Trick Candles and The Crashed Cake

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I’m not great with dates. As a matter of fact, I struggle remembering if my husband’s birthday is September 29 or 30. It’s the 30th… But it doesn’t stop me from debating between the those two days constantly.

So it works well for me that my dad and my father-in-law’s birthdays fall within a day of each other. Since my dad has had a post dedicated to him before, I thought I’d shine a little light on my father-in-law today in honor of his birthday.

My FIL has been on this Earth 76 years as of today. Yes you read that right and yes my husband, his son, is only 27.*insert my giggles*

I giggle because, if you are reading this and don’t know my FIL you probably have an instant stereotyped image of what he is like, BUT, if you know him personally, you know he is far from that.

Not only does he not look his age, he doesn’t act it. He gets up everyday and works on the farm, he has been known to send a text message (two to be exact), makes references to something he has seen on one of our SnapChat stories and is kinda a feminist.

It’s fantastic.

Now that you know a teensy bit about him, let’s talk about his last birthday, the cake to be exact.

I’m pretty much walking chaos. If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time that is very apparent. But as much of a hot mess as I am, I do like to feel apart of things.

So when my mother-in-law called me to let me know she was throwing together a 75th party for my father-in-law, naturally I asked what I could do to help.

“I don’t have a cake yet,” she said. “You could pick up one of those.”

Well that’s easy enough, I thought to myself and set out calling bakeries. Unfortunately for me, ordering a cake for 90 some people in the peek of wedding season was a no go, so I was faced with the task of baking one myself.

I’ve baked plenty of cakes, I’ll just keep it simple, no big deal, I remember thinking to myself.

Keep it simple… Ha!

The essence of me, Danielle Hayden, does not know, nor have I ever known, how to ‘keep things simple.’

And as life would have it, we had plans to be out of town for a friend’s wedding until the morning of the party. I planned ahead best I could, purchased all the supplies, but it’s hard to beat a fresh cake, and I REALLY wanted all the best daughter-in-law points i could rack up, so I did not bake anything beforehand.

We arrived home the day of the party around 8:30 a.m., knowing I had 5 hours to pull together this cake before the party I went straight into hustle mode.

The cake was to be a four-layer camouflage cake with fudge icing. And somehow, in just the nick of time, I pulled it off.

Here is what the cake looked like finishedIMG_9889

Here is what the cake looked like all boxed up to go in the car.IMG_9890

And here is what the cake looked like after it crashed in my car in route to the party.IMG_9891It was a crazy hot day, and the humidity, even for Kentucky, was insane. I had taken every precaution to pre-cool the car and drive obnoxiously slow, but what my sleep deprived, super stressed to pull off this cake and be on time to party, self didn’t think about was that cakes should not be transported with its suspended layers attached.

The combination of the freshness of the cake, the softness of the icing, heat and humidity along with the drive was too much for my perfect little cake to bare and I heard a heart sinking crashing noise from the back seat as I turned (slowly) into my inlaws drive.

“Oh, Lord.” I heard my husband say as he met me at the car.

I was devastated and mad at myself.

“It’s okay! This is fixable!” he kept saying in a way that sounded like he was trying to convince both of us.

We hustled the cake down to the basement kitchen, grabbed our niece for extra help and hoped no one came looking for any of us while we reassembled the cake.

This is the best we could do.IMG_9892

Out to the party my once pretty cake went, while it no longer looked like what I had envisioned, I still had one more surprise up my sleeve.

Of the 75 candles adorning this birthday cake, 60 of them were trick candles.

He had no idea what was about to transpire.IMG_9916

Oh yeah, there went all those daughter-in-law points I was trying to rack up. It took my FIL, MIL, Brother-in-law and husband to extinguish the cake ALSO part of the cake set ablaze mid blow out. It was a good time.IMG_9918

And so, the brave guests of the party, who weren’t deterred by this spit covered, half charred, smashed icing, cake took their pieces, as I breathed a sigh of relief that even though ugly as it was, it proved to be delicious.

Alls well, that ends well.

And now we are here, one year later, and for his 76th birthday, my father-in-law will be celebrating with a candleless ice cream cake, made by Dairy Queen and transported by my mother-in-law.

Because, lesson learned.😉

Happy Birthday, Martin!

 

BURN ALL THE THINGS

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IMG_2460As I sat there in my home office, on a beautiful spring day, the breeze blowing, the birds singing, the temperature inviting. It was the perfect combo for a day of windows open as fresh air circulated through our home.

