3/21/17

Radiant Women's Conference


Every year the ladies of First Baptist Church in my home town host a ladies conference and luncheon.  One of the things they do to make it extra special is to go all out decorating the social hall where lunch is served.

Choosing any theme they want, they decorate a table and invite others to come to the conference and sit with with them during lunch. They also serve the ladies at their table during this time.

I wanted to show you all of the beautiful tables....I think I have pictures of them all.  Not sure I could pick just one favorite!


My sister's table....so elegant!



















My mom's pretty spring table!








My aunt's table...so pretty!











Aren't they incredible?!  So much talent down here by our ladies in the south!  I hope it will inspire you to take the time to set a pretty spring table or to celebrate a particular holiday or special occasion with those you love.

3/5/17

Seasons Change....People Change


As I was standing on the porch this morning watching Lucy wander around outside, a cool breeze gently blew leaves around in the yard. In that moment I was reminded of fall.  But wait!  What season is it?  Yesterday it felt like spring! 

I began to think about the different seasons and how I’m always ready when the changes come.  I love that where I live I get to experience the changing of the seasons (although now it’s getting more difficult to tell when one ends and one begins).  I think I’d get bored if I lived in a place where the temperatures were always the same and where the wardrobe never needed adjusting.

While thinking about the changes in the weather, my mind quickly went from there to the different seasons of life.  Some of those seasons are greeted with a warm welcome while others are not. 
I can honestly say that this winter season has been a difficult one for me. The most difficult in recent years.  I’ve had to watch my son struggle with a season of depression and anxiety that took me off guard.  While I am no stranger to these emotions, it seemed more difficult for me to watch my child experience them.

I’m what you call a “mama bear”….yeah, even though he’ll soon be 23.  I’ve always been very protective of him and will defend him in an instant, as if it’s a natural reflex.  But God’s been speaking to me and teaching me even during this season of difficulty.

Although I cut the apron strings long ago and watched my child leave the nest in search of his dreams, (cheering the entire time), I still find myself wanting to fix things for him when the going gets tough. I don’t like to see him struggle in life….even though we all have to at times.
This time of battling uncertainties has reminded me that there are some things that only God can fix…if He even chooses to.  Sometimes, instead of intervening, God chooses to give us grace to get through the struggles we are experiencing…struggles that are designed to teach us life changing lessons.

I believe that in this season, God wants to remind me that Dillan doesn’t belong to me.  He belongs to Him.  Always has. Always will.  He just blessed me with the gift of not only being a mama, but being a mama to an adventurous, creative, sensitive, devoted, beautiful, God-loving soul.

Dillan’s ambitions have taken us on more adventures than I ever imagined.  I have learned so much through watching him chase his dreams and attempt to fulfill God’s calling on his life.
Through the years, Dillan has encouraged me with his devotion and study of God’s Word.  He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s far from perfect, but even in the mistakes he makes in life, he has picked himself up time and again and knows to fight with the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. 

In the past couple of months, I’ve watched him use the power of the Word and prayer to pull himself up out of a pit of depression. Frustration and anger were replaced with a renewed hope as God reminded him that He is forever faithful and will never leave him.  God will always complete the work He starts in us. 

Through this difficult time, I’m thankful to be reminded that not only do the seasons change, we change as well.  Our lives can and should reflect those changes with the light of Christ illuminating the one constant thing……God’s presence and faithfulness through it all.

Sometimes God calms the storm, sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child” –

   Source Unknown

2/28/17

Every Great Rug Deserves a Great Rug Pad


Not only do I love to purchase great products, I love it when those products are made in my home state....the great state of Georgia!

I was recently contacted by RugPad USA as a home decor blogger to help promote their product and build their brand name.  Because I only have one large rug in my home and it is a cowhide, I initially thought I couldn't use the product in my own home.  But then I remembered that pesky bathroom rug that is forever sliding around on the bathroom floor.

