Monday, September 22, 2014

All Around the Farm this Weekend

We had a busy weekend!

Friday I finally found the time to do a little Fall decorating on the porch and around the house.  I snapped this shot Saturday morning.  

And this one........

Here - I was trying to catch the steam coming off the top of the fence.   I love the front yard at this time of morning.

I'm not much of a holiday decorator when it comes to the inside of my house.

If you've seen the inside of my house, you know that every wall is covered with things that I love on a daily basis, so the only time I would even think about switching anything for a holiday, would be Christmas.

However, I did want to add a little Fall decor to my table, so I just gathered up a few "fall-ish" looking items, got an old fabric scrap, and set up a cute little vignette.   I think it turned out ok.

I have figured out the problem with having yellow walls in a small room......all my pictures in this room look yellow!  Uggg!

Sunday afternoon, while David and Collin were out getting hay from a friend, I sat down with a new cookbook I found at Cracker Barrel that morning after church.

I love Goose Berry Patch cookbooks!

When I saw the word Farmhouse......well, you know I had to have it!

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be planning our meals around the recipes in this book and of course, I will be sharing them with you, here on the blog!

As a little teaser, tonight we are having Paprika Chicken.   Chicken is so boring to me, so I'm looking forward to trying something a little different.   I'll let you know tomorrow how it turned out.

Just as I was finishing up the meal plan and grocery list, the men came back with the hay.

30 bales of hay......

This should hold them for a little while.

Of course, they were looking......

Whether you're a horse or a human, it's always nice for someone to bring you something!

And so.....that's another weekend around the farm.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

See you soon!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting Crafty -Whimsical Curtains!

So, as you know, I have been putting together my creative space (aka office), since Ted moved out and it's coming along nicely.   I have to paint the window trim and put some things on the walls, but little by little, it's coming together.

This week I've been busy making curtains for the two windows.

I tried to use what fabric I had on hand, to save money, so that was my starting point.

I knew I wanted something kind of fun in this room, so instead of making traditional side curtains, I simply made one panel to hang in the middle.

Next, I needed a contrasting look for the top valance, so I headed to the fabric store to see what caught my eye, and came home with this......

It has all the colors I'm trying to incorporate into this room, not to mention - it's just cute!

Trying to decide what kind of valance to make was the hardest part.   It literally took me a few days to decide, before I was ready to start on them.   You know, once you cut the fabric - that's it!  So, I tried to take my time and really think before committing.

Finally, after several rounds on Pinterest, I decided to do a bunting.   I watched a few Youtube videos before getting started, but had a good picture in my mind of what I wanted them to look like.

I actually had to have my husband David help me, to make sure I cut the pieces just right.   They needed to be wide enough to make a nice valance, but not so big that I ran out of material.   Thankfully, he has an engineer's mind, which I was not blessed with, and he made me a template to use, which made this job amazingly easy!

What do you think?

I'm really happy at how cute they are and they add to the whimsical feel I'm going for in this room.

In addition to making curtains this week, I slapped a thin coat of turquoise paint on my chalkboard door.

The color on my phone is not the best so this actually looks blue, but it's a great shade of turquoise in real life!

I'm loving this door!   It really makes me happy, every time I look at it!

Of course, this is my favorite panel.........

That about sums it up......

I hope you're working on your favorite space too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Meet My Friend - Bella Grace

I want you to meet someone.....

Actually, it's not a person,, but if it were, she would be soft, beautiful, adventurous, encouraging, and lovely.

Her name is Bella Grace and I've been anticipating her arrival for months.

Her pages are thick and quality and they possess words and pictures that feed my feminine side.

She offers places to share my own thoughts and dreams and encourages me to be myself.

Such as this Gratitude List......

Bella said - "fill it up, and we mean it" - and so I did.

Things that make me happy and things I am thankful for.

There are more pages like this; pages that make you stop and think and pour out thoughts on paper, so as to set them in your mind and heart.    We all need this sometimes.    Or at least I do.

