10 Things: November Edition

Wow!

So I blinked and October came and went. Here it is November with the holidays right around the corner and my head is spinning.

My 10 things list for November is not really a bucket list as much, but a little life update and a glimpse of the direction the last two months of the year is heading. As I type, Audley is mowing the yard for what we hope will be the last time, Halloween decor (that wasn’t put up until a couple of days before) has already been taken down, steaks are ready for the grill and we have plans to watch the Atlanta Braves play Houston tonight in hopes they are bringing home the World Series title (They won as of publishing this post). Its 63 outside with gorgeous Autumn skies.

Hello November in Georgia.

1. Audley and I have new titles… On October 1st MacKenzie Grace delivered our first grandbaby and we officially became Papa and Lolli. Mariah is absolutely perfect and beautiful, and I am so in love! I was able to spend a week with this wee lass and her parents after her arrival. After savoring every moment, it was so hard to leave!

Y’all, Lolli life is so good.

2. It’s time for my annual fall deep clean. Over the last two weeks baseboards have been scrubbed, guest bedding updated, duvet covers changed, shelves dusted, carpets shampooed, curtains refreshed and the raised beds prepped for winter. I find it so much easier to decorate and entertain for the holidays if I start with a clean slate. When it’s time to break it all down after Christmas, the mess isn’t as bad as it could be. I’m not a fan of packing up the Christmas decor having to deep clean immediately.

Does anyone else deep clean before the holidays?

3. November is a great month for self-care. Use the early part of the month to take some time for yourself before the craziness of the holiday season sets in. Go ahead and indulge in Coffee-Mate’s Peppermint Mocha Creamer in your Saturday morning coffee. Top it with whipped cream and take in the autumn sunrise. Grab a patchwork quilt and curl up with a Hallmark Countdown to Christmas movie marathon. Turn off your phone and go to bed early. While we should count our blessings and show gratitude year round, November is a great month to keep a gratitude journal as apart of a self care routine. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to treat yourself. Little things can make a huge impact on our psyche.

4. Take a cooler weather hike. Pull on a cozy sweatshirt, leggings and a pair of tennis shoes and hit up a local state or National park for some fresh air and vitamin D before winter days set in. Its a great way to spend quality time with your spouse and kids without distractions. With the variety of hikes most all parks offer, you can enjoy fabulous views and challenge yourself at the same time. Some of my favorite parks in north Georgia include Sweetwater Creek in Lithia Springs, Red Top Mountain in Emerson, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield in Marietta, Cloudland Canyon, and Amicalola Falls.

5. Colorful leaves are peaking a little later this year, at least in Georgia, so it’s not too late to hit the backroads for an afternoon drive. I love to put on a relaxing playlist and get away from the city. There are days my Spotify app is my best friend, especially on days I want to escape.

6. When we traveled out west this past summer we discovered a charming little town in Wyoming called Chugwater (population 200). There, in a charming soda fountain we had our first taste of Chugwater chili. It’s definitely chili season and we are enjoying making Chugwater chili in our kitchen. Check out this small company for yourself. You will not be disappointed …. and by supporting a small USA business your seasoning won’t be stuck on a cargo ship in the ocean.

7. Take some time to plan out your Thanksgiving holiday. There is no worse feeling than for the week of Thanksgiving to arrive and the stress takes over.

Are you going somewhere for the day? What are you preparing? How will you transport your dish? What will you serve it in?

Are you staying home and hosting? Are you splitting the menu or doing it all yourself? China or paper plates? What will you serve? Do you have enough serving dishes?

We are celebrating Thanksgiving with my extended family as always for Thanksgiving this year, but then my in-laws will be coming here for the weekend, which means I have to get my act together. I’ll share a few of my tips to help you organize in the next few days!

8. It’s the season for traditions. Even though we are empty nesters, we are looking forward to our annual viewing of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. You are never too old for Charlie Brown and this classic gives me the warm fuzzies every year!

9. Speaking of traditions, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is a favorite while at my parents every year. I adored watching it as a child, loved watching with my children and now enjoy sharing that special time on Thanksgiving morning with my nieces and nephews.

10. Finally, I’m actually looking ahead to December. This adult Advent calendar from Bonne Maman makes me look forward to breakfast the entire holiday season. Next to my own homemade jellies and jams, these are my absolute favorite! Order now because they sell out every year!

via Bonne Maman

I also ordered this fantastic devotional book from the “queen of Christmas” Candace Cameron Bure, Bring On the Merry. This interactive devotional book encourages you to pause daily during what is usually a chaotic season and remember why we celebrate the season. I found my copy on the Dayspring website, but I know Amazon has it as well.

I hope your November is off to a good start, and I hope you didn’t mind the sharing of our life update along with our plans for the season. It’s been a weird couple of years, and my goal for this year to to bring the normal. Peace, love, joy and family. That is all.

September 11: 20 Years Later

It’s been 20 years.

Twenty years since I dropped my oldest daughter off for school and drove home with our other three little ones.

Kennesaw Mountain Field of Flags: one for each person killed on 9/11/2001 plus 13 extra at half mast for the Marines, Sailor & Soldier killed in Kabul two weeks ago.

