Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Woke up Like This

Well, ok, and had a shower, did my hair and put on some make-up for once. What I mean is, I woke up 57 today.  I went to bed 56 and woke up 57 and, although I hate having my picture taken, there comes a time when you realize this is as good as it gets and, (curse you Sir Isaac) gravity isn't going to reverse, and even though you feel 17 inside, (most days) you better get that picture before another 10, or 20 years passes because you will look back and wish you had a decent picture from when you were "younger". Have I perfected the run on sentence? Yes, I think I have.

 A couple weeks ago Earl actually said, "you know, we're pushing 60", which got him the stink eye and the comment that I am not actually pushing anything, thankyouverymuch. Sixty can take care of itself.

Am I the only one who has a love/hate relationship with Birthdays? On the one hand, cake, presents, special fun. On the other hand, wrinkles, creaky joints and wondering if it's time to touch up your roots.  All kidding aside, I am grateful for another year. I find that as the years pass there are some benefits to getting older. For one, the aging is mostly on the outside. I still really do feel young but with the added bonus of 57 years of wisdom and experience.  I am kinder to myself, I care less about outside opinions and more about who I am inside. I am determined to grow older gracefully and keep learning. I know that, even with 57 years of "wisdom and experience", I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I also have a lot to give.  So Happy Birthday to me.  It's going to be a wonderful day! My youngest daughter is coming to spend the day with me, Earl is taking me to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants tonight, and this weekend my oldest is flying in for a day and we have a big family cookout planned. I think the older we get the more days we should get to celebrate right?

Got any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Summer Entertaining

Well there you go, it's been a couple weeks since I updated and my daughter finally messaged me wanting to know what is going on. Nothing really. Pure laziness and work. Those seem to contradict each other but when you're busy sometimes you lose your mojo for creative pursuits.  It has been a busy time, nothing fun or exciting either, just funerals (Three!) and (extended family) surgeries and the day to day of life.  Sometimes you just need some time to catch up.

One thing I have been doing, is thinking about the upcoming season of entertaining.  We love to entertain in the spring and summer.  The yard and garden are so much bigger than the house and a cookout is fun for everyone.  As much as we love to have people over, we almost have to push ourselves to make the commitment.  Are you like that?  I'm going to tell you a secret, Earl and I are both dyed in the wool introverts. We love people, we love cooking for people a lot! But after a lot of interaction we need time to ourselves to refuel. It's a conundrum for sure, but we really do feel strongly about community, and friendship, and loving people so we try to schedule something on a regular basis that brings friends and people we would like to know better, together.
I wanted to share one of our new favorite recipes. I found it on Pinterest, of course, and it is not only quick and easy, it is easy to throw an extra chicken breast or can of beans in and stretch it for a crowd.  This is a Mediterranean chicken dish that has chicken, cannellini beans, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella melted on top. It is fabulous!  Oven to table it takes no more than 1/2 hour and if you wanted to stretch it even more you could put it over pasta. Serve with a salad and you're done.
Here is the link: Mediterranean Chicken.  What is your favorite way to entertain? Indoors or out?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy May

My favorite month of the year.  I'm all about the green, and the flowers, the sunny 70 degree temps, and the farmers market opening, planting the garden, and yes, sometimes planting the garden again when that last frost sneaks in and kills the first attempt. This is the big family birthday month, and the month where I start taking my coffee outside in the morning sunshine.

I plan to drink in every moment of sunshine, and blooming trees. We mow the lawn for the first time this weekend, I can't wait for the scent of new cut lawn.  What's your favorite thing about May?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Budget Wedding and Bridal Shower Centerpieces

It's wedding and shower season again and I helped with a bridal shower for a dear friend's daughter just this Sunday.  I was in charge of the table centerpieces and I wanted to do something fun and pretty that wouldn't break the bank.  I thought I would share some of my budget ideas just in case they help someone out there who is trying to throw a shower on a budget too.
I don't know about you, but I prefer to put my money into the gift. I had 10 tables to decorate and even at a bargain basement budget of $5 per table that adds up quickly.  The bride to be is creative and fun and I wanted something that suited her personality and added some color to the tables.
 These pinwheel centerpieces got lots of compliments and they cost me a whopping 50 cents each.  The secret is to use what you have on hand.  Now, I did not have 10 matching hobnail milk glass vases in my collection, but the church did! Lucky me. But look around, do you collect vintage tins? Bud vases (very affordable and plentiful at most thrift stores and you can spray paint them!), whatever you can borrow or have on hand can be adapted.  The silk flowers and greenery were left over from Victoria's wedding last year, and the pretty paper and pearly centers cost me $5 total at the craft store.

