Inexpensive Gifts for the Host!

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Tis the season for parties and merry cheer! When you’re headed out the door to our church Christmas party, the corporate gathering at your bosses house or annual Christmas party at your mother – in – laws house, don’t show up empty handed!

For just a few dollars, or from the items you’ve got laying around your house you can create a host gift as a small way to say “thank you”.




Found On The Idea Room |  Like personalized gifts?  Make these adorable hand stamped wooden utensils for the host!  They could be inscribed with special words, names, or initials!





951102f18d5a50c3ca483e93c6f92f5a  Found on | Tie on some festive ribbon to a stick to create a little ornament to keepsake the holidays.  Add this to a simple card thanking the host for the incredible and festive evening. Easy!




Found on | Headed to a party at your BBFs house? Sew up some mittens for her and a pair for you! Double the goods. 



Found on Happy Go Lucky | Got 15 minutes? Then you can put together these cute little holiday succulents for the host.




Found on | Sharpie mugs are all over Pinterest, but do they really work?  This awesome step-by-step tutorial not only shows you how to make them, but proves exactly which markers won’t wash off!  Such a fun & easy project and an awesome DIY gift idea!




Found on | Everyone has twigs in their yard, and twigs are free. Glue them onto a simple plywood letter you grab at your local craft store.  Rustic and stylish. 




Found on | Using a sliver of a tree trunk, paint on a sweet saying or monogram. 




Pin it now for your next party, skip the stressing on what to get the host later!

host gifts

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DIY Ideas to Add a Touch of Gold to Your Thanksgiving Decor



The time is near, Thanksgiving will be here just before we know it. I love all things Christmas, but let’s not skip over the beauty that the autumn season holds for creating a perfect and stunning tablescape for guest to gather around. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite pins that I’ve been pinning throughout the year for how to incorporate touches of GOLD onto your table décor.  

With one can of spray paint, there’s endless DIY ideas for creating a romantic and classy Thanksgiving table.  With spray paint being just about $1 at your local hardware store, there’s no cheaper way to decorate for the holidays!  

What’s your DIY idea for creating the perfect tabletop with GOLD for the holidays? Comment below! 


Found on  | All things candle sticks.  Whether you pick up a few new ones at a resale shop or just paint the old ones you have tucked away in a drawer, a can of spray paint goes along ways!


Found on | Dip some leaves into a little gold paint to add a “tipped” look to the leaves you sprinkle up and down the table center.  


Found on | Spray paint your pumpkins – go to town covering the pumpkins to be the focal point of your table.


Found on | Check out dare I say it WALMART for some cheap gold chargers to dress up your table with little effort.  If there’s no gold ones in stock, you know, just paint them! 


Found on | Skip the table and head right for the walls, add the touch of gold with a “Give Thanks” banner handing above your buffet table or across a window in your dining room.  (Make your own with an easy printable here)


Found on | If you can’t find them, skip the candle sticks, start saving up a few glass bottles.  Use a little rubbing alcohol to fully remove the labels and paint the bottles. Add a touch of elegance with white candlesticks too.  


Found on | Pick a few leaves from the yard and create name tags for seating around the table with a little yardstick and twine. 


Love these ideas? Pin it up and save them for later!

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Dresser Makeover {for our girl’s room}


Hey friends!  I hope you are doing well!  

I haven’t posted in a week!  YIKES!  {I told y’all it was going to take me a while to get through the loads of laundry! ha!} :)

I’ve been super busy doing things around the house….cleaning out closets and drawers, putting summer clothes away and getting fall clothes out, re-arranging furniture, trying to get some pictures on the walls…..

I finally figured it out over the weekend…I’m in nesting mode!   Our sweet girl will be back home with us soon, and I am like a pregnant woman running around trying to get everything ready for her arrival!  I also think that with the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve been itching to get things in order before the chaos begins.  :)

Anyway, I wanted to drop in and show you the dresser makeover I did for our girl’s room.  I completed it in May, before our girl arrived for the summer, but I am just now sharing it.  I was trying to be extra frugal with her room, so I decided to use an old dresser of my mom’s that had been in storage.  It’s a cherry dresser, and I know that some people cringe when they see someone paint a cherry piece of furniture, but believe me y’all, my mom would TOTALLY want me to paint this dresser and use it in our girl’s room.  Unpainted, it would have sat in storage for years.  Plus, I LOVE having something of mom’s in my girl’s room.  :)

I shared this photo on instagram in the spring…



I removed the hardware and drawers and lightly sanded everything with a  fine grit sanding sponge.