Twenty years since I heard the breaking news of a plane flying into Tower one of the World Trade Center as we were just minutes from our house.

Twenty years since I rushed into the house and turned on the news only to watch in horror as a plane flew into Tower Two on live TV.

Twenty years since the stories of hijacked planes rang in my ears as I hugged my three little ones.

Twenty years since a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Twenty years since brave men and women stopped a plane from crashing into another target, but lost their lives in a field in Pennsylvania.

Twenty years since I checked my oldest out of school.

Twenty years since I called my husband nonstop while he was working out of town on a construction project. He didn’t know and I begged him to come home.

Twenty years since my daddy opened the doors of the church building and brought the community together for hours of prayer for lives lost, our nation, our government.

Twenty years since we held hands and hugged necks of strangers in our community because we were all shocked, saddened and confused.

Twenty years and my heart breaks for these families and our nation now as much as it did then. It doesn’t seem that long, yet here we are.

A lot has happened in twenty years. My babies are grown. They remember. They’ll always remember, just as I do. That day impacted their lives forever and helped mold them into the young adults they are today. They grew up in a different world than I did. We talked a lot about how the world changed after 9/11. As I said, we have not forgotten.

Unfortunately many of our nation have forgotten and we are not very United. I do not feel very secure and do not trust our government. 9/11 was tragic, but I miss 9/12.

Do you remember?

10 Things September

September has arrived and is barreling through like a freight train! I need it to slow down just a little as we are entering into my favorite season of the year and I want to enjoy every moment as much as possible. Not only do we get to celebrate the end of summer and begin decorating for autumn, I’m doing a wedding cake (its been quite a while) in just a few days, and we are just six weeks away from the arrival of our first grandbaby.

So many exciting things coming up for sure.

But, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. First, we must enjoy September and here are ten things on my to-do list for the season.

1 – It’s not to late at all to Visit a Flower farm. Did you know 80% of American flowers are imported? It’s time we quit shopping for out of season florals and support our local flower farms. Recently I spent time at Posie Fields in Roswell and enjoyed every last minute of seeing this local flower farm in action. If you aren’t a fan of dirt and bugs, check out you local Saturday farmers market. You are sure to find a local grower there!

2 – Celebrate the end of summer with a delightful girl’s luncheon. My girlfriend Tami, recently hosted a lovely nautical themed luncheon on Lake Lanier. Decorate the table and choose food to fit your theme. If you don’t have time to “do it all” consider hiring out one or more of your party elements. Royal Tea Picnics is a local business here in Atlanta who will create the perfect scene for your next dinner. Time with friends is precious and should be treated special.

Royal Tea Parties did a fabulous job on the table decor!

3 – Attend a 9/11 Memorial near you. This year marks 20 years since our country was violently attacked by terrorists killing thousands and sending us into a war that ended with tragedies as well. We should never forget and take time to honor those who were killed or gave themselves in sacrifice. From diginified memorials to climbing stairs as many of our first responders did that day, there are plenty of ways to “Remember” the anniversary.

Kennesaw Mountain Field of Flags honoring those killed on 9/11

4 – Take a late summer hike. Get outside. It’s good for your health, both physically and mentally. Here in metro-Atlanta I love going over to Kennesaw Mountain or Sweetwater Creek to hit a trail, but my favorite trail in at Foster Falls SP in Sequatchie,Tennessee.

Beautiful Foster Falls State Park

5 – Indulge in pumpkin spice. Yes, I am one of those girls, but y’all I really do love all things pumpkin! Whether you hit up Starbucks for a cold brew or whip up you own at home, take time to savor and enjoy. Add a pumpkin cupcake or muffin for an even more delightful treat.

If you want to make your own pumpkin spice coffee check out my recipe here.

6 – Decorate for fall. Go all out with mums and pumpkins and wreaths and witches hats…. Decorate to match you home or just have fun and keep it whimsical. There are no rules to decorating for holidays; just have fun & give the neighbors reason to talk.

7 – Tis the season for the county fairs to begin! Load up and head out for an evening of rides, exhibits, and competitions while celebrating summer’s end.

Gwinnett, Georgia County Fair

8 – If you want something bigger than the county fair, head down to Walt Disney World and Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival. Purchase a gift card to make life easier (cashless and touch-free) and enjoy delectable tastes from Around the World throughout the park! You might find a new taste you enjoy or inspiration to be creative in your own kitchen.

9 – I’m loving Bath & Body Works Sweater Weather candle. It’s still fairly hot in Georgia, but when I light a couple of candles and fix a cup of tea … I feel fall in the air!

10 – Lastly, take time for tea (or coffee). We stress ourselves out so easily with busyness, news, and the like so take time to unwind, gather your thoughts and relax. I’m loving Tevana’s Lavender Citrus tea. Add a little fresh lavender and honey to your cup and curl up with a good book. No one can take away your stress but yourself. Take time to do things to create peace in your life.

I found my Tevana at our local Ingles … and for a delightful read, pick up a copy of Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell

What is on you agenda for September? Let me know in the comments!

