Saturday, April 30, 2016

Third Time's the Charm??

When I started reading other women's blogs in 2007, I was looking for a creative outlet and a place to save little, funny, daily snippets of life at the time.   I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old and I just loved the ease of typing a little something, adding a pretty picture, and having it all displayed nice and tidy!  I "met" so many great ladies from all over the country and several I still keep in touch with!

At some point things got a little bigger than I was comfortable with at the time.  I turned it private (kind of a pain in the you-know-what) and turned more towards my new hobby of learning how to use my new DSLR.  Then I lost interest in the way I was doing things... For that reason, when we moved to Richmond in 2011, I started a new blog and tried to keep it less about the kids, a little less "pretty," more realistic, and see what happened.

I fell in love with my new hobby of digital scrapbooking.  I had always loved creating photo books for my family but this new Project Life (weekly documenting) system covered my desire to record the daily mundane of life that I love so much.

Then when I started working for an interior designer, I had no time to blog- but I did learn a lot and then I had friends wanting to hire me to impart my ideas on their homes.  So I now accept a few clients at a time and I was told I really need to set up my own website- with no cutesy name.

I have switched to Wordpress, which definitely has a learning curve.  My plan is to post about all things HOME.  Food, decor, family, travel, etc.

So for those who have been with me from the beginning, I'm so sorry to switch it up again but hopefully this will be a good, more permanent fit :)

Friday, February 19, 2016


Now that my kids are older (7th grade and 4th grade) book choices are SO MUCH more enjoyable for me!  I volunteered at Mary Fowler's book fair and bought several that looked yummy, planning to read them to the kids. Davis, especially, loves to be read to.  It is really a quality time activity for us.  Right now we are reading Counting by 7s which is about a fabulously-interesting 6th grade girl who was adopted as a baby and then suddenly, tragically loses both her parents on the same day.

The story is about how she deals with this great loss and the motley crew of people she surrounds herself with.  We were about halfway through the other night and I just had to finish it myself after Davis went to bed.  Oh how I cried!!!!!  I mean, sobbing.  And it has a good ending, I just think it touched on one of my all-time greatest worries in life... how kids make it when they don't have the family network so many of us do.  It really touched a chord with me.

Mary Fowler and I are reading I Am Malala- the young adult version (for my sake:).  We are only a couple of chapters in because she has less free time available in the evening.  I am hoping that the book will show Mary Fowler that to some children education is a privilege.  I am SO proud of how she is doing in middle school but it never hurts to get a little world-perspective:).

I have found that my favorite place to volunteer in the kids' schools is the LIBRARY!  I love it!  I love being around all those books and I love discussing books with the librarians!  And I love how the teachers at our elementary school read so many books in class to the kids.  For example, I've always felt that a book (fiction or non-fiction) written from one child's perspective during the Depression can teach so much more than just remembering facts of the Depression.

And for me, I am loving The War of Art!  I heard about it from one of my scrapbooking blogs and it is SO good!  I usually try to get books from the library but I'm so happy I bought this one because I'm going to need it!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Most Comfortable Walking Shoes Touring Europe

Mary Fowler and I have some amazing trips coming up over Spring Break and Summer.  First we are headed with her school to ITALY.  I have never been but always wanted to go.  Then in the summer, we are going with my parents (and her school) to England, Ireland, and Scotland.  So excited!

Everything is pretty much all organized and set up, which is wonderful, except I'm starting to stress out about packing light and finding comfortable everyday shoes.

When I chaired our Jr. League shopping extravaganza for so many years, I had to be on my feet for a week straight.  I quickly learned that Danskos were the only shoe that could provide the extended comfort I needed.  For this trip, though, I am planning to wear dark skinny jeans each day and I think the Danskos look pretty funky.

I found these on Zappos (about $100) with good reviews but I'm not sure??  Advice please???

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Best Hershey Cake!

Man o man!  This cake!

Over Christmas we were at the lake visiting family and my grandmother brought a chocolate cake that I could not get enough of!  It's what I call an old church lady recipe that is nothing fancy but oh-so-good.  Tasting it will probably remind you of your childhood... I have had it before but it was a long time ago.

Many times I can resist dessert, but this cake is WORTH it!  It is so good that I kind of moan a little while taking bites :)  That good.  I think it's the not too thick cake layer which is soft and moist, plus the old-fashioned chocolate kind of granulated "fudgy"icing.  It also meets my criteria of EASY and fast to prepare.

Since Christmas, I have made it almost every weekend for small dinner parties and everyone has asked for the recipe.

My grandmother made it in a 9x13 pan but I like using my round springform pan because it looks a little more festive.  Here, I made it for a little dinner we had to celebrate Adam's birthday.  Not a great picture of Adam and not the prettiest cake you've ever seen but just focus on the taste.  I bought the candles from Jenny at Everyday Occasions.  They can make any cake look like a party!

The BEST Hershey chocolate cake

  • 12cup  butter
  • cup  sugar
  • eggs
  • cup  flour
  • teaspoon  baking powder
  • 14teaspoon  salt
  • 1(16 ounce) can hershey chocolate syrup
  • Icing

  • 12cup  butter
  • cup  sugar
  • 13cup  evaporated milk or regular milk
  • 12cup  semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. For cake: Cream margarine and sugar; then add eggs one at a time and beat well, after each.
  2. Sift dry ingredients and add to above mixture.
  3. Add syrup and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes in 13x9 inch pan.
  4. Do not over bake. After cake is baked, immediately prepare icing because you will ice cake while hot.
  5. For icing: Boil margarine, milk and sugar together for two to three minutes.
  6. Add chocolate chips, beat until smooth.
  7. Pour on cake.
  8. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Low Carb Sausage Balls

I was so happy these sausage balls turned out so good!  My husband really prefers to eat low-carb so around the holidays, I was thinking of the classic Sausage Balls and wondering if there was any substitute for the typical Bisquick.

