Getting Ready For the Big Day! Tips For Hassle Free Entertaining on Thanksgiving :)

IMG_20171111_183523_246Every year it’s the same. I know Thanksgiving is coming but as it gets closer the same panic ensues thru me. It’s accompanied by excitement and just a sheer love of the holiday but the fear of not pulling it all together in time seems to always take over.

Although, I have to admit I have gotten much better over the years and in my “older” age of chilling a little more and just basically learning to suck it up and work around the anxiety. I have also in all my many years of entertaining learned what works and what doesn’t…and those of you who know me, know I LOVE to share my tips and knowledge! LOL!

Honestly, it took a lot of screw-ups and hard embarrassing lessons learned to come to where I am today. Hopefully, by me taking the time to create this little blog and share it all with you, it will save YOU all the blood sweat and tears and mistake making over your years of entertaining (although I will say the best ideas sometimes come out of the worst mistakes). 🙂img_20151126_185416

Usually, a few weeks before I stand in the middle of my house and say…”How in the WORLD am I going to pull this disaster together?”.  My house is VERY lived in, to say the least. I have the usual clutter and scatter everywhere… bills and junk mail on my tables, shoes and coats lying around, toothpaste in every sink, cob webs hanging in the worst places, toys, unorganized drawers and cupboards, laundry piles in every room but the LAUNDRY ROOM, all the usual suspects and most definitely not an atmosphere for overnight guests or entertaining!

So, unless you are one of those people who are “super hero” organized you are probably in the same boat as me. I would like to share with you the things I do to prepare, that make it even POSSIBLE for me to pull off any event I host. IMG_20161107_081856893 (2017_09_11 13_04_50 UTC) (2017_10_05 19_33_06 UTC)

First, your planning cannot start far enough ahead of time. Look at how much time most of us put into gift buying for Christmas…most start at least a month ahead…yet when it comes to entertaining we start pulling it together the week before…BIG mistake. FB_IMG_1479243669656 (2017_09_11 13_04_50 UTC)

4-6 weeks before Thanksgiving I like to think about the guest list and extend invitations. Most people have more than one place to visit for this holiday so you want to make it easier for them to schedule it all in. Once I have an idea of how many are coming then I can start really planning.img_20161017_195614

Lists…lists…lists!!! They are my life’s blood! I use them everyday of my life…and it’s not just because I’m getting older lol I have been using this system since high school. Every night before I go to bed I make a list for the next day of all that I want to accomplish. Now this doesn’t mean I will accomplish it all, but it gives me a “goal” sheet and a reminder of what I need to get done.

Approximately 3 weeks before my lists begin. They get changed quite often, adjusted, and scribbled on throughout this process but it’s all for a great cause.IMG_20171112_135903758**See? Piles of lists and scribbles lol 🙂 It works!

I have different categories I create lists for…

  • MENU-  I list all that I would like to serve then after I have spoken with all my guests to find out what they are bringing I make adjustments and mark what I am responsible for making.

-GUEST LIST-  this is very important if you have a larger group. Not only do you not want to forget anyone but when you do your tablesettings and seating you need an accurate number. I also separate this list by who will be attending dinner, who will be visiting later for dessert, and how many children for the children’s table.

-SHOPPING LIST-  This is HUGE! There is nothing worse than going to cook the day of and realizing you forgot something at the store! This is not something you want to “wing”. I also like to shop early. No later than the Tuesday before. You need the extra time for getting the house ready and leeway for forgotten items. You also want to do as much food prep as possible. Shopping early allows you to have your refrigerator organized and have all your chopping and slicing etc. done and ready for cooking.

-TO DO-  My tried and true favorite. This is my everyday list but I make a separate one when I entertain. I do a weekly “to do” up to the week before then it’s daily. The list you make for the Wednesday before is the most important. Your goal here is to be so organized by Thursday that everything just sails! Remember this statement…….. “IF IT CAN BE DONE AHEAD.. DO IT!” EVERY single thing that CAN be done before Thursday SHOULD be done. I made up this saying and I live by it everyday. It is truly the only way to be any kind of organized.

