Tuesday, December 20, 2011

christmas decorating

tis the season to take down the thanksgiving decorations and put up the christmas ones. okay, so i'm a little late on doing a blog post about this topic because I'm sure most of you have had your christmas decor up for awhile now. forgive me. this has been a very stressful adventurous last few weeks for me. lots of changes, trials and opportunity for growth. more on that some other time and post.

let's start with my favorite, decorating the mantle. if you don't have a mantle to decorate then just hang up a large shelf and pretend that's your mantle. it will still look really cool and you can change up the decor for each season...or whenever you feel like it!

isn't this little guy cute?

i love silver (as if you couldn't tell) and i put in splashes of green. most of my decorations came from hobby lobby and michaels.

hanging christmas cards from a jute string gives the mantle a nice rustic touch.

and, of course, the main piece...the christmas tree!

a friend of mine gave me a trimming from her fresh cut christmas tree (i still use my fake one from years ago that i purchased at walmart. don't hate.) and i came up with this card holder.

and i LOVE this rosemary plant that I got from trader joe's. it looks like a miniature christmas tree and smells delicious. who knew?!

here are some other odds and ends that i have put together.

there are two things that i love about decorating my home for the holidays and any other time of the year. for one, it allows you to be creative. all of us have a creative side and it feels so good to get in touch with that part of yourself. and two, a warm and inviting atmosphere is created when you put your special touches to your home. people enjoy coming to your home and experiencing it.

so, there ya have it! my christmas decorating for 2011. i hope and pray all of you have a safe and blessed christmas and may we all remember why we celebrate this season. the birth of our sweet jesus. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

pumpkin patch

today was decidedly a field trip day for school. i rounded up a couple of other homeschool moms and we headed to one of my favorite places to go during the fall, the pumpkin patch. it was super cold out, but then it wouldn't have been the same if it would have been warm outside at a pumpkin patch, right?!

 we climbed hay bales and slid down slides.

and played in corn. i think this was the girls' favorite part of the whole trip. notice the corn and other foreign things in maleah's hair that took a lifetime to pick out. ugh!

a couple of the girls spent time shucking corn. silly girls!

we ended the day with "picking" the pumpkins. 

despite having to leave a little early because it started raining we had a fabulous time. i love field trip days!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Fall Y'all!

This is my absolute favorite time of year. There are so many things to love about Fall. The crisp coolness of the air, beautiful colors of the changing leaves, football, pumpkin patches and any type of food or drink with pumpkin in it. I LOVE all things pumpkin.

I also enjoy decorating my home for Fall. It makes me feel all cozy and happy.

It's always fun coming up with new and creative ways to show off the new seasons and holidays with decorating the fireplace mantel. Notice the the vintage books. I found those for 25 cents a piece at a thrift store. Score!

Here are a few other odds and ends. One of the easiest and least expensive way to add some Fall'ish deco to your home is to add mini pumpkins and gourds throughout the house.

I love this little guy. So cute! It's called a miniature pumpkin tree. I found him at Trader Joe's. I seriously doubt that those are real pumpkins but they sure look like it.

I made this wreath a few weeks back at a friends' wine and craft party. We all made wreaths to take home. Super fun!

And what would Fall be without all of the gazillion leaves that fall into your yard, especially in my neighborhood with all the old trees. Mike told Maleah he would pay her to rake up the leaves, but I actually like how they look.

This is a shot from my street in front of our house. I LOVE all the trees!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Letting go.

I knew this day would come. I mean, I can't hold on to him forever. I knew he would turn into a young man one day. I just didn't think that day would come this quickly. My first born is 19, almost 20.

Jarod has always wanted to travel and experience the world. He has been saying for the last couple of years he wants to take a road trip, but he wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. That would mean quitting his job--the only job he has ever had and that paid him well. That would also mean putting his Bible college studies on hold. He wrestled with this for quite some time, but finally came to realize that if he didn't do it now he would never do it. So the decision was made. He put his two weeks in at his job, he told his school that he was putting his studies on hold, and he got a dog. Yep, a dog, because he has been wanting one for awhile (unfortunately, his parents have not had this same desire) and he figured now would be a perfect time. The dog's name is Kota, as in Dakota. He is the sweetest dog I have ever met. He is totally attached to Jarod and cries and barks if he can't be by his side.


Jarod has been gone for a couple of days now on this journey. He doesn't know how long he'll be gone. Maybe 2 weeks...maybe 2 months. His travels will include South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, California, and Texas. I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous. I wish I would have done something like this when I was younger, before kids and marriage. That's okay. I can live vicariously through my children.

Even though I miss my son, I am excited for him. I know this will be an amazing, life-changing experience. He will meet new people, see new places, and find things out about himself that he doesn't already know.

