. . . just a glimpse of what takes place during our wild friday nights these days.
. . . and like a whisper it transformed and evolved until it was gone. Christmas ’19.
sweet and simple will forever be my favorite (and homemade cinnamon rolls 😉).
Hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and that the joy of why we celebrate lives with you the whole year through!
P.S. – Goodbye 2019! Hello 2020!
such a warmth, that cold brings . . .
With the beginning of advent less than a week away, I have found myself thinking more about the moments and memories of this year, the things I want to accomplish during this next month and in particularly this sweet season – such a beautiful time to reflect and prepare. While as a family we try to focus together on the weeks of advent with extra prayer and intent, I find this “countdown” to Christmas also a fun time to do something special for the kids in hopes it will encourage them to do something special for others. Especially as the bigger two have gotten older, during advent, the daily small gifts or bits of candy have gotten less and the things we can do together to perhaps make other’s seasons more memorable and meaningful have increased. Examples of some of the things we did last year included baking cookies for the neighbors, being extra kind to someone at school, helping Mom or Dad with a task around the house, do something nice for your brother/ sister, etc.
This year, our countdown consists of colorful and cozy house tags that make for a colorful and cozy corner. 🙂 Please feel free to download for your own use or to gift to someone special. You can get them here – houseadvent.pdf. Just cut them down to size and hang as you wish. I obviously went for wonky and haphazard this year. Well, every year. 🙂
Last year’s Advent: Advent 2018
And if you wish for something a little more simple (yet still sweet), I have used these (tagsadvent.pdf) in years past. Pair them with some linen, muslin or even parchment or paper bags. I also love using these as gift tags.
Next week, I will continue with week three of the “gifting- thrifted and made” series.
I hope you have much to be grateful for this week!
P.S. – Let me know if you have any trouble with the downloads. My apologies for the house numbers being a little out of order.
. . . two things that are really sticky (and hot) this time of year in the southern midwest. (wink, wink)
At around 19 months (last month), we decided to begin transitioning Mr. Tate to his own room and a bigger bed. I know, it seems a bit early for the bigger bed, but he wasn’t utilizing the crib at all and we are thinking a very slow transition to it – starting with naps (for a few months) and then adding in nights. Our older two kiddos used and slept in their cribs so much more than Tate has by this age so we weren’t in any rush to transition them to a different style or kind of bed.
We’ve pretty much co-slept with Tate since birth. And while it’s a little bittersweet to know that the nighttime cuddles will be becoming less and less, our little man is getting big and we are running out of room for the two of us and our crazy horizontal sleeper.
With that being said, naps (we are down to just one a day now) in his own room and his own bed are going so-so – he still likes having a sleepmate. 🙂
All except for a few things in Tate’s first bigger boy room are previously loved (hand me down) items. His bed was his older sister’s up until our move last August. A couple of months ago, I painted it with a blue jean colored chalk paint that I found on clearance at Target and then coated it with a semi satin polyurethane. It was originally a $40 purchase off of Craigslist nearly ten years ago. We have definitely gotten our dollars worth out of it!
Estate sales are most definitely one of my favorite “stores” currently. I’m fascinated at being able to get a peek into how others lived, their travels, their collections, their dreams. I feel like it’s an honor to be able to browse and enjoy others belongings and essentially be able to enter into a summary of their life within walls.
The bottom art is a miniature framed painting I purchased at an estate sale for a couple of dollars. The top print on wood I thrifted for some odd cents.
The below wardrobe was from a thrift store in Alabama. It was gray until I painted it green. 🙂 The rocker is a hand me down from my parents. They inherited it from a great Aunt. The heart pillow I made. The hanging basket was made out of a thrifted basket and some rope.
The fawn pillow, sail boat stacker toy, school bus and hobby horse were newly purchased. The toy top was a gifted thrift store find from my sister. When it’s spinning, this is probably still Tate’s favorite toy. The soda bottle crate (night stand), I purchased several years ago from a flea market.
I thrifted the lighthouse painting several years ago for a couple of dollars (it was framed when I bought it, but I removed it). It reminds me of the northeast and the time I got to spend there when I was a tween/ teen.
