Sunday, January 6, 2013

don't read this blog...

.....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.

On Blogging
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.

On Phones. 
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.

On Living
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
I changed:
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.


Toni said...


cara lou said...

Perfect! Love this! :)

Meagan Tidwell said...

Thanks for this Sheena. Much needed today.


capturingtheride said...

Amen, Sister! This past year, I have found myself reading less (blogs) but there are still a few on my reader besides close friends and family - and yours made the cut! I love your posts because I feel they are honest and real. AND you inspired me to get in the kitchen! Seriously, my husband thanks you for it - and my kids might not appreciate it, yet - but someday they will, too. Thank you!

Simplicity is beautiful :)

julie said...

Fantastic. Couldn't agree more.

Zizi said...

I agree with you 100%, Sheena! Thanks for writing this post!

As you said: "I love the internet, it is such a wonderful tool, and so much good can come of it when used correctly." - this is why I use it, trying to find all the little gems that are important for me!

Olya said...

Wholeheartedly agreed, Sheena. Once in a while I get carried away and spend too much time looking through blogs/pinterest/IG for inspiration. How do I know I got carried away? I start feeling creatively paralyzed, trying to figure out how to make my life/home/food look like someone else's. Not intentionally, it's just easy to get flooded with other people's ideas and become too insecure to try your own way of living or doing things. Once I let go of what I see online, my creative ideas start flowing back to me, and I get to enjoy and appreciate my life so much more.

Also, I can't wait to hear about your homeschooling adventures in the future!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put. on my about page I mention how it seems counter-intuitive to have a blog trying to convince people to get offline, but that is what I hope to do also. I don't blog often and do not read many other blogs any more. I come here, because you seem so in line with my own ideas about living and creating experiences. (I voted no when you asked about posting every day.)
Recently I was inspired by your header. They aren't the same, but it just made sense to highlight what takes up most of my life - my REAL life - I'm sort of embarrassed and hope you won't mind.
I want people to unplug and embrace what truly makes living worthwhile!
I will be interested to see what you do, as I've been torn and formulating my own direction as well.

Sent from my iPhone

Brinn said...


amen times a billion.

Erin | Naturally Ella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie said...

I've had these same thoughts on and off the last year. I rarely read blogs anymore....except a few, yours included, that I love. My goal this year is to Be Present! I don't want to miss the moments with the people I love and those I am meant to connect with because I am too involved in cyber-reality! Well done Sheena, best wishes in all of your efforts!

Laura said...

Perfect, Sheena! Looking forward to a year of adventures with you! :) We're planning a trip to Utah to check out some of the spots you've blogged about!

emily o. said...

Yes! I think this post resonates with so many - including me! I appreciate your blog and what you do here. Don't stop. Unless that's the right thing for YOU.

Meg said...

on food storage and bread making...I can help you, friend! Dry pack canning (the dry legumes, rice, wheat etc in #10 cans) can TOTALLY do it.
Step one: find out if your stake/ward owns a dry pack canner. If you have access to a canner, then you're in business! Seriously, I'm no expert, but I really can help.

I know how you feel about blogging. When I took my blog private I realized it would mean less comments and readers and honestly less motivation, but I also realized it wasn't the reason I blog. Quincy is home with a fever today, and what is she doing? Reading one of our blog books to Corbin. She found the page from the first book with Reese on the potty (remember that? Yep, there was an actual photo of her dookie on the post) and she's telling Corbin he can get a care bear too, when he goes potty (he finally did this week. hallelujah!). I fit the label of a "mommy blogger" but I don't care. It's for my kids. A little bit for me, too. But I don't think I'd care if no one read my blog ever again, because it's not really for anyone but them, anyway. Yay for simplifying. Yay for less stuff and more experiences. Yay for playing with the kids. Yay for new goals. Yay for a possible move in the future! (speaking of...I can't say enough good things about the greenland gardener raised garden boxes if you choose to expand your growing space. They last forever, are made from recycled material, are the same cost as lumber (but without all the chemicals that lumber is treated with), and when you move, you can take them apart and pack em up and take them with you wherever you go!)
I have a butternut on my counter and a bag of potatoes to use. This soup looks great! Love Giada recipes.

