Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Deck the Halls...

...and walls, and trees, and tables, and everything else in the house! That's what we've been up to lately, and we love it so much!

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving. We stuffed ourselves all day- it was wonderful!

Second, YAY for my first Christmas project post of the year!! I am EXCITED (to say the least) about Christmas time!! It is, hands down, my most favorite time of the year. The decorations, the trees, the lights, the food, the presents (yes, I'll be shallow honest), the family time, the movies, and the MUSIC!
Love the music! I can't get enough of it!

I am also making sure that this Christmas in particular is a fun, happy one. I will miss my dad so much during this time of year, more than ever, but it will still be such a blessed, joyful Christmas. It will be.

Zach & I followed our Christmas tradition & put up most of our decorations on the day after Thanksgiving, better known to me as Black Friday. Mom & I & her friend Debbie shopped 'til we dropped that (early, early) morning. We got up at 12:30, met at 1:00, and were 45 minutes from home at the mall by 2:00. Wow! Love it! Belk had a great sale on boots, and I fought through the crowd to score a pair for me & Mom. I was so excited!!

My sweetie went to pick up our real Christmas tree that morning & had it up quickly. I slept most of that day, so not much was accomplished on my end. He dragged out my bins from the basement the next day, though, and we got to work! I had more pretty things to work with this year, since we kept so much from Dad's arrangements. I'm so glad I get to re-use this stuff.

And, what Christmas wouldn't be complete without Christmas Tree Cakes for my sweetie...

After Thanksgiving Day & Black Friday, we spent Saturday recovering. Ha! We had a nice Thanksgiving lunch at my grandmother's new home, the assisted living facility, and it was so nice to meet some of her new friends. She is adjusting well, and we cannot be more thankful for that!

We then thoroughly enjoyed the Iron Bowl! ROLL TIDE ROLL!!! (That was for Dad.) :) It is unbelievable to me that we may be well on our way to another National Championship, and may have another Heisman winner for the University of Alabama- all within one year of our last achievements.
Nothing would make me more proud!

We've decorated outside too, with nothing spared- not even the mailbox. I made my own bows this year, so I was proud of that! I got the wide mesh ribbon that I have always wanted to use, and went crazy making bows. It goes an incredibly long way too. Bows are so much easier to make with this stuff than I ever thought they would be! I love to drive up to the house at night & see the lights, bows & garland. Hope you're all gearing up for Christmas and enjoying it as much as we are!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Furniture, New To Me

I'm so excited about this that I wanted to post a pic first!

Sorry it's been so long, but I have a very good excuse. We have been moving my grandmother into an assisted living facility this week. Yes, the entire process has taken about a whole week- and we're still not completely finished. We did a little bit of everything each night last week. Shopping, washing/packing clothes & linens, cleaning, and then the whole moving-the-furniture thing.
But, it has ended up being a very positive event-
for all of us.

Which brings me to my post topic... I am so excited about this new piece of furniture that has found its way into our home. This is a buffet that actually goes with the dining room table & china cabinet that I already have. This was my grandmother's (Dad's mom), and I am so honored & thrilled to have it in my home now. When I first moved into the house right after Zach & I married, we were working our way towards buying all the pieces of furniture you "have" to have. We did have a few pieces that were given to us by family, and we also proudly bought several pieces on our own.

But, there was still a wide expanse of space right smack dab in the middle of our open-plan living room/dining room area. We needed a dining room table. We have a small table in our kitchen that we used, but it's just not the same. (Man, I sound really spoiled here, but I know you know what I mean.)

So, my grandmother just mentions one day that we could have any piece of furniture of hers. She had thought maybe we would want a bedroom set, but we were so blessed to have already had the two sets we needed. So, I asked about the dining room table. She was so sweet about it. At her house, we only used it once a year- Christmas- and that was it.

Here is a quick picture of the dining room table & the matching china cabinet that also came with it on the move to our house years ago...

