Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fluffing for Fall

The weather is finally hinting that fall temperatures are on the way, so the girls and I have had fun this week seeing how we could cozy up the house on a budget.

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Basket of apples and pumpkins on a burlap table runner. And let me recommend these yummy candles, Pumpkin Spice, from Wal-mart. They smell scrumdiddlyumptous! (and I usually don't like any other scent than plain old vanilla)

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Do you know how ridiculously expensive wreaths can be?!? I was shocked when I saw the price tags for $60 - $100 in Hobby Lobby!
...on to plan B...
We made this one with some burlap, fabric scraps, and a straw wreath from the thrift store for under $8.00. And I LOVE it more than anything I found in the stores. :) Used this tutorial as inspiration, but tweaked it to make our own.

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With some branches from the yard, a few pumpkins, and flowers we gussied up the mantel. I'm not loving the flowers in the branches, but they needed a little something on them. I'm still looking for something else to put up there...

and oh yes, we painted our den. Not for fall, though the bluish-grey color definitely cozies the room up significantly.
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Budget Breakdown:
bag of 5 small pumpkins- $2.78 Wal-mart
bag of 3 yellow pumpkins - $2.78 Wal-mart
2 medium sized pumpkins - $2.50 Wal-mart
2 pumpkin spice candles - $5.00 Wal-mart
1 1/2 yards of burlap - $3.00 Joanns
poly satin remnants for flowers - $1.00 Joanns
wreath from goodwill - $0.80 Goodwill
basket from goodwill - $1.00 Goodwill
1 bunch of fake flowers & leaves - $1.00 Dollar Tree
branches on mantel - free our yard :)
Grand Total = $19.86...just under our $20 budget!


And speaking of things for the home, this was delivered to my front door yesterday:

Carrie introduced me to this stuff a year ago. Not only does it smell devine, but it cleans like nobody's business! I haven't found any other natural cleaner that leaves my countertops and table shiny and smelling so dog-gone good. I'm serious, I'll look for things to clean in my house just so I can smell the stuff. :)
Target now carries the Caldrea line, but they don't offer the Sea Salt Neroli scent and I'm addicted to that particular scent. I finally broke down and bought a bottle of my very own and it arrived yesterday. I found it online at, and the bottle is $12.00 and will last you about a year. My package came with a $5 off code if anybody else is interested in ordering any. The first person to e-mail me gets the code. :) it would basically cover shipping
update: code has already been spoken for! but it is still a good deal without the coupon because this stuff lasts sooooo long.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Exercise for the Soul - for myself and those who love them too

He is 93. She is 87.

We visit in the afternoons, bringing smiles and distraction from the waiting.

The girls run circles, squeal, and turn flips on the floor where they play. They crawl up into the wheelchair and walker and take turns pushing each other around the room.

How long do we have and how many more visits like this? The mingling of ages between these extremes - the very beginning and the very end.

And with a heavy heart I rejoice

Thank you Lord for this moment. For the opportunity to share my grandparents with my children. To hear the same stories that were told to me 20 years ago, to hear them again, and from the same voice.


And will she remember?

Will you teach me how to knit Caws?

Her tiny, white fingers next to the gnarled and spotted ones, full of wisdom from a life full lived.

You take this piece of yarn,…yes, like this, and hold it over…

that’s right.

And she asks all the questions so similar to the ones I also had.

But what did you do, a long long time ago before grocery stores?

For vegetables, we had a garden. For meat, we had chickens.

But what about for milk, I’m saying?

Oh, for milk? Yes, well we had a cow.

Lord, thank you, thank you for this time, for this family, for this intertwining of generations and for all the love unspoken.

And I watch, taking it all in and experiencing them as great-grandparents to little ones. Getting to witness first hand what it must have been like when I was so young, but memories are too faded to remember.


Hey pretty girl! he teases and she squeals and eyes sparkle.

He reaches out from his confined chair to tickle her with the same hands I remember well.

I can close my eyes and can feel those hands, dirty from the weeding, looking over the rash or cut that needed to be cared for. People would tell me of his hands. His miracle-worker hands. The ones that saved them from their cancer, the ones that healed and stitched and played God. But I never knew that man.

To me, he was the one who made the garden grow.

Not many words were shared, but a magnitude of awe and respect.

I would run through fresh rows, trying to remember to stay off of the top part so as to not crush the new life blooming in the soft mounds.

Would you like some coke Dandy?

Well, thank you shug. It’s hot out here today he would say he as leaned back on the tractor, finishing the glass in one gulp.

And handing me back the empty glass, with his deep southern drawl he would offer I thank you mam!

Yes sir.

I would take the empty glass back, crossing over the broken earth, filled with a haunting awe for a man that I did not really know.

The same short conversation played over every day.

But now he is softened, and so is she.

As they hang here at the end of life, there is a sweetness there that wasn’t present before, and I am allowed the privilege to bear witness as they delight in their great-grands.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.

Proverbs 17:6

Love at First Site

As soon as I saw this print on etsy, I knew I had to have it to hang in the playroom by the bookcases.

Wonder why? ;)



and P.S. - the print is just as precious in person. You can find it here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Twinkies on a Trike

These were taken yesterday morning while playing outside in the yard before heading off to school.

