Howdy-do Sugar Pies and Happy New Year! My, oh my! I sure do love the start of a sparkling, brand new year! I love it because we get a clean slate and new hope to accomplish our goals and dreams! To me it’s like a breath of fresh air…invigorating even! You know darlin’, the chaos, challenges and disappointments of last year are behind us (Yay!!). If you fell off the horse (so to speak) last year it’s time to pull yourself up by your cute cowgirl bootstraps, get on up on that saddle and ride again! NOW is the perfect time to get back to good Old Fashioned basics. Back to what really matters. Back to living a simpler and sweeter life. Back to creating a home that glows with cheerfulness and down-home goodness.
Right after Christmas I always take some time to ponder and pray about the upcoming year and often the Lord puts a word in my heart as a theme to wrap my thoughts around. Wanna know what the word that popped into my heart is? LOVE! That’s right, Love! You know Sugar, the main ingredient to creating a sweet, cheerful, happy home for you and your family is love. Love needs to be our motivating force in all that we do.
Tending to hearth and home is a gift of love!
When we tidy up the kitchen, put fresh sheets on the bed, sweep and mop the floor, wash and fold laundry, get things organized, put fresh flowers on the table and cook a meal with a cheerful countenance we are showing love to our family. We need to remember on those days when we feel so weary of doing the same things over and over that we are doing them because we love our family. We must not become bitter or resentful for doing those very things that will make our dear ones feel loved and cared for. Yes, there are days when we don’t feel like putting forth the effort to make our homes sparkle, or even to put a smile on our face, but sitting around feeling lazy or grumpy in a house full of clutter and dirty dishes in the sink surely won’t make us feel any better either.
Darlin’ there are some important things I’ve learned about our “feelings”. Sometimes they can be good and other times they can get in the way of what we really want in life. We want a clean home but we don’t “feel” like cleaning it. We want to lose some weight but we don’t “feel” like starting our diet today. We want to start exercising but we don’t “feel” like it because we’re tired or it’s too cold outside. We want to finish a project we started a long time ago but we don’t “feel” like it because we want to do something new. We want our closets organized but we don’t “feel” like going through the hassle. We want to be a cheerful, perky, wife and mama but sometimes we don’t “feel” like it, instead grumpiness shows up on our face and comes out of our mouth. Sometimes we get too comfortable with our “feelings” to make a change for the better, but then we miss out on our best life. Dr. Phil says “behave your way to success”.
Let’s not let our unproductive “feelings” get in the way of taking care of our home, family and ourselves. Let’s not let our I-don’t-feel-like-it feelings dictate our life! Do you remember when you were a kid and some other kid, perhaps a brother or sister tried to boss you around? We’d respond by saying “you’re not the boss of me!” Well, that’s what we need to say to our feelings when they stop us from accomplishing what we want in life! Don’t let your feelings be “the boss of you”! We have one life! This is it darlin! Decide what you want for your life, for your home and relationships then do what you need to do. Let Love be your motivating force. You can do this! It takes some gumption, grit and grace but you have it in you! Tell yourself “I’m gonna do it, that’s all there is to it!” Say “no” to your “I don’t feel like it” feelings and yes to a more productive, delightful life! The hard part is starting, but then it gets easier and even exciting once you start seeing results! Just start! Take a deep breath and Git-R-Done!
Be the loving mama and wife you want to be.
Speak with encouraging words. Give lots of hugs. Say “Good Night” prayers over your dear ones. Make time for fun and laughter. Be a good listener. Pray for your family. Forgive. Say you’re sorry when you’ve wronged someone. Treasure your relationships. Look for ways to be a blessing. Tell your hubby how much you admire and appreciate him. When you make a decision to commit your time to something, ask yourself if it will benefit or be a detriment to the well being of your home and family. Always choose what’s best for your family. Smile! Sing! Hum! Enjoy your home…enjoy your family…enjoy your role as mama hen! A happy mama brings sunshine into the home. Practice being the mama you want to be (even if you don’t “feel” like it!) and you will be! (Remember…”Behave your way to success.” ~Dr. Phil)
“To know that you are adored by your mom is a treasure that gives you strength for a lifetime.” Angela Thomas
A Cozy Home = LOVE
Creating a cozy home sends a message of love to your family and friends. Make good smells come from the kitchen. Let fresh sheets on the beds give your little darlin’s sweet sleep. Stock your cupboards and pantry with food to nourish your family. Prepare for things in advance to relieve last minute stress. Hold hands while you say grace before a meal at the dinner table. Clear the clutter and make your house sparkle! Make tending your home fun! I’m all for changing the atmosphere to brighten the mood and lift your spirit! Put on a cute apron, some 1940’s music and light that yummy smelling candle, you’ll feel like a perky vintage housewife! That’s a good thing!
