Showing posts with label helpful hints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label helpful hints. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Things Are Changin'




Has anyone noticed that I'm not blogging on my 'regular' days? When I started blogging, I was very unsure of my own abilities, and I only posted on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's mostly. I guess I wanted to hold myself accountable, but you know what, this new year has already brought a new confidence in me and I got really brave this week and started writing when I felt my thoughts bubbling up to the surface and felt that I really needed to share. I stopped worrying about stats and numbers and would anyone really even want to read what I had to say. I started to embrace {my word of 2015!} that I do have a voice and it does matter. 

So from here on out, I'll be posting on different days, at different times, no more worries and fears about the stats that say, "don't post on Thursday's , always post before 11 a.m", that may be true, but I'll be writing as my heart is inspired and hoping that my words travel to and land upon exactly the right ear, at exactly the right moment. This also means that there'll be lots of typos because I won't be proofreading a gazillion times before I hit "publish". Yes, I might be a slight bit OCD.......... bless your heart for sticking around y'all, we're in uncharted territories here, it may be a bit bumpy but this free thinking is really starting to excite me big time. Watch out world, here I come!

Welcome to the season of embrace.

Are you thinking about your word of 2015 and giving it the space it needs to change and mold you? 

Be Brave. Be Bold.


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Monday, January 5, 2015

Embrace


That's it. That's my word. Embrace.  Do y'all have a word for 2015 yet? I've spent years reading other blogs and all the women with their 'word' for the year- I've yet to join the trend. A secret about me- I'm always late. Appointments, self imposed deadlines, trends- always late. With trends, I'm a bit slow to warm to new ideas. I have to 'sit' with a thought or new decor idea for a while before I decide to jump on the bandwagon. So, this year, 2015,  I'm joining the 'word of the year' trend- better late than never I suppose.





Why now? Well, this winter I REALLY need this word. Dreary winters always take such a toll on me mentally, so last fall, I began to think of a new way of approaching this winter before it takes a hold of me and pulls me under. Embrace. That word is a big part of my change in perspective. That word is helping me see this season with new eyes. Winter is so beautiful and quiet and serene and rather than closing my eyes really, really tight and holding my breathe till it passes, I'm going in with eyes wide open. I'm excited for the season of hibernation and slow growth. Did I just say excited? Why, yes, yes I did!




How does that look? Lots of small changes around the house. I'm so excited about them all and I'll be doing lots of little posts about them this month. When Christmas came down, winter went up, and an attitude of embracing filled me to the brim. Take a peek at some of my inspiration- check out my 'A Warm And Cozy Winter' Pinterest board....




So, have you picked your word of 2015? Maybe you should. I'd love for you to share your word with me and tell me why it's important to you this year. Penny for your thoughts..........


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Being Brave {In The Form Of Frozen Foods}

A very brave friend of mine recently had to relinquish some of her commitments because life got hard. Real hard y'all. Sometimes we can't do it all, not even close. You know what? That's okay, not just okay, but brave even. Saying "no" or "it's too much" is hard, but oh so necessary. 


Sometimes all this blog stuff with it's fancy, shiny all dolled up posts, is hugely deceiving. Don't get me wrong, blogs serve a great purpose of inspiring us through others. But you have to remember that my house doesn't look like those pictures that you see posted here from time to time. You can't see all the fur on the sofa and fuzz balls on the floor in the pictures because the camera lens just doesn't pick them up- thank heavens! If I'm doing one thing well, then you can surely trust that there's a handful more that I'm not. I don't have it all going on! My life, why,  it gets just as messy as yours.



This week I found myself in the frozen food aisle. That's probably not all that earth shattering of a concept to some, but for me, the organic, wholefoods, bake from scratch, me, it's BIG. This week, I really wanted to have the time to bake for others and hand-make some gifts for our friends on top of our usual LIFE. I- can't- do- it-all. I just can't. So I found myself on the convenience food aisle begging for a helping hand from Stouffer's and Sara Lee and anybody else that could help me with this week's meals. I felt soooooo guilty putting those boxes into my cart, but listen, my load feels so much lighter because I did. 