It's hard for me, not being able to know exactly what he's doing. Or know that I can see him whenever I want to. Or call him and tell him to bring me home some Chocolae Haagen Dazs ice cream. He isn't even staying in hotels. Just sleeping under the stars in his camping gear. Oh Lord protect him. Make sure he is eating enough. And brushing his teeth. And washing out his underwear clothes, even if it is in a river.

I'm so proud of Jarod. He has turned out to be a fine, young man. He is a deep thinker. He is compassionate. He is gifted in music and art. He loves nature. He has a tender heart. He loves people. And most importantly, he loves God. What more could a mom possibly ask for. I'm so proud of him. I love you, son! See you when you get home.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simple, Easy, Best Salad Ever!

I like salad. It's so versatile and can easily be a used as a complete meal. The combination of veggies, fruit, nuts, beans, etc. are endless. I have made many salads over the years. Some of my favorite toppings are peas, sunflower seeds, feta or goat cheese, cucumbers, beets--just to name a few. I must have variety in my foods because I get bored very easily. I guess that's why I am always trying something new in the kitchen. And I can't eat a particular dish too many times in a short period of time or I get tired of it...that is until I tried this particular salad. Let me first just say that this salad is ridiculously easy. I love that. And the homemade dressing that goes with it is to die for (not really, but I like the added dramatic affect). I have had no other salad for weeks since my friend turned me on to it. I can't take credit for this one. Nope. I owe it all to my BFF, Traci.

I love having friends that share a passion for healthy cooking like I do!

Okay, so now that you are all wondering how the heck to make this simple yet glorious salad, here it is:


start off with spinach

then add feta, walnuts, and raisins

Toss these ingredients with the following homemade dressing:

Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
pinch of dried oregano
freshly crushed garlic

Don't worry about the measurements. Just play with it and adjust it to your taste.
One of my favorite ways of eating this salad is with grilled chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice and whatever other seasonings you like; along with quinoa mixed with sauteed onion and mushroom. Are you hungry yet? Good. Now get to cooking up this deliciousness and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicago Vacation

We had a great vacation in the windy city of Chicago. This is my first time visiting this amazing city and I loved it. And what made it extra special was my in-laws met up with us. Can I just say, I have the best in-laws! They are tons of fun to be around and are just darn good people.

As soon as we checked into the hotel I knew it was going to be a good vacation-simply because I liked the hotel. You see, I have this thing for hotels. They basically gross me out, and if they are not super clean and up to date then I have a hard time staying in them. This hotel was very modern and nice and had lots of amenities. But, of course, I still brought my own bedding and my super-duper-homemade-germ killer spray (aka vinegar and essential oils) which I use to douse everything upon immediate arrival of the room.

We woke up Sunday morning and I made a quick run to Trader Joe's. This was my first time in one of these stores and I am counting down the days (9 days) until we get one here in KC. Then all of us took the train to downtown. This was quite the experience trying to figure out which one to get on, which one to change over to and where to get off. I'm sure it was quite the site watching all 14 of us maneuver our way through the city.

You know, I thought I lived in a fairly big city. Whateva! KC ain't got nothin' on Chicago. There is so much to do and see in Chicago. And please forgive me for saying this, but I noticed right away that people are much more in shape here. There were so many bike riders, roller bladers, boat riders, walkers, etc. It made me wish I lived in a more walkable city.

We visited the Navy Pier, which is one of the city's biggest attractions. I loved seeing the beautiful lake. It was huge.  We got to take a fairy ride to cross the lake. We also rode rides in the carnival area and played a game of miniature golf. Maleah and Jarod had a great time. I think it made Jarod want to move to a bigger city.

Maleah and Uncle Charlie

Michaela, Mike's daughter, also flew in from Mississippi. We don't get to see her very often so it was nice that she was able to be with us. Maleah loves her big sis.
Maleah and Michaela

My bro-in-law, John, took us to eat at this AMAZING vegan/vegetarian restaurant in an area of the city called Lakeview. What a funky, artsy fun area. The food at this place was crazy good. It was funny watching the non-vegetarian family members try to order something off of the menu. I kept hearing, "What the heck is that?" and "I'm not eating that!" But everybody ended up really liking what they ordered. I thought it was so great that everyone ventured out and tried something new.

And, of course, if there's an Ikea in the city I'm going! I simply cannot understand why we don't have one. Maybe that's a good thing, though, because I would have to practice the art of restraining, something that doesn't come easy to me.

grubbin' at Ikea

Here we are saying our good-byes. I hated having to tell them good-bye. Once a year is just not enough time to spend with loved ones. But I am super grateful that we got to take this trip and am looking forward to doing it again.

me and Mom Grigsby