Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Pick a Paint Color

When we bought our home 5 years ago, we quickly figured out that every surface needs to be repainted.  Every wall, cabinet, door frame, window frame, and trim.  Everything.

For the first two months, we were lean, mean painting machines.  We bought three 5 gallon buckets and got to work.  

Our two colors were: 1.Northstar Blue by Sherwin Williams for our main rooms and 2. Pure White by Sherwin Williams-one glossy for the trim and doors, one matte for the ceilings. (Tip:when you go toe SW or Benjamin Moore, ask for the decorator's discount.  Tell them that you want to open an account because you plan to buy all your paint from them.  This gives you a HUGE discount.  They might give you a hard time, but don't fret.  It's totally legal.)

We fell in love with these colors.  The whites quickly became my go-to color for any painted furniture.   The chairs.  Some random frames.  My great stencil project of 2011 (more on that later).  It's great.  

The blue is a perfect blue.  Not too gray-too blue.  We've even loaned out the Big Bucket to friends for their rooms or to test try.  It's been a big hit.

Only with the help of my super cool aunt, was I able to pick out those colors from a huge fan wheel of colors.  I'm not good at that.  I hate it.  All the colors that I seem to pick look too harsh and bright when I get them home and test them out.  After picking those two colors, I gave up and started picking paint my way.

Let's call my way the Copy Cat Way.  It looks a little something like this: walk into someone's house, love their color, and get that exact thing for my house.  That's how I roll.  

If I could give any advice on picking colors, then it would be this:

Skip the intimidating book of color swatches.  
Find someone else's color and go with that.

True stories:
The color in my master bedroom=the color of my neighbor's kitchen.
My kitchen=the color of my friend's guest bedroom.
My mom found the colors for her house in a local shop.
My dad painted the exterior of one of his past houses when he passed a house he liked and knocked on their door to get the color.
Our master bedroom in our last house=color of a room in a little boutique in town.

It's not rocket science or brain surgery.  Being a Copy Cat is so much better than going to the store, choosing the feel of your entire room based on a square inch of sample.  Good luck.


What is it about routine that brings us so much comfort?  For me, it's my morning routine of getting Burl and me out of bed and getting us breakfast that helps me feel normal.  We take a long time waking up and getting to the kitchen for the most important meal of the day.

Right now, we're enjoying oatmeal.  Warm milk poured over raw oats.  Sweet toppings: slivered almonds (well, not for Burl), sliced bananas, craisins, and a dash of brown sugar.

Last week (the day before grocery day), our family car was totaled.  God showed His protection, no one was hurt.  

For a few days, our lives have gone off of our routine.  Leisurely breakfasts turned into gathering scraps.  One-on-one playtime with Burl turned into barely entertaining him while I made the 348th call.  Fun test driving turned into the car seat shuffle. 

The whole replacing-the-family-car game is still going, but we have our groceries.  This morning, I'm enjoying the routine, the taste and the pleasure of my oatmeal routine.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week's Menu

Every week, before I go grocery shopping, I make my menu.  Cleaning the dishes, making the meals, going to get groceries-not a problem.  Coming up with fun, new, exciting meals-BIG problem.  

In order to help me see what we're eating each week, I'm posting my menu for the week.  Any recipes or suggestions, then please send them to me!

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Veggie Nite (it's more fun spelled that way) 
Ham and Cheddar Sandwiches, Chips, Grapes
Oven Fried Chicken over Noodles and Cream Sauce (hello calories)
Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm back with another What I Wore Wednesday.  I have no idea why I think that this is so fun, but I do.  I think it's fun and whimsical.  And according to the smile on my face when I take my pictures, I think it's pretty hilarious too.  (Seriously, what was making me laugh so hard?)