Sometimes we all need a little help. Sometimes we have to be brave enough to let go.

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Living Well Spending Less  A Life In Balance


Monday, November 24, 2014

A Simple Thanksgiving


 

Well, Thanksgiving's here, whether I'm ready or not. In just a few short days, we'll have a house-full of family and friends. How I decide to embrace this day has a lot to do with how enjoyable it will be for us and our guests. If I'm striving for perfection in foods and decor, it'll bomb. If I remember that this day, this day of gathering, is more about the process of being together than it is anything else, it'll be a success. That's really hard isn't it? Hospitality is a mindset long before it's an action. Welcoming people into our imperfect homes and lives, immediately puts them at ease. They don't even want all that pretense of perfection we're trying to shove at them.



This Thanksgiving will have a casual aire of simplicity. This Thanksgiving will be about the act of gathering. This year's focus will be on sharing the day with those we love. Nothing more. Simple. I've done a lot lately that cleaves to simple. We had a simple fall, now a simple Thanksgiving, and starting Friday, a simple Christmas. That's all it's supposed to be, you know? Simple pleasures. The world has confused us and made us believe that complex is normal. It's not. Don't believe it for a second. 



If your week is starting off with you a frazzled mess, filled with deadlines and over the top decor for your Thanksgiving, give it all the gift of good-bye. There are still a couple of days left to re-center and focus on gathering. It's not too late my dears, not too late at all! Set this Thanksgiving apart from years past, focus on the simple pleasures.



I happened across these printable place-mats that I've highlighted in this post over at Ella Claire. I knew they would be perfect for our Thanksgiving table this year. Simple with the focus on thankful- perfect! I just loved how she added the pencil into the place setting so cleverly so each guest could write down what they are most thankful for this year. Here's more inspiration photos from all around blogland with lots of great and SIMPLE tablescapes. Follow the link back to Ella Claire's for getting to all those blogs



Wishing you a most blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving Day. See you right back here Friday as we kick off the start of the Christmas season here at The Little Farm.


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Friday, October 3, 2014

A Little Yummy Inspiration



First, I just want you to know how really happy I am that you are here today! I know that there are bazillions of blogs out there, and you chose to stop by here! Wow, y'all just make my heart swell! If I could serve you one of these muffins with some coffee right now, I so would! That's how happy y'all make me! AND, Happy October! It's really fall now, right? I'm thinking that it's time to bring out ALL the pumpkin recipes and just dive right on in!! Fall means pumpkins and caramel and all foods warm and comfy. In the pumpkin spirit, I wanted to share a really easy muffin recipe that I dressed up with a little dollop of cream cheese icing and pecans. Oh my, they were delicious! They are fancy enough to serve for company, yes indeed!



Ingredients


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter {melted}
  • 1/2 cup water or orange juice
  • For cream cheese topping:
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions for muffins:
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.

COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Directions for cream cheese topping:
Add softened cream cheese to mixer along with powdered sugar and mix on medium till well incorporated. Add vanilla and combine. Place on top of completely cooled muffins and sprinkle with pecans.



This recipe makes 24 large muffins. Garnish with a dollop of cream cheese icing and sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy! I just can't believe that it's the weekend already! Promise me that you'll enjoy this beautiful October weekend and I'll see y'all right back here Monday morning!


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Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm Afraid To Look...... Is Fall Here Yet?




Friends, I have a confession today. Amidst all this fall posting I've been doing lately, there's a swelling, underlying fear that I just can't shake. I'm trying to embrace all of fall. Hoping beyond hope that I can deceive even my own self. I suffer from seasonal depression. Check my posts  here and here for more on that. Last winter was the worst yet, and I think I literally had to claw my way out of March and into April. I began suiting up in my battle armor in August. Sound crazy? That's how bad last winter was. I'm a planner o.k.? I needed to have a carefully crafted plan of attack in hopes of finding a different outcome for this winter season. I began dreading fall, which was once my favorite time of year, because to my brain, fall is ushering in the beast of winter. 