But, no. Instead I accepted that I was, in fact, living on a post apocalyptic farm. Ash rained from the sky through the thick yellow smoke, and if I peered hard through the thick gray, I could see a man in blue, holding a propane tank in one hand and a blow torch in the other.

All because I asked him to clean up the pastures around the house before my parents visited.

Or maybe, because, while walking through the hardware store, the heavens opened and light shined down on the torch box.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? The world may never know here.

Since out of the two of us, I’m the only one with actual wildland fire training and firefighting experience, I decided it might be best if I stepped outside to chaperon my dear, sweet husband’s spring pasture cleanup rituals.

“I AM A CONSERVATIONIST!!! RAAAWWWWRRRRRR!!!!” I could hear my wild man bellowing as he set the broom sage around our pond ablaze.

When I said, “the pond needs to be cleaned up so my dad can fish” this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, I thought to myself. But I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pride inside that the three years of land conservation lectures I have delivered over dinner had finally made an impact on him.

My sense of pride quickly faded as I watched him light both the pond fence line and pond bank on fire as he walked in the narrow green belt between the two.

I could feel gray hairs blossom atop my head. YOU ALWAYS NEED TO HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN, my past experience came surging forward. Although the fire stretched in length quite a ways, the flames were short, so I knew he wasn’t actually in any serious danger.

But out of concern for the man I eventually want to procreate with, I couldn’t help but see the teachable moment in front of me.

“Hey, babe, you know, you really shouldn’t…”

“I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, DEAR!” My sentence was quickly interrupted.

*eye roll* But regardless of him not wanting to hear what he was doing wrong from his wife, he quickly realized the situation he had put himself in and moved on to a different area. He can be a teenager sometimes, but he is a smart man.

So went our morning… I followed along and watched as every fence line was suddenly clear with only a black charred line left underneath and as thorn bushes and broom sage were turned to ashes and the greening spring grass was revealed.

The pyro inside me desperately wanted him to take a break and pass over the torch. But with every “I’M A MAN. I DO MAN THINGS” *insert overly dramatic theatrical grunting* that left his mouth, (the testosterone is strong with this one) I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Then things changed, the sky grayed up—and not from smoke—thick, dark clouds saturated the previously clear sky and the wind switched directions. Minutes later, rain poured from above, extinguishing our flames leaving little puffs of smoke and one very sad husband.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” he said oh-so-very pitifully

“WHHHHHHYYYYYYYY,” he added, a little more dramatically.

Kentucky, in the spring, is practically the rain forest, it rains so much that you forget what a sunshine day is like. A quick look at the forecast proved his fears — rain for the next 8 days.

So, my newly discovered pyro, conservationist husband, sadly, carried his torch and tank back to the house for it to sit until another sacred, partially clear day appears.

…and our neighbors breathed a sigh of relief.

Happy Spring Cleaning, y’all!

What Marriage Is

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What Marriage IsAs my second wedding anniversary approached my head was flooded with thoughts. I knew I wanted to write something, but wasn’t set on a direction. I could easily write something incredibly mushy or a monologue of sarcasm, woven with humor.

However, going solely in either direction didn’t settle right for me. Then, I thought about marital advice others are so prone to freely shovel out. When a couple is knocking on marriages front door, everyone has an opinion of what you should or should not do. “Don’t go to bed angry.” “You have to be 100% transparent in your finances.” “Don’t do anything in the first year that you aren’t willing to do for the rest of your life.”

People can jump at a hat to tell you how to do it, but no one ever really says what marriage is. They’ll tell you it’s hard, you have to choose to love that person every day to make it work, they’ll tell you clichés, but spare you the details.

I think each of us had an idea of what we felt marriage was like BEFORE we were married, then after, found ourselves bobbing in waves of saltwater, when we had planned to be skiing in the mountains.

I won’t tell you I’m an expert — not even close. I’m two years, to the day, into this adventure. 30 years from now, there may be many edits and additions I will want to make to this list, but from my experience here is what I believe marriage is:

Marriage is being is each others biggest cheerleader. Before My Someone, I understood that phrase, but had a hard time visualizing it in real life terms. My husband is my encourager. He is the one who convinced me to make my art a full-time career and take calculated risks, I had been afraid of. He continuously builds me up and not by a compliment waterfall. He helps out in ways he is able too. He offers constructive criticism and gives suggestions when I’m overwhelmed — all in a way that gives me confidence to take on whatever task I am currently facing.

Marriage is weird. It’s kissing your entire personal space goodbye. In the last 12 hours I have muttered the words “Is it really necessary to be licking my nose right now.” It’s having the grossest conversations that you would most likely never have with anyone else.

