15 Ways to Brighten a Winter Day

Happy New Year and Happy Ground Hog’s Day as well! As has become my tradition, I took most of December and January off to enjoy family time and organize myself for this new year! We are welcoming February with high winds, rain and a nice little cold front here in North Georgia. While Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow up north, General Beau, Georgia’s own groundhog apparently did not.

{Rumor has it he wasn’t awake enough to see much of anything!}

Regardless of whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring, the American calendar does confirm we have 6 weeks until the official first day of Spring. Whether it’s rainy, snowy or just plain ugly as winter days can often be, winter is not the most popular season.

With that in mind, I thought I would share Fifteen ways to brighten up your winter days.

1. Plant winter color – pansies, violas, crocus … all of these beautiful options are delightful in a couple of porch or patio containers during the season when everything is so dreary looking.

2. Go for a winter walk or hike. Bundle up if you must, but even just a few minutes in the outdoors on a sunny day improves your mood drastically!

3. Make a savory pot of stew. Simple, filling, homey, cosy … a pot of stew not only warms you up (and lasts through a couple of meals), but evokes wonderful memories of winter at home.

4. Plan out your spring and summer gardens. While you’re at it, order a few seeds as well!

5. Refinish a piece of furniture. Hit up a thrift store or Facebook marketplace and find an inexpensive project piece to keep you busy.

6. Open up the curtains and blinds and let the light in. Natural light (not the beer) is a known mood booster!

7. Set aside a few minutes daily for quiet time. Whether you read, close your eyes while listening to classical music, or really enjoy sipping your morning coffee choose a time of day for refocusing your mind and disconnecting from everyday stress.

8. Volunteer. Shelters and food kitchens all over are desperate for help right now. Even just one afternoon a week can make a huge difference in someone’s life, including your own.

9. Visit a local museum or other historical venue. This is a great way to get to learn your community or region. You might be surprised at what you find out about where you live!

10. Grow indoor plants or try your hands a forcing a bloom or two.

11. Visit the Georgia Coast. Carry a bike, a beach picnic, and enjoy a romantic weekend away in the Spanish moss of Jekyll Island.

12. Have a tea party for one or for several, it really doesn’t matter. Just turn off your phone and television, light some candles, find a Nancy Meyers inspired (think The Holiday, It’s Complicated, Father of the Bride, or Home Again) playlist on Spotify, and serve up a delightful afternoon of “chick” food, tea and conversation or a good book. There is no wrong way to enjoy tea!

13. Have a winter picnic. Pack plenty of blankets, and get creative with your menu. From a location where you can build a bonfire to soup served straight from the thermos there are many ways to enjoy this unique picnic.

14. Exercise. Winter is a great time to begin an exercise program. Not only will it boost your endorphins and your mood (‘happy people don’t kill their husbands” …. name that movie), you’ll feel better in the spring and summer when you bring out the shorts.

15. Set your goals for the year. I made this last for a reason; not everyone has goals or even knows what their goals are! For some people this is high priority, for others it is not, and guess what?! That is perfectly alright! The United States is a fast-paced goal driven society, but sometimes just living in the moment and seeing where it takes you is just as satisfying as checking off something on a list.

Is there anything different you would add to this list? I would love to hear your ideas!

Until next time, create a bright spot in your little corner of winter.

5 Tips To Help With Your Move

In the twenty-six years since we married, Audley and I have moved fifteen times. Job transfers, outgrowing arrangements, local and far away; we done it all. Most recently we moved last summer, during the height of the pandemic, 90 miles across the city as long hours plus the ridiculous drive was wearing Audley out.

I would like to think we’ll never move again, but with the industry Audley works in as well as our kiddos scattered in other states, it is very likely we’ll move again sometime in the future.

If you’ve ever moved you know exactly how stressful and exhausting the entire process is. We’ve made each move a little differently, but one thing for sure is I’m getting pretty good at making sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.

Moving is intimidating, but there are ways to minimize the stress with these few tips that have worked well for us over the years.

1. Organize. Get a 5×7 notebook with divider tabs and pockets; make it your guide for your move. In this notebook you want to have your first page saved for your dates of new job starting, when you need to list your house, and when you need to move, along with any other date that is involved with this move. Make notes regarding home tours, deposits, school info, phone numbers of realtors, disconnecting utilities, transferring cable and internet. Write down a plan for packing and mark off each task once completed. In the folder keep a copy of your kids transcripts for transferring schools. Make sure you have copies of their immunization records, and sports physicals if needed. If you are leaving the state this will make it easier for the doctor’s office to transfer to whatever form the new state requires. There is nothing worse than misplacing those items while moving. Having a set location in a book you should have at your fingertips at all times, works great!