I do have a plan for conquering winter's darkness and I'll be posting more on that another time, but for now, I'll just keep right on with the pretense I'm creating for my own self that I LOVE fall. I'm thinking that if I live it, I'll finally feel it? Right? Do any of you suffer from seasonal depression? If you do, you know all too well how this feels, and for those of you that don't, count your lucky stars. So for now, I'll keep pinning up the cornstalks on the porches, tossing pumpkins here and there, and telling everyone that'll listen how much I'm enjoying these glorious cool, crisp, amber days of fall, until maybe I even convince myself. One can hope, right? I'll keep doing what I know how to do. I'll move things around my house which always makes me happy. I'll craft something new and shift the knick-knacks on my mantle one more time until I have that a-ha moment. That's how I do things, that's what makes me smile. 




So, when you visit, and maybe even enjoy some post I've done with a fallish theme, say a little prayer for me will you, because I'm shaking in my boots over here, trying to be really brave about it all. And if you suffer too, let me know in the comments so I can say a little prayer for you too!


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Monday, September 22, 2014

How To Keep Your House ENTERTAINING Ready



Do you remember when you were a little girl and playing dress-up was so much fun? Putting on that twirly dress,  mamma's heels and clip-on earrings, grabbing a purse and strutting around, yes, I remember getting 'all dolled up'. Entertaining is my grown-up version of playing dress-up. It's my chance to get the house 'all dolled up' and to welcome friends into my home. I do it as often as possible and as much as I love having friends over, I have an ulterior motive for entertaining and it's really hugely selfish. Are you ready? Promise not to judge, K? Entertaining is how I keep my house clean and in order. Ugh! I really hate to admit that, but it is the only way I can keep it all together. When I know that friends are coming by, that little bit of excitement and adrenaline kicks in and it just becomes so easy to clean and get the house together. That's probably a little crazy, right? Do you get that little adrenaline rush too, when you know that folks are coming by for a visit. With the holidays coming up, why not go ahead and start a new way of keeping order in your home. I'm NOT saying that this house is always clean, goodness no. You can read some posts on just how messy it gets sometimes here and here. But for the most part, we keep it kind of in order so that it would take very little time to have it company ready. 



I'm going to give you some really easy steps to get your house in order and to keep it that way so that you can have friends over more often and this will in turn help you keep your house 'entertaining ready'. Please work on this list slowly, a little at the time, because, if you're anything like me, nothing causes me to shutdown more than being overwhelmed! Once you've worked on each step, it becomes easy to maintain on a weekly basis. 


No. 1. Keep that fridge CLEAN. Nothing is more embarrassing to me than opening the fridge to serve drinks or snacks and have it full of old, stinky food. If you can get that fridge clean and stay in the habit of keeping it that way, it just feels so good.

No. 2. If you get in the habit of vacuuming a couple of times a week, especially if you have house pets like we do, there's not so many of those fur tumbleweeds blowing across the floor. The house just feels clean with clean floors.

No. 3.  If you will teach your children to be responsible for their spaces, your life will be sooooo much easier. Nothing irks me more than families with kids that do practically no housework. How are they ever going to know how to take care of their own homes one day if all they know how to do is take out the trash and pick up toys? ALL of our children have been taught since they were little to pull their own weight as far as chores go. As they get older, the workload increases. I can confidently say that if I were to become ill for any length of time, our daughters at eleven and thirteen, could run this house nearly as well as I do. They know how to do laundry, cook and bake, clean a house with the best of them, and look after our seven year old. I think that parents do themselves AND their children a terrible disservice not teaching them how to take care of their home. 

No. 4.  A clean bathroom is a must and it's very easy to have if you just learn how to put things away after every use. Keeping the counter and the toilet clean, makes it easy to be ready for guests. If I have the time, I'll add some fresh flowers or seasonal greenery from my yard to the bathroom just to add that special little touch.

No. 5. Your yard is the first thing that guests see when they visit. Try to keep the outside in order the same way as the inside. It's all about establishing new habits. We have two porches that guests use and I always try to keep them tidy. I sweep and even wipe off my doors from time to time to get rid of all the dust that builds up from mowing the lawn. The porch is your first line of defense when guests arrive. Make them feel welcome from the moment they get out of their car.


I find that if I can keep a handle on these five things, I never feel too far behind. By far, my favorite is number five. I don't know why, but I've always felt that if my porches stay clean, the house just seems fresher and more inviting to guests. When friends come to any door at our home, I want them to feel welcome and know that I'm happy they are visiting from the moment they knock on the door. I chose to be a wife and a stay at home mom, and I feel that it is part of my job to have an organized and clean home {most of the time}. We all have off days that throw us off track, but when I'm feeling better again, I get right back on track. 

The secret to ALL these steps is that once you have them all done for the first time, you consistently check back with this list at the first of the week and at the end of the week, that way everything sort of stays in pretty good order. Now, if you decide to have friends over, nothing is such a mess that if would take longer than thirty minutes to an hour to get it in order. You'll find that once you get into the habit of living this way, you'll really enjoy entertaining in your home! And you'll enjoy the benefit of living in a cleaner more efficient and organized home every single day- guests coming or not. Now with the house all clean, let's go bake some treats for your friends to enjoy! How about some cake pops like these perhaps......




This was our first try at cake pops and they turned out pretty good. I hope that our guests agreed! Thanks y'all so much for stopping by today! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share below in the comment section.....


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How About A Little Fall Inspiration???


September is moving right along and I've been trolling Pinterest for some fall porch inspiration. Wow! There are some great ideas out there. Let's take a look at a few, and see if you are feeling as inspired as I am!



I'm in LOVE! This porch from The Maine House has me swooning! All the lights are fantastic. Don't you think so? I could just linger there for the longest time! Oh, and that screened door....


Don't you just want to have a cup of coffee there? It's so inviting. This porch is from Common Ground.


This porch from Our Vintage Home Love is simply beautiful. Just look at that painted porch floor and those stenciled burlap pillows.... love!


Show your door some love, from Horse Country Chic. I love the unexpected. Using a live plant as door decor instead of the regular fare... wonderful.


Perfect door color for fall! This porch is from Organized Clutter. Ever thought of painting your door for the seasons? Maybe?

Feeling it yet? These are some great inspirations! If it EVER cools down here in Georgia, it might help me to feel a bit more fall-i-er, that's a word right? I hope that these porches are getting you in the mood for fall. Remember that it's not all about going out and buying new. For me, it's always about shopping my house and moving things to new places like my front porch. Think outside the box a little, and a new fall porch might just be in your near future. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blog Design For Dummies


So......what to do if you have a blog, but you're just not so sure if it looks all that inviting to your visitors. After all, you know NOTHING about blog design and you can only drool over the pricey templates that you can purchase all around the internet. I'm going to tell you what I have done with only fifteen dollars and a bunch of hard work. First go HERE, and stay there for a ridiculously large amount of time, and still not get finished, and then go back for another ridiculously large amount of time and probably still not get finished. While there, you'll meet Dana Fox. A VERY young, VERY talented, blogger and entrepreneur. If you click on her 'Resources' page, you'll find boocoodles {spell check has no listing for boocoodles....bless their heart!} of tutorials on all things bloggy. It's a goldmine people! 


Next go HERE. At Bloggersentral, you'll find more resources and codes to help you fine tune your blog. And if anyone out there can help me remove my 'pin it' hover from images where I don't want it, HELP! I've researched, changed HTML until I'm blue in the face, and it's still there!!! 



Then, if you desire some type of art that you cannot create yourself, because, goodness knows you've tried, but it still doesn't look all that great, just saying, I may or may not have tried for like two weeks, go to etsy.com. Search clip art and vectors on transparent backgrounds and voila, the images you've been wanting on your blog! I found mine here. If you need to do some resizing or addition of text head to Picmonkey and edit away!