Everyone is on his or her best behavior when you’re dating, working hard to impress the other. Then you get married, and both of your freak flags wave proudly in the wind.

Marriage is holding hands when you fall asleep. I know it started like THE night after we were married, but every night I’m always a little surprised it’s still our thing. Even the days we’ve been caught up with the hustle and bustle of life and have barely talked to each other, let alone touched. It’s our thing, our thing we never have discussed (until this moment when I’m sharing it with the world.) Everyone has their thing, whether they have realized it or not.

Marriage involves anger. Ah, the inevitable fighting. We avoided it for a long time, I was determined we would not fight in order to “have a good marriage.” But I learned the occasional fight makes our marriage stronger. Bottling it all up wasn’t doing either of us any favors.

…and anger. Once upon a time we believed the sun shined out of each others dairy-air, and then real life happened and My Someone totaled his truck (this truck) and since he wasn’t hurt I became so angry I still remember my hands shaking as I told him how I felt about it. And then, three months later, when I put our mailbox into the side of his brand new truck, our roles reversed, and he wore the REALLY angry pants.

Life, man.

Marriage is taking risks. So. Many. Risks. You buy a house and/or a farm. You invest your money in things that could potentially turn around and bite you. You go off course on a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park for a little ‘alone time,’ only to hear a strange noise in the midst of said ‘alone time’ and be a mere ½ a second from being caught by a family of tourists and a little elderly couple who also decided to go off course. AND then, an hour later, discover the telescopes at one of the scenic overlooks, overlook into the same valley that you and your husband had just happened to go off course into.

You know, just a typical example of marital risks.IMG_0034

Marriage is little acts of love. When you’re dating, there are flower deliveries, and over-the-top gestures, well thought out dates and gifts. After marriage, that fades, depending on your financial situation, gifts, flowers and extravagant dates are out of the question and are reduced to a rare occurrence. Everyone will tell you “never stop dating your spouse,” and I will agree that is something everyone should strive for, but I think it is more important to recognize the little acts of love your spouse puts forth everyday. The days he gets up 5 minutes earlier than usual to make a pot of coffee —when he doesn’t drink coffee—so it’ll be ready for you. The nights he runs out in the snow, ice and wind to retrieve something from your car, even though he just finished a hot shower and is dressed for bed.FullSizeRender

 

Marriage is showing all your crazy. “I DON’T KNOW WHY I AM CRYING, I JUST AM AND YOU’RE JUDGING ME RIGHT NOW AND IT’S NOT HELPING.” *cries harder*

Things I’ve actually done. Twice.

Let’s talk about all the times, we have been annoyed or hurt, but didn’t tell each other we were annoyed or hurt, so we sent each other the obvious signal of what is wrong by being extra careful not to touch each other or make eye contact. Where speaking is reduced to a caveman style of grunts and hand gestures and sleeping is clutching our respective sides of the bed and letting out overly dramatic, timely sighs to trigger the other to ask “Okay, What’s wrong?” and for the annoyed, hurt one to respond, “nothing.” *deep dramatic sigh*

Real talk, that last scenario is more often than not me. Please, try and contain your shock.

Marriage is a new definition of sexy. Where as once the way he looked in a v-neck tee, white label Cinch jeans and a black cap was all it took to make you melt. The v-neck tee has lost some of its charm after marriage, quelled down with,“The dogs got into the trash because you left it out” and morning breath becoming the norm, that is, marriage.

Sexy is now more meaningful than appearance. It’s those little acts of love mentioned above. It’s doing the dishes and folding the laundry without being asked. It’s when that person has seen you at your absolute worst, appearance wise, and still says “Hey, beautiful” and looks like he means it, even when you’re sporting messy hair and yoga pants. Marriage sexy is seeing the final result of your spouse’s hard work. Like when people call to ask his advice on cattle, or the pride his has in his 4-H kids during the county fair.IMG_0596

And finally, and most importantly:

Marriage is an adventure. A crazy adventure, that just when you think you have it figured out, something new is thrown into the mix for you to take on, but with someone else to take on everything with you — to hold you when you cry, to laugh until your sides hurt and tell you when your lipstick color choice is looking too cray for public, than it will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Happy Second Anniversary, Husband.

I love you forever, and a day.

The Days I have to be Quiet

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I’m terrible at being quiet.

Actually, I’m incredible at being quiet. I can go hours without feeling the need to mutter a word, I can stealthily slink around our home and farm so silently My Someone is constantly hollaring out to find me when I’m in the next room.

