Monday, December 29, 2008

when the house is too quiet...

I was in the home office answering a few emails, when things got very quiet. Too quiet. I went on a hunt through the house for Bear, who, at 13 months, is into everything. I found him sitting on the kitchen floor, a mouthful and fistful of catfood, with bits of food all around him on the floor. The cat was watching him disdainfully from her perch on the kitchen table. At least he left her a gift in return. I'm sure she needs a USB camera cord, right?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Hi, everybody! You might be joining me here from Boomama's Tour of Homes. Happy to have you here! I'm Danielle, and I'm a happy wife and mama in Mississippi. I had every intention of participating in this little tour last year, but having a baby just a few weeks before the event kind of took over! I'm happy to play along this year, though, and can't wait to look around at all the pretties you have posted! Come on in!

~ ~ ~
This happy Santa stands on our front porch, welcoming you into our home.

In the living room is our big tree. I highly recommend the pre-lit kind. ;)

(I'm always looking for excuses to get my two fellas under that mistletoe!)

~ ~ ~

We have lots of fun little goodies in the den and kitchen. Here are a few of my favorites.

This turquoise bowl was a wedding gift, and I love using it to hold ornaments.An angel stands watch over it.

I know the Little People Nativity set is for kids, but we're having fun with it this year. Bear can play with it next year. :) We don't eat many cookies, so our Santa cookie jar fills his bag with pretty ornaments instead.
One of my favorite corners of our kitchen holds this cheese plate with our last-name initial. I like it so much I might just leave it up all year! Our sweet Bear's room has his very own Nativity!

Full disclosure time: Our living room is not quite as neat and put-together as it might appear in the other photos. I love a good macro shot! If you were to come over most days, this is what you would see. Life with a boy is the messiest and most fun thing in the world!

But forget the mess and just let our Elf on a Shelf wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Noticing the little everyday things...

The wise men arrived at the Nativity in Tonka trucks, right?

See more everyday moments here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Journaling Christmas - the setup

I read several scrapbooking and stamping blogs for inspiration, and saw an idea on one that caught my attention. The challenge was to journal and scrap everything you can about Christmas this year, from December 1 until January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). The challenge cost $30 to join and included prompts, layout sketches and access to discussion among other scrappers. Well, I know how to keep a journal and how to scrapbook, so I don't need to pay somebody $30 to tell me what to do! It's a great idea and I'll make it personal by doing it all my own way.

The first order of business was finding a suitable journal for the project. I didn't want something too small or fancy, and I didn't want a traditional scrapbook. I wanted this to be something that could bear my handwriting mistakes proudly and would end up stuffed with photos, embellishments and trinkets from the season. This is Bear's second Christmas, but the first he'll really be aware of, and I don't want to miss a thing.

I happened upon this journal at Target, and it's absolutely perfect. It's 8x8, spiral-bound, and has lined pages. There are even some heavy cardstock pages with pockets for storing bits of things that won't fit on the page. And at $2.79, it was a complete steal. I bought two others but might see if they still have a few more. There's so much that can be done with these journals!

(Aren't my placemats cute? I practically stole them from Kohl's. I got four of them for $2.00!)

My personal challenge is to journal and scrap every little thing about Christmas this year. I started the day of my son's birthday (which was the day before Thanksgiving), because Christmasy things happened that day. I think I'll finish on whatever day we put away our decorations. I hope to carry my camera with me everywhere, and if I see pretty decorations or something festive, I'll snap a photo and write about it. We have concerts, parties, lots of good food and a sweet baby's excitement to capture. I want to remember it all!

It's not too late to do this if you want to. Just find a journal and start writing. Your decorations haven't been up too long, so snap a few pictures of them and write about the experience. Did one of your kids break a pretty glass ornament? Write about it! Have you tucked into the eggnog already? Journal it! is there an awfully gaudy house in your neighborhood? Sneak out at night and take its picture! If you're not a scrapbooker, who cares? Just have fun.

Be present this Christmas. Remember it all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Totally rad!

My mom is a total hoot.