Anywho, my baby blog has undergone so many changes in the last two weeks, that I've probably confused any visitors that have stopped by, I'm a perfectionist, OK? A little OCD too. Bad combo. I've finally settled on a theme that I feel is pleasing and is easy to navigate. I wanted something to reflect the name of the blog with a little vintage farmhouse thrown in for good measure. Before my blog was a bit ADD, and although I liked some facets of it, they just didn't flow well. Hopefully, I'm not going to make any more changes...... that was a little weak wasn't it? I'm not going to make any more changes! You're all witnesses right? Thanks for stopping by today y'all. And, as always, if you need any details or have questions just ask away! 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Your Homeschooling Questions Answered



The other day, I received some questions about homeschooling from a reader, and they were doggone good questions too! I asked her permission to answer them in a post, and she graciously agreed. I really wanted to write about them on the blog because I think they are very common questions that many newcomers have. Here's her question: 

I found your blog today and just have been pouring over it.  How much do you push reading and writing? My daughter is 8 and has the MOST ZERO desire to read and write. We are just now realizing that she is a true visual learner so we have re-adjusted our teaching style a bit. But should I worry that she couldn't care less about it? 
Do you push a curriculum, do what ever your children want to learn about? What's your thoughts? We have only 1 car and my husband takes that for work each day. We are in Arizona so going out in the summer is not an option. Any suggestions for fun things to do?

We LOVE LOVE LOVE homeschooling. This is our first year and I already love the flexibility and the time we spend together.

Let me know your thoughts.
E


See, ALL great questions! Well, let's get right to it! Nope, we DON'T push reading, or anything else for that matter. If our homeschooling method had a mission statement it would be: 'We want to infuse a love of lifelong learning into each of our children'. That's it. That simple. I don't believe that you can do that, if you are pushing any subjects at your child when they're not ready to learn that particular task. If anything, you may be achieving just the opposite. You may be totally turning them off against that particular subject and they may always think that they don't like it, but not really know why. I've done a few posts recently on our style of learning here and here. We began our journey using curriculum, but eventually, moved on to a much freer, more natural method of learning called unschooling.



If you've discovered that your daughter is a visual learner, then let her {with your supervision of course} view lots of youtube videos and learn how to do anything in the world that her little heart so desires. Let her watch documentaries on hundreds of subjects. I wrote a post a while back on how much our seven year old loves documentaries and is quite a fan of science and nature. You can read that here.

When we began homeschooling some 16+ years ago, we only had one shared car too. Does that make it more challenging, yes, but you can work around the one car issue. If there was a special field trip coming up, we would drive my husband into work on that day so we could have the car. As we would meet other homeschoolers in our community, we would invite them over to our house and host a get-together. That's a fun indoor Arizona activity! Host a craft day with friends or ask everyone to bring an item for an ice cream social. We still LOVE hosting homeschool friends at our house even though we have a second car now.


{totally random dog shot....we found him on one of our adventures one day and I just couldn't resist photographing him}

I hope that this has answered some of your questions and from one homeschooling mom to another- I'm so thrilled that you are interested in giving your child the absolute best learning experience that you can. Thanks E. for letting me address your questions here on the blog today!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Custom Image Pinterest Hover Button Tutorial



Hey y'all! This post today is for any bloggers or aspiring bloggers that would like to know how to make a custom image Pinterest hover button for your blog images. Before I start, there are two pre-requisites: 1. You must be signed up to use the site Picmonkey 2. You need a Photobucket account. My directions are for Blogger blogs because that's what I happen to be using. This post also comes with a WARNING; making these can will become addictive. Seriously, I made like twenty over the weekend and just couldn't decide which one I wanted on the blog, so I had to try EACH of them out. If you happened to have visited the blog during this switch-a-roo fest, God bless you. And without further ado..........


