SHOP WITH US! HANDMADE SIGNS AND DECOR FOR YOUR HOME.

THE BLOG | WHERE HOME DECOR AND DIYS COME TOGETHER.

Check out the latest posts from the blog, a sweet little corner of The Junq Drawer created to share all the lovely home decor, DIY and other lifestyle things!
Craft Week: DIY Floating Table
One of the best things about the fall season is all of the crafts and DIYs that come along with it! If you haven't noticed, we have a thing about decorating with pumpkins, using them on the front porch and in the dining room not to mention in vignettes and on mantles in the rest of the house. But what if you don't have a surface to put them on? Tables take up space and if you love open spaces as much as we do, you don't want to clutter up your house or apartment with a bunch of end tables. So why not suspend your surface? Floating shelves are an easy solution. You could build them and attach them to the wall... or you could hang them from the ceiling! All it takes is a piece of wood, some twine and a hook! Oh, and don't forget your pumpkins! diy-hanging-table-materials These wood rounds are available in various sizes at Home Depot and Lowes, and the size you use will depend largely on the size of your area. I purchased a 15" round from Lowes and stained it using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. To stain, just use an old rag or tee shirt to wipe the stain on, then wipe it off with a dry rag immediately. The composite wood will absorb the stain really quickly, so it doesn't need to sit long. Once my round was stained, I used my Ryobi 18V drill to drive three holes in the wood. The holes form a triangle to evenly balance the "table". These holes are what you'll thread your twine through. diy-hanging-table diy-hanging-table-drilling-holes Once you've drilled holes in your wood round, cut three strands of twine to the desired length. I wanted my table to hang around three feet from the ceiling, so I cut three 3' 6" pieces of twine. I used Blue Hawk's twisted jute twine from Lowes, but you can find twine at any craft store, Walmart or Target. Tie a knot at the bottom of one strand and thread it through one of your drilled holes. Do this for the other two pieces of twine as well. The wood piece should rest on the knots of twine if you gather the opposite ends and hold them up. If your knots are too small, just keep knotting! diy-hanging-table-rope-and-wood diy-hanging-table-holes-with-rope Gather the three unknotted ends together, loop them over and tie them in a knot. This will be the very top of the table that hangs on your hook. I bought a decorative ceiling hook that I'm pretty sure is used for a plant, but is being repurposed in this case. It blended in with the ceiling on our patio which sold me on it immediately. Here's the hook I purchased. Just follow the instructions to put it in the ceiling. Then hang your loop over the hook! Ta-da! You made your table! diy-hanging-table-rope diy-hanging-table-hung-up Now the really fun part: decorating it! I had these white canisters... yes, I used a kitchen canister... from Target that I just thought would look gorgeous with flowers in them, and of course, it's fall so I used mums! These purple mums are mostly white with just a hint of color, which provide a great contrast to the dark wood surface. After I planted the mums in the canister, I added two white mini pumpkins from Kroger. I love white. Can you tell? It's been the perfect addition to our porch without crowding up the floor and still provides that bright, fall look that I love! diy-hanging-table-header-image diy-hanging-table-finished-9 diy-hanging-table-finished-8 diy-hanging-table-finished-6 diy-hanging-table-finished-4 diy-hanging-table-finished-3 diy-hanging-table-finished-2 diy-hanging-table-finished How are you decorating your fall tables? xoxo jess-signature    
S&L Devos: Be Still & Know

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

A friend recently asked me to be part of a musical project he's been working on for some time. My response, of course, was yes! Absolutely. How can I help? As we began planning, I added in dates to my calendar and noticed that I had a lot going on around the same time but thought, Hey, this is no big deal. It'll be fine. Fast forward to the beginning of October and I found myself completely overwhelmed with deadlines, projects, jobs and hobbies not to mention I needed to balance that with spending time with my family, all because I wanted to say yes to everything. See, I am a yes person. If a friend asks me for something, I immediately want to say yes. If there is an opportunity to get involved in a local project, I'm in! If I can encourage or help someone in any way, I'm there

Generosity is a spiritual gift -- being generous with time and effort as well as money. I am blessed to have been given that gift as I know many of you have. As with anything, though, I have to know my limits and when to say no. Discernment is also a spiritual gift, and it doesn't always just mean knowing good from evil. It also means listening to the guidance of the Spirit to know when to move and when to stay still.

