Showing posts with label simple living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simple living. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Porch Story {simple living inspired}


Well first, hello friends. I've taken an unexpected break from blogging, but I'm so very excited to be back! You should know that I struggle greatly with balancing a simple lifestyle and the duty of blogging. Sometimes I find myself wondering how the two, blogging and living the simple life, can ever possibly survive within one woman. I confuse myself at times and that's usually when I take a little rest from blogging.


Do you often feel that your life is way too overloaded and running at a pace that leaves you nearly breathless, but you worry that you'll let others down if you don't keep up with this harried pace? I used to feel that, that sense of obligation to others over myself and my family. Over the last few years, I've managed to whittle down my obligations and learn to not feel as guilty. Now, I very carefully consider what goes onto my calendar.


Living simply not only affects my time, it has spread into all parts of my life, all parts of me. My home looks different today than it did just six months ago, I've taken a much closer look at my decor and asked myself if a certain item is really working for us, or is it simply clutter. I've moved things around and some pieces have been purged completely. Our outside spaces get a whole lot of traffic in the warmer months and I really wanted them to be simple and functional.


That gets me to the point of this post, sorry, my wandering brain, our porch. I started by completely emptying the whole porch, it drove me batty for it to be empty, but I felt like all the stuff on it cluttered my mind and I just couldn't think. I wanted it to be neutral and calm and uncluttered, I also wanted it to have a vintage vibe, of course, not too many plants, uh the upkeep when it gets really hot here in the summer months, so I looked for one outstanding basket and just a couple other little tidbits. I repainted my old metal chairs and our porch swing, added an old school desk for a coffee table, and I was done. Now it greets visitors in simplicity, but still maintains the vintage vibe that we have throughout the rest of our home. I've spent way too many mornings on it already and one cup of coffee quickly turns into two!


While I've been away from the blog, I've been focusing a bit more as time allowed on my Instagram account. I tell ya, it's way simpler to come up with one liners than entire blog posts! If you're on Instagram, I'd sure appreciate the follow and leave me a comment to introduce yourself if you don't mind. You can click on my Instagram feed in the sidebar to hop right on over {click on the word 'Instagram'}.


Thanks so much for allowing me some space to disappear sometimes and still being here when I return. Y'all are the absolute greatest! I've missed y'all so much! Happy to be back this morning!
xo,
Amy

Sharing Here:

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Chicken Whisperer Turns Nine


And just like that, our baby turned nine. He was a difficult pregnancy and birth and was born at only twenty nine weeks, so tiny, but you'd never know. He's one tough little cookie. He's my early riser, always has been. Try as I might, you just can't tire this one out.



It's pretty interesting being mama to one boy that's grown and married and one that's just turned nine. That's a pretty wide spread. It seemed like a small undertaking at thirty nine, but now at almost fifty, whew it's hard to keep up sometimes. This wild child keeps me on my toes.


He's still young enough to find wonder in everything around him, and boy I love that. I try to see the world through his fresh eyes and let me tell you, it's such a wondrous view. What a blessing this last one has been. We gathered together to celebrate this little life. Matthew wanted a white cake and white icing, and that's exactly what he got, thank heavens he shared with the rest of us because boy, it was delicious!


And my favorite part of birthdays, the gathering part. Nothing is ever better than the coming together of family around a table, sharing so much more than food. Such a lovely day.

Hoping your week is a wondrous one! Happy Monday y'all!
xo,
Amy

Friday, April 8, 2016

Chickens


We spend an awful lot of time over here on chickens. Feeding them, coop cleaning duties, egg gathering, but mostly we watch them. They're hilarious! If you've ever been on the fence about whether to get chickens or not, I'm hoping that I can convince you today to jump right off that fence and find you some chickens. They are the best addition to this little family of ours and even though they're a truckload of work, I wouldn't trade it for anything.





This year, we are starting to see a surplus of eggs and we've been selling them, no big profits mind you, but the chickens now pay for their own feed, ka-ching! And then there's Matthew. Who knew we'd have a chicken whisperer for a son? He loves these chickens to pieces. I've even read studies of how beneficial a pet they are for special needs children, especially ones with Asperger's. Crazy, right? Chickens are awesome.




You don't have to live on a farm to be a chicken keeper either. A quarter acre's all you got? No problem. A few little egg layers in a coop with a small fenced in run area is just what you need. See? Chickens are for everyone {wink}! I'm just sayin', if you've ever thought about owning chickens, maybe this is your year of the chicken! Are you convinced? Are you on the way to the feed store right now? What's keepin' you? Get going!
xo,
Amy

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


The other day, I pulled out my old cookbook that was handed down to me by my mama. She used that cookbook when I was growing up, and it still has some of the best recipes around. I know that the internet is full of recipes, but there's something about holding a book in your hands that your mama used to hold in her hands that just seems so right. I love that old book, I even have recipes clipped inside of it that were handwritten by my granny so very long ago. Nothing beats a good tried and true recipe.


I was in search of cookies and settled on an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie that was perfection. It's the same one my mama made for me, they were delicious then and just as wonderful today. Soft and chewy, completely divine! Sometimes, it's the absolute simplest things that are the best. Thought I'd share with you sweet friends today..........

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar and eggs till light and fluffy. Stir in buttermilk. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and vanilla. Drop from tablespoon onto parchment lined cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake at 400* for about 8 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan onto wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen.

Enjoy y'all!
xo,
Amy

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Bare Easter


This year, there were no colored eggs, candy filled baskets or maple glazed hams. This year, we bloomed right where we were planted. Mama's a little down at the moment, pinched nerve and all, so Easter became exactly what it should be, a gathering of those we love sans all the extras. An official grateful for what we do have kind of a day. 




We rose early and shuffled ourselves and the bare necessities into the car. We didn't stop till we found the mountains and a crystal clear stream perfect for fishing and picnicking.The afternoon was filled with moments of soft sunshine, laughter and all the wildness that I've come to expect from our three not-so-littles. With one child all grown up and no longer at home, I realize how precious these moments are that I have left with these three. Better not blink, they grow so fast.



At first, I was so sad not having an Easter filled with all the trimmings, but by days end I realized that this bare Easter was better than any chocolate bunny I'd ever had. We praised God under towering spruce and beside rolling waters, our hearts filled with all that Easter truly means. What could be better than that?
xo,
Amy

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wait........ What Happened To My Laundry Room?


We had quite a tragedy here last December while we were out of town. All Matthew's beautiful silkies got eaten. It was tragic for my little guy and I've been waiting for spring to get a bit closer to start looking for Matthew a new flock. A couple weeks back, I turned to friends on Facebook and asked for their help finding Matthew some new chickens. They came through big time {thanks y'all!} and I was able to meet a new friend that raises her own chickens and goats not too far of a drive from our hometown! 



Her name is Janis and she is a hoot and didn't mind me asking her some pretty dumb farming questions about raising goats and all. I'm still pretty new to this country life and some things I still can't figure out, but she set me straight and didn't even crack a smile at this farm girl transplant! She had quite a few chicks, several silkies, easter eggers and a little black maran. I snatched the easter egger and black maran for me and the silkies for Matthew. She's expecting more silkies this week so I'm hoping to get him a few more. They are too doggone cute! We are hoping that one of them is a Frizzle. Ever heard of those? If not, Google it and be ahhhhhhmazed. They are, well, unusual would be a good word to describe them.



For now, my laundry room has been converted into a baby chickie nursery and I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm dying for a baby goat. Do you think the baby goatie would like the laundry room too??! What? You don't keep goats and chickens in you laundry room??
xo,
Amy

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Dark Side Of Blogging


You know those times that you get all inspired while visiting someone's awesome blog, and you're scrolling through all their pictures and you're getting all antsy and excited and the wheels in your brain are a turnin' and then you run into your living room to see what you can do to make that magic happen at your house and then.........FIZZLE. Yeah, that happens to me too. In order to make that picture in my head come to life, I need to buy this or that which leads to buying this and that which then leads to, I think you get the picture.

Instead of feeling inspired, you feel like a failure. Instead of being motivated you feel defeated. Honestly it's weird blogging sometimes, being grateful that I have a community to share within but being almost embarrassed that I'm part of the big machine that drives people to want constant change and feel less if they can't afford more. Oh gosh, I never want to be that person. I feel pulled more often than not and wonder, why do I blog? Am I helping or hurting.

Blogs push so much commerce whether intentionally or not. There have always been the have's and the have not's but blogging really puts them right out there in front of our faces. Is it just me? I'm rarely on Facebook, but the other day I was scrolling through and I have lots of other bloggers pages on my feed. Geesh, I bought this, new sofa that, I hung new drapes here, I went antiquing and found this, I declare, I closed the computer and felt all green inside.

Last week when I mentioned the few blogs that I frequent, my loves have more to do with means than anything else. I choose my favorite blogs the same way I choose my friends. I want to be surrounded by folks closer to my socioeconomic circle than not. Am I the only one that fights that age old green eyed monster?

I hope and pray that you never feel that way when you visit. When I say we are slooooooooow here, I really mean we are! Purchases take months sometimes years! We wait for sales, scour thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets. We've made it thanks to God's generous blessings and I'm forever grateful for such a hardworking husband.

 I want you to know most of all that little unsightly finds can be magically transformed into treasures for nearly nothing, all you need is a vision. It is completely reasonable to expect that your home should make you smile, and that you have the power to make that happen with very little investment, it may take years, but that only sweetens the end result. It doesn't take lots of fancy, expensive purchases to make your house a home. You may see so many people living that way, but I promise, it's just not true. That's why I stay I guess. I have a message to share. We can all live big on very little!

I love y'all visiting here and I never, ever want y'all to feel anything but goodness when you come by! Keep me on my toes, if I ever make you feel anything less than that feeling you get with that first cup of coffee on a cold winter's morning, well, you just better let me know! Pinky swear?!
xo,
Amy

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's Go Camping!


It's been a whole year since we purchased our Little Pop Up Camper . What adventures we have had! We're already planning trips for April and I'm just giddy! Do you and your family camp? I wanted to share with you a little about what I've learned this last year, but first a little sharing about me..........


I'm a girly girl. You know the ones, they don't like to get dirt under their nails, they powder their noses when out and about, they 'hold it' forever rather than go in a porta-potty, yeah, I'm one of those. So, needless to say, I'm not the roughing it type. Having to potty in the woods just isn't my thing.


We tried tent camping when the kids were little- hated it big time. Hearing little animals scurrying around my tent all night just wasn't my cup of tea. Shoot, I was terrified and didn't sleep a wink! Now, I have friends mind you {you two know who you are ;)}, that are camping aficionados! You should see these women camp. I promise you would be in awe of their campsite! Tents, screen rooms, organized totes filled with food and supplies, they literally put women like me to shame! It just wasn't for me or my husband, so we wrote camping off our list. We decided that it just wasn't for us. Huge mistake!



It then took years and years of wasted time for me to consider camping again. I say wasted time because there's just something about our children, that they deserve to be raised out in nature, unplugged from this world we live in, as often as possible. Traveling and hotels is one thing, camping is totally different. Camping brings your family together in a way you'll never experience in a hotel.


It's so much easier to start your kiddos off early with this lifestyle, the camping lifestyle. It's much harder to convince teenagers that camping is awesome. Our girls have been real troopers and I've been so proud of them for their good attitudes. Sometimes they're a bit whiny, but I see the gains of our adventures and it's worth a little discomfort on their parts.


So why all this rambling on? Spring is upon us, and if you've ever wondered if camping might be right for you, YES, yes it is! I don't want you or your children to miss out on the benefits of camping. If someone as girly as me loves it this much, you may just love it too! Don't like sleeping on the ground? We planned and saved for a whole year for our pop up, so worth all the sacrifices.


And the price? Camping is so inexpensive, especially if you tent camp, and you don't have to go far. A state park just down the road or in your own state is a perfect landing. The point is to be out there in nature, unplugged around a campfire, hiking, game playing or just talking, remember that?,  just talking with one another. That's the whole point of the camping experience, connections, re-establishing connections, strengthening connections.

