Howdy friends! First off, let me start by saying this is day 1 of 30 days of blog posts so it’s going to be longer than usual, I promise they all won’t be this long. At this time, I’m recovering from burnout and it’s getting better so I want to share my why with you in this post – and other regular day stuff! I also want to share with you my inspiration for starting this in the first place so if you missed that post, click HERE!

Me and Steve got back from California Tuesday from a glorious trip. It’s been really hard getting into the swing of things since getting back. I also realized that before we left I pushed myself to the absolute limit. In September I asked him “what did we do this summer? I can’t even remember” I know what I did this summer – worked incessantly including weekends and we didn’t do anything all that fun except go to Calgary for a few days. Summers here in Saskatchewan are short and it’s the best time to enjoy where we live, and I squandered it away. As the temperatures are now freezing, it has gone away and I missed it. How sad. But also I’m very happy I worked so hard because that hard work paid for our trip and to be able to do the fun things we did!

However, it’s time for me to learn new ways of life. Ones that don’t include working weekends (some are okay and normal, but working 7 days a week on the regular not good). The biggest thing I’ve learned is that social media, especially Instagram, is such an addiction for me. I would post stories throughout the day and when someone would reply, I would reply back right away, all hours of the day. I love connecting so much with like minded souls who love Painted Furniture like I do, but it’s so silly to not set boundaries and give myself a serious reset every day. Instagram has become my driving force in business and to shut myself off from that is scary, but also empowering. PS – trust me, I love when you reply back to my stories – I just need to get back to all of you at working times.

Don’t get me wrong I love what I do sooo much – too much – it’s become an addiction to me that I just didn’t even want to stop for a day and now I’m feeling the effects of burnout. I unplugged for a good week while on our trip, and you can read more about this part and my plan to set boundaries HERE. It really gave me the start of my reset so I’m happy for that!

Getting back early in the week I didn’t do anyyyything business related – maybe just some small little odds and ends but didn’t dive into any customer projects or furniture projects. I was disappointed that my ambition wasn’t back that I had before the trip. I was like balls to the wall motivated about business and planning before we left and it was hard to just leave and enjoy myself, but then I went and I did enjoy, and now I’m here and a relaxed lazy little lump. But maybe that’s a good thing because trying that hard like I was before was exhausting.

This weekend is Thanksgiving so it’s a long weekend here in Canada. I’m getting more motivated to dive into the projects for next week including items for two of my customers.

Events like these – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter have become challenging for me. When Steve met me and married me I was a totally different woman. I worked a regular paying job and ate meat and dairy. The only setback I had was that I was celiac so eat gluten free.

Fast forward to today where I eat plant based now too and don’t eat anything that comes from an animal. I’d like to call myself a vegan, but I’m not. I do my best to avoid animal products or products that have been tested on them to the best of my ability but I’m sure I do something in my work or use products that are a no-no so, therefore don’t label myself as one. I do 100% “eat vegan” – at least I can control that aspect! I’ll speak of why I made this change in another blog post but I’ll get back to why these events are challenging.

Changing with Steve is one thing. Changing and doing something really big that effects our family dinners or eating is really challenging – for me and for our families who I dearly love. Both of our families are roast beef/big hunk of meat and potatoes with dairy, everything topped with butter kind of families. And there’s nothing wrong with that because I was one of those too who loved that type of food. People used to call me “carnivore” so you must truly believe something really affected me to make this choice. Anyways – they’ve been really kind and welcoming of my choices and have never questioned me or made me feel weird about it. They include me a lot and try and make some animal free dishes for me. I’m sure it’s a lot of extra work for them because they don’t fully know what is what etc. Love them for trying and making me feel included though. I’ve heard of people like me whose family and friends ridicule them and try and sway them out of it. Maybe people just know not to mess with me and I give vibes haha. Actually no. I just know it’s because we both have the same upbringing with families of members in it who know the word respect.

I opt to make my own plates for these events because just like everyone else, I want to eat a LOT and I’m always worried if I don’t I’ll have a small plate of carrots or something and leave hangry ?

Tonight is supper with my family -> Steve of course, mom, dad, sister and her husband and their two young boys in Warman, another small city like Martensville which is only 10 minutes away. My brother and his wife and their daughter live in Edmonton so we don’t see them as much during the year.

My offerings for the meal to help out will be making the mashed potatoes and gravy from a packet – shhh ?. I’m going to make them regular dairy because people who aren’t in my world, even if they don’t say it, usually don’t like it as much. Sometimes they’re blown away, sometimes they don’t say much haha. I’m going to make the best dairy potatoes they ever had – even if Steve has to try them for me!

For myself to make for tonight’s gathering and tomorrow’s so I have some premade plates, I’m going to make eggplant lasagna with a whole bunch of interesting faux cheeses, some mashed cauliflower and gravy, and some broccoli and Wayfare nacho cheese melted on that I picked up from the Alberta ABC Christian Book Store this week. They come to Saskatoon twice a year and I loooove the Wayfare products. When I run out I may be desperate enough to drive 6 hours one way to get more.

I’ve been truly enjoying cooking again since coming back. Cooking is so satisfying to me – if I don’t have so many other things on the go. Steve has been really enjoying me cooking – I think he doesn’t want me to go back into beast mode with work again – for stress reasons and I think he likes this lady who cooks all the time. Who doesn’t like to have meals cooked for them?

There’s something so satisfying about coming home and being able to cook and the ease of it unlike when you’re traveling and hangry all the time. And having a kitchen to cook in. And an oven. Last year at this time our oven started going bezerk – beeping nonstop and the oven part doesn’t turn on when you need it to. Only the cooktop works. We thought it was okay, it went 5-6 months working fairly normally and the oven part actually turning on in the warmer temperatures so we thought we dodged a bullet, but since it started to cool down it’s gone crazy again. Want to know just how desperate and hopeful we are for this oven? Every time we need to use it, we go downstairs and turn on the switches on the electrical board to turn on the power, use it, hear the constant beeping, get sick of it and go downstairs again to click those two off. This is ridic. I hope the oven works at least today to make my Thanksgiving food! ?

It’s time for a new oven – we’re waiting for Black Friday. Is it a scam where they mark up their prices and slash it and pretend you’re getting a deal, or are there actually deals?! I’m onto you big box stores, I’ll be watching… and I don’t do these sneaky sneak things with my furniture I have for sale, by the way! Just thought I’d drop that there!

I’ll update you later on the (hopefully) finished products of eggplant lasagna, mashed cauliflower, broccoli and cheese -> as well as the delicious dairy potatoes I’m going to make for my family! Steve is in charge of making a big salad to feed his enormous family tomorrow and I said he’s in charge of that one. He’s kind of a bad cook. Hahaha

UPDATE: Ok so I was supposed to post this first one (Sunday) last night oops, it’s tough because we went to bed at 10 PM after the gathering and my bed time is usually 9 PM and I thought uhhh, nahhh, I’ll do this first thing tomorrow morning.

Yesterday, while I was cooking, the big oven worked at the last minute. It completely shut off while cooking the first time, I was so mad. But then I tried again and it worked, phew. I almost resorted to using the little baby toaster oven, it wouldn’t have fit, Steve had a backup plan to use the BBQ and I snorted in laughter because it was smart but also this is getting sooo ridiculous. He must have seen how agitated I was yesterday because I saw him looking online at new appliances. The eggplant lasagna is amaaaazing. I highly recommend this recipe. For my substitutions to make it vegan, to my sauce I added a package of Gardein beefless ground beef. I used an entire package of Daiya mozzarella shreds. And for the ricotta, I made this almond ricotta. You guys, I couldn’t stop walking by and picking at this dish, it was superb!!! The ricotta was my favorite part!

Highlights of last night – earlier this week me and my mom went shopping and bought our two nephews – 4 and almost 2 some lollipops. I bought the older one a 4 ft long one and, I hope my sister and her husband don’t kill me. Haha. Also, my sister was at work while her husband made most of the Thanksgiving meal. He made a whole entire dish for me gluten free vegan, some tex mex quinoa dish. I was tearing up, the gesture was so sweet, and it was delicious. I gave him an awkward hug, I’m not sure if he liked it but I was so happy he did this for me. What a sweet boy. My mom also made me a delicious GF/V dressing. Or is it stuffing? What the heck is it?

Okay, this was the longest blog post in history, I’m so sorry. I promise they won’t all be this way. If you read this all, let me know in the comments!

For reals, this is all this time. Until tomorrow!

Dani