Hello again, friends! I’m so happy you’re here for this month’s Little Bits of Love post. I have so much to share! I’m not quite sure how we’re less than 3 weeks away from Christmas already… I kind of broke out in a cold sweat just saying that. #truth
So the big triumph for our family this month was finishing up harvest. Yay! In case you’re new to Love Grows Wild (by the way… welcome!), I’ll bring you up to speed real quick. My husband grew up on a farm and has wanted to be involved ever since he was a little boy. Over the years Jeremy has worked a variety of different agriculture jobs (hay baling, owned a livestock feed mill, worked at a fertilizer company), but he’s never had an opportunity to come home to the family farm and follow his one true passion in life… until this year. This year he worked side-by-side with his uncles, and we grew our first crop of corn and soybeans. I can’t even begin to tell you the joy it brings my heart to see my husband starting this adventure he’s always dreamed of, and although we still have a LONG way to go before we are where we want to be, we’re on the right path. We may not have much in our bank account right now, but we have big dreams and a hell of a lot of ambition and drive. I know we can do this.
If I don’t say it enough, I will now… Thank you so much for reading my blog. For being my friend, even if it is just virtually. For your sweet comments and encouragement. You may not realize it, but every time you stop by to see what my newest project is or grab that recipe you’ve been wanting to try, you’re helping me support my family. You’re helping us get by while Jeremy transitions into farming and I try to grow my business. In the spirit of Thanksgiving last month, I just wanted to say thank you for helping us make our dreams come true. I couldn’t do any of this without you guys. 🙂
Speaking of Thanksgiving, how was your holiday? Where did you guys go? What did you eat? Or maybe more appropriate, what DIDN’T you eat? We always head down to Southern Illinois where my little sister lives and crash her apartment for a few days. I’ve been cramming a ton of work in the past few weeks trying to meet deadlines and get things ready for the holidays, and the lack of sleep and stress finally got to me. I got SO sick. Not puke sick, just sore throat, total exhaustion, coughing my head off, doping myself up with NyQuil kind of sick. Not fun, my friends. But I powered through my short work week like a champ and packed the family in the car for a 5 hour road trip down South. Despite feeling totally miserable, I loved getting to spend some time with my sister.
In true redneck style, we started Thanksgiving with a little gun shooting. No, this is definitely not one of MY hobbies… can you really see me slinging a gun around? No, me either. Jeremy, however, is very fond of exercising his second amendment rights, and it’s important to him that I know how to use a gun as well for protection. I’ve had things happen in the past year that hit way too close to home, and even though I don’t enjoy the idea of shooting a gun, I’m sure as hell glad I know how to protect myself. It’s a crazy world out there.
But on a MUCH lighter note, we had an awesome Thanksgiving meal with my aunt’s amazing pecan pie and my uncle’s grilled turkey, and I ate enough food to last me about 3 days. But of course, it didn’t. The next day we planned a “Crazy Dinner” inspired by my pals, Six Sisters’ Stuff, that turned out to be the weirdest, most indulgent meal I’ve eaten probably since childhood. We all went to the grocery store together with $5 each to spend on whatever food we wanted. Each person could only spend the $5, and we had to share our food with the whole family as part of the crazy dinner. We made sure not to tell each other what we were going to buy, so it was a total surprise when we brought everything home. Are you ready for this craziness?
Our meal consisted of: macaroni and cheese, tatertots, ramen noodles, sausage patties, Reese’s Puffs, Cheetos, pigs in a blanket, Pop-Tarts, donuts, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Total and utter junk food heaven. It’s definitely the most ridiculously unhealthy meal I’ve ever eaten, but in the spirit of starting a fun new family tradition (once a year only!), I enjoyed every last bite. The boys couldn’t believe I was actually going to let them eat all this garbage… it was pretty funny!
I had every intention of waking my mom and sister up at 3 a.m. to go Black Friday shopping, but when that alarm went off in the middle of the night, my NyQuil-induced coma was not about to let that happen. But once 9 a.m. rolled around, I got up, splashed some water on my face, drank a cup of hot tea, and loaded up with cough drops and eucalyptus oil. <– This stuff, by the way… is life-changing. Did I really need to be out Christmas shopping? Probably not. Did I want to hit up the sales at Kohl’s and spend a few child-free hours shopping with my mom and sis? Absolutely. I got a ton of shopping done, and even picked up some new workout clothes and tennis shoes for myself.