Gals, it’s up to us to set the thermostat in our home:
The setting on “Cold” = indifferent, emotionally unavailable
The setting on “Hot”= angry, critical
The setting on “Just Right”= cozy, cheerful, loving…a place your family wants to come home to!
“But housekeeping is fun. It is one job where you enjoy the results right along as you work. You may work all day washing and ironing, but at night you have the delicious feeling of sunny clean sheets and airy pillows to lie on. If you clean, you sit down at nightfall with the house shining and faintly smelling of wax, all yours to enjoy right then and there. And if you cook—that creation you lift from the oven goes right to the table.”~Gladys Taber
“Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.” Hoosier Farmer
The real things haven’t changed…It is still best to be honest and truthful: to make the most of what we have: to be happy with simple pleasures: and have courage when things go wrong.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
Make sure to take care of YOU darlin’!
James 2:8 says “You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures “Love others as you love yourself.” So as we love our family by taking good care of them we must also take good care of ourselves. Taking care of our bodies by eating healthy, drinking lots of water, exercising, and getting enough rest will give us the energy to do all the loving things we want to do for our family. We also need to take care of our emotional and mental health. Planning a little outing once a week will give you something fun to look forward to. Maybe it’s just to have some hot chocolate with a friend, or go antiquing just to browse. Or maybe it makes your heart leap like mine to visit a book or craft store. Sometimes just going for a walk to get fresh air enjoying the beauty of the outdoors will refresh us. Whatever it is that make joy-bells ring in your heart, plan for it! It’s good for you!
Most importantly spend time with God who is Love. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33 The more we fill our hearts up with God’s love the more it will spill over on those around us. The more we spend time with the Lord and read His Word we become more aware of His presence and that He is our strength to do all things. We are not alone in this!
So Sugar Pie Darlin’s are you ready to get back on the saddle again and ride them happy homemaking trails with me this new year? I think I just heard y’all say YEE HAW!! Well, I think you just might shout YEE HAW again when I tell ya about my GIVE-AWAY! I wanted to kick-start the new year off with some of my favorite products. I’m always on the look-out for things that make life a little easier and delight my heart. So one of you adorable Sugar Pies is going to win 5 fabulous goodies! All you have to do is leave a comment and let me know what your favorite product or products are. It could be a cleaning product, beauty product, book, craft tool, household gadget, any kind of product that makes life a little easier, makes you feel pretty or just plain ol’ happy! It will be fun for all of us to read what your favorites are and we just might discover some fabulous new products to try!
1. First, is this darling Cowgirl Boot Bracelet or Boot Bling as I like to say! It’s made by my sister Sherry from Glamarella Junk. What a cute way to gussy-up a pair of boots! Sherry makes so many gorgeous jewelry pieces…you can find her on FACEBOOK where she’s always showing her newest creations.
Sherry said one of her clients wears her Boot Bling on her UGG Boot. AdOrAbLe!
2. 52 Things Kids Need From A Mom, by Angela Thomas:
Wow!! What a wonderful book! I cannot stress what an important book this is to read for mama’s and grandmama’s! The author, Angela Thomas, is mama to 4 kids and has a wealth of wisdom regarding how to make your children feel loved and secure…how to establish a positive, wholesome atmosphere, making memories that last a lifetime, correcting behavior and setting consequences. Even if you don’t win this give-away, this book is a must read! I love the tradition that she does for her kids on Valentines day…and the oh-so-sweet thing she does to bless her children before they go to bed. Angela is down to earth and shares her ups and downs with her darling southern humor. This book is a heart warmer! You can find this book HERE.
3. Philosophy’s Sugar Sprinkles Funnel Cake Body Wash: Oh my goodness!! I sure do love me some Philosophy products! The Sugar Sprinkles Funnel Cake is one of my favorites! It smells like fresh baked cupcakes and has glittery sparkles! This scent is a limited edition, I got it at Sephora, but you can find so many other yummy aromas here.
4. THE MOST AMAZING JOYCE CHEN KITCHEN SCISSORS!!!
I think I want to marry these. I mean it when I say these scissors are AMAZING! Have you ever tried cutting open a food package with regular kitchen scissors and they just crumples the plastic? Then you try to pry the package open or grab a knife and slice it open? These are so sharp they will pretty much cut through anything…chicken bones, lobster shells, plastic, thin metal, rubber, fabric etc. The comfy handles are designed for left or right hand use with powerful leverage for quick, clean, easy cutting. They are dishwasher safe too! Of course they are perfect for crafts but mine stay in the kitchen. You can find them HERE.