I went to the company's website and learned that the company not only uses the finest quality materials, but their products are backed up with a 20 year guarantee.  Their products are safe for all floor types and they also custom cut their rug pads to fit any rug dimension.

I needed a low profile rug mat with great traction for my bathroom, so I chose the Anchor Grip Rug Pad.  The photo below is from their website for you to have a better look at it up close.


I gave them the measurements of my rug and they were more than generous and cut a little extra in the event that I measured wrong.  Scott trimmed off the excess for me with a pair of scissors and the job was done.


Stepping out of the shower now feels so good! There is a noticeable amount of cushion under the rug for more comfort, but more importantly, no slippin' and slidin'!


So if you are in need of  rug pad like me, don't put it off any longer.  Go to RugPad USA and order one today.  They are currently having a 3 day sale with 20% off everything and free shipping.

2/14/17

A sweet treat for Valentine's Day: Caramel Butter Bars



When we think of Valentine's Day, we typically think of romantic couple dates, proposals, flowers, chocolate, and wine.  But Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just about that one special someone in your life.  It can be a day to show some love to friends, family members, and other special people in your life as well.

If you have kids at home, why not do a little something special for them?  And what about your parents, an elderly couple you know, your kids' teachers, or even a widow who doesn't have anyone to do those special things for them?  I say we take this holiday a step further and spread the love all around!

Giving Valentine's Day gifts to my closest loved ones is nothing new for me.  Sometimes we may also go out to eat, but other times I may decide to make a special meal for them at home....especially when the holiday falls during the week.

Tonight I'm cooking a nice meal to share with the Mister, my son who's home right now, and my mom.  My dad passed away nine years ago, so I always try to do something special for her to ease the pain on this holiday.  I won't bore you with the details of the meal, which will consist of crock pot chicken, sauteed squash, organic brown rice, and roasted cauliflower.  But I did want to share a recipe with you for the dessert I'm making.

Back around Christmas, the Mister saw this recipe on Facebook for Caramel Butter Bars.  I never got around to making it, so I decided Valentine's Day would be a good time to try it.  I'm pretty sure he's going to love it!

Here's the recipe if you're interested in making it for yourself or someone you love:

Caramel Butter Bars



Ingredients

1 lb salted butter room temp
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs vanilla 
4 cups AP flour

For the Filling

1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels unwrapped)
1/3 cup milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt



Instructions

To make the crust:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

3. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.  Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.

4. Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. (I had to bake about 30 minutes).  Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes. 

5. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

6. Once the caramel is melted, add in your 1/2 tsp vanilla and stir until combined. 

7. Pour the caramel filling over the crust.  If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now.

8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. (I'm not the best in the world with fractions. Don't know if I didn't use enough dough for the bottom crust or what, but it didn't need quite all the rest of the dough crumbled on top....so I had a little left.  That's ok....some for me to eat lol). 

9. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  (Again, I had to bake a little longer to get the top done).

10. Let cool before cutting into the squares.

Note: store in airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes 24 bars

I hope this day is filled with sweet surprises for you as well.  Be sure to let those you love know how much they mean to you.  Do something special for them....even if it just means spending a little quality time with them today.  Sometimes that means more than any gift you could give.


1/30/17

How to make comfy, cozy pillow covers for winter



If you're like me, you like to swap out your throws and couch pillows for the different seasons.  Because decorative pillows can be so expensive, I decided to get my mom to help me with a fun little project I found on Pinterest.  Julie has a complete tutorial on how to make cozy, comfy winter pillow covers.  Think cable knit sweaters!  It's super simple, low cost, and takes no time at all, so I thought I'd share it with you.


These are the two pillows I wanted to cover.  They actually already have covers over them that I purchased at Hobby Lobby.  I love the chevron, but wanted something softer for winter.