Sometimes, all you need is refreshing.

A little beauty, softness, a good book and a cup of your favorite drink.

Sit in your favorite spot, take a few minutes and just be a woman.

It will do your heart good.

*Find Bella Grace at Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Women's section of the magazine rack.*

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Fun Way to Beat the Dark

Today I stopped by my friend Sara's blog to see what she was up to and to my surprise, she was writing about something that I can definitely relate to - dreading the dark nights that come with Fall and Winter.

I'm a sunshine girl!   I have to have light and sun and though I'm ok with a good rainy day now and then, I need the ratio to be about 98% sun to 2% gloom.

I've been walking in the kitchen the past few days, wondering when the days will start to shift into that early, dark phase - you know, when it gets dark around 5pm.

I'm not a fan of dark at 5pm!

David can't work out in the yard - because it's dark.
Collin has to feed the horses - in the dark.
Driving home from anywhere after 5pm - in the dark.
Long evenings - in the dark.

Getting dark so early causes a lot of anxiety for some people.  They even have a name for it (like everything else) but I would probably say it wrong, so I won't even attempt it.   But, it's real.

One of my first articles published was titled "The Winter Blues" and it dealt with this very subject and how I created an entire arsenal of ideas to keep me busy during the dark winter months.   Every year I would post a list of projects to focus on during the Winter (See HERE) and would hold on to those projects until January and then spend every week working on them.   It was a great help during those long, winter evenings.

My friend Sara, over at The Rosy Life, came up with a great idea and I wanted to share it with you here today.

Click HERE to read Sara's idea for a fun basket, filled with things to keep you busy during the dark evenings.

Even if you don't dread the dark nights, you might know someone who does.   This would be a great way to cheer them up and let them know you care!

 Have a great (sunshiny) day!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review - Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine

Author Christine Caine has been through enough in her life to warrant this title "Living Life Undaunted."   In her "Readings and Reflections" book, she shares scripture, stories, and little pearls of wisdom, to those looking for a daily guide through life and scripture.

This devotional is full of practical wisdom and incredible encouragement, for all seasons of life, and is broken into months and days,with four major headings:

Broken - Loved - Empowered - Commissioned

The daily readings will inspire you to step out, take risks, trust God and be healed from life's wounds, as you walk with the Lord.    Christine also encourages the reader to reach out to the hurting and wounded that are in the world, who may not even know what they are missing.

I have been using this book daily as a guide for reading through the Bible and I look forward to each new page and the practical wisdom the author shares.

If you're looking for a new devotional tool, this would make a great choice!

*This book was provided to me by BookLook (see side bar for link) in exchange for my honest review.  For free books you can read and review, click on the link to BookLook on my blog.*

The View From My Front Porch

 Our driveway

I think I'm going to make Sundays my official picture taking day!  Don't you agree there is something peaceful about Sundays?

After not feeling great Friday night and Saturday, I finally felt human again on Sunday and decided to venture outside to see if I could capture some pretty shots.   I invited Collin and Banjo along, but didn't grab any shots of them and instead, tried to just capture some of the scenes we saw as we were walking along the road and around the house.

 DAVID's junk jeeps! (Notice I said HIS, not mine :)

As I came across these on my walk, they reminded me of being a kid and seeing a pile of old cars on my grandparent's land.   Out from the old house, into the pasture, there was a pile of old junk cars among the weeds and stickers that wanted to kill you (hey, South Texas, it's a fact!) and cactus.   It was basically a car graveyard created by 7 boys!  My poor grandmother.   Oh, how I don't envy her :)

I've already warned David that this pile needs to get smaller and not bigger!

This is one of those things that we bought to hang, and so far it's still sitting there doing nothing but holding up the paint on this old door.

But, I kind of like it.......

To think.....people actually try and create this chippy paint look these days.  

I had to show a picture of my plants, simply because......they aren't dead!  Yay me!

And, what's a walk around the old farmhouse without a shot of the front porch!

This is the time of year that my porch becomes one of my favorite places ever!   Here's why:

*Coffee with my honey on Saturday mornings
*Decorated for Fall
*Singings on the porch with friends
*Afternoon coffee and a good magazine, on the swing
* there any better place?

And, the last shot of the day......

Lady, waiting patiently by the feed bucket for her evening meal.    The evening sun was casting one last glow on this side of the yard and it fell perfectly across her middle.

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that these two horses would be so much a part of this land and our family?

What a great walk around the farm today! 

I hope you enjoyed it too.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A SPA Themed Gift Basket

One of my favorite types of gifts to give is a GIFT BASKET.   You can't go wrong with a cute container, filled with all types of fun things!

So, when it came time to decide on a gift for my new daughter in law, Alex, I knew I wanted to put together something special.

The first step in creating a great gift basket is deciding on a THEME.   Choose something that you know reflects the person's likes and just start buying things that go within that theme.

This Pomegranate Body Scrub helped me decide on the SPA theme, and from there, I added other elements that would go along with a personal SPA day.

The scrub was easy to make and the recipe came with the jar labels (printable), so I had everything I needed for this cute gift.   I added some miniature craft sticks as applicators and placed them in a brown lunch sack to add to the character of the basket.

Thinking of other things a girl would want to pamper herself with, I added chocolate (of course) and a candle.

Then I included a framed picture of Ted and Alex on their wedding day.   I love this picture of them!

I put in a white, fluffy towel, wash cloth, comfy slippers, a back brush, soap from Beau-tanicals, and one of my favorite magazines - Life:Beautiful.

For the finishing touch, I made this cute tag to go on front.   I tied it to the basket with twine, which leads me to the basket....I love this basket, but then, I'm kind of a basket freak.

I bought it at Hobby Lobby and thought it was perfect to use for the gift, but would also be perfect in the bathroom with rolled up towels or extra supplies.

To finish it off, I cut a piece of fabric I had on hand and made a big bow to stick on top of everything.

I had so much fun putting this together and I hope she enjoys being pampered for a bit.

Happy Birthday Alex!  Hope you enjoy your basket of goodies!  We love you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Songwriter's Night - Year 2

Rebecca Lynn Howard and her husband Eli

Recently, David, Collin and I, had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Just Outside The Spotlight songwriter's night, right here in our town.

Our friend, Robby Lynn, from Sunday's Kind of Country, created this event as a fundraiser for needy kids (see side bar for link to his sight) and it is one of the best musical events around.

Robby Lynn and Jack Fitch (photographer)

So, early Saturday morning, we headed to Houston to pick up Rebecca and Eli from the airport.  David had met them last year, so they were familiar with him and we all just fell into a comfortable friendship over the ride home and over lunch.

Rebecca is a down-home Kentucky girl and has the accent to prove it!   She's an amazing song writer and as a bonus, has a voice to go along with her writing talent.   She and Eli (who is beyond talented too and has an entire music career of his own), have recently joined Steven Tyler (yes, THE Steven Tyler of Aerosmith) in a band and also have another project going in the group Loving Mary (you can find them on Facebook).

Needless to say......they are super BUSY!

Here's Eli playing Collin's mandolin
that Collin let him borrow

The songwriter's night was just beyond great!  Last year was amazing and this year surpassed last year, so you can only imagine how good it was.

Rebecca has written songs for singers such as Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry many times.     Her voice is strong and pretty and you can't help but just love her personality.

Eli was absolutely a great guy and equally talented musician.   He was so appreciative of us and really fell into a great conversation with Collin about music and computers, so they hit it off perfectly.

On Sunday we drove them back to Houston and really enjoyed just talking about real life things.

They are truly great people!

Aaron Barker, Mike McQuerry, Mark Nesler

The rest of the night the stage was occupied with a team of super songwriters who have penned some of the best songs on the radio.

This is the element I love about songwriter's nights!

You are listening to these men, who look like everyday guys, and then they start telling their stories and revealing their songs and you're blown away at the hits that have come from them!    In fact, there are too many to count and remember, so you'll have to do the research yourself, but to just throw out a name for you - George Strait - might get you excited!

If you've never been to a songwriter's night, you should!   If music means something to you, then these stories will too, because they reveal the heart of the song and how it came to be.    Some songs come about through collaboration with other writers and some of the songs come straight from the writer, living life or observing others.    Either way, the stories take the songs to another level.

All in all, it was a huge success (and a sold out show) and hopefully, Robby made some good money for the Giving House Foundation, which he will use to feed hungry kids in our area.

Oh, and it's pretty cool that Collin's mandolin (pictured here) made it's debut on the stage of the, now famous, Just Outside the Spotlight songwriter's night, don't you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tying Heart Strings

Years ago I read a book about raising kids.   Actually, I read many books about raising kids and yet, every day, even with all of that book knowledge, it was challenging.

I got a lot of great advice, even put a lot of it into practice, but through different stages of my kid's lives, I've pulled one piece of advice out of my memory bank and thought about how to use it now and then.

Tying heart strings.

If we aren't careful with our mom/child relationship, we can find ourselves doing nothing but barking orders at our kids.    I mean, between school and work and household duties, outside activities and all other things on our never-ending list, we sometimes find ourselves with just enough time to harshly tell our kids what the next thing is on the agenda.

Our relationship becomes a cycle of them trying to talk to us, while we pretend to listen and nod our heads; throwing out an "uh huh" now and then.   Then, we give them a list of to-do's and send them on their way.   Eventually, the only communication we have is the run down of what they need to do next.

I'm sure not all relationships fall into this pattern, but I would guess that many do.

That's why the book said to tie heart strings with your child on a regular basis.

When we find ourselves doing nothing more than barking orders, shooing them away, dragging them from place to place and then sending them to bed, we aren't tying heart strings.

In fact, kids aren't dumb, and clothing and feeding them isn't all they need.

They need your attention, your touch, your love, your playfulness, your heart.   And, when you're too busy to give those things, they notice.

I cringe when I hear people say that "kids are resilient" because I think it's a poor excuse for being "ok" with putting kids through things they shouldn't have to go through.

Kids take in more than we give them credit for and depending on their personalities and circumstances, it will either affect them now or in their adult life - no doubt.

They may be "resilient" now, but somewhere deep inside, they are storing everything away and will have to deal with it all, later on in life.

Tying heart strings is a way to filter through some of those things now and to keep your relationship going and on a good note with your kids.

How Do You Tie Heart Strings?

Tying heart strings is nothing more than investing genuine time and effort into their world or inviting them into yours.

Whether you take the time to join them in something they enjoy doing for fun or whether you invite them to join you to do something fun, as long as it gives you a chance to just talk and listen and invest in them, you will tie those strings.  You may also heal wounds.

I think the key is to do something together and just let them be a kid.   Don't tell them how to do it better or make it complicated; just do something fun together.

For an older child, tying heart strings might mean actually giving them freedom to talk, without being corrected or told they should or shouldn't feel a certain way.   Listening is a great gift.

For a younger child, it might be as simple as sitting on the floor, playing that game they always ask you to play.

Every child is different and they each have their own language when it comes to what's important and  what makes them feel loved.

Find out what that is and do it with them.

The investment will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This Makes Me Giddy...

When your eyes turn mid-40's - ok....who am I kidding?   LATE 40's - this is what you find on your desk!

Is this really necessary?    Yes, apparently it is!

To all of the people that I made fun of for having so many glasses - I now sincerely apologize.

Let's move on....

I may be "older" than the average student, but let me tell you......

nothing says "happy" like a new bunch of school/office/just because supplies!

All my life - these are the things that make me giddy......

This is what happens when I go to Office Depot for printer ink.....

Apparently, I can't be trusted!

Oh, the simple things in life :)

What simple things make you giddy?