Currently: New Years Edition


Thinking… How much I love organizing. I know lots of people aren’t into resolutions and such, but this time of year is just a natural regrouping for me. I bought a new bookcase and lots of plastic totes to organize all the kids toys after Christmas. I have wood blocks, Mega blocks, Duplos, Cars/trucks/little play things, trains, and play food in totes and that’s all. I basically got rid of everything else (donated it all) and I love it. Kids don’t need lots of stuff to be happy and I’m glad that I can see it. We get out a tote, play, clean it up, and move on. I am LOVING the system. Macey has a few “specials” in her room but the boys don’t have toys downstairs. It is awesome to feel like I have a handle on little people possessions.

Feeling… grateful that I let myself pay for family pictures. My friend Ann is a stunning photographer and I adore her work. Moving to the same town she’s in means that I can now use her skills! But when it came time for family pictures I had to really decide if I wanted to spend the money on it. I’m very practical and we’ve done well taking our own family pictures in the past.  But now that it is said and done I’m so grateful I did it. I treasure the pictures! They are taken at The Shanty and in our garden which makes them even more meaningful to me. So all the pictures in this post are taken by Ann and I just love them.

Watching… nothing, who has time for that?! LOL, really! But watching Black Fish is super high on my list.

Reading… I just finished the Divergent trilogy so I’m taking a break from a book at the moment. I tend to ignore life when I’m into a book so I try to space out my reading so that I don’t make Husband mad 🙂 I’m always reading cookbooks though and I just ordered 2 house planning books that should be here tomorrow!

Excited… For changes. I’m doing this awesome Feel Great in Eight challenge and it started this week. I’m the kind of person that works well with check lists, goals, and spreadsheets and this is right up my ally. Not only is it a healthy eating/exercise thing but you also get points for reading uplifting books (scripture for me), journal writing, prayer/meditation, service, and family time. It’s a little time-consuming right now because I’m just getting into it but it feels very whole. I like whole things. And I hope to lose 17 pounds in the next 8 weeks.

Missing… May being  home from school. Christmas break was the best and I had to mentally recommit to sending her again this year. Does sending her off to school ever really get easier?

Wondering… how  I’m going to keep the little boys happy all winter long. We just moved to the middle of no where this spring and that is a blessing we worked for for years, but parts of it are still hard. There are no libraries here, no indoor playgrounds, no museums or zoos or aquariums, there’s not even a McDonald’s play place within an hour and 15 minutes of me. All of the things that I used to do as a mom of little kids in the winter don’t exist here and I’m at a loss. There’s so much to do in the nice weather but I’m struggling with finding things to do in the winter. And man, everyone needs to get out of the house once in a while!

Working… on an e-book!!! This has been on my to-do list since last April and it is actually in the works.

Stressed… that I’ll lose my milk with all this calorie cutting and exercise. The baby is 2 months old and we are doing great but I’ve struggled with supply issues in the past and I’m paranoid I’m going to lose my milk. I’ve calculated 500 extra calories into my daily needs and I hope that helps. Any other suggestions for me??

Proud… of only eating a single donut hole on my birthday.  It was honestly my only splurge and that, my friends, is an accomplishment. I love me some donuts (and this is the best recipe in the world, really).

DSC_0731 bw

Wanting… to figure out where one of my chickens went. I assume she’s dead but I haven’t found a body and none of the other hens have gone missing. Part of me hopes that maybe she wandered over to a neighbors and is living with them (hopeful I know). I’d just like to know what happened though. I haven’t told the kids that one is missing yet. I might just wait until they notice. Is that awful?

Wishing… I could figure out how to workout with 4 small children in the house. I just can’t find the time! How do other mom’s get it done? HELP!

Eating… lots of greek yogurt with chia seeds on top. Most filling snack ever!

Drinking…water and homemade juices. I just drank a pound of carrots!

LovingMy new journal!  (affiliate link) Someone mentioned this 5 year journal on Facebook and I looked at it and loved the idea! I’ve always kept a journal and write in it every 1-2 months. I’ve found lately that my journal is just a big overview of life and I’m missing out on the little day to day things. I think this will be the perfect way for me to record the little things that I so desperately want to remember. I bought it for myself for my birthday and I’m enjoying it so far.


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Susan Carroll

Coupons are on the Naturemade website.

Susan Carroll

B vitamins are wonderful for milk supply. You can go with brewers yeast, but it is rather nasty. I could only stand it in V8 or grape juice. Much easier is B 100 from Nature Made. It is absolutely the best brand. Do not bother with any other brand. And no, I don’t have stock in the company. But I have been taking them for over 30 years. It also helps carpal tunnel, and that is why I ate brewers yeast and B vitamins in the first place. But it is fabulous for helping milk supply, reducing PMS, and lowering mommy stress. Take with food in the morning. Do not take just one B vitamin, take the whole B complex. You won’t need more than one B100. Be sure to also take a multivitamin. Naturemade has good ones. Oh it is also a natural diurectic and is bright yellow, so don’t be surprised when your pee is yellow. Walgreens and Riteaid carry it and often have buy one, get one free sales. If you go to their website there are coupons. While there, enter the code from the bottle to earn $5 or $7 coupons, and you can combine those with the BYGO sales. Good company.


I love your blog, I recently stumbled on it. Great photos and what a beautiful family. Love the top 13 recipes post of 2013- I already made the one pot fettuccine, delish!! I had milk supply issues and I had great success with fenugreek, when the appropriate amount is taken, you will sweat and smell like maple syrup but I had good success with that to keep my supply up. Good luck!


Awww, what we will do for our children!


Beautiful pictures, Melissa! I love the one with the boys holding chickens and M holding the baby–so adorable. They are growing up!

katie w

ooh, I want to watch Blackfish too! I haven’t read the Divergent books yet, I did just finish reading ‘Cinder’ which is a science fiction version of Cinderella, I loved it and neglected my family for a day to finish it. I love your shanty and farm and family! I got a seed catalog in the mail today and forced myself to throw it out without looking at it, sad day. I hate renting!

Susan Carroll

Love your blog. Love the chickens. Love the kids and babies!. I can bake cakes and cookies and pies, and bread and rolls, but never could manage an edible donut (except made from tubed biscuit dough). Thanks so much for sharing wonderful directions from an expert. My favorite warm place to raise yeast dough is in the oven. Turn on the lowest setting for 3 minutes, then TURN OFF. It should be nice and warm on your arm, if it is too hot, leave the oven door open for a few minutes. (that is how they tested ovens before thermometers) Make sure your dough container is glass, ceramic or metal, no plastic. Metal does not harm the bread dough at this stage.
Does the dough raise over the edge of the bowl over night in the fridge? Thanks


I love all of your photos. I aspire to be as good as your friend one day. 🙂 My kids are 25, 15 and 7. I can honestly say, I have never run them around that much. I don’t live close to much. The library we do in the summer. The kids have a school library they are always checking books out of. I don’t have a playland nearby either. My littlest, he has the most vivid imagination. He plays well on his own. They all have really. But, being they aren’t all close in age, I am not sure what to tell you. As far as sending them to school, it doesn’t get easier. I hate it. We love school breaks and count down the days for summer break in September when my kids become mine again, and not the schools.


I just love your blog. My husband and I are envious of your hobby farm, chickens, and all around simple lifestyle. You make it look so easy! A great, free site for workouts is I have been following it for a year and feel so much stronger. The workouts are designed for busy moms. Nice and short (and hard!). Happy birthday and New Year!


gorgeous pictures-you are so beautiful!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.