Today I celebrate 27 wonderful years with this guy.
He is my rock. He is my calm after the storm, the voice of reason in my sea of life's insanity. His love makes everything I do worthwhile.
I have never known this more than I do today. He is the real treasure in my life, this easy going, quiet guy who is so giving and patient. To his wife, his daughter, and so many others. 27 years ago I could never have realized how much sweeter love becomes, when as a couple you have been through life's trials, shared every heartbreak, and savored the victories together.
No crazy, crowded dinner out for us here tonight. Just a quiet night, enjoying each other and thinking about all the joys our life together holds. I'll be so content with a nice home-cooked dinner and maybe a small fire in our back yard. Enjoying being with my man. Grateful for every thing we have together.
Here's a really yummy and pretty treat for your loved ones this Valentine's Day!
This is just a twist on the Oreo Cookie Bark from last fall. (The original post is here) Valentine M&Ms and some red and pink Wilton sprinkles made an easy Valentine's version! After breaking apart the bark, I added a few pieces to clear snack bags along with some tiny heart-shaped doilies, tied up with a mix of curling ribbons.
They're extra-yummy because I threw in some leftover Andes Peppermint Chips. These are usually only available in the stores at Christmas, but I think you can get them on Amazon year round. I'll say that the smidgen of peppermint really put it over the top. In a pinch, a few drops of peppermint extract in the white chocolate might do the same thing.
Happy Valentine's to you all! xoxoxo
p.s. Oh and I always always mix vanilla bark with Hershey's white chocolate chips now. I haven't had luck using just the chips, because they didn't melt well. But the combination of the two melts great and gives a little extra somethin' because, you know, this wasn't decadent enough to begin with :)
For two weeks now I have wanted to do a recap of everything we accomplished last year. But to be honest, we really didn't get that many projects done in 2013. Apparently I rearranged the kitchen shelves a lot, and we spent a good deal of time out in our garden. But the biggest project of all, moving our daughter to Austin, went by without me taking a single photo. Hmmmm wonder what that's about? I'll stick with that we were just scrambling to get it all done. And nothing about being in denial here, no way (cough cough!).
Anyway, it looks to be a promising year for the Haywoods in 2014! We have some great projects planned and some awesome business opportunities on the horizon. How about I share some photos from 2013 while I blather about the coming year? There's no rhyme or reason to these, just a few pictures that were some of my favorites last year.
First up, this lil' ole blog of mine is way overdue for an update! I have sort of tweaked it throughout the years but I think it's time for a total overhaul. Not sure exactly when this will happen, but a freshening is definitely in order!
Despite my dreams of moving a little farther away from the city, it looks like we'll be staying here for at least a few more years. It doesn't make sense for us to over-improve (I just stole that line from Shannon!) right now, in this market. We live in a Conservation District, and although most houses here can't be torn down, ours can. It doesn't meet the guidelines that most other homes in the neighborhood do. Unfortunately, that means that any improvements we make will likely not raise the value of our home much higher than it already is.
So, frugal renovation it is! It's more my style, anyway :)
I have been dreaming forever of a carerra marble counter in our kitchen. And guess what -- I found some! Yep, carerra marble tiles for free, from some construction down the street! We would only need to buy a few more to have enough to do the sink side of our kitchen. I'll be completely content to live with those, and save the extra $$ for my next kitchen.
A new beadboard backsplash on that side would be nice too, and thanks to the guy who was giving a bunch of it away on Freecycle, that's going to be a possibility! If you haven't heard of Freecycle, I wrote about it here. It's a wonderful resource for sharing leftover materials and items that just aren't needed any longer. We were given quite a few beadboard pieces that are the perfect size for the kitchen, and a couple of other projects too.
Our bathroom needs a total gut job, but a facelift will have to do for now. I'm on the lookout for something thrifty to replace the cracked floor tile. Some new tile (or more marble) to replace the dated tumbled marble counter top would be great, too. I have been checking Craigslist frequently and it's time to make a trip to the Habitat ReStore. Oh and some of the beadboard made its way into the bathroom, and I haven't even shown you all yet! It turned out really cute, I'll photograph that and show you all soon.
Our old doors have needed to be stripped and refinished for a loooong time now. After reading so many great reviews about CitrusStrip, I'm finally going to give it a try. I would also love to replace our door knobs with some vintage glass ones -- we found some in Canton for a mere $8 each! I'll keep the old knobs to reinstall when we sell our house and take the cute glass ones along.