All of the blankets were thrifted or found at an estate sale except for the blue/ cream gauze coverlet and gingham sheets. All had hardly been used and were in great condition.
I took the below photo while traveling along the historic Route 66 here in Missouri (outside of The Mule Trading Post). Although a “kitschy” landmark, I liked that it was unique and something that is native to the portion of Route 66 close to where I grew up. And my Father-in-law gifted me the boat diagram prints that he found a garage sale in their retirement community near the gulf in AL. The framed crewel seaside scape was another flea market find I purchased while living in Alabama.
The holtztiger wood animals and figurines are new and we have been gifting them to Tate thus far for special occasions (Christmas, first birthday, baptism, etc) throughout his little life. And my plans are to continue to do so for at least a couple more years. The small barn shelf they are in was thrifted for just a few dollars.
Although it’s a little bit of a hodgepodge, it feels cozy and like home. A little bit like this post (wink, wink).
Just in case you’re not familiar with thrifting and estate sale going, here are a few easy tips or tid bits.
- Go often. Or in reference to Estate Sales, get items you just have to have on Day 1 and then go back if you can on Days 2 and 3 for any optional items. Prices drop on Day 2 and even more on Day 3.
- Go alone. Or without kids if possible. Lately, I always have my youngest side kick with me but if you can go alone so that you can actually really think about your needs vs. wants.
- At flea markets, look for booths that have an extra percentage off or holiday sales.
- Think about gifts! I know you might be apprehensive about buying used items to give as gifts, but you can find some really nice meaningful items (especially at Estate Sales). Just keep in mind those you are buying for – would they prefer old vs new?
- Be patient. Eventually you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for! Don’t just buy something because it’s “sort of” what you needed/ wanted. These are the things you will be selling at a garage sale in less than a year.
Links to the newly purchased items in Tate’s current room: Opal house Gauze Coverlet // Fawn Pillow // Boat Stacking Tower // Hobby Horse // School Bus // Holtztiger Wooden Figures // Rising Clouds Print
P.S. – Bed rails will be added when he begins sleeping in it overnight.
(notes to her at summer camp)
At drop off . . .
For the first time ever, the girl is away for a whole week! And for the first time ever at summer camp! We miss her so. I have enjoyed preparing and sending her a daily note via snail mail. I hope she is having a blast (but also missing us just a little)!
P.S. – So many simple yet sweet memories have been made these last couple of months. Being “in the thick of it” is exhausting but so spectacular. I feel as if this chapter is one of the very best – so much gratitude for this life right here, right now.
A few random tidbits and photos I want to remember about this “full of all the things” May.
We’ve almost made it through “birthday season” – whew! The last celebration is this evening. We now have a 13 year old, 10 year old and 18 month old. Reference the above photos for what a new 10 year old does while in front of a mirror.
My husband is from St. Louis and a huge sports fan! Tate’s new favorite song is now “Gloria”. If you’re a Blues fan you’ll understand. (wink, wink!)
The last day of school was yesterday. The remainder of this week will be full of rest and freedom, but I’m hoping for a bit of relaxed order to start happening next week. I’ve got a list of house projects I’d love to complete this summer!
It’s also been “peony season”. I can’t seem to keep myself from picking one or a bundle of them every time I walk past.
And the last 6 months (months 13-18) of Mr. Tate . . .
Our 13 year old, who isn’t real fond of pictures (unless there is a fish in his hand), let me get just a few. Baseball in Memphis got cancelled for the weekend of his birthday so he got to go to dinner with cousins and fishing that evening. Not exaggerating when I say fishing is his first true love!
And for a Mother’s Day photo, cooperation just wasn’t happening . . .
I have so many things that I’ve been wanting to share but first a few days of rest.
This past week/ weekend we celebrated Easter and the two biggest littles spring break. For the first time since moving back to Missouri, we road tripped down to the shores of Alabama to visit family and enjoy the beautiful weather there this time of year. The gulf waters are still a little chilly but other than that the spring and fall times in southern Alabama are picture perfect (without all of the crowds and chaos of summertime).
Our favorite things this trip . . .