We have a tiny home, friends, that’s quiet (get it?!) impressive.

That is until I need to be quiet. And then I suck at being quiet. Strap some roller skates on my feet, arm me with a running chainsaw and set me free in this house because I’m making ALL THE NOISE up in here.

Thankfully, my days of need-to-be quiet are few and I can track them by flocks. Yes flocks. Flocks of chickens. The days I have to be quiet are the mornings following the nights all houses of chickens were shipped out.

(Shipping chickens means our houses of full grown chickens are rounded up and sent off to be processed.)

There is no written rule in our home saying I HAVE to be quiet the morning after chickens are shipped, but it is out of respect. You’d feel the need to keep silent too if your spouse spent the whole day before working, came home for a couple of hours and then went back to working from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

No one wants to deal with a cranky, sleep-deprived roommate.

Today is one of those days. The Danielle needs to be quiet until Sleepy Beauty awakes from his slumber days.

The dogs have bounced off all the doors. Oliver has ran laps around the house barking ferociously at anything that looks suspicious. Blowing grass, y’all. Blowing grass is suspicious to my Terror.

IMG_1794.jpg

A grainy, out of focus photo. I was trying not to make noise but wanted to have a photo for this post and then panicked when the camera went off. WHY IS IT SO LOUD. IT’S NOT NORMALLY THIS LOUD.

The coffee maker beeped a little louder than normal when it was finished. I didn’t catch the microwave door before the buzzer went off.

I’m recovering from a cold, so try as I might, the hacking, coughing and nose blowing ricochets off the wall, like an echo in the cave.

Sometime around 8 a.m. I realized the inevitable couldn’t be prolonged any longer, I must get dressed for the day. I slipped through the door. Sorted through the laundry pile for jeans.
Knocked the laundry pile off the dresser and onto the floor.
Stood in silent terror at all the noise I had just made.
Grabbed the rest of my clothes and made my way to the bathroom.

I knew getting ready in the bathroom was a no-go since it is open to our bedroom where my mouth-breathing husband lay silently on his back. So I hustled to pile up all my toiletries, which conveniently had made their way to the bottom of the bathroom drawer. With each jumble of the drawer’s contents as a quickly tried to locate my essentials, the light sleeper I’m married too, toss and turned, annoyed, in our bed.

Successfully locating the pesky deodorant that had been hiding from me, I grabbed all my daily items and hustled towards the bedroom door. In my concentration of trying to slide the bedroom door shut without a sound, my straightener plunged out of my arms, crashed onto my right foot and bounced off onto the floor. I sucked in air and cussed and then peeked back through the still-not-shut bedroom door to find the blue-eyes of My Someone looking back.

“Hi,” he said nonchalantly.

“Hi,” I replied with a mixture of pain and embarrassment.

He closed he eyes, I closed the door and carried about my morning. It was all going so well an hour later when I decided to take a break from work to file paperwork.

The mountain of paperwork I had been putting off dealing with for months ALL crashed down off the printer table, like a game of life-sized Jenga gone terribly wrong, as soon as I grabbed one piece.

Naturally, in my attempt to clean it up tripped over my light stands and tripod I had conveniently left in the middle of the office floor, adding even more noise to my chaos.

At this point, I threw in the towel.

If you’re looking for me, I’m sitting on the opposite end of out house, with my laptop, resisting every urge I have to vacuum.

Oy.

Dog Costumes and Frito Chili Pies

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My Someone and I hosted our annual party this past weekend. I say annual party with no particular theme involved. You see, after our wedding, My Someone quickly realized his wife personality was “go big or go home” when it came to party planning and hosting.

My creative driven mind and obsessive attention to detail partnered with my desire to HOST ALL THE PARTIES ended up getting me the “We can only have one big party a year, so pick your holiday.”

Not because Spouse is bah hum bug about celebrations, but because our bank account really only can handle one Danielle approved party per year.

Last year, our first in our home, (only a week living in our home) I picked the 4th of July. This year I picked Halloween.

One thing I always do for Halloween is dress Oliver up. This year I had Snickers finally living on the farm with us, so he became part of my tradition.

I knew without a doubt what I wanted to do for Oliver’s costume. I scoured the interwebs searching for the parts and pieces to his costume, but my search heeded no results. I was faced with the realization I would in fact have to make his costume.

Remember when I said I was attention to detail?

Remember when ALL the blog posts I mentioned my perfectionist tendencies?

Have we discussed I have minimum to none, sewing experience? Because that is the truth. And I can promise you, last Christmas when I opened the Singer sewing machine gifted to me from those awesome in-laws of mine, they did not envision my first project with the machine being a miniature kilt for my 6-year-old canine child.

