September 30, 2010

Fall Open House

Come on in, ya'll! We're still awaiting the crispness of fall breezes, but that hasn't stopped me from celebrating my favorite time of year. I found this wreath at Ross a couple of weeks ago. I know that it can truly be hit-or-miss at Ross, but at $8.99 it was a hit!

As you come into my foyer and look up you will see my great grandmother's fall leaf quilt which she lovingly made by hand. I love pulling it out and feeling all sentimental-like.

There's just something about white pumpkins. I love this miniature one by the front door.

The tall bush on the right is about 5 feet tall. With a two story foyer, I need all the height I can get. I usually just have the sticks in the pot, but over the summer my bestie offered the orange stems and said, "I know you'll find something to do with them."

Hope she doesn't want them back! :)

I'm not sure what giant scissors have to do with fall, but I love them. I often admire the oversized forks, paintbrushes, spoons, etc.. that can be found gracing the pages of Pottery Barn. When I found the scissors at Hobby Lobby for $8 I almost squealed. It's the little-big things, right?
My hunter-husband was totally turned on by my request for some deer corn. All his hopes of quality time hunting together were dashed when he saw me pour it into an apothecary jar. Sorry, honey!

My beloved white pumpkin has a huge crack in it, but I just can't give it up. We haven't been to the pumpkin patch yet, so I don't have my real pumpkins yet, but I'm hoping to find a beauty!
What's your favorite fall decoration?

*I'm linking up with the fall parties at the Nesting Place and Hooked on Houses. Slide on over for some wonderful inspiration!

September 29, 2010

May I Suggest...

Think spa. It's like a massage for your sense of smell. And it's on sale right now!

My daughters and I had the privilege of attending a screening of this new Disney movie last week. It's a feel-good, make your momma cry kind of true story. Every horse lover should see it. Every mother of a horse lover (if you say that fast, it sounds like it should be a bad word) should see it. It premiers October 2nd.

I usually don't recommend outrageously expensive things on this blog. But this is an exception. This tea, which can only be found in Aveda salons and stores, is THE BEST hot tea in the world. I strongly hesitate to tell you the ingredients because I wouldn't buy it if someone told me. I'll risk it and hope that you will trust me. Licorice and peppermint. I know! Disgusting! But it's not. It is refreshing and soothing and smells as wonderful as it tastes.
I got my bestie hooked on it and now we are on a quest to find a cheaper version of this flavor. If you know of a great substitute, PLEASE let me know!

Need some new tunes for your exercise routine? This cd is rockin' its way to the top of my "favorites" chart. Michael Tait has joined up with the Australian phenomenon known as Newsboys and the result is amazing. I love to crank it up and drive fast.
Just kidding, dad. Sort of.

September 28, 2010

Crockpot Cobbler

I had a bowl of peaches sitting in my fridge looking more aged than Methuselah. Even with a few bad spots, I knew they were firm enough to be delish in a cobbler.

There's just something about using the crockpot in the fall. Since we've been having warmer-than-normal temps here in NC, I'm doing everything I can to encourage the feel of fall.
4-5 cups sliced peaches*
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup plus 1Tbs. all purpose flour
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
6 Tbs. butter/marg. cut into pieces

Combine peaches, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 Tbs. flour and nutmeg. Pour into slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Topping: combine flour, 1 Tbs. sugar 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and oats. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives. Sprinkle over peach mixture.
Cover. Cook on HIGH 2 hours. Serve with ice cream if desired
*or 32oz frozen peaches, thawed and drained

It was very soupy, probably because I used fresh peaches. That's okay, more juice to slurp!
The cobbler was such a success, I think apple crisp is my next crockpot experiment.

Have you ever made dessert in the crockpot? How did it go?
What's your favorite crockpot recipe?

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam... come join the fun!

September 27, 2010

Girl Stuff

WARNING: This is a girlyfied re-post from 7/08. It's about woman stuff... just sayin.

