Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Land Barons

This is another one of the posts that I meant to put up ages ago and I am just getting around to doing it, because I am a slacker and life is busy! But I am sticking to my resolutions to simplify, turn off my school brain when I get home and spend more time relaxing with my family, so there's that...

Back during the summer Brien and I decided to pull the trigger on refinancing our home and using the equity to buy some land, an idea that we should have moved on years ago, but we just kept putting things off. I will never forget the first day back to school walking out of Hinkley High School on the phone with the bank, putting the Kibosh on everything and saying, "Let's just wait." But alas my amazing husband stepped in and took over and it was all settled within a few weeks!

With the financial stuff taken care of, we could start looking at property! Hurray! It's been our dream for years to move to the country, we even got so far a few years ago, as to call our real estate lady that found us our current house, to start searching for homes in the some of the small towns east of here. After years of being sent listings we came to the conclusion that, that our options were super limited.

It was either get a beautiful house on 1 acre, wah-wah, that's not country living if I am 40 miles away from Target but still sharing a fence with my neighbors, while looking into their kitchen...No thank you. OR live in a double wide on 40 acres, so that's real country, however, with my irrational fear of tornadoes, I did't want my house to have seams or get blowed away. So back to the drawing board.

One night we had an epiphany... Get land, get plans, build house on land, move there, live in country on acreage and have a house that could withstand a storm. Seems easy right?
Wrong. By the time we had our act together, there was NO land available to buy. It seems everyone is having this idea to move the country, therefore depleting the available properties. In a few months it went from 50 to like 4 plots of land. So we looked at ALL 4. It was slim pickin's let me tell you... 

One was land locked by 2 other properties and we would have to make a road and run electric poles to, yeah, there goes like 50k right there. The next one was across the road from a pot farm, with the sweet smell of marijuana wafting across the street. The next one had a little slice taken out of it with someone living in a trailer house on the corner of it. Weird huh? 

The last one we looked at, we hit the jackpot! Tucked away, marginally flat, only one visible neighbor and all of the soil samples, septic plans, well plans and electric plans were already done... HOW on earth did we get so lucky? We put in a random offer the next morning and by lunch time we were under contract, say what?! 

We closed a few weeks later and TA-DA! We are now officially land barons, well as much of baron as you can be with 43.5 acres. We are SO exciting, I am getting all the feelings just typing about it right now. While there are no trees (okay there is one that's about 4 feet tall), there are also no neighbors or their children screaming in the back yard or parking their RV in front of your house, I think we will make it work somehow...

It is perfection. Endless blue skies, the mountains on a clear day and the only sounds you can hear are from the cows on the hill and the neighbors' goats and horses. The kids love it, riding their bikes, hiking through the middle or on the trails that run the edges, playing in the dirt. I think they will do just fine being country kids. They already have a list of all the critters they want to have and I think that if they get their way we will end up with some kind of crazy farm! I can't wait to get started and to be living in our new favorite spot. Hopefully in the spring when the weather warms up we can get going with building and enjoying our little slice of heaven!

Monday, January 8, 2018

These are a Few of Our Favorite Things!

Have you ever attended a favorite things party? If you have not, I would highly encourage it! Last year this was all the rage with my teammates at school and girlfriends at church.

So here is how it has worked, you set a spending limit, ours was $10 and then choose your favorite thing to share with people who are attending the party. Thankfully these gatherings have been smaller, but once we had a larger group and just brought three things to share and then you write your name on three pieces of paper and then the gift giver draws names to share their favorite item.

Last Friday, before we headed back to school, my 2nd grade team and I had a favorite things party at my house. It was SO much fun and they had some amazing things to share!

Favorite things stress me out slightly, but it never ends up being a big deal. I always worry, "what if my favorite thing is dumb or no one likes it too?" and shopping for it can be stressful as well... I seriously traded my favorite thing out like 4 times before I finally decided on something! I shared pop sockets, they are pretty cool. I failed to take a picture though... But they keep you from dropping your phone, help take selfies and prop it up when your hands are tied. It went over pretty well!

