10 Tips for Designing the Room of Your Dreams

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Get ready for 10 simple tips for designing the room of your dreams!

Many times when people come to my house, they comment on how I have it decorated or on particular pieces that are hanging on the walls or that I have made.  Sometimes these comments are followed up with ones about how they couldn’t decorate their houses this way or asking for my help or advice.  I don’t have any formal decorating training, although I wish I had discovered my love for decorating before I went to college for something completely different!

Because my design style is inexpensive, livable and casual, I believe that anyone can achieve it!

We moved several times early in our marriage, so I have had plenty of walls to paint and rooms to decorate.  My design style has definitely evolved over the years, from dark, cozy colors to now more light and airy.  One thing I love about decorating and design is that I view it as fluid and ever-changing.  

When you think of decorating as something that you are going to do now, all at once, and not change for ten years, it can seem daunting and intimidating.  I’m always changing something a little at a time.  I rarely do a room and leave it completely the same for long periods of time.  When you see fun pillows for the couch at the store and change them out with your old ones, it keeps things fresh and fun. You stay inspired because you’re seeing things you love on a daily basis.

And because I believe that you (yes YOU!) can make a comfortable space inexpensively in your home, here are 10 simple tips for designing the room of your dreams!

1.  Think about how you want to FEEL in a room

When you are in the room that you are decorating, how do you want to feel?  Relaxed and calm, cozy and warm or energized?  If you are going for relaxed and calm, you might choose lighter, less saturated colors such as tans, off whites or light blues.

If you are thinking cozy near a crackling fire, you might try darker, more saturated colors like burgundy or a putty color.  

If you want to feel creatively inspired and energized, you can opt for pops of vibrant color against a neutral backdrop, maybe a white room with pops of red or orange.  

You can put the color on the walls or bring it in through furniture, art, pillows or blankets.  Remember to vary the textures in the room!

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2.  Discover Your Style

How do you do this?  Take a look at your Pinterest boards, your wardrobe or customizable jewelry such as a Pandora bracelet or Origami Owl necklace that you have.  Often you will see a theme.  Those are the first clues to your style!  

I have been decorating for a while now and pinning inspiration on Pinterest for a while, so it is easy to see a pattern of the types of things that I like.  Even my Pandora bracelet is similarly inspired. My three biggest inspirations for decorating and design are God, Family and Nature.

You can click to follow me on Pinterest and see where I get some of my inspiration!

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3.  Find an Inspiration Piece

Go to Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Kirklands or somewhere similar (these are just a few of my favorite places.)  Find a piece that you feel emotionally connected to.  Something that you love.  It might be a quote that has special meaning or a painting with your favorite flower or type of bird.

Find something that you love and then decorate around that.

4.  Splurge Occasionally, but not too Much

My decorating and projects are done on a budget.  I pretty much don’t buy anything at the craft store that is not on sale or without a coupon.

But, from time to time, I’ll see a picture or wreath…something that I LOVE that is somewhat more than I’d like to pay.  Occasionally, I will go for it.  In these instances, I have been happy that I did because I am brought joy whenever I use or see that item.

However– don’t way overspend or you may regret it.  If the item is way out of your price range, keep looking using the original piece as inspiration.

When we found this kitchen light, we weren’t exactly looking for a kitchen light that day and it was a little more than we really wanted to pay. It was unique and we had been talking about replacing that light, so in this case, we bought it and we love it.  We enjoy it everyday!

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5.  Forget the “Rules”

Don’t get so caught up in rules of decorating.  This can be paralyzing and cause you to never move forward with your project.  And honestly, the only “rule” that I ever really follow is hanging wall art at eye level.  Well a little higher than eye level in my case because I’m short.

The same way you can now wear silver and gold and black and brown together and white pants before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, you have a lot of creative license of what “looks right” when decorating.

You might try a kitchen table with non-matching chairs, an oversized clock or mixing rustic and modern pieces together.  How does it make you feel?  If it feels good, go with it!  It is all about making your space comfortable and enjoyable for you and your family!

6.  Repurpose Old Stuff

When I take something down in a room, unless I am totally over it or it is broken, I’ll often keep it and bring it out later to use in another room.  Sometimes I will repaint a mirror or table. And as you can see here, I repurposed this blue medallion thing (I know, very technical decorating term…) by attaching it to a pallet that was aging under our deck (actually I had the idea and my husband did the work on that one ūüėČ )

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7.  Don’t Be Afraid to Paint!

