Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Simple Table for the Holidays

Speaking of simplifying Christmas... (we were, weren't we?) I wanted to share this five minute table cuteness.  I always dress our table for Christmas morning, but I also don't like a LOT of fuss and bother on the table or the plates as people never know what to do with all that stuff. I set a pretty table the night before Christmas, and then we wake to a lovely scene.  This took about five minutes to create all of the napkins and who doesn't love a timesaver like that?  I take such joy in creating a pretty scene, but not spending a fortune, or all day doing it. Do you know what I mean?
 I began with the cloth napkins I wanted to use, these old, gray chambray ones, some clippings from a sturdy bush beside my house, and some jute twine from the party drawer.  (So far, all things I had on hand so no extra spending or scurrying!)
 Now this idea, was genius, from a dear co-worker of mine.  She shared that if you place a paper napkin into the cloth one before folding, people can use the paper and set the cloth aside!  Not only is this great because you can set a festive table with the cloth... but the paper is practical and puts people at ease... especially those wearing Christmas Red lipstick. (personal experience speaking.)
 Once folded, simply add a sprig of green, tie with the jute twine (or whatever you've got on hand)...
 And tie on a small ornament if you want.  I keep a little box of them on hand, to use as vase fillers and such, and I've found that they often come in handy for fun little projects such as this.
 Do you have any simple and festive table ideas to share? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My thoughts about Cocoa bars...

 Oooh it's countdown week!  I swear, everyplace I look, someone is telling me how many days or sleeps until Christmas, like some ominous ticking clock that I can't escape.  I feel like Captain Hook from Peter Pan! My eyebrow is starting to twitch. (Not really, I'm just being dramatic for dramatic's sake.)  And I'm ready, so if I feel like that, how must those of you still shopping or waiting on gifts, or plans feel? 

 So maybe in light of that, you need some inspiration, on something you can quietly, peacefully, and thoughtfully put together, for your family, without spending gobs on, and without having to scurry all over the place, gathering supplies? (Because most of us have cocoa and marshmallows and candy canes this time of year... and if we don't have cookies, then shame on us, and you may want to at least get cracking on that...)(clock ticks...) (grin.)

How about a simple hot cocoa bar? 
 And forgive me if the word "simple" snags my attention away for a moment.  Do you know that I word searched "simple hot cocoa bar" in Pinterest and came up with thousands of matches... and guess how many were actually "simple" in my book? If you guessed zero, you know me well. I know simple is a relative term, but I just feel like the world is out of control with the "more is better" mentality. Jars and jars and jars of things... things on stands and things on platters and in baskets and stacked and on shelves and overflowing and making my eyes hurt.  And not that there isn't a place for that, if you're hosting a big party or event, and that's your main attraction... but I made this for my kids, for daily use, and for the many gatherings we will be having in our home this next week... I truly wanted simple Cocoa.  Mugs.  Napkins.  A few mix-ins but nothing over the top! 

My solution... matching canisters, three tops.  Mugs set out for use, with candy canes for a festive pop of red.  I placed little star cookies (Trader Joes) into one canister, packets of cocoa (for less mess and saving of my sanity into another,) and fresh, soft marshmallows into another.  There is whipped cream in the fridge if people need that, and the only other d├ęcor is the Kora vase (Crate & Barrel) with fresh greens + fairy lights & tiny letterboard sign.  The best part, is that it's getting used daily.  Easy to replace the few mugs with clean ones, and pop in a new candy cane to use as the stir stick.  

 Going simpler always feels just right.  Going overboard seldom does.  This mindset is giving me the most CALM and peaceful holiday season I've ever had.  Just saying.  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Quick office flip

 Hello lovelies. Just a fun post to close out the week!  Today (on a wild hair) I woke up, got my son off, tucked my sick daughter back into bed and promptly rearranged our entire family office before starting my ACTUAL (and crazy busy) day.  I think the busier I am, the more productive I get. Can any of you relate to this?  It was totally unplanned and gave me an opportunity to give this room a thorough cleaning.  This little cabinet got moved here, but it's empty, except for my letterboard letters.  I keep thinking I'll use it for office storage, but we are such minimalists on back stocked items and supplies, that I already have a place for everything.  We really don't do the "keep for just in case" thing.  We keep what we use and if we don't have it, we tend to get just what we need, rather than gobs to find storage for later...  (Looking at you, cases of printer paper that almost nobody needs that much of.)
 So here's the thing.  We used to have the office arranged like this and it was my absolute FAVE.  But then Adrain was working from home so much and there was always a computer glare so we moved things around to avoid that.  Pretty sure we tried about four configurations before finding one that was "just okay" but worked well for him.  I always longed to go back to the floating desk option.