We live in a chaotic world, friends. There is political, civil and personal chaos all around us at any given moment. We have so much vying for our attention at all times, and we have become accustomed to running at break-neck speed, constantly checking notifications and calendar reminders. Matthew 11:28-29 says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

There's that word... Rest. How do we find time for quiet in the midst of the noise of everyday life? Even as I write this post, I'm sitting in the living room keeping one eye on the computer and the other on my daughter. My excuses for not being still in the presence of God are different now that I'm a parent, but the circumstances haven't changed. We are all busy, but in the midst of all that, we have to remember our purpose, our God. He's the reason we have life, and deserves our attention more than anything or anyone else.

Here are a few practical ways we can start each day in the arms of the Father and find that quiet time our souls so desire.

1. Get up early.

I am not a morning person, but my day is never as wonderful as when I wake up well before my daughter does and spend time listening to the Spirit.

2. Surround yourself with creation.

Whether you take a prayer hike or just sit on the patio, being in the midst of the beauty of God will bring his presence close every time.

3.  Worship.

Spotify is always going, either on my laptop at work or at home. God has this way of taking me by complete surprise through the words of a song regardless of what I'm doing at the time. In case you haven't found that quiet moment yet today, listen to this tune and just let your soul breathe. [wpdevart_youtube]TAPpunj-dMM[/wpdevart_youtube]   In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27

be-still-known-square

Fall Style Challenge
Fall fashion. Okay, admittedly I look at some of the fall fashion trends and go, really!?! I would never wear that in a million years! I am all about being on trend, but in a flattering way, you know what I mean? So my fall fashion generally comes from Pinterest inspiration or modifying the latest trends on the runway to fit my current wardrobe. Yesterday, Amanda shared our top picks for fall, and today, I'm excited to announce our Fall Style Challenge!!! We want to see you sporting your favorite version of our fall accessories! Whether you tie that plaid scarf on your oversized leather bag or wear it around your neck, we want to see the innovative ways you're styling our fall picks and the amazing deals you've gotten on them! We'll be featuring our favorite look on all of our social media platforms at the end of each day, so be sure to tag us and use #SLBstylechallenge for your chance to be featured.

fall-challenge-text

Wednesday: Booties

Break out those ankle boots and snap a photo of you rocking your favorites! boots

Thursday: Blanket Scarves

There are so many ways to wear these. Stage a flat lay or snap a selfie with your favorite blanket scarf! scarf

Friday: Leather (bags or jackets)

Do you have the cutest leather purse ever? Or maybe you splurged on a jacket overseas that's to die for like Amanda. We want to see it! Snap a photo and tell us where you snagged your leather goods! scarf-jacket

Saturday: Leggings

Saturday is the perfect day for leggings, right? They're comfy, but can still be dressed up! Snap an overhead photo of your favorite leggings and sneak in a PSL or hot beverage of your choice while you're at it! leggings

Sunday: Hats

No, it's not Easter and it's not Keeneland, but there's a whole line of felt hats to be worn this fall! Why not rock one for church or brunch this Sunday? Snap a selfie or group photo with your favorite style of fall hat! Outfit-On-2 Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't give you some styling tips, right? Here are some of the best posing tips out there for a perfect look every time.