Why, at the age of 30 mumblesomething years old, do I still get nervous about buying feminine hygiene products?
I usually only buy them at Target or Walmart because it is easier to hide them under layers of stuff and then wedge them discreetly between cereal boxes on the conveyor belt.

Heaven forbid I run into someone I know with a box of tampons sitting on the top of the cart!

Why do I break out into a cold sweat when I see a man running the cash register? Why can't I just walk up with my head held high and put those puppies down? I mean I've been buying them for 20 years!

Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to plunk them down on the counter and growl "whatchewlookinat?" Mr.T style. But no, not me. I cower. I strategically plan my shopping trips to avoid embarrassment.


Except for days like today.

Today I was desperate.
I went to the drug store.
I was trying to shop as discreetly as possible, to avoid the loud, "What's that, Mommy?" questions from my children.
I was so out of my comfort zone, with no cart to shield my secret purchase.

As I stood in line, my hormones screamed for the king size Reeses Cups on sale.
I caved, naturally.

I realized what a hormonal dork I looked like as I casually tossed my jumbo sized box of tampons and my king size candy bar on the counter. Yeah, I may as well have bought estrogen pills and a douche for good measure.

And then I looked up.

A teenage boy.
Of course.

Poor guy. I'm sure he wanted to laugh as much as I wanted to run and hide in the racks of mascara. Bless his heart, he was trying to be friendly throughout the transaction.

But then he said it.

Do you want a bag for this?

Ummmm.... no, let me just put the jumbo box on the top of my head and parade myself through the parking lot while I wolf down my king size candy bar.

September 26, 2010

Sunday Rest

For I command you today
to love the Lord your God,
to walk in His ways,
and to keep His commands, decrees and laws;
then you will live and increase,
and the Lord your God will bless you
in the land you are entering to possess.
Deuteronomy 30:16

September 23, 2010

S'more Brownies = YUM!

Last week I posted a picture of these brownies and promised the recipe. Pull out your apron and turn up the music. These are so easy you'll be dancing around the kitchen.
Make SURE you get the family size brownies. (The back of the box usually calls for 2 eggs)
Mix the brownies according to the package. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a 10x7 dish.
Layer graham crackers over the batter. Then 6 full size Hersey bars (or a whole bunch of snack size when that's what is on sale). Then add a layer of marshmallows.
Spread the remaining batter over the marshmallows.
Is your mouth watering looking at that deliciousness? Me too! Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Any marshmallows that are not covered in batter will brown... but that's what makes it like a true campfire s'more!

September 20, 2010

Tears for Today

On a typical day, this is a place of encouragement, hope and laughter. Today it cannot be so. My heart is heavy and my soul weeps. On Saturday a friend of mine received the most devastating news any wife can get. Her husband had given the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Afghanistan.
For you. For me. For the sake of FREEDOM.

I don't think you, or me, or freedom has crossed her mind today.
No, today she is consumed with a little 2 year old girl who still prays for her daddy to be safe at work.
Today she is filled with grief over the child in her womb who will never know his daddy.
Today she faces the unknowns of her high risk pregnancy that is 37 weeks along.
Today she wonders about their belongings still waiting for them in Germany where they had carved out a temporary home for the past two years.
Today she must face a new day. Alone.

I know you don't know her. But I do. She represents so many women and families in our country who have sacrificed so much more than I could ever imagine.
Her grief is raw. In the days ahead she will need a place to nestle in and be encouraged. She doesn't know I am asking this of you.

Please visit her blog and leave a word of encouragement. Click here to visit Susan's blog, then click on "comments" on her last post. The pictures are enough to melt your heart. Even if you have never left a comment here, I ask that just this once you leave one for her.

Today I grieve for her. Today I need you, my dear readers and friends.