Anna Cate wore braids for the first time and she asked me to take a picture.



I love this picture and all of these sweet girls!
We had an impromptu picnic after school and I had my camera in the car from taking pictures earlier in the morning.
I love that the "big" girls are holding the "little" girls' hands.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Somebody Started School










Anna Cate started pre-school last Tuesday so we had a little family celebration the night before with a picnic at the lake. I realize now (thank you Will) ;) that it was a little over-the-top, but I think I process things by creating "distractions" for myself. To say I was emotional about my first born starting school would be an understatement so I think I overcompensated by planning something special to celebrate! Instead of dwelling on the fact that she is growing up, I busied myself with glitter, frosting, and scrap-booking paper. I seriously didn't think it was that bad until the people driving by in the boat (in the last picture) yelled out "Happy Birthday!" and I just got "the look" from Will. :) Ok, well, guess he was right.
We did make some fun memories that night and I hope it will become a tradition for our family.


First Day of School Picture

"Anna Cate, smile sweetie!"

"Ok, good job, but try to look at me and keep your eyes open."

"Sweetheart, a smile, I need a smile.
Aren't you excited to start your first day of school?"

"great job!"

The first day wasn't so bad after all...both she and I did great! And it is nice to have some one-on-one time with Caroline. I forgot how easy it is with just one at home! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


OK, so seriously, let's just pretend it didn't really take me almost two weeks to find the time to blog about what I made in the kitchen with the apron (which by the way, wasn't even the one I actually wore because it was a gift but looked cuter than the one I actually made for myself!) Details, details...

In case I did happen to keep anybody in suspense as to what we baked, it would be these cute little owl cookies!
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Right before Anna Cate's birthday party in May, I saw the most adorable whale and sailboat cookies on my friend Megan's blog for her son's first birthday party. They looked like something straight out of a Martha Stewart Magazine! When I asked about them, she said that her mom had made them and sweetly sent me the recipe. I tried making some flower cookies for Anna Cate's party to use as party favors and they turned out precious!

And because I think this is something every mother, teacher, or hostess should know how to do, I thought I'd share. They look a lot harder to make than they actually are. I promise!

Before we get started you'll need:
- 1 to 2 packages of sugar cookie dough
-package of lollipop sticks
-can of Wilton's Meringue powder
-gel food coloring
-1lb bag of confectioners sugar
-cookies cutter
-#3 pastry tip and icing bag

Since I want these to be as fast and easy as possible, I just buy pre-made sugar cookie dough (shhhh, Megan, don't tell your mom!) ;)
Any brand will work, but I usually just buy the generic brand from Wal-Mart. You can also pick up everything else you'll need there too in the party section.

Roll your dough out and cut out your shapes. Make sure that the dough isn't too thin because you'll need a thick cookie to to hold the lollipop stick. If you are making cookie lollipops, go ahead and press your cookies gently onto the sticks as you are placing them on the cookie sheet to bake.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes (longer than I normally bake cookies) but you don't want these to be soft in the middle so they will support the stick and the heavy icing you will be using.

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Let your cookies cool COMPLETELY (at least several hours or overnight). Once they are cooled and have hardened, make the recipe for the Royal Icing that is found on top of the can of Meringue Powder. (Your icing will be thick. You can use a tiny amount of water to thin it out until it will easily squeeze out of a #3 pastry tip.)

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Pipe around the border of your cookie with your icing. As icing dries, it will become very hard.

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After your icing border has hardened, add a little water to the remaining icing to thin it out and then use it to flood the cookie. has an informative tutorial on their website about how to use royal icing. Bascially, you use the thinner icing to fill in the cookie using a knife or metal spatula. Your icing should have a good sheen to it, but it should not be runny. Remember, extra water in the icing will soften the cookie!

After the icing dries, you can go back and add all of the detailing to your cookies.

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These were made for a good friend's daughter who just turned 1 and had an owl themed birthday party! Boys were invited to the party too so we had to make some green and blue owls to balance out the pink. :)



Allow the cookies to dry overnight so that the icing hardens. Then you can box them or individually bag them as favors!

owl cookies

And if you are curious as to how my two "helpers" were entertained while I decorated the cookies, let's just say they were thrilled to stay busy washing our cereal bowls from breakfast!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cute in the Kitchen


How fun is this apron? And it is practical too because it is made out of a hand towel. I always get my kitchen towels dirty when I bake because I'm constantly wiping the batter and icing off my hands. Is it just me, or does anybody else get messy when baking? When I saw an advertisement for this precious apron in the June issue of Southern Living magazine, it was one of those, Genius! Why didn't I think of that? moments.

This is the third (and favorite) one I've made this summer and thought I'd pass along the idea because they would make super cute Christmas presents (and they take very little time to sew.) The bottom is a hand towel (Target and Wal-mart have some fun colors in stock right now) and the top ruffle part is made with 1/4 yard of fabric. Attach two ties to both sides at the top and finish it up with some fun ribbon and trim.

And what I made wearing them is even cuter! But I'll save that for tomorrow...

update: I checked my magazine to find out what page the apron was featured on. I stand corrected! It was the JULY issue of Southern Living and it is featured on page 19 in the Made by Southern Hands section. If I can find time, I'll try to work up some sort of quick tutorial for those of you who want to sew one up too!