-TABLESETTING/BUFFET-  Another crucial list especially if you have to create seating for more than what you use everyday. When you have a dining room that normally seats 6 and you decide to host 25 guests for Thanksgiving its going to take some planning and rearranging. Most of us don’t have one room that can seat this many so it will take some creativity to make things comfortable for your guests. Every home is different and I have always believed where there is a will there is a way and the more the merrier!!! Also included on this list is your buffet layout. I always feel better taking the time to do this one. It basically helps you day of, to set up your food in an organized quick way because you did all the thinking about it ahead of time. Think about where you will put beverages, desserts, food, etc. I like to keep these items separated. It makes things flow better. I usually have an area maybe in the dining room for adult beverages, and another area maybe in the kitchen for all other beverages, coffee, pop, etc. This will keep the kiddos away from the adult libations lol! IMG_20171111_191205_738IMG_20170519_162419 (2017_09_11 13_04_50 UTC) (2017_10_05 19_06_50 UTC)**Adult beverage station on my buffet in dining room

Now, these are the lists I prefer but you can always come up with categories that best fit what you need to accomplish.

A few weeks before when I can find the time I start to clean and organize the areas of the house that can’t be “re-messed” up before our big day. Maybe the guest bathroom cupboard, dusting down all the cobwebs, the frig, these types of tasks. Weekend before is when I do things like wipe down all the dining chairs, start to arrange things, even set all the tables if you have the room and can swing it, dust, put up any remaining decorations, do an inventory of dishes, flatware, glassware, etc. and make sure it’s freshly cleaned. img_20161108_111845

I personally could not pull this off without taking the Wednesday off before. I worship those who can. Maybe you should give me YOUR tips!! But, seriously that is the day I don’t leave the house! I get all the tables set, all my platters and serving utensils out and organized, bake all my pies, do all my food prep and have it in baggies ready to go, do a last inventory of ingredients and beverages, make sure all my place cards are written out and correct, check ice supply and make sure beverages are in frig and beverage areas are set up, clean the bathrooms, replace linens if I am having overnight guests, vacuum, set up turkey roaster and have all non perishable ingredients out on counter, do just a general straightening up and then threaten my family with bodily harm if they even think of touching ANYTHING! 🙂 No, Really….

Then there is the day of… if all goes well this will be stress free. I get up early and make a big pot of coffee, put on the cooking shows, (for some reason this calms me) and get started. I sometimes make an extra list if I have time of what I am cooking and in what order and I mark them off as I go. Just helps me along so I don’t get off track. Then when I get it all going I go get myself together and “beautified”… put on my second Thanksgiving apron, pour a glass of wine and get ready to get this party started! You will always have guests who come earlier than dinnertime so I like to be pulled together as early as possible.1928

It truly is the funniest thing… as soon as I get that meal served and everyone is situated and enjoying each other I literally feel the world lifted off my shoulders. It’s like when you give birth and you FINALLY push that baby out you get this huge sense of relief and you feel so relaxed (some of you may think that is some strange comparison!) 🙂 …THAT’S all of a sudden when I don’t care about my house, cob webs, junk mail, toothpaste filled sinks, laundry piles, dust, dirt, or grime, I only care about looking around at happy faces, full bellies, laughter, love, and family and friends…..well, and the smell of pumpkin spice and turkey… And… all I feel is THANKFUL and it was ALL worth it. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and I hope this helps you make YOUR “day of” a success! 🙂IMG_20171111_183523_246

 

Created with love by:

Char Head 🙂

Creations_by_Char

 

 

Verde Spicy Chicken Thighs

IMG_20171006_131908_564My go-to is most definitely chicken thighs. It is the easiest most delicious part of the chicken to make in my opinion. You literally can’t mess them up….well, I guess you could, but it would be really hard to! They are almost no-fail and just so yummy! With our busy schedule I like to make ahead and throw it in the oven. All this needs is a salad or some veggies on the side. I didn’t set out to make this “spicy” but it just kinda went that way lol. My husband wasn’t complaining! This dish is probably medium heat as is but it would be easy to make it hotter or cool it down. Enjoy!IMG_20171004_133634030

You will need:

  • Approx 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 28oz can Hunts No Salt Added crushed tomatoes (save can for tomato water)

  • 1 24oz jar Great Value Salsa Verde Medium (Available at Wal-Mart)

  • 2 medium- large yellow onions sliced

  • 2 bags natural whole grain boil in bag brown rice (uncooked)

  • 1 tsp garlic powder (I prefer Simply Organic Brand spices in my recipes)

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

  • 2 tsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic

  • 1-1/2 tsp Tastefully Simple Rustic Herb Spice Blend

  • Approx 3/4 cup tomato water

  • Olive oil

  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 of the can of crushed tomatoes across the bottom of the dish…. follow with 1/3 of the Verde Salsa, 1/2 of the sliced onions, 1 bag of the rice, and 1/2 of all the spices. Next place all the chicken thighs in a single layer. Repeat layer number one over chicken with remaining ingredients except for tomato water and olive oil. Press rice gently into last layer over the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour 3/4 cup of water into empty crushed tomato can and give it a swirl. Pour tomato water over entire dish.IMG_20171004_133441843

You will save remaining Verde Salsa for serving. If you want to turn down the heat reduce amount of salsa and pepper flakes. If you want to turn it up increase pepper flakes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375′ for approx. 2-3 hours until it reaches an internal temp of at least 170 degrees and the rice is cooked. Let dish set covered out of oven for at least 15 min before serving.IMG_20171004_192045580

Serves 6-8

Suggested toppings:

  • sour cream
  • green onions
  • tortilla chips
  • hot sauce
  • Verde salsa
  • cheddar cheese
  • jalapenos
  • guacamole
  • salsa

Created with love by:

Char Head 🙂

Creations_by_Char

Enjoy!!! 🙂IMG_20171006_131908_564

 

 

Avocado & Egg Salad

I am so excited about this recipe!! I have been wanting to work on it for a while now. I eat avocado with my eggs every morning and my son says.. ” Mom you should make a recipe that puts this all together.. our 2 favorite foods in one!” He was so right!!  It was worth waiting for and its a Healthy Selection too! Enjoy! 🙂 IMG_20170818_090205_048

You will need:

  • 2 ripened avocados cubed
  • 1 lime for zest and juice
  • 6 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 c red onion diced (dice a little more for garnish)
  • 1/2 c Kraft Olive Oil Mayo
  • 1/4 c sliced black olives (slice up a little more for garnish)
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp basil (I used organic dried but fresh is good too just use a little more)
  • 3/4 tsp dill (again I used dried)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (add more if you are a pepper person)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional…I try to not use added salt in my recipes)IMG_20170816_185212497_HDR

In a medium bowl put cubed avocado, about a 1/4 tsp of lime zest and the juice of half the lime and gently stir just to coat….we don’t want guacamole!! 🙂

Add the sliced boiled eggs, red onion, and all spices. Fold gently just to coat it all with the spices. Add mayo and black olives and again gently stir until all is blended. Garnish with more dill, red onion, and black olives. (Salad is better if you let it marinate at least 15 min in frig)IMG_20170816_190931090

Scoop onto lettuce or into a tortilla. It’s also good on any bread or just by itself!

With the mayo and the lime juice this salad lasts up to 2 days refrigerator then the browning of the avocado begins. Recipe can be doubled or more for more servings. This recipe serves approx. 4. IMG_20170818_090205_048

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!

 

 

Do I Really Have to Give Up My Baby Boy?

