It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

Here we are.  The week of Thanksgiving and I haven’t given a single thought to what we will be eating on Thursday.  Not to mention shopping for food.  Oi, the crowds!

Every year we get together with another family that has become like our true family over time.  They are there for us in hard times and share in our blessings.  They will roll in on Thursday morning around 11:00 and we will begin the flow of food that doesn’t stop until around 7:00 in the evening.

Since we already had the whole turkey and dressing meal with our church family yesterday, I am going to skip that this year and we will do something different.  Maybe burgers, maybe Mexican food.  It depends on what strikes my mood while I am at Costco this afternoon.


I do love the freedom of going with my mood.  It can be dangerous though.  It could take me down a path like Alice down the rabbit hole.  I see a pretty bottle of who-knows-what and my mind says “Drink me”.  Then off I go and by the end of my shopping trip today we may be having tea and giant mushrooms for Thanksgiving.

I am also going to preview the new Hunger Games movie while I am out.  My kids are dying to see it.  Last week I saw “Big Hero 6” and it was pretty cute.  I don’t think it will become a family favorite, but I found nothing objectionable in it.

I have a lot of work to do on my book over the next couple of weeks, so my main focus is going to be that.  But since my travel for the year is over, I plan to also take lots of walks with the kids and clean out a few spaces that have been much neglected.  I noticed this past weekend that our pantry has things in it that no one has used for at least three years.  I found a can of soup that I bought in 2009.  It needs to go.

It’s always a struggle finding ways to organize packages that are odd shapes and bags of snack and chips.  I will be spending some time on my friend Becky’s blog, Organizing Made Fun.  She’s got some great pantry organizing ideas!  I may also, if I think I can control myself, make a stop at The Container Store.  It’s risky, especially when I have been “mood” shopping at Costco.  The Container Store is my Kryptonite.

While many of you are preparing for Thanksgiving travel or a houseful of family, I am glad to be settling back and relaxing for a few days.  I hope you have a wonderful time and if you need prayer let me know.  Praying for you is what gets me through my own trials.

Thanks for stopping by!


I Don’t Care If I Look Like a Hillbilly If It’s Free

I Don’t Care If I Look Like a Hillbilly If It’s Free

The big event here has been the new family member we have welcomed into our home, also known as my iPhone6.  It came to live with us last Friday and has pretty much taken all of my attention since it had to be practically nursed into usefulness.

Being technically challenged, getting my new phone to act exactly like my old phone only better feels impossible.  But I do have the advantage of having several teens who think it’s SO fun to teach their old mom new things.  If they didn’t know I would punish them with brussel sprouts for dinner they would probably pat me on the head while transferring my contacts.

Another issue besides the technology obstacle was the case/cover.  Those cases cost upwards of $30 and no way am I going to spend that much unless I completely love it.  So I decided that I would make myself a cover until they come out with one I want.  I got a plastic bubble envelope and some washi tape and made one.  It is actually working pretty well for a free, temporary solution.


Sure I look like a Hillbilly.  I’m OK with that.

In other news, I am leaving this week to spend a few fun-filled days in Nashville with my peeps at Thomas Nelson.  I’ve been writing for them for over a year now and I am so, so excited to meet these friends I have made online.  It’s amazing how close you can get to someone you have only communicated with through Facebook and email.  Well, of course, we’ve also built a relationship around Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.  😉

You will like my latest post there all about how to keep it together when your kids can’t.

I got out my suitcase yesterday and started planning what to take.  Now that I am exercising in the mornings I have a harder time trying to squeeze everything in a small carry on.  The running shoes alone take up half of the space and even though I shove underwear and hairbrushes in them, it is hard to make myself sacrifice an extra pair of adorable wedges.  The price you pay for health and wellness shouldn’t involve a choice between ugly shoes and your favorite sandals.

Having so many trips between now and mid-November, I will be planting my suitcase on the trunk at the foot of my bed and leaving it there during the week, refilling it, then whisking away again.  Normally I would be worried about getting too tired, but I am all oiled up and ready.

