Thinking… that I have so many things to tell you! It's been forever since I've done a currently post and I've had one brewing in the back of my mind since the fall. I feel like so many folks just pop on the blog to get a recipe, and I'm not sure how much they care about who's writing them. That being said, I know there are a few of you out there who have been around a long time and enjoy a little peak behind the curtain! No matter why you're here, I'm glad to have you!
Feeling… excited to get 2018 started! I've been looking forward to this year for a long, long time. I knew it would be the two-year mark in our house building project which means we'd move in sometime this year. Having an end in sight for a project that huge is really mentally and emotionally freeing. I'm planning a few vacations for this year, looking at landscaping books, and planning holidays, family reunions, and parties in our dream home. We've sacrificed so much to build this house and now we get to reap the rewards and it fills my heart with excitement.
Watching… a few different things over Christmas break! We watched the series Extinct on BYUTV. It's a 10 episode series set 400 years in the future after the human race has been wiped out. It's fun sci-fi that's interesting, but clean. We also watched Instrument of War. It's based on a true story about a POW in WWII who makes a violin while he's being held as a prisoner of war. I'm pretty sensitive to suffering in others, even in movies, but this movie was not graphic or too intense. I'm recommending them both to you - they are both free to watch (you don't have to pay for any service to see them)! I also took the kids to see Ferdinand in the theater before Christmas and we really liked it, too.
Reading… so many things. After spending so much time and energy on building a house and building a family the last few years, Thomas and I talked a lot the last few weeks about spending some more time and energy on ourselves and each other this year. That being said, I've been reading How to Improve your Marriage Without Talking About It. I've read a whole lot of relationship/marriage/parenting books and this one is pretty different. It talks a lot about a fear/shame dynamic that is unique to men and women and how it hurts us without us even knowing what is going on. Thomas even read the book and it was so insightful for both of us. You read so many books that say you need better communication and this one says, "hey everyone knows how to communicate; you need better connection." It's awesome. I'd recommend it to everyone. I'm also reading two oil-painting books. Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice and Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color. Both are excellent! I'm also starting Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love. This is the same author as Hands Free Mama and I loved that book. And I'm cooking and reading a ton out of my friend Barbara's cookbook The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. I like the Instant Pot so far, but it comes with a learning curve. Reading recipes and techniques in her book is helping me to understand how to develop my own recipes. I'll be sharing her Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup recipe soon. It's fantastic, as is her cookbook. If you have an Instant Pot I highly recommend it! My nightstand is full - can you tell?!
Excited… to be done moving. Is anyone ever actually excited to do the moving part? Thomas and I sat down last week and made a list of "must have done before we move in" items. They included things like internet (priorities...), running fridge and dishwasher, closet shelves in the pantry, working toilets and sinks up and down stairs, doorknobs on the exteriors doors, and working washer and dryer. We also made a list of things like hanging interior doors and trim (doors STILL aren't here if you are following that saga), putting in the sink in the main level guest bath, hanging my fun barn doors, etc. that could wait until we were moved in. All of that being said, I think we'll move in by the end of the month and not later than Valentine's day! The house is nowhere near done - we still have all of the porches and exterior to do (and have to be done by the middle of July for our loan to become a mortgage) - but that will come. I'm ok and even excited to get in and get settled, and to start cooking in that kitchen!
Missing… snow! We got one little skiff of snow once and we've seen nothing else since. I'm ok if we don't have tons but we need one good snow to go sledding and build a snowman with.
Wondering… what else you'd like to see on Bless this Mess? I can feel some changes coming as the world around me shifts a little but I'm just not sure what that is. I'd love any thoughts from you.
Working… on moving a family of seven, eating well, taking care of myself, and learning some new skills that bring me joy. I'm also working on planning a summer vacation with the kids. We are planning on going to Sequoia, Yosemite, up the California and Oregon coast (and getting in a beach day), and visiting our besties in Seattle. I'm also planning a trip, just Thomas and I, for the fall. We're planning on going to Prince Edward Island for about 6 days. PEI has been on my life list since I was young and read Anne of Green Gables and I decided this was a good year to check that off. I am so exited. I'd love any insight you might have on either trip! Places to stay, favorite hikes, good beaches to see tide pools, and more. I'm all ears!
Stressed… about getting the house I live in clean after I move. I think I might just splurge and pay someone to come help me. I've been cleaning two houses for years and the idea of deep cleaning this old house just sounds like more than I can do.
Proud… of just how well this little old blog is doing!!! I've had the goal to get 1,000,000 pageviews in a thirty day period for a few years now and it finally happened this month. ONE MILLION you guys! Here's to years of work that have slowly built into something I'm so proud of and that is the best job I ever could have dreamed of.
Wanting… turkeys! I'm planning on adding Silkie hens to the flock this spring (for their mothering skills - I'd like a self-sustaining flock and I've never had a hen go broody), but I also have high hopes of getting some turkeys this year. I think I'll get a variety of turkey breeds and plan on processing all of them this fall. That way we can see which do well and we like. Then I think next year I'll get all of the same kind and try for a breeding flock of turkeys that will self-perpetuate. I'm also planning on raising 2 hogs for meat as well as getting my honey bees! I bought one of those cool "Flow Hives" years ago when it was just a KickStarter and now I'm ready to move in some bees! Hobby farming makes me happy. 🙂
Wishing… all the landscaping was done at the house so I could buy seeds and bulbs. I think I might need to take the summer off to acutally work on the landscaping and do more of my planting in the fall/next spring. Oh I just can't wait to plant things I've always wanted in a home. Perk of owning a home!
Eating… I'm back to making my forever favorite veggie box (it'll change your life - do you make one yet?!), oatmeal bites for the kids after school, blender apple muffins, applesauce cookies (naturally sweet and whole grain goodness), and we've been making a lot of our favorite easy stove-top macaroni and cheese, Alphabet Soup, and I just pulled out one of those amazing hearty lasagnas that I blogged about (made two and stuck one in the freezer), and it was such a great easy meal for a busy weekday.
Drinking… Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Tea for the win! This is the best caffeine free herbal tea out there!
Loving… one of our New Year's plans. Thomas and I decided that since we both work from home and are very involved with our five children, that we each needed a day off a month. So one day a month I get a full day off from life, work, cleaning, motherhood, etc. and I can do whatever I want. I can go to town and shop or hike or paint or lay in my bed and watch movies. Then Thomas is getting his own day off a month. He said he planned on hiking with a book and just reading somewhere in Zion most of the time. Then one day a month I'm getting a sitter so that we can go to town together and do a day date. I had my day off last week, this Thursday we have a sitter, and then next week he'll get a day off! It's so fun to have something to look forward to like this and to know that you'll have a little time once a month to do something that fills you back up again.
And there you have it. A little peak at what is going on outside of recipes. Lots of excitement about taking care of myself, traveling, eating well, nurturing my marriage, and of course, the long-awaited move into your dream home. Thank you for sharing in my joys and struggles. I so appreciate you being here.