After some googling, I heard about some attempts with Almond Meal and I decided to give it a try!

These are great and I we don't miss the Bisquick at all!  I guess, depending on the sausage, these could be considered Gluten-Free, too?

Low-Carb Sausage Balls

1 lb Jimmy Dean sausage (I used regular but I think hot would be great!)
1 cup shredded cheddar 
1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with hands.  

Form sausage balls to preferred size and place on cookie sheet.  
These were about a tablespoon full each.

Bake until fully cooked~ about 8-10 minutes.

When my mom used to make sausage balls, I remember dipping them in a mustard/mayonnaise dipping sauce:)  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Calm Family Room

Calm Family Room

I've done a few inspiration boards for clients and thought I'd share this one of mine!  Sometimes I have the hardest time picking things for my own house so it has really helped to pull several pieces together in one place.  

Our front family room is large and has the gas log fireplace so we find ourselves gathering in here most of the time, especially in the winter.  When we moved in we painted all the woodwork BM White Dove and the walls SW Sea Salt.  We bought custom-cut, fairly inexpensive seagrass rugs for almost all the main level rooms.  While I love the look of seagrass, it is not very comfortable to sit on and our particular rugs show pretty much everything :(  Thank goodness they are natural tan!  But I think the time has come for me to look for a more patterned Oushak oriental rug.  They are pricey so I will share as I go about my search.  I want it to be pretty but also hide wear well.  This will be tricky because I naturally gravitate towards the lighter colors...

This big sectional is a necessity for us in this stage of life :)  I fought it long and hard but I have to say that I have no regrets now.  It is fugly but hard-wearing microfiber and this family (including both dogs) loves to cuddle up and watch movies on it.  I love the look of linen sofas but linen will just have to do for pillows now.  I cannot imagine having to worry about kids and dogs and light colored linen.  

I have also tried white/light slipcovered furniture and I also do not recommend it to my clients if they will get much wear because while yes, you can take the cover off and wash/bleach it, who EVER wants to deal with all that heavy, cumbersome fabric?  So, for pets and kids, medium colors and hard-wearing fabrics are the way to maintain sanity.

I already have the silk drapes, lamps & french chest of drawers.  Hoping this will motivate me to get started!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Photography Output Issues

For better or worse, I am always thinking about the end product.  When I was little, my mom helped us do all kinds of crafts and I would struggle with what to do with the product.  The process was fun but we had absolutely no need for the end result.

I do not like clutter although I can show you plenty of it in my life? so I usually try only to do something that achieves an end result I need or want.  So, what do we do with all the photos we take?  What is the end result... what I call "photography output?"  I delete as much as I can, but the photos I do keep, I do want to enjoy.  Not just keep in the computer netherworld.

For the past couple of years, I have switched from photo books to weekly project life pages.  I like the simple photo books (and they are Adam's favorite) because the end result is easy to manage.  It's not too big, heavy, or cumbersome- and they stack neatly on a bookshelf.

The cons for me are several:  they are a pain to make- It takes a lot of decision-making time at the end of the year and I find going through a year of photos overwhelming.    Plus, a lot of the "everyday life" photos are overlooked to make room for the "special event" photos like birthdays and holidays.  

Special events are important, but I want more.  Everyday life is what I am truly most interested in reflecting.

The Project Life pages certainly capture the everyday life and thoughts, which I LOVE.  But I have noticed that one year in a 12x12 binder is big, bulky, and heavy.  I may look into having the pages printed at the end of the year into a book like this one from

Any good photography output ideas???

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Steel Magnolias

Last week one of my sweet aunts moved into her new home.  She has Alzheimer's and needs more help now.  For years, all of her sweet sisters (those above, plus two more that weren't born when this photo was taken) worked together to support her in all ways, but when her only son died two weeks ago, the timing was right.

My sweet dad is pictured here second from the left.  Thinking about him and his brothers reminded me of a quote... Mary Fowler and I watched the classic movie Steel Magnolias the other day and when Sally Fields says, "I find it amusing.  Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something."

These 9 siblings LOVE each other.  They have something really special.  They grew up in a loving home but things were not always easy.  In fact, just looking at this photo kind of amazes me!  How in the world did they have enough of and the right sized socks, shoes, and clothes just for this one picture!?!  And how did the photographer get all 7 of them to look at the camera with all 14 eyes open??

The only way my mom and I could help with this transition was to clean out and organize my aunt's townhouse to ready it for sale.  It was not completely easy, but we had such a good time enjoying each other's company, taking small trips down memory lane, and ultimately feeling accomplished!

We started upstairs and sorted into TRASH, DONATE, or if we were saving, we GROUPED like things together!  It really turned out to be fun.  It also turned out to be inspiring!

When I got home to my house, I started tackling spaces I had been putting off.  And I used the same procedure.  Now my garage is straight and organized!  In fact, I have a table and chairs out there now that the kids and I have been using as a crafting table.  I grouped all the random "craft" things together so we can now use and enjoy them.  Shocker!

This week while the kids are at the lake with my parents, I hope to start on the attic.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Happy Summer!!  I have missed sitting at my computer but other things have needed attention around here!  Sara asked me to add another day of work so that makes 3 days a week and I can barely keep up with laundry!

We spent a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend with my sister and her family at the lake.  One night Lynn and I watched this documentary after the kids went to bed.  I really enjoyed it, but if you haven't noticed, I'm kind of interested in the topic:)  Not much new information to me, but I highly recommend for those who don't buy every book on the topic!