Monday, September 28, 2015

Autumn Splendor for the Hearth

I dearly love this time of year.  Autumn...the word excites the senses with vivid colors and wonderful smells. I think of candy apples, warm cider, hay rides, apple pies, and the unforgettable smell of brisk, autumn air. I am so thankful to the Lord for the beauty of this season.

"To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1.  

As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, the hearth becomes an important focal point in our homes. It's a place where the family gathers and where memories are made. Why not make your hearth a signature statement by creating a lovely autumn display?  I enjoy changing my display often.  This is my September-October mantel. I was incredibly bummed when my 11 inch mercury glass pumpkin skittered off the mantel and crashed to the floor.  I searched the internet and local stores for a replacement.  Luckily, I found one that blends in and will do for now.  My display features mercury glass pumpkins, a lantern lighted by a candle, a few books, a clock, and a little owl. A garland with fairy lights add a slight twinkle to the display.   It's still too warm to light a fire, so I put a few battery operated candles in the fireplace to create a warm glow.
Life and Linda created a mantel with frames.  Love this idea.
I would adore an outdoor fireplace. This inviting setting is from Better Homes and Garden.
Doesn't the fireplace in Neil Hill's blog look cozy?  What a fantastic place to curl up with a mug of spiced cider. The deer looks like he rules the roost! Notice the equestrian pillows.
Another terrific idea. The lanterns are especially nice.
Here is another outdoor fireplace.  This one compliments of Southern Living.
Sondra Lynn at Home has a beautiful fall mantel.  So many items in natural tones.
The Seasonal Home decorates with the vivid colors of fall.
Finding Home selected a very unexpected color palette for the autumn mantel.  The creams, blues, greens, and peacock feathers work well together
Serendipity Refined blends silver, copper, creams, and browns fabulously.  All the colors are enhanced by the gorgeous wall color.
I love the many levels in this sweet mantel from Denise in Bloom.  The use of the various heights add movement to the display.
The Frugal Homemaker decorates from the mantel down to the hearth.  This allows the eye to wander and enhances the display.
How are you decorating your mantel for this beautiful season?  Please jot me a note and tell me about your display.

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Join me at the following parties!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Delicious Spice Muffins

Are you looking for a delicious, autumn inspired muffin to serve your family?  This is one of my family's all time favorites.  I love to make a batch of these spice infused muffins when the weather is cool and the leaves begin to turn. They are moist and scrumptious!  Let's get baking!
The Starting Line-Up:
1 cup soft butter                                                          1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups sugar                                                                1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs                                                                          2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups applesauce (preferably unsweetened)         4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon                                  1 cup nuts, chopped
2 teaspoons ground allspice                                      Powdered Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Mix in applesauce and spices.  Sift together salt, soda, and flour.  Add to applesauce mixture and mix until combined.  Stir in nuts. You will end up with a lovely caramel colored batter! Bake the muffins immediately or refrigerate until ready to bake.  Bake in a lightly greased muffin pan or in muffin cups at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. If the batter has been refrigerated, bake for 15-18 minutes.
While the muffins are cooking, enjoy the wonderful "autumn-like" aroma wafting from your oven.  Apples, cinnamon, and cloves remind me of everything I love dearly about leaves...crisp cider...and these muffins!  One you remove the muffins from the oven, allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Sift powdered sugar on top before serving.   These muffins are perfect for breakfast or with a cup of coffee for a late afternoon snack.  I love them straight from the oven with a glass of cold milk.
The batter keeps very well in the refrigerator.  The original recipe states that the batter will keep "indefinitely", but I wouldn't do that for numerous reasons.  The main reason is that we eat them too quickly! I usually refrigerate the remaining batter for about a week and then make another batch.  This recipe makes approximately 24 muffins.  Let me know if you try them!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Sharing with These Blogging Friends