My husband and I have been taking a photo of the Bear every day in 2008. I upload them all to my Flickr account, and my mom looks at them faithfully each night and comments on them. Here's tonight's photo, with oh-so-clever cropping:

Her reply?

Hey Dude, Those red socks are the bomb!

She cracks me up!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

more autumn decor

Despite the fact that it's hovering close to 85 today, I am welcoming the first day of autumn with a little house-sprucing. I'm not going to show you the coffee table that's never cleaned off, or the piles of laundry that haven't learned how to wash or put away themselves. Nooo. None of that. I'm going to show you my little bits of fun. Showing off your home decor is all about creative staging, girls. Nobody has to know about the clutter. We all have beautiful, Southern Accents worthy show homes if we know how to use the macro setting on our cameras.

Enough with the chatter that my husband will never read.

I'm kind of tickled about this. I took a heavy crystal cake plate (read: useless but pretty wedding gift) and turned it upside down. On the base I set this happy little pumpkin, which I think was originally purchased at Hobby Lobby for my classroom a few years ago. It needed a little something else, so I pulled out some pretty picks I got last year and arranged them around the upturned plate. Voila!

Is a pineapple a summer thing? Don't tell me. I don't care if it is. My mom gave her to me when we bought our house, and she usually sits on the mantle. The hurricane is filled with little pinecones I picked up on the playground of the church where I work. I'd be some kind of fool to pay $5.00 for a bag of pinecones when I can spend a few minutes picking them up, dumping them in a Walmart bag, and washing them off at home for free. I am cheap, y'all.

Yes. I like pineapples. This is usually on my mantle, too. The pitcher is Gail Pittman (any self-respecting Southern girl knows who Gail Pittman is) from my days as a Southern Living at HOME rep. My mom got the little bird for her yard but never used it, so she gave it to me. It has a friend around here somewhere.

I know they're awfully trendy, but I love me some white pumpkins. This one came from Hobby Lobby. Of course. I hear the Dollar Tree has some cute ones, so I might get a few and spray-paint them white. I need more pumpkins!

What, you've never seen a little bird in a compote bowl before? Well, here you go. I got him on clearance at the end of spring this year at Pier 1, and the bowl is also from Southern Living At HOME. It would appear I have a thing for birds, too. Hmm.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to have cute things, nor do you have to decorate the same way every year. My autumn decor was completely different last year, using mostly the same stuff. I haven't spent a penny out of pocket this year, but everything feels fresh and new to me. I love making our home comfortable and pretty on tiny or non-existent budgets. That's much more satisfying to me than spending big dollars on high-ticket items. Where's the fun in that?

Anyone reading who's decorated, leave your links here! I love looking at other people's homes and need to do a better job of showing mine off here!

Happy fall!!


I loooove autumn. It is by far my favorite season. I know it seems weird to say this, as a bona fide Mississippi girl who loves her state fiercely, but I hate summer. I hate it! Every year I say I'm going to be positive and happy about it, but when it hits 102 in July and we know we've got two more months of misery to go, it is just not easy to be happy about that, girls.

I didn't have a nice wreath for my front door, so I decided to make one for myself. I had a grapevine wreath left over from an Easter project I never did. Last week, Hobby Lobby (every crafter's best friend) had their fall foliage 1/2 off, so I got a few things with a birthday gift card. I spent a total of $13 and change on that gift card and got to make what I wanted. I don't need to pay $50 for a wreath somebody else makes!

I'd never made a wreath before, but I didn't let that deter me. All it takes is a little poking here and shoving there, and you're good. I only used my trusty glue gun in a couple spots, too. I can add to or change anything I want next year! Easy! On to the pictures...

All the materials gathered together. Don't you love my sassy summer tablecloth and Wilton bowl full of baby toys? We do it fancy around here, y'all.

Dacey the cat. At this point, I still wasn't sure whether she'd really fit with the overall color scheme I was shooting for, but I was willing to give it a chance. She nestled herself in there so sweetly, after all.

Tearing apart the picks was awfully satisfying. And of course, I had to give in to my compulsive need to organize things and arrange it all by type. Stop looking at me with such a judgmental glare. I can stop organizing whenever I want.