This world that we live in pulls our families apart, camping brings our family back together. So, if you've never tried it, maybe this is your year! Are you already a camping family? Give me a shout out!
xo,
Amy

Sharing Here: In The New House Designs   McCall Manor

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Little Springy Inspiration

I've been scouring some of my favorite blogs and magazines for a little springtime inspiration. I found so much inspiration, and honestly, it can be overwhelming, you know what I mean? I want our home to have a fresh springy vibe, but I don't want to break the bank to make it happen. Today I'm going to share with you a few of my faves, prepare to be inspired!

I LOVE this wreath. The wreath form and moss can be be found at the dollar store and the flowers are an easy project with scrap fabric. Beautiful and frugal- perfect.

This is a theme you're going to see lots here in my inspiration photos- bringing the outside in. Anytime I can grab a few branches and bring them in, instant springtime in the house.

Same here, bring the outside in, and how cute is this, a new use for some old galoshes.

I love collecting old plates that I find at thrift stores and flea markets. How about gathering all the springy blossoming ones, and hang them all together. 

I love the chalkboards I have in our home and I look forward to changing them seasonally. If you don't have a ready made board, a can of chalkboard spray paint will turn any old object into a beautiful chalkboard.

And again, bring the outside inside. Fresh, live greenery breathes new life into your home.

COLOR. How about adding the unexpected to freshen up your space? I collect these tissue paper balls at our local super-store for only $.99. They have them seasonally in different colors. Put them in a grouping for instant fun and color in any room. 

So what do you think? Hope I've inspired you to bring a little spring into your homes.  I think I'm going to start right now by going outside and clipping a few sprouting branches and bringing them inside. So fresh and so simple. 

xo,
Amy 


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Best Biscuits EVER


Since it's still a bit of winter time left, I thought I'd reshare one of my favorite comfort food recipes- BISCUITS! I love bread, and this is still my absolute favorite recipe! Enjoy y'all!

I've been working over here on perfecting my biscuit recipe and I've finally got it and I couldn't wait to share it with y'all today. There are so many different recipes for biscuits and if you can believe it, books devoted to nothing but biscuit making, it's serious stuff in the south y'all! All I can say is that down here, biscuit making is a big thing. No southern plate is complete without a light and flaky biscuit on the side. So, I've been working for a bit now, and I think I've finally mastered 'The Biscuit'.

The How To:


Biscuits can be ornery little critters and biscuit bakers have their secrets for baking the best, most mouthwatering biscuits around. I'm going to share a few secrets with y'all that really will make a big difference in your end result.



  1. The Flour. Yes, it does make a difference what you use. I recommend White Lily All Purpose Flour.
  2. Chill the bowl and pastry cutter.
  3. Cut butter into really small pieces and they must be COLD.
  4. Work dough with your hands and only until just blended- no over mixing here- that dough must stay cold.
  5. When cutting out your biscuits, never twist with the cutter. This closes off the sides and doesn't allow for a nice, big, fluffy biscuit.
  6. A hot oven is key.

Ingredients:

2 cups White Lilly All Purpose Flour plus a little for rolling out dough
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. fine salt
4 Tbsp. cold butter {unsalted} cut into little pieces
3/4 to 1 cup  buttermilk


Instructions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450*.  
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Using your pastry cutter, cut in the small pieces of butter until you have a coarse meal texture. 
  4. Pour in the buttermilk and mix just until combined. 
  5. Now turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 1/2 inch thickness.
  6. Cut rounds of dough with a biscuit cutter or edge of a drinking glass, remembering to cut straight down- no twisting
  7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

And there you have it y'all. Practice makes perfect with biscuits, but it's so worth it! A hot biscuit right out of the oven smothered in butter, oh my goodness, all kinds of amazing. Thank y'all so much for spending some time with me today and enjoy those biscuits!
xo, 
Amy

Sharing At:  Cozy Little House   In The New House Designs   McCall Manor


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