But, at this point, I’m sure they were surprised.

I present to you Oliver, the Scottish Terror, channeling his heritage. IMG_0605

I have to say, I may have cussed at the sewing machine more than I care to admit, but I am really proud of how it turned out.

So what did Snickers, The Very Bad Boykin end up as you may ask? Well as it happens with most second children, I didn’t put nearly as much effort into it. IMG_0643

While most couples would coordinate with each other, My Someone and I chose to coordinate with our perspective pups.

Who're you gonna call?

Who’re you gonna call?

IMG_0617After the costumes, came the party. I had such big plans for this party, but mother nature laughed at me. What was supposed to be a pumpkin carving contest, dinner, a gourmet s’mores bar next to a big bonfire and an outdoor movie, became pumpkin carving on our little back porch, no dessert or fire and a bunch of people huddled in blankets on the front porch trying to watch Ghostbusters through the slats of the porch rail, because the rain storm that hit just. wouldn’t. quit.

Our guests were total troopers, and made the best out of a cold, wet and muddy situation.

Dinner was the only part of the evening that went as planned, but the overall goal of the party was fellowship with friends and I can confidently say that goal was achieved.

Here is a glimpse into the party setup.IMG_0665

Drunkin’ Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots.

Drunkin’ Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots that I found out two days post party I had accidentally used pepper vodka instead of regular. *sigh* I thought they had a slightly strange kick to them…IMG_0673

IMG_0676IMG_0678IMG_0681

‘Goblin Snot.’ Okay, it’s really just jalapeno jelly on cream cheese. You caught me.IMG_0683IMG_0687

Not pictured… Okay, many elements not pictured, like my spider web tunnels in the entry or the outdoor movie setup BUT what I’m getting at that isn’t pictured is the main course which was chicken and dumplings and Frito Chili Pies.

Unbeknownst to me, apparently, Frito Chili Pies are a regional thing, and that region does not include Kentucky. Our guests, including My Someone, were royally thrown for a loop by the terms. “That sounds disgusting,” I heard more than one say. Followed by the appalled, “Danielle, WHY ARE YOU PUTTING KETCHUP ON YOUR CHILI!?!”

If you follow the HH&SS facebook page, then you know we had the Great Chili Debate, where I learned very quickly how passionate people across the U.S are about how their chili is to be served. (And, PSA, haters,😉 my chili stands alone deliciously, I just like the extra stuff.)

This party was no different, but almost everyone ended up trying their chili as a pie (If you’re lost it’s Fritos on the bottom of the bowl, then chili, then onions and cheese AND if you’re an Okie a dollop of ketchup on top.) Didn’t I tell you our guests were total troopers!

We ended the evening with a judging contest of the carved pumpkins and a watching Ghostbusters through the rain, and the slats of my porch.IMG_0690IMG_0689 IMG_0691

Osiyo is “Hello” in Cherokee, obviously mine, and came in a close second behind the cat. Which pumpkin would you have picked?

For the Love of Habaneros

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I have a lot of “I told you so moments” happen in my life, I can be a little bit of a quiet know-it-all and as it goes with any form of know-it-all, when the moments of being wrong come hither, they come hither strong.

A couple of months ago, My Someone and I were Sunday afternooning like a couple of pros, napping, grilling, straight up chilling. HA! Just kidding, that rarely EVER happens. As a matter of fact, it happens so little due to multiple jobs + farm life, we somewhat have to schedule down time, we’re working on being better weekend warriors. Seriously.

But anyway, I digress…

So a couple of months ago, My Someone and I were doing our typical Sunday activities which usually includes cramming in as much house and yard work as possible before we get summoned somewhere, or I have a photo session. That particular Sunday was garden plant buying day. You see, par usual, we were running behind, and plants need to be planted by a certain time.

As we strolled around the greenhouses of our local nursery, I planned, schemed, dreamed and got way ahead of myself in terms of what was physically possible for me to keep up. Spouse wandered beside me, cardboard box of plants in hand, gently bringing be back to Earth with guidance such as “I promise you don’t need five Banana Pepper plants, two will produce more than you could possibly ever eat.”

And so went our adventure…

I never realized that deep down I had this intense desire to grow ALLTHEPEPPERS, but apparently I do, Tabasco, Jalapeños, Banana Peppers, Four different colors of Bell Pepper plants and finally, Habaneros.

I saw them. I wanted them. I HAD to grow them. It was a necessity.