I wanted the matching buffet so stinkin' badly at the time we moved the table & china cabinet, but there really wasn't any room for it with the original plan I had. Then came the time (a few weeks ago) when we planned, with my grandmother's approval, to move her to an assisted living facility. Now, we have most of her furniture that will be sitting there, not being used. Nice furniture- lots of antiques. Makes me sad. So, I started thinking. (If I want something bad enough, I have to think up a way to make it work. Right now.)

And, make it work I did. :)

I even put the runner that matches the fabric of our dining room chairs that my sweet Aunt Gail made for us on the buffet. I love how it ties in the buffet with the dining set.

It's only missing one handle, but I'm going to make that work. I'm thinking about removing the two handles on the two small drawers & replacing them with knobs. I'll then use one of those handles to replace the mising one. We'll see how it turns out.

I had to move our little table that I purchased from Kirkland's
(I want to take that entire store home with me, if I haven't mentioned that before), but it has no sentimental value to me- nothing like this antique buffet does. I think we're going to use that table in Mamaw's room anyway, so I love that!

The extra storage the buffet has is also an awesome added bonus. I was able to move my un-used china from a closet to the buffet drawers & cabinets, so now I have extra closet space.

The buffet is at home now, right behind our couch. I love to
pass by it & think of Mamaw, then of Dad.

This is the only picture we have of my full family. This is actually the last picture that Dad had taken. Ah, I love it.

It was very bittersweet to move some of Mamaw's things out of the house. There are so many memories within those walls. It was the house where my dad grew up. But, I hope my grandmother feels a little more at home each day at her new place. This whole week has been an absolute whirlwind, but I'm sure she's had time to think about the transition.

I also have to thank the many sweet people that helped to move her in & out, and move some furniture to Mom's house & the buffet & a chest to my house. This chest was used as a changing table in both my & my brother's nurseries. I hope to refinish it and use it in our nursery one day. It is missing just two knobs, so I'm going to make it more fun & get all new ones for the entire chest at Hob Lob!

We all had a good time working on Saturday. It was a very long, busy day, but we got a lot done. I couldn't believe how many people showed up that morning to help. Every day, there are more & more things to be added to our ever-growing list of blessings that we'll reflect on always, but even more this Thanksgiving week.

Christmas project posts coming soon! I didn't work on anything last week, well, except for carpet shampooing (not fun, but totally worth it) and making room around the house for my new furniture. But, I have started on some Christmas projects already- I am just making myself wait until after Thanksgiving to post about them. And I will NOT put up any decorations around the house until Thanksgiving is over... like the day after, but still.
I always want to enjoy that holiday first!

We will be having my family over to our house for lunch. I wanted to take on a little more this year, just to take some off of Mom & Mamaw Helen. I love hosting & cooking anyway! Then, we'll head to Chattanooga to Zach's mom's for dinner. I can't wait!!

Hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Corkboard Repurpose

Let me start this post by saying we had one great weekend, completely full of blessings, as all of them are. I have seen countless friends posting for the "30 Days of Thankfulness" on FB, but I'm not participating in that. One reason, because I want to be thankful every day- not just for 30 days. Second, I don't want to have to log on to FB every day for 30 days...the main reason being that I want to enjoy the intangible things I'm thankful for instead! Things that money can't buy, like spending time with my husband & family. So, instead, I'm just going to tell you a few things that I am incredibly thankful for right now, and continue to thank God for every day of my life.

Focusing on just the blessings from this past weekend, besides the obvious, of course:

- My Mom & I went to visit a couple of assisted living facilities with my grandmother on Saturday. This situation has been an on-going struggle within my family, especially for my mom, for a while now. My grandmother has recently realized that this is the best option for her right now, and that we are helping her with this with only her best interest in mind. She is now genuinely looking forward to it. Now comes the process of moving furniture, getting clothes ready, etc. But, we are excited about having her in a place where she has friends, round-the-clock care, and somewhere where she will be truly happy & safe.

