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It’s been a true Season of Change for our little family this year.  People often don’t welcome and celebrate change, but I have found a peace in it all that almost scares me!

{I totally used to stress over EVERYTHING.}

This week we marked a huge milestone in the life of our Madeline as she graduated high school.

Madeline is such an amazing child young woman and to tell you the truth I am looking forward to watching her soar off into the world.

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Yes, my child wanted her senior pictures made at Starbucks…

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Madeline is my baby girl; entering the world completely on her own terms which led to her daddy delivering her while her doctor sat in the lounge drinking her coffee!

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She has continued to live her life on her own terms as Madeline is full of faith, passion, determination, wonder, compassion, hope, charity, love and fun.

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Sometimes these characteristics have gotten her in trouble, but I sincerely hope she carries them throughout her entire life!

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What is next for this youngest daughter of mine?

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She is headed off to a Christian college in the fall on academic and Lacrosse scholarships where she will major in Biblical Studies and English; planning to go into ministry.  She has a desire to save the world and feels that this path is best for her.

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Signing Day at Point University

Proverbs 3:6 says

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Madeline has taken this to heart, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!

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Peace Out High School!

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Easy Bookshelf Makeover

Writing has not been at the top of my agenda these last two and a half months since moving and I apologize.  In between traveling for wedding showers and Proms, arranging our new home (thankfully all of our painting was finished before we moved in), graduation events, final wedding plans, helping the boy with his Marine recruitment (I’ll tell you about that later), and single mommin’ it while hubby is in Savannah for three months I’ve actually been having fun with a couple small DIY projects.

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All of these projects have been fairly simple; mostly involving paint and organization.  I don’t know about you, but that’s my kind of stress-free DIY and a great way to take a break from the craziness of teenage mom life!

My favorite makeover project was a bookcase that I have not loved for many years now.  Before we moved I shared a picture of it on Instagram and asked opinions for making it over.

Before Project

My monstrosity of a bookshelf that desperately needed a little TLC

Overwhelmingly the response was PAINT IT!  Painting a piece of furniture is such an easy and inexpensive makeover when you are redecorating.

So, before unpacking the first round of books, I painted it.

Using Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and waxes that I already owned, this midnight project (I don’t sleep well when hubby is gone) paired with Netflix took about three nights to complete.

Chalk Paint

I painted three coats of the chalk paint which is rare when using chalk paints, but the shelf had only ever been stained without a sealer.  This caused the paint to really soak in!  Who knew that made a difference?

Chalk Paint Shelf

After my coats of paint were completely dry, I used a soft cloth to apply a layer of clear wax and followed it with antiquing wax 24 hours later.

Chalk Paint Project

Using a soft cloth really made waxing the shelf easier in my opinion.  I’ve never been able to master the art of waxing with a brush, but I like the look of the wax having been rubbed on and blended so much more.

I love to organize my books by subject or theme, so it only seemed right that this shelf should hold my largest collection of books; my cookbooks.

Chalk paint Bookshelf

Our wall color in the den is marigold, so I am using accents with blue and white.  For this shelf I used my English tea pots and plates for decorating.

I don’t like to cram books into a shelf so that it looks stuffed, so this was perfect for holding all of my cookbooks as well as a little decor to compliment them.

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A glimpse of the 1940’s sofa that will also be in this room

Right now this shelf is in our den.  The rest of the room is not really together as it houses furniture from the 1880’s, 1910, 1940’s, 1960’s, and a couple of modern pieces, so now I am tasked with pulling it all together! That ought to be a challenge and may actually involve rearranging a couple of rooms to make it all work.  Many of these pieces are family heirlooms, so they aren’t something I want to paint.  Hopefully it’ll all be together soon and I can share a finished room!

If you want a glimpse of all the excitement going on in our lives right now, be sure to follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

Until next time,

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Saffron Braised Chicken

Madeline and I just returned from a cruise celebrating her upcoming graduation from high school and while I loved the relaxation, scenery and especially the time with my daughter, I did not enjoy what a cruise does to my waistline!

As soon as we returned home, I immediately took inventory of the pantry and headed to the grocery for healthy eats!  The first thing I do when needing a food detox is to cut my carbs, especially the processed ones.  Needing a little inspiration, I took to my Mediterranean cooking for paleo and found this wonderful recipe for Saffron braised chicken.  Obviously my craving for international flavors is still strong!

A few little tweaks to the recipe, dinner was served. I even planned ahead for leftovers to enjoy as well!

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I loved this dish because of its simplicity and combination of flavors. There is no point in a difficult dish if there isn’t any flavor, so simple is often better in my book.

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Chicken quarters, stock, onion, garlic, spices… ingredients that you can pronounce and that do your body a world of good are the basis of this dish!  With just over an hour to prepare and cook, this makes a better weekend dinner than a busy weeknight.  It’s a one pan dish (I used a Lodge enamel-coated pan) which makes clean-up a breeze.

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And don’t you just love easy clean-up?!

And of course this savory dish with a little International flair is oh-so delicious!

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You can click here for the full Saffron Braised Chicken recipe (with a few of my brand preferences) that you can print off.

There are several options for sides:  if you are cutting grains, use cauliflower rice (I found it pre-made at Publix); rice is Audley’s preference for a side, and I also enjoy mashed potatoes.  This sauce goes well with all three!

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If you make it, let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend!

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Girls Night In at Candlefish

One of the things I truly love about being back in the Atlanta area is reconnecting with old friends!  Recently one of those fabulous friends and lifestyle blogger Tammie Reed of Talking With Tami invited me to join her and other girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of candle making at Candlefish Atlanta.

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Tammie, our lovely Girls Night In hostess

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The Girls

Don’t you just love a girlfriends day?

What makes one even more enjoyable is making new friends while participating!

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Candlefish (originally established in Charleston) is a new shop located in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and was the site of this relaxing and educational afternoon with the ladies.  I don’t know about you, but I am a candle junky and keep at least one lit any time I’m home!  When we moved in a month ago candles were some of the first items I purchased for our new home, so choosing a fragrance and making my own candle sounded so exciting!

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Tammie always arranges a lovely event!

With donuts and champagne awaiting her guests, we spent time listening to Hannah from Candlefish explain the technique for making candles.  While you think of melted wax and fragrance going into candle making, I’ve never stopped to consider there are temperature points and specific measurements at which to work and make the perfect candle.

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Candlefish Fragrance Library

We had the opportunity to check out the 100 different Candlefish fragrances, but thankfully if you know your specific taste in fragrances, they can steer you in the right direction!  I’m more of a musky almost men’s cologne type of girl, so after checking out several scents in that category, I settled on #31.  This was actually the first fragrance I smelled and immediately was drawn back to it!

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The tools we used for our candle making class

While making the candles was fun and educational, I truly enjoyed the afternoon making friends and socializing.

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Fabulous treat bags from Tammie for each of her guests

                The candle making class is a perfect opportunity for socializing with the girls.  While there are any number of occasions for a night out, I’m looking at the possibility of a candle making class as the perfect bridesmaid’s outing before MacKenzie’s wedding in June!

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Thank you Tammie for the afternoon and the use of Genae Bank’s photos as well!

How do you like to spend a Girls Night In or Out?

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