Strike A Pose

Cross your ankles. This sounds weird and can feel completely unnatural, but it works wonders! Not only does it slim your hips, but it looks completely unposed to the camera. Amanda stood in the first pose below for probably two minutes while I snapped photos from all angles, but in the photo it comes across like she just looked over for a brief moment while walking through the grass. Angle your head. Can you get a great straight on shot? Absolutely, but it takes some work. Unless you've got tons of time to test out that perfect look (we don't), try this tip. Angle your head down and to the side ever so slightly. This accentuates your jawline and is a much more candid look. Twist your body. My wedding photographer told me to stand completely sideways then twist my upper body to face him for photos. I thought he was nuts... until I saw the photos. That's a quick way to shave off inches or show off your figure if you're wearing baggier clothing. Have fun. There's a lot of pressure in our graphic-driven world to take great photos. My husband hates having his photo taken for this reason. He feels like his smile isn't natural or he's standing awkwardly. Think about all of our tips above, and then be sure you enjoy yourself. If you're don't, your smile won't look genuine. Some of the best photos I have are ones where I'm laughing with my daughter, completely unaware of the camera. all-accessories posing-all-accessories We can't wait to see what you come up with this week using our Fall Favorites! Let the SLB Style Challenge begin!!! xoxo jess-signature
Five Fall Fashion Favorites
It's no secret that Fall is one of our favorite times of year. The cooler temperatures, the falling leaves, the crisp, clean air, hot apple cider, pumpkin spice everything - the list goes on and on. Outside of those things, it's the fall fashions that get us excited. Every one knows that person who dons a scarf & boots on October 1st, regardless of the temperature. We can relate!! We are those people. And since we are well into October, we are almost overdue in sharing with you our top five fall fashion favorites.

1. Boots

Boots are always a great fall fashion addition. We've been living in open toed sandals & flip flops and now our toes are feeling a bit chilly. We love a good knee high boot, but our favorite way to transition into the season is with a cute neutral colored bootie. They're comfortable, cute & warm, and with a small heel they add a little more elegance to even the most casual outfit. booties

2. Leggingsleggings

We love to be comfortable, but we'd rather not sacrifice looks for comfort. Enter patterned leggings! What a simple way to add some fun to a basic, comfortable daily uniform of leggings and a slouchy tee or oversized sweater! What is the massive appeal of leggings? See stretchy material and an expandable waistline, full of forgiveness for "mummy tummies" and thunder thighs. Keep your patterns small & simple to achieve a more slimming silhouette. For the most flattering look, keep tops long enough to come to the middle of your thigh.

3. Leather Jacket

Leather jackets are perfect for fall. They typically provide just enough warmth to stave off a chilly October breeze and look way cuter than a windbreaker. Lol! I purchased this authentic Italian leather jacket in Florence in 2006 and it has held up amazingly well. However, it doesn't have to be a real leather jacket. There are plenty of imitation leather jackets, in all different colors, that are just as perfect for fall. The texture of a leather jacket adds so much dimension to your outfit and seems much more appropriate for fall than any other season. Pair it with a plaid shirt and some ripped jeans and you'll complete an adorable autumnal ensemble.

scarf-jacket

4. Blanket Scarf

I was OBSESSED with these blanket scarves last season. By the time I had jumped on the bandwagon, I was way late to the party and couldn't find them anywhere. This cute plaid scarf was purchased from the Target dollar bins a few weeks ago for - wait for it - SEVEN dollars!! Of course I snatched it right up and probably should've grabbed a few more in different colors (self control!!!). I think this accessory may be my absolute favorite of the five. What's cozier than wearing a warm blanket around your neck? Am I right? My favorite way to wear it? Take the blanket square and fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle. Take the two opposite ends all the way around your neck and tie them underneath the piece in front. Fluff it up until it looks the way you want. Instant cozy! scarf-hat

5. Leather Handbag

Have we mentioned we like leather for fall? I would recommend mixing up your leather colors if you plan to wear your leather jacket & carry your leather bag. A gray leather jacket with this brown leather handbag is a great complementary combo! Whether you prefer a cute crossbody bag, this large oversized one or anything in between, it's the final piece to pull your fall outfit together. leggings-purse

6. Felt Hat (Bonus!!) 

Ok, we couldn't leave this one out and "Six Fall Fashion Favorites" just doesn't have the same flow. A felt hat is an adorable way to keep your noggin warm and cozy in these cooler temps. Think you're not a hat person? Give one a try and see what you think. You can find them in all price ranges and for just a few dollars, it's worth trying out something new. It could totally change your style this season! Not to mention, it's a great option when your hair is less than its best on any given day. Dry shampoo only goes so far. Throw that cute hat on and go grab a pumpkin spice latte. You'll have the makings of a perfect instagram-worthy selfie. Outfit-On Amanda Signature
S&L Devos: He Restores My Soul
I recently had an opportunity to participate in our church's worship night. These are my favorite types of services. There are all sorts of worship, right? We can worship God with our words, our actions, our time, our service. But my absolute favorite way to worship him is in song. There is something about music that moves our very soul. And that is how we connect to God the most intimately, with our souls. He restores my soul. Our soul is the essence of who we are. There is something so supernatural about losing yourself in the presence of God in complete surrender and acknowledgement of him. I don't know about you, but it isn't often that I get to feel that kind of closeness with my Lord. There are way too many distractions in my daily life.

"There is something about music

that moves our very soul."

In a perfect world, I would wake up "early" (and let's pretend that early is 7 am), pour myself a cup of coffee and spend an hour just praying, journaling and reading God's word. Then my children would wake up at 8/8:30 and I would be so ready. I would be ready for whatever the day could throw at me. I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God. Reality check: my kids are up by 6:30 am, if not earlier. It is highly unlikely that I could get my rear out of bed any earlier...although I have considered it, given the pay off. Most days, I start my day grouchy and annoyed. Just ask my husband. I then change poopy diapers, make breakfast, clean up messes, sew holes in my husband's work pants, do laundry - all before I've even had my first cup of coffee! This is a problem. It takes me until 10 am to feel awake and ready to do anything with my day. And at that point I still haven't said two words to God besides "please let them stay asleep!!!" img_4380 Those few days leading up to that worship service were worse than ever. I felt this dark cloud hovering over my mood and it just sucked any life right out of me. I nearly didn't go to that worship night due to trouble finding a sitter for my kids and working around my husband's work schedule. I'm not divulging all of this to you to receive any sympathy, please understand. I have a feeling many of you can relate, whether you have kids or a demanding job or other commitments, time with God is easily crowded out of the picture.

"I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God."

That night, I just let go. I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out. Some people raise their hands while they worship and some people don't. I'm going to tell you why I do. It's an outward symbol that I am giving everything I have over to God and I am ready and willing to receive whatever he has to give me. During that 90 minutes of song after song, God spoke to my soul. There were lyrics in songs that moved me to tears because they spoke to burdens I didn't even realize I was carrying. My soul felt so refreshed by that night of corporate worship. It taught me something.

"I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out."

It taught me something that I'm sure I used to know, but over the years I had forgotten. HE restores my soul. He leads me beside quiet waters. When the weight of life's daily demands gets to be too much and it's all I can do to get through the day without breaking down in tears, HE wants to refresh me. On those days when I feel like I'm dragging, I'm unmotivated and uninspired, HE is ready to pick me up, dust me off and encourage me to keep going. All it takes is a few minutes of quiet focus on him, on his word. Whether you have an hour or five minutes, I encourage you to take that time. Put the kids in front of Daniel Tiger for a few minutes longer, put in some ear buds and listen to your favorite worship song. Let the words speak to your heart and don't think about what else needs to be done. Just for those few minutes, let God restore your soul. [caption id="attachment_2194" align="aligncenter" width="501"]he-restores-my-soul-for-blog-900-px Feel free to use this photo as your lock screen on your phone as a reminder.[/caption] This coming Tuesday evening, October 11, there is another opportunity for an all-worship service. At Southland Christian Church on Richmond Rd in Lexington, KY at 6:30 PM. Come out and worship with us!! You will be so glad you did. Amanda Signature
Look for Less: Fixer Upper Inspired Tablescape
I love a good tablescape. Every year around this time, all the decor magazines and store catalogs come out with beautiful tablescapes for fall and the transition into Thanksgiving and I just get so happy!!! My most anticipated issue, though, is the new Magnolia Journal premier! Have you guys seen the cover!?! Shew. I think everyone here knows about my love for all things Fixer Upper, and I'm just gasping over that table and the decor. The Magnolia Journal Every time I get on Pinterest, I see photos of the Magnolia Fall Gathering which you can read about here. These are some of the photos that, of course, Joanna Gaines had a hand in decorating. fall_workshop_014 fall_workshop_027 So I decided it was about time I got my own tablescape going in our house (albeit on a much smaller schedule) because, you know, it's officially fall! Now, I looked at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel... all of those have beautiful options for tableware, signs, centerpieces, wreaths! And they're all going to cost you about... well, a lot. Let's just leave it at that. I love to decorate, but I have to do it on a budget. So I decided to scrounge around and use things either I already had or pieces that can be easily obtained for very little cost to create a fixer upper inspired tablescape that's perfect for this season! The entire tablescape cost me less than $20 and while you may not have everything on hand, you can purchase these items for low cost (or forage for them as the case may be). Here's how you can get this look for less. pinterest-image First thing's first. Gather your supplies. Here's what I used to get this look:
  • Coffee sack (obtained for free from a local coffee brewery)
  • Magnolia leaves (literally picked off a tree in my in-laws' backyard)
  • Chalkboard cards (I had this banner from my daughter's birthday party last year and cut the bottoms off to make it rectangular)
  • Chalk pen (the greatest thing ever invented!!!)
  • Plates (mine are from Target, and we've had them for eleven years! So not fancy!)
  • Wood crate (mine came from my in-laws' basement, but you can purchase these at thrift stores for around $30 or build one yourself. You can!) *in some areas, you can get empty wine crates from Costco and liquor stores for free!!!
  • White pumpkins (all of mine came from Kroger for $1 each!)
  • Greenery (I used boxwood because I had some left from a garland I purchased at At Home for $7, but you could use cedar branches, cotton stems, etc.) *I just stumbled on this tutorial for making your own cotton branches! Check it out!
  • White tablecloth (mine is actually just white material that I had on hand)
  supplies-4 Lay out your tablecloth, and use the coffee sack as a runner. If you don't have access to a coffee sack, you can use a grain sack or even just a piece of burlap material from any sewing or crafts store. Set your wood crate in the center to hold the runner in place. My crate was actually a soda holder so it had dividers built in, but even if yours doesn't, just layer the greenery in around the edges letting it hang off the sides. There is no method to this, honestly, except to leave some set aside to fill in any holes later. crate Then comes the fun part. Fill that crate with as many pumpkins as you can get your hands on!!! I used mini pumpkins and small ones to give it a little depth and just piled them on. The messy look like they've just been set on there nonchalantly will come naturally as you load them in. Just be sure to leave some mini pumpkins to fill as many gaps as you can once your box is filled. white-pumpkins centerpiece-1 I love the rustic feel of using a wreath as a charger underneath plates. Anything with natural elements strikes my fancy anyway when it comes to home decor, so I knew I wanted to do something similar to the grapevine wreaths pictured in the Magnolia Gathering above. The only problem? I didn't want to spend $20+ on wreaths. When all else fails, go outside! I had these dried magnolia leaves left over from a magnolia wreath that I made earlier this year (get the details here) and thought, why not use them as wreath forms under the plates? They turned out to be perfect, and the best part is you can customize the size of the "wreath"! Just lay them out in a circle then set a plate on top of them! centerpiece-3 To add that finishing touch, I handlettered phrases that are significant to me for fall like "blessed", "thankful", "gather" and "autumn" onto the chalkboard cards using my chalk pen and added a laurel wreath design to the top and bottom. These can be customized for dinner parties to be name cards or hold other phrases of significance because the chalk marker erases with water! supplies That's it! Just add silverware, glassware, stemware or any other type of ware you might need for your gathering, and you've got a beautiful fixer upper inspired tablescape for a fraction of the cost! flat-lay centerpiece-2 centerpiece-4 on-the-table Okay. Now can somebody please tell me when the next season of Fixer Upper starts back!?! xoxo jess-signature      
The Look for Less: Farmhouse Herringbone Coffee Table
Can we just start out by talking about how gorgeous this coffee table is? Not only is it that rustic farmhouse style that we love, the herringbone design on top just takes it from "pretty" to gorgeous! How much can you expect to pay for a similar table? Anywhere from $500 to $1,000 plus! Did I mention this farmhouse herringbone coffee table was custom built? Similar, custom built tables start at $1,000 on Etsy and I've not seen any with this exact style. So how can you get your hands on one of your own??? Pick up that miter saw, girls, and take a trip to Lowes for some inexpensive lumber. coffeetable7 Our friends, Josiah & Brittany Durham, did just this, with very little previous wood working experience. They self educated themselves on the tools to get started and went to work! With a few inspirational ideas from Pinterest, Brittany enlisted the help of her handy hubby to craft the coffee table of her (and our!) dreams. With around 15 pieces of wood (inexpensive pine boards for that herringbone pattern on top, a pressed wood board for the bottom and some 2x4s to form those charming "X"s on the sides), some wood conditioner, stain & seal, a little white paint, and one long weekend, this beautiful table came into existence. coffeetable5 img_1186-copy coffeetable2 Total cost to build? Approximately $100. Given the time invested, maybe add in another $50-100, depending on how much you consider your time to be worth and you're still saving hundreds of dollars for a "look for less" that in our opinion is way prettier than any other tables priced much higher. img_6981-copy img_9347 Maybe you're worried about your lack of building skills. We all have to start somewhere! It's much more simple than you probably think. If you have an idea for something you want to see come together, take inspiration from this couple's project. They had a vision for something they wanted to add to their home, researched the proper measurements & tools they would need, and worked together to make something totally unique. You can too! Just ask your friends who already build, talk to an associate at Lowes or another hardware store, or even just pinterest/google it! You would be surprised at what you are capable of accomplishing when you set your mind to do it! img_9945 Amanda Signature
Decorating for Fall
Fall is well underway, and the temperatures around here last week certainly felt like it. My husband and I took our daughter to a local orchard to play and pick out pumpkins on Saturday, and it was every bit of 65 degrees: the perfect day to enjoy homemade hot apple cider! Of course, we've had fall fever for a while, introducing fall and showing you some sneaks of our porch. Now that we've settled in to the season, we're incorporating fall and harvest decor throughout the house. I might have gone a little crazy with the pumpkins and mums this year, but they are so pretty!!! And when Lowe's has a 5 for $5 deal going on, you can't just ignore it! Well, I can't anyway. Amanda and I planned out our fall posts and let me just tell you, I am so excited for what is coming up! To get us in the mindset for this month's fall theme, we're kicking off with a home decor tour of sorts. I've chosen some of my favorite inspirational fall spaces from fellow bloggers and put them all together to create the ultimate fall home tour to inspire us all to get decorating!

