In 2009 I (Melissa) started a family blog to share stories and pictures with my family across the country. I was living in Utah with a new baby and my mom and grandmas were back home in Indiana, so a blog was an easy way to stay in touch.
When I’d go somewhere like a church function or have friends over for dinner, people would often ask for the recipe to a certain dish. I knew an easy way to share information, a blog! So I told them I’d post it on my blog and they could find it there.
I posted my first recipe online in the fall of 2009, my famous caramel dip for apples. That’s where this all started.
In 2011 I noticed other people posting recipes online and making businesses out of it. I knew I could do that too.
At the time we were remodeling a house in central Utah. I had 2 toddlers and a baby, all 5 of use were living in one room while we gutted and remodeled the rest of the house. I didn’t have a kitchen so I was washing dished in a bucket (for 9 months!). I told myself I better share this story because it was too crazy to believe.
I started blogging regularly because of this house. As we were removing walls we would find stuff in the walls! We found a violin, royal icing roses, old board games, magazines, records, pictures and more. Everything dated from the early 1950's and it was so much fun to share this journey.
We moved out of this house before we got to enjoy it much.
Basically as soon as we were done remodeling we sold this house and moved to my husband's home town in Southern Utah.
We moved home to build a hardware store attached to the existing family grocery store. We lived in a little rental right behind the grocery store and basically in the parking lot of the hardware store.
My handy husband designed and built the hardware store (he's a Civil Engineer by trade) and we lovingly stocked the shelves. Three+ years into this adventure we made the difficult decision to step away from the hardware store (family business is tricky and if you know, you know).
In 2015 we started our next grand family adventure: DIY building our dream farmhouse.
We started small with running utilities, water the existing orchard, and clean out the shed/barn on the 7 acre property.
January 2016 we broke ground!
This was a true DIY project that took us YEARS to complete! My husband did 93% of the work himself subbing out a few odds and ends like putting in the heating and cooling system.
We dug our basement, poured our basement walls, framed, roofed, plumbed, wired, drywalled, and on and on and on over the space of 2 years.
This was a huge labor of love and after remodeling a house and then building and opening a hardware store, I was completely exhausted and jaded. I know the internet makes things look like all before and after pictures, but please know this was one of the most trying times of my life. One I'm grateful to have gone through but wouldn't want to repeat.
We moved in to a partially finished house in January 2018!
We finished adding trim, siding, the porch decking, lots of other detail work for next year.
As of the Autumn of 2020 we are still working on things. We haven't finished the basement yet and are just now starting on landscaping. We have a whole lot more to do, but we continually chipping away at the to-do list.
The view behind our house is soul filling.
And after a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears. We built a house and turned it into a home.
And I have the most gorgeous kitchen to work, cook, and live life in. It's most certainly the heart of our bustling home.
And here's a little more about us and our story.
In between all of these very defining projects, we were also dreaming on the next project. Thomas and I are are dreamers and do-ers, which is a really fun combination and we are very evenly matched in those qualities.
The best part about being dreamers is there's always more on the horizon.
This property (which we are still trying to name if you have suggestions for us!) is really special. When you come here, you'll understand what I'm saying. There's something about the white mountains behind us and the valley it's nestled in.
We hope to build a greenhouse, plant a million apple trees and berry bushes, grow more of our own food than we already do, build a huge cider press and have a cider pressing festival every year, build some little vacation rental houses on the property, do farm to table dinner in the front yard, and so many other things.
It's a continual work in progress and I hope you'll stick around to see the journey unfold!
10 Things you might find interesting about Melissa
- I have 5 kids who are 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5. The first is a girl followed by 4 little boys who are very close in age. I also have a gaggle of chickens, sometimes rabbits and lambs, and we hope to add a dog and bees soon.
- I homeschool! It's new to us, we started in January of 2020 just before the rest of the country followed suit. It's honestly the best decision that I've made with our family and I'm so grateful I took the leap. It was no small change.
- My brain is good at organizing things like meal plans, food for parties, packing for vacation, and chore charts for kids. It's kind of like a puzzle in my mind and one I'm good at solving.
- I love love love to grow food. It's probably my #1 hobby. I love to grow food, eat food, plant food, can food, dehydrate food, plan parties around food, and everything in between.
- The blog is the primary income for our family of seven. My engineer husband left engineering in the fall of 2019 to work with me. Thank you for being here and being part of our dream.
- I love water. I love to swim in it, hear it, be near it, and smell it. Funny things is, I live in Southern Utah. It's not exactly full of water.
- I'm years into a really significant health journey that has resulted from dealing with chronic infection (I had a toe amputated right before Thanksgiving 2019 and as small as a toe is, the surgery was so hard to recover from). Food, especially sourdough bread baking, has been majorly healing for me.
- I grew up in Indiana and consider myself a Hoosier and Midwesterner through and through.
- I married Thomas when I was 20 and he was 22. We were babies! I'm so grateful to grow and mature with such an insightful and kind person.
- I consider myself a creator, artist, teacher, and healer.