Spring Upcycle DIY

Today I am teaming up with a multitude of fabulous bloggers to share a Spring Upcycle DIY! My friend Terrie from Decorating and More with Tip , heads up our group and the rules were as follows: The Spring Upcycle DIY must be something spring related and we need to upcycle something we already had on hand at home!

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Challenge Accepted

Challenge accepted? Well, may be.  I actually failed. Twice to be exact. I think I have a good excuse though and I did rise above it! We have literally everything we own in storage! I have very little to work with so I had to be super creative!

Wood Sign

I first decided I would have my husband cut me a piece of aged wood that we found on our new property. I planned to paint a garden sign for our new garden but it has been raining here for the past couple of days and the wood was still wet. Since the wood stayed damp, I could not paint on the wood. Next, I decided to do a vinyl design on a sign that I had in my camper, which is our current home, as we build our forever home!

0FB065DE-276F-4E91-BB96-CD6B74B288AFI decided I could use the back of this sign for a different sign. The first vinyl design did not work out due to the size and file of the vinyl design. I realized this AFTER designing the entire design.

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Easter Wood Sign with Silhouette

Next, I decided to go a more simpler route and just do vinyl wording for Easter. 

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I decided on “He is Risen” for the saying for my sign. I went to my Silhoutte program and grabbed a font from my Silhouette library and manipulated it a bit, to size.

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I measured the wood and decided to go with 17×4.5 for the size of the vinyl letters, since my wood sign is 19×5. After printing the vinyl words, “He is Risen”, I removed the negative vinyl, which we call weeding, in the vinyl world. I also cut out each word and placed it on the wood for placement before I added the vinyl to my wood sign.

A little bit of history of the  wood: The wood  iteself is actually wormed antique wood from a barn and it is over 100 yeaars old! It is a pretty cool piece of history! We have made many things from this wood like framed mirrors, shelves and more! 

I added transfer contact paper, made sure the vinyl adhered, then carefully peeled the vinyl from the contact paper.

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Next, I placed the word “Risen” on the sign first, noting that I wanted the “n” to be about a half inch from the very end of the wood sign. I measured about a half inch from the first and last letter 

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After adding the word “Risen”, I added the word “He”. I added “is” last and made sure it measured equal on spacing at about an inch from the words “He” and “Risen”. 

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Final Thoughts

Overall, a simple and quick project that cost me $0 since I had everything I needed on hand! I have stories on my Instagram account that you can see a bit more details! I hope you will take the time to check out what my friend’s have come up with for their Spring Upcycle! 

Love~Shae

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DECORATE AND MORE WITH TIP | Blessings by me | JUNK TO GEMS | CLOCHES AND LAVENDER

 

PATINA AND PAINT | PALLET AND PANTRY | B4 & AFTERS | PURPLE HUES AND ME

 

SWEET SOUTHERN GRACE

How We Stay Organized in Our Pop Up Camper

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Pop Up Camping can be a lot fun and a great way to create memories with your family. Pop up camping is one of my favorite things to do with my family, as it allots a way to travel, with our family of six, for significantly cheaper than even renting from VRBO or a hotel. Our family invested in a 1996 Coleman Pop Up Camper for $500 from Facebook Marketplace, two years ago, this month! You can see how we renovated our pop up here.

Here is a before of our Pop Up Camper on the day we brought her home!

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Staying Organized

Staying organized in your PUC is key to functionality in a small space being able to enjoy yourself while on vacation! We have several trips under our belt now and sometimes it’s trial and error to see what works best for your family. 

Below is  picture of our four daughters in St. Augustine! Stunning beach! 

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Organizing Our Clothing

When we went on our first few trips in our pop up, we had six people traveling in our camper. (We have since had one daughter get married, so we now have five.) When we first began began traveling, we used two seperate sections of our bench seating for clothing storage for myself, husband and two oldest daughters. It works, as we travel only in the warmer months, not taking a lot of bulking clothing or shoes. 

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T-shirt’s, shorts, swimsuits and flip flops! Now that we are minus one, we use that one storage compartment to store  a convection oven. Folding compactly does matter in the amount of space you have in the area you are storing clothes and that you keep that space neat, while on vacation.

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For our youngest two girls, we use the cabinet by the entry, as their clothing storage. We can even slide their add their flip flops, sandals and a pair of tennis shoes in their cabinet on the bottom far left! We have  good week’s worth of clothing on each child’s shelf! Now, who would have ever thought that we could cram so much clothing in our pop up camper?! Pretty awesome!

