Scents of the Season + Sponsor Spotlight

November 15th, 2011

The smells of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie will we wafting through homes in America next week, I’m so excited!  This morning I found myself actually pinning a picture of pumpkin pie.  Mmmmm.  As soon as that holiday passes, Christmas is upon us and soon we’ll be surrounded by the scents of pine, fir and cedar.  I. Can’t. Wait !!

The “Christmas smell” is one of my all-time favorites, bringing back memories of the holiday season from years past. Like you, I look forward to it every December. Earlier this year I was desperate for fresh garland and wreaths for the two magazine shoots, and I had to find an online source for fresh greenery in the off season. Kinda stressful.  

My research led me to Lynch Creek Farms in Washington state. I called them up out of the blue in a semi-panic and they totally saved the day. It was such a pleasant experience, the people at Lynch Creek couldn’t have been kinder or more professional.  In both March and August, they shipped the most gorgeous 26 inch wreaths and yards and yards of cedar garland right to my door. 

Thanks to Lynch Creek Farms, I was able to recreate the holidays with fresh cedar and fir and they were a genuine pleasure to work with.  Here are a couple of shots I took in August that I’ve never shared but I’ll share them today to get you in the mood for the upcoming scents of the Christmas season! 

garland on mantel

wreath and ornaments on sideboard

hutch with greenery

 

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Twenty Great New Children’s Books

November 14th, 2011

I love to take my kids to the library to borrow books and also to the bookstore to look for new favorites. I’m always on the hunt for new books to add to their library or give as gifts to other children. This past weekend we visited the local bookstore which has a great children’s section. There were so many great books, we stayed for two hours!

I’m really picky when it comes to children’s books, they have to well written and wonderfully illustrated. Great pictures are a must for me, if I don’t love the illustrations I won’t buy the book! Quite a few new books caught my eye while I was at the bookstore, so I thought I’d compile a list with my quick synopsis of the tales within. 

All of these children’s books include either a heartwarming story or a fun adventure combined with great illustrations. I’ve read and love them all, and even bought a few to tuck under the Christmas tree. If you’re looking for a charming gift for boys and girls this holiday season, I highly recommend these for children ages 4 to 9.  Listed in no order of preference.

 twenty great childrens books 2011

 

#1  Kiki & Coco in Paris, Stephanie Rausser and Nina Gruener

kiki and coco in paris

Hot of the presses, and perfect for fans of the famous city of Paris.  Kiki is a girl, Coco is her handmade cloth doll, and the two are inseparable. Together they travel to the City of Lights but Coco gets lost!  This tale of friendship will delight, and is filled with gorgeous photography of Paris seen through the eyes of Kiki & Coco.

 

       #2  Fandango Stew, David Davis

fandango stew cover

Two penniless and famished cowboys ride in to Skinflint and try to convince the stingy townsfolk to help them cook up some fandango stew. Cooperation leads to a tasty concoction everyone loves in this humorous take on the folktale Stone Soup.  It’s as fun to look at as it is to read out loud, filled with all the best of the Old West slang.  

          

#3  E-mergency!  Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields Meyer

e-mergency

The alphabet all lives together in harmony until one day the letter E takes a tumble down the stairs.  Chaos ensues!  How will the world function without the letter E?  While E recovers, the letter O fills in, and the jokes and puns keep readers laughing throughout.  

 

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Building Benches + The Gift of Good

November 14th, 2011

‘Tis the season, right?  Not only for holiday decorating but also for giving back. Last Friday (on Veterans Day) I was honored to be invited to be part of the The Home Depot Foundation and its continuing mission to improve homes and lives for military families.

For the next three years, the Home Depot Foundation is placing special emphasis on serving U.S. military veterans who are facing growing financial and physical hardships at home as they return to civilian life.  Were you aware of this?  The Home Depot Foundation is investing over $30 million (yes, $30 million dollars!) to help ease the burdens of this deserving group by repairing and renovating homes for military veterans. 

hd day of service

Have several extended family members in the service including my own brother, this was my way of showing my appreciation and giving back, so I flew to Atlanta to meet up with several other bloggers (both military and DIY) in this mission to complete 200 service projects within 60 days. 

On arrival, three of us were directed to four piles of wood, a collection of power tools, and one set of plans to build four benches for a community outdoor space. 

Bring. It. On!  Time to bust out a Charlie’s Angels theme, DIY style…

charlies angels stacy lindsay kate

Give us some safety goggles, gloves, and power tools and things will happen. 

 

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