IMG_20170624_141942602It’s funny… when you start planning your family you always have different views and plans then when the family is actually here and going full force. We planned on having two…just two. We were going to magically produce a boy and a girl and be all done. Space them out by about 3 or 4 years and continue on with all our perfectly laid out plans. Well… God lets us know that we aren’t in control and He will bless us with what HE’S planned and what we need. So, baby number one came, a monstrous 9lbs 4oz and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. That boy was the center of the universe for 4 yrs! First grandchild on both sides and our first born. Spoiled isn’t even the word!IMG_20160912_125957 (1)

Then we decided to go for that girl. No problem! Remember.. we had our whole life planned! We went for the ultrasound and lo and behold found out we were having…… a BOY!!!! What????? Wait… a boy? How is this possible? That’s not the way it was supposed to go…BOY-GIRL..in that order. Mmmmmmmmmmm.. well… if he’s as amazing as his brother we will be very blessed. And I proceeded to scold myself for my selfishness and lack of gratefulness for even being ABLE to be pregnant and have a healthy baby. Shame on me. Then… we became very excited about our impending “boy world” and started planning.

Here came baby number two…another whopping boy at 9lbs 2oz and he melted our hearts just like his brother…and “girl” never even crossed our minds.

Another four years went by and I started to remind myself of the days I swore I wanted 6 kids. I wanted a big house in a suburban neighborhood and I wanted to be a stay-at-home-Mom. I guess you could call me a habitual planner. I mean.. how can life move on without many well laid plans? 🙂

We then made the decision to add to our family. We made our minds up that if we had more boys, we were more than good with it… the ones we had were the BEST and more of them would be awesome! But, if the girl came along that would be pretty amazing too.

So, as the boys acted like normal siblings and were at each other’s throats most of the time, we became pregnant with baby number three. We were petrified of the impending reality that we would, as parents, soon be outnumbered. IMG_20170630_132511100

Then…whadayaknow??? Ultrasound came back… GIRL!!!! Whoa! I think we were in complete shock for weeks! We had kind of gotten it in our heads that we were going to breed a brood of boys and here came our first little princess.

So, long story short, the little princess ruled the kingdom for 7 years and her brothers learned to accept it….well, maybe. Then, God decided to change our world a little more and bless us with a little SURPRISE! We gave birth to princess number two 8 YEARS.. yes.. 8 YEARS after princess number one. WOW… 2 boys, 2 girls.. perfect. And guess what? We DIDIN’T plan it! 🙂 IMG_20150806_072715228_HDR (1)

Years went by and life went on. We raised our babies the best we could. Far from perfect but our hearts were always in it. Our kids ALWAYS came first. We look back, of course, and wish we would have done some things different…who doesn’t? But, even though we WEREN’T perfect, we have some pretty amazing kids and we are very grateful and thank God everyday.

Our relationships with our kids are pretty stereotypical. We have Mama’s boys and Daddy’s girls. But, we are very tight as a whole and humor is how we roll. Wow…that rhymed!!! 🙂 Anyway, our goofiness is just what we ARE and I treasure it. You should really catch one of our family holidays if you ever have the chance. 🙂 IMG_3407IMG_20151003_195316338 (1)IMG_20151004_133334218 (2)imagejpeg_0_3 (1)

So, as the kids attended college and then started their careers I honestly never thought past the sports, putting them through college and them becoming professionals. We were early on blessed with a beautiful grandson when our oldest son was 20..img_20160619_230114653_hdr another one of God’s plans…see?? HE is in control. We really never thought past anything that wasn’t going on at those moments. Boy…was that a big mistake. I am hoping all you young and aspiring parents out there will take a listen to this old experienced one and maybe consider my advice. Been there…done that… and have the battle wounds to prove it! 🙂

Our youngest son started dating a girl from high school that he was fixed up with at the school where they BOTH worked as teachers. Everyone could see they were perfect for each other and it became very obvious very quickly that they were meant to be. I knew it the very first time I met her. IMG_0206 (1)

As most of you know…my husband became very sick a little over a year ago and almost died and has had a long road back to where he is today. Sooooooo thankful. So, my parenting focus was lacking for a good year and there were many things that didn’t cross my mind as our older and grown children began to evolve into functioning mature adults. I was basically letting things pass me by because my husband needed me and that “Mama way” of planning that I based my whole existence on for so many years began to fail and I would soon feel it’s effects.

You’re buying a ring??? What?? Marriage?? Ahhhhhhhhhh… wait… you are how old??? Ummmmmmmm… don’t we have much more time before that happens?

NOPE.. Mama you don’t. I slowly realized that I wasn’t paying attention or “planning” and now my baby boy was GETTING MARRIED! FOT5CFE (1)

With 3 kid’s college expenses already consuming our finances and my husband’s illness we were not prepared AT ALL to help plan a wedding. In addition we decided to move back home from Tennessee to be closer to our family. To put it mildly, a wedding was nothing we were even remotely prepared for and I am almost embarrassed to say so.

We helped the best we could and thankfully my son and his fiancé and her wonderful parents picked up the rest.

And through all their wonderful help, our son became very close with them. They were there when we couldn’t be, physically and financially and as GRATEFUL as we were and are, we started to struggle with, in our minds, losing our baby boy….to his new bride AND his new parents.

So…we were almost to the big day. The happy couple bought their first house…we were so proud…and we helped in anyway we could. Everyday our son would tell us of all the things his future in laws bought and did and as much as we tried to stand back and be happy…and really just grateful, we continued to feel inferior and hurt that we weren’t able to do more. And really just felt more and more like we were losing him to them a little more each day..walgreenHD1490197556175

It seems almost childish, doesn’t it? And why I didn’t see that sooner I don’t understand. But.. God saw I needed some adjusting as He always does, and I got it the night of the Rehearsal Dinner.IMG_20170623_184415230

As my son stood up at the alter and giggled as he took his fiancés hand while we practiced the ceremony, God spoke to me by showing me at that moment how LUCKY and BLESSED we are. By showing us in seconds how ridiculous all these feelings we were having were and that we were NOT losing our baby boy…we were gaining wonderful, giving, generous people who love our son and would do anything for him. And, we already knew we were gaining another daughter who makes our baby boy happy and sees him as a man, a provider, and the future father of her children. And thank GOD they found our son and were ABLE to make him happy and secure. We realized instantly that these people and our new daughter-in-law were sent to us as a gift and we finally felt the blessing and I thanked God over and over and asked forgiveness for not seeing it all along. And, I also had a new empathy for how MY mother-in-law must have felt when I came in and infringed on her world with her baby boywedding 1984-3.IMG_20170624_150113179IMG_20170624_151523433

You see… you DON”T lose your little boy, or your son, or even the man he has become. You can now stare at the marvel of what you created with all your good parenting, bad parenting, his hard work, God, and the compliment and addition of his new beautiful wife and her wonderful parents. We have only GAINED, and as with all our children are SO proud of what they are and what they will become. And guess what??? WE didn’t plan a bit of it 🙂IMG_20170624_152028934

Created with love by:

Char Head 🙂

Creations_by_CharFB_IMG_1498430306771

 

 

How This Northern Bred Girl Will Forever Have the South in Her Heart

img_20161203_111040I firmly believe, in my opinion, we still live in somewhat of a “state” of civil war in this country. Whether you look at it politically or from a personal point of view it still exists. Thankfully not for the same reasons from history but I can firmly attest to this seeing how I have lived in both places within the last 3 years during the most divided and tumultuous time we’ve seen in recent history.

Everyone who is from the North usually wants to migrate South. They want the sunshine and no more snow. Understandable. We wanted the same thing. We were tired of 6+ months of grueling winter and wanted sun and warmth for the majority of the year. We had family in Tennessee and Kentucky who we would often visit and we always said.. if we had the opportunity to move down there…we were going!!

Well… there came that opportunity. My husband’s company was building a new plant about an hour south of Nashville. Wahooooo!!! Sold!!! We are in!

Long story short, we made it happen. Sold our house, packed it all up and happily migrated South! preview (24)

Our 2 oldest, boys, were grown and on their own, our oldest daughter was in college, and our youngest, 10 at the time was migrating with us. We were worried about her adjusting and leaving all her friends and her siblings but turns out she adjusted better than we’d ever imagined.

After about a year and a half, our daughter was happy as a clam but we started to feel a little isolated. I felt as if we should have had more friends and social activity by this point, but nothing seemed to want to materialize. My husband had his friends at work but on a personal level we really were not connecting with the people in the community. We were considered “Yankees” LOL and didn’t grow up there so we were kind of put in another category. People were kind and friendly, but kept their distance other than that.

Then our life took a swift turn. My husband became very ill and almost died.. twice. Had a pretty lengthy hospital stay and a very long recovery. And, during this tragic time in our lives we made a huge discovery… when southern people show their true colors…it is a sight to see!fb_img_1459092382034

I was enjoying the Christian tone of things down south. Prayer is everywhere. Before and after sporting events, at every meal, and no one cares if it’s politically correct or not. It’s a wonderful feeling…. being a Christian and being able to live it freely without feeling like you are offending someone…. for it to be a collective belief among the whole community and to feel it in the air. When my husband was being life flighted to Nashville the paramedics very sweetly asked me if they could hold my hand and pray over him before the flight. WOW… I was so taken aback by that. It was exactly what I needed and it gave me peace. I had never seen or heard of that happening anywhere up North.

And as our daughter started playing sports you could see it and feel it there as well. At the end of every game both teams form a circle, hold hands and pray. At EVERY sporting event. It is an amazing sight. Up North I had only seen that happen during events at a few Christian private schools. preview (54)

We thought we didn’t have friends…but we were dead WRONG. During my husband’s illness we never felt so cared for and supported. We had no family close by and they all stepped in and took over. We will forever be grateful. I don’t care what you needed they made sure you had it. And all the Mom’s stepped up and were surrogates for me so I could be with my husband. I never worried for a moment, they had it all covered. fb_img_1478543918140

And on a lighter more humorous note, guns and speeding are a must in the South. Speed limit signs are basically a waste of tax payers money and if you don’t have a gun or even numerous guns you are considered some type of alien from Mars. If you aren’t at least going 20 over the speed limit you will be run off the road and pretty much anything can be made better with a good gun story…. or better yet…a good day of huntin’!! 🙂

We just adored the respect among the youth as well. The “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” you always hear about… is completely true. And I loved it! It never made me feel old or offended AT ALL. It was about respect and you felt it. Even grown men addressed all women that way. Sure felt good to be treated like a lady and the men were never afraid of a woman saying “Who you callin Ma’am?????!!!”

And believe it or not, the schools are more strict and you can clearly see the results of it. The dress codes are much more conservative (absolutely no leggings or yoga pants) and they still use corporal punishment. A student there would never even THINK of disrespecting a teacher, verbally or otherwise, or they would instantly be in detention. Our kids need this, especially nowadays. The North could definitely take a page out of this playbook

So, basically, Southern people can be a hard sell at first, but once they let you in it is a privilege to know them, and to experience the wonder and uniqueness of who they are and how they give.

As we started to meld with our new friends and become a more comfortable part of the community we realized that between my husbands job changing (not in a good way) his health being what it was and it becoming more and more difficult to travel back and forth to see our kids and grandson that it was time to look at moving back home.

Of course, we had lived there long enough that now, moving would be hard, especially on our daughter…who had by now really settled in and was very happy. But, when my husband was recruited for a job back home, we couldn’t pass it up. And, again, we sold the house, packed it up, and hauled it back up North… (I mean up yonder 🙂 )IMG_20170126_102729

During our time down South, there were many things we actually did miss from the North. You would be astonished to know that when you have been raised in the North you actually miss the snow and the dreary days. I know.. crazy right? But, there are just times when you long for a dreary day to clean your house or watch Netflix… or a snowstorm to watch out the window and snuggle up to in your warm house. A cold day where you make a huge pot of chili and watch football. It stayed hot in Tennessee until literally Nov/Dec and it never felt like Fall. That always made me sad because that it my favorite time of the year. In the entire time we were there I never pulled out a winter coat, gloves, or boots. It did get cold sometimes but only for a day or two at a time. And, yes, I know you must think I’m crazy for even saying these things but I wouldn’t have believed it either! *** Below is my favorite pumpkin patch in OhioIMG_20161007_123325307_HDR (1) *** So green and beautiful 🙂IS991sw2ymlrnb0000000000 coldbrook 16

We missed how GREEN everything is up North. The grass and the trees…just so vibrant. Not burnt and brown and dry from the heat.

We missed the adult social scene. Couples don’t socialize much down South outside of their kid’s events. There is nothing wrong with that if that’s what you are used to but it took us a while to accept. Towards the end of our time there I was working on some of the ladies and trying to show them how important it is to have friend and lady time without your children once-in-a-while. I had a ladies night and they loved it and realized they needed to do it more. I hope it stuck and that they continue it. 🙂 And btw… they were a lot of fun and a little crazy!!! Who knew?? 😉IMG_20161118_204037352

I also missed the strong history of professional sports (football, baseball, basketball). I could be wrong, but in Tennessee, at least I noticed, that College and High School sports are bigger than pro sports. NASCAR is soooooo big down there too. I am from Cleveland so we have a rich LOYAL history with pro sports that is second to none. It’s like an unspoken bond we all have there. AND OF COURSE when we move away the Indians go to the World Series and the Cavs win their first title! We stood in front of the tv and wept. That’s how deep it goes. So we ended up spending a fortune on MLB TV just to watch all the Indians games. 🙂img_20160619_230114653_hdredited_1476918689620 (1)

So, even with all the differences that divide the North and South, Republican and Democrat, etc etc… If we take the time to EXPERIENCE both sides and see the whole picture we can learn to appreciate each other and our vast differences….we can see that those differences can actually bring us closer if we are just accepting of them. I am a better person because I lived in the South and part of me yearns to return. I think when we come together we compliment each other.. opposites attract.. its pieces to a puzzle. Even though all the pieces are different when they come together, they make a beautiful thing. We all just have to be open to doing it. Thanks for listening and y’all have a nice day! 🙂 🙂 *** Ooooo and let’s not forget the perk of living near Nashville… when you get to meet Luke Bryan at a softball tournament….just because he was THERE!!! OMG! My daughter will never be the same 🙂 😉 🙂FB_IMG_1477862771931

Written with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

 

Spreading the Valentine Love…. Throughout the Month of February XOXO

img_20160201_182850-1Those who know me, know I am a “theme” crazy person. Whether it be a holiday, an era, or any subject imaginable, I love a good theme!

Now that we are in February and somewhat moving out of the “Winter” theme, it’s time to mix it with all the love and hearts of Valentine’s Day!!

img_20160202_143810-1***This is my Winter wreath magically turned into my Valentine’s wreath! So easy and what a beautiful way to repurpose!

I am presented with a large challenge this year. We just moved out of state AGAIN and I am up to my ears with boxes and cannot find half of my décor at the moment… but, I want to share with you, all that I did last year to hopefully inspire you to spread the Valentine Love in your home while I can’t.. for now!!

I always like to include the Winter décor theme with all my other themes in Jan, Feb, and part of March. The Winter tree stays with some new embellishments as well as the Winter mantel. Of course, the tablescape changes to the new theme but I like to leave the pine cones around as long as possible. I don’t know why but I love them 🙂

 

img_20160202_120350187_hdr-1****Another little “find” at the Dollar store! And… my favorite Yankee Candle scents for February are Cherries on the Snow, Red Raspberry, Sparkling Cinnamon and Home for the Holidays.