Now, this is the part where I would show you a step by step tutorial of how I completed this makeover.  But that’s what really good bloggers do.  :)  I’m just going to tell you the steps, and you can picture it in your mind, and it will be fabulous!!

I painted everything with one coat of KILZ primer, and then I painted two coats of basic white Valspar paint.  Next, I spray painted the hardware an oil rubbed bronze and reattached them to the dresser.

Voila!  I love how the painting it white shows off the curvy detail at the bottom of the dresser.  I think it makes it look more feminine.  


The lamp was a Laura Ashley find at Goodwill for $6.00, and the pink flowers are from IKEA.  I got the frame for her picture half off at Hobby Lobby.DSC_1016

This dresser was/is absolutely perfect for our girl!  The small top drawer holds her hair bows, clips, nail polish, and lip glosses.  The other drawers hold her undergarments, shorts, and pajamas.  I can’t wait for her to be back home with us using this dresser each day!  




Have a blessed day, friends!!

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Adding a Front Porch to a Brick Ranch


Hey friends!

Thanks for all of your sweet comments about my post yesterday.  I loved creating that gif to share with you.  However, I had some of you ask me to create a post with static pictures, so here ya go!  :)

I added some hyperlinks to some older posts that share more about the whole process of transforming our brick ranch into the cottage of our dreams. :)

I was looking through old pictures of our home when we first bought it, and I have to be truthful that I didn’t really have any good shots. I have this one picture below….

front porch makeover

As you can see, we tore down some trees on the left and right of our house.   This gives the front of our house a much more open look and allows you to see our house from the road. 

We also tore down the very ugly screened in front porch.  (I think we did that within 24 hours of moving in!  We were dying to get rid of it!!)

front porch makeover

For the time being, Cy built to new columns on the front porch because we knew it would be a few years before we could build the front porch we were dreaming of. 

front porch makeover


I found this picture of when we began the addition to our home about 6 months after we moved in.  The original ranch was only 1400 sq foot, and we desperately needed more space.

front porch makeover

The boys’ rooms and bathroom are upstairs in the addition, and the master bedroom and bath are in the downstairs of the addition.  In the future, we plan on adding a wrap around porch on the 1st floor of the addition.  We have french doors in our master bedroom that will lead out to that porch.  You can see them a little in the picture below…


Last year, we finally painted the whole house white!  It still looked like “a ranch with an addition stuck to the side,” but at least it was all the same color.  I knew that we would eventually get it looking like we wanted it to. :)

Painted brick exterior

So the house started looking more cohesive once the whole thing was painted, but I was still dying to get started on our front porch.  (Notice we didn’t paint the chimney because we knew we would be eventually tearing it down.)  We also added new shingles to the roof to match the ones on our new addition.

front porch makeover


For our new front porch, we enclosed the old front porch and then built a gabled roof out from there.   Luke helped Cy build most of the front porch out.

front porch makeover


We laid insulation on the part of the front porch that we were going to enclose, and then built the new front porch out from there.

front porch makeover

I LOVE the new entry way and mudroom that was created when we added on our new front porch! You can read more about that space HERE.

front porch makeover

We wrapped the new front porch with the same hardyboard siding from Lowe’s that we used on our addition. 

front porch makeover

We painted the whole front porch with White Dove (or dove white) by Benjamin Moore.  We had it color matched at Lowe’s and used Valspar exterior paint.

We also installed new doors (more details about that tomorrow,) lights, and gravel walkway.

front porch makeover

We added new mulch to the front of our house, but we haven’t planted anything yet.  We may plant a few things this fall, but most of it in the Spring. 

I am so, so happy to finally have a front porch to decorate for all of the seasons!

front porch makeover


*This front porch transformation was sponsored by Lowe’s.  We came up with the idea for our front porch and collaborated with Lowe’s to complete it.  Lowe’s is always our first choice when looking for quality products and supplies to use in our projects.  We have a genuine, authentic love affair with Lowe’s.  {I work exclusively with Lowe’s for that very reason!}  #lowesgirlforlife

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Our Front Porch from Beginning to End


Hey sweet friends! 

It’s Funday Monday!  {not really.  i’m just trying to convince myself!}


I was wanting to show you the pictures of how we built our front porch, but there were a LOT, and it was going to be a long {and maybe confusing} post.

So I got the idea to put all of the pictures into an animated gif so you could see the progression over time. 

I really like seeing pictures like this, so I hope you do too.  It shows our house from the first day we bought it, to what it looks like today.

Here ya go!….





Please tell me what you think!  

Can you believe it is even the same house?!  We have more plans to put a wrap around porch on the addition, and a two car garage on the left of the house, but that is later down the road.  I wish we had the money to do it all at once, but we don’t.  And good things come to those who wait, right?  ;)  It definitely teaches us patience, and I hope it shows our boys the value of hard work and perseverance. 


*This post was sponsored by my favorite home improvement store, Lowe’s.  All opinions and ideas are my own.  We have loved working with our local Lowe’s on this project!  #lowesgirlforlife

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How to Lay a Gravel Walkway


I am in LOVE with older homes…like 100 year old homes. Unfortunately, our brick ranch was built in the 1970’s, so it didn’t come with the “older home” character that I was dreaming of. Over the past four years, we have been renovating our home and trying to add some farmhouse character to the interior and exterior.

We recently built a new porch on the front of our ranch home. When trying to decide what type of walkway we wanted leading up to our front porch, I was drawn to the look and feel of a gravel walkway. They are definitely characteristic of old farmhouses, and they take me back to my childhood. :

Here are the reasons we love gravel walkways:

  1. They are easy to install.
  2. They are inexpensive.
  3. They are a fluid walkway material that won’t crack or break in colder temperatures.
  4. They can take on any shape you desire.
  5. And they are beautiful and charming!!

See why we chose gravel?!   It was the perfect solution for us!

how to lay a gravel walkway

We followed 5 easy steps to

complete our walkway in one day.


STEP ONE: Dig the shape of the walkway.

how to lay a gravel walkway

First off, you need to mark out the desired shape of your walkway before digging. We used line-marking paint to mark our walkway. It’s basically like spray paint, usually orange, that you hold upside down as you spray and mark your line.
You could also mark your pathway with a rope or even a water hose. Make your walkway as wide as you want it. We made ours a little wider since we were lining it with pavers.
Use a square-edged spade to dig your walkway a depth of four inches. You will want to check the depth of your trench with a tape measure as you go. Be sure to smooth walkway with a steel rake and then compact the soil with a dirt tamper.



STEP TWO: Add crushed stone to your walkway trench.

Once the dirt in the trench is raked smooth and compacted, line the trench with about 2 ½ inches of crushed stone.  We used Class 1 Sand from Lowe’s.  
Crushed stone is a mix of ¾-inch stones and stone dust and will give your walkway a compact base.

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STEP THREE: Lay Landscape Fabric
Next, roll out a layer of landscape fabric over your walkway.
You will be able to cut the fabric to match the shape of your walkway. To hold the fabric in place, you can use landscape anchor pins or spikes.














STEP FOUR: Install edging.

For our edging, we used pavers. We installed the pavers along the edges and used a rubber hammer to compact them.

The pavers we used are called “Allegheny” from Lowe’s.

sidewalk beauty



If you do not want to use pavers, you can install edging. I suggest a galvanized steel edging, but you can use what will fit in your budget. If your edging does not come with spikes like the edging below, you can use a soft hammer or a wood block/hammer to install the edging.



STEP FIVE: Fill walkway with gravel.
This is the fun part! There are many different types and colors of gravel that you can use for your walkway. Pick one that matches the style of your home (or your personality if you choose.) :)
You want to lay enough gravel to come about ½ inch shy of the top of the edging.
Be sure to rake the gravel out evenly so all of the landscape fabric is completely to lay a gravel walkway

If desired, you can landscape around the path with flowerbeds, sod, or lighting.  I’m loving these lights from Lowe’s!


Your new walkway will require very little maintenance. You may need to rake it smooth occasionally and add more gravel if needed over time.
how to lay a gravel walkway

(Confession:  We have NOT covered our crushed run with gravel yet.  We did our steps a little differently.  We put our crushed run over our landscaping fabric because we knew we wouldn’t be able to add the gravel just yet.  I am hoping to add the gravel in November.)

I am super happy with my new gravel walkway!  I know it will look even better once we lay the top gravel and add some new landscaping in our mulch!

how to lay a gravel walkway


*This post was sponsored by Lowe’s!  All design ideas and product opinions are 100% mine.  #lowesgirlforlife

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Gravel Walkway Inspiration {For our Front Porch}


Happy Monday, friends!