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How We Organize Our Food 

We keep the bulk of our food, along with paper items like plates, in our middle bench seating. I use metal and woven farmhouse baskets to help keep things confined to their spaces. I try to keep like items together like paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups.

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I have a couple seperate baskets for things like cans, noodles, sauces, juice,  rice, extra condiments and coffee. The other basket has dried goods like sugars, flours teas and mostly baking items. 

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In our “kitchen” cabinets, the first set of cabinets, we keep more food items. I have a plastic  storage basket from Target and a metal farmhouse basket in the cabinet on the left. Those baskets hold spices, oils and measuring cups. 

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On the right hand side of the cabinets, I keep more oils, Thieves cleaner, rubbing alcohol (for cleaning), peroxide (for getting out stains on clothing), plastic storage bags, foil, dog treats and scrubber pads for washing dishes. 

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After we had camped a few times, we realized pretty quickly that we would need some type of overhead storage for more regularly used food items and that they would be easy to access like cereal bars, bread, coffee, apple sauce pouches and vitamins.

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I bought a small coffee pot for our camper, beside it I store salt, pepper and sugar for coffee. Again, these are items that we use on a regular basis.

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Target had the best plastic storage bins and all for under $3.00. I use them in our home and all througout our pop up camper!

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I placed two more metal farmhouse baskets on the bottom shelf. The first one holds forks, spoons, bowls, cups and plates. It also holds our yeti’s that we drink coffee from each morning. The second metal basket holds fruits and veggies. 

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Organizing Our Small Appliances

Bench seating storage is amazing! We literally have almost any appliance you can think of on this side of our bench seating storage! To the far left, I keep three, 6 quart rubbermaid containters. In these containers, I keep first aide, vitamins and allergy meds. I made the labels with my Silhouette.  I also have my waffl maker, blender and apple sauce pouches. 

In the middle of the bench storage, I keep my Ninja Foodie, accessories, my recipe box and a couple mason jars.

The far right storage area has my Ninja Foodie with a couple mason jars and a tupperware container. See how much it holds?!

How We Organize Pots, Pans and Cooking Utensils

In our “kitchen” cabinets, on the bottom of the cabinets, I keep a pots and pans set, along with a mixing bowl, cheese grater and a few cooking utensils.  Nothing fancy here!

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We even have a convection oven in one of our bench seat storage area’s and it has been so nice because it’s like a mini oven. We bake cookies, homemade breads, toast things, warm things like left overs, ect. 

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A Space to Organize Bath Towels, Washcloths and Kitchen Towels Along with Bath Products

When we bought our PUC, it was in very poor condition. In fact, it was almost complete gut job.

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Since it was missing one of the cabinets on the right hand side of our entryway, we decided not to rebuild and grab a metal, collapsible dog kennel, since we knew our family pet(s) would be traveling with us. On top of the dog kennel, we added a piece of plywood and set a three drawer rubbermaid storage on top of it. In the top storage drawer, we keep bath towels, wash cloths, kitchen flour sack towels and Norwex cloths in the top drawer. We also have a collapsible laundry basket for dirty clothes and towels. 

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The middle drawer houses bath towels! In the top two drawers, we store twelve bathtowels and two dozen washcloths plus a dozen flour sack kitchen towels and several Norwex cloths.

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The bottom drawer contains bath products. I even used some of the Target plastic containers to help organize the drawer space to help it be as effecient as it can be with space! 

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We also keep a metal farmhouse basket on top of the three drawer basket. In this basket, I keep more bath products. I also have a woven basket that I keep tissue rolls in. I like to keep a couple plants, well more than a couple, in the camper, as it helps purify the air and give a more homey feel in our camper.

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To the left of the three drawer storage, I keep a medium sized woven basket on the bed that holds our hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron and a few hair scruncie’s. I even have a mini heater stored in the woven basket! Sometimes other things can get thrown into here! 

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When we were renovating our camper, I wanted to paint chalk paint on half of the inside of the door, so I could use it as a menu board. It is another way to help me stay organized with food and groceries, when we are traveling. I usually use a chalk pen but you can also use a regular piece of chalk too!

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And that is about it folks! Staying organized is key in such a small space.  I don’t think we would be able to function in here without organization! If yall have any questions, please reach out! 

Love~Shae

Below is a picture of my husband and I on St. George Island! One of our most fav places on earth!!

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FOUR OF THE BEST THINGS TO BUY IN FEBRUARY

FOUR OF THE BEST THINGS TO BUY IN FEBRUARY

February is a short month but it’s packed with holidays and stores will do their best to get you in! Not all sales are created equal, so let’s shop smart!