Except… I’ve never seen how Habaneros grow, tasted one or even seen one in real life.

But I NEEDED them.

I grabbed four plants and loaded them into the box.

“Whoa there, babe,” my Husband said. “Do you like Habaneros THAT much?”

“I don’t know,” I replied, ‘But I really want to grow them.” <= Totally acceptable reason.

Smirking he said, “Well how about we just get one, so you can find out if you like them.”

“I need two.” I stated.

Because obviously from my intense gardening experience, I knew very well, without any doubt, that I needed TWO Habanero plants in order to produce the amount I needed to recipe experiment with. When in reality, my ONLY gardening experience involves a couple of potted tomato plants and cilantro. Which, I should note, I’ve managed to kill my Cilantro plants before they produced anything EVERY year I’ve tried.

And My Someone, my sweet husband, who picks his battles ever so carefully, bought his first truck and paid a good portion of his way through college selling produce from a five acre garden he grew.

Flash forward to this past weekend, our little garden — watered by a lot of rainfall, fertilized with chicken litter and tilled faithfully by my spouse — has grown and flourished. And when I say flourished, y’all, plants thrive in chicken litter. Our tomato plants intimidate me, they are so gigantic. Minus a couple of trampled bell pepper plants things are going well.

Do you see where this is going?

Did you guess the Habaneros?

Ah yes, my two little Habanero plants. The two I had to have. I NEEDED them. ALLTHEPEPPPERS, man.

Well, I picked the first batch Friday…
Habaneros
I have at least this many waiting to be picked in the garden today, and many more happily growing away.

So, does anyone have any Habanero recipes?

I’m asking, ahem, for a friend.😉

Searching for Simplicity

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Every blog, social media training/seminar I’ve attended says “do not apologize for long absences of non blogging.” But, on the other hand I’m a chronic over apologizer… Who is needing a Segway to jump back into the blogging game.

The last few months have been a lot. A new job. Discovering I couldn’t balance the new job with the 2-3, I was already juggling as well as brandishing through newlywedness and home/farm remodel.

My busyness broke promises, missed events, didn’t answer texts, cancelled fun with friends and came across as flakey to those on the other end of my work deadlines.

Looking from the outside unto myself, I’ve watched the toll rise on my personal heath, daily tears and panic attacks from stress, none of my clothes fitting, tears and panic attacks over my clothes not fitting and pointless arguments and irritation, with my husband, stemming from my own workload of needing to do EVERYTHING myself.

The two things that personally brought me a lot of joy and pride — blogging and working out — were pushed to the side. Deemed “things I didn’t have the time or energy for since they were just for me.” When in reality both are so very important to my mental and physical health.

Outside Danielle looking in, wanted desperately to shake actual Danielle by the shoulders. “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF,” I wanted to scream at me.

“I can’t let anyone down.” “I have so much to do.” “I MUST make a good name for myself.” Was the mantra actual Danielle repeated to outside Danielle in a monotone manner.

But was I really making a good name for myself being so overbooked and busy I wasn’t getting anything of quality done on time?

And was I really being someone people could depend on?

Could I say I was enjoying each precious day I was being granted of life?

No. The answer to all three is a strong no.

This realization, means big changes need to happen for me, by me. Learning to say the word “no” to things I don’t have the time or passion for being one. Laundry, dishes and deep cleaning the kitchen and living room will no longer fall as a good reason to skip the gym, and I’m going to blog. Boy, oh boy, am I going to blog and I’m not going to fret about if the post is too long, too short, has enough photos, is entertaining enough to others — I’m just going to write.

And finally, but unarguably most important, I am going to soak up each and every second of these moments…IMG_9315

Until next time, friends.

“That girl” on Flight 2137

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Do you ever have those moments when you ask yourself, “Why am I such a walking disaster?”

I mean, I try like Hell to be coordinated and ladylike (despite the swear word in the beginning of this sentence). My parents paid for years of dance lessons and gymnastics. I look at my maternal genetic lineage and see nothing but poise and grace.

Yet, here I am. Hurricane Danielle. I must have gotten the recessive genes.

Airplanes really bring out the hot mess I posses.

Like my most recent work trip…

Making it to the Austin airport an hour and a half ahead of my flight home and surviving TSA without the usual pat down I am somehow always granted I was feeling pretty good about the way things were looking for the last leg of my work trip. I had time to grab a coffee, a Schlotzsky’s sandwich, charge my phone. — It was fantastic.

But making it through anything without making a spectacle of myself doesn’t seem to be in my cards.

Laptop case looped over my carryon handle, purse on my shoulder and brown paper sandwich bag clutched in hand, I confidently boarded Southwest Flight 2137 from Austin to Nashville. But have you ever tried maneuvering three bags and your dinner down a narrow plane aisle? I feel like even for the most graceful of humans it would be a challenge, at least that’s what I tell myself. So when not-so-graceful — last to board her flight — me took on this challenge it went a little bit like.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!”
“Ooops!”
“Excuse me”
“Sorry about that”
“Dangit”
“Sorry”
“My apologies”
“Ooops!”

All the way down the aisle until I finally stopped knocking people with my luggage and found a place to sit.

I was THAT girl.

The next hurdle I was faced with was placing my carryon in the overhead bins. Not easily swayed from a task, I grabbed my bag and bucked it like a square bale going towards a hay loft up into the bin. 2015 may be young, but that moment is holding true for my most graceful moment thus far.

Y’all it was beautiful.

That is until I couldn’t get it pushed into the back of the bin because the top of the bag was stuck on the door hinge. Which of course Earth-shattering 5’2 me couldn’t see as I proceeded to jump up and down on the plane in my attempts to punch my bag into the depths of the bin.

I was THAT girl.

Thankfully the guy sitting in the row behind me came to rescue and fixed my bag, (Yay for tall humans!) allowing me to sit down, get comfortable and enjoy my flight.

…and my dinner.

Something I had forgotten was that elevation changes on things like a bag of chips causes them to swell to maximum capacity. Hoping to avoid an embarrassing “pop” to resound throughout the cabin, I opened my chips ever so cautiously. I did manage to open them quietly but I forgot how strong a small bag jalapeno chips could smell.

As the aroma of chips began to find the people around me, who of course turned to look, I got a tad bit flustered, forgot what my legs were doing and crossed my knees at the very moment the stewardess walked by and somehow got my foot tangled all up in life preserver/oxygen mask she was carrying.

I was THAT girl.

You may be thinking surely nothing else can happen, but this is me, so everything aforementioned is child’s play compared to my embarrassing grand finale.

There came a time towards the end of Flight 2137 when I realized I was going to have to use the dreaded airplane bathroom. The back of the plane where I was at was relatively empty, passengers were dozing, there was no one in line, it seemed like the perfect time.

I stepped into the bathroom, locked the door and took a moment to marvel at how small airplane bathrooms really are. I fixed my makeup, readjusted the Bobbi pins in my hair and then set forth with my intended mission.

Mission accomplished I started to pull up my jeans. Since the bathroom was SO SMALL I turned to the side to do — meaning my backside was pointed towards the door.

What I didn’t realize in my turning, and the wiggling of pulling up my drawers, my hips had hit the lock on the bathroom door, causing it to no longer be locked.

Suddenly I felt a Tap Tap Tap of the door being shoved quickly three times. You see my hip unlocking the door and me turning to the side meant I had unknowingly been doing my “pull up my jeans wiggle” with my dairy-air hanging out into the open and someone on the other side was trying to save me from anymore indecent exposure.

I whipped around in the airplane bathroom and locked the door with terrified force.

And then I stood there…

In the airplane bathroom…

Staring at my crimson complexion, trying to convince myself what had just happened didn’t really happened.

But it had, and when my face returned it’s normal color I took a breath and opened the door to be greeted by not one, but THREE people in line for the bathroom and the stewardess. All of who immediately began staring at their feet.

Yeah… I was THAT girl.

To add salt to the wound, the person who had been trying to shut the door was the guy who had helped me fix my bag. You know, the one sitting directly behind me.

*deep breaths*

The rest of the flight I marinated in my shame and managed to avoid any more hiccups.

I was THAT girl.

Christmas Tidings from Mid-Missouri

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I know Christmas was two weeks ago, but I wanted to share with y’all a secret santa type group I participated in called Christmas in the Country. While Christmas in the Country is in it’s second year, this was my first to partake.

It basically works the same as secret Santa, but with ag bloggers. The fun part about it (or at least in my case) is the people you are sending and receiving your Christmas box are people you’ve never interacted with before.

I drew Darleen, the Guernsey Dairy Mama. Darleen lives in Oregon and is the mother of two little boys. For her box I put a few food items that represented Kentucky. I purchased them from a store literally named “Taste of Kentucky.” She mentioned one of her favorite things about the holiday is collecting Christmas ornaments from states she has visited, so in went a little wooden Kentucky ornament. Since she is a boy mom, I thought Darleen deserved something fun and girly, so I found some cute boot socks to add. Finally, I made her a little box of all the Christmas treats I had made for our neighbors. Thinking back though, I now remember she said she strongly dislikes white chocolate …and part of that box had white chocolate. MAJOR FAIL on my part.

You can check out Darleen’s Facebook page here, and her blog here.

On the other end, my secret santa turned out to be Kathy of the blog Hasekamps of Tulip and H&K Farms Facebook page. Before I say anything else, I want to say Kathy was a wonderful secret santa. The amount of thought that went into the box she sent me blew my mind. I felt thoroughly internet stalked by the time I finished her letter. IMG_6281

Not only do Kathy and I share the same last name initial, we also share a few parallel life moments. Looking through my posts about our #pimpmytrailer remodel she said it looked like the same floor plan as when her and her husband first started out. Judging by the time frame she mentioned and the date of creation of our trailer I would say it more than likely IS the same floor plan.😉

When I opened my box, I squealed. No joke, squealed. Laying at the top were two tea towels. Not only do I freaking love tea towels, these had COWS on them. Not just the standard Holstein look stores stick on things they want to represent cows, these were beef cows. Red and black beef cows. JUST like our pretty ladies I can see from my window right now. Kathy made the cows on the towels (that rhymes *giggle*), which makes them even more special.

The black cow fell victim to my flour hands last night while cooking chicken fried steak. Oops.

The black cow fell victim to my flour hands last night while cooking chicken fried steak. Oops.

Wanting to incorporate both the beef and poultry part of our farm, Kathy enclosed this adorable chicken wire. It’s so cute I’m afraid to use it. I’m foreseeing a wreath DIY project in my future… IMG_6282As I mentioned, Kathy and I have the same last name initial, she added a little metal “H” to play on that. The one “H” I had, that was used in our engagement pictures was broken in the terrible “I can’t find the light switch in the dark” incident of April 2014, so finally having another decorated “H” in my life couldn’t have been more perfect. IMG_6283

Mary Kay Pomegranate soap was another item in our box. You can never go wrong with giving hand soap to a livestock farmer. We go through a lot of it around here. The Pomegranate smells heavenly, I’m keeping it in a safe place until summer. Yeah… I’m the girl who coordinates her soap smells for seasons. IMG_6287

Kathy read my post on learning to can, and picked up on me missing life West of the Mississippi. To play on this she included some hot peppers she had canned herself, as well as BBQ sauce and mustard local to her area. Yay for spicy!IMG_6285The final item in my box was peanut brittle. You won’t find a picture below because I ate it… Quickly. And, what was left, I determined HAD TO GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, so I put it on a dessert plate and brought it to my husband’s family’s Christmas party.

…and then when I few people raved about what addicting peanut brittle it was, I had to admit I had nothing to do with making it. Thank you Amish community near Kathy’s home for your incredible peanut brittle making skills, my jeans are a little bit tighter for it.

THANK YOU Kathy for totally spoiling me! You were a wonderful first Christmas in the Country partner. I am excited to have you on my blog stalking radar now.

If you want to read Kathy’s full letter to me, you can view it here 

January CFBP: Holiday Treasure Hunt

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Happy 2015! Oh my goodness it feels so weird to say that. Seriously does time even go anymore? Along with the beginning of a new year, is the beginning of a new month which OF COURSE means the beginning of a new Blog Party.

Before we move on to all things new, lets recap on December’s blog party — “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” I’m going to be honest I had a really hard time picking a winner, but here goes nothing… (Click on the photo to visit the post)

Smokey Mountain Cabin Soup
The Frugal PantryDSC_1503

That title. That picture. Now I’m hungry.

Lemon Coconut Shortbread Cookies
My Overflowing Cupshortbread-cookies

I think food may be my love language, that tends to be the posts I’m drawn too as favorites. Also, like I’ve mentioned in previous blog parties, I love when people turn summer items into winter items.

Wordless Wednesday: Walking Through a Frosty Farm
Walking the Off-Beaten Pathdsc_0504

This is magical. Really hit home with the Baby it’s Cold Outside theme.

Now, let’s talk about this month, Holiday Treasure Hunt! Let’s talk about Christmas just a little bit longer, link up your posts on your holiday recaps, special gifts you received or gave, holiday traditions, or anything you might do to celebrate the winter holidays.

Link up your posts below (only 3 per blog please.), check out the other posts this month and share a little love of their blogs.

…and while we’re being loving here, visit the other hosts of CFBP:

One last note, if you link up please remember to grab our party button, designed by Kelly of Old Blue Silo.

Country Fair Blog Party