 1. The Front Porch

sl-front-porch I love a blue door. Sure, I'm biased because mine is blue, but I just love how it stands out in the sea of neutral doors. What's not so easy to do? Decorate seasonally around a colorful door. Thanks to white mums and pumpkins, though, that got a whole lot easier for fall, and Home Stories A to Z has one of the most beautifully festive neutral porches I've ever seen! You can purchase planters and corn stalks at Lowe's along with flat pumpkins and faux pumpkins.

2.  The Entry

entry Whether you have a small entry or a large one (mine is tiny), you can still add a fall vignette that welcomes guests into your home. It can be something as simple as a sign on the wall, a console table or a cute seating area like this one from Home by Heidi. Target has some great fall and harvest pillows in the dollar spot area right now, like this one! dollar-spot-pillow

3. The Mantle

fall-mantel-2015-12 There are probably a million different fall mantle photos blowing up my Pinterest feed right now, and all of them are so cute! I stumbled on this one earlier this week, though, and it just blew me away. It's bright and pulls some of that muted turquoise in while still feeling festive and incorporating some potential DIY projects, too, like the banner and, of course, it uses mini pumpkins which are my favorite!

4.  The Table

fall-table Whether you love to entertain or your dining room is only used for members of your household, the dining table is a perfect fall canvas! Once again, Liz Marie hit the nail on the head with her tablescape. We have to look for things that are manageable with kids, and this centerpiece is perfect! You can find wood crates at any thrift or vintage store (or you can make your own!), fill them with flowers or, my personal favorite cabbage and kale plants, then use mini pumpkins and heirlooms (found at Lowes, any garden center or Kroger/Walmart type stores) to add depth. That's it! Easy, inexpensive and very low maintenance.