2. Clear the clutter. DO NOT, and I emphasize again, DO NOT take clutter and chaos with you. As you walk your house and look at what needs to be packed, start a list of what needs to go. This is the perfect time to clean out closets, toyboxes, desks, filing cabinet, and the garage. If your hanging on to jeans hoping they’ll fit again, but you haven’t even started eating healthy or exercising, let the jeans go. If you’ve not worn a shirt or dress in over a year, let it go. If you have collected free shirts from every race, gym, or school event, weed them out and let some go. If you’re hanging onto warranty papers for products you don’t even own anymore or tax records from 2005 … let them go.

When we moved from South Carolina back to Georgia four years ago I found boxes that had not been unpacked the entire six years we were in Carolina. I opened them, surveyed the contents and most all of the boxes were things that could be donated or even trashed. I know we treasure our kids artwork, school papers and the like, but guess what? When they are adults they don’t want it. In fact they don’t care. How many times do you look at that first story that was written in 1st grade or that Christmas picture from 3rd grade? I’m as sentimental as you get, but there is a time that you’ve got to decide whether sentiment is worth the space, mess or boxes.

3. Purchase your boxes and packing supplies. I know it’s an unwanted expense, but with the way grocery stores open and break down boxes, getting quality ones is actually quite difficult. When you purchase your boxes you can find them in uniform sizes made specific for what you are packing; ie. book boxes, dish kits, hanging clothes, etc.. Bubble wrap and dish protectors are absolutely worth investing in. No one wants to open up the glasses that were wrapped in newspaper to find half of them are broken. Also, no one want to carry a box you’ve packed with 150 pounds of books.

4. Have a method for packing. Knock out the less used, decorative items and non-essential items first. This includes books, picture frames, ginger jars, toys, extra bedding and holiday dishes. Make sure other holiday decorations are well packed for traveling. How disappointing would it be to get out you decor and discover your blown glass ornaments are shattered. As you get closer to moving day, go ahead and empty the closets of shoes and clothes that you really do not need. You do not want to still be packing when a moving van arrives. The family can live minimally for a few weeks. This is also the time to not buy groceries and a great time to cook creatively using ingredients from the freezer and pantry that you’ve accumulated.

Label every box. Write what is in the box and what room it belongs in. This makes the unloading and sorting process so much easier.

Have a method for unpacking as well. Go backwards and unpack the necessities first and end with the decorative and fun stuff that helps make a house a home. If you open a box … empty and put away the entire box. You do not want half-emptied boxes all through your house.

Pro Tip: if you can budget it, hire packers. Many moving companies have this service and honestly I have never had a single regret when we’ve used packers. They are fast, efficient and professional. There is no running to the store for extra tape, boxes or materials. They are prepared and ready to work.

5. Hire a reputable moving company to do the heavy stuff. Let’s face it, moving is exhausting, and more so now than our first move back when we first married. I stay sore a whole lot longer. Moving is hard. Moving furniture is hard. Choose your hard. Me? I’ll let some young, strapping guys load and unload the heavy stuff any day of the week.

Moving Solutions, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee is great option when you are planning your next big move. They offer a variety of services to help you including relocating long distance in the Nashville and surrounding area, and offer both commercial along with local moving.

This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and tips are my own based on all the crazy experiences we have had over the years.

10 Things August

Would someone please explain to me how it is August already?  I know I’ve been absent on the blog (I stay much more active on my social media), but where has this year gone?

In an effort to share a few going-ons in our life, I thought I would share ten things that I’m loving right now as well as give you an idea into our year!  Who knows, maybe this will become a permanent addition to the blog.

 1. It’s farmer’s market season and I love visiting our little local, Saturday market here in Cartersville.  Audley & I do very little grocery shopping during the summer, choosing to focus on supporting local farmers and small businesses.  If you have a chance, check out your own local markets.  Eliminate the middle man and find much better quality food to enjoy!

2. Hit the outdoors and enjoy a waterfall hike.  Our health is one of the most precious things we have, and it’s up to us to protect and nourish our health.  One way to do this is get outside more, taking in natural Vitamin D, breathing in fresh air, and exercising our body, both internal and external.  The North Georgia Mountains are abundant with waterfalls to choose from, but I’m sure there is one near you as well.

Helen, Georgia

3. One of my resolutions this year was to dig a little deeper into Bible Study.  I am loving Candace Cameron Bure’s devotional books geared towards women.  From dealing with our own brokenness that we often don’t want to face, to discovering power in kindness, these little studies are simple yet impactful.  I found my copies on Amazon and  Dayspring and they are definitely worth investing in.

4. Another resolution I had for this year was to write more personal notes and remembering to send cards.  This beautiful stationary from American Stationary really makes that goal easy, as I love the beautiful colors and textures of the paper.  

5. Graphic tee-shirts for all occasions are all the rage right now, no matter your age.  I love these cute shirts from Kelley & Co.  Of course when your daughter is Kelley & Co you can’t help but love her work as well!  Check her out on Facebook or Instagram

Less News, More Nature
Girls trip anyone?

6. I have 6 pounds of fresh huckleberries arriving  tomorrow, so its time for a little jam session.  Huckleberries aren’t native for us here in Georgia, but hopefully the ones arriving from Idaho will satisfy my craving for this sweet berry!

7. Head out one Saturday morning to catch sunrise on the lake/river/creek/secluded field with someone special.  A thermos of coffee, fresh donuts, and a blanket are all you need for this inexpensive but romantic date.  Audley and I love taking our canoe out for sunrise, but believe me, a blanket and viewing point are all your need!

8. From Kindergarten on I’ve maintained a summer reading list every year.  I may not earn a free personal pan pizza or tickets to an Atlanta Braves baseball game any longer, but the satisfaction of finishing another great read is great in itself!  This summer I’ve finished Mary Kay Andrews The Newcomer, The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House by Adrian Tinniswood, When the Astors Owned New York by Justin Kaplin, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Nancy Schoenberger and Sam Kashner, Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, and The Glitter & The Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt.  I also purchased several books about Laura Ingalls Wilder while on our road trip (see my social media) last month that I can’t wait to dive into.

9. Summer gardens are at their peak and even beginning to fade away, so now is the time to plan and organize your fall garden/container gardens with cooler weather vegetables.  Start your seeds for sugar peas, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, parsley and the like for fresh veggies through the next season.  Hopefully some of the summer heat will begin to loosen its grip soon and help make for a productive winter. 

10. Finally, if you don’t know already, I’m going to be a grandmother in just two months!  It’s a girl!  I’ve spent several weekends up in South Carolina helping Gracie and Michael pull together the nursery this summer using paint and *gasp* wallpaper.  The color scheme is just beautiful and I’m loving this gorgeous mural from Photowall that pulls everything together.  It adds so much color and personality to this sweet room.  I can’t wait to see everything completely arranged after her showers.

I hope August is full of simple pleasures and you find joy in the small things as we roll through the last days of summer!

A Luxurious Spa Day at Home

Who doesn’t love a trip to the spa or a long, luxurious soak in the tub? Whether you’re living the Mom-life, Wife-life, the Work-life or all of the above, one thing is for sure: we all need some time for ourselves for self-care in order to detox, rest and rejuvenate. Imagine if you could do that without ever leaving the house, feeling guilty or spending a fortune?!

Luxury at home / ohfiddledeedee.com

By far one of my favorite ways to detox is to prepare a hot bath and let my cares wash away. This has become a once-a-week thing for me over the last couple of years and honestly it’s one of the best things I’ve done! You can create a spa-like environment in your own bathroom to escape in the evening after the kids are in bed or while hubby is watching reruns of M*A*S*H or sleeping through that Hallmark channel you were watching together. Leave him snoring on the couch and grab a few things from the kitchen to elevate your bath game and soak away!

Spa Day at Home / ohfiddledeedee.com

The beauty of a bath is you can make it as simple or as fancy as you like. Sometimes just the fragrance of bubbles and music will soothe the soul, but sometime I love the visual as well as sensual appeal of a bath. Fresh fruits, bath salts and even milk can change your bath game.

Create your own Spa Day / ohfiddledeedee.com

Ingredients for my latest soothing bath were oh so simple: almond milk, citrus slices, Dr Teals salts, fresh flowers, candles, and music. Oh! I forgot the tea! That’s it. Things I seem to always have on hand and things that appeal to my senses.

Spa Day Ingredients / ohfiddledeedee.com

To prepare this sweet bath I put on a playlist consisting of the contemporary jazz sounds of Diana Krall and Harry Connick, Jr, filled the tub with water as hot as I could stand, swirled the milk, bath salts together in the water, then floated the citrus slices and roses on top. Go on and squeeze a little of the citrus juices into the water as well. I use Dr. Teals Himalayan salts for this because they have a citrus undertone that really pairs well with the citrus slices! Finally, I lit candles that complimented the fragrance of the salts and citrus before sliding in to relax with on oversized cup of Celestial Sleepytime tea.

Spa Day at Home / ohfiddledeedee.com

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The beauty of this bath is you can change up the “ingredients “ to suit your own senses! If you like lavender, pair it with roses. Try peppermint and eucalyptus. There are many options, and you can even find a tea to compliment all of these combinations.

Tea and a soak / ohfiddledeee.com

 

Bathtime / ohfiddledeedee.com

That’s all it takes for a little slice of relaxation in this crazy time. Treat yourself and remember self care is important. You can’t take care of your family if you’re running on empty. Thirty minutes to detox isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. Savor the moment and you’ll be amazed how much this time will do you good.

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