Monday, November 11, 2019

autumn home decor ♥

We are soaking up the last little bits of fall around these parts - even though a major snow storm is expected tonignt. i don't quite feel ready for winter, but who ever really is? :)
i share a lot about my home on instagram, but i thought it might be nice to have it all one place here on my blog - thankyou to everyone who has followed me on here over the years, i appreciate you all ♥ i've also shared about how over the past year or more, i have been simplifying how i decorate and scaling waaaay back on the amount of seasonal stuff i keep and store.

i've designated specific spaces in our home for holiday/seasonal decorations and i try to keep to those same spots to avoid over-buying (we all have those in-store "this is so cute but i don't have a place for it but i will figure it out when i get home and i love it so much so i will buy it" moments) and to keep it simple! I used to love having things & more things to decorate with, but as i get older i'm finding that less is more - and that "less" is so much more appealing... of course i love to decorate our home, of course i love to make our home cozy & comfortable & inviting with beautiful things ♥ but i discovered that the "managing & organizing" all of that stuff was weighing me down and controlling me! i wanted to be rid of the burden of having to always go though & reorganize storage spaces over and overrrrrrr again. 

so by keeping it simple and only applying seasonal changes to a few standard areas in our home, holiday decorating mainly, became a joy as opposed to something that i dreaded or felt like "i had to do" 

here is a short list of the areas on the lower level of our home
 that i decorate & swap/add things seasonally to :

entryway wreath
entryway bench
kitchen table
kitchen wreath
kitchen frame
pantry doors
living room end table
living room faux mantle

i like to add a wreath to the open shelves in our kitchen during the holidays 
(just for fall & Christmas) throughout the rest of the year there is nothing on it.

our kitchen is the most lived in area of our home - our table and island are always occupied and the open cabinets are stocked with things we use on a DAILY basis as opposed to stuff that just looks cute but has no function - the best thing i've discovered/learned throughout this whole process is that when i'm looking for ways to make the spaces in my home work functionally - functional can also look pretty & nice! ...for example, do you need new kitchen towels? look for some that you love and would be pretty to have out on display in a simple wire basket - on a counter or behind your kitchen sink - and all the while freeing up some space in your kitchen drawers :)

the doors to our pantry are white and hold two small wreaths or hangings very nicely.
i find those easy to swap seasonally with minimal storage - i have a few designated shelves in our basement for the wreaths i have - i store them in large white garbage bags that have the cinch pull tie things - i stack them on top of each other with a piece of cardboard in between for the ones i'm worried about getting crush or squished.

when it comes to frames i always buy white - they match and hold anything & everything
and they make whatever is in the frame stand out and pop.
 this frame from hobby lobby is on some corner shelves in our kitchen - there are several pieces of artwork stored in the frame - i swap them out for every holiday or just when it's nice to have a bit of a change.

my husband built this faux mantle for me a few years ago - the collection of white pitchers & laura ingalls wilder home wood sign always stays - the flowers & foliage for every season changes! spring flowers - small American flags for summer - fall sunflowers & white billy balls/wire snowflakes for Christmas. having a consistent neutral base to start with makes seasonal decorating so much easier.

i also like to change this small wreath in our living room 
along with a knick knack or two on the table below it 

this year i found the light up acorns at bed bath & beyond on clearance for only $1
when i saw them i visualized in my decorating head :) right where i wanted them to be.
i didn't have to think about where i would put them even if i didn't have the space 
or decide to just buy them because they were on clearance for a dollar then figure out what to do with them later.
remember just because something is on clearance doesn't mean you need it. 
one dolla is more expensive then no dollas :)

they were the only seasonal decor i purchased for fall this year (apart for some yarn to make the yarn wreath in the picture above) and i'm so glad i did! they fit in with my simple white theme and add a bit of twinkle to our nights in the living room ♥

how has your seasonal decorating changed over the years? are you overwhelmed and dread dragging the Christmas tree out or are you a pro at keeping it simple? i'd love to hear & learn from you all in the comments below & i hope this helps give new perspective on simple everyday ways to manage your home ♥ much love to you

Thursday, October 24, 2019

autumn basket wreath

Fall is in full swing here in upstate NY - the leaves are on fire and the weather is chilly in the evenings
it's one of my favorite times of year here where we live. Life has been so busy and full with field hockey & volleyball games, senior year activities & a new teenage driver with her own car & new job (yes. tell me about it.) but I've been sharing on instagram about how i have been trying to simplify my holiday/seasonal decorating methods by choosing few but meaningful pieces to spread throughout our home while still keeping it cozy ...