What are you up to this week?  Anything fun happening?!



Old Clothes and Japanese Restaurants

Old Clothes and Japanese Restaurants

Being a true American, I overate on Thanksgiving.  I made some eating decisions before the big day arrived so I wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that I am on a diet and regret my choices.  I would allow myself a little bit of dressing and one sliver of pie (in addition to the turkey and salad of course!).

I did stick to my goal except I had a second sliver of lemon pie that night.  Although I felt too full, that wasn’t the problem.  The problem came on Friday night when we went out to eat with my aunt and uncle.  That’s where I lost all sense of right and wrong.

We went to one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook your food at the table.  It was a sight and even though I just ordered chicken, shrimp and veggies, there was something about that food that caused me to lose control.  My plate was piled high with deliciousness and it was shamefully enough to feed a small country.  And I ate every.single.bite.

Afterward I pushed myself away from the table and may have been slightly green.  It left me feeling sick and I am not kidding…..I continued to feel stuffed the rest of the weekend.  If you are reading this in 2014 I am probably still full from that meal.

On Saturday morning I decided enough was enough with my closet full of clothes that don’t fit me and I started cleaning.  I had Elijah, my 10 year old, helping me by throwing away trash and carrying large mounds of clothing from the closet to my bedroom.  I’m not kidding…..there is a mountain in there!  I almost lost him at one point and thought I might have to dive in after him.

I made myself let go of everything that’s too big, which was almost everything.  Now this is embarrassing to admit, but I felt so sad getting rid of those things!  I know it’s just clothes and it’s a victory and all that.  But cute, modest, plus-sized clothes are hard to find and as I watched them get tossed onto the pile I felt pangs of sadness.  I really will miss some of them.

I’m not sure what to do with them now.  I am considering selling them on eBay or Craig’s List.  But that would involve a lot of work and I don’t know if photographing clothes, listing them then packaging them to ship is how I want to spend my Christmas holiday.  What do you do with your old clothes that are perfectly good? 

We spent the rest of the weekend doing the second most popular Thanksgiving tradition….the decorating of the house for Christmas.  It’s a slow progression and this full, tired, nearly clothesless mom took her sweet time getting it all set up.  Each of the kids had an assignment involving some form of Christmas decorating right down to the repair of last year’s nutcracker decoration.

I am so glad I painstakingly stored it in my closet and have been stepping carefully over it for a whole year only to pick it up and and have it fall apart in my hands and need to be completely reassembled.

Note to self: just go ahead and store the nutcracker decoration with all of the other Christmas ornaments this year.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and I really hope you were wiser than I when it came to your food choices.  May your December be merry and bright and all your nutcrackers be intact.


Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

Two Great Homemade Mix Recipes!

In my Taco Soup recipe (which I made last weekend and will make again this coming weekend because I can’t live without it) I mentioned that we make our own taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.  So I thought today I’d share with you how we make those.  It’s so easy and you can be confident that you know exactly what is in your mixes!

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed, dried red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of paprika

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in cool, dry place in an airtight container.

This makes one “packet.”  I usually make a huge batch and keep it ready to use.  We make taco meat several times a week, so it goes pretty quickly.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix:

1/2 C dry buttermilk
1 TBSP crushed, dried parsley
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender until mixed well.  Store in a fridge in an airtight container.  One heaping tablespoon makes a “packet” of ranch dressing mix.  Again, I make up a lot at once and use it often.  I often add fresh chives when I am ready to use it.  It’s great for not only the Taco Soup, but mixed with yogurt for a quick salad dressing, rubbed on chicken for baking, added to mashed potatoes….yum!

It’s so easy and with some of us sensitive to gluten and all of us trying to avoid msg we like to make our own as much as possible.

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Embracing Modesty, No. 38

Embracing Modesty, No. 38

Between the weather changes and my weight loss, I am having fun experimenting with my outfits.  My old clothes that I have been keeping in my closet “in case they ever fit again” are actually starting to FIT!  They are dusty and not as stylish as they were 100 years ago, but I am enjoying it anyway.

This past week I only went out a couple of times.  Once to run errands for the day and another to the grocery store.  Not the excitement of a New York socialite, but this countryfied city girl is happy with her simple life.

This first look was just a grocery store day.  I try to look kind of nice so I don’t end up on the people of Walmart website.  It’s a fear I have…..finding myself there one day.  I also have a fear of heights, but that doesn’t really apply to my outfits.  Unless I’m going bungee jumping, in which case I don’t think my modesty would be first in my thoughts.  Death trumps skirts.

I love to mix patterns, so on this day I wore a pink swirly top with a striped skirt.  The black vest ties it all together.  I had on a long silver necklace, but I took the picture before I put it on.  But a long necklace will elongate your body.  It’s all about creating the illusion of slimness.

In these next pictures, my errand day, I wore a denim skirt that I love, but it kept falling off all day, so it will probably be my last time to wear it.  It’s a happy/sad thing to lose your favorite pieces.

This is a brown t-shirt and vest.  I’ve had the vest for-ever and it’s just fitting me again after so long….just in time for fall!

But of course, it’s really all about the pearls.  They distract from the imperfections everywhere else.  And be sure to play with your accessories.  The necklace didn’t look right just hanging there, so I tucked it under the back of the collar and it improved it 100%.

I hope you’re enjoying wearing some of your fall clothes.  Play with your things and see if you can find a new way to wear something old.

Getting into fall and figuring out what to wear .... The Pennington Point

Be sure to check out my Embracing Modesty Gallery to see the rest of the posts in this series.

Follow my Pinterest Modesty Board for more ideas!

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

I sure enjoyed the slow pace of this past weekend since it’s the last free weekend I have until mid-November.  I don’t know why, but every year it gets super busy at this time.  You’d think I would have learned from the exhaustion of the previous year not to do this to myself, but then I forget and think it will be fine.  Like birth…..if I could remember the horrors I’d never have another child and numbers 2-9 would not have been born.  So I guess, despite my busyness, it’s a good thing I don’t remember.

On Friday we got a truckload of homeschool done in preparation for the full calendar ahead.  I’m grateful for my Lift Caps to help me get it all done.  I have more energy than I have had in years and I am using every bit of it.  But don’t get me wrong….I still need my afternoon nap.

Saturday morning we had a big breakfast.  Some of my girls’ had friends here so it was mostly talk about music and jewelry and favorite breakfast cereals.  After that I spent the morning cleaning my room and going through school papers. Nothing noteworthy.  But it was a relief to have my room clean.  It gets messy so fast that I should have taken a picture to prove it happened because it’s already messy again.

That afternoon, even though I had planned to get some writing done, instead I played a computer game for the rest of the day.  I don’t know what came over me.  I just couldn’t make my brain work.  Does that ever happen to you?  No matter what you do your mind won’t focus until finally you’re forced to do seek and find puzzles for three hours?  I had no other choice.  My knack for wasting time is up there with my ability to watch the same movie over and over without ever getting tired of it.  Raw talent, I tell you.

I spent Sunday bringing fall to the house.  Out went the summer decorations and in swept the fake pumpkins and wooden acorns.  I still have some tweaking to do on the porch, but it’s a start.  I couldn’t love fall more if it brought me chocolate and sang me sweet melodies.

We also spent some time photographing and  listing new items in the shop.  It’s all about fall around here!  Check out there darling buckets we made…..

We are all ready for the temps to drop, to wear sweaters and drink hot tea on the veranda.

Or at least stop sweating so much.  I’d settle for that.

It has definitely cooled down though.  For the past few evenings it’s been cool enough for us to go outside for walks or games in the yard.  Having bearable weather does not go unappreciated here in the south.  I am so happy about it finally dropping below 100° that I am thinking about declaring a holiday it its honor.  No school, no work, just lying in the hammock drinking in the breathable air.  That’s how I like to spend a holiday…..lying down.

This next week I am all a twitter because I am heading to Houston for the Blog Elevated conference.  They have some wonderful speakers lined up and I plan to learn lots if I can get my brain working again.  I hear they still have a few tickets left if you’ve been thinking about going.

How’s things at your house?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Give thanks to the Lord,

for He is good;

His love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

There’s a Whole Lotta Craftiness Going on Around Here!

There’s a Whole Lotta Craftiness Going on Around Here!

I haven’t been keeping y’all up to date on my craftiness lately.  The 31 day series has been filled with parenting ideas, but there’s a lot more to me than motherhood.  I wear many hats.  I am a multi-faceted woman.  James says complicated and confusing.  Tomato-tomahto.

I’ve been doing some small, easy projects, putting them in my shop and sharing them on other sites.  Then I realized that I’m not showing them to you, and you understand me best of all.  That led me to feel sorry for you.  Because if you can understand ME then there might be something sadly wrong with you and I think you need to see a doctor.

….ooops…..train of thought derailed…..back to the crafts….

Over at Mom It Forward I’m showing 7 ways to use brown lunch bags for fall.  Here’s a quick peek….be prepared for excessive cuteness.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I am also over at Life Your Way sharing 7 ways to say “welcome” with your decorating.

I never realized before that I like lists of 7 so much.  Or maybe I just can’t think of more than that.  I do tend to get distracted easily.

But that’s not all of the creativity around here.  I’ve been cranking out some etsy orders and enjoying the process of making things for others.  I just love thinking about my customers and praying for them while I work.  I made a big batch of these on Monday and sent them off to a special bride:

And I’ve got a whole bunch of new products in the shop. These zippered pouches are so cute and they’d make great Christmas gift for friends, teachers, secret santas, church leaders, lots of folks!

I’ve got to show you just one more, then I’ll stop.  But these mason jar lids that we’re making now are just so fun. I’m using them all of the time for the whole family.

Thanks for letting me spill about all of the craftiness that’s been happening around here.  I hope you’ll pop over to Mom It Forward and Life Your Way to say hello!

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A Trip to World Market

A Trip to World Market

Last Friday I got to do something really fun!  I got to go to World Market and spend $75 to fix up a little spot in my house.  I love World Market.  They have unique, affordable items and such a variety.

I already owned some things from there: our compost bucket, coasters and several serving pieces.  So this time I decided to fix up my sofa side table for the fall.  Fall……ahhhhh…….

I wandered around the store for a while, taking it all in.  Gift wrap, dishes, food, jewelry, candles, on and on.  But I kept being drawn to the great selection of lamps.

I picked out a burlap lampshade.  It was calling to me….”Lisa… NEED me…..”

Then I gathered up some more pretties and headed to check out.

When I got home I was all a twitter to play with my stuff.

I pulled everything out of the bag and studied my treasures.

I was sad to see there was a casualty.  In this Texas heat I should have known better than to leave the candles in a “bendy” spot in the car.  One of them didn’t make it home in the same shape I bought it, but it’s OK….the rest of the things were perfect.

I clipped apart the flowers, stuck some skewers into the little felt pumpkins and tucked it all into the blue Thanksgiving bucket.  I hung the lamp, and arranged it all together on the table by my couch.  In just 20 minutes I was ready to sit and admire my pretty side table.


It’s fresh and new and happy and welcoming.

It’s hard for me to decide which I like better.  Is it the burlap lamp, or the globe, or the fall bucket?

I even used the paper they wrapped my breakables in to make little paper curls.  I just cut it into strips and curled it like curling ribbon.

Thanks World Market for giving me such a treat!  You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Instagram.  Oh…and Pinterest of course!

And here’s something YOU will love.  World Market and HGTV have a sweepstakes that you can enter!

HGTV Passport to Style Sweepstakes

  • Grand Prize package includes: A $10,000 World Market shopping spree and design consultation with an HGTV Designer
  • There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $1,000 World Market gift card!
  • The HGTV Sweepstakes runs from September 22, 2012 until October 26, 2012.
  • If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.

Thanks World Market, for such a fun opportunity.  I’m going over to enter that sweepstakes!

This is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own.