More bits. Notice the real feather. One of my sweet baby girls at the church where I work Mothers' Morning Out gave that to me. I told her I'd put it in my fall wreath, and I keep my promises! The yellow "feathers" were just 50 cents each when half off and added a fun pop of color.

I hate that phrase, "pop of color". But there's no better way to put it. It's color. That pops. Got something better? Let me know so I can start using it and eventually grow to hate it, too.

And here's the finished product! Please pretend my front door is black. It will be someday, because of the confused dog incident. Things will pop (argh) so much better on a black door. I think the wreath is pretty good, for my first attempt. Let's just pretend the wreath doesn't have a slight egg shape. Who knows, you might see it again in the spring covered in plastic Easter eggs! There's no telling what I might get up to.

Next up, little bits of autumn fun in my house!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 9, 10, 11, 12

Ack! I promise I haven't stopped being happy! I decided not to post Saturday and Sunday and then completely forgot about the happiness challenge! So here are the past few days in one post.

Saturday - Michael Phelps and his amazing skills as a swimmer make me happy. How could I not be thrilled watching him?

Sunday - An afternoon of rest and quiet with my favorite fellas made me so happy Sunday. After church, we rested and were lazy all day. It was great.

Monday - Rain, rain, rain! I'm a girl who loves a rainy day. It's been raining steadily since Sunday, and that makes me happy. The dark sky and cooler temperatures can almost convince me it's October!

Tuesday - I don't know anything about whitewater rafting other than just looking at it exhausts me, but watching Togo win its first Olympic medal ever? That's got to make anybody happy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 8

I'm just tickled for this guy!

Joshua Allen's win last night on So You Think You Can Dance made me so happy! I'd been rooting for him from the start, so I was all claps and happy tears when he won. All season long he's been consistently excellent, able to do anything the choreographers throw at him. He's untrained in every style, yet he looks like he's been dancing all these complicated styles his entire life. All I know about dance is how it makes me feel when I watch it. Watching Joshua makes me feel great. He seems to be a total sweetheart, and he credits his third grade teacher with encouraging him to try dancing. She was in the audience with his family, watching him win, and was absolutely sobbing! Gotta love that. I hope he has a bright future!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 7

I get so happy when I discover new music! Lately I've been listening to three really talented young ladies. Two things are remarkable about this. The first is that they're all considerably younger than I am - by a lot! And the second is that I rarely listen to female artists. My favorite has to be Imogen Heap, and she was pretty much alone in the female artist category for me until recently. Below are links to the MySpace pages of the three girls making me happy lately. Oh, as with most artists on MySpace, their music starts playing when you go to the page, so be ready if your speakers are turned up!

1. Adele - I've been listening to her for a while now. I think I first heard her song "Hometown Glory" when it was the free single of the week from iTunes. I got her album, 19, and I love every bit of it. She's from London and has a wonderful bluesy, folksy sound.

2. Duffy - Another one-named youngster, this one from Wales. Her song "Rockferry" is all over top 40 radio lately. I first heard her as iTunes' free single of the week, too!

3. Missy Higgins - I didn't know anything about her until this week when Courtney danced her solo to one of her songs on So You Think You Can Dance. She has two albums, On A Clear Night and The Sound of White. Lovely stuff.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 6

Today's been a long day full of traveling a total of three hours, helping my mom set up her classroom, trying to placate a sleepy and fussy baby, so the thing that will make me happiest just a few minutes from now is... sleep! ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 5

Taking photographs makes me happy. My husband and I are taking a photo of our son every day this year, and it's been so fun to watch how he's grown and changed since January. I love taking pictures of things in my home, trips we take, projects in progress... If there's a photo op, I'm there with my camera! I recently joined a photo challenge and created a photoblog to go along with it. I've made a few posts since starting, and I'm having a blast. It's a nice little mental challenge to come up with that day's subject. So click the link below and see what I've done so far!

Mississippi Mama Shoots!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 4

My sweet baby boy who is always a joy in public made me so happy today! We went to Hobby Lobby, just to walk around and get out of the house for a little while, and he babbled and cooed in his stroller the whole time. He never gets cranky or fussy (unless he's hungry!) when we're out together, and he always flirts with every lady he meets. He's just such an easy baby and we're so blessed by him. You make your mama proud and happy, Bear!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Help a sister out!