I found three sweaters at Goodwill for $5.00 each.  I wanted something soft and neutral and found three that I loved.  Each pattern was a little different which gives me some variety.  I only needed two, but I also purchased the gray one for an extra pillow I'll do later.  I recommend you purchase men's sizes to make sure they are large enough to cover the pillow.....unless, of course it's for a very small one you'll be working on.


I picked out wood buttons from Hobby Lobby to accessorize.  


My mom is an awesome seamstress, so this project took her no time at all to complete for me.  So thankful for my mom and all she does!


After she sewed the buttons on for a more finished edge, she based the edge of the sweater to secure it to the pillow.
And there you have it!  Comfy, cozy pillows for winter!


1/24/17

Easy Organizing for the New Year

                

There is nothing I love more than an organized home.  I believe everything should have a place and everything should be in its place.  Having said that, I'm not so anal about it that I freak out when the Mister leaves things lying around for a few days.  Truth be told, I do the same when I'm tired or in a hurry.  But I can only take a mess or disorganization for so long before I do freak out.....and trust me, that's not a pretty picture!

I love being able to easily find what I'm looking for.  And the thing that makes organization even better is that there are lots of ways to add beauty to a functional, well organized space.  And you don't have to break the bank to do it.

At the beginning of a new year, I always feel the need to reevaluate spaces in my home to simplify the organizational process.  I go through closets and cabinets and get rid of unwanted items by donating to local thrift stores.  Then I look for ways to make my spaces more attractive as well as more organized.

I'm not through with the process yet, but I wanted to show you a few small ways you can bring order and functionality to your home as well:

I've shared my new coffee bar with you already.  If you're on Instagram, you've seen pictures of it and Insta stories as well.  I cannot tell you how much I am loving it!


There is plenty of space for my Keurig as well as my KitchenAid coffee maker and all the things you need for a good cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or hot tea.  The space is pretty to look at as well, and that makes me want a cup of coffee even more :)


I still need to style the space below where the little stool is sitting. I've got some ideas, including making it an area for Lucy's food bowls to sit out of the way. The bottom cabinet is where we are keeping our K-cups, bottled water for the Keurig, as well as tea bags and a coffee bean grinder.  

What you haven't seen yet is my new space for those important phone numbers and dates that I used to hang on the side of the refrigerator when the space was actually used as a desk.  Scott purchased a small piece of sheet metal from Home Depot and cut it to fit the panel.  He easily attached it with command strips and it's the perfect spot for my magnetic calendar and important phone numbers for anyone to access if needed. Because it's hid inside the cabinet now, it's not an eye sore to distract from the coffee bar.



Last year, I set out to make my pantry a little more organized and functional as well.  I decided to purchase white bins of different sizes to match the white wire shelving.  I use the bins to store snacks, bread, chips, plastic bags, and so much more.  Because it's hard to set organizers such as risers on wire shelves, the Mister used some thin wood he had in the garage and cut boards for the risers to stand on.  I purchased some pretty shelf paper that would compliment the space and we covered the boards with it.


We decided the easiest way to cover the board was to do one side at a time.


We cut the paper a little larger than the board itself and then cut at an angle on the corners.


Then we folded one side down securely to the board.


Repeating the process for all four sides.


And then trimmed off the excess on the ends for a smooth finish.


We repeated the process for the other side as well.


Originally we thought about extending the board to the end of the wire shelf so it would be the exact width, but we didn't have enough board on hand.  And I didn't want to purchase any just for this little project.


But as you see, it serves the purpose.  The risers have something to stand on now and items underneath have a smoother surface to sit on as well.


Maybe I should have bought groceries and stocked my pantry full before taking photos....it's looking kind of bare this week since it's time for a trip to Kroger.  But I think you can tell how easy it is to organize a pantry with shelving, risers, and baskets.  It's not the most decorative pantry in the world, but it's realistic and it works well for me and my family.  


So how about you?  Do you have any simple, cost effective projects you've done recently to organize your home? If so, I'd love to hear about them.  I'm always looking for ways to improve my home's function and organization.