Hope you had a great weekend!  If you are on the east coast, I know you have been battered with a ton a rain.  I am praying for your safety.  

It has been dry and sunny over here on the west coast, and I have to admit that I am missing the cooler temps and the feeling of “fall.”  My time here is half way over, and guess what?!!! I get to see Cy and my boys this week!!!!  They are flying over here on Wednesday night!!!  YAY!  Please pray for their travel safety.  

I cannot wait to hug their necks!!!  

And I have got some more good news!!!!  Things are moving quickly on our adoption.  Yesterday, our sweet girl’s foster family got a visit from a lady from the government and found out that we are officially wanting to adopt her!  We didn’t expect this to happen so soon, so we are hoping this means that we may be flying over there to get her in November!!  Again, there are no guarantees because sometimes things get tied up in the court system, but so far, we are excited about how quickly things are going. :)

Here is a fun collage of her visit with us this summer.  I did it in pencil sketch since I can’t show her true picture yet online. :)

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Now to today’s post!  

I have a deep love for older homes.  Especially farmhouse style homes.   Something about them just warms my soul.  :)  So when adding on our new front porch, I wanted to give it an “old” farmhouse feel.  I started looking on pinterest, and I started noticing that many of the pictures I was drawn to had one thing in common….



Many of them had gravel walkways leading up to the front porch…




There is something so simplistic and rustic about a gravel walkway.  It seems that you usually find them in gardens, and they seem to always lead to somewhere magical.





 I have always loved the crunchy sound that gravel  makes beneath my feet.  

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The more I looked at these pictures online, the more I knew I wanted a gravel walkway leading to our front porch.  I showed Cy some of my inspiration pictures, and he loved the idea too.



There are many different types of gravel walkways that you can create, and I think they even look beautiful on newer homes too…



My favorite look is light gray gravel lined with pavers, so this was the route we decided to go.  Something similar to this pic….




Before I left town a couple of weeks ago, we finished our front walkway (sort of.)  We have filled our walkway with a layer of very fine crushed run to give our gravel a good sturdy base.  When I get back, we will be getting a little larger gravel to layer on top of our crushed run.

Tomorrow, I will share with you what it looks like so far!  I am very happy with how it has turned out.

So!  What do you think about gravel walkways for a front porch?  Yay?  Nay?


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Our Painted Front Porch


Well, if you know me, you know I love painted wood!  We painted the floors in our girl’s room.


We painted the wood walls in our guest bathroom.  


And we painted the wood floor in our new mudroom.


So when we installed our new wood front porch floor, I thought about staining it for a brief second, but I kind of knew already that my heart was set on painting it. :)

Our first coat was actually the same color as the mudroom (which I love,) but I knew that I wanted it to be a little darker gray.  When the sun hit the porch, the gray almost looked blue.  

front porch2

So I decided to go with a color that was a couple shades lighter than the color we painted our shutters (Ebony Fields.)  See below…


Since I am far from home right now, I didn’t have the color swatch with me, but I found a picture on Jenna Sue’s blog!  Yay!

Valspar Porch and Floor paint


It is called Mark Twain House Ombra Gray, and I absolutely LOVE it!  We used Valspar Porch and Floor Paint in gloss.

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We trimmed everything out with just a high gloss exterior white paint.


I still have to get a pretty “welcome” rug for the front door, but I already love how it looks with our pumpkin and mum!  :)

front porch makeover

Have a blessed day, friends!!


*This front porch project was sponsored by my favorite home improvement store, Lowe’s!  All ideas and opinions are 100% mine.  #lowesgirlforlife

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Decorating with Natural Accents


Y’all, the weather has been getting super chilly in these parts, and I LOVE IT!!  Oh my goodness, the morning requires a light jacket, and the afternoons are filled with sunshine and a cool breeze.  We’ve been riding around town every day with our windows down breathing in all the goodness.  Last night, Adam, Eli, and I went to our local park, and the boys played on the playground while I took a walk around the park.  #heavenly

On the way home, we rolled the windows down again and breathed in the smell of burning wood.  Someone was roasting something over the fire, and it was A-ma-ZING!  This time of year just makes my soul sing. 

I have so many fond memories of this time of year…hayrides, campfires, nature walks, football games….so many wonderful things to do outside.  And I think that is why I like to bring the outdoors inside this time of year.  I just can’t get enough of it!


Decorating my home with natural accents is one of my favorite things to do!  That’s why I am excited to share a book that my sweet blog friend, Stacy (from Not Just a Housewife) wrote about the subject. 

I have know Stacy for over five years now, and she is one of the sweetest souls I have met in blogland.  She is the mom of four boys like me, and she loves the Lord dearly.  She has been blessed with the talent of creatively adding natural accents to her home, and she shares her passion with everyone in her new book.


Stacy’s book is full of so many great, inspiring projects with easy do-it-yourself instructions.  It got me all excited about sprucing up our home with natural accents! 

Here are a few of my favorite inspiration pics from Pinterest that incorporate natural accents in their decor…





Check out how cute this little vignette with a wood slice, jars, and rocks.  The cool thing about decorating with natural accents is that you can get the kids involved!  My boys love to collect rocks and things from outdoors, and it makes them feel great when I add them to our home’s decor.  :)





Ahhh…..bittersweet!  One of my favorite things to decorate with in the fall.  Just through them in a bowl with some acorns, and voila!  You have a beautiful centerpiece!






My buddy, Michael, from Inspired by Charm, made these adorable acorns for his fall decor.  I LOVE THEM!!

Natural-Accents-738x1024If you want your jaw to drop and see how natural elements can be used to perfection in your decor, check out Michael’s Fall Home Tour!  #yourewelcome

Now, even though it is fun to decorate with natural accents during the fall season, it can certainly be done year round, and Stacy’s book gives you tips on how to do exactly that!


You can enjoy this book for yourself or give it as a gift!

And if you want more inspiration from Stacy and her blog, click HERE.


Have a blessed day!!

This post contains affiliate links.

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How to “Fake” a Wood Floor with Plywood {Our girl’s room}


how to fake a wood floor by using ply


This past spring, we were busy trying to turn our boys messy playroom into our precious host daughter’s bedroom.  We had to removed the pee-stained carpet {from our dogs, not our boys, ha!} from the playroom and come up with another type of flooring that wouldn’t beckon our dogs to continue to pee in there.  ugh. 

Here it is before we started clearing it out…


Since we didn’t have the money to install hard wood floors to match the rest of the house, we decided to lay some inexpensive plywood and paint it.  I love the look of painted wood flooring, so I was totally down for the idea.

Cy bought some 1/2 inch birch plywood from Lowe’s and had the guys in the lumber department cut the plywood into 6 inch strips.  Since plywood comes in standard 4 x 8 feet sheets, we were able to get eight 6 inch by 8 foot strips of plywood to use as our “planks.”  {The eighth strip was about 5 1/2 inches wide because you loose some width due to the size of the blade when cutting.}

Some of the cut edges may be a little rough and need a little sanding.  

We had a bunch of pictures of installing the wood planks on my husband’s phone, but it broke into a million pieces, and we do not have those pictures any more.  :(      #bloggerfail

I did take a couple of pictures on my phone of the boys helping us.  We let Jonathan and Luke install them floor to earn a little spending money.  After they pulled up the carpet, they removed any leftover staples from the plywood and cleaned the subfloor real good with Cy’s shop vac.  

Then Jonathan used the chop saw to cut the plywood strips the length they needed them, and Luke nailed the boards directly to the subfloor with a nail gun.  They completed the floor in one evening.  

diy wood floor

After all the plywood was laid, I swept it real good before I painted it with a (smooth/semi-smooth) nap roll brush.  

Painted wood floor

We used a roll brush with a thick nap and this oil based Valspar porch & floor paint from Lowe’s…

Valspar Porch and Floor paint

The color we chose is called Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue, and I absolutely LOVE it!  It was the perfect color for our sweet girl’s room!  This paint comes in satin or gloss.  We got the satin at first, but I didn’t like it.  The gloss was perfect!

Valspar Porch and Floor Paint

We painted the floors one good coat and then let it sit for 24 hours.  I suggest letting it sit as long as you can before applying the second coat.  Before we applied the second coat, we lightly sanded the painted floor in any spots that looked like there were tiny bubbles (which was hardly nowhere) with a fine grit sanding sponge and then vacuumed the floor.  

We let the second coat dry for over 24 hours as well.  It is a super durable paint.

inexpensive painted wood floor

I adore this floor!  There is something so quaint and cozy about a painted wood floor!  And it was super easy to install and very inexpensive. {less than $225}  SCORE!

Inexpensive DIY wood floor

So what do you think?

Do you like painted wood floors?




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