I'm not sure at all who's reading my blog. It might embarrass me to ask for input here and then get zero replies. That'll tell me nobody's reading!

Anyway, early this morning a sweet dog wearing a collar for an invisible fence wandered through our neighborhood. We're pretty sure he was lost. We had a storm last night and the power flickered a few times, so maybe his fence got zapped and he got away. I hope his "parents" find him, because he was a doll! But... he got a little confused and seemed to think our house was his house - which isn't surprising, because there are several houses in our neighborhood with our same design - and he sat at the front door and whimpered, and then started scratching.

Oh, mercy. I knew that door was just going to be scratched all to heck and need to be re-painted. My husband went out through the garage to shoo him away, because each time we opened the front door a crack to tell him to 'git, he stuck his face in the house and tried to come in! Really sweet dog, but I don't think our cat wants another pet. She's still not fully used to the baby. She hasn't yet let us know if we're allowed to keep him, so I don't want to mess up the balance with a big, snuffly dog.

So the door is indeed scratched and needs to be re-painted. I'm fine with that, because the only thing I didn't like about this house when we bought it was the color of the door. I've gotten used to it, but I'm sort of excited about the possibility of a change. Below are a few pictures of the area to give you an idea. I'd really love some input! Help!

The door. Voila. Our brick is red, roof shingles are black, vinyl siding is a dark taupe and garage door/trim are cream. I know I don't want the door and shutters to be black. I'm thinking a forest green. Thoughts? (Oh, and all the planters and plants are not standing up or hanging because of last night's storm. I didn't put them back up before taking photos! We are classy around here!)

And the shutters. I'd like the door and shutters to be the same color, because they're so close together. And yes, we'll fix the dented window screen. We had a tornado in April and a piece of our porch furniture hit it and knocked it out of place.

So tell me what you think about my forest green idea, please! Or let me know if you have a better idea. I'm looking forward to seeing if anybody's reading! I mean. Seeing what you have to say!

Happiness Challenge - Day 3

What makes me happy today is rain! We had a lovely, booming thunderstorm Friday morning that lasted over two hours. It was hot and sunny Saturday, but today, Sunday, has been another day of rain. It's gray and overcast, and I can almost pretend it's November or December when I look out the windows. I love what the rain is doing for my yard, too. I put my hanging potted plants from the front porch out Friday and let them soak it all up! My periwinkles, seen in the photo below, are just goin' to town. Rain always makes me happy, but especially when we haven't had enough and it's been hot enough to fry an egg on the driveway!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 2

What makes me happy today?


This does.

YAY! I just started reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books in June, but I can see why fans have been impatiently waiting for this fourth book. These books are so much fun and so well-written. I highly recommend them!

I reserved a copy at Borders last month, so I'll be there to pick it up as soon as the store opens this morning! I guess I could've gone to the midnight release party, but I'm a girl who values her sleep. Today, Edward Cullen and Breaking Dawn make me HAPPY!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happiness Challenge - Day 1

I'm not sure if the Happiness Challenge is an official bloggy carnival or what, but I'm going to try to do it. A friend of mine did it in her blog last year, so I'm totally going to copy her. Oh, yes.

The point of the Happiness Challenge is to post once a day in August, and post about something that makes you happy. Easy as that. So here goes. My first entry!


I'm going state the obvious today and say that on this first day of the month, as on every day of every month, my husband and son make me happy. For blogging purposes, I call them Hubband and Bear. Well, I call them that in real life, too. Convenient, yes? Both of them make me smile and laugh each day, and both of them make me want to be a better Christian, a better woman, a better wife and a better mama. Hubband and I have been married for almost two years. Bear is just over eight months old. I don't know what I did before they were around! I must have been so boring and pitiful! Dull as dishwater! But they're here now, and I pray they're always here. Today, and every day, my fellas make me happy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Works for Me: Greek Chicken

Today's Works for Me Wednesday is all about recipes using five ingredients or fewer. I'm all about fast, healthy and flavorful meals, so this is one I cook often. I found this originally a long time ago in Southern Living but have seen similar versions posted elsewhere online. Enjoy!

