Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Joy of Christmas 2017!

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I'll let this story of Christmas 2017 mostly tell itself. Pictures say it all, don't they? 

There was baking. A lot of baking.

Even a special birthday thrown in!

There was gift buying and wrapping.

Fireside anticipation on Christmas morning.

And then the big surprise: concert tickets!

The joy of giving on her daddy's face. ❤️

All three beautiful girls under one roof, the only gift I need, mind you. 

Decorating lover though I am, I did not buy their pajamas to match the sofa. 

There was the dining room table set for breakfast and reset for dinner. 

A creative shot taken by middle daughter. 

The mess. OH, the mess of it all!

And this little sweetie who managed to fool us into two breakfasts.

I hope your day was as merry and bright as ours. 

In the coming year, I plan to blog more, fret less, continue to be 
grateful, and read lots and lots of books!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yellow Roses

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I know. I know. It's Christmas and everyone is decorating. Not me. I'm hoping to get started this weekend! In the meantime, I have a beautiful vase of fresh roses. Yellow, no less, and my favorite color. Nothing like fresh flowers to brighten your spirits and your living room.

I have always loved fresh flowers, even when I was a little girl.

There was a rose bush that bloomed beneath my bedroom window, 
and I would go out with a pair of scissors and cut some blooms for my room. 

In the cold months, Wegmans is my go-to flower source.


Carnations aren't really a glamorous choice, 
but they smell so good and last

Soon it will be all green and red, 
a fresh (I hope!) tree
and greens from our yard here and there.

Until this weekend, however, this is my view. 
Not too shabby!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Updating the Mudroom

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I said I would show y'all the fabric choices coming soon to my mudroom, but life got in the way—lacrosse tournaments and horse shows and work, work, work. Slowly but surely, I am adding some new fabrics to our home. Several months ago, I scheduled an appointment with a decorator from Calico Corners for a consultation. This is a free service, I might add!

The living room was the first room I tackled, and I am tickled with the changes. So tickled, in fact, that I'm not even looking forward to decorating for Christmas because I don't want to move things around! Now that is saying something. 

The mudroom lives up to its name for sure.

But, it's also a pretty little room with nice light, too.

This is an antique bench my husband and I bought many years ago.
The cushion has been through a great deal; however,
I won't gross you out with the details.

I'm happy to show you the new fabric choices. 
Yes, these will all be on this bench.
Some way.

No florals.
Yep, that's right.
No florals.
My go-to has always been flowers, 
but I have to say I'm excited to have something
different, colorful, bold, and
with a modern twist.

Fingers crossed we all like it! 😳

Linking up with Savvy Southern Style!
Refresh with Fabric

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017!

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The week was totally hectic, but everything went off without a hitch. 
I was only cooking for four people, but we may as well have had 20 over for dinner. 
We certainly have the leftovers for 20! 

Here are a few snapshots of our evening. 
Every day I feel so blessed to be with these people! 
We miss oldest daughter terribly, of course, 
but she is off in California making her own traditions. 

I prefer a simple table setting. 
The internet is filled with amazing images
of intricate settings, but I always picture a Saturday Night Live skit, 
whenever I see these set-ups.

You know, with people knocking over enormous candlesticks and 
setting the tablecloth on fire, 
or trying to see past giant flower arrangements 
to get to the sweet potatoes. 

I snapped a few photos from the outside, too. 

Hope you are having a wonderful long weekend! 

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

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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