Oh yeah… I joined a gym a few weeks ago. #toomuchmuffintop
I’m just one of those people that loathes working out. I don’t want to get sweaty, I don’t want to be sore, and I don’t have enough hours in the day to fit it in anyway. But dang… getting older just hurts. I spend a good portion of my day in the same pajama pants I woke up in, sitting in front of a computer writing this blog for you all. After awhile, all those sugar cookies start to catch up with you, and you find yourself out of breath and bracing your aching hips after walking up a flight of stairs. Ya’ll, I’m not even 30 yet… this can’t be happening! I know I need to start working out regularly, not just for my skin-tight skinny jeans, but also to be healthy and active. I have P90X and T25 that I can do at home, but every time I commit to start a workout routine in my living room, it fades just about as quickly as it started. I’ll wake up and say, “Okay, I’m going to workout today!” But then I see the mountain of dirty laundry piled up on the floor and the dishes from last night’s dinner still sitting in the sink, and I keep hearing my phone dinging with new emails that need to be answered and… yeah, the workout just doesn’t happen.
So a few weeks ago, I opened up my mailbox to find a promotional flyer for a gym that happens to be approximately 30 seconds away from the preschool I drop my son off at 3 times a week… I decided it was meant to be. I’m forced to get out of my pajamas and leave the house anyway, so I might as well make use of my time (other than sitting at Starbucks with my skinny caramel latte working on blog stuff) and get a workout in. For whatever reason, this scared the crap out of me committing to a gym membership for two years (required for the promo deal). Would I stick with it? Would it be a total waste of money? I decided to give the Couch to 5K program a go (which has an awesome app you can download) and try to pretend that I’m a runner. And you know what… I kind of enjoy it. Getting to go to the gym is a real treat after years of working out between my couches in a tiny living room, and it’s so motivating to have other people working out around you. I’m just starting week 3 of the program, which hasn’t challenged me a ton so far, but I really love zoning out to some good tunes and running off some stress. I forget about all the items on my blog to-do list, that mountain of laundry and dishes, and I just run.
I’d love to lose the 10-12 pounds that have slowly crept up over the years, but mostly I just want to be fit and healthy. I’m trying not to focus on the number on the scale or my pants size and just push myself to run a little farther everyday. I’ll keep you updated on my progress! And for those of you who are looking to get fit and healthy too, I’m working on some really good healthy recipes coming in January… after all the holiday cookies are gone! 🙂
So now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re in full-on Christmas mode. Decking the halls, mailing out Christmas cards, making our lists for Santa, and watching Elf way too many times.
Don’t the boys look thrilled watching me shop World Market for the first time for some new Christmas decor?
I’ll be revealing our holiday home tour this week along with a fun homemade gift idea and another yummy Christmas recipe, so stay tuned!
A few other fun things we did this month:
Do you know about the Presidential Turkey Pardoning that happens at the White House every year for Thanksgiving?
This time-honored tradition dates all the way back to 1873 and Ulysses S. Grant, but it wasn’t until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush began the official presidential pardon. Each year the chairman of the National Turkey Federation has the honor of raising and presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey, and this year’s chairman, Mr. Gary Cooper, is the COO of Cooper Farms. This family-owned turkey company in Ohio happens to be only about an hour and a half from us here in Indiana, and we were so excited to be invited to visit the special flock of turkeys that were hatched in anticipation for this exciting event.
Mr. Cooper and his son, Cole, gave us a tour of the barn they built specifically for these special turkeys, and we even had a chance to pet them, hold a baby poult, and learn all about the great lengths these farmers go to assure healthy, happy turkeys and high-quality products for their consumers. They process over 4.6 million turkeys every year and provide turkey burgers, sliced meats, and sausages, both private label and Cooper Farms brand, to many stores such as Kroger, Meijer, etc. We were able to bring some of their turkey burgers home with us, and MAN are they good!
It was an absolute delight to meet the Cooper family and show my children first-hand where their food comes from. Being part of the agriculture industry ourselves, we love opportunities like this to learn and educate as much as we can. Two birds actually get sent to the White House for the pardoning, one the official bird and one the alternate. The names chosen for them this year were Mac and Cheese… and Cheese was the winner! You can watch President Obama, along with Gary and Cole Cooper, pardon Cheese in the video below.
Thank you to Mr. Cooper and his family for having us out to your farm!
Also, I had my first “published” work this month!
The town where Jeremy and I lived when we started dating recently asked me to be a guest columnist for their newspaper. The editor happened to be our neighbor and a dear friend, so this was a fun little opportunity for me. And I’m pretty sure Jeremy enjoys bragging that his wife made the hometown paper. 🙂
Also, if you have boys and Lego KidsFest comes to your area… please go. My boys were in Lego heaven!
So that’s it for this month’s Little Bits of Love. I’m going to end this year with a few more holiday posts and lots of planning for 2015. I have some big goals, big ideas, and lots of work to do, but I can’t wait to get started. Enjoy the holidays, and I’ll see you next month!
This month’s favorites…