.....and other things I probably shouldn't tell you.
driving back from california last week. donner lake. photo taken with my phone. just because.
I have been wrestling with these thoughts the past few days and finally had to sit down and pour them out of my brain onto your screen. My house is currently in a state of after Christmas chaos combined with just-got-back-from-a-week-away laundry mountains (where are my children?!)....but....
I must sit, and write.
It's the same every year. Right around December and Januaryish I completely rethink this whole silly thing we call blogging. Why do I do it? Who knows?!! I start to think maybe it's time to pull the virtual plug....I think everyone has heard enough of me, right?!
I think and think and think about it, and hear this answer.....
It's not time to quit. Not yet.
So I have decided that as long as I have you here--the dozens of you that there are--if I'm going to share a message then it had better be a message I am proud of and fully endorse.
I am tired of seeing the same things over and over in blogland, and maybe you are too. I want my message, my blog, to be different.
The anti-blog, maybe.
Let's stop comparing ourselves to the perfect and adorably adorable lives of others, and start rallying together to share ideas for a happier and healthier lifestyle. Work together towards something that matters, instead of something that will suck away our precious time or just end up in the garbage.
You don't HAVE to read blogs you know. Blogs can be fun, informative, and inspiring. Blogs can also make you feel like you aren't enough, aren't doing it right, aren't living like you should, etc. etc. etc.
If you are constantly comparing yourself to a character in someone else's "blog life", then you are wasting your time.
Live YOUR life, not someone else's.
Early last year I posted about this topic-- I read very few blogs these days, and my life is better because of it. I would rather spend my time elsewhere, creating my own moments rather then reading about other's.
On Social Networks
You don't HAVE to check your facebook/twitter/instagram/whatnot twenty seven times a day.
No one will think you are a terrible person if you don't update the world with every single second of your life. (seriously, please don't). No one should care that much about the play by play of YOUR life. Take the time to LIVE some of your moments,
without worrying about how you are going to share them with others. Be present. Enjoy.
I love my phone. It's everything I need, right in my pocket (amazing!) But I am trying lately to put it down more. I don't need to constantly be reading, searching, looking. There are so many wonderful little tidbits of information I can find on my phone, but I don't need them constantly, do I?
I need to let my eyes rest, and my brain wander off on it's own from time to time.
Don't live your life through the internet.
If I were to make one goal right now, it would be that I can somehow inspire and convince people that it is ok (and wonderful!) to step away from the internet.
Just say no. You don't need what they are selling or wearing, or to be doing what they are doing. Who cares what they are making or crafting or how they are fixing up in their house. Do your OWN thing--use your imagination. Remember your imagination--that thing you used to use before pinterest came along and destroyed it? Find your own inspiration and run with it.....don't be afraid to do something different.
Just live life, and make it your own.
I'm looking forward to this year.
I'm excited to meet more of you and share my message. I'll still be here with simple recipes, our adventures, and little random bits of happiness--that part won't change--it's who we are.
I also want to grow.
-We have been feeling the pull and need to simplify more this past year--we want less stuff and more open space to roam. It may be a long process, (right now we are still in the dreaming phase) but I hope to share what I learn in the meantime. (funny how hard it can be to simplify....why is that?)
-I want to learn to make bread....I am terrible at it, so I just don't.
-I want to garden better. I learn more each year, but still have so much room to grow (pun totally intended.)
-I want to read more. Write more.
-I want to learn more about homeschooling. Last year I decided that someday I would make the jump, and I am getting more and more excited about it. Really long story short, we are not in the area right now that I want to start, but we will be looking to move sometime in the next year or so, and I am looking forward to making the plunge--my kids are too.
-I want to work on my food storage. I need major help here.
All these things I can learn and study about on this wonderful little world wide web. I can find teachers all over the world, and research my goals to help me get the job done.
THIS is why I love the internet, it is such a wonderful tool, and so much good can come of it when used correctly. I truly hope that I can use it for good. I know I'm not the only one tired of all the blogs that are exactly the same, let's get together and do our own thing!
A blog revolution!
I do have some fun changes coming up around here--I want to move beyond The Little Red House, and I have plans of working with some amazing and talented people who also enjoy living life--I want to share their message with you.
I look forward to meeting others that think the same, and maybe work with YOU.
Let's all work to make each other better--yes?!
This little space of mine will never be trendy or cute, I will most likely never be dressed right, and my kids will usually be dirty.....but I guarantee that we are enjoying life.
Maybe I'll see you out there enjoying it too.
And because I have blabbed on forever, here is a recipe that you are going to LOVE.
Beef and Butternut Stew
original recipe by Giada
2lbs of beef down to 1lb......2 was just way more beef than we eat.
-Added some diced potatoes in place of the 1lb of beef.
-swapped out the Marsala.
-added a bit more garlic and sundried tomatoes (because why not?)
this makes aLOT of stew, and will feed my family twice when we eat it with salad and bread.
3 TBS olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Marsala wine (we don't drink wine so I don't have any Marsala on hand. I used 1/2 cup good quality grape juice + 1TBS red wine vinegar)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 cups beef broth
In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour. Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine (or grape juice+vinegar if you are like me:). Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the butternut squash, potatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef, potatoes, and squash. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least 1 hour-I simmered it for about 3. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with toasted bread and enjoy!
So really....."don't read this blog"?
Hey--if catching up on blogs for you means missing out on a bike ride with your kids, or skipping out on your afternoon run because you're too "busy" on the internet....then really, don't read it.
There are so many more important things you could be doing.
But if you have an extra minute, and want to stop by, I am going to try my best to bring useful information and general happiness to a screen near you.
Let's get you out on the trail, into the kitchen, and enjoying a simpler life.
I can't wait.