedule an open house. I will complete the projects I can, and leave the rest to be done in there own time.

Autumn is coming and it deserves a party! Official date coming soon! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

A little of this, A little of that

I took a little break from my summer rebellion to enjoy the Fourth of July.




I camped in a tent, swam in the river, ate ridiculously too many hotdogs and all around enjoyed the number one summer holiday!


It was hard to hate on summer, when I woke up to this each morning.



Now I am back to my usual self, staying in the a/c as much as possible, baking zucchini bread, and drinking apple cider trying to think Autumnal thoughts.

Mostly its the long hours that are wearing on me again. I just like routine and regular bedtimes and that has NOT been happening.

Instead, work has looked like this lately.


So I remind myself that I am blessed to be living this wonderful, exhausting farm life. The work is long and hard, but the view is pretty awesome. 


When I am home, I am playing catch up on piles, upon piles of laundry and doing a little baking.

The garden I planted this spring is not going to produce much this year. Turns out the cattle manure we mixed in the soil was too fresh and essentially we over fertilized the garden.

So far, the zucchini and the pumpkins are the only things that look like they're going to make it. Maybe a rogue squash or two.

Lucky for me I've been turning this...

Into this...

Zuchinni bread currently has my heart. Delicious. 

In other news, I am working on a post that recaps the past year of Lucky

Because here is the crazy part, it has only been just over a year since we went from this to this. And that is pretty incredible. 

Hang in there with me, I will be working on that post in-between life's other little matters!

I will get it posted as soon as I can! I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! 


Monday, June 16, 2014

Summertime Blues, Beauty, and Babes

Summer is not my thing.

I'm sorry. Don't hate me.

I can't help myself. I have always been an autumn kind of girl. The warm scents, the promise of cozy winter evenings at home, the snuggling and early dark. It is my jam.

This summer time gig, with the endless days, for me means, crazy bedtimes for cranky kiddos, the hub's working till sundown (nearly 10 pm), snakes, bugs, etc.

Most of these things are hard for me on their own, and as a whole, it can be flat out overwhelming.

The other evening, well after kiddo's should've been asleep, I sat outside their bedrooms listening to them NOT sleeping, and crying I told the Hub's, "I hate summer".

I was miserable and I was wallowing it in.

And it was getting me nowhere.

So I am pulling myself together and trying REALLY hard to embrace summer rather than fight it. It is not natural for me and it's not coming easy, but I am trying.

Sometimes it's all about slowing down and remembering to take in the everyday beauty. Here's what's been inspiring me lately.

The backyard view from Lucky


An incredible sunset at home. 


Ditto. 


An afternoon bargain hunting. 


And coming home with these finds. 


A mango smoothie on a 'day off'. 


 Getting my feet in the dirt and making things grow. 


Stopping for wildflowers. 


 Making new barnyard friends. 


Homemade quesadillas. 


Afternoons with my little one in my lap. 


And growing miracles, one day at a time. 


Summer will be just a memory by the time this little bundle arrives in December. All the more reason for me to take the time to slow down and savor every moment. 

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. What is your favorite thing to do during these long days? I'd love to hear what makes your summer special! 

Happy Monday! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

What's For Dinner- Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets?

It's basically a co-op that you sign up for and pay a flat rate and receive fruits and vegetables every week to two weeks, depending on where you are. You can read more about it here. 

This is only my second time getting a basket, but I love all the different things that are in the baskets, and I love figuring out what to do with them.



When I received my basket this week, it had a couple heads of broccoli in it. I love broccoli, so do my girls, the Hubs? Not so much.

Here's what I made for lunch today. The girls and I ate every thing, and the Hub's gave us his broccoli!


Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo 



Seriously delicious. Here's the run down on how I made it. Keep in mind I didn't measure anything, that's how I roll, but I'll give you the ballpark amounts on it. 

Throw some chicken in a pan with a little bit of oil and salt and pepper. I used chicken tenders, but chicken breast would work as well. (I also think shrimp would be an awesome substitute!) I like chicken tenders, because they are small, so they cook quickly. Allow the chicken to cook all the way through. While the chicken cooks, start the next step. 

Boil up some pasta according to the directions on the box. I used penne noodles, but you can use whatever you like.  I used a strainer ladle, to transfer my cooked noodles to a separate bowl when they were done. Then drop in a couple handfuls of roughly chopped broccoli into the leftover hot water from the noodles. Cook for three to four minutes, then strain out the broccoli and put it in a bowl of ice water. 

If you want to get all technical this is called blanching. 

Chop up the cooked chicken and set aside. Take the broccoli out of the ice water and toss it in with your noodles. 



Time for the parmesan sauce. Oh, this part is delicious. 


Pour about 1 cup of half and half and a 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the same pan you cooked the chicken in. (You can add more or less of each depending on how creamy, rich or healthy you want it). Turn heat to low/med, add a half teaspoon of chopped garlic, more if you like more, add a quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg, fresh is best here, and salt and pepper to taste. When half and half mixture is simmering and slightly reduced, add a half cup of grated parmesan. Stir really well, blending cheese in. 

Add the broccoli, pasta and chicken to the sauce. Stir to combine and coat the pasta, and you're done!



Eat and enjoy! 

I served mine up with a side of garlic bread. 

This meal is fairly simple, and incredibly delicious. You definitely want to eat it hot off the stove. When the sauce cools, it's not nearly as amazing as when it's warm and gooey and delectable! 

Hope this helps use up any broccoli you have in your fridge!

What are you making for supper? Let me hear it!