FOUR OF THE BEST THINGS TO BUY IN FEBRUARY 

JEWELRY

February is a great month to buy jewelry as jewelers will have fabulous deals for Valentine’s Day! Right after the holiday, prices go back to normal until Mother’s Day.

SMARTPHONES

Typically smart phones from the previous year model go on sale this month. You can usually find them for a good price in February or have you ever tried a refurbished smartphone? They are at least 50-70% cheaper than a brand new phone.

MATTRESSES 

Long weekends like Presidents Day weekend is typically prime for buying larger tickets items like mattresses. You can usually find them for around 25% with incentives like free shipping as well.

VALENTINE CLEARANCE 

Don’t forget to shop Valentine’s clearance items. I have bought kids Valentine’s for school to put away for the following year. I have also found Valentine cards for my husband and daughters. I will also look for small Valentine stuffed animals or Valentine themed clothing. These items are usually between 70-90% off, depending on the store. So let’s not forget about Valentine’s Day decor too!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have enjoyed reading about Four of the Best Things to Buy in February!

❤️~Shae

40 Things I have learned in 40 years

I just turned 40.

Not everyone gets to see their 40th birthday. I am thankful I got to spend it with my husband, daughters and my parents.

My peeps made me feel very special for my 40th birthday. My oldest daughter made me a gift basket with all of my fav things: soft socks, sweater with a matching shirt, Burt’s Bees, my fav brand of chocolate and my fav drink. My husband made my favorite meal and searched hell and high water to find me the Tres Leches cake that I wanted. He also bought me a purse that I have wanted for years. My youngest two littles made little birthday decorations and handmade cards. My mom and dad bought me the matching wallet to go with my purse that my hubs bought for my birthday. I received many birthday texts and emails, wishing me a happy birthday from other family and friends.

As a person who is normally planning birthday parties, it felt pretty good to be the object of so much love and thoughtfulness.

40 Things I have learned in my 40 years of life:

1) Your relationship with Jesus is the most imporant. Cultivate it. Don’t let days go by without making time for Him.

2) God’s timing is not always our timing. Also, God’s plans aren’t always our plans either.

3) Do not let the sun go down on your anger. If you need to work out something with someone, TALK. TO. THEM. Have you prayed more about the problem, more than you have talked about the problem with others? 

4) Be willing to be vulnerable.

5) Life isn’t fair but God is good. 

6) Learn something new as often as you can.

7) It does not matter what other people think. 

8) Give grace and second chances.

9) Always be on time. 

10) Write it down and make reminders on your phone, so you don’t forget the important stuff!

11) Dogs and kids are good for your soul.

12) Take pictures and videos. 

13) Change can be hard, try to embrace it.

14) Everybody has a story and a struggle. 

15) Having children has taught me how to appreciate my parents.

16) Speaking of parents, I believe that most parents do the best they can do, yet sometimes make mistakes.

17) Kids don’t come with rule books. 

18) When renovating your home, add extra money to your budget. Unexpected things always come up.

19) Practice grattitude, no matter where you are in your life.

20) Put down your phone. Take a social media break.

21) Talk to children like they matter!

22) Your body will feel so much better if you exercise during the week. 

23) Speaking of your body, what you eat is important. Organic veggies, fruits and grass fed meats. I always have people tell me that I never look my age. It’s because of what I put inside my body. Think about it: If you drink cokes all during the week, along with a fast food or unhealthy diet, think about how your skin will look. Think of food as nourishment that is healing our bodies. 

24) Drink water everyday.

25) Live as chemial free as possible. Think about everything you use in your home from cleaning products to food to shampoo. Research the name of each chemical listed under the ingredients from one bottle in your home. Look up what those particular chemicals can do to your body.

26) Travel as often as you can! We enjoy giving our children travel experience, not buying stuff that they won’t play with or use in 6 months.

27) Donate, sell or give away items you are no longer using. 

28) Help people as often as you can. From donating your time to a food pantry to buying the person’s groceries at the check out line whose card was declined. Just help others, as often as you can.

29) Meal plan. I have meal planned since day one of our marriage. It saves so much time and money!

30) Take time to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Run a 5k, get a massage, treat yourself to a coffee. Just do something for you.

31) Do not be in debt. Pay off your home. Pay off that car payment. Do not carry credit card debt.

32) Buy out of season for clothing. You can save so much money! I have bought jackets, shoes and clothing for our family when we need items, out of season and save up to 90%.

33) Don’t buy bottled water. Buy a water filtration system for about $300. You will save money and it’s healthier drinking water. Plus, no littering our planet with plastics and your not exposed to the plastic by drinking the water from a plastic bottle.

