I am going to tell you a little story today, friends. The story of a couch. But not just any couch. My couch. My completely impractical, totally improbably and absolutely impossible WHITE couch.
This whole story began 8 years ago when we were transferred to North Texas from California. Thrilled to finally be able to stretch our little family out into a house that actually fit our body count, we over-speculated just a bit and up-sized from our tiny 1200 square foot Southern CA condo to a Texas-sized 5000 square foot house.
They are not kidding when they say that everything is bigger in Texas. Everything, except of course, home prices.
This was all well and good except for one tiny problem. We had exactly 1200 square feet worth of mismatched leftover bachelor/bachelorette furniture and approximately 5000 square feet worth of house to fill.
So with a clear picture in my mind of the image I wished to portray coupled with a healthy dose of vanity and pride, I dragged dear Mr. BurntToast all over Texas searching for the perfect furniture to fit our new life. I was headstrong and stubborn, determined that our furniture be “adult” and impressive enough to show the world that we had made it. Now, to be fair to myself, I don’t think I verbalized this or even had conscious thoughts about our furniture proving anything to the world. But in retrospect, I am humbled to admit that this is definitely probably the heart of the matter.
Because there is no other rational explanation for the white couch that we ended up with, despite repeated warnings against it. Nothing in logic says that a family with (at the time) two toddler boys who would grow into two school aged boys with sticky hands, feet and other objects should purchase a white couch that CANNOT BE CLEANED. Nothing in logic says that a family at our stage of life needed a couch that is hardly comfortable yet definitely a stain magnet. NOTHING.
Yet my stubborn nature and apparent need to prove something to the world defied all logic and that is exactly what we got.
Now fast forward 8 years….this poor couch is no longer white. NO, now it’s a sad sort of grey-ish beige with special distinctive markings (read: stains) so as to make it unique and a owner original. This couch has been through WAR, people. And this war is known as three children. These three children have loved on this sofa so hard. It’s covered in marker, pen, pencil, juice, peanut butter, chocolate, Cheetos, Goldfish, peanut butter, blood, (probably) boogers, red wine (that ones on me) and worst of all, vomit.
So, since the Christmas decorations came down and the fancy holiday pillows got put away for the season (yes, I have these. Thanks Pottery Barn for convincing me that they are a must have) I have been a mission to find a new couch.
Like the couch, I’ve changed a lot too in 8 years. I’ve weathered some stains, some spills, and some messy stuff. But I’ve also seen a lot of love, a lot of laughter and a lot of joy. I’m at a different place than I was when I was on the hunt back then. Still stubborn but more grounded. No longer feeling like I have to show the world anything. Content. And very realistic about what my family needs. Rather than what I want. And I want our house to reflect this, starting with the couch.
We need a sofa that can be dismantled, washed, bleached, vacuumed and fumigated if necessary. We need a couch that is so ridiculously cheap that I won’t have a meltdown once the first marker makes its dramatic introduction to one of the cushions. We need a couch that I can honestly say “eh, no biggie” when the stomach flu hits and my kids can’t manage to actually hit the bucket. We need a couch that induces cuddles, pillow forts and hours of lounging. We need couch, and a house really, where we can LIVE and BREATHE and LOVE.
We need particle board and foam. We need cotton and polyester.
We probably need IKEA.
And this, this I just have to own. It’s where I am right now. Our house is not ours at the moment. I don’t want to spend my minutes stressing about juice boxes in the living room. I don’t want to be remembered by my children as caring more for the couch cushions than them. I don’t want to waste my time worrying about a silly piece of furniture.
I want my house to be a place that shows who we are. We aren’t “don’t sit on that couch” people. We aren’t plastic runners on the carpet people (children of the 70’s and 80’s know what I’m talking about). We are, however, “come in. sit down. make yourself comfortable people.” We are lets cuddle on the couch people. We are pillow fort, popcorn movie night and couch jumping people.
Listen, it’s probably going to take a team of people and decorators to get our house to where I want it to be (if you’re willing, drop me a line) because I am terrible at home decorating and arranging and pillow fluffing. Joanna Gaines, I am not. But we’ll get there.
And I can’t wait to sit on my comfy couch and marvel at what happens when you stop trying to prove that you’ve made it and just breathe in the blessings you have and LIVE in the moment with them.
So, today friends, while I’m still on the couch hunt (seriously, decorators. Drop me a line. I’m clueless here. And also pretty much kidding about Ikea) I’m not on the hunt for another great slow cooker chili recipe. Our fridge recently went on the fritz forcing me to get very creative in the kitchen, using up the veggies and meat we didn’t want going bad in a hurry. And from that came this beauty. The great thing about a good chili recipe is that it can easily be modified and changed up based on what you have on hand. For this recipe, I started with the base of my easy slow cooker chili recipe and lightened it up a bit using turkey in place of ground beef and adding in black beans and a ton of veggies. It’s perfect for your New Years resolutions because it’s healthy, but it’s also delicious and filling. It’s great for days when you want a good meal but are short on time and motivation. Just throw it all together and in a few hours you’ve got a meal that the whole family will love.
Slow Cooker Turkey, Black Bean and Veggie Chili
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 2 cans (16 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained. Alternately, you can use 2 cups of pre-soaked dried black beans.
- 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 bell peppers, chopped. I used red, orange and green, but feel free to use what is easiest for you.
- 2 cloved of garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Step 1 Cook turkey in a skillet over medium high heat until browned.
- Step 2 Drain if necessary.
- Step 3 Transfer to a slow cooker and add beans, veggies and spices.
- Step 4 Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.
- Step 5 Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream as garnishes.