The beach. Of course! There are a few we frequent on our visits to Gulf Shores/ Orange Beach/ Fort Morgan areas, but there are plenty of public and private beaches to choose from. The beach is always a favorite for me, but this visit was especially fun for Tate. The never ending sandbox was like a little piece of his heaven.
The Pier and fishing. Always so full of life, creatures, and learning. Our oldest became fishing obsessed when we lived in the south and if you have the right equipment The Pier is such a wonderful place to do so. From high above the gulf, we often spot small sharks swimming in the waters below.
Bike riding on the trails of Gulf State Park. You could easily ride all day and not pass over the same spot twice. This is such an enjoyable and active way to take in all of the additional beauty (other than the beach) that this part of the southern coast has to offer. We stopped for lunch here. I highly recommend the brussels sprouts and mac n’ cheese 🙂 but everything was really delicious and fresh.
Eating. This visit, we ate at Lulu’s. The kids love it because of the large sandbox/ play area. It can get a little crazy during the summer season but this time of year the wait was nil. And if you like cold (abundantly) sweet treats, The Yard is worth at least one visit.
The road trip. Perhaps my favorite part! Having all of my people together for a long period of time yes, almost too crazy to be bearable at times. But the BEST! Even during that late at night six hour stretch of no civilization in Mississippi.
Easter Sunday. Although not our traditional Easter, we love visiting the church in Foley. And the weather was really breathtakingly beautiful! So much so, that we spent Easter afternoon at the beach.
Early A.M. swims. Throwing on a bathing suit and hitting the pool first thing in the morning.
A few of our other favorite things to do while in the Gulf Shores area are . . .
- The National Naval Aviation Museum. It’s free admission and parking. If you are able, watch one of the practices of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels!
- The Fort Morgan historic site. A really beautiful place to explore.
- USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. This is in Mobile, but is worth the drive if you have the time.
- Bon Secour, Alabama. If you are up for a short drive and just want to see some local scenery, this small community is so quaint and cozy. There are also a few places nearby to purchase some fresh seafood!
- Fairhope, Alabama. Such a quaint, beautiful and inspiring town off the coast of the Mobile Bay. Spend the afternoon shopping, eating, and admiring the beautiful homes and cottages. Also, a lovely place to ride bikes!
- Alligator Alley.
- Burris Market. We used to stop here on our way to the coast. They have the best pies and pecan cobbler.
- Scoops Ice Cream.
We returned to Missouri mid week with the dogwoods in full bloom, Easter baskets, and for me, more than the usual amounts of coffee.
(after they had been rummaged through)
It’s so nice to be home. The littlest guy and I went to two estate sales yesterday and one of our purchases was a new chair for the back deck. I am hoping to do some relaxing and refreshing there this weekend. May you find your “spot” and spend as much time there this weekend as possible. Enjoy!
(Saturday Breakfast of Greek/ Mediterranean Omelet with gyro meat & Vanilla Lattes – from a local coffee shop)
My birthday was Sunday and the weekend was both beautifully festive yet wonderfully casual. We had dinner out Friday with friends, then I had breakfast with a friend on Saturday and lunch with a friend on Sunday. For my actual birthday, I just wanted a no fuss day to do some cooking and relaxing and such a sweet day it ended up being.
I tried my hand at a couple of new recipes.
For breakfast, I made Joanna Gaines’ Orange Scones. The scone itself is lighter and more cake-like (not as heavy and less dense) than other scones I’ve had. The combination of the maple and citrus flavors in the glaze is amazing and compliments the “lighter” texture of the scone perfectly.
And then for dinner I made Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers and for desert Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake. This cake was definitely a special treat for all. Each bite was comparable to eating lightly sweetened pieces of fudge – so delightful! We celebrated extra by giving Mr. Tate his very first few bites of chocolate cake.
If only, the dirty dishes on your birthday would magically disappear. The only unenjoyable bits of the day.
Orange Scones – Magnolia Table Cookbook – Joanna Gaines
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake – Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook – John Whaite
*I used dark chocolate cocoa for the icing. The original recipe calls for regular cocoa powder. I also added truffles (from Aldi).
Now, tis’ the time for a sugar detox. 🙂