{just a FEW of the images I made in Picmonkey}

  • Go ahead and open this page in your browser http://www.bloggersentral.com/2012/11/pinterest-pin-it-button-on-image-hover.html
  • Also open your blogger page
  • Now head on over to Picmonkey.com and get crazy creative. Really play around a little with the images; the possibilities are endless! And because I'm a visual learner, I've made this neat little video to get you through the Picmonkey process {also on YouTube if you want to view a larger screen image just follow this link}



  • Now head over to Photobucket. Upload the image you saved on your computer from Picmonkey and once it's there click on your image. A few "links to share your photo" will show up to the right of your image: click on the one that says 'Direct'. This will copy that link for you.
  • Once you have your link copied, head on over to your bloggersentral.com tab that you've already opened in your browser.
  • Copy and paste the code from bloggersentral somewhere safe. I like to start a new post in Blogger and just save it there for future reference~ just don't ever accidentally click 'publish'! Bloggersentral has very clear instructions on how to change their code if you'd like to insert your own image. And that's just what we want to do!
  • In other words, everything inside the quotation marks {be sure to leave the quotation marks; you are going to insert between them} in line 3, will be erased and replaced with your new image link from Photobucket. Just right click between the quotes {after you delete their jpg image text} and 'paste' in your photobucket link.
  • This new code is your future custom Pinterest hover button. Woot woot!! Highlight and copy ALL of the new code.
  • Now the really easy part; head back over to Blogger and click 'Layout'. 
  • In 'Layout" click 'add a gadget'
  • Scroll down to the add 'HTML/Javascript' and click
  • In the entry box, right click and paste your code
  • Hit 'save' and then 'save arrangement'
  • Are you ready? Hit the view blog button, scroll over an image and marvel at your custom creation! 





{Here's a clip of what my current "pin it" hover button looks like live on my blog. Cool huh?}



Now the really hard part begins..... try not to go crazy and make 20 30 of them which I may or may not have done. Oh boy.....
I hope that this helped y'all out and I'd love to hear from you, so come back and share in the comments what amazing images you created.


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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Day I Added More RED

Yep, I'm cruising into fall. I'm whistling all the way. This should aptly distract me from the fact that winter is hard for me. I've been fluffing, primping and painting, little by little, all in preparation for the arrival of autumn. This season, I'm adding more red and I'm lovin' it so much. It is a rich color but still has that hint of 'I'm a little bold and sassy'. I've changed up the dining area and the entry just by adding a little red. In the dining area, I repainted the mirror and changed things around a little, and see what I mean, it's just a little sassier over there now. LOVE. 





Next, over at the entry, I changed out my spring/summer wreath with this one I made last year. The woolly textured yarn just says cooler temps are on the way! Yeah baby! I wanted a little more fun in this area, so I added a little red ric-rac onto the plain white lamp shade, and ta-da, free freshening up with just the right amount of persnickety. That is a word isn't it?? Oh well, it is now~ ha! 





So what decor changes do you have in the works right now at your house? Shop around your house and relocate some pieces from other rooms. Decorating doesn't have to be expensive. Change out some colors and don't be afraid to change some pieces with paint. If you don't like it when you're finished, you can always paint it right back. So today's motto~ CHANGE IT UP!


This post was originally written by Amy Espinosa who blogs at "The Little Farm Diary" {http://thelittlefarmdiary.com}

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Love Of Succulents



I've been doing a little freshening up around here this week, part of my tiptoeing into fall plan. I've planned to stay away from the more traditional fall colors that I mentioned in my last post. I decided to warm things up over here by adding some more red, which I adore. More on that later, but for now, I've really been wanting to play around more with succulents. 



This summer I added a few in outdoor planters and I love them. They have performed really well. I also added a couple to our girls' room that you can check out here. With fall and winter on the horizon, I really wanted to bring some life into the house with the addition of some plants. I just love these little guys because you can plant them in the cutest containers. I've collected some milk glass over the years, and these succulents just look great planted in them. Have fun with your containers~ I've even seen these planted in old colanders and they are just cute as pie. 


My FAVORITE part about succulents you ask? Low Maintenance! Life's busy enough without babysitting plants! Am I right?  They do need a good source of light making them a perfect windowsill plant. Also be sure you plant them in a soil that drains readily and don't over water, other than that, easy peasy. I love how the house looks with these scattered about. 


Plants just bring such a breath of freshness to a room. How about you? What changes are you making around the house to usher in the upcoming change of seasons? I'd love to hear from you!


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