Category Archives: Holidays

move over Ziploc–a sweet little bread wrapper for giving

there is something about red & white
that makes my heart swoon.  So much so that I want to do a red and white Christmas this year…but I’m not
That’s the way I kidding – I may…geesh!

November 2 is official.  I can start holiday nesting…cozying up the home.
Pulling out the family recipe’s
Making the lists
marking the calendar’s
listening to Christmas music….what?  ok..not yet but soon

SO when I saw the Ziploc commercial the other day..I objected..I stood up..on the inside and vowed to bring back handmade!
No more plastic lay in the landfill for decades Santa Claus baggies for me.  I was inspired by a how to in Better Homes & Garden
Food Gifts.


I had everything on hand but the parchment paper.  If you have a sewing machine and a needle you can DO this!
I need to practice before actually giving…
While on the parchment run I picked up this cake mix -

instead of following the box directions I used my favorite way to bake cakes now.

How to make cupcake from mix taste like scratch

source Tidy Mom

I took the parchment paper and measured around the bread to see how much to cut off.  I cut two pieces the same size and simply sewed them together
using a zigzag stitch.
I then wrapped the stitched paper around the bread and marked where the two buttons were to be sewn on.
Then I sewed the buttons on.
Wrapped the bread in saran wrap to keep it moist.
Wrapped the paper around the bread.  Cut a long length of twine and wrapped it around several times and then wrapped it around the buttons

and viola!  I had a tag from our sale days…and stamped an X & O on it.

Pretty gosh darn sweet.
Waaayyyy better than Ziploc.  Sure to get ooohhs and aaahhs:)

and the bread was DELISH!

I also made these Oreo pops sprinkled with orange flakes and packed them up with…you guessed it … twine!
i could seriously have a twine fetish

are you with me?  Maybe a little more handmade this year…it is quite that a word that would fit in this sentence?
anyway…you get me don’t ya? 

 :: and the winner of the sweet ruffled curtains is ::

Kris from Junk Chic Cottage!  I will email you for your address:)!!

TODAY is the last day our Etsy shop is open…then we are closin her down to paint and paint and paint!  So get your orders in:)

Happy Friday sweet sweet friends…oh how I am thankful for each of YOU!



7 tips for multitasking a photo shoot–a Winner & shop news

good Monday morning everyone!  Did your weekend go as fast as mine?  If your family is anything like ours with the holiday approaching rapidly I might add…we all

know the dreaded family picture for the Christmas card is approaching.  Trying to get everyone color coordignated and hairs just right a fussy kiddos while mom is running like a rabid dog

trying to get everyone and everything to look just well…perfect right?

Here are a few not professional tidbits that may help you multitask a photo shoot

What motivated me to kill a few birds with one stone is Dakota’s senior year

Nana needs updated pictures of the kids…like seriously..last I looked they were toddlers…and I am in need of the capturing Dakota and Grace for my mantle collage…

cause you wanna know why?  I threw away all my pumpkins last night!  I was sick of them…I am ready for a change and I love photo collages don’t you?

( now remember I don’t have little kiddos and the grand babies are in Florida so I didn’t traumatize anyone….he he)

 here is what we did that worked for us…you can always tweek it for your family needs

(1)  I knew I wanted the photos to compliment our home decor…colors and such.  SO when  choosing clothes keep that in mind.

(2)  Often we don’t think of that and we have everybody in red and green and our color palette of our home is aqua and yellow

(3)  If you have a special place you are wanting to do a wall collage like the examples below you might need to get shots with one child looking to the right and the other child looking to the left

( our inspiration for our mantle collage found here )

so when placed on the wall they are facing in…does that make sense?  I will show you what I mean when we do our wall.

(4)  PRE – PLAN…make a list on your ipad or phone when out shooting.  Shots you want.  When all is crazy you can always refer to your list.  It can help keep the flow going.

(5)  Be spontaneous!  Nikki saw a few places as we were walking that she had the kids sit down and snapped a few.

(6)  Snap away at the silliness too…the kids going crazy…people laughing VERY often those end up being my favorites!

(7)  take an emergency bag filled with props, lipgloss, blush, scarves etc.

With our session yesterday we captured one scene for Dakota’s senior pictures.  The outdoorsy field look.  We are taking him this weekend to the West Bottoms down by where our shop used to be to capture the ugly pretty of the old buildings and then to the school and football field in his jersey for that look.

We also got one of Dakota and Grace alone that I am using above our fireplace in the collage we are putting together.   Neither of them cooperated–sitting close to her brother was ewww and just a pain… still didn’t get one that I LOVED yet:/ The same pictures I am using of them individuality we are giving Nana AND we got some really nice pictures of Dakota’s girlfriend Elise.

Nikki and I were pretty darned pleased with the fiasco.  We put on our big girl panties and asked a complete stranger to use their barn and land.

The weather was perfect…the light was golden… the sky a pretty blue.

**I want to show you in another post some before and after edits.  Nikki has often been asked often about Graces eyes etc.  No she does not change the color of Grace’s eyes at all:)

and yes..her eyelashes are obviously false..she loves wearing them for photo shoots…silly girl!