Now that he is working for a new financial company where he meets with teachers and school staff week after week, he never uses this in the daytime.  So whohoo… I moved it back this way!
 I always get asked about cords with a floating desk.  Okay here's the scoop.  It's just downright ugly.  I know there is a cool cord cover you can get... I mean I have seen them places where cords are in high traffic areas but this is like two feet.  So my solution back when we did this the first time, and again now... clear packing tape.  It didn't leave a residue when I did it before and it keeps that cord down.  It's not the prettiest, but... real life.  Ya know? Also, wrapping paper... because... prettyyyyy.
 Desktop is minimal but every desk needs some green. (White pencils came from Amazon, years ago.) This plant is surprisingly still alive.  I've even done my best to kill it by forgetting to water it nearly constantly. I do believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
 And lastly.  My husband uses this little corner each morning for his bible reading, etc. (This chair's partner got temporarily moved into the garage.  I'm currently deciding it's future fate.)  I pulled in a garden stool that was being stored for winter, and it will work great for now.  Nothing new... just old items, used in new ways, which is always my favorite and most inspiring way to live. This whole thing took about a half hour to figure out, clean and put back. Yet one more perk for minimalist living. (No, I'm never getting off this little platform. Haha!) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Crisp bread link... keto

Today, I am just popping in to share the link for this amazing little crisp bread recipe for those of you, looking for a low-carb, crackery-crunch this holiday season.  It is a keto recipe that I just adore.  (I had to swap out unsweetened dried white raisins for the unsweetened dried cranberries in my version, as I couldn't find the unsweet cranberries before making this.) I'm making this recipe for all my upcoming holiday cheese trays.  Yum!

The recipe is easy, which I tend to like.  It may seem fussy with having to bake the loaves, then freeze, then slice, then bake again, but girl, make this anyway. 

Also, just a note about her recipe.  I actually baked my slices for 30 min per side (so about an hour total) but just watch yours and see.  That was what produced the crisp crunch I was after. What is your favorite go-to recipe this season?  Do you have any low-carb favorites to share? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Don't add just a little more

This holiday season, my decorations are just killing me, in the very best of ways! I honestly questioned if I should even share them on social media, because in the wake of home tours, I know mine come out looking on the boring side...  I think my mantra has been a constant hum of "don't add just a little more."  (I can honestly say that has probably never been at the foreground of my mind, this time of year and I don't see much of that attitude splashed all over IG either!)  However, I've never felt more at peace, more myself and more calm in my spirt, so you can't tell me there isn't a direct connection!  

Raise your hand if you love what minimalism is doing in your life! 

I think before, I'd always think I needed to add greenery to this, more ornaments to that, another candle here, some "thing" more there.  This year, true simplicity is giving way to breathing room unlike any I've actually experienced during this season.  

I don't have a ton of words today, just a few photos that show this in action.  Please, welcome in, and enjoy the simplicity and rest alongside me. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

My heart, this holiday

I've been having so much fun blogging lately, though I may slow down some this week, as it is a wild one with four days of work.  Plus, I'm photographing my coworkers homes for our company Instagram home tours, both kids have practice + two meets each, for bowling and swim, OF COURSE ON THE SAME DAYS, and then Adrain and I fly out for his company Christmas party over the weekend. (Eeep… that's going to be SO much fun. Any time cocktail dresses and historic hotels are involved, it's got to be FUN!)  (If you want to keep up, you know I'll be posting lots over on Instagram @lemonademakinmama  and I'd love for you to come follow and say hi!)

Today, I wanted to share something that just occurred to me late last week.  I shared this on IG, but it was just a snippet of my heart.  I've been sharing lots about my minimalism journey (and if you doubt that I've changed, all it takes is a quick scroll through my archived posts to see how this home has simplified over the years! ha!).  I've shared that I've been living the keto lifestyle as well.  This past week, I was chatting with someone about self-care.  Mostly, what I used to think it was, and what it actually is.  I used to think of it more as indulging myself. Whatever the topic may be, just general indulgence.  Like, a constant, "treat yo self" attitude. Those years of my daddy's illness were really hard on me, and I pulled way back from social media to cope.  I still feel sad about closing my shop and old IG account but I just needed that space and it was the right thing for me at the time. Anyway, when he died last October, and I saw tangibly that you take nothing with you, it changed me at my core and I love who this girl in front of you is becoming. Flawed and broken, yes...  but joy FILLED.  I think that's because I began buckling down intensely on actual, GOOD self care.  Editing my life, all parts of it, embracing true minimalism in the ways that I approach decorating, storing things, clothing, grocery shopping, back stocking of things, and even food.  I got serious about the keto diet and all of these life edits helped me grieve and find ME again.  

All this to say, that this is my story right now, and I feel really strongly that someone out there needs to hear this encouragement, for their own holiday season.  Don't mistake indulgence for self-care, it seldom is.  But do find what your focus should be and let that guide you.  For me, keto and minimalism have changed my life, because it really comes down to taking what God has given me charge over and honoring Him with the choices I make.... which is the best self-care any of us can do.