Here was everyone else's favorite things!

Charmaine: She is our au natural girl, who loves all things skin care related!
This tiny little Vaseline with shea butter, packs a punch. I have been putting it on everything, not just my lips. "Oh Kellen you have a red bumpy rash on your leg? Put this on it."  I haven't used the olive oil scrub yet, but it smells amazing and I can't wait to try it!

Courtney: She is our kitchen guru. Last she brought those super cute nesting bowl that we all loved! 

This year she brought tiny strainers for washing fruit. It is the prettiest color and as handy as a pocket on a shirt, so I don't have to dirty up my huge colander!  She also brought this cook warming/cooling plate that you put in the freezer if you are serving something cold, like cheese or something warm like an appetizer. She also threw in the little baby whisk from World Market because her kids use them to stir up their hot cocoa, genius right?

Lisa: She is our sweet one! She always has all the best treats in her class room and brings the yummy desserts to share!

We had some bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt cakes. They are seriously the BEST! Whenever we have a birthday or just a random day when we need something delicious! They come in a bunch of flavors. Mine is red velvet. It has big chunks of chocolate and the yummiest cream cheese frosting you ever did taste. She also brought some super yummy Euro candy that Callie keeps making me share, an EOS ball and toe warmers because we are always freezing! I have never used one of the EOS balls, but they are pretty brilliant. I can't stop putting it on! I am planning on using the toe warmers when we head to the mountains in February. So score all around!

So that was everyone's favorite and now I have a few new favorites! Gather up your girls, gather up your favorites and throw a bash, it is too fun to pass up!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Wine Night

I had been meaning to post a loonnngg time ago about the gloriousness that is wine night! It is maybe one of my favorite nights of the year, fun times with the ladies in our family, yummy food and wine, and raging rounds of board games! It is THE best!

This year was especially fun, as my lovely husband was everyone's uber driver home, so we were able to cut loose. Everyone brings a bottle or two of their favorite wine and something yummy to eat. We are not a super sophisticated group of wine drinkers and we usually end up with lots of moscato and champaign-y like wines!

This was the favorite of the night! Stella Rose! It was not our typical white sparkly wine, but a redish one, instead. Still sparkly though and super tasty!

The gang had a blast playing Obama llama, telastrations and our favorite--Taboo.
I love these ladies and I love the times we are able together and enjoy each other! Happy Wine Night!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy "no" Year

It's a new fresh year and I am so jazzzed! That's jazz with 3 z's, so you know that means fun! I love a New Year and all the freshness that comes with it! We rang in 2018 with a cozy night at home, with no make up, pajamas and a plate of shrimp, because when you have a cold and it's 9 degrees outside, you keep yourself and your germs at home. So, we introduced Callie to the world of Friends and watch the New Years episode with the "routine" and "Happy No Year".

Now that Christmas is put away, the whole house is decluttered, we are ready to start this thing! On Monday night in a sleepy haze we made our resolutions. Another favorite part of New Year, new things to focus on! Callie's resolution is to kick off her bath bomb business and thanks to her "investor" (thanks Aunt P) she is off to a solid start! 
I am hoping this year will be productive and I am resolving to say no more, to things that I don't want to do (like taking on extra responsibilities or going to things that I don't have time for) and yes to adventures and quiet time without technology and distractions, to be a better planner and be more balanced. Callie pointed out that we literally start the year by saying "Happy",  we need more happy in our lives! Brien and I had a long talk this weekend about how the things we love the most in life--IE: our kids and each other and things we love to do the most--IE: hang out with our families and do fun things, are somehow the things that we do the least and make the least time for, if that makes sense...So let's change that, this year!

 2017, peace out and bring it on 2018, we are ready for a fun and happy year!