34) Learn how to fix things yourself. From that leaky toilet to a screen door that won’t shut. You can save so much money by doing things yourself.

35) Have at least 6 months of savings for emergency only.

36) Grow a garden. Try to be as sustainable as possible. Herbs, veggies, fruit trees and shrubs. 

37) Have a budget and stick to it.

38) Practice boundries when needed.

39) Own your own story. It can be hard, but it is better than running from it, your whole life!

40) Have courage. Even when it is hard.

PRAYING WHEN YOUR SOUL IS BATTLED AND WEARY

The last few weeks, actually the last few months, have been HARD. Situational pain spoke loud to my heart and my soul for days. The mind knows what the heart needs to remember albeit there is a battle waged. The two aren’t in cohesiveness together. That makes us tremble to the enemy. When we are at war internally, it will be harder to fight the external battles of daily life.


Ignoring this place of tension will continue to wreak havoc. One incident builds upon another and eventually everything will blow up. It will even leave us in a worse place. We have a choice to ignore this tension or we can let this tension drive us into action to seek our Lord. Believe me, I understand that the temptation to give in to the despair is like a cheerleader’s megaphone, for the way that our souls need to readjust hope. Will we turn to God for help or will we turn to our own self focused expectations? Our hearts willing, we say yes to God. We want God to help us and to feel near Him.

I do not know what your battles are today. May be you have experienced a loss like a job loss, the loss of a relationship or may be you are grieving a death. Sometimes, accepting the need to grieve the reality of hard present truths while being able to keep hope alive for redemption the way our Father desires. Have you tried and you are feeling worn down by the enemy?

Fight back. Do not let the enemy win. Fight as fiercly against the enemy who takes our souls and will make them at war. The enemy will take and try to turn husband and wives against each other. The enemy will try and turn families against each other. The battle is not against others. The true battle is against the enemy of God and of us because God is with us. I need prayer during these times and may be you need prayer during these times too.

Even if you are to tired to lift your eyes today or any other day, I have hope that you will choose prayer too. Cry out to God. He is listening.

Dear Jesus,

Some days it hurts so much. My soul is so weary and tired. I feel as if I am not sure how to take another step. I do not know what to do. The pain in my heart is engulfing and I need you. When I turn away, please remind me that you are right here. Please send my guardian angel to comfort me. I know you have not left me.

Lord, please remind me that my pain is only temporary, although in the moment it feels like forever. When my heart is weary, at times, I feel like I have done all I can do. I feel trapped and lost because sometimes, I can not see a way out or a way forward; so in these moments, thank you for your grace and love. Please show me what I need to see. Show me what I need to change in my own heart. Please help me to be a better mother, wife, friend, sister and daughter. Reveal more of you.

When I feel like I am unsure of how or what to pray for, Lord, you know my heart. My tears are my words. Help me turn to you so that I can hear you, oh Lord! You tell me you are a place of refuge. Lord, I want to stay there and feel safe. I need courage so that I can fight another battleground you lead me to. Help me find rest and peace today; although my heart is hurting, you give me strength to endure until I can see clearly again.

I need you Lord. I stand in victory because in the end, you have already won. May I never forget that you are at work, even when we can not see it yet. Help me to remember that I have what I need to stand against the enemies lies.

I ask these things in your name,

Amen

HOW TO CREATE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are needed in every relationship. A boundary is a imaginary line that seperates me from you. Boundaries seperate your physical space, needs, feelings and responsibilities from others. Your boundaries tell people how they can treat you. Boundaries say what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. If you do not set boundaries with people, they may take advantage of you because you have not set limits about how you expect to be treated. 

A boundary illustration 

Think of a boundary like a property line. In the last home we owned, right after we moved in, I had noticed the neighbor cutting our grass on our property line. Like 15 foot over the property line. I thought it was odd, but did not say anything the first couple of times it happened. After the third time, we asked him to stop. He said he had always cut our grass on that side. We kindly let him know that we would be cutting our own grass. The previous homeowner never cut the grass, so the neighbor always cut that side. I would like to think that, with us being the new homeowners, he would give us the opportunity to see if we wanted to cut our own grass. He did not, so we needed to establish a boundary with him.  Point being is that if you do not speak up and say that a boundary is being crossed, it gives the impression that your ok with it. 

When a boundary is crossed, you need to give feedback saying if it is ok or not. The boundary is worthless if you don’t enforce it by giving feedback and consequences. Now, some people will accept the boundary and some will continue to challenge it and even escalate it. The specific consequences depend on the relationship and the history of the relationship, as well. 

Do you know how to create healthy boundaries?

