Teatime

poetryteatime

There is something magical about a tea party.  Whether it’s meeting friends at a fancy tea room, or picnic-style on the living room floor, it’s just special.

I am a huge fan of simple and low maintenance entertaining.  A tea party may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.  Like any other style of entertaining, the thing that people remember the most is how you made them feel. I can remember being 4 years old and having tea and snacks with my mom while watching Little House on the Prairie.  It’s one of my favorite and earliest memories from childhood.

I’ve made a goal to have tea and read-aloud time with my kiddos once a week. We had our first teatime this week and I would say it was a success.  We made gluten free scones and sipped chamomile tea while I read out of a chapter book we got from the library.  It wasn’t perfect and there were many spills, but quality time was spent and memories were made.

If you are wanting to jump on the teatime bandwagon, here are some ideas to get you started:

For the Tea:

  • If you have a big group, make one or two big pots of tea. Choose something caffeine free and versatile so it will work for little ones and grownups alike. This cranberry tea looks wonderful.
  • If you are keeping it low key, use the individual tea bags. They are a hit at our house.  My little ones love dunking the bags and watching the water magically turn into tea.
  • We have milk with our tea. It’s not necessary, but it’s delicious and fun for the kids to pour.

For the Food:

  • If you love to bake, pick one thing to make homemade like banana bread, scones, or cheese straws. If you have a large group, fill out the rest with fresh fruit, chicken salad, croissants and cheese & crackers.

picnic tray

  • For weekly teatime with the kids, my plan is keeping it to one homemade item with our tea, without all the extras.  It gives them a chance to help me in the kitchen (which they are constantly begging for…and I am constantly dragging my feet about), and it also keeps it attainable.

For the Table:

  • No need for a fancy tea set unless you already have one.  We recently had a tea party for my daughter’s birthday, and I found a bunch of mismatched tea cups and saucers from the thrift store for about 99 cents a piece.
  • Use a pretty tablecloth or for an informal teatime, a sheet on the floor works just as well.
  • If doing it picnic-style is your thing, use a tray to hold your pot of tea, milk, honey, etc.
  • Picking a few flowers from the backyard and putting them in a mason jar takes 2 minutes, and it makes it feel extra special.
  • Think warm and inviting, not uptight.

mason jar flowers

So, if I’m honest, committing to doing this once a week is a lot for me.  I think there is such value in intentional time with my kids, but I know there will be times when this just doesn’t happen.  However, if I plan something ahead of time, I have a fighting chance of actually following through with it. So my charge to you is to plan something special with a friend, husband, or child this week…but give yourself grace.  Keep it simple.  After all, it’s really about the relationship and the sweet memories, not the stuff.

Cheers!

Steph

P.S. I have to include one more picture. My heart melts when my daughter wants to do things like me (the good things, that is).  After I picked the flowers in the above picture, she brought me this:

tea cup flowers

I think I like her idea even more!

 

Friday Finds: Magnolia Market

magnolia

There is something wonderful about living in a new place and getting to explore.  We are still learning the ins and outs of our new home state, and are having a great time doing so.

This past week, we decided to check out the buzz over at Magnolia Market in Waco, Tx.  Waco is home to “Fixer Upper’s” Chip and Joanna and their well loved shop: Magnolia Market.

IMG_0572

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with the idea to pay them a visit.  That place was hopping with Chip and Joanna fans.  It’s really more than just a shop.  It’s kind of an event.  The crowds and lines alone were reminiscent of a Disney park.  But, that didn’t stop us.  We squeezed our way through the doors and followed the flow of the crowd through the beautiful decor we have all swooned over.

fireplace

cotton wreaths

pillar candles

flower pot chandelier

signs

IMG_0614

IMG_0608

IMG_0607

IMG_0588

IMG_0586

IMG_0585

metal sign

IMG_0578-2

IMG_0575-2

IMG_0574

Something I loved was that while the girls were doing the shopping thing, the boys went outside to the astroturf field to play soccer and corn hole. Genius, Chip and Jo!

IMG_0698-2

 

Once we had our fill inside the shop, lunch was only a few feet away.  Food trucks lined the property.  We had choices varying from rice bowls and crepes to pizza and sweet tea fried chicken.

I was impressed by the whole package Magnolia Market had to offer.  I hear they even have live music from time to time.  While I was expecting to see more antique pieces or one-of-a-kind finds at the shop, it was fun seeing a lot of the decor they use on the show.  And of course, it gave me lots of ideas for doing some DIY pieces!

Have a great weekend!

Steph

 

 

 

 

Seasons

one

Rubbish Redeemed has turned one year old! It’s amazing what can happen in a year.  When I started this blog, I was living in a different state, with one less kid, and no idea how much I would end up loving this blogging journey.

Thank you to those who keep up with the posts and leave your sweet comments.  You have brought me encouragement and given me the push I’ve needed to keep it up.

As you might know, we have recently moved across the country. We are temporarily settled into a beautiful, furnished and decorated house that we are renting until the end of summer.  This has been such a blessing because with all the transition of moving with a new baby, homeschooling the older two, making friends, and using my GPS to get everywhere, my creative energy to decorate a new house is nonexistent.

So, right now I’m in a unique season and that may reflect itself here at Rubbish Redeemed.  But, I’m hoping it will be for the better.  I have a project I’ve been dreaming about that I hope to share with you soon.  Until then, I want to get your feedback.  What would you like to see more of? Tutorials? Organizing? Hosting? You can put in your 2 cents in the comment section below.

I’m so thankful that our lives are made of seasons.  If I knew that my life would be one way for the rest of my life, it would get pretty dull.  The unknown keeps me on my toes and trusting God.

Thanks for a great first year!

Steph

Thirty

Getting older has gotten a bad rap.  I don’t know if it’s the wrinkles or losing touch with pop culture, but for some reason, people don’t seem to be into it.

I turned 30 last week, and I think I finally feel like an official grownup.  My daughter asks me all the time if I miss being a kid.  I can honestly say that I don’t.  I loved being a kid when I was one, but I love being a grownup even more! I can go through a drive through anytime I want, I can pick out my own clothes, and I get to be married and have a family!

But, I would have to say, my favorite thing about getting older is what God and life have taught me.  Sure, I was a few pounds lighter in my early twenties, but I was also more insecure.  Thirty years has brought along with it more wisdom and perspective.  I certainly have not arrived, and I’m sure when I’m 40 I’ll be amazed at how naive I was at 3o.  Here’s to enjoying every year as it comes!

So in honor of the 30 year mark and looking back, I thought I would put together a list of 30 things I have never regretted.

30 things

 

 30. Roasting a marshmallow

29. Using paper plates

28. Spending birthday money

27. Taking a bubble bath

 26. Stopping to smell flowers

25. Smiling

 24. Enjoying a tea party with my little girl

 23. Wishing a friend “Happy Birthday”

22. Calling my mom

21. Laughing

20. Snuggling with my man

19. Watching my kids play

 18. Staying in my budget

17. Making my bed

16. Saying “I’m Sorry”

 15. Taking the scenic route

14. Forgiving someone

13. Putting down my phone

 12. Keeping my mouth shut

 11. Having a cup of hot tea

 10. Holding the door for someone

 9. Leaving a big tip

8. Saying “thank you”

7.  Humbling myself

 6. Investing in a new friendship

5. Praying

 4. Keeping a promise

 3. Hugging my kids

 2. Reading my bible

  1. Talking about Jesus

Perspective is everything when it comes to getting older. Hoping to keep mine right where it should be: on the things that really matter.

Enjoy today!

Steph

Clutterblind

Since I last posted, I have celebrated Christmas and New Year’s, packed up a house, said goodbye to family and friends, and moved halfway across the country…all with a newborn and only a handful of meltdowns on my part.  I consider that a win!

I wish I could tell you about how incredibly organized and prepared I was to pack our house to move, but that would be pretty far from the truth.  It mostly turned into major purging and shoving the rest into the nearest box. Ok, maybe not that bad.  But honestly, I was surprised at how much junk I allowed to accumulate after only living in that house for two years.  You don’t realize it’s there until you have to put it in a labeled moving box.

Have you seen the new Febreeze commercials about going “noseblind” to the odors in your home? Essentially “noseblindness” means that a smell has lingered so long that you have become desensitized to it.

Well, I would like to propose the concept of “clutterblindness.”  The piles of junk mail on the kitchen counter, odds and ends on top of the fridge, and mountains of my children’s artwork became the collateral damage of my clutterblindness.  They had been there so long, they just started to blend in.

clutterblind

 

So, what happens if you aren’t moving halfway across the country and forced to face your neglected clutter? I think I may have a solution. Clean your space as usual.  When you are done, take out your smartphone.  Take pictures of your room from different angles as if you were going to put them in a magazine. It’s amazing what can hide in plain sight, but as soon as you take a picture, the clutter becomes an eye sore.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to take a picture for the blog and have “discovered” the eye sores in the room.