Tiffany said...

I read this while watching my baby play in the bath. Exactly the opposite of what i should be doing. Thanks for helping me set a new New Years resolution. See ya later cyber world!!!

Jackie said...

You and your family are great! I think all things in moderation in life...and sometimes it is hard to balance. Just do the best you can. :)

Ashley said...

Beautiful post in so many ways. I admire your honesty and agree in so many ways. I have definitely been doing a lot of reflection lately and keeping many of these points in mind. So, your post came at a pivotal time for me. It was refreshing to read. I hope we are able to work together or at least meet sometime in the future. You have been such an inspiration to me for such a long time. Thank you. xo

Lacey Parr said...

This is one of my favorite blogs because it is about LIVING rather than whatever else other blogs are often about. Thanks for a breath of fresh air. Now I'm gonna go get some fresh air of my own! :)

Unknown said...

I love this. I agree! I read your blog because it is so much about living a good honest life. Thank you.

Staci Davies said...

Perfectly said, all of it. Thanks for sharing Sheena!

Valley Girl said...


whitneyingram said...

Blogging and Pinterest have ruined everything. Especially Pinterest.

I don't have time to read a whole lot of blogs because I am in overdrive with my book! So anxious to get this thing done!

See you on Thursday!

p.s., teach me your ways of wanting to homeschool. That sounds like a little bit of hell to me.

sarah waggoner said...

i really, really LOVE this. some days it's so easy to get caught up in "oh my gosh, i want to be cute like this blogger, and get awesome sponsors for clothes like they do" or "i want to craft like they do." or "be popular like they are" (same goes for instagram. bad habit!). thank you for the reminder to simplify, be unique, and live life. i hope to do this in the next year as well. i've been dying to declutter and simplify. thank you for being an inspiration! <3

Unknown said...

I've been reading off and on for a while now and just wanted to finally comment and say what an awesome post! My thoughts EXACTLY these days!

the southern hostess said...

Thank you, thank you! Love this!

Kimmie said... ROCK!! I have loved your blog for the past 2 years. It's full of inspiration, and LIVING life!! (I also love how balanced you eat healthy and you eat well, but you do eat a little meat and sweets every now and again...I love people like that!) It's so awesome to connect with people that truly GET life...that realize that LESS truly is MORE!! I forwarded your blog link to my hubby and he LOVED every word of it! We've been talking this afternoon about how truly profound your words were that you shared! Can't wait to try your soup. I have loved the recipes I have tried of yours before. This looks like another winner! As far as bread making is SO easy! (here is a link to a blog post I did of "Primitive Skills" and how YES, you can bake bread without a bread maker...

Keep up the great work...can't wait to see more of your amazing adventures that you enjoy in 2013! We're definitely trying to enjoy life to the FULLEST ourselves. (although your life has more adventures...and that's what we want to aim for in our life! FREEDOM from STUFF so there is more space and life to ROAM and be free!)

Kasey said...

Yours is one of the very blogs I a really check anymore. Love your approach to simplifying and hope your dreams come true. You're the real deal.

my darling lemon thyme said...

My thoughts exactly. The whole not comparing your self to other peoples blog lives is a hard one lets be honest... but I do try really hard not too. xx

mary said...

seriously the best blog post i've ever read. i agree 100%. thank you for this--i have been having EXACTLY the same thoughts, recently.

Unknown said...

Great post! Sometimes it's hard to blog sincerely and honestly but you've done exactly that! Definitely a bit inspiring for my own site.

Txstraub said...

Wonderfully said. I have to admit I tried to do that more at the end of this last year so I may have missed out on some things that you wrote. But I am very thankful you will continue. It's nice to see the recipes, photos, and your kids grow up.

Claire said...

I LOVE THIS. Six months ago I cut my blog list down from 30+ to my three very favorites, which includes yours, of course! But I was still spending so much time on Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook that I've come up with a 2013 goal that's similar to yours: Use the computer when necessary, but otherwise stay away! Get lost in a book that I can hold, that's been printed, instead of mindlessly scrolling through pictures and statuses and DIY ideas. Be in the fresh air every day. Feel the sunshine instead of just reading about it.

Glad to hear we're thinking along the same lines! And oh my. I can't wait to try this recipe. Thank you for the inspiration!

Corinne said...

I don't always read your blog, but here's what I like and appreciate and why I do read it: You've inspired me to travel to Utah. I'm far from a hiker/runner/biker/anything athletic, but I still appreciate the beauty of our world, and have gotten to see glimpses of new places through your camera lense. I've never been to Utah before, but since you visited my neck of the woods this summer (I live about 2 1/2 hours east of Banff), I figured I would 'return the favour'. I love seeing that you spend time with your 'littles' in such simple ways, and I think you're already living out what you're aspiring to and wanting others to practice. You're practicing what you preach! I also appreciate your simple, healthy recipes.

in dreams said...

yes!!! :) i'm so glad you continue to post here (though i'm sure it's tedious for you sometimes)...there's a reason all of us keep reading this blog, and it is YOU!! you are so full of life, and inspire all of us to be filled with happiness + energy + delicious food, and that is why we come back here. so thank you, for being you, and sharing bits of yourself, and your family, and your amazing, amazing recipes. <3!

Emily said...

I read exactly 4 blogs... I read yours because you inspire me to be a better mom. Your kids always seem so loved. I don't run or ride bikes or any of that. I only cook and mother. That's why I'm here. I've never felt less because you are more; I come back to remind myself what I want to be.

Mickelle said...

oh, i love you. I need to be reminded of these things as much as possible. You are one of my favorite bloggers bc of your simple authenticity. And I really really love that. You make me want to get out and live a better life. So i'm glad you will stick around here a bit longer!

tialovesmontana said...

Don't you dare quit blogging, miss!

Lori said...

I'm so glad that you are going to continue to blog. I don't have a blog, and don't read very many, but yours is by far my favorite. You are so inspirational!:) This is such a great message that we all need to remind ourselves of daily. So, thanks for the reminder. If you have any questions about home school, or bread making (I use a fabulous soaked wheat recipe) then let me know! I am on my 5th year of home schooling in southern Utah and love it!! Good luck to you in all of your adventures!

Unknown said...

I love your blog! I would be so sad if you stopped posting. But I definitely understand your feelings and I have felt similar feelings. Enjoyed reading your thoughts about this topic! Thanks for taking the time to post your genius recipes, I certainly benefit from them.

Anna said...

Beautifully said, and you echoed so many of my goals for 2013 - I know blogging is "all about community" because I read it everywhere, but I want to get back to blogging in somewhat of a bubble where I don't worry about what people think, or what kind of schedule I should keep, or what I should talk about. I love life, and I love blogging. That should be enough.

Jana said...

I totally agree. I've paired down my blog list to my absolute favorites. And I blog very little now-only when I want to, not to please others.

Unknown said...

I just found your blog, and "don't read my blog" is the first thing I read.

I truly believe in the message you shared and was so happy to see it. So many blogs end up making me feel like a loser and make me want to scream, "you know perfectionism is a sickness, right?"

And social media..,I don't do it, and don't really get it. I tried facebook and realized I was setting a poor example for my tween-aged daughter. I do not miss it, and the decision to not do it is a self-set boundary I like.

So thank you. Thank you for the message, and sharing how you live it.

sarah said...

please don't stop blogging! your blog is the only one I read that always makes me feel inspired to be healthy and happy, and not to just go buy things!

Nicole said...

If you're considering homeschooling, I would highly recommend the book "A Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise and Jessie Wise Bauer. If you're interested in a classical education method...this is the bible. Loaded with resources and a seriously amazing guide. You'll be inspired...just read it...and I'm pulling my kids from public school and I can't wait!!!

Unknown said...

I love this recipe ! Reminds me of you making soap at home, Mom.
And it's fun to see photos of your house there and see
Dad in that comfy chair we sat in when we visited,
attempting to use the slow internet :)

I can't wait to hear how the soap turned out in terms
of using it. Does it smell different since it is made with
animal fat? Any other differences from vegetable-based soap?

Love you!

Unknown said...

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