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Bedazzled Monogram Pumpkin

I saw half-cut pumpkins at Michael's Craft Store and had to have one.  After quite a bit of debate, I decided I wanted to bedazzle my pumpkin with a simple monogram and a little scroll work.  I was in the mood for an easy project and this one fits the bill. The entire project took no more than an hour to complete.
The Starting Line-Up:
One- 1/2 Cut Pumpkin of Your Choice, Sold at Michael's Craft Stores
Martha Stewart Brushed Bronze Metallic Craft Paint
Peel and Stick Bedazzling Items
If desired, you may want to apply a glaze to your pumpkin before bedazzling.  I chose Martha Stewart brushed bronze metallic paint.  Use a sponge brush and paint the glaze on in sections.  I added a little more glaze to the natural crevices in the pumpkin.  If you put too much in an area, simply wipe it off before it dries.  I did a few practice strokes on the inside of the pumpkin before starting on the visible side. As you can see in the close-up before and after photo, it's adds a nice touch.
The monogram and scroll work come in sheets.  Trim away the excess portion of the sheets and position the items on the pumpkin prior to peeling and sticking.  This gives you the opportunity to get an idea of where you want everything to be placed.  Next, gently peel off the backing and place the items on the pumpkin. TIP!  If you have a large embellishment, peel off a section at a time of the backing.  The items will be easier to position using this manner.  If you don't like the positioning, I found they can be peeled off and re-positioned.  Continue in this manner until the pumpkin is bedazzled to your hearts desire. Add a cute ribbon topper and that's it!  I love mine!
Bedazzled Blessing from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Sharing with:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Who Knew? A Story of Katrina and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Ten years ago today, she came on shore with a wrath most did not expect.  Her path was wide and the destruction immense.  She was strong, unforgiving, and gave no quarter as she passed through.  Her companion was the ocean.  Together, they rose to depths never imagined.  Together, they demolished structures and swept them out to sea.  Together, they changed the lives of many on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Who knew?
Who knew she would destroy 65,000 homes on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?  Who knew so many dear friends would have NOTHING left to the place they once called home?  Nothing...
Who knew she would lift a large building from its moorings only to carry it across a highway and sit it on top of a historic home?  
Who knew that MS Gulf Coast towns would be decimated by a storm surge of up to 32 feet?
Who knew we would lose so many historic homes? Preservation in Mississippi has a list of over 350 historic properties which were lost on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Katrina.
(Photo Credit: Sun Herald of Grass Lawn circa 1850)
 Who knew she could dismantle the spans of a large bridge and topple them like dominoes?
Who knew she would destroy the buildings of many our Mississippi Gulf Coast churches?  We were married in this beautiful church 32 years ago. Many churches on the MS Gulf Coast were destroyed; however, the steeples and crosses were left almost untouched.  A powerful reminder that God is always with us.
Christ Episcopal Church, Bay St. Louis, MS...only the steeple.
First Baptist Church of Gulfport
Who knew that we would learn a new language...the language of the X-Code?  For some, the X-Code meant death.  For others, they saw the X as a cross and a sign of hope.  For search and rescue units, the X-Code contained critical information.  It was always heartbreaking to see a number in the bottom quadrant.
Who knew that many neighborhoods would be unrecognizable?  This is a neighborhood in Long Beach, MS. Photo credit: Gulf Coast News.
Who knew she would pull loved ones from their graves, some never to be found?
Who knew the immense pain, fear, and confusion that I and other counselors would see on the faces of children as we counseled them during the aftermath of the storm?
Who knew that entire schools would be destroyed? These are photos from one of the two schools which were destroyed in our district.  Our children were eventually housed in FEMA trailer schools.
Who knew that 70 countries and countless Americans would come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to lend their assistance and help their fellow man?
Who knew that strangers would come to hold our hands and pray with us?
We know the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are resilient...
We know that tragedy can become triumph...
We know that together, with the assistance of kind and generous people from all over the world, we are rebuilding...
We know that the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast was created by a loving God who gives strength to the weary...
And we know that one day, we will be whole again.

"You are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord turns my darkness into Light" 
2 Samuel 22:29
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Sharing this story with 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Water: Are You Getting Enough?

We all know water is a nutrient essential for life. The average human body is composed of 50-60% water. Science tells us that mental performance and physical ability become impaired just prior to one feeling thirsty.  The human body needs adequate water intake to perform at its best. The simple fact is many of us do not consume enough water. The Institute of Medicine has determined that the adequate intake of water per day is 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men.  I have been working to overcome this deficit in my own diet, but it is not always easy. Sources state that any liquid will help hydrate the body; however, water is the best choice since it's calorie free.  Who doesn't love "calorie free" and healthy for you?  I am all about a good, cold glass of sweet tea.  If I did the "any fluid" method, I would end up drinking my calories for the day!  Also, if you love caffeinated beverages, you need to remember that liquids with caffeine will dehydrate the body.  Our goal is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Your body and skin will thank you for it.
Many of us have a hard time drinking our daily amount of water during the summer... and it's hot!  In cooler months, it's easier fall behind on daily water intake.  With fall quickly approaching, it is important to have a plan for increasing your water intake.  Sorry friends....pumpkin spiced lattes do not count as water intake! Sad, but true!  Let's take a look at 5 simple tips which helped me increase my daily water consumption.