5. Vignettes

One of the easiest ways to decorate for any season is by setting up vignettes throughout your home, which are basically just small displays on surfaces like end tables, shelves and coffee tables. There are tons of free printables out there that you can download and put into frames. Make your own DIY wood signs for fall, use mums and pumpkins, cotton stems, jars, wood crates, lanterns, books, candlesticks... the possibilities are endless! Here are some of my favorite fall vignettes! [caption id="attachment_2203" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Source Source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2202" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Fall Vignette Source[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2204" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Source Source[/caption] For more of our favorite fall spaces and decor, head over to our Pinterest page, and be sure to check out our fall front porch decor! xoxo jess-signature
Go Ahead and Call Me ‘Mom’
I read a blog post the other day on an issue that has not gone unnoticed in the "momming" world. It was titled "Don't Call Me 'Mom' Unless You're My Kid". The author goes on to say she is more than just a mom, that motherhood is only a part of her. She qualifies all this by saying that the old her is still in there, alive and well! I've seen countless posts with similar themes and I've even written one myself. [link here]
They're totally relatable! What mom hasn't felt a little overshadowed by this new role in life? It's so easy to lose yourself in motherhood, to make your kids the main focus and forget about taking care of yourself. Motherhood - no parenthood - is hard. But why is it hard? I'll get to that. I realized too as I read the aforementioned article, just how negative we can be about this whole experience of having children (disclaimer: the author wasn't necessarily negative about children, but it sparked a thought process in my mind). Don't get me wrong, we all need to vent once in a while or even mourn the loss of the life we once knew or the self we once were. But I've even been concerned that I may turn off my currently childless friends and siblings from ever wanting to have any children of their own! I mean, heck, I rarely shower or put on makeup, I've put on extra weight that's difficult to lose, I rarely sleep through the night (and by rarely, we're talking I never do) and I don't do anything without these little people hanging on me, unless I get a sitter (and getting a sitter can be much easier said than done!). So isn't all of that just a ringing endorsement for becoming a mom?? Uuuuuhhhh. saltlife-blog-09 On the other side of things, there are also some great posts written on the perks of mothering and all the sweet, wonderful, heart warming moments it entails. There are a lot! If there weren't, no one would do this. Let alone do it over and over. Here's what I think I understand now: I'm actually not more than "just a mom." I'm also not the same old me as before. She's not really in there anymore. And thank God! I'm SO different. And pretty much all of the different (outside of the periodic lapse in hygiene) is better than before. I am stronger than I once was, more confident, more capable. These human beings exist who share mine and my husbands genetics and they carry a piece of who we are in them, forever. That's just cool!! I am a mom. That is who I am. I'll always be that; it never goes away. Just like I'll always be a sister and a daughter and a wife. I've never read any articles about how I'm "more than just a sister" or "more than just a daughter." Let's stop treating motherhood like it's stealing our identity instead of adding to it! I am SO guilty of this. But seriously, it shapes who we are now and it's a valid, beautiful description. We earned that title!! And we continue to earn it every single day. saltlife-blog-30 So why is it SO hard? It's hard because anything worth having is hard. Parenthood exposes all the ugly parts of yourself that were already there. It makes you realize how much growing and changing you need to do. Just like marriage, just like any relationship or challenging experience you go though. It's going to mold you and shape you until you are your best self (if you let it). And the more you resist that polishing, the more difficult it becomes. Give in with reckless abandon to all the messy bits of life that make up your new identity. Whether it's in motherhood, a new position at your job, a new relationship, the loss of one, single, married, empty nester, wherever you find yourself in life. Let each experience be an opportunity for growth and add to who you are as a person. That's something we will never regret.
How to Feed a Family of 3 for $80
I am always striving to eat healthier, for me and for my family. Our budget doesn't always allow for the money it seems to take to buy random ingredients I haven't always heard of for one tiny meal. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for those awesome people who are up for finding new and obscure ingredients. I just don't happen to be one of them, and my daughter is too picky about the food she eats for me to experiment too much with our meals. And in the interest of full disclosure, do I really have the time to spend hours in the kitchen? Nope. So in an effort to manage my time and money well and not sacrifice our health in the process, I have implemented a few principles as well as a few staple meals to feed our family of three for just over $80. My tips are below along with my recipes and a full grocery list and meal planner that you can download! how-to-feed-a-family-of-3-for-80

