If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Oldest Woman in the Room

I follow several wise women's blogs.  I learn about tablescapes, recipes, home decor, parenting, living, and life.  Recently one of the blogs I follow wrote a wise statement to her daughters and I would like to expound upon that here.

Dear Daughters,

When you are in a room with others, one of the most important things you could do for yourself is to find the oldest woman in the room.  You will gain more wisdom and learn more about life than in any publication or film you will ever view.  You will learn about child-rearing, marriage, home-making, education, etiquette, past, present, future, and dealing and interacting with people.  You will absorb what is important and latch on to it.  You will find out what is not really worth holding onto and how to let it go.  You will gain more from sitting beside that woman than you ever will from sharing ideas with your peers.  In any room, just look for the oldest woman there and take a seat as near to her as possible and start to absorb.

I love the way Laura laid this information out in such a poetic fashion in her blog, White Spray Paint

In a room -
any room
find the oldest woman there.

Take it all in,
soak it all up,
and listen to her every word.

The oldest woman in the room
has certainly lived longer than the youngest,
but its not just about that.

If we limit ourselves to just listening to our chronological peers,
we limit ourselves to an exchange of like-minded,
same-aged ideas.

There are so many wonderful
age-worn ideas.

Find the oldest woman in the room
and take a seat.

Be her listener; be a learner; be her.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Showering with Love

The photo below expresses what each woman who attended the baby shower last week was really saying when she entered our house.
Banner on the Den Mantle

We all wanted to shower Jay and Jessica with love.  We all want to welcome their new bundles to this world and help them to guide and nurture those little cherubs toward independence and success.  We all are excited about the addition of a new baby to any family and when that is doubled, the feelings of love and excitement are also multiplied. 

Here is a walk-through of the festivities...

These guys became the welcome crew on the French doors entering the kitchen.

Again, we were so busy enjoying everybody's company that we forgot to take photos of the entry.  Cute green balloons with white polka-dots and blue balloons tied together with green or blue tulle were strung along the plank fence leading to the house.  Then, the two storks holding the cute little bundles were cut out, stapled and stuffed and hung by a cute ribbon on the back doors leading from the deck into the kitchen of our house.

My daughter, Bridgette, created those guys.  They were adorable!  I really hate we didn't get a shot of them hanging there facing one another and becoming folks in the door.  She added orange storky legs made from cardboard rolls.  At first her bubble of creative pride was feeling a little bit burst when her hubby told her that they looked like "the pickle bird."  Then, she realized that "the pickle bird" is a stork and she was gratified! 

Beautiful Mom-to-be

Our honored mom-to-be was pinned with a corsage as soon as she came into the door.  Then, we quickly slid a chair beneath her because she has been relegated to bed rest for the remainder of our wait till the babes make their appearance.

Close-up of the corsage

The cute corsage is also a practical gift.  It was fashioned of three little soft washcloths rolled and tied together with coordinating ribbons and baby pacifiers.  It's softness also coordinated the colors and polka-dots which served as the coordinating theme of the shower.

Laundry Line Mantle Decoration

In the background of this photo you can see the laundry line that was strung across the kitchen mantle which featured onesies Bridgette had appliqued with the babies' names and the cute little crocheted hats which match.

Food Table Centerpiece

We kept the decorations to a minimum and tried to make them all be a practical gift for our honored mom.  We simply set a lantern filled with baby bottles, color-coordinated coated spoons, and pacifiers all tied with coordinating ribbons on a tray with flowers which followed our color scheme - chartreuse pom mums, white Shasta daisies, and hydrangea blooms.  (We originally tried for blue hydrangea blooms and woke up the morning of our soiree to notice that they had wilted miserably.  So, Jessica stopped at the grocery store florist on her way to the party and picked up new soft white blooms.  I'll share what I learned about preventing hydrangea wilting in a later post.)

Diaper Cake Jessica created

My daughter-in-law, Jessica created this cute diaper cake to serve as a decorative centerpiece for the gift table.  You can read more about the preparations HERE in a previous post. 

We tried to keep the menu simple and requiring little last-minute preparation.  It included:
California Chicken Salad stuffed Croissants
Crudites and Ranch Dip
Sliced Granny Smith Apples and Caramel Dip
White Chocolate coated Oreos drizzled with green frosting
Chocolate coated Peanut butter shortbread cookies drizzled with blue frosting
Cream Cheese Squares
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip muffins
Cheese Ring and Crackers

It was light, tasty, and simple.  Plus, it looked beautiful!
Food Table


White chocolate coated Oreos with green drizzle

Simple chocolate chip muffins look festive with cute little baby picks poking out the top!

Chocolate coated peanut butter shortbread cookies drizzled with blue frosting

Cream Cheese Squares (I'll post a recipe for these easy treats later!)

Bridgette was the photographer and her camera even makes the healthy snacks look delicious!

Yummy Munchies

You can find the recipe for the Cheese Ring spread HERE or contact the Nolensville Historical Society to get your own copy of the Recipes and Memories cookbook.  We used simple white Pfaltsgraff plates and a collection of white and blue cloth napkins out of my cupboard.  To wet our whistles we had ice water served in simple glass pitchers, a carafe of coffee, and a punch bowl filled with Miss Daisy's Tea Punch.  I froze slices of lime in a little bowl of punch to serve as the chiller in the punch bowl.  I have a collection of glass punch cups which came with my two inexpensive antique punch bowls and we also used the white coffee cups from my Pfaltsgraff dishes.

Our anxious mother soon set to unwrapping all the gifts.  The excitement just seemed to build with each unveiling.
Jessica reading one of the cards as her sister-in-law, Julie, keeps a list of the gifts
to aide in Thank-You Note writing later.

Most gifts came like the babies, in twos!

Every little farm boy will need a cap.

Even diaper packages came in pairs!

There were so many treats that great-grandmother O had to help out at times.

Lots of gifts were personalized to aide in sorting out which baby is who later.

Lots of socializing and catching up was enjoyed by all in attendance.
Wonder if grandma 'Nan' is counting the days till she is squeezing two new little boys?

Lillie seems to be informing her great-grandma as well as the
babies' other great-grandma of something important!

One wonders how her back and legs are holding up!  Guess that is part of why she needs complete bed rest for a few more days till the due date, huh?
Till then, we all are waiting anxiously for the arrival of the two cuddly bundles - and nobody is looking forward to that more than Jessica, I'm sure!

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Coming Together!

Sometimes we learn and gain appreciation more when we do something for others than when we accept what others do for us.  Most of the time it is much more exciting to give than it is to receive.  It is that giving that tempers our soul and adds depth to our hearts.  I am really seeing that in my daughters as we collaborate to host a baby shower for my nephew and his wife's anticipated additions.

When the shower idea germinated, immediately the girls began to offer up ways to make the day and the gifts special and memorable.  We settled on a color scheme based upon the decorations in the nursery and incorporated the traditional 'little boy blue' because we are looking forward to twin boys.  I shared a little preview HERE yesterday with the supplies Bridgette and I had sent text messages and emails back and forth to one another as we were coordinating our shopping and early planning.  Today I have a further preview.

I suggested that we create a garland for the mantles.  We have a somewhat rustic one in the kitchen with a rock hearth and chimney.  Bridgette agreed to share part of her creativity by stringing a garland of her craftiness together.  She has appliqued the babies' names on a onsie and crocheted each a hat.  Isn't this just darling?
This will be strung across the mantle in the kitchen for the shower!

Here is a closer shot of the adorable little hats.  (If you'd like your own personally crafted one, you can contact her by clicking HERE.)  Won't the little fellows look like a little fluffy teddy bear in these?

On the opposite side of the open fireplace is a more classic mantle and hearth.  So, I took my scissors, a Sharpie marker, a hole-punch, and some ribbon and stretched my crafty self for that side...

I know, I know - not the depth of talent or craftiness as the one for the other side but I thought that was about all this old girl had left in her!

I was inspired by a blog post with a tutorial found HERE to create a crafty door decoration. Bridgette took that idea and ran with it in decorating for my granddaughter, Lillie's birthday party as you can see HERE.  She even made one for Mike and I earlier and I shared my addition HERE.  My rendition for a baby shower is this:

Why am I sharing these previews?  Because I am notorious for getting caught up in the last minute preparations and then in the celebrating and forgetting to take photos!

I think the most humbling thing for me that has come out of this was shared in conversations with the daughters this afternoon. 

One daughter is feeling poorly and aching badly with an injury.  Yet, rather than beg off or put up an excuse for why she couldn't do this or that, she let me know that she would be glad to do some shopping and pick up several items which I did not get when I was on my grocery mission.  She offered to do a task I don't really like and something I probably don't need to take more time doing if I'm going to get this place cleaned and ready for company. 

Another of the girls is sniffling, coughing, and generally feeling yucky and she let me know how she had planned and paced out what she intends to do to complete her promised contribution toward making the day special for all our guests as well as the honored family. 

The third of the girls told me of her shopping trip to gather simple diapers for creating part of the centerpiece which we will also give to the mom.  Since she doesn't have children - yet - she was not aware of how expensive diapers are and what an impact they can make on a budget.  Her final words on the topic were pure, genteel, southern woman and seem to express all of our feelings - you know, the ones of practicality and reality?  Those feelings that run beyond the, "Aw, aren't they cute!" and dig deeply into that knowledge of middle of the night feedings and crying and spitting up and the day-to-day responsibility for the care and nurturing that is required for one baby and multiplied when there are twins.  She simply said, "Diapers are a bit expensive.  Bless them."

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Mike's nephew, Jay, and his wife, Jessica, and two sons (Jayme and Forest) are expecting an addition to their family soon.  Twins! 

So, our daughters and I are planning a baby shower for them to be held here next Sunday afternoon.  Here is a preview of what we are gathering together:


We are trying to keep the menu pretty simple and feature finger foods.  Brownie muffins, iced cookies, cream cheese squares, chicken salad croissants, pretzels, cheese spread and crackers, apples and dip, crudites, and tea punch. 

Since Jessica and Jay are decorating the babies' room using a sage green and chocolate brown color scheme, we decided to incorporate that into our shower and utilize the traditional baby blue as well. 

brownie toppers

Of course the menu will include chocolate!  After all, one of the colors is chocolate brown.  No, really, it has NOTHING to do with my own addiction obsession love affection for this sweet treat. 

Our take on this inspiration picture will be white chocolate covered Oreos with green drizzled icing.
We are also planning to get some chocolate covered cookies and add polka-dots with blue icing.

Yesterday, I trekked off to Hobby Lobby and picked up some ribbon and trinkets to use for decorating.

Bridgette and Jessica are also planning things like a garland of onesies and hats to string across the mantle, a cake made of diapers, and storks with bundles for door hangings.

I got polka-dot balloons and some tulle ribbon to use on our fence to guide people to the party.

A trip to Big Lots and KMart caused me to pick up more cute supplies for a table centerpiece.

I've got a little crafting to do this afternoon to get a couple of projects under way for our soiree.  Planning the party is almost as exciting as anticipating two new little boys to squeeze!

I'll try to remember to take pictures next week so you can see how all of this and the contributions from the girls came together.  Plus, I know you are wanting to see the cute mom and her bump.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

We stayed up and rang in the new year last night.  We were surrounded by those we love most (all four of our children and their families) for the greater part of the day which made it easy for Mike and I to sit and reminisce during the wee hours. 

Today we will be munching on leftover party fare and eating our blackeyed peas for good luck.  Mike and daughter-in-law, Jessica said last night that we also needed to eat some turnip greens for wealth and hog jowl for health.  (If I hadn't been dragging around here puny and sickly for the past couple of weeks, I'm not so sure I could strive for the health and wealth part!)

The recipe I've adapted for my blackeyed peas this year can be found at Laura's White Spray Paint blog.  A link to the recipe is HERE.

Hope you have a great start to a fresh new year!