Paint is not a life sentence!  It is an inexpensive way to completely or subtly change the look and feel of a room!  If you don’t like it, you can always repaint.

You can paint the walls in a room, furniture, picture frames or other items.  Paint can completely change the look of a room or piece and can save some major cash!

8.  Wait a Day or Two

If you paint something, rearrange furniture, or buy a new item and you’re not immediately in love with the way it looks, wait a couple of days!

There have been many times when I haven’t initially liked the way something looked, mainly because I had something different pictured in my mind.  But, after waiting a couple of days and getting used to it, I have ended up really liking it when I would have initially scrapped it if I hadn’t waited.

9.  Recoup Cash for Your Next Project by Selling on Craigslist

If you are replacing furniture or bigger decor items with something new, you can sell your old stuff on Craigslist.  I have done this multiple times.  It is a great way to get a little cash to put into your new decorating project.

10.  Ask a Friend

If you admire a friend’s style, ask her to shop with you.  Show her pictures of the look that you’re going for and take her along!  Sometimes a friend will help you pick great pieces that are a little out of your comfort zone, but that you’ll end up loving in your home.

And remember, most things are returnable!  You may love it or hate it once it is in your house.  Sometimes you just have to bring it home to try it out in your space.  Keep your receipt and if you don’t love it (after a day or two), return it and try something else.

I would love to hear your feedback if these tips helped you out!  If you think that a friend would benefit from this post, Pin it or Share on Facebook!

Happy decorating!

10 Earth Day Activities

Earth Day

 
Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd this year!

 

I love spending time outdoors… camping, hiking, biking.  Feeling the warm sunshine on my face and smelling the fresh air is so rejuvenating.  Spending time outside is how I refresh and reboot.  Earth Day is a perfect day to give thanks for nature and God’s handiwork.

Here are 10 great ways to give thanks and celebrate this Earth Day!  {Click on the title to go to the full post}

1.  Earth Day Collage from magazine scraps at I Heart Crafty Things

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2. Water Cycle in a Bag at Playdough to Plato

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3. Nature Prints with Air Dry Clay at The Artful Parent

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4. Holding The Earth Art at Proud to be Primary

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5. Earth Day Cupcakes at Under the Table and Dreaming

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6.  Dirt Cup Recipe at Mothering with Creativity

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7.  Free Hiking Scavenger Hunt Printable at Make and Takes

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8.  Recycled Tin Can Planters at Live Craft Love

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9.  Earth Playdough at Playdough to Plato

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10.  Nature Collage Suncatcher at Hands on as We Grow

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You Belong! Come as you are

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So many people feel far away from God, unworthy of his love or as if they don’t belong.

We all belong!

Before we were anything else, we were His…formed in perfect love and relationship.

Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

~Psalm 100:3

I have always known that God was there.  As a child, I didn’t attend church with my parents, but asked my aunts and grandparents to take me.  As I got older, I wanted to be baptized.  Even though there was always a knowing, always a tug at my heart, I didn’t really begin to understand God’s great love for me until more recent years.

I guess I used to think that God was over there and I was over here.  I knew he created the world and was all-powerful but didn’t understand him as a loving father who has good plans for me, a God full of mercy and grace.

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After the birth of my second baby, and following a season of grief and sadness, I had decided that it was time to find a church.  When we moved into our current home, a neighbor had invited us to his church.  Several other families from our neighborhood attended there, too.  We just weren’t ready then, but when we were a year later, that’s where we decided to go.  

It was very different from what I was used to…there was a band and contemporary music that you could hear on the radio.  Some people even raised their hands in the air and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that.  So one Sunday, with open minds, we got in the car and went.  And that first time felt like…

HOME.  

It’s ironic because before we even walked through the doors, we had our excuses made as to why we would only go once or twice a month.  So much for our noncommittal plans, because after that first time, we didn’t miss until we had to and that is still usually the case.  

The following Fall, we started going to a  small group.  It was amazing how much we grew during that time.  We formed friendships, we learned to depend on others and we started changing.  We also started learning more about the bible and saw that people at the small group were really just regular people “doing life together” and that it wasn’t anything extreme.  We felt support.  We felt Christian love.  