You all have heard me talk about our hardwood floors before. Even though this is a tiny house, moving everything out, sanding and refinishing the floors, and then moving back in would be a huge job. Not to mention, still a little costly. I'm seriously thinking about going right over them with Gel Stain, a section at a time. I know it wouldn't wear nearly as well, but don't you think we could get a couple of years out of it? It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to touch up, either. I'll be continuing to read up on this and see if anyone has had good results.
More important than any of these projects though, is my continued search for balance. Balancing time spent on the computer with time to get things done. I would so love to be the perfect blogger, the one who answers every email, and blogs on a consistent schedule without fail. And still put three healthy, delicious meals on the table every day. Be there for my daughter every time the phone rings or a text comes through. Keep a perfectly tidy home and always be caught up on laundry. Give back to our community, something I sorely miss now that our daughter is no longer in the public school system. And now that I'm in my 50s, I fully realize how important it is to nurture my health a little more. Balancing all of these priorities will be a major focus for me this year! I've spent a lot of time finding who I am, while looking at who I want to be, and the New Year is the perfect time for self-reflection and reprioritizing. I guess that being a work in progress means there will always be needed growth, and that' something I never want to sacrifice.
I can't tell you how much it means that you all come by here, read my stories, and leave such wonderful, encouraging comments. I never seem to be able to answer every one, but I read and treasure every single word that you leave. Writing this blog has become one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me! It's a wonderful world out there, and I'm so glad we are all in it together.
Who would like a room reveal today?!! Well, part of a room :) I have promised to show our made over guest room for a while now! With its plaids, quilts and wools, I have named it The Winter Room.
Last fall, Abby gave us a mere 48-hour notice that she was coming to Dallas for Texas/OU weekend. We had just moved her to Austin a few weeks before, and her room sat empty save for a couple of boxes of my stuff. OK, more than a couple :) Once those were cleaned up, the room was just a shell. I badly needed a reason to get it in high gear, rather than look at the room every day and feel sad that our girl had moved out for good.
I jumped on Craigslist to see what I could find, and lo and behold there was an Ikea Ektorp sofa! Mismatched and a little cat-scratched, but otherwise sturdy and clean. And at $50, a bargain to boot. There was no time to run to Ikea to replace the slipcover, so this one would have to do. The sofa arrived just an hour before Abby did!
We piled up extra mismatched blankets, pillows and throws to make a cozy space for friends and cousins to hang out in. Who knew that a gray and red sofa could be the inspiration for such a fun, colorful room! Every plaid, print and granny square somehow all work together. Our old living room rug cozies the room up even more for wintertime.
For a temporary sofa table, I scooted some storage tubs in the corner and topped them with extra blankets. An inflatable mattress is stashed behind the sofa, too. I put the basket on top of the quilts one day just to get it out of the way, and Ginger promptly made it her napping spot. An old frame was fitted with some burlap-covered foam core, a spot for a few photos and a vintage crewel piece.
These chairs were given to me by a neighbor and had been sitting in the garage. The wood brings a little warmth to the room and counters some of the brightness.
We all enjoy this room now! It's cozy and comfortable. Our black TV armoire, a desk, and our treadmill are on the opposite wall. We can work out and watch the news, and if I ever slow down I might even sit and read the pile of magazines that I never get to. The room makes me really happy, and has filled an empty place in our home and in my heart.
We are working on revamping a chandelier, and hope to paint the room soon. I would really love to finally add crown molding, too, and give the closet a much-needed makeover.
Total to put this room together? A whopping $88!!! In addition to the sofa, I bought the cheerful rag rug for $12 at Marshall's, the red and white pillows at Ross for $11 each, and a thrift store lamp shade for $4 (which I covered with fabric from my stash). The vintage camp blankets, granny afghans and quilts have all been collected for years, picked up from various thrift stores, estate and yard sales for as little $2. It's nice to be able to use them even after the Christmas season!
Thanks for coming by to see our Winter Room! I'll get back to work here, and maybe I'll be able to show the *other* side of the room soon :)
Hellooooo from the deep freeze that is Dallas, Texas!! It's a frosty 21 degrees this morning, and we are all still recovering from our recent ice storm. It's been a real job the last couple of days to keep everybody fed and warm, inside and out. Our birdies and wildlife and outside (feral) kitties are just not accustomed to this kind of cold. We have been busy refilling feeders, breaking up ice in bird baths, and making kitty shelters.