I was searching for some simple fall inspiration to replace the lemon wreaths on our pantry doors,
when i stumbled on these $3 tobacco baskets in the target dollar section

with some wool pumpkins i had leftover & wire florals i found on clearance for $2 at Joanns -
i layered all three together with some hot glue

i used command hooks to hang them on our pantry doors
and my fall decorating is now complete :)

If you pick these baskets up to make your own, 
you can fill it with any combination of things for any season or holiday - 
changing it up for Christmas would be so easy.

With life being as busy as it has been, I've been doing lots of reflecting in my down time ... on how this season we're in feels alot like fall too - our girls are getting older and will soon have their own lives apart from us - like everything we've done as parents up to this point is now a culmination of how they will choose to live out life and the paths they choose to take - it's a strange scary feeling - like something is coming to a close and it's almost time to let go. I don't handle lack of control very well that's for  sure...

 As a mother you spend so much time watering, grooming, teaching, protecting, guiding and then just like that their true colors, personalities & individual choices are out on full display -from all the little + big somethings to the end results - like the trees and their leaves outside my window.  

... but as always and as hard as it is to do most days, I am trusting in God to fill in the gaps i left and taking comfort in the absolute knowledge that He's holding on to them much tighter then i ever could. 
what season of life are you in friends? tell me in the comments below
i'd love to hear your stories too. ♥

Monday, July 22, 2019

summer book list ♥

I started this blog back in 2011 and i just can't believe how fast time has flown by ...
some of my first posts are about my little ponies and how my girls loved reading Amelia Bedelia ... now they are both teens and reading is still loved, but finding uplifting, beneficial and mainly just clean non-agenda pushing reading material is a little more challenging these days ♥ but with summer upon us, we're going through books like crazy & I've been scouring the interwebs for book lists and thought that it might be helpful to put our favorites up here on my blog - in hopes that maybe it's helpful to some of you & your kiddos as well.

Christy Miller series - Robin Jones Gunn

These are at the top of our list because they are our so loved in our house - the Christy Miller books you see here in this picture, are the books that were mine when i was a teenager oh... alot of years ago :) i remember reading about Todd & Christy then thinking & dreaming about what my future boyfriend/husband would be like - i cherished those books! my older daughter (who's almost 17) read them a few years ago and fell in love with them and we were able to talk together about a few topics that came up in the book (faith + relationships and what it looks like for those to work in tandem) my youngest (13) just finished reading them this past month and we became a club of three T&C die hards. 

(on a sidenote, these books are romance/relationship based - 
but all within appropriate context - in my opinion - and from a faith based perspective)
after this series, the author (Robin Jones Gunn, who has so many other books i love - she writes for grown-up's too!) added to the story with more Christy & Todd college, marriage & baby adventures that i'm linking here ♥ 

Sierra Jensen Series - Robin Jones Gunn

This is a follow up series from the Christy Miller books, she's a friend of Christy's who has her own set of adventures and also from the same author so i highly recommend!

i linked these books on my amazon favorites page here - they are a little harder to get, but still available! also check your local library, ours had some available.

The Jennie McGrady Mysteries - Patricia Rushford

my youngest is LOVING these books right now - Jennie is sort of a Christian version of Nancy Drew :) 
i read books 1-6 when i was her age, and recently discovered that there were many more books in the series that we never knew about - i had to chase these down on different thrift book sites - but a quick google search will help you find them all. (i paid a little under $40 for books 6-15 but all were available)

The Cooper Kids - Frank Peretti

by acclaimed author Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness - have you read it??)
this series is suspenseful & exciting for girls & boys both! i would say maybe for a kids on the younger side (age 8-12) but still fun for everyone - or if you read books together as a family.

Mandie Books - Lois Gladys Leppard

Mandie books are classics! mysteries to be solved & friendships to be navigated all in separate little stories - and there are so many Mandie books, if your kids love these they'll be busy for a while :) Mandie reminds me of another Nancy Drew type of character.

Grandma's Attic Series - Arleta Richardson

i love this series for younger readers (8-12 maybe?) but even reading these out loud with your kids is so fun! the BFF's in these stories are always getting into trouble then scrambling to make it right - think Anne of Green Gables and her bosom buddy Diana :)

Golden Filly Series - Lauraine Snelling

do you have a girl who loves horses? this is a darling series ♥ 
all about a girl, her horse & racing - i love these books!
these books are on the older side and no longer in print, but a quick google search will help you track them down & i believe there's a total of 10 books in the series.

The O'Malley Collection: Danger in the Shadows / The Negotiator / The Guardian / The Truth Seeker / The Protector / The Healer / The Rescuer

 The O'Malley series - Dee Henderson

my oldest is going into her senior year in high school and has just started reading this series - 
it was recommended to me by a friend, so we'll report back once we get farther, but so far it's off to a great start!