- Alabama lost, and I'm ok with it. This is not a blessing in itself by any means, but it was good to know that we can lose & deal with it. I had always thought that our first loss after Dad passed away would be really emotional for me, but it was fine. Hopefully, the loss will only make our team stronger...and pumped up for a rematch that will hopefully come later. Roll Tide! :)

- I realize all the friends I have, and they are such a blessing to me. I had mentioned in an earlier post that my friend Sheena is getting married, and she has asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I'm so honored & excited!!

- Christmas is coming soon! I enjoyed rehearsing with our sweet kids at church this Sunday for our upcoming Christmas play. I also got my craftiness on over the weekend & started some fun Christmas projects...I just couldn't wait any longer!! I'll post a sneak-peek for ya' at the end of this post.

So, here's my project post for this week, as I promised, um, two weeks ago. Anyway, here it is now! I have been missing these! I am never more happy than when I'm getting something accomplished, and lately, I haven't felt like I've done much at all. That was until this weekend, when I just got in the mood.
I actually had a couple of hours to myself at home over one weekend, and was able to start & finish this project! It's very unusual these days that I can both begin & complete a project all in one day, no matter what it is, it seems. This one was rather simple, though, and I already had the materials I needed.

We'll start with the Before. This was a corkboard that I had in my bedroom at Mom & Dad's. I can even remember the day I got this. I was giving my bedroom a facelift at the time. I used to love getting to redecorate my room- new comforter set, new things on the walls, etc. We were walking around Sam's Wholesale (gotta' love it), and I found this in the office supply section. I thought it would go well with my chalkboard in my little "classroom" set up I had in my room. My go-to activity was always
pretending to be a teacher.

This thing has been put through the ringer. I thought this was neat though... It had a place where ink had bled through. You can read the name, Anna, my best friend, and it says
 "Sophomore Secretary". Wow, that was a while back.
Hope you're reading this, Anna. :)

I took everything off of it. I knew what I wanted to transform it into- a jewelry organizer! My husband laughs at me-
I have a nice, standing jewelry armoire & the little jewelry tray
I repurposed here...

 ...that I love so much. But, I still seem to keep piling up my jewelry & accessories on our dresser. I always want to have my favorite stuff on display, so that I'll pick it out to wear in the mornings. I obviously have too many favorites, right? :)

Anyway, I knew what I wanted to do with the thumb tacks. I couldn't believe I had so many still attached to this thing
after all these years.

I grabbed up my Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) spray paint, and took them outside. I have only used this paint color one time before this, and it didn't turn out pretty. (I may post on that later on). I really like the color, but it's a little dark to use on some things. I simply stuck them in a piece of paper so they would be
right-side-up, and sprayed away.

While keeping the thumb tacks outside to dry, I got started on the corkboard. Now, I already had an old fitted sheet that I knew I wanted to use to cover the board. You could use any pretty fabric you want. I really would rather have had a fabric with more color and/or a design, but this was on-hand, and not being used, so I went for that. (Long story on why the fitted sheet was not being used, so to sum it all up- it is labeled as "King," but when we were fitting it to our mattress, it was way too small, and it ripped.
So much for that.)

I laid the sheet out, and knew right off the bat that I would need 2 layers to fully hide the ugly corkboard underneath. The poor little thing still had sticker caked on & everything. Ah, sweet memories.

I cut uneven, jagged lines (who would see it?), and then realized I would have to do something I loathe...IRON! Eww! But, it was worth it. It made the process easier too, so I shouldn't complain.

After lining it all up, I grabbed my trusty hot glue gun (I love this thing!), and got to work. It wasn't difficult at all, I just made sure to pull it taut on all sides before gluing down. I neatly folded each corner down, and they turned out beautifully (suprisingly).

I then went outside & got my dry thumb tacks. I got all the jewelry that I knew I would want displayed on this thing, and prearranged it as neatly as I could.