 Pinwheels are super easy to make, I just hot glued mine, they don't have to turn to be decorative.  Look on Pinterest for instructions. Mine were cut from 4" squares of paper and they turned out to be a good size for what I wanted to do.

The ribbon and vintage earrings were in my craft stash already so the only real cost was the paper and centers.  A tip on the sticks for the pinwheels. The craft store wanted 50 cents each for small dowels, I went to the grocery store and picked up a pack of 100 bamboo skewers for $1.99.  I stuck what I needed into some leftover floral foam and spray painted them white so they would look more finished. The rest of the package will be used this barbecue season :)

While I am on the subject of great prices for centerpieces, I just got two Boston Ferns  at Home Depot (not sponsored) for $5.  Checking Pinterest  showed me a couple beautiful ideas for using them as wedding centerpieces.  I love the baby's breath added to these ferns in a rustic box.  These would look lovely with the burlap and lace trend for a rustic wedding wouldn't they?
 Or break them up and use them down the center of the table with candles. Gorgeous! And if you think ahead you can get the ferns now and just let them grow until the wedding.  Five bucks people!
I have seen a $5 deal on plants every month this year.  I don't know if that is something Home Depot is planning to keep going but keeping your eyes open and thinking outside the box could get you some great deals on wedding d├ęcor. Flowers and centerpieces are a huge expense but look how gorgeous this could be! I have even seen large Orchids for the $5 deal this January.  You CAN do the flowers and centerpieces yourself and have a beautiful, unique and budget friendly wedding.
I would love to hear any great tips you may have for budget friendly weddings or showers.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Litle Bit of Decorating

You all know this isn't a decorating blog right? I mean, I try to make my home warm and welcoming and a cozy place for my family, but for the most part I pick up stuff by the side of the road, and places like Salvation Army and garage sales and make it work.  When I was a young wife and mom, all of our furniture was second hand because times were hard and I chose to stay home with my babies instead of working to buy new furniture. That is pretty much how I roll. I seldom do vignettes. So when times got better and we had the budget, Earl and I went shopping for our first new furniture. I saw this red plaid set and it was set up all cottagey and pretty in the showroom, and you KNOW my aversion to neutrals and my weakness for red, and plaid, and cottagey and we bought it. And I really loved it at first. But as time went on I learned the first rule of decorating. Don't box yourself in with the expensive stuff. Sure, you can paint the room, you can change the pillows and even the accessories, but if you have a red plaid couch, well there isn't much you can do with that.
 Thank goodness the red plaid couch was poor enough quality that it did not last because I have such a hard time spending money on things that don't need replacing.  And that furniture needed replacing. So this Saturday we waved goodbye to old red and replaced it with a piece of furniture that came with a mixture of fear and exhilaration. The white sofa.  Well, it's really more of an off white or cream but you get the idea. By the way, this is not a slipcovered sofa. I know. Am I crazy?  Earl actually showered before he sat down that night, that is how nervous we were about getting it dirty.  He sat in a different chair to drink his coffee. I began to wonder if I had made another terrible mistake.  So I took the matching cushions that came with it and poured coffee on one of them. Yes I did. I had to know what would happen! The coffee beaded up and did not soak in. I let it sit for a couple minutes, then I wiped it right off! The fabric on the couch is Sunbrella fabric and it feels like soft cotton but doesn't absorb the spills.  We have our coffee on the sofa now without fear.
Why white? Because I finally realized just how fickle I am when it comes to decorating. I get tired of things quickly and want to change them up. I have a fear of commitment when it comes to decorating.  The white means I can change the pillows and art and anything else, something I was never able to do with that red plaid. The first thing I did was grab a remnant of yellow toile and whip up a slipcover for the footstool and a couple pillows.  I love how sunny they look.  Then, I got online and ordered two black and white, cotton, buffalo check tablecloths.  At $12.50 each they were super affordable and the fabric looks and feels like linen.  The length is almost perfect and I love the  boldness of the checks and the fact that, once again, I can put anything I want with them.  The company had a red and white check too, how long do you think it will be before I go back and get those for a quick change option?
 At the moment the room looks pretty bare. I have whited it out and stripped it down to the bare essentials so I can start over. I am leaning toward a much lighter, brighter look with some farmhouse touches,  I'll share as I work on the room but it is always a work in progress for me. 
I would love to hear, what is your biggest decorating revelation? Surely you have learned a thing or two through experience. Do share for those of us who aren't super decorators!