1.  Drink a full glass of water as soon as you get up.
That's right, before you take a single sip of that aromatic coffee brewing in the kitchen, refresh your body with a glass of water.  Go ahead and gulp it down. Your body has been without fluid all night and is at its most dehydrated state upon waking.  I keep a full glass of water beside my bed and when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I drink it down.
2.  Drink 8 ounces prior to each meal and 8 ounces after each meal.
Water is a natural diuretic and essential element to aide in digestion.  Your body will tell you when you have not consumed enough water.  Simply put, urine is darker and solid waste is harder when the body is not hydrated.  An added bonus of drinking a glass of water before a meal is that it helps fill you up!
3.  Drink a cup of water after each trip to the potty.
You just removed fluid from your body, so replace it with a cup or more of water.  I have found this to be an extremely easy way to add water to my diet.  
4.  Drink from a pretty glass.
Water always tastes better in a pretty glass and with a cute straw. Visual appeal has long played an important role in food consumption.  Why not the same with a beverage?  I love getting out a favorite beverage container, filling it with water, and heading outside to read.  Before you know it, I have enjoyed a chapter or two and my glass is empty.  By the way, I highly recommend the book pictured above.  Twelve Extraordinary Women (How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You) by John MacArthur.  He leads you through a wonderful journey into the lives of some of the Bible's most faithful women.  It has been a fascinating and inspirational journey!
5.  Add sliced fruit to your water.
Sliced fruit adds a delicious, natural flavor to water.  It is also visually appealing and good for your body. Skip the water flavoring packets sold at the grocery store.  They are packed with artificial flavors and chemicals. Who needs more artificial ingredients and chemicals in their body?
In the last month, I have been committed to drinking more water.  I have lost 7 pounds by skipping the occasional glass of sweet tea and drinking more water.  When I forget to drink my daily allotment, my weight is up.  There is obviously an important connection between water and the body.  I also feel so much better substituting pure, refreshing water for diet drinks and sweet tea.  As with any health issues, always consult your physician before altering your daily diet. If you are healthy, go ahead and drink up!  It's good for you! See you at the water fountain!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Please leave me a comment.  I love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fun Fall Door Decor

I am ready for the heat of summer to be over and the cool breezes of fall to head our way.  My sister called me the other day and said she wanted to pull out her autumn decorations and to that I say "Amen, Sista"! We both can't wait to say, "Happy Fall Ya'll"!!

In the meantime, I need to update my fall door decor and have been looking for a few, fresh ideas.  Better Homes and Gardens had some wonderful fall wreath ideas.  I adore this unusual "wreath" made from a rake.
Who said a wreath must be round?
Etsy and Pinterest have an abundance of wreath ideas including several swags to use on your harvest door.
Another cute idea from Better Homes and Gardens. It makes me think of  warm apple crisp topped with a dollop of whipped cream!   Yum!  Or how about those wonderfully apple scented candles?  Love those!
Monograms are all the rage.  I think this would be a simple wreath to make.  Raise your hand if you like simple projects!
Super cute wreath from Kimberly Marie Interiors.
I like the simplicity of this acorn wreath. Often simple things make a bold statement.
Isn't this wreath fabulous?  So many items tucked into one wreath.
This fun wreath from Dream Home Style reminds me of Argyle socks!  Great idea!

Burlap, fall leaves and pumpkins make this an adorable wreath for any door.
A wreath of dried flowers make a lovely display.  So pretty!
I have numerous berry wreaths which I display throughout the year.  A wreath of fall berries with a simple striped ribbon make a welcoming statement.
I hope I have given you a few ideas for your fall door decor, because before you know it, pumpkin flavored everything will abound!  I can't wait to dress my doors to welcome fall visitors.
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
Sharing Today With: