Chalkboard Pantry Door

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Maybe I love chalkboards so much because I taught school, I don’t know, but I do love them in every shape and fashion!  I have them in several places in my home, but I recently saw a place for a chalkboard that made my jaw drop…it was painted on the pantry door!  “How cute is that?” I thought. I decided then and there that I’d use my leftover chalkboard paint to create that in my kitchen.

But when I got to thinking about putting paint on that vinyl door, it made me wonder what I’d do when the chalkboard love had waned in my heart?  What would I do about that paint?  Another creative thought jumped in and I remembered seeing chalkboard vinyl that could easily be added or removed from a door!!!  This was my answer!

After much searching, I found just what I needed at Hobby Lobby (where else? I should have started there!).  So let me show you the simple process:

The before and after shots:

The vinyl has a grid on the back, making it super easy to cut a straight line, thank the Lord!  Try as I might, my lines wiggle all over the place without those patterns to guide me!  So I measured the width and the length and cut it accordingly.

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Then I took the vinyl with the backing still on it, and starting from the top, I placed the sticky part down,then slowly pulled the backing away, smoothing as I went.  This product went on super well.  It was easy to pull it off and straighten it, or push out any air bubbles,

pantry chalkboard process

Here’s the finished project without any writing on it – all ready for my chalk!!  Woohoo!  It took me 15 minutes to do this!  It doesn’t get any easier.   It’s sticking really well and hasn’t pulled away, but when I am tired of it, it pulls right off. I tested it to be sure!

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I wrote our Easter Menu on the board for the weekend, but…

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it already has a new look on it!  I anticipate changing it out weekly!  Why?  Because I love chalkboards!!

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But wait, here’s another fun use for the vinyl!  Have you ever used the last of your cinnamon and forgotten to add that to your grocery list? Then the next time you go to make cookies you remember you’re out of  it?  Me too!  So I also added a small piece of the vinyl inside my spice cupboard so I could remember the ones I needed to purchase and also which ones were stored away in the pantry.

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Not only was this project fast, it was also very inexpensive!  I used my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and purchased this for less than $5.  I didn’t even use the whole roll, which means two things:

  1. It cost me around $3 to do this fun project!
  2. I have more chalkboard vinyl to add to other places in my house!!!  Hurries off to find a place to use that leftover vinyl…

Do you have chalkboards in your house?  How do you use them?

Refresh your home with a cute chalkboard!

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Adding Spring Touches Around Home

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Today’s post will be mostly a picture album of some changes I’ve made at home to turn things from winter to spring!!  I love how bright and cheery it makes the house!  Ready?

The mantle…

 

Spring 2017

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Coffee Table (and mantle in the background)…

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Living room bookshelves…

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I added lighting to the top, and middle shelves.  It doesn’t matter how pretty something is decorated, if it’s in the dark, no one can see it!  I used little battery operated lights on the shelves – see them beside the two bottom arrows below. I also put battery operated votives in the candle holders for light on the bottom shelf (above).

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The Dining room…

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The entryway…

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My kitchen window… The cafe curtain is just two cloth napkins on the rod.  I change them out seasonally to lighten up the window!

Spring curtains

My craft room also got some spring cleaning, straightening and redecorating…

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Adding softness to the table with the placemat really helped!  The quilt over the chair is another way I added texture.  It’s amazing how little changes can make a big difference!

Take a step back and see what winter decor needs to be removed from your home and then let the sunshine in!  Show your love for home by adding spring touches.

Which area above is your favorite?

With love from my spring-y country home,

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(L)Oven Monday – Successful Sunday Dinner Finale

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Today is the last post for Successful Sunday dinner.  I will continue to share my recipes and what I served at my house, but as far as the 1,2,3’s, we’re going to wrap it up and get you ready to dive into that great Sunday meal for your family!

Remember that if it’s your desire to make Sunday dinner special at your house, it’s going to take some intentional effort and planning. Here were the three crucial steps before getting the meal going:

  1. Ponder the needs –

  2. Plan the menu 

  3. Prepare ahead

  • Ponder the needs -Consider any allergies or health concerns, like diabetes.
  • Plan the menu around those needs, your time and budget.  Typically if I’m making a main dish or a bread that requires lots of time, I’ll make another part of the meal easier to prepare.
  • Prepare ahead by doing everything you can on Saturday (or before).  It will lessen your stress level!
    • Set the table
    • Chop all veggies
    • Marinate meat
    • Prepare the salad
    • Prepare the dessert
    • Get the side dishes started

Let me give you a little rundown on how my week may look when I’m hosting a typical Sunday dinner…

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Early in the week – 

Wednesday – 

  • Make Rolls and freeze
  • Check to see if tablecloth or napkins need ironing

Saturday – 

  • Prep chicken dish and  go ahead and bake it.  All it needs on Sunday is to be warmed up. I wouldn’t leave this dish in the oven during church – it would dry out.
  • Peel potatoes and place in water overnight
  • Cut up apples for salad and place in lemon juice/water mixture overnight
  • Make Vinaigrette for salad
  • Wash and slice strawberries
  • Make tea
  • Set table
  • Set out serving dishes

Sunday – Before church

  • Mix salad ingredients, except dressing
  • Put potatoes in crock pot, turn on high
  • Set rolls out to rise

Sunday – After church

  • Set out a light snack for guests, if needed
  • Warm chicken either in a large pan on the stove or in the microwave on a med setting.
  • Prep asparagus for roasting
  • Mash potatoes and keep warm
  • Bake rolls – Keep warm
  • Roast asparagus
  • Put into serving dishes

Enjoy the meal!!!

Serve dessert and then pray someone volunteers to help with the dishes!

I hope this series has helped you to see that you CAN make Sunday dinner something special and memorable.  Start out small and work your way into more complicated menus.  Do what you feel comfortable with and keep trying to improve your game plan.

 

Remember that the most important ingredient of any meal is THE PEOPLE!  Don’t make it about you and your inadequacies.  Make them feel welcome and important and they will love their time around your Sunday dinner table!

Is there an unanswered question that you have?  I’d be happy to address it!  Leave me a comment here and I promise to answer you!

Let’s eat!

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Ten Stress-Reducers for Marriage

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For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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Refreshing Your Home with Simple, Inexpensive Touches

It’s often helpful at home to look at your house through the Eyes of a visitor. We see the limp, faded dishcloth, the worn-out dish towels and potholders every day and get used to them. We need to step back and look at the things we use everyday to see if they need to be replaced and refreshed.  Let’s face it, they get weary looking after a while!

I wash our dish drying mat often to keep it looking its best, but recently noticed that it had gotten old looking and pilled.  The next time I was at T.J.Maxx, I looked for a replacement. I couldn’t believe the difference a simple little change like that made in the kitchen!

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Another easy change that I made was taking out the dark red shower curtain and replacing it with a bright, springy Paisley printed one. I love the brightness it brought to that room!

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Of course a kitty cat will make any room beautiful!

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She was bird watching!
Take a hard look at the things you use everyday and see if they need to be refreshed! You’ll be amazed at how little money it takes,  and how simple the project can be! Consider:

  • Bath towels (but 1 or 2 at a time)
  • Wash cloths
  • Kitchen linens
    • Towels
    • Dish cloth
    • Pot holders
    • Aprons
  • Entry rug
  • Curtains

Refresh the things you use every day – it will perk things up without breaking the bank!

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Simplifying Christmas Prep in the Kitchen

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The kitchen is a busy place in most homes during Christmas. In order to keep it fun and not a drudgery, I’ve come up with six ways to simplify your work, so you can still be (L)oven your kitchen by the time December 25th arrives!

  1. Get dinner in the crock pot first thing in the morning  on a day when you know you’re going to be doing a marathon baking event.   That way you won’t have to stop your progress to fix a meal.  It will also keep your oven free for those cookies!
  2. Get any cookie dough that has to be refrigerated into the fridge on one day, and then bake the cookies the next day.  If you do all the mixing on one day and the rolling and baking on the next you won’t be as worn out!
  3. When you have a few extra minutes, fill a Ziploc bag with the dry ingredients for the cookies, sweet breads, or muffins you’re going to bake in the near future.   Label the bag.  Then on the day when you mix up the dough, you’ll simply have to pour and stir!  You’ve created your own baking mix!!
  4. Keep hot, soapy water in the kitchen sink.  As you work, put your baking utensils in the water.  Wash them up when the dough is complete, or the cookies are in the oven.  The kitchen will be clean when you’re finished and you can turn off the light and go take a hot bath!
  5. Enlist in help!  If you have children, let them put the sprinkles on, crush the candy canes, or chop the nuts (with a hand chopper).
    You could also invite some friends (or your grown daughters/daughters-in-law) over and have each one bring the ingredients for a cookie recipe.  Work together on one recipe at a time.  You won’t believe how fast the work goes!  Divide the spoil between each of you when you’re finished.
  6. Make some treats that require NO BAKING – (like these Chocolate Peanut butter stacks that we LOOOOVE.  Recipe below)
    There are many other No-Bake options –

    1. Peppermint Bark Oreos
    2. Graham Cracker Houses
    3. Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

If you haven’t had these and you’re a chocolate and peanut butter fan, trust me when I say that you need these in your life!!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks

Ingredients:
Ritz crackers
Peanut butter
Chocolate bark

Instructions:
Spread crackers with peanut butter, top with another cracker.  Dip crackers into melted chocolate bark.I melt my chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.  Set cookies on waxed paper until chocolate hardens.

By simplifying things in the kitchen, you’re also staying refreshed during a busy time of the year!

Happy baking,

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Taming the Laundry Pile

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Happy Friday, friends!  Maybe you love Friday, until you look in your laundry baskets and find them all overflowing with dirty clothes, towels and kitchen linens from the previous week.  Now this weekend you’ll spend most of Saturday getting caught up, knowing that in three days, it’s going to be flowing out into the hallway again!

Please forgive me if I’ve shared this already (I searched my blog and couldn’t find it, so I feel safe! I’m losing it!).  One little thing I’ve begun doing in the last six months EVEN WITH JUST THE TWO OF US IN OUR HOUSE is doing one load of laundry every day.  I alternate between dark clothes and whites.  It might not always even be a big load, but if there’s enough to do even a small load, it’s going to be washed. The blessings of doing one load every day are:

  • It only takes a short amount of time to gather that color of laundry.
  • It’s just a little bit of clothes to deal with once it comes out of the dryer.
  • I don’t have a whole day where I’m dealing with laundry all day long!
  • The clothes get back into the closet/drawer quickly, so they’re ready when needed.
  • It’s become a part of my morning routine as soon as I get up.  I throw them in when I feed my kitty (her dishes are in the laundry room).  By the time I’m finished with my Quiet Time, the clothes are ready for the dryer.  By the time I’m showered and dressed, the clothes are ready to be folded.
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Add the word, “Daily” to this sign and you’ll reduce your laundry stress!

I might add that I don’t do laundry on Sunday, but doing it six days a week has been a real help and refreshment!  I hope it will help you, too!

What will you do to refresh your heart this weekend?  I trust you’ll go to a Bible preaching church!

Stay refreshed,