Does creating boundaries make you feel guilty? Have you wanted to create boundaries in relationships but just do not know how or are you afraid of feeling guilty for creating boundaries?

Toxic relationships are really common. Heavy cultural conditioning makes it painful to speak about those types of relationships. A lot of times, the person sharing their experience is often being judged or viewed as crazy or wrong because its a family member or parent. People may think you are overly imagining things or that it couldn’t possibly be that bad. You may even feel pressure to maintain the relationship on the other person’s terms and afriad to set boundaries. The truth is that the pressured feeling, from not wanting to create a boundary, comes from a desire to receive the love you wanted, but never received. Without boundaries, people will walk all over you.

Why do we need boundaries?

Boundaries create a entity that allows you to make your own decisions and have your own feelings. It also allows you to know and ask for what you want without the need to please other people.

Boundaries are a form of self care and healthy boundaries mean that you value your own feelings/needs. Boundaries also mean that you are not responsible for how others feel or behave. Boundaries can also allow you to let go of worrying and create a sense of peace with placing accountability with that particular person. Boundaries mean that saying no to things that are not your priority. 

Boundaries will create a realistic expectation to your friends, your spouse, boss or family member to know what is expected. Clearly communicating boundaries will let people know how they are expected to behave. When expectations are not communicated and met, resentment and anger flourish. 

Boundaries create a safety by providing  physical and emotional safety by keeping what feels hurtful or uncomfortable. 

What prevents us from setting boundaries?

Fear keeps us from setting boundaries. What are you scared of? Are you afraid of dissapointing someone by creating a boundary? What will happen if you do not set a boundary? ASK yourself those questions to see why your stuck. If you grew up in a family without boundaries, you probably did not have anyone to teach you about boundaries or anyone to model healthy boundaries. Setting boundaries is definitely a skill that is learned. Some people do not want to create boundries because they do not want to dissapoint others or they will just avoid conflict at all costs. 

Bottom line of boundaries

The truth is that setting boundaries can disrupt relationships.. You will probably even get some resistance but sometimes it is not as bad as you have imagined. Boundary setting takes time and becomes easier with practice. It will also take time for others to adjust to your boundaries. 

Love~Shae

THE BILTMORE AT CHRISTMAS

THE BILTMORE AT CHRISTMAS

We all dream of that perfect holiday season. The one filled with family togetherness, Christmas trees with lights, homemade hot cocoa and Christmas movies. Often times, the reality of the Christmas holidays can bring on endless busyness. I believe that in order to fully appreciate the holidays, taking a family Christmas vacation can really help set our sights, in perspective of a truly beautiful family holiday. This helps us to step away from the day-to-day and set it in another light.

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Christmas at the Biltmore

The weekend after my fourthieth birthday, we packed the car and had our eyes set for the stunning Asheville, North Carolina, the backdrop of George Vanderbilt’s famous estate.

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This is the Biltmore’s 125 year of welcoming guests into the estate. The Biltmore begins decorating in November with more than 60 Christmas trees, 13,000 ornaments, thousands of lights, beautiful poinsettias and ribbons all adorn the majestic estate.

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On the front lawn of the Biltmore House, a breathtaking, 55-foot-tall Norway spruce with 45,000 plus lights and is lit for the candlelight evenings.

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In the Banquet Hall of the Biltmore House, a 35-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree is brought in by 50 helpers! It is even replaced mid holiday season to ensure a fresh tree. The replacement tree arrives to the house by 4 AM and decorated by the time the first guests arrive by 9 AM. The tree is decorated with 500 ornament, 500 lights and 500 packages, as George Vanderbilt decorated the tree.

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History of Christmas at the Biltmore

George Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith along with their daughter, Cornelia, spent many Christmases together in the Biltmore House, creating many traditions that continue today. George Vanderbilt’s descendant s, the Cecil family, now the estate’s owners and caretakers, host the annual employee holiday party, just like the Vanderbilt’s did. The Vanderbilt’s also made sure that each employee’s child had a Christmas gift and the Cecil family continues this tradition today. Records even show that Edith Vanderbilt kept notes on what gift each child received every year to avoid repeating gift in the years to follow. The lists still exist, as well as receipts from FAO Schwartz detailing some of the toys and games she purchased. 

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The Biltmore at Christmas

Throughout the house and other buildings on the estate, you will find 55 plus decorated Christmas trees, each created by Biltmore designers, all with different themes each year.

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Every detail of the estate is covered in Christmas cheer and almost every room in the home has it’s own Christmas tree.

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Not only is the home absolutely stunning with Christmas decor, the exquisite details of the estate will wow just about anyone!