Please remember if you are like me and love to redecorate regularly with different themes, that you DO NOT have to spend a lot. I like to shop those garage sales and Goodwill’s and the ever resourceful Dollar Stores! It’s not what something costs, it’s what it can bring to your theme/décor. I have at times added the BEST part of my tablescape or décor with something I found at the Dollar Store or Goodwill. For example… I will often get inspiration from just looking on the shelves at all the trinkets I find and it tends to lead me to some of my greatest creations. One year I found these adorable heart vases at a Dollar Store and I turned them into flatware holders! Then it seemed the whole tablescape just materialized around them. And… it cost a whole $6!!!! 🙂 img_20160209_181842640-1

And I also love to decorate with candy! All the adorable candy out for Valentines day with all the little sayings on them and all the bows and embellishments! Just look at how beautiful all the boxes of candy are for this holiday… easy and cheap décor.. and you can eat it too!!!!

img_20160212_100935238-1****This is just my normal floral on my buffet that I have embellished for this theme at a whole cost of $1.50! I bought the items after Valentine’s Day at 80% off 🙂

And those of you who follow me know that one of my signatures is to decorate my beverage/wine glasses. And just about anything works!! One of my favorites is Mardi Gras beads…again, cheap and adorable!

Don’t forget the oldie but goodie doilies! Or the many choices of children’s Valentines that are great for many things, including place cards! And take a look at all your Christmas red. For example, I use my red napkins for Christmas AND Valentines Day and my green napkins for Christmas AND St. Patrick’s Day. It always helps when you buy things in solid colors then it makes everything interchangeable.

So c’mon ya’ll! Feel sorry for me and my temporary interruption of themed decorating and have a decorating explosion of Valentines hearts and flowers for ME!! And don’t forget, you can leave up your Valentine’s décor throughout the month of February.img_20160201_182850-1

I would love to see all of your creations of ANY theme so please tag me on Facebook or Instagram or send me your photos.. I may feature them on my blog! 🙂

Happy February.. Happy Valentine’s Day.. and Happy Decorating!!!!! XOXO

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Not Totally Lettin Go of Christmas… Just Movin On to… “Winter”:)

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Here that time comes again, after New Years, that time you look around at all your Christmas décor and just sigh. Not only do you dread taking ALL those decorations down but it’s really kind of sad. At least for people like me it is. 🙂 You put so much work into it and it brings so much joy that you hate to see it go.

One year I looked around and I HATED how my house looked after all the holiday decorations were taken down and put away. It was so bare and empty and actually made me feel depressed. I felt like it lost all the warmth and love we had been enjoying for the last month. So I said…”Mmmmmmmmmmm… I can solve this.” And over the years I came up with a solution for my “Put Away the Christmas” blues.

img_20160122_143258523-1img_20160122_143307502-1** My Winter Mantel

I am one of those strange people who decorate for every holiday there is. In fact it always drove me crazy that I had nothing to decorate for from Christmas to Valentines Day. So, I took control of the calendar and created the “Winter” theme for poor neglected January!

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It turned out to be one of my favorite themes of the year! It consists of pine, wood, bark, greens and browns, birds, snowflakes, snowmen, burlap, angels, cinnamon sticks, raffia and some pops of red. You can still burn all your pine candles! YEAH!! My Christmas tree turns into a “Winter” tree and then moves on to a Valentines tree in February and a St. Patty’s Day tree in March. Then, sadly gets put away for spring and Easter. (That’s another article 🙂 )

So, if you look out the window at all the snow and it just doesn’t feel natural to put away all that Holiday joy, consider “Winter”. The elves, reindeer, candy canes, mistletoe, stockings, and Santa will have to go, but all else can hang around for another month of warmth and happiness!

cropped-img_20160110_215613-1.jpgCreated with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