5. SIMPLE COUNTRY WISDOM: 501 OLD-FASHIONED IDEAS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE: Is this not the cutest book cover you have ever seen in your entire life?!! LOVE!! I know I said I wanted to marry the scissors, but I want to marry this too! LOL! This book is jam-packed with ideas for creating a Welcoming Home…Kitchen Wisdom…cleaning tips…baking tips…darling vintage decorating photographs… gardening….and re-purposing fun junk! If you love Country Living magazine you will LOVE this book!! You can find it HERE.
The back cover is charming too!
Well, Sugar Pie Darlin’s Happy Homemaking Trails to you! Remember, to enter the give-away, leave a comment about your favorite products and I will pick a winner January 20th!
God Bless your darlin’ hearts!!
Howdy Sugar Pies! It’s that Holly Jolly Christmas time again! Everywhere we drive here in the Ozarks (Branson, Missouri) lights are twinkling, bells are jingling and the shops are festooned with candy canes, garlands and wreaths tied with big red bows. Since my little hometown is a tourist destination, featuring nearly a hundred live-music Christmas shows, folks come from all over the country to experience an Old Fashioned Ozark Mountain Christmas. They also come to do their Christmas shopping! So indeed, the little town of Branson is bustling! In fact the old downtown reminds me of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry…why, you could peek inside the glowing windows of a warm little cafe on main street and see an apron-ed waitress pouring steaming coffee into waiting cups with saucers…kids carefully sipping hot chocolate as their pink noses kiss the whipped cream floating on top…giggles spilling everywhere. Joy is in the air. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Summer Rose doing the Vanna White pose
Last weekend my hubby, daughter Summer, and I scurried “over the river and through the woods” with my son Dusty, daughter-in-love Kimmy and grandbaby Kade to get our Christmas trees (Kade’s very first!). We were able to fit both trees on top of Dusty’s car. We dropped off our tree at our home then drove over to Dusty and Kimmy’s to help decorate their tree, watch the movie Home Alone and eat Pizza!
Pictured here is my Hubby, Summer, Kade, me and son Dusty…so excited that Dusty and his little family are continuing our family tradition of picking out the perfect Christmas tree!
Here’s Dusty’s wife Kimmy and sweet baby Kade dressed in Christmas Jammies…aren’t Mama and baby adorable?!
Love her boots! I’m pretty sure I need a pair of those!
And now, Sugar darlin’s, since I have my Christmas tree… I’d like to share with y’all the sparkling Christmas goodness here at The Farmhouse! Hopefully you’ll pick up an idea or two! So go grab something yummy to drink, put on some cozy slippers and make yourself at home…
Someone said “The kitchen is the heart of the home”…I agree! Especially at Christmastime! It’s the place where all the warm aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, apple pie, spicy clove and orange pomanders, and sugar cookies swirl throughout the house making each heart swoon and eyes sparkle. It smells like love. The kitchen seems to be the happiest room in the house.
All I had to do to add some Christmas cheer to my old farm table was to place my big red dimpled bowl right in the center! It’s just waiting to mix up a powdered-sugar-y batch of Grandma’s Snowball Cookies. The look is so simple yet cheery! Whether plain or fancy, I think we should decorate in a way that brings joy into our heart!
(I got my bowl at Crate and Barrel last year)
For Fall I had little orange pumpkins perched on top of my white pitchers,
I switched them out with these over-sized red and white ornaments. Easy Peasy!
“A house becomes a home when good smells come from the kitchen.” ~Terry Willets
My very whimsical Gingerbread house is from Cracker Barrel restaurant ( from a few years back) …
the Cracker Barrel a most delightful place to visit this time of year!
See the decorations on the shelf above the kitchen sink? I got them for FREE!! Yes! A local clothing store used them last year as part of their Christmas decorating props. I asked the manager what they do with them after the Holidays were over, she said they just “throw them away”. What?! Throw them away? No way! She said if I wanted them I should come in just after New Year’s day. Guess where I went the day after New Years? Uh-huh! And here they sit this year! So, next time you’re at a shop and see their seasonal decorations, don’t hesitate to ask about them!
I love how Disney-esque they look…like something you might see on Main Street USA!
I grew up going to Disneyland in California and was mesmerized by the beautiful Turn-Of-The-Century gingerbread architecture on Main Street. Walt Disney grew up on a farm in Marceline, Missouri. He designed Disneyland’s Main Street USA after the one in his hometown. He was a genius! Walt also had a little sister named Ruth! Fancy that!
Above my stove I added more whimsy by placing a white flocked Christmas tree in a “Milk” bucket (I’ve had it for a long time). A couple of creamy white candlesticks (from Home Goods a few years back) and vintage milk bottles (filled with salt to look like milk) topped with sparkly snowballs.
My vintage toy cow reminds me that the “cow-nt down” to Christmas has begun!