I would say we accomplished a lot in one photo session.

Hope these tips from our crazy little family help you in your upcoming photo antics.

If you have some tips we would sure love to hear them…always open to learn:)


and the WINNER of our Isaiah Christmas sign is…….#2 miss Jackie!  I will be emailing you to get your address girlie…congratualtions;)

here is miss Jackie’s favorite Christmas memory…

Spending time with my family & celebrating the birth of our king! I love going to Christmas Eve service to worship & truly focus on the reason for the season.

yes…another GIVEAWAY coming

:::Here is a sneak peek at some sweet ruffled curtains I am giving away this week that my momma made!! so be on the lookout!:::



We are closing the shop this Sunday–be sure to get your orders in.  We will be painting our little fannies off and get everything shipped out by December 16..our last ship day!!

Use our coupon code Farmgirl for 15% off!!

Be on the lookout for a special promo code for our RE-OPENING in January that I will be sharing over at Thistlewood Farms on November 1st…..EEKKKK:))

my friend Becky is offering my friends 20% off this month…



I’m GIVING away one of our Isaiah 9:6 Christmas Mantle sign…& shop closing

thinking of Christmas this year we knew we didn’t want to do lots of Christmas signs but one for sure we wanted to recreate was our Christmas mantle sign from last year.


It is meaningful to me because God has shown Himself to be all of those names to my family over the last years.

It is painted on a 2 foot x 4 foot sign on a black background with white lettering and a white frame and we both thought it would be

super fun to give one away.

Now here is the kicker….We are only making 10 of the Isaiah 9:6 sign not including the giveaway sign.  We’ve listed 10 in the shop and thats it.  You are welcome to use the

15% code that Farmgirl Paints has going on our signs right now.  Use the coupon code HOUSEOFBELONGING when ordering

***REMINDER–you can order your sign customized just for your home meaning…color of lettering/background/framing

and a different size if needed…as long as the wording will look right:)  Just leave in the notes on your order:)

Super Simple!

 :::SHOP CLOSING @ the end of OCTOBER :::

We will be closing the shop until the first of January at the end of the month due to the overwhelming sign orders we have.
We are beyond incredibly blessed and thankful…pressed down and overflowing with gratitude for all of your support this year as we stepped out into the 
unknown and dared to dream big.  We have an exciting new year planned that I think will knock your socks off!!  We know each and every order and those of you
who have Thanksgiving deadlines etc. we are aware of those as well.  

SO…be sure to place your orders by the end of the month to receive them for the holidays!!

…to WIN THIS SIGN simply enter your email below (if you have not already) to receive updates via email and leave a comment letting us know your favorite Christmas memories/traditions…

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

PSSSS…our sweet friend Becky @ Farmgirl Paints is giving our readers 20% her cuffs all month long!  Go get a few and give a few for gifts as well….wink wink!



currently I am…more info than you want to know;)

Eating to Live not Living to Eat

Currently I am eating way processed stuff than I should…like two bowls of cheerios and a poptart before going to bed last night kinda eating and it isn’t even the holidays

which brings me into my health..I have fallen hard of the workout wagon..for two reasons..1) my crazy colon kept me sick for so long I just couldn’t and 2) I am now working and

don’t have the kind of time I used to have.  I am feeling better…thank you colon and I know I need to make time to do some walking.  I still do pushups, squats and ab stuff almost everyday..

and yes I can still rock out 20 man push ups;)

Monday I began a detox of sorts….I am keeping it simple with things like

–eating more whole foods and minimal processed ones

–a sweet treat is now just that…a treat…once in awhile…not after every meal

–water – a gallon a day…I will do an unsweet tea occasionally

Nikki’s lunch at Chipotle’s…a salad with corn and fresh tomato salsa and chicken.  Guacamole for dressing.  VERY good!

Starbucks Shaken Black tea..unsweet for our snack while perusing Target

aren’t these sweet?  I thought they would be good for keeping my food journal in

For the {heart} of Baking

mini apple pies:) I made…

Currently I am  really loving to bake.  I think that originated with Sasha and that fear of piping moment...thank you girlie:)  Did I tell you I am making my sisters wedding cake, cupcakes in November?  I am!  We went shopping for her dress a couple of weeks ago and I think she picked the perfect one.  YES to the DRESS!

I made the best pasta salad … EVER ever EVER please try it… over the weekend.  YOU have GOTTA try it!  Amazing!

Here is the Recipe..

