Monday, November 6, 2017

Living Things

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Saturday night we went to our dear friends' house for dinner. So good! Artichokes and butternut squash and lamb with mint jelly. Yours truly brought dessert—cupcakes. The best part, though, was the conversation in front of a roaring fire. Can't beat that this time of year!

I've been doing a refresh on some of the rooms around here, and I am starting round two, the mud room. Later this week, I'll share some of the fabrics. So excited! Someone from Calico Corners is coming out on Tuesday to measure our teak bench so that he can make the template. The bench has had the same cushion for years. It's been barfed on, peed on, and licked (by the dog, not the kids). At any rate, it's way past time for a new one!

Today I thought I'd share some of the living things that keep our house feeling like a home. 

Love my little frog pitcher. 

Fresh flowers are a weekly thing around here. 
I try to buy ones I know will last a while.

If this little living thing were sitting any closer to me as I write this, she'd be under my skin.

Such a good cuddler!

It doesn't get any better than having these three people at home.
Counting down the days until oldest daughter is here for Christmas!

Linking up with Savvy Southern Style
Wow Us Wednesdays!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Little Things

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This has been one of those weeks when I have done nothing but work. I mean, it has been non-stop, and I don't get paid enough. Seriously.

But just when you think the week will never end, it's Thursday night, and you're home. The dog is beside you. A movie plays on TV. If you want to know the real truth, a stupid gnat is also flying around me, and I might become violent. With the gnat, I mean. I'm also having a glass of red wine. This is after I've already consumed the last dregs of chicken noodle soup and a bag of popcorn. Dinner.

What I love about being in my fifties, however, is this is as far as I get with the whining. Mostly, anyway. I mean, hello? I have a job. I have a home. I have a glass of wine that said gnat wants to taste (or die in). I have a fat dog beside me and a senior in high school who is watching what is deemed, by most teenager-ish standards anyway, a little kid movie. Yet, she sits beside me. She watches. She laughs. Out loud.  

Life is good. Life is sacred. Life is precious, even when you work too hard and eat weird junk for dinner and your feet hurt, because mine do after this hideously long day. What is the purpose of this blog post?

I. Have. No. Clue.

Could it be that I woke up at 3:15 and never went back to sleep? Could it be that tomorrow is Friday and payday, and I'm a tad giddy? Who knows? But sometimes it's important that I look around and appreciate the seemingly meaningless details because that's where the true meaning is, after all. The dog snoozing. The senior in high school watching little kid movies. The unloaded dishwasher. The taste of wine after a much-too-long day. A full moon. Leaving work after a hectic week and feeling that you did your best. All this and knowing that tomorrow when you wake up, the paycheck will have been deposited in your bank account.

When my mother was dying of cancer, she lamented Diet Coke and her morning sausage and biscuit ritual. Before her illness, she got to work long before her co-workers. She savored those early morning hours because she was a morning person. Turns out I am, too. She worked and ate her breakfast. I'm guessing this was while listening to her favorite country music station. In fact, I can picture her doing this now—makeup on, hair fixed (and thoroughly sprayed), outfit coordinated,  bracelets jangling.

When Mama was undergoing chemo, she lost her sense of taste. She lost so many things it's hard to keep track. What I recall her missing most, however, were those early mornings, all to herself. The ice cold Diet Coke. The tangy sausage and tender biscuit.

As I write this, I can almost hear her wisdom.  There is sweetness all around. Take it in. Soak it up. Enjoy it all.

If you have bothered to read this, that's what I wish for you, a weekend, a whole lifetime, of little things.

I am off to kill a gnat. ❤️

Monday, October 30, 2017

Don't Sweat Your Gallery Wall

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Don't sweat the gallery wall. 
Gather your things, play a little, and take a risk. 
What's the worst that can happen?
You hate it and start over. 

Okay, so if you've just painted, that risk is slightly more stressful. 
But still...
the results are worth it. 

And this is not brain surgery. 

I did this gallery wall several years ago, 
and I'm not tired of it yet.
There are a few changes on the horizon
for this room, 
but they are minimal.

The only plan for this wall is to
maybe add to it, 
or not. 

Who knows?

Honestly, I had things I liked, so I placed them on the floor
and tinkered for a bit. 

When I felt brave enough, 
I started putting holes in the walls, 
freshly painted by yours truly by the way. 

So much of decorating is play, 
which is the very best part.

You don't need a big budget
or a designer to have a pretty room. 

You can make it pretty with your favorite things.
You make it pretty just by living there. 


Linking up with Savvy Southern Style
Wow Us Wednesdays!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Easiest Beef Stew Ever!

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This is the height of a lazy post, 
but I've been in Minnesota all week for a conference.

What a gorgeous town!
Lots of beautiful architecture
and wonderful food.

This is the perfect recipe
for when you crave comfort
food but lack the energy to make it.

You toss things into a pot. That's it, I promise!

Yes, I am that lazy.

This is from an old cookbook
my mom had many years ago. 

I use this very recipe all the time, but 
with a few changes
to suit our tastebuds. 

1 pound stew beef, 
5-6 carrots, sliced thick 
3 potatoes, skin on  
1 onion
1 sweet potato, skin on
2 cans of sweet peas, 
2 cans hearty tomato soup
extra water, but only by a little

Just as the recipe says, 
I put everything in my Dutch oven.
275 degrees and set the timer for five hours.

The house smells like stew heaven!

I know lots of folks like to use the Crock Pot, 
but I don't like the way beef tastes when it comes out. 
It's usually stringy. 
With this, the beef is moist and tender, 
not stringy. 

I serve it with a bright green salad 
and corn bread muffins. 

We REALLY luck out when youngest daughter makes brownies. 

Have a relaxing, tasty weekend!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Family Room Blues

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Not that kind of blues. 
These moody blues are happy ones. 

When we first moved into this house, 
I knew I wanted a thread color, 
one that would stitch everything together.
For us, that color was blue.

I painted our family room/kitchen
Benjamin Moore's navy. 

We wallpapered the entry and upstairs hallway
in a blue floral print. 

When we updated to a much nicer sofa last year, 
I added blue pillows. 

There are touches of red and green and yellow, too.

When researching to see if such a dark color would work, 
I found lots of designer advice on the topic. 
Lots of light? No fear of going bright. 
I've never regretted it. 

Our sofa is a year old at this point. 
I was wild about it when it first arrived, 
and I still am, actually. 

Of course, I fret over stains—
wet dog paws, wine spills, spaghetti sauce.
Mostly, we have dinner at the table, 
but there are pizza nights here and there, 
or times when my husband gets home 
late from work and eats here while watching the news. 
On. A. White. Sofa.

I keep a spray bottle with concoction of 
Meyers dish soap and water handy
just in case. 

And, I have a dog blanket from Ballard's
I throw over it, too. 
Of course, then the dog sits on the side without the cover.

Still loving our blues all these years later!

I hope you had a great weekend. 
I'll be posting later this week with the easiest
beef stew recipe ever. 
Tasty, too!

If you want to purchase ingredients ahead of time, 
I've listed them below.

Stew beef 1-3 pounds
Hearty tomato soup (2 cans)
Five carrots
Three potatoes
One sweet potato
One onion
Two cans sweet peas
Linking up with Kim at Wow Us Wednesdays!
Savvy Southern Style

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