Now that I have thrown away a ridiculous amount of stuff and started to unload all my things into a new house, I am hoping to be more self aware.  I am determined not to go clutterblind anymore, but in the event that I do, tell me gently, and I will whip out my phone and face it.

Have a great week!

Steph

 

 

Redeeming December

judah

Three years ago in December, I went to my OB for a normal check up.  I was just about 14 weeks pregnant with our third baby, and excited to hear that sweet little heartbeat once again.  Out came the doppler to verify all was well with the little one.  After several minutes of silence, the nurse reassured me everything was probably fine, and quickly left to get the doctor.  They wheeled in the ultrasound machine and a few moments later I was told my baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Those words repeated in my mind a thousand times over the next few days and weeks. And then, I began to experience grief in a way that was new and very foreign to me.

Then fast forward two years later to last December.  After trying for another baby for some time, we were expecting again.  It felt like an answer to prayer.  December came, another doctor appointment arrives, and once again: no heartbeat.  We were 10 weeks along, and I was heartbroken.

Last year, only a couple of weeks later, I remember attending a Christmas Eve service and weeping through the entire thing.  I was in the throws of grief, but I also had a whole new perspective on Christmas.  It was not just about Jesus’ birth, but also, his death.  God sent His Son here with the sole purpose of him dying – something I could not comprehend after losing two of my own. Christmas is a story of love and sacrifice woven perfectly together with grace. That night, I gained a greater understanding of what God had done for me; and in all my pain, I was grateful.

During those experiences, God sent people into our lives to love us and pray for us.  He used my pain and grief to open my eyes and break down my walls.  I’m so grateful for how God takes ugly things and makes them beautiful.  I would never volunteer to go through that again, but in God’s goodness He allowed it, and I’m thankful for how He used it.

This year, on December 2nd, God gave us a very special gift: a baby boy.  At first, I was hoping to deliver around Thanksgiving, but I think God’s timing for his birth was profoundly perfect.  God has redeemed our December.

I don’t always understand the pain that we experience. There were many times when I felt confusion and anger during those dark months.  What I do know is that I’m different because of it.

Even if God never blessed us with another child, He still would have been good.  But, today I am praising him for this sweet baby boy, and for giving me His Son Jesus.

Merry Christmas.

Steph

Psalm 30:11-12

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”

Decorating with String Lights

I love the glow our Christmas tree gives to our living room.  Even during the daytime, it adds such a cheery touch of ambiance that I’m so sad to see go come January.  That’s why I am a big fan of decorating with string lights year round. So while you have your christmas lights out and untangled, why not put some in places that could hang around a little longer after the Christmas season has come and gone.

Here are some ways I like to use them around the house year round:

patio string lights

 

kitchen lights

These decorative patio string lights add a ton of charm.  I have these hanging above our dining table.  Every night when the table is set for dinner, all other lights are turned off, and these babies are turned on.  We are transported to a lovely cafe in the south of France.

Some quick tips for hanging these:

1.  Remove the bulbs while you are hanging…they are very delicate.

2.  I used curtain rod brackets to attach them to the wall:  nail the brackets into a stud and then grab some floral wire to attach the string to the brackets.  I’ll be honest, it’s not a science, just get it to stay put.  Once they are up there they won’t be touched.

picture lights

This is a really fast and easy way to add some glow to your room and to highlight a piece of art that you love.  This burlap art is made with canvas, so I used thumb tacs between the cords on the light strand to hold them in place.  Just be careful not to puncture the actual cord.

jar lights

 

wood lights 2

wood lights 1

I love putting string lights into unexpected things.  Mason jars, lanterns, flower vases, baskets and old bird cages are all great options for this.  Use what you already have, or go check out your local Goodwill for inspiration.

There are a ton of other ways you can add this glowy charm to your abode.  Just start experimenting and figure out what works of you.  Try draping a strand along your mantel or across the top of an upright piano.  Have fun with it!  This is the time of year you can pretty much get away with anything, and who knows, you might find something that works year round!

 

Simple Trimming for Your Tree

Growing up, decorating for Christmas meant a day of consisting of: searching for a tree at the muddy Christmas tree farm, eating homemade soft pretzels, digging through handmade ornaments, and watching a classic Christmas movie by the light of the tree.

My favorite part, however, was getting all the boxes of decorations out of the attic.  I would hold my breath as my mom would climb the rickety ladder that seemed like it could split right in half at any moment.  An assembly line would then form, usually including my dad and older brother.  We would pass along box after box labeled “Christmas.”  Even though the boxes were a simple brown on the outside, I knew there were treasures on the inside: ornaments, lights, nativity sets, nutcrackers, santa, snowmen, and the like.

The best box was the biggest yet lightest of them all.  It was a giant box of dried baby’s breath.  I don’t exactly know when or where my mom acquired all of that baby’s breath, but I loved it.  It was tradition.

IMG_0977

I still love adding this element to our tree.  It’s snowlike appearance is simple and beautiful.  I especially love the antique color it gets when dried.  It’s also handy when needing to fill in all the sparse places the tree might have.

bb

Do you have any special traditions when decorating for Christmas?

Happy Trimming!

Steph

 

DIY Gift Ideas and a GIVEAWAY!

There are certain homemade Christmas gifts I love getting.  They are usually the ones I would never buy or make for myself, like the themed basket of goodies usually consisting of gourmet hot chocolate and marshmallows, or a candles and bubble bath.  So, I thought I’d try my own hand at some DIY gifts this year.

I have teamed up with a dear friend of mine who has some pretty awesome ideas for easy DIY Christmas gifts.  Her name is Shanna, and she is a fun-loving ball of energy, who is passionate about all things health.  She is an independent distributor for Young Living Essential Oils, and has totally inspired me to rethink my trip to Bath and Body Works, and make my own spa-like creations at home.  You can read more about the company and the importance of essential oil quality here.  She also wants to give away one of her oils featured in her DIY recipes!  So first, let’s talk about the gifts, and then you can scroll down to enter the giveaway.

These recipes feature Tangerine Essential Oil, which helps boost the immune system and create a sense of calm.  You can find out more about the benefits of Tangerine Essential Oil here.  I love the thought of using 1 oil 3 ways.

sugar scrub 1

Sugar Scrub

Have you ever used a sugar scrub?  They are pretty amazing when it comes to getting silky soft skin.  It would be an especially nice treat for tired feet!

  • Mix equal parts sugar and olive oil (coconut oil also works for this, but be aware, it may clog your drains).
  • Mix in a few drops of orange essential oil.
  • Spoon into a half pint jar and finish with a bow made of twine.

Bath Soak

During the winter, a hot bath has become an essential part of my life on a regular basis.  The epsom salts in this recipe are great for relieving tired or aching muscles, and adding the tangerine oil kicks the soothing factor up a notch.

  • Add 10-15 drops orange essential oil to 1 cup epsom salts.
  • optional – add in some baking soda for super soft skin.

Homemade Lotion

(Original Recipe found at Wellness Mama)

I am a lotion fiend during the cold months.  I love the thought of being able to make it myself and treat someone to something with ingredients that are beneficial that I can pronounce!

  • Add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup beeswax together in a mason jar.
  • Heat a few inches of water in a separate pan at medium heat on the stove.
  • This will be a warm bath for your jar to melt the contents.
  • Place your jar in the pan.  Stir contents in the jar occasionally until melted.
  • Once it is melted, you can remove it from the water bath in the pan, and let cool.
  • Once it has cooled a little, enough to stick your finger in it, stir in a few drops of your tangerine essential oil.
  • Add your lid and finish with a pretty ribbon.

I am loving these DIY gifts because they are all about pampering.  Who wouldn’t want to take a hot bath and smell like fresh oranges? You could make big batches of all three and have tiny spa bundles to give out. These recipes could also be made with other essential oils you may have.  I’m thinking Lavender or Peppermint would be nice alternatives.  If you are interested in ordering some oils for yourself, you can click HERE.

GIVEAWAY

So here we go.  If you would like to enter the giveaway to receive a free bottle of Young Living Tangerine Essential Oil, click on the links below to visit the Greene Gift Facebook group and the Rubbish Redeemed Facebook page.  You will receive 1 point for visiting each.  Please “like/join” if you haven’t already done so.  The Giveaway will close at midnight on Saturday, Nov. 28th.  The winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted by email to work out shipping details.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is closed.

CONGRATULATIONS to Cherish on winning our essential oil giveaway!