What better time to bake some goodies and warm up the kitchen?! I set up a baking station in my favorite corner of the kitchen to keep supplies handy for the holiday baking season. Plus, I really needed a reason to show off my cute Christmas spatula and whisk :)
These baking cups are just too cheery and cute to stay behind the cupboard doors! As are a couple of holiday take-out containers, ready to be filled with goodies to be delivered, and the red and green baking chips that I found at Aldi.
I did manage to hobble down some mostly ice-free roads yesterday to make use of my 25% off World Market coupon. Even though I was there to pick up gifts, this pretty apron made its way into my cart :) As much as I cook, I convinced myself that it made sense, you know, to save a couple of winter tees from being ruined. And there's just something so festive about donning a pretty holiday apron when you're baking up goodies for your loved ones! A thrifted red stool awaits some little helpers who may stop by, in hopes of enjoying a hot cookie :)
Santa came a few weeks early, and brought this red Dutch oven, after going to *four* different Aldi stores to find the requested color. I have made almost every meal in it for a week now, really, how did I ever cook without this? I have heard folks say for years that food tastes so much better when cooked in a Dutch oven, and I'm a believer now! And for the bargain price of $30, really not much more than a good quality take-out meal. Lamb Ragu, Mushroom Risotto, and the famous No-Knead Bread have been our favorites so far. I Pinned some wonderful recipes on this board, click over and see them if you're a fan of Dutch oven cooking. I hope you find a new favorite of your own.
Well the sun is coming out today, and I'm waaayyy behind on holiday gift buying, so I'm heading out into the frozen tundra! I hope you are having a happy and stress-free holiday season, and staying safe and warm!
It's no secret that I love lanterns! It was the red Pier 1 lanterns, seen two years ago in their Christmas ad, that led us to the store Abby ended up working in. I may or may not have amassed a few other sets while she was still employed there :)
So when I got the call last Friday that my magazine photo shoot would now be for FALL, and not SPRING, the lanterns were my first go-to choice for fall decor. The spring decor got put away, the fall decorations came out, and now I'm almost good to go. I guess I ended up being the first blogger to decorate for spring, and the last to decorate for fall!
We received a box from Maurie's sister last week with some vintage items from their parents' estate. I really wanted a special place to honor these small treasures, so several ended up in their own sort of display case inside the lanterns.
Each lantern is unique, and different, and holds a special piece along with some seasonal leaves and berries. They were so much fun to put together! How amazing would it be to take a special item and create one of these for a meaningful holiday gift.
I'm not sure where they will end up, but I sure am enjoying seeing them stacked up in my kitchen until they find a more permanent home. For a week or two, anyway :)
Now that it's finally starting to feel like fall here in North Texas, I have created a few more vignettes around the house. I have to share them fast though, because they will be coming down this week! Crazy, right? I'll explain at the end of this post :)
My favorite place to start, our shelves in the kitchen. I recently scored these pretty ironstone pieces at the thrift and the fabulous rusted scale in Canton. The rustic twig balls added just a simple touch that felt like *fall* to me.
And looky here, someone finally finished the wood planks to make a real kitchen counter! I'm so in love with the new dark finish.
In the dining room, my newly (finally!) painted hutch has been dressed up with a few mini pumpkins, some twigs balls and a few vintage door knobs, just for fun.
Yes I'm only giving a peek at the new paint job :) Another coat or two of paint and it will be ready for a full reveal!
The sofa table in the living room also got a coat of paint, which lightened it up to fit in perfectly in our home. I still need to refinish the top, but for now I dressed it up with antlers, a collection of thrifted candle holders, and a pretty orange glass crock.
So WHY am I taking my fall vignettes apart already, you ask? Because we're having a magazine shoot here in a couple of weeks -- they DAY before Thanksgiving, actually. Normally I would be beefing up every vignette and tweaking them to perfection, except that this photo shoot is for spring!! So everything will be light and bright, and the fall decorations will be just a happy memory :)
I DO have some fun projects that I hope to share, and they can be easily tweaked for holiday, also. Remember that lampshade covering tutorial I have been promising for ages now? As soon as it's edited and written up, it's comin' to ya!! Want a peek?????
Thanks for coming by :) Wishing you all a wonderful week!! xoxo