September 19, 2010

Sunday Rest

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do.
I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:15-17

September 16, 2010


Remember this little gal? She and 4 friends arrived via mail a few months ago. One of her friends only lasted 3 hours {apparently enough time for two of my children to bond enough to evoke great wailing and gnashing of teeth upon it's untimely death}. My husband thought it would be great for the kids to raise chickens and have an unlimited supply of eggs in our backyard. Even though I was less than enthusiastic about it to begin with, I chose to joyfully submit and be thankful that my children can experience something like this firsthand.

Henrietta and her three friends have been growing by leaps and bounds.
Isn't she pretty? When my husband began the sales pitch of why we should own our own hens, I quickly did some research. Not on chicken growth and care. Nunt-uh. My research was focused on what would be sitting in our backyard. My words were "I want something cute." He did not disappoint:
It took a lot of planning, measuring and man hours, but it was worth it. I'm a detail person, so when it came to the little extras I knew it was a labor of love from my man. Underneath the coop he laid bricks and filled in with playground sand so that it could be easily cleaned. And you know I'm all about clean.

See those cute little doors? Those lead to the nesting boxes. Each hen has her own spot to lay eggs. We can easily reach in and take the eggs.

The back of the coop has an enclosed grassy area for them to peck -n- play. Or whatever it is that chickens like to do. The wood at the bottom is actually sitting on buried block so no predators can dig under the fence and feast on a hot wing dinner.

It's a little hard to see from this photo, but they have a pole to roost on. Our research revealed that a roosting pole is as important to chickens as a comfortable couch is to humans.

Isn't their little ladder cute? They walk up and down it everyday. Since they are ladies, I'm sure they're watching their thighs. :)

We have two Red Stars, which are known for their egg laying abilities as well as their gentle manner with humans. Our other two are Easer Eggers, which produce green, blue or pink tinted eggs. They are also gentle with humans. It will be close to Christmas before we begin to gather eggs from our little flock. I'll keep you posted on how Farmer Brown and Dr. Doolittle are managing.

September 14, 2010

May I Suggest...

My mouth is watering just from gazing at this picture. This is as close to homemade pimiento spread you are going to get without riding to your granny's house for lunch. With chunks of shredded cheese, it is a far cry from the processed cheese clumps found in the typical p.c. on your grocer's shelf. Trader Joe's packs a little heat when it comes to their spread. I recommend eating it with pita chips. Or a spoon. Or your fingers.

I love this soap for my kitchen. It's very light and refreshing. Did I mention odor eliminating?

A friend suggested this side dish found in the frozen section at Trader Joe's. My family loved it! After eating two helpings, my daughter asked what the green stuff was. I almost cringed when I answered spinach. Her reply: I like spinach. You should make it more often.
Well, whadayaknow.

Since I'm on a T.J's roll, I'll throw this one in too. Don't be fooled by the packaging. Even though it looks kid friendly, I may or may not have been accused by my family for eating an entire tub. But hey, they're only 2 grams of fat for 15 cookies. A word of caution: they've got a kick. By the way, the cinnamon version of "cats", bleh.

My favorite candle scent of all time. Henri Bendel Firewood (Bath and Body Works). Yes, it smells like a wood fire burning in the fireplace. I've had it lit for the past few days with the hopes of bringing autumn down to NC as soon as possible.

*Neither Trader Joe's nor Bath and Body Works compensated me in any way for this post. Even though they should have. ;)

September 13, 2010

Call Me the Bag Lady

I was recently contacted by the fine folks at CSN about doing a product review. Needless to say, I was thrilled to agree to it. The last time they contacted me, I was very pleased with the world globe I received. This time they sent me the item of my choice, a beautiful brown computer bag. Know why I love it so much? It has an abundance of pockets! I love a bag with pockets. A place for everything and everything in its place. :)
A few features I love are
1)The shoulder straps. Long enough to fit on my shoulder, short enough to not be dragging the ground.
2)The weight: very lightweight without feeling cheaply made
3)The "feet" on the bottom that protect it from all the yuckiness on the floor (in top picture)
4) The price. You know I'm all about a good bargain. At $32.99 I think it is very reasonable. You even have a choice of brown or black. Maybe you like something a little more colorful. Check out their wide selection of laptop bags and totes.
If you are a "bag lady" like me, you can never have too many bags. Unless they are under your eyes.