Greek Chicken

1. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (as many as you need)
2. one 16 oz. can of Italian style tomatoes, undrained
3. one 4 oz. can sliced black or kalamata olives, drained
4. chopped fresh basil, as much as you like (or its dried equivalent)
5. one tsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side
2. Add the tomatoes, olives, basil and vinegar and stir
3. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through
4. Serve chicken with tomato and olive mixture on top

Really, it's that easy! I serve this with a salad. You can add crumbled feta or another cheese to the top of the chickeny goodness, but that would be six ingredients. ;) It's very easy to make extra of this and put it in the fridge for lunch the next day. The flavors meld together and it tastes even better then!

See more Works for Me Wednesday posts at Rocks In My Dryer!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Best. Freebie. Ever.

Okay, I know I'm totally outing myself as a giant nerdy nerd, but I love getting freebies in the mail! I've gotten makeup, toothpaste, all sorts of skincare stuff, deoderant, food, coupons, CDs, seed packets and countless other nifty things, but this one is the best yet!

See those beautiful Ziploc Twist 'N Loc things? I am obsessed with those! About a month ago I tossed all of our random storage cartons in the trash and bought some of these babies. I got two sets of the small ones and one of the large. Well, now I have three sets of the small ones! Humor me, for I am easily amused! These are from the Clean Home Journal. I've requested it so many times and finally got it. I think this is one I requested back in April. There's also a free Glade Plug-In and a booklet full of coupons from Johnson (when did they drop '& Johnson'?).

You can always find lots more nifty freebies at fun places like Money Saving Mom, Freebies 4 Mom and Budget Helps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

deep breath...

I must really be brave, posting these photos for all the world to see! I decided to join everybody's fun and post before pictures of my bedroom and bathroom. This is even more of an incentive to get the work done. I don't want to be embarrassed come July 25!

First up, here's my lovely master bedroom. The room has some very good things going for it: it's big; we have a comfy queen bed; we're using my antique dressing table, bedside tables and chest of drawers; we love our bedding set and curtains; and we have room-darkening shades on the windows, so it's always cool and dark. Perfect for sleeping. Now for the bad.

Ooh, check it out, interwebs! Our headboard isn't even attached to the bed, for one thing! My husband brought it into the marriage, and I do hope he doesn't miss it when it finds its way to Craigslist soon and he finds himself at Miskelly's buying us a new one. Also, please note the baby poo brown walls. This must have been the default color for the house, because when we moved in, all but the kitchen was swimming in this unappealing color. And the kitchen had black prison stripes. Don't ask. Also, please note the beautiful splodge of blue paint next to the window. We got a pint (thankfully only that) of what we were sure was THE color. As you can see, it is definitely not. And doesn't any room look better with absolutely no pictures on the walls? I thought so, too, which is why it's been this way for a year. Gah.

Here's another view, looking into the bathroom/closet.

Don't you just love the lack of personal touches, and another splodge of light blue paint? Me, too.

Next we move into the bathroom. Control your excitement!

In a word: yawn. I don't even have the energy to snark it.

Seriously, though, I adore our house. It's perfect for us and we've had lots of fun decorating and settling in. It'll be even better once these rooms are fixed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BooMama's Before and After


Thank you, BooMama! You have no idea what a kick in the pants your little before and after carnival is to me.

My husband and I bought our house in May 2007. We got a little bit done then, and have gotten bits and pieces done since (despite having a new baby who arrived in November!) but have a lot left to be finished. I've been saying for weeks that I'm going to buy paint and get to it, so now I'm actually going to get to it! Here are my goals:

1. Paint and decorate the master bedroom
2. Paint and decorate the master bathroom
3. Paint both short hallways in our house and hang pictures
4. Frame husband's watercolor and hang it over the couch

There's more that needs to be done, but those are the biggies. Numbers 1 and 2 are the top priorities. Now it's time to get to it! I can do this by July 25, even if I do it all myself!