I made those muffins on Pinterest with just two ingrediants ..I am not a fan.  Sorry:(  but hey…it maybe the cook

This creamy Kitchen Aid…for two weeks now I look:)

Time for a MAKEUP change

Currently I am wandering around ULTA to shy to ask for help picking out a shade of new makeup…geesh!  I finally pushed back the fear…excuse me..

and let her try various shades on me.  I have been a faithful MAC user for almost 10 years.  I have cystic acne and have bad skin .. some scarring and such so

I really don’t lie when I it is hard to find a new makeup.  Honestly – nothing looks amazing on my skin…just the way it is but I was hoping to find something that I really liked..

and I did.  I also bought the brush she suggested and I am really happy:)  I am pushing myself to keep changing it up…once your past 40 one can get stuck in a rut and not realize

they are living in the 1980′s still:)

p.s.  she did tell me to wash my brushes in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo? I am ashamed to admit it may have been a year….eek!  but I did do it last week:)


Currently I am chillin at night with my girlies all piled on my bed watching our DVR shows…here are our favorites right now  Dance Moms, Kardashians, X Factor, The Voice, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are a few I can think of off the top of my head…oh and Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice just started up last week!  One of our new favs is Married to Jonas…they are adorable.  in a whisper voice i share that we do watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo…I know.  I just can’t eat when I watch it.

At the Closet

Currently I am in need of clothes that have NOT been painted in…I realized I have not one hoodie that isn’t painted on…so I am in need of a small clothes shopping spree..I want to get some Victoria Secrets boyfriend sweats..ever tried them? they are wonderful!  some Frye Veronica Slouch boots in black ..will need leggings..note to self


these cute little Sanita clogs that are sold out in my size!!  Heard about them from Kel Hampton…and for 25 dollars!  I have no idea where I would wear them but just sayin!

I am on the email list for notification in my size though

some really fun dresses .. like this one below.  Target girls..just in.  I am really really liking the comeback of the 60 and 70′s

and I am really using my Pinboard Big Girl Clothes to put outfits together since I have no natural ability whatsoever!

You are welcome to stop over and take a peek at mine…I would love to follow yours if you want to leave your name and such:)

Candle {LOVE}

Currently I cannot bring myself to burn an 20 dollar candle so I have found some in the 6 dollar range that don’t smell cheap

and I can afford to burn everyday.   I have two favorites that just came in at Wal Mart…the one above and another that is

Caramel Pecan or something…I got this one first and then sweet Janie over at Janie Fox Talks told me of the simmering Apple Cider!  Fabulous…thanks miss Jannie:)


Quotes, posters, thoughts / Gifts


Currently I am making out my Christmas list  - I haven’t figured out what to get everyone yet but I am thinking as much as I can  rom Etsy…  I want to momma’s who have their own businesses.

Did you see this pin?  I thought it was a good guideline to follow?

I am praying for a good Christmas for the kids this year.  Not meaning presents but drama free!  filled with peace and love.  That is what I am praying for.


Currently the  dining/living areas is where we are concentrating on for the most part right now.  I have a few projects in the works that I will share soon.  I distressed all four of the yellow chairs this weekend and

am working on a plan for shelving on the wall where the green dresser is to hold our white dishes we have been collecting.

A Bit of BLOG news

Currently we are having the blog redesigned by Evenpar Solutions!  They are working on it as we speak!

We are SOOOO excited!

Nikki has done a fantastic over the moon job up until now but she is telling me she is ready for someone else to take over:)

I keep telling her she needs to design blogs for people…maybe if you all tell her!:)

well — there are a few quirky things that are currently going on in my life

now your turn…tell me ONE..or more things currently about you

 PS….don’t forget we announce the WINNER of the GRATEFUL sign winner on MONDAY! 

PSSdon’t forget to follow us on INSTAGRAM @ houseofbelonging…it really is a fun way to connect with each other!

and as always you can like our FACEBOOK page to stay in the loop on giveaways, new signs and specials and SUCH.

love ya all…have a wonderful Sunday and see you tomorrow for the winner:)



love people everywhere fall table:)

Hey ya’ll…we are eeeeasing into fall around here.  Learning to savor the season.  I am not feeling overly holiday’y’ this year more like…an organic pull back to family-simplicity-living and loving

that sort of thing?

( this is our OLD HOUSE..we moved into our new home February 2014 )

our gratitude sign can be found in our SHOP

You know we just sanded the original hardwood floors in the living and dining room and took off all of the paneling that went halfway up the walls

put a new door in

which leaves lots of holes to fill, trim and a door to paint

 and lots of final touches so instead of leaving it all undone we pulled together what we had in the basement

and mixed it up with some of our new decor we have been saving up and sprinkled some handmade love in to make our dining room all cozy.

Today we thought we’d share a couple of pictures of the genesis…or beginning of our eeeeease into fall home and later on this week I will go into more details….cool?

We are on the cusp of the season of fall joy..where colors are changing our landscape everywhere

just beckoning us to come out and play.

I am in the season of fall joy..where colors are changing my landscape everywhere

just beckoning me to come out and play…

because when I practice gratefulness it really does turn what we have into enough

He chose to die for ALL people ( the whole world ) everywhere and that is all I need at the center of my home to

say HeLLo AuTuMN…

and what about you?  what are you thankful for right now?  I would love to hear…:)

You can follow me on INSTAGRAM (houseofbelonging) to see sneak peeks of more of our fall decorating…

sharing our joy over at The Lettered Cottage:)


My Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia