My last week in Utah was split between organizing the kitchen cabinets and drawers and decorating for the holidays. Decorating and organizing are two of my favorite things to do and one of the ways I enjoy contributing to my family. It’s truly a win-win situation, since I very much like doing those sorts of things and my family very much enjoys that I do them. Sharing like this is one of the many wonderful things about being in a community, even if in just the most core community of your loved ones.
If you follow me on Instagram you might know about #ChristmasInOctober already. I generally set up our family vacation home in Utah for Christmas during my annual fall trip, so that everything’s all set and ready to go by the time the family flies in for the holidays. Some people expressed concerned in the comments section of my Vlogtober daily vlogs on MHWL that I might be overstepping my boundaries by doing so, but in actuality, my in-laws who own the house are delighted that I help out in this way. Some people like me very much enjoy decorating. Others would very much appreciate someone else helping out in that department. I would never decorate, organize, or make any changes in the Utah house that weren’t expressly permitted and enthusiastically encouraged by my in-laws. The family tends to fly out to Utah at different times over the course of the week of Christmas. It’s often a bit of a rush for my in-laws to fit everything in the couple of days they typically have out at the house before the rest of us arrive. This is my third year decorating during my annual fall trip so that the house is all set up by the time my in-laws arrive, which makes for a smoother transition and a more relaxing holiday. It’s kind of magical to arrive at the house all set up and ready to go for Christmas! This elf is happy to be able to provide that service. Plus, it gives me an excuse to have a bit of Christmas in October. Because Don and I are flying in even later than usual this year, I decided to go ahead and bake some cookies for the freezer for the family to enjoy come December. I find that fresh baked cookies store very well in the freezer for up to six months. I always recommend doubling up on packaging for the freezer (such as two freezer bags, or in the case of my cookies, wrapped in wax paper and sealed in an airtight container). All I do to thaw is to leave the cookies on the counter for about half a day in all of the packaging they were frozen in and voila! You are left with delicious and fresh-tasting homemade cookies.
Even though I am still fighting that pesky bug I came down with the previous week, I maintained my appetite and taste for comfort food. Comfort food is a highly individual preference, and I find it interesting to learn what other people prefer. One of my main go-to’s when I’m feeling under the weather is homemade chicken soup. I learned the recipe from my mother-in-law many years ago, and in the past year Don has taken over making this cure-all for us. In fact, we filmed a video on it earlier this year which you can find target=”_blank”>here if you’re interested. I’ve also been enjoying other fall food favorites such as roasted squash (acorn and butternut are my favorite!). While I love healthy fixings, sometimes you just need a good ol’ dose of ice cream. I like to indulge in my favorite ice cream treats whenever we are out at the Utah house. They have a special pumpkin pie shake every autumn, which to me is the ultimate fall treat. It’s more like a Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonald’s McFlurry in consistency than a traditional milkshake, but about a million times better tasting with chunks of actual chopped up pumpkin pie mixed right in. Pure heaven!
The Heart of Life
If you read my post from last week, you know I had the joy of filming my first ever collab videos recently with Kristina who is StarOfMay on YouTube (check out our latest collab on Kristina’s channel featuring target=”_blank”>paper holiday ornaments we crafted together). What is even more exciting to me, however, is that I made a new friend in the process. I find it very difficult to make new friends, since I am a pretty intense hermit and can be very nervous and shy in new social situations. Something about meeting Kristina felt very comfortable and easy, however, perhaps because we have shared experiences and interests with our connections to YouTube. We met again in the middle of the week for a fun holiday card photo shoot session and lunch together. I have been buzzing about for the past week on a bit of a new friend high thanks to this positive experience. I become braver and more sure of myself as time goes on and I keep surprising myself at my own progress. Stepping even just the slightest bit outside of my comfort zone every now and then pays off big time in the long run. I can honestly say I am happier now than I have been in many years (and that’s not to say I haven’t been happy. I am just even happier!) and I have you, my viewers and readers, to thank for that. Between posting here and on YouTube about my favorite products, organizational tips, and personal life, your support has helped to give me the confidence to be myself. Instead of trying to blend into the background, I am learning to stand my ground and be proud of who I am. Sure, sometimes life throws you lemons, but I think that’s necessary in learning to embrace myself just as I am. This quote from a John Mayer song really resonates with me: “I know the heart of life is good.” I truly believe that and I hope you do, too. Thanks for helping me in my journey. I only hope I can help you in some way along yours! <3