1. Use coupons!

We shop primarily at Kroger (mainly because they have ClickList and, call me lazy, but I save tons of money by being able to compare prices online and save a lot of hissy fits when I've got my daughter with me). They offer coupons both digitally and in the mail as well as tons of savings in store. Take advantage of these! There are some awesome sites like KrazyCouponLady.com and Coupons.com that will pull the best deals in your area for you. Even if you only save $5 using coupons, that's $260 a year!!! How to Feed a Family of 3 for $80: Coupons

2. Buy ingredients you can use over again.

We have a love affair with guacamole in this house. (You can check out my recipe here.)  Rather than waste an entire bunch of cilantro on one recipe of guac, I'll be sure one or more of my lunch meals uses the remaining cilantro.  This applies to all of the foods you can't buy just one of that won't last more than a week or so.  If you are having tortillas for taco night, use the rest for wraps at lunch or quesadillas.  I know it seems obvious, but it really will save you money. Jalapeno

3.  Use online list tools.

As I mentioned before, we use Kroger's ClickList to buy our groceries.  Another awesome feature Kroger offers is an online shopping list.  I save so much money when I don't impulse buy, and using a digital list tool allows me to check things off my list as I go through the store.  There are plenty of apps out there to allow you to do this, or you could just use a paper list.  Either way, if you go in knowing exactly what you need, you won't be as tempted by other things as you're scanning the shelves (or just order online and there's no temptation at all!). So using the tips above, here is the breakdown of how I feed my family of three for $75. How to Feed Your Family for $80: Online List Tools

Grocery List

  • 100% whole wheat tortillas ($1.19)
  • 1 pound local lean ground beef ($5.99)
  • 1 pound deli chicken breast ($9.99)
  • 3/4 pound deli colby cheese ($4.00)
  • 6 pounds organic frozen chicken ($13.98)
  • 3 organic sweet potatoes ($3.26)
  • 32 oz. organic vanilla yogurt ($2.79)
  • 8 oz shredded cheese ($2.29)
  • 12 large brown cage-free eggs ($3.69)
  • Traditional bacon ($3.28)
  • Instant oats ($1.99)
  • 3 pounds organic potatoes ($1.99)
  • 8 oz lightly salted cashews ($3.99)
  • 12 oz string cheese ($3.50)
  • 6 peaches ($3.54)
  • 1/2 gallon organic milk ($3.39)
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese ($1.50)
  • 12 oz frozen broccoli florets ($1.99)
  • Teriyaki sauce ($1.19)
  • 8 oz 90 second whole grain rice ($1.79)
  • Panko bread crumbs ($1.59)
  • Organic strawberries ($3.00)
  • 3 yellow corn on the cob ($1.00)
  • 4 organic bananas ($1.34)
____________________________________ $80.67 I already had some items on hand that I needed, as well as veggies from our backyard garden, plus I used digital and paper coupons on a few items.

Salt & Life Blog Grocery ListTo download my free printable shopping list, click here.

Now that you have your groceries (and more money in your pocket), here are some of the recipes I use and our meal planner for the week.  To download the free meal planner, click here. Weekly Meal Planner

Recipes

Crockpot Chicken 3 Chicken, Potatoes & Zucchini Chicken & Beef Taco Lettuce Wraps
  • brown beef or chicken in saute pan and add taco seasoning
  • fill lettuce leaf with meat, shredded cheese and any other toppings desired
  Cream Cheese & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken {instead of ranch dressing and bacon, I use cream cheese} Teriyaki Chicken
  • pan sear chicken in pan with teriyaki sauce, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • add veggies on hand {we use zucchini most of the time, but frozen stirfry works great, too}
  • serve with minute rice
  Quesadillas Quesadillas
  • pour 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan
  • add 1 soft tortilla shell/wrap and top with shredded cheese and meat of choice
  • fold tortilla in half and heat for three minutes, flipping once
  • serve with sour cream and salsa
  Zucchini Fries - Damn Delicious Zucchini Fries If you'd like more recipe ideas, we shared some here for those evenings when you have 15 minutes or less to prepare dinner! xoxo jess-signature