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From the medieval tapestries, some dating back to the 1500’s, the detailed wood prints, exquisite paintings, 70-foot ceilings to the 10,000 rare volume priceless library!

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Estate Shops: Carriage House Shop

After touring the Biltmore House, we walked over to the Carriage House to find our keepsake ornament of the trip. We found many beautiful ornaments such as handpainted glass, wood and porcelain.  We also picked up a book about the Biltmore and I have enjoyed reading the history of the Vanderbilts.

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Estate Shops: Toymaker’s

My youngest daughter was jumping at the chance to head to the Toymaker’s toy shop! She chose a stuffed Cedric dog, which was the family dog of the Vanderbilts! I also picked up a couple pencils and a pen as souvineers.

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Estate Shops: Confectionery

Why not induldge yourself with an array of treats at the Confectionery candy shop!

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Our family chose several chocolate treats and they were worth waiting in line! From cookies to truffles, our family enjoyed grabbing a few of these before heading home!

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TIPS FOR VISITING THE BILTMORE

I did not wear tennis shoes but I would definitely recommend it! Purchase your tickets before you go! Purchase an audio for your visit. Allow time to get park and ride the bus to the estate.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The Biltmore is a stunning place! We loved Asheville and will definitely be back! We may even make it a yearly tradition!  

Love, Shae 

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GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

HOW TO DEAL WITH GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

The sadness of grief around the holidays seem to begin surfacing right around Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations, family holiday traditions and festive Christmas music that are meant to bring joy, serve as painful reminders of loss. For most people experiencing loss, the holiday season, seemingly can be the most painful time of all.

OUR FAMILY

For our family, we have had so many changes recently, from selling our home, to moving hundreds of miles away, new jobs, clearing our property for building our pole barn and home and a sudden loss. These are major life changes!

I actually thought that by us building our pole barn and home, that it would be a great distraction from the holidays. I thought that by running a 5k with our family on Thanksgiving Day, would also be a great distraction. I thought that by not being in our home during Christmas time and not pulling out all the family memories of ornaments, made by the kids when they were little or stockings with their names on them, would all be great distractions of not having our loved one here. I was wrong. Retreating into our own little family shell, is probably just a subconscious coping mechanism to help numb the grief; but then the grief comes in waves, where it will hit you out of no where, right in the middle of a store, while Christmas shopping. You then take yourself to the restroom, cry for a minute and dry your tears. That is what is so hard about grief-that life just has a way of moving, always constantly moving and never stopping to allow yourself to catch your breath or grab some sense of normalcy. You actually have a new normal.

Our whole family broke down last night and had one big pity party, crying, hugs and all. My oldest daughter told me that she sometimes cried on her way home from work.  She said she cried because she thought that her sister would be riding to and from work with her and that may be they would even be working together. You see, on the eve of a milestone birthday for myself, one that I was really looking forward to, we all cried for a daughter and a sister that was not present, yet greatly missed.

Isn’t it so tempting to pretend that the holidays aren’t here, while entrenched by your grief? I mean, I know we can’t because the holidays are all around us. Every store we walk in, every drive we take, down on every street, lined with Christmas lights and decor. At times, I wish I could be a fictional character, such as the Grinch. At least in the Grinch, the story has a happy ending.

I have always loved Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Heck, I’d be decking the halls on October first and listening to Christmas music. I always looked forward to the Christmas traditions that my husband and I created over the years for our family.  From all of us decorating our family Christmas tree to the youngest daughter placing the angel on our tree to our homemade hot cocoa, to riding around looking at Christmas lights to the Alabama Theater for a Christmas movie or picking out gifts for a child in need to Briarwood’s Live Nativity to reading The Christmas Story on Christmas Eve or baking and decorating Christmas cookies for Santa or our girls dancing in the Nutcracker Ballet to driving around looking at Christmas lights or making homemade ornaments. All of our traditions are my favorite. (There are many more!)

STRATEGIES FOR COPING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

GRIEF IS PART OF HEALING

Understand that grief is part of healing. Time does not heal the pain associated with a loss; it is actually what you do during that time that matters-to understand that grief is apart of the process of healing. Try to give yourself time to experience the pain, rather than constantly trying to escape it, by allowing yourself time to experience grief. This can actualy help you feel better in the long term.