Creating a Whimsical Nursery

I love a good DIY project to add personality or character to our home, but with my traditional and eclectic (I was Grand Millennial before it was cool) design style I’ve never thought someone would ask for my help decorating in any shape, form or fashion.

This especially includes one of my daughters asking for help, because all three of them lean towards rustic and farmhouse style which just baffles me to no end.

Then, came a baby announcement. MacKenzie Grace and her hubby are expecting our first grandbaby in October and let me tell you, we are over the moon excited! After they found out a sweet little girl is headed our way, Gracie immediately hit up Pinterest for some fabulous inspiration which led her to tip toe out of her comfort zone.

She asked my for help.

The room that has become the nursery was their office/catch-all room. It was the room which had been stressing Gracie out with its purple accent wall, sloppy baseboards. random mounted deer head and furniture that didn’t match itself. With little Mariah on the way the problem of the extra room has been solved and we have finished all we can until after her baby showers. So, what have we done?

First, I let her and Michael clean the room out (my cleaning up after kids days are over). Many of the things in the space were leftovers from before they were married and didn’t fit into “their” home. These items they donated, sold and packed up what they didn’t need, or finally found a permanent space for them in their home.

BEFORE
The poang chair is getting new life so that it matches the nursery

After the great clean up they headed to Lowes to pour over paint samples. It was not surprising that they went very neutral and chose Valspar’s Swiss coffee for the walls. This was Michael’s first venture in painting, and he did a great job prepping the room. He patched holes and taped the trim and all so we could hit the walls and get them finished in one weekend. We had chosen a paint and primer in one, hoping to make the paint process go a little quicker, as well as give better coverage over stained walls; especially that purple wall! While the plain walls covered nicely, it took three coats to get that purple covered!

After the walls were dry we took the carpet shampooer and went over the floors twice, to make sure they carpets were clean and refreshed. Gracie took care of ordering the nursery furniture (Delta Children) from Target which we assembled the following weekend. I painted a bookcase with a similar color to the crib and dresser and we placed everything where they wanted it to go. Then we let the room set several weeks, just to make sure the first steps were successful.

This is where Gracie surprised me.

She decided that a wallpaper mural/accent wall was just what the nursery needed. Now me? As old-fashioned as it may be, I love a beautifully patterned wallpaper; but my GenZ daughter?!?!…

My heart did little fluttery flip-flops with joy!

Today’s wallpaper comes in every look you can imagine, from classic, neutral or minimalistic to bohemian, farmhouse and artsy. Digital printing has given way to huge changes helping make wallpaper relevant again in today’s design trends. There are so many great color palettes available and pattern size is giving way to bold and vibrant rooms. I didn’t expect her to go all English Country, which would have given me great joy, but I was so excited to see her playfully whimsical choice: a pattern she picked from Photowall called Summertime.

Photowall is one of these fabulous new companies that is producing gorgeous digital wallpapers to fit every taste and style. It was so simple to order. Michael measured the wall that we were planning to cover with the mural. I went on to the Photowall website and entered those dimensions, adding a couple of inches for margin of error and contractor design flaws. We chose the premium paper with an extra matte finish. Photowall’s paper does not fade in sunlight, is scrape resistant, antireflective and suitable for cleaning products. It’s also environmentally friendly. All these things are important when putting together a child’s room. After we placed the order it was only a week and I had the product in my hands! Such a great turnaround time! Everything was going great.

Except I have never hung wallpaper in my life.

We called in the reserves.

Nana (my momma).

And we now had three generations bringing this nursery to life!

The wallpaper came with paste to mix, so all we needed were just a couple of supplies. We put plastic down over the carpet to keep paste from getting on the rug, purchased a 5 gallon bucket, a couple of paint brushes (choose high quality so you don’t have bristles in your paste; we used Purdy), a large sponge for smoothing out wrinkles and wiping off paste, and a sharp razor blade.

Now when I say wallpaper has changed, I wasn’t kidding. Photowall prints the wall paper to the specific measurements and numbers the strips in the order you should hang them on the wall. It arrived in one roll and we cut the strips and laid them in numerical order. We painted the paste directly on the wall and hung each sheet, perfectly coordinated to line right up. When the paper was all in place I took the razor blade and trimmed the excess from the bottom and corner. My mother was floored at how easy it was and I was shocked that I could have hung my first wallpaper without her expertise.

From prep to cleanup was two hours.

I absolutely adore the colors in this whimsical print! It almost looks painted on the wall and not wallpapered!

And just like that, we have the beginnings of a sweet nursery for a precious arrival.

Because every proper southern girl is raised a football fan.

From start to finish, the whole process of pulling this space together was fairly easy. This includes the ordering of and hanging the wallpaper! In fact the most difficult part of my Photowall experience was choosing the design (fun fact … you can upload a personal picture & have it made into wallpaper), and Gracie handled that! I will definitely use this company again when I’m ready for another room upgrade!

And now we all patiently wait until October …

If you are looking to upgrade a space in your home, take advantage of 25% off and use my code ohfiddledeedee25 at checkout for your own Photowall makeover!

FYI I was given the wallpaper mural in return for a review, but the opinions I shared are mine and I will definitely be using Photowall in my home again!