I wanted to add a little more to it, something cute & functional, before I added my jewels. I knew that I would want this a place to put my pins (they are difficult to display in my jewelry armoire), so I thought this up. I had this cute leopard print ribbon that I had used in a project once before. It was not being used, so I cut 4 strips all the same size, matched them up on each corner of the board, and hot glued them down in the back. Ta-da!

After placing all my jewelry & pins on the board, it was done. (Then comes the few days in the middle where Zach had to find the charger for his drill, let it charge, then wait a few more days- he has been incredibly busy this week, praise the Lord- and then we were ready to install the screws. The drill didn't work the second time, so we gave up). I am planning on hanging this up (when we score a new drill) on the back of our closet door, but until then, here it is ready to be hung up...

The back of our closet door was the perfect place for this! We always have it closed, so no one will ever see it. I'm so excited to put this to use, and (hopefully) de-clutter our dresser in the process. Yay for organizing in style!

So, long wait for this post to be completed, but I love it now that it's done.

And now for my sneak peek...

(This is our Disney Christmas tree in our master bedroom, but it's not done yet. I just couldn't wait to post a quick picture. And yes, I realize it's just early November!) :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crock Pot Girls To the Rescue!

They've done it again. I tried yet another recipe posted by the Crock Pot Girls on their FB page, and it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!

I was planning on cooking this over the weekend (use my crockpot on a weekend when I'm home- go figure!), but I used it during the week instead (when I should be using it, anyway). We actually had an entire weekend "off" this past weekend. Alabama had their idle week, and our kid's choir play practice was cancelled because of a Fall Festival. Yay for weekends with nothing not much to do!

We spent most of the day Saturday with Zach's mom & sister & our niece, and we had a wonderful time. We then went to church on Sunday & had a nice, restful afternoon at home. And for those of you that remember, the project I mentioned in an earlier post is still waiting to be hung up. Zach will hopefully try that tonight, so I can post about it soon!

Anyway, I tried this little recipe on Tuesday night, and we loved it! So of course, I wanted to share it with you...

Bacon Ranch Slow-Cooked Chicken...
...(They had me at "Bacon Ranch") :)

- 2 Tbsp real bacon bits (1/2 jar)...(None of the crunchy fake stuff)
- 1 tsp minced garlic (can use garlic powder)
- 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (yum!)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Step 1: Combine first 5 ingredients.
Step 2: Spray crock pot with Pam & put chicken in pot.
(Never seen this before, but it's a really good idea.)
Step 3: Pour ingredients over the chicken.
Step 4: Cook 3-4 hours on High until done.
(I think I've seen before where this is the equivalent of cooking on Low for 8 hours or so...Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

This stuff is wonderful! I am always trying to find new recipes that Zach & I both like (easier said than done), to bring me out of the rut that I sometimes get in with weeknight dinners. Chicken isn't my favorite, so I'm always wanting to find new ways to change it up. This was perfect for that!

I wanted to include just a couple of pics. The first one shows the mixture, and the second is the chicken with the mixture over it in the crockpot.

It was ready when I got home, so I just took a few minutes & cooked some veggies to go with it. We were eating by 5:30, which was really nice! Zach has a new favorite side, my twice-baked potatoes, so I fixed those for him. They are also super easy. All you do is bake the potatoes as usual in the microwave (about 5 minutes, stopping to turn them at the 2:30 mark), then take them out. Then, I just cut them in half (I usually hold them in my hand with an oven mitt), then take a spoon & spoon out the potatoes inside. Mash them up in a bowl, then add butter, salt & pepper to taste. I then go a step further with ours & add a little milk (or chicken broth works well too), as well as a sprinkle of cheese & garlic salt. Mix together & then place back into the potato skins. I cover the tops with cheese, and bake at about 350 degrees for a few minutes, until cheese topping is melted. So easy and so yummy! I enjoy fixing Zach what he likes, especially if it's quick & easy. :)

I go a step further with mine & add a little chopped onion. Yum!

Let me know if you happen to try these out!

And, even though it's a little late, Daisy hopes you all had a
Happy Halloween!

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