Eventually the holidays will get easier, but only if you allow yourself to experience the grief of going through them without your loved ones. The “first” holidays without your loved ones will be the hardest.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

There are so many things that we can’t control about the holidays like I described above. Like walking into every single store with Christmas decor and Christmas music or even hearing of other people talking about holiday plans. We definitely can not prevent those things from happening but think about you can do to lessen your heartache. It is ok to not decorate for the holidays. Instead of shopping in stores, try shopping online instead. What about sponsoring a family in need this Christmas? Giving to others instead of ourselves. We have always let our children pick out items for a child around their age, that was in need, at Christmas time. I think it is good for children to understand that not everyone is like them. Teaching them to give to others is important. Also, remembering that it is ok for others to celebrate the holidays and be happy.

SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDRIES

Remembering that you don’t have to force yourself to go to every holiday event or do every holiday tradition. If attending a family gathering is going to bring on to many painful memories this year, just be willing to say no. You and your family’s well being is more important that pleasing other people.

FOCUSING ON PLANNING AHEAD

Think about this: a lot of times, the anticipation over how hard something is going to be is actually worse that the event or events itself. For example, Thanksgiving dinner will only last a couple hours, but you could easily spend weeks dreading it. By creating a simple plan of how you and your family can get through the holidays will avoid extending the anguish.

One other thing to plan is an escape plan. Have a secret word that only you and your immediate family knows. When someone says your secret word, it means they are ready to leave the holiday gathering. Just knowing that you or a member of your immediately family can leave at any time can help you enjoy the holiday gathering much more than if you felt stuck.

ALLOWING YOURSELF TO FEEL ALL THE FEELS

The holidays can bring on many emotions on a wide range! You can feel joy, sadness, guilt and they can all be within a few moments of each other. By allowing yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging yourself, will help to cope during this holiday season.

FINDING WAYS TO HONOR YOUR MEMORIES

Be creative by finding a special way to remember the person you have lost. That could be lighting the person’s favorite scented candle on Christmas Day or making a Christmas ornament each year. This is something that can be tangible and serve as a beautiful reminder that the love for this person never dies.

CREATING NEW TRADITIONS

Get creative! Start new family traditions this year. Do something out of the ordinary! For us, our first new tradition was running a 5k on Thanksgiving Day! We actually had a blast and are already planning to do another one this year!

GIVE TO OTHERS

In the middle of your grief, during the holidays, do something kind for another person. Serve meals for Christmas Day to the homeless, donate or give to a family in need this holiday season or volunteer at a local retirement community.

ASKING FOR HELP

Don’t be afraid to talk with a trusted family member or friend when your struggling with the holidays. Reminding loved ones that your having a tough time may be enough, but you may need to reach out for more support via local support groups or even contacting a professional counselor to help you deal with your grief in a healthy manner.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If your finding yourself here because you are dealing with grief this holiday season, know that I understand the pain you are going through. I know it does not make it any better but knowing that someone understands what you are going through is helful during your grief. If I can pray for you or help you in any way, please feel free to reach out!

Love~Shae

DIY CLEAR CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

DIY CLEAR CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

CHALLENGE DEETS

Today I am teaming up with several of my blogging friends to share how we each put our own spin on a clear ornament. My friend Terrie from Decorating and More with Tip is our host and always has creative challenges for our group!

I know you will love to see the DIY ornament from  my friend Tara!

FAMILY TRADITIONS

I have always enjoyed making Christmas ornaments. I started this tradition with our family, for my husband and I’s first Christmas together. He actually was recovering from major abdominal surgery and I wanted to have something fun for us to do, while he was at home. I have continued this tradition, every year in our family. I have made all types of ornaments from salt dough ornaments to hand painted ornaments!

LETS MAKE ORNAMENTS

Come follow along with me, as I show you, just how easy and budget friendly it can be to make your own ornaments! Plus it is so much fun and it will be memories that you can add on your Christmas tree, year after year!

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SUPPLIES NEEDED:

*Clear ornament(s)

*Fabric

*Ribbon

*Flocked Garland

*Mini Pine Cones

*Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

*Jute Twine

I grabbed this six count of clear ornaments in the Dollar Section of Target for $3! I wanted some smaller ornaments to put on our mini Christmas tree for our camper. Since our camper is decorated in a rustic, boho type decor, I decided to go with black checkered fabric and burlap ribbon to cover my ornaments, that I purchased from Hobby Lobby.

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I also picked up small pine cones and some flocked greenery with red berries.

HOW TO MAKE THE ORNAMENTS

These ornaments are really simple to make. Plus, they make great gifts too!

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I tied my jute twine around the ornament top base to my desired length, for the ribbon hanger.

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Next, I cut my fabric a few inches wider than the diameter of my ornament, then began lightly adding hot glue to the ornament and wrapping the fabric around the ornament.

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I could not find any burlap ribbon at my Hobby Lobby, so I purchased an eighth of a yard of burlap to cut my own “ribbon”.