September 12, 2010

Sunday Rest

Whoever would love life
and see good days must
keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are
on the righteous and His ears
are attentive to their prayers.
1 Peter 3:10-12

September 10, 2010

In Unrelated News...

1. Is this a familiar sight at your house? Fall ball just started up this week. My lil man got moved to the next age level and looking at the various sizes on his team reminds me of God's sense of humor. It's hilarious to watch this age scramble for the bases, pick clovers and try to look tough all at the same time. I am so thankful for a sport that my big and lil man can enjoy together.

2. Last week I hosted a Girls Night Out... In. We indulged in these. S'mores brownies. Oh yeah, baby! It's like having a campfire without the stinky smell in your clothes afterwards. Would you like the recipe?

3. There is a reason queen size beds are made. This is how my girl sleeps every. single. night. Forty-three names, personalities and specific sleeping spaces. Girls are relational, right?

4. I'm still mulling over and savoring the events surrounding the wedding. With the bride's family being from the Michigan, I learned that there are some wedding customs that vary between the north and south. Did you know that in the north cash is more likely a wedding gift than a wrapped present? I think it is a great idea! It saves the new couple the headache of having to do returns, plus they can use it to purchase necessary items (like a vacuum!)
Apparently a bridesmaid luncheon is a southern thing. I didn't realize this until it was met with puzzlement from the bride and groom. Here in the south it is a nice luncheon given to the bride and her girls the day of/before the wedding. It is a time for the bride to honor her bridesmaids and for them to enjoy each other's company before the craziness of the day begins. How about your area? Is it just a southern thing?

5. We enjoyed PERFECT weather in the mountains over Labor Day weekend. 68 and sunny. My body obviously isn't used to perfection because I came home with a nasty head cold. Yes, I'm whining. No one is allowed to whine at our house except me.

6. Sunday will be our first time back to church in three weeks. I am so excited to be back with our church family and worship together. As an added bonus, it is the start of a new sunday school year for the kiddos and the big reveal of our make-over of the welcome/worship areas.


September 8, 2010


I used to adorn my walls with anything cheap and stylish. As I've gotten older I have changed my criteria: cheap and meaningful (and hopefully stylish)
Sometimes those two are hard to put together. On our recent cruise, I mentioned to my husband that I really wanted to find a piece of art in Grand Cayman because that island has a special place in my heart. We searched and searched. All of the art was ridiculously high that day (I've heard they up the prices when a ship is in port). So I started looking for 5x7 greeting cards and came upon these two treasures by the same artist:
Frames: $3 each, Walmart
Mats: $1 each Hobby Lobby
Greeting cards: $2 each
Total for (2) 8x10 pieces of art: $12

I applied the same idea a couple of years ago while visiting Europe. Even though the prints were smaller (4x6), having three in a large frame created the illusion of a large piece of art:
Frame: $15 Michaels (mats included)
Prints: $3 each

Several years ago I visited my brother in San Diego and fell in love with the coastline. I picked up some 11x14 prints from a small vendor at La Jolla beach. They now adorn my guest bath:
Prints: $12 each
Frames: $10 each Target on clearance

Speaking of Target, I couldn't pass this tin sign up in their dollar section.

Each year our family attends a summer festival in the mountains of NC. Last summer a local artist (who sells her work for $$$) donated a copy of her version of the festival, with all proceeds going to the town. It is (nearly) poster size, so it fills our upstairs hallway nicely.
Print: $10 (actually free, thanks mom!)
Frame: $3 yard sale

For other ideas on inexpensive ways to adorn your walls check out this, this, this and this.