Brio Magazine

Brio Magazine - Focus on the Family

Brio magazine comes from one of my favorite faith based resources - Focus on the Family

when i am struggling as a parent to find good advice or resources on certain topics, i head right to their website/podcasts every time. i subscribed to Brio for my older daughter, but my youngest loves it just as much. (ps if your child isn't naturally drawn to reading, put reading materials of 'certain interest' to them in a cute basket somewhere in your bathroom - they'll be sure to pick it up when they're in there ;)

Devos & other books
here's a few books that we love for personal devo time, self help or just as single reads:

a little off subject, but if you're looking for books that touch/teach on the subject of sex & purity - i've personally read to & with my girls from all of these books. i know sometimes it's a tough/awkward subject to approach with your kids but it's a must! if you don't teach your them about sex and everything that comes with - you can be sure they'll hear it somewhere else and long before they probably should :( 
i was determined as a young mother to always teach my girls about marriage & sex in the context of God's beautiful design (always with age appropriate info & materials of course) since my experience growing up was a different one  ... it's so important! i can't say that enough. 

1. God's design for sex series - Stan & Brenna Jones

2. The princess and the kiss (has a work-through book too) - Jennie Bishop
3. The way home princess story - Max Lucado
4. The garden wall (i love this one!) - Jennie Bishop

now, what are YOUR family's favorites? let me know in the comments below!
i'll try to add more books to the list as time goes on and as we find/read more but for now this is a start - and i hope it's helpful to you!
much love ♥


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

our favorite chocolate chip cookies

it's national chocolate chip cookie day &
i couldn't let this day pass without sharing our favorite chocolate chip recipe!!
I've tried so many recipes over the years and have had many favorites along the way ...
but this tried & true recipe (that I've adapted & tweaked just a tiny bit) from a bountiful kitchen has stuck with us for a few years now and is on speed dial in my recipe book :)

my husband and I met in college, we actually started talking because one day in class i was telling my girlfriend about a care package i had received from home that contained cookies (up until that day he was only known to me as the cute guy who sat in front of me in Bible class) his head spun right around when he heard 'chocolate chip cookies' ... the rest is history ♥

we're celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer and the guy still loves his chocolate chip cookies ... even at Christmas time that's his primary request.
 we sound something like this:

me: babe gonna make Christmas cookies this week

babe: oh ok, chocolate chip right? and oatmeal butterscotch?

me: no. babe those are regular during the year cookies
i'm making Christmas cookies now...

babe: oh ok. whatever. 
sooooo can you make chocolate chip for me. for Christmas. 
you know cause that's what me and all the guys in the office like. 
oh and we like sugar cookies too. with no sprinkles. please.

me: no sprinkles = blasphemy
but ok babe. sure.


a few things i always do when i make these and pretty much any other cookie recipe ...

1. i ALWAYS use parchment paper - it makes for a more evenly baked cookie 
and prevents sticking, it's magic.

2. i ALWAYS use a cookie scoop - i mean i don't even know what people did before the cookie scoop. 
it makes for less mess, uniform cookies & is pretty much an overall game changer.

3. for this recipe i use bread flour instead of regular flour - this substitution really happened by accident one night when i ran out of flour and only had bread flour on hand, i used it since i was in a pinch and it turned out to be the best accident ever! since the bread flour has a higher, more dense gluten composition, it makes for the PERFECT cookie - soft & chewy in the middle, slightly crispy on the outer edges ... YUM.

4. i ALWAYS use milk chocolate chips - it's really whatever your chocolate preference is, but if you like semi-sweet or dark ... i'm not sure what your problem is.

if you make these cookies, pop into the comments below & let me know!
i'm pretty sure you're going to have this recipe saved to your favorites too.
oh! and if peanut butter is your jam - this is my go-to peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe!
these are MY personal favorite ♥

the recipe page i created from Si's recipe with my minimal changes can be downloaded  below
again, to read her original recipe you can find it here.  print this page for your recipe binders & books and pop it into a clear plastic sleeve - enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2019

mailcarrier appreciation day - free printable

February 4th is national thank your mailcarrier day!
i couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging it
since so much of what i do - being a small online shop owner - depends on the mail!

that last one is circa 2014!
when i first launched the stitching the states kits - crazy stuff.

cut to size and attach to candy, cookies, or even a gift card for a cup of coffee,
then leave it in your mailbox with the little flag up.
one simple little kindness can completely change someone's day - in this case your mailcarrier's!

happy national thank your mailcarrier day friends! xo
(cute artwork for printable is provided by DigitalArtsi on etsy ♥)
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