December 31, 2009

The Three B’s

Saturday morning hubby and I are heading out for a weekend of “fun in the sun” with these guys:




My favorite boy band when I was a teenager was the Beach Boys.    The last time I saw them in concert, we were all much younger!     And while I know we’ll be up past their (and our) bedtime to see them Saturday night at the Beau in Biloxi, I’ll be rockin’ out to some of my favorite tunes and having flashbacks to those long ago endless summer days and the music I loved.   

December 23, 2009

Unexpected and Early Christmas Gift

Yesterday driving into work I called my daughter-in-law to tell her about one of the gifts I bought for McKinley (my little granddaughter in Birmingham).      She was talking and I was talking and then she said she had some Christmas news…..(drum roll)….they are pregnant!    Wow!   I about ran off the road.      And what’s so funny is that exactly four years ago Christmas Day they announced they were pregnant with their first….and on August 29, 2005 that baby was born (also the day Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast region).     Jennifer thinks this baby will be born in August 2010.      Of course, we’d love a little boy but just want a healthy baby.    I can’t wait to hold a little one in my arms again!



What a wonderful (if surprising) Christmas present this is for our family.


December 22, 2009

Christmas On The Lake - 2009

Last year my sweet sister Betsy decided to host the family Christmas at her lake house.    Since all our kids are now grown and they have kids of their own, it gets a little loud and crazy at home and since she has a great “great room” at the lake it just works out better to gather there.    If you’d like to see our first Christmas at the lake, check it out here.

It was a cold day on Lake Martin and my brother-in-law kept a fire going all day in the fireplace.     Each family was to bring either steak or chicken for their family and Betsy and I supplied all the fixins’.     I brought  marinated cole slaw which everyone loves (recipe to follow).    Shannon made red velvet cake cupcakes in the shape of a Christmas tree.     DIL Jennifer brought buffalo chicken dip --- yummy!   

This year instead of playing dirty Santa or drawing names, we decided to make a monetary contribution to needy and underprivileged families.    My sister is a social worker and had over 800 names of families that needed just the necessities we take for granted.       But hubby still wanted all the grandkids to have a present to open so I went to Dollar Tree and Big Lots and loaded up….the kids were so excited to get all that “junk”!

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Here’s my sister drinking her favorite drink – Diet Sunkist!    Coming back from our cruise to Mexico last year, she couldn’t find Diet Sunkist anywhere until we got on the other side of New Orleans!

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She has some really nice pieces here at the lake that came out of her MIL’s Mountain Brook home.   I’d love to have this table.

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Her husband surprised her with this faux Christmas arrangement by sending it to her office.   She has lots of allergies and can’t handle real flowers.    She said she kept waiting to sneeze when this was delivered and it was hours later she figured out it wasn’t real (duh!)


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Simple mantel decorations

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She used two of my mom’s birdhouses on the mantel

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McKinley wearing some of her Dollar Tree finery!

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Pop with his two favorite girls (check out Taylor’s hat!)

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This butcher block table was in the kitchen at the Mountain Brook home.    


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This round Santa puzzle was a dirty Santa gift last year.      Betsy and her husband spend two weekends putting it together.

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Cute little ice creme table and chairs bought for sister’s daughter who is now grown with a child of her own.   The little ones love eating here.


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Wonder what those two sweethearts are cooking up?

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This unusual piece and the secretary below came out of her MIL’s home.

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Steaks marinating in Dale’s steak sauce

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My sister spreads butter on her chicken (I’ve never seen this done) but she says it helps lock in moisture

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Three little girl cousins – Taylor, McKinley and Erica

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My sweet boy Jackson discovers the toy cabinet (he’s getting a haircut this week – thank  goodness!)

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Jackson and Mason “discuss” who’s getting this toy

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Mason getting advice from his “older” cousin Taylor

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SIL Don and Jackson enjoying “Christmas Vacation” (I love that movie)

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Taylor showing off an early present – two bottom teeth!

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Jackson meeting me on the dock (it was soooo cold!)

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Austin discovers pots and pans

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My favorite picture of all –  son, my mom and daughter

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McKinley showing off her Wal Mart shoes Aunt Shannon got her (that child loved those shoes)…and I won’t say what kind of shoes Shane called them!

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When Taylor was a baby, David was always holding her like “a little bitty baby”.    She still wants him to hold her like a little bitty baby!

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Okay, pop, that’s enough!

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One wall is a entire bank of windows overlooking the lake – so pretty in the summer

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McKinley is having a party for 3!

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Here’s mom’s new home.     She (and all of us) love it there.   So homey and everyone is wonderful to her.


1 large head of cabbage, shredded

1 onion, chopped fine

1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine

1 stalk celery, chopped fine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

Combine cabbage, onion, pepper, celery and sugar.   Mix and set aside.   Combine vinegar, oil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.   Pour over cabbage mixture and stir well.   Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  (I recommend marinating overnight –the longer it marinates, the better!)

December 15, 2009

My Love of Sideboards

I fell in love with sideboards many years ago, long before I felt I could afford one.   My sister’s mother-in-law had the most beautiful sideboard in her dining room in Mountain Brook which my sister eventually inherited.    It came from one of their trips to Europe and was very valuable.

The first auction David and I ever went to (about 5 years ago) we went with the intention of hoping to find a sideboard we liked in good condition and at a reasonable cost.     That night we actually bought two!    One is in the den and one is in the dining room.   

Here’s the one in the den:

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And the one in my dining room (my favorite)

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Then at another auction we attended a couple of years ago we weren’t looking to buy another sideboard but as we were leaving I saw one outside that was in pretty bad shape.     We bought it for $25.00 and when we got it home, I cleaned it up and painted it black.    It wasn’t the greatest looking piece of furniture but it served its purpose at that time.     Now that I’m ready for my sunroom to undergo a facelift, the sideboard was the first thing to get a new look.     I decided to paint the body of it with Heirloom White and stain the top in a dark walnut.   

Here’s the sideboard painted black:

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And I just couldn’t wait to show you how it looks now:

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Please excuse the mess and boxes in the background-----I’m still sorting stuff from my mom’s house and this has been the dumping ground for all those things.

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I just added this little applique to the bottom drawer.    I have one I can use on the top drawer but I think I’ll leave it just like this.

Gone will be the red walls and in its place will be a creamy white.   I found an 8 x 10 seagrass rug at a local flea market for $19.99!      I already have a khaki loveseat and dark walnut TV cabinet.     I have a little something in mind for panels at all the windows and the french doors.    I plan to get started on a complete revamp of that room shortly after the holidays so you’ll just have to come back then to see how the room comes together.     I will also give a list of the products I used on the sideboard which made my job a little easier.

On a side note, on Monday my daughter and I went to Birmingham for our annual girl’s day Christmas shopping.    The weather was yucky all day long.    My son was also off doing some shopping of his own and he met us for lunch at P.F. Chang’s (my favorite place).      I am so fortunate that my kids love spending time together and Shannon has always loved being with her big brother.    I snapped this of them as we were walking out of Barnes & Noble (of course, they think I’m crazy always taking pictures)….

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(Yep, they’re probably saying “why is she ALWAYS taking our picture)

Then to top off our shopping extravaganza I stopped by Rhoda’s so Shannon could meet her and see her house.     Well, as you can imagine, Shannon loved everything about it!     I have now been instructed that we MUST use beadboard wallpaper in the kids bathroom (Rhoda is the beadboard wallpaper queen).      Shannon and Rhoda’s hubby had quite a little talk about the upcoming National Championship game between Alabama and Texas that will be played in Pasadena, California.    Shannon’s husband is a huge Alabama fan (among all us Auburn folks) and they are flying out to the game…..guess who’s babysitting?

December 9, 2009

Classic Christmas Dining Room

I can’t tell ya’ll how much I love my dining room with its soothing neutrals and dark woods.    It has really been a privilege to decorate it this year for Christmas.   I found that less really is more in such a calming environment.   


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Mahogany chest next to the window.    Like my “custom” drapes?   You can read about those here.      I picked up the curly iron candlestick at a yard sale for $1.00 when we were in Decatur, Alabama.

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This sweet little pitcher is from my uncle’s home.    He was a fabulous collector of china.

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View of my dining room from the kitchen door.    I lit the candles just for you!    

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Love, love, love this tray.    I sprayed it with Almond satin.    It is the tray that matches the coffee and tea set a few pictures down.    Those are painted with Heirloom White but I didn’t have any on hand so I used the Almond….almost a perfect match.

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Can you spy what’s different in this picture from some above?    I took this picture before I put the glass candlesticks on the white tray using the Heirloom White coffee/tea set in place of the tureen with white ornaments.      When I decided to use the candlesticks, I moved the tureen back to on the sideboard the put the coffee/tea set in the kitchen (you’ll see that in another post).

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The pair of deer above I picked up last year at Walgreen’s for around $10.00.   

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My favorite piece in the dining room is this large tureen.    I love everything about it…..its size, its color, those darling handles…..

I’m joining the party at Rhoda’s so check out all the Christmas inspiration there.

I’ll be posting pictures of my kitchen in a day or two.    Still tweaking in there!

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