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I cut my ribbon in one inch strips.

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Next, I tied my burlap ribbon around the ornament then added a few strands of jute twine by tieing them into the burlap ribbon.

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For the greenery, pine cones and berries, I just cut from the greenery and pine cones bunches that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. Add a little dab of hot glue and your good to go! You can also adjust your burlap ribbon to look neater by adding dabs of hot glue to the back of the ribbon, attaching it to the ornament. How simple are these ornaments!

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FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope y’all have enjoyed reading about my DIY Clear Ornamants! I love that these will be a memory on my Christmas tree, year after year! I hope you will check out the other ladies to see what they have come up with for their clear ornaments!

I know you will love to see how this ornament by Jodi turned out!

Love~Shae

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Decorate and More with Tip|Purple Hues and Me|Cloches and Lavender|Pallet and Pantry

Patina and Paint|Paula’s Handmade Space|Stilettos and Shiplap|Sweet Southern Grace

The House House|B4 and Afters

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How to Stay Organized During a Big Move

This month has been a big one for us and if you follow along with us on Instagram, you know it is a plethora of items but mostly because we sold our home! I also lost my Instagram account with almost 32k followers! I started a new one and plan to keep trucking along!

We stayed in in our home, an extra 30 days past closing then plan to build our own home and a pole barn! My husband and I are DIY’ers and we are so excited to take y’all along this journey! We have also been blessed to be able to pay for our home and pole barn with cash!

Moving can be one of the most stressful things in a person’s life; especially since it is one of the top five most stressful events in life! Couple that with finding my husband a new job, maintaining two businesses, a daughter getting married, homeschooling and so many other things, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

That’s why I choose to be as organized, as humanly possible, during these big life changes, so that I can focus on the bigger picture. Sometimes during the selling, buying and moving process, things do not always go as planned. I think that by being organized, it helps make the process be a smoother one!

Two ways that I like to stay organized is by creating a moving binder and a “Day One” box.

How I Stay Organized During a Big Move & How You Can Too

Moving Binder

I purchased a 1.5 inch binder to hold all the important documents we would need during the entire process.  That way, if i was asked a question about anything, at any given time, I knew right where to find it; especially since my husband and I were our own real estate agents. Yes, we are DIY’ers and we even sold our house, on our own.  I also purchased tab dividers to separate all of the documents.

Plus, when packing your home, it is super easy to misplace a piece of paper or an important document. This moving binder allowed me to  have everything essentially that we needed, at all times.

How to Organize Your Moving Binder

Since we were essentially our own real estate agents, I knew that organization was key to help us through this process. Here is how I organized our moving binder:

*Home Contract

*Buyer Pre-Approval

*Earnest Money

*Closing Attorney

*Moving Companies

*Storage Units

*Insurance

*Utilities

*Change of Address

*Miscellaneous

*Items to Sell

This is personalized for our family’s needs. It may look a little different for you but it is so easy to personalize for yourself! You will feel so much better, just knowing that all of those important documents are right at your finger tips. 

I also downloaded this form to help me with a checklist for all of the change of address items. It is super helpful to have something to go by, to make sure you don’t miss anything!

New Owners Folder

I also wanted to keep a folder inside my binder for the new homeowners. They were first time buyers, so we wanted to make sure that we could help them in any way that we could help! I included things like paint colors to writing them notes on how to remember to operate the pond/waterfall feature in the backyard. I wanted them to be able to feel they could navigate their new home with ease!

Day One Kit

Another thing I like to do when moving is to create a “Day One Essentials” box. This is a box of things needed right away when moving. Now, we have moved many times in over 22 years so I consider myself a pretty good expert on moving. Grab a storage container and place items in it that you know you will need on the first day.

Items for the essential box could include:

*Coffee with Coffee Pot

*Chargers

*First Aid Kit

*Basic Tools like hammer, drill, tape measure, ect

*Hand Soap with Hand Towels

*Paper Plates, Cups, Disposable Silverware

*Tissue

*Cleaning products with reusable cleaning cloths

*Ibuprofen

*Pet Food

*Vitamins

I also like to pack one overnight bag per person in our family so we have easy access to a couple day’s worth of clothing, tooth brushes and personal hygiene items.

Anyway, this may look a little different for each family, but you get the idea! It is so much easier to have these things instead of opening ten different boxes to find something! Between these three ideas, I am able to stay organized and maintain less chaos in a chaotic time period. I highly recommend you giving them a try and customizing for your own family for your next move! If you have any questions, please reach out and ask in the comments!

Love~Shae