Even though knowledge about God was growing in my mind, I needed it to be in my heart, too.  So I began to pray for that.  Like a man in the book of Mark, I prayed, “Lord I believe, please help my unbelief.”  I also prayed that he would help move the things I was learning about him from my head to my heart.  And over time, he did.

You may feel too far away from God, but you’re not.  

You belong.

I can see now that even when I wasn’t pursuing God, he was always lingering close, waiting for me to turn my face to him.

He’s waiting for you, too and he’s closer than you think.  

This expanded version of Psalm 23 shows what a beautifully all-sufficient provider God is for his children (and all of this is available to YOU!)  (Words in parentheses have been added.)

The Lord is my shepherd…(that’s relationship!)

I shall not want…(that’s supply!)

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…(that’s rest!)

He leadeth me beside the still waters…(that’s refreshment!)

He restoreth my soul…(that’s healing!)

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness…(that’s guidance!)

For His name sake…(that’s purpose!)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…(that’s testing!)

I will fear no evil..(that’s protection!)

For Thou art with me…(that’s faithfulness!)

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…(that’s discipline!)

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…(that’s hope!)

Thou annointest my head with oil…(that’s consecration!)

My cup runneth over…(that’s abundance!)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…(that’s blessing!)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord…(that’s security!)

Forever…(that’s eternity!)

~Psalm 23

God is crazy about you!  He is gentle and kind.  He is also patient and celebrates each small step you take towards Him.  

Even if you have doubt in your heart, you can start by praying, “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.  Help me to see myself as you see me.  Please let the truth of who you are and who I am penetrate my mind and heart.  Amen.”

And rejoice!  Your Heavenly Father is rejoicing because you just turned your face towards Him!

 

Excuses or obedience?

“I don’t have time.”

“That’s not in my wheelhouse.”

“No, thank you.”

“My schedule is very busy.”

“I don’t really want to.”

Sound familiar?  Maybe you’ve busted one of those out when you haven’t wanted to do something.  And maybe it has been a legitimate reason.  

Excuses.

But what happens when the one you’re doling out the excuses to is God?

Have you ever heard or felt him speaking into your heart, mind and soul about something but continuously put it off or refused to do it?  I have.

God has been persistently putting something on my heart year after year.  Write.  And do you know what I have done year after year?  Given Him excuse after excuse to not consistently do it.

“I don’t have the self-discipline to do that.”

“I’m not a writer.”

“What if I run out of things to say?” (Pretty funny thought if you know me personally.)

“I am busy with two young kids.”

Or just ignoring the request over and over.

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Basically, like a toddler at naptime, my actions, or lack of actions, have basically been shouting, “I don’t wanna!” (obey what you are calling me to do.)

Ouch.

A few years ago I had a verse of the year.  It was James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” 

Do what it says.

I’ve been hearing God’s words in my heart and mind and it is about time I apply James 1:22 to this area of my life.

“Do what it says.”  Do what He says.

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Sometimes it is hard to do things that God calls us to do.  He often calls us to do things that are out of our comfort zone or that we think we can’t do.  His calling may force us to face insecurities we’d rather leave hidden.

A quote I once heard has resurfaced over and over throughout the years.  “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”  

It is scary to agree to something in which there is no guarantee of success.  But it is when we are at that point… the end of our own ability but willing to say yes to God that He has the opportunity to equip us.  Then it is He who shines, not us.  The glory is all His.

Is there something that God is putting on your heart today?  Does it seem too big?  Outside your abilities and talents?  I encourage you to pray for confirmation and then to take a step in faith.

I have been spending time with God daily, but also sitting with an open notebook before Him.  Asking what he wants His people to know, how I can help them to see Him.

Excuses.. we all give them and I know I will again.  But today will you set them aside and say yes to God?  

He wants to shine His light through you.  And there’s a dark world out there that needs your light to shine.

 

Beautifully and Wonderfully Made

Just as we have physical ailments like a broken arm, a rash or the flu, we can have spiritual, emotional and mental (thinking) ailments…things that need our attention to get back on track as well.

Just like having a broken arm doesn’t dictate your entire physical well-being, and certainly doesn’t define your physical health for a lifetime, so it is also in the realms of spiritual, emotional and mental health.

I think we’re afraid of these areas, so we rarely look at them.  We have somehow equated difficulties or “flaws” as we may see them in these areas with weakness.  Because of this we work very hard to conceal them rather than to give them the proper attention and treatment that would allow us to move forward stronger and freer than before.  Why is this? Society? Fear? Shame?

Are we too busy as a society trying to be who we think we should be that we won’t look to who we really are, who God made us to be? Do we feel that at the end of the day our homes, friendships, marriages, clothes, bodies just can’t measure up to what is perceived and projected as the standard?

Beauty comes in all shades, shapes and sizes.  In all different personality types.

Could we dare look in the mirror and see ourselves as beautiful — without the makeup, hair and clothes that we use to enhance, but sometimes cover up or make up for the real us?

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Let’s take a look at Psalm 139:13-16 from the Message version of the bible to see what God has to say on the matter:

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God- you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration- what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you.

The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

Your Heavenly Father made you in His own image.  He delights in you perfectly just as you are.

So today, would you take those things that you don’t like about yourself out of focus and focus on the God who made you?  He who is perfect in every way, including how He created you?

Today, instead of focusing on what I perceive as faults, my bad skin for example, I will thank Him for my eyes that can see well.  Even though my legs don’t carry me though marathons, I will thank Him that they are strong and carry me where I need to go.  Even though my arms may not be fit and toned, I am thankful that they are arms that carried around my two children and arms that hug and give comfort today.

When God looks at us, because of his son Jesus, He sees all the delightful things in us and about us, even if we don’t.  For that we can be thankful and ask Him to help us to see ourselves that way as well.

Heavenly Father, please help us to see ourselves as you see us, beautifully and wonderfully made in your image. Amen

 

Apple Walnut Salad

Today I am excited to share with you a simple salad that is bursting with flavor!

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I really like salads, but can get tired of a regular chef salad after a while. That’s why I love this apple walnut salad.  It is perfect for Fall and Winter.  I made it for Thanksgiving and it is also great at Christmastime.  It’s also a nice side to take to a potluck.  It is so easy but packed with flavor and so tasty!  A lot of people don’t think to deviate from the type of salad they usually make, so this salad ends up being a special treat!

I have been making a similar salad for a while now, but was this one was inspired by this Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad.

To make this salad, you will need:
  • 1/2 a bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 a bag of dark green salad blend of your choice
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup of walnut pieces
  • prepared raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Mix all ingredients except the apples and dressing in a large bowl.

applewalnutsaladnoapples Chop the two apples into bite-sized pieces.  Toss them into cold water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning.

apples After a few minutes, dry the apples and add them to the other ingredients.

applewalnutsalad I like to pair this salad with a raspberry vinaigrette.  The sweetness of the dressing is a nice contrast to the strong flavor of the cheese and the tartness of the apples.  Dress the salad just before serving or serve with dressing on the side.

Enjoy! 
Apple Walnut Salad
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 a bag of baby spinach
  2. 1/2 a bag of dark green salad blend of your choice
  3. 2 Granny Smith apples
  4. 1/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  5. 1/2 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  6. 1/2 cup of walnut pieces
  7. prepared raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Instructions
  1. Mix together all ingredients except for apples and dressing.
  2. Cut apples into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Soak apples in water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice for a few minutes to prevent browning.
  4. Dry apples and add to the salad.
  5. Dress the salad just before serving or serve with dressing on the side.
My Weekly Habit http://www.myweeklyhabit.com/

Snowman Mason Jar Gift

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Each week, on Wednesday mornings, I have the pleasure of meeting with nine lovely ladies from my church for a small group.  This year, to celebrate Christmas, we are going out to breakfast at a restaurant and having a White Elephant Gift Exchange (more on that in an upcoming post.)

I wanted to give each of them a small gift.  I saw some snowman mason jar gifts on Pinterest and decided to make my own version to share with these special ladies.

To make a Snowman Mason Jar Gift you will need:
  • 1/2 quart mason jar
  • glue dots
  • red felt 
  • black buttons
  • tags (or supplies to make tags)
  • string
  • Christmas Hershey Kisses (or other goodies to fill your jars)

I like how the snowman mason jars that I originally saw had white chocolate covered pretzels inside.  It made the “body” of the snowman appear white.  But when I went to the store, they only had chocolate covered pretzel sticks and I wanted something that would keep in case the goodies weren’t eaten right away.  There was an impressive variety of Christmas Hershey Kisses, so I chose those for the goodies for inside of the jars.  I bought 4 bags of Hershey Kisses.  This filled 9 jars and I had some left over, too.

Here is the variety that I went with, but pick your favorites. {The mint truffles are my favorites!}

snowmanjarskisses The first thing you will want to do is to wash out your mason jar!  

For some reason, when you buy them new, they smell bad until you wash them.  Don’t skip this step, or your recipient will open up the jar and it will not smell good!  We’re going for yummy chocolate smell, not stinky, unwashed mason jar smell.

After your jar has been washed and dried thoroughly, fill it up with the treats that you chose.

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Place the lid on the jar.

Next, cut a strip from the long side of the felt.  Cut little fringe on the ends and tie it around the top of the jar, securing with a knot.  Secure the scarf with a glue dot under the knot.

Now it’s time to add the buttons.  Put a glue dot on the back of each of three buttons.  Place them in a line on a smooth part of the jar.

You can finish here or you can add a tag to your snowman mason jar gift.  I found a lot of really cute printable tags, but many were too big for the jar.  I ended up just typing my labels in Word using the Return to Sender font in size 24.  I cut them, used a corner embosser and tied them on with a piece of white cotton string.

snowmanjars Now all that’s left  to do is to spread some holiday cheer by sending them to their new homes!

Merry Christmas to you!

I linked up this post at Tatertots & Jello and Tip Junkie!

10 Nativity Projects

There are so many cute Christmas projects floating around out there!  

Snowmen and Santas are cute, but today I am sharing 10 Nativity Projects to help us all remember to keep Christ in Christmas!  After all, He is the reason for the season!

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 Here are 10 nativity themed projects from talented bloggers! 

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Felt Stable Ornament from Wild Olive

 

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Cookie Jar Nativity from The Lettered Cottage

 

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Felt Nativity {with templates} from My Crazy Blessed Life

 

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Glitter Silhouette Nativity {printable included} from Hymns and Verses

 

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LEGO Nativity from Apartment Therapy

 

 

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DIY Wood Nativity from The 36th Avenue

 

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Printable Paper Nativity from Made by Joel

 

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Nativity Blocks from Dream It

 

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Baby Jesus Ornament from Crafty Sisters

 

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Fingerprint Baby Jesus in Manger from Crafty Morning

 

Blessings to you and yours!  I wish you the merriest of Christmases!

 

Cornbread Casserole

cornbreadcasseroletext When I was a kid, my aunts would take me to Chi-chis (a Mexican restaurant) after a long day of shopping.  I loved the chicken nacho appetizer there and would get it as my meal almost every time.  I also loved their cornbread.  It was soft and you ate it with a spoon. It was so tender, sweet and delicious.  

A year or two ago, I came across this recipe for cornbread casserole.  Oh my heavens!  It is so delicious and reminds me of the marathon shopping days that I loved capped off by dinner at Chi-chi’s.  I have taken this dish multiple places for picnics and potlucks and everyone loves it!  Today I am going to pass on the secret to this deliciousness to you!

To make this cornbread casserole, you will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • a stick of melted butter
  • 1 box of Jiffy cornbread
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of cream of corn
  • 1 cup of sour cream

cornbreadcassingredients

 Melt your butter, crack the eggs and mix everything together.

cornbreadcasserolemix Coat a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish with pan spray and pour the cornbread casserole mixture into the baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

cornbreadcasserole You can cut it into pieces and eat like cornbread or you can break it up with a spoon to serve it as a side with a fork.  Either way, it’s delicious!  Enjoy!

I linked this post at Tatertots & Jello!

Cornbread Casserole
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 1 stick of butter, melted
  3. 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
  4. 1 can of corn
  5. 1 can of cream of corn
  6. 1 cup of sour cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Mix together all ingredients and pour into casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
My Weekly Habit http://www.myweeklyhabit.com/

Christmas Tree Cutting (not this year!)

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When I was a kid and it was time to head to the Christmas tree lot to select a tree, I remember my dad saying every year, “We have to go look for a tree when it is either raining or there’s a foot of snow…and it has to have at least two tops and a crooked trunk.”  It became a joke in our family but I didn’t really get it until a couple of years ago when we decided to give cutting down our own Christmas tree a try.

We happen to live within an hour or so of multiple Christmas tree farms.  Neither my husband or I had ever cut down our own tree before, but thought it sounded like a fun idea.  The memories we’d make!  We’re both outdoorsy and DIY kind of people.  So we asked around, checked prices and decided on the tree lot.  

We were so excited!  Scenes from Christmas movies from the Hallmark channel played in my mind.  This was going to be so special and great!

First, I have to tell you that it is more expensive to go and cut your own tree.  But it was only about $15-20 more than a tree at the box home improvement store.  You get to ride on a hay wagon to get your own tree and then you get to pick the perfect one and know it’s super fresh, so we thought it was worth the extra dough.

Finally the day arrived to select our tree and off we went!  As we got closer to the lot, we had fun counting how many cars we passed with Christmas trees on top.  We arrived at the tree lot and parked our car. We took a wagon ride to the area with the type of tree that we wanted.  We went for a canaan fir that year.

dadkidshozaks The weather was mild and the trees were plentiful.  We found a beautiful tree.  Seriously, I think it was the most beautiful tree that we have ever had.  It smelled great.  I will say that an adult’s idea of selecting the perfect tree differs slightly from that of young kids.  They were willing to take ANY tree, even ones with huge bare spots just to keep things moving.  

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Is this the one?

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Nope, but this one is!  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  Let’s cut this baby down!

shaungriftext Look how happy we are!  It seriously was fun.  Looking at these pictures almost makes me want to go do it again this year…

shaunmorgantext It was surprisingly easy to cut down the tree using the saw that was provided.

After we had our tree, we carried it to the pick-up point, hoisted it onto the wagon and rode back to the place where they put the tree on the needle shaker and tied it up for us.  We paid (and tipped) the workers who put the tree on the roof of our vehicle for us and off we went.  The whole process probably took about an hour and a half.  Success!

Why then, do you ask, do we not want to do it again?  Well, I’m about to show you.  

We went back a second year.  It was freezing.  The kids fought the whole time.  There were barely any trees to choose from.  My son nicked his finger on a saw on the wagon ride on the way back.  We settled on a tree and in contrast to the first year, I think it was probably the worst tree we ever had.

Then last year rolled around.  We were hoping for another awesome experience like we’d had the first year.  And then there was this:

kidsmud

Yep.  That’s mud.  Mud soup.  We had heard that it might be muddy, so we put rain boots on the kids because they could be cleaned off.

mud

Did I mention the mud?  It was seriously about 6 inches deep in places.  But wait, there was more.  Like the year before, it was freezing.  But more freezing.  It was so cold.  So we were on a mission.  We would not be very picky and take the first tree that looked good.  Except.  There were barely any trees to choose from where they dropped us off!

And the mud!

grifmud

About the time the tractor dropped us off for us to choose our tree, our children began to freeze.  Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scene where Audrey’s eyes get frozen open.  Things quickly unraveled until our then 5-year-old was crying because of his hurting, frozen toes.  And I couldn’t even be mad about it because my toes were frozen and hurting, too.  After some “conversation,” we decided to scrap the whole thing.  My husband carried my son back to our car (which was pretty far because we didn’t even wait around for the tractor to pick us up.)

Wow, you may think…that whole thing just spiraled out of control.

Yes, yes it did.  But the good news is that the story has a happy ending.  We scraped as much mud off our boots as possible and hopped back in the car.  We stopped a couple of places, but ultimately ended up at our old standby for Christmas trees.  The Home Depot.

homedepottree

We found a great tree in the first five minutes.  It was lovely; it was cheaper. There was no mud and there was no freezing.  And as a bonus, there was also no crying (or bleeding.)

So no, this year, we will not be going to cut down our own Christmas tree.  We will be forgoing the potential of awesome Hallmark memories and heartwarming pictures and driving our vehicle right on over to the local Home Depot and picking out a great tree.  There will be no crying and we will enjoy that home improvement store Christmas tree like it was the best tree we ever had.

I can look back at these escapades now and laugh.  

The reason I am sharing this (now) funny story is this:  You are about to see all kinds of blog posts, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins and Instagram pictures showing everyone in their jolly glory.  And yes, more likely than not (and hopefully), most of our experiences will be jolly and bright.  But just remember, not every experience is all wonderful. There is arguing, there are mishaps and there is freezing that isn’t preserved in our pictures.  And that’s okay.  Because we want to preserve and remember the good times.  At least I do.

Just don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing or how together other people seem to have it.  Sometimes things do go great.  And that’s what I hope for all of you.  But if they don’t, shrug it off, make a run to Home Depot and get on with your happy holiday season! 

Merry Christmas!

 
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