This week, I tried out my boots.  That's right, I bought boots from Target and I think that we're going to get along just fine.  Besides my heels adjusting to something other than clogs and flips, they are pretty comfortable.  I might even wear them with a skirt, but that would be very saucy for me.  Here it goes: 

Worked at the Gap.
Necklace-Gap Outlet
Boots-Target (clearance, $39, boo-ya)

Mom's Birthday Family dinner (later that night)
Danimal on the left, Mom, Burl (wearing a sweater vest outfit that my mom got him.  Pretty dressy for us), Me, John. 
Same outfit for me except 
white ruffle tee-J.Crew factory outlet (even better than a regular outlet)
Cardigan-Gap (from a decade ago)

Errands and groceries-my brother calls this my mom uniform
Same tee as the day before, because that's how I roll
Lounge pants-Gap, great investment
Earrings-Ardent Sparrow
Tennis Shoes-Local Running Store

Project day at home with John-Eeek...almost didn't post this picture...made it tiny so it wouldn't scare small children.
Lounge Pants-Gap
Earrings-Ardent Sparrow

More projects and some Home Depot runs
Tee-Gap Outlet
Tennis Shoes-Local Running Store

Women's Bible Study
COWL neck shirt-Old Navy

I'm putting the vest on probation for overuse.  I think that everyone should do this.  Even you, Julie.  It's more fun than you could ever dream (ok, not really, but it is a little fun)!  Go to The Pleated Poppy for more crazy women doing the same thing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burl's Laugh on Video

Most of my friends have already seen this via email or Facebook, but I'm posting it here as well.

Burl loves his cousins.  One night, they stopped by for a quick visit and he.was.thrilled.  They not only entertain him, but they crack him up as well. 

Enjoy.  Feel free to watch it as much as you want.

I'm so happy that my brother-in-law had his iTouch to grab some great Burl laughter on video.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gettin' Deep

Fasten your seatbelts, I'm about to share some thoughts.  I hope they make sense.

With winter boldly making it's declaration on our weather, we are all spending more time in doors.  With an extra cup of coffee or tea and more time on our hands, there some of us that are doing a bit more thinking.  Sometimes that thinking turns into planning.  I am one of these people.

I'm thinking, planning, and enjoying more coffee AND tea as I wait for spring.  I'm enjoying a lot of reading-whether it's a blog, a magazine, a book, the Bible, a devotional, or a billboard-I'm soaking it all up.  Word are sticking with me these days.  Here are some that keep popping up:

Better Friend
Slowing Down
Soaking in the Moment

Those are great words.  I would love if those were words that described me, and so I've been trying.  Trying to be that person.  There is nothing wrong with that, but isn't trying to be those things not the point?  Trying doesn't foster a new person.  No, it only allows me to look like that cool person that I want to look like.

All this effort is a bit tiring.  I realized all this when I read something from a new blog that I'm following, Chatting at the Sky,

"I don’t know what slowing down and enjoying the journey looks like for you on a Monday in January. But I do know what it isn’t. It isn’t worrying about what tomorrow might bring. It isn’t shaming yourself into better or more productive behavior...I’ve done a lot of planning for the coming year, a lot of thinking about what is to come. And I’ve caught myself more than once trying to fire myself into the future like a cannonball. It helps to remember about the pace of God, how he could have made all of Creation with a blink of his eye, but instead he took a whole week, step by step."

That's good, isn't it?  The quote, "trying to fire myself into the future like a cannonball" really grabbed my attention.  It reminded me of something I heard from Oprah (PLEASE DON'T ROLL YOUR EYES).  She said, when turning 50-something, that she remembers her 20s.  In her 20s, she spent so much time and energy trying so hard to be something, to get something and she wish she could go back and tell herself to calm down because her whole life was in front of her.

That's what I want to do.  Quit trying.  Just living.  Enjoying the road, now matter how cold it is right now.  Easy-peasy.

All picture were taken by me, teehee.

This Week's Menu

Here is what we're eating this week.  I feel like my menus look the same as an Applebee's menu and I don't like that.  I wish it looked like something from a Jamie Oliver cookbook.  Maybe I should start checking out his website instead of Food TV.  Our eating habits are slowly evolving into something a bit more real.  Until then, I'm serving this:

Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla 
Veggie Night: Pintos, Asparagus, Rosemary Red Potatoes
Frou-frou Pasta (Bowtie Pasta with 'Rooms, Asparagus, Artichokes and Capers)
Spinach Manicotti 

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Windowsill... Burl's new babysitter.  I left him here for 45 minutes this morning, and it was great to get some cleaning done.

Who am I kidding?  I'm not leaving him there.  Look at how dangerous it is...the open electrical outlet, the strings hanging down.  This thing is basically a death trap for babies.

I wasn't about to leave him alone at the window.  (Ok, I did leave him to go grab my camera, but I ran VERY fast.) Then, I just sat there and watched him and took pictures.  

I tried to ignore the fact that it was not too long ago that I was holding him up with one hand to snap a "look-who's-a-big-boy-and-can-sit-up-now" picture.  

Now, he's standing at the window, waiting for a car, person, or squirrel to pass by.  If you know me and where I live, then please, come by our house and put on a good show for him.  I'm thinking something along the lines of Ferris Buller.  

Click HERE if you need a Friday pick-me-up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Making my coffee, hating this weather, wondering how long it will last this year, 

I look up and see the pink glow of the sunrise.  I go to the back of the house to see it in its full glory.  I love the promise and the hope that comes with each and every sunrise.

Too deep, too cheesy? Too bad.  I needed that sunrise this morning, thanks God, well done!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm linking up with the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.  Every Wednesday she posts what she wore the previous week.  It's her effort to keep herself accountable and out of sweats. 

For whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to try it.  Here are some things that I learned:

1. I dressed better.
2. My "better" dress is still pretty lame.
3. I want to be saucier, but I don't want to be saucy.  
4. In the middle of my WIWW, I stopped at the Gap Outlet and LOADED up.  It was kind of like shopping for groceries when I'm hungry.
5. From the claw to the hook to the teacup, I have a wide variety of ways of holding my camera.
6. I've got to figure out how to make these pictures look less grainy.  Suggestions?

Here goes nothing:

Boot Cut Jeans-Walmart
Cardigan (with a satin trim)-Old Navy
Work at the Gap/Dinner at the In Laws:
Flare Jeans-Walmart
Ruffle shirt-embellished by me
Ruffle Cardigan-Banana (clearance)
Birkenstocks-my staple.

Groceries/Errands/Lunch with Danimal and pretty much what I wore all weekend at the cabin:
Lounge Pants-Gap
(One of the things that I had to have for girls weekend were some good lounge pants.  I had some, but they are on their way out of my life.  My friends have discussions on where the best lounge pants are and if they are ok to run out in public.  My problem is that they are always too short and I end up getting a huge size just so they barely brush the ground.  They hang down real low.  Gap just launched a great new line of pants that come in long and short.  If you are interested purchasing them, click HERE.  If you want a 40% off coupon, let me know.  I'll hook you up.)

Friends house (for invitation making)
Huge Cowl Neck Sweater-Gap Outlet, Girls Weekend, less than $10
Flare Jeans: Walmart

Underneath the sweater is this fun tee:
Fun flower tee-Gap Outlet, Girls Weekend

Women's Bible Study/Work at the Gap:

Believe it or not, this is dressy for me, like I was nervous that people were going to ask me "what's the occasion, Meg?"  No one did.  I might just keep this saucy thing up.

Skinny Jeans-Walmart (go HERE right now and get some, even if you don't think you look good in skinny jeans.  Try them.  They are $12.)
Long Sweater Tank with Sparkles-Gap Outlet
Cardigan-Old Navy
Flats-Gift from Mom, got them at a dollar store.
Dragonfly Necklace-Ardent Sparrow

Looking at all the pictures, I've decided one thing:
I've GOT TO GET NEW SHOES!  I hate shopping (or wearing) shoes.  I like being comfortable over everything else.  I wear a size 11.  But no more excuses.  Operation Klass-It-Up!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Burl Days

Distance makes my heart fonder, for sure.  Whether I am working 4 hours at the Gap, working out for an hour and a half, or going away with girls for 36 hours, I come back even more in love with Burl than I was before.  

Yesterday was my first full day back with Burl.  Nothing special.  Went to a friend's house, worked out, just did our little routine together.  Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks and an account of how we spend our days:

Getting him out of the bed:

This is how I find him now.  Standing up, hanging out, just like a big boy.  Big boy.  I don't like those words.

Eating breakfast with him:

Burl makes the cutest faces when he's eating, probably because mealtime is his favorite time.

Right now, his favorite thing to have for breakfast is some chewy toast and yogurt.  As he gets satisfied, he starts to play a little bit.  

His current game is Lean Back and Knock Head on Rails.  I showed him how to do it, and now he thinks that I'm the coolest mom ever.