On the other side of my kitchen is our great-room…
This year I embellished the mantle with a white lighted garland ( you can find a similar one HERE) and then I draped pom-pom trim along the front. I got the pom-pom trim at Hobby Lobby on sale ($2.04 a yard). It looks like a garland of snowballs! I’ve had the vintage Cedar Hill Farm sign for a while now…I found it at an antique store near Springfield. The Birch branch adds to the rustic woods-y look.
“Heap on more wood, the wind is chill,
but let it whistle as it will,
we’ll keep our Christmas merry still!”
~Sir Walter Scott
One of my favorite Christmas decorations is this sweet baby Jesus lying in a humble twig manger.
I’ve had it since my kids were babies.
His little face is made from a nylon stocking with painted eyes, nose and mouth.
He is wrapped in a swaddling cloth of muslin.
Notice the Cross above His head.
That’s why He came.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasing life.” John 3:16
He loves us so much!
My tree is also draped with the “snowball” pom pom trim.
“Give me an old fashioned Christmas, with an old fashioned tree,
All trimmed with cakes and candies and cotton for snow there’d be.” ~ Mrs. C.S. Wabnitz
Hanging our Angel on the tree is also a family tradition since my kids were little. It’s in every Christmas morning photo with my kids around the tree. I suppose it’s a little outdated…okay maybe a lot…but it’s part of our memories…and that matters more to me than what current decorating trends are. Just below it is a gold tinsel halo that Dusty made in Sunday School when he was 4 years old.
In my entry a “winter snow” tree greets you, at the base are beloved family photos.
The snowy shelf liner is just cotton quilt battling that I cut into icicle drips. The vintage music sheets are just taped on the back…I purposely made it temporary in case I change my mind and want to do something else! That happens a lot!
Here I stacked old books on top of a ceramic urn and layered sparkling tinsel trees (from Hobby Lobby)
and added frosty lighted branches for a cozy glow.
The centerpiece of Christmas…
the reason why we celebrate…
the reason why we can have joy our heart…
the reason why we get to go to Heaven!
“That wonderful night in Bethlehem, God declared His love for mankind when His Sacred Covenant became flesh and blood…Emmanuel! No wonder angels rejoiced, shepherds bowed in awe, and wise men traveled so far to give gifts! They all recognized the significance of this Holy Birth, which was hidden in scripture from the beginning of time.” ~ God’s Little Christmas Book
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”
which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
“The light that shines from the humble manger is strong enough to lighten our way to the end of our days.” ~unknown
“Joy to the world the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, And heaven and nature sing.” ~Isaac Watts
“One of the most potent, though silent testimonials of Christ,
is the fact that all chronology is dated “before” or “after” Christ.
B.C. and A.D. meet and part at His crib.” ~unknown
“And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Treasured vintage ornaments from my childhood…these are in style now!
Does that mean I’m vintage?? Lol!
Grandma’s are just antique little girls!
“Festive decorations are a gift from your heart to the hearts of those who enter your home.
They simply and sweetly say, ‘love lives here’ and ‘we were expecting you, welcome!’ ” ~Dolley Carlson
I’ve had my vintage Choir boy forever now…I still love him!
Christmastime is sure to find me
on a high snow-covered hill,
Where an old farmhouse is standing weather-tight and sturdy still
There the plumes of smoke ascending from the Chimneys low and wide
they’re a silent invitation to the glowing fires inside.
Where the warm sweet air is laden with fragrance that combines
The pleasant smells of cookery and the spicy scent of pines.
~ Ida M. Brookshire
Sugar Pies, my best tip is to keep things simple and remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If all I had to decorate with was this little twig manger with baby Jesus “asleep on the hay”, it would be enough. May God’s love for you warm and brighten your heart this Christmas season!
Come check out the 2011 Virtual Holiday House Party at jenniferrizzo.com…lots of wonderful Christmas house tours!
God bless your darlin’ heart!
I’m sending you cozy hugs!
Thank you for stopping by for some It’s-beginning-to-look-like-Christmas-Pie!
P.S. I get asked a lot about the camera I use…It’s a Canon Rebel xsi. I also use a 50mm lens that really make the shots magical! If you have any questions for me you can ask me on FACEBOOK!!
P.S. 2 I just have to share about my daughter Ashley’s darling Crochet Beanies that she makes and sells!! I am so proud of her and her creative talents! She takes special orders and will make a beanie in any color. She embellishes them with a beautiful sparkly button on one side. They make wonderful Christmas gifts! I love the one she made me, it really keeps my ears warm and is so soft and comfortable. Both my daughters say it makes me look younger…in that case I want one in every color!! lol
Her Etsy shop is owlbolt.etsy.com or you can email her at email@example.com
Adult hats are $28… Infant and Toddler $23 …matching mother and daughter $40
Here is my beautiful daughter Ashley…doesn’t she look darling in her cute beanie?
She amazes me with her artsy flair…and she’s a wonderful mama too!