I know that there are a lot of mealtime pictures, but they are a fraction of what I actually took.  I love watching him eat.    

Even though I have to eat a little bit faster myself, it's worth it.  I LOVE sharing my meals with Burl.

Playing in his room with his toys:

His favorite game is the very popular Ball-N-Cup

Making new faces:

Burl has two teeth on the top and one on the bottom and he hasn't quite figured out what to do with them.  For now, tucking his bottom lip in seems to do just fine.  I love it because it seems to make his cheeks look even chubbier.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week's Menu

Few things to know:

1. I just got back from my first ever girls' weekend away without Burl.  I didn't cry.
2. I danced a lot.
3. I laughed a lot.
4. I hit up the Gap Outlet, and let's just say that things might be looking saucier around here.
5. The grocery budget got dipped into. 
6. Girl time is so refreshing.
7. I am one happy girl.
8. Not much inspiration for menus this week.

Penne and red sauce
Rosemary Garlic Chicken, Roasted Carrots, Wilted Spinach
Birthday Dinner for Mom = Dinner Out
Big Ol' Salad (My current salad: field greens, slivered almonds, craisins, blue cheese, avocado, balsamic vinegar and olive oil)

Some Lovely Things, Winner

Using, I got my winner!!!  (Want to waste some time, stop there!)

Winner-winner, chicken dinner...all the bated breath paid off, Keri.  You won!  

 "Exciting! Wildflower is my fav! Thanks for having a give-away. I am almost completely out of stationary, and am waiting for my victory notification with bated breath!"

Heidi will be mailing your cards to you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last Chance

A week dedicated to letters, stationary, paper, writing desks, and a giveaway (go HERE to enter)!  It has been a blast and I think that I could get use to this.  

Thank you for all the comments, support, and general excitement this week.  I've enjoyed it.  I really hope that letter writing becomes a regular pattern of your life instead of a big project.  It is awfully fun to exchange letters!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fully-Stocked Writing Desk

"Writing a personal letter is like home-cooking a meal-It's one of the everyday human pleasures that sometimes rises to the level of a sacred ritual, complete with special objects that add extra meaning.  You probably cook with your own quirky assortment of familiar spoons and pans, and enjoy the color, furniture, and decoration you've created in your kitchen.  Of course you could arrange it more logically, but then it wouldn't be you.  And whether you cook from scratch or open a box, it's still the same kitchen you've organized to create the food you offer to the peolpe you care about.

"Your writing desk can hold the same kind of personal treasure as your kitchen, to reinforce the same human pleasure of creating something that connects you with friends and family."

Margaret Shepherd, The Art of the Personal Letter

The pens, the paper, the stationary, the setting, the stamps, are all great things to encourage a good letter.  For resources and links to encourage some good fun, there is this post that I wrote a while ago.

{Pics from here}

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Doesn't Stop the Mail

Today is day 3 of the biggest snow that Chattanooga has seen since the blizzard of '93.  Eight inches for this southern town is enough to really shut things down.  Schools are closed, some businesses are closed (except John's work), and I have not driven my car in three days.  (For the record, besides Christmas, I haven't spent this much time at home ever.  Even after I got home from having Burl.)  Some might say that I'm getting cabin fever.  They would be wrong.

I'm loving being locked in!  Oh the things that I am doing.  Lots of playtime with Burl, fun projects (including the biggest paint project I've ever done), and lots of letter writing.  

The snow might have stopped a lot of things, but one thing has kept on truckin': the United States Post Service.  High-Ooo!!!  

If you are stuck inside, then wouldn't this be a great time to write some letters?  There are several types of letters to be written.  In The Art of the Personal Letter by Margaret Shepherd, she has 18 different kinds of letters.  My favorite and most frequently sent types are:

Letters of Congratulations
Letters of Condolence
Letters of Sympathy
Letters of Thanks
Letters  to Someone Who Is Away
Letters of Encouragement

This morning I sent out some letters (and a Netflix movie) that I have been wanting to send for a while.  I love seeing them sit on my mantel by the front door, keeping my greenery company, waiting to be walked to the mailbox.

If you would me to send you something, anything, I will, I would love to.  I'm OBSESSED with mail.  Just send me your address at and I'll do it! 

Until then, happy writing!