Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winging It!

This weekend was one of very little plans and just heading out and enjoying the ones and world around us. I spent Saturday morning sleeping in for the first time in a long time. When I finally got up and got going, I brought some lunch to Colby while he did a pressure washing job. Sometimes its nice just to share lunch even if it’s in the most random places like the entrance to the bank.


Afterwards, we decided the only proper thing to do was to do a little bit of dove hunting, and I am using the word ‘we’ frivolously. What I mean is, the men greeted dove season with a big bang {pun intended}. The women just gathered and did what women do….cook, talk, eat, and watch HGTV. Sounds like a terrific Saturday evening to me!

The boys finally joined us and presented us with their kill….quite impressive if I must say.


Some were a little more tuckered out than others though. My poor daddy was soaked to the bone.


Sunday followed the same general pattern of Saturday, which was relaxation. I started off my morning by enjoying the start of a brand new day outside in the courtyard. It would have been totally delightful with the birds singing, the sun rising, and the squirrels bouncing from limb to limb……but then there’s Zeb who would rather his mother pay him attention than eat breakfast and read a book in peace.

Church followed, and so did a day at the hunting club and farm. Zeb joined us of course.


Everywhere we went, I saw these beautiful and vibrant purple berries. I have no idea what they were, and they’re probably poisonous or something. I’m seeing these berries in my future blog header for sure.


Do you see what I see? A hint of fall, maybe?


Zeb and I piddled around. We are trying to practice walking on a leash, but it is more like he is trying to walk me. I think I see a harness in our very near future. It might make thing easier on both of us.


Sometimes it is just so nice to sit back and relax. I feel like I haven’t had the chance to in years thanks to school {and I don’t mean work}. I spent the day at the farm feeding the fish and reading my Southern Living all by my lonesome while Colby worked. It’s those peaceful moments that I get to experience that brings life back into perspective and makes you thankful for all you have and less worried about what you don’t. In the end, I’m blessed beyond what I deserve.


In other news, Zeb has been up to typical shenanigans. This time it was chewing a wire {that operates the air conditioner} in two. Thanks to our handy dandy air conditioner guy {Hobbs Air Conditioning}, it is up and working again. However, the back porch looks like a wreck. Toys are chewed up from here to yonder, but I guess I should be grateful that’s what he’s spending most of his time doing and less chewing of more important and expensive items. I’m praying I make it through the puppy stage, and at this point I think I’ll make it since I’m no longer surprised by what he is capable of doing and what we discover he has done.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Easiest Wreath Ever!

For my mom’s 50th birthday, I made two wreaths to go on the doors outside of the L House. I wanted to make sure she knew what she was about to see when she entered through those doors. After seeing how easy these wreaths were to make, I think they will be a go-to wreath for upcoming birthday parties and such. Why? Because you can undo them just as easily as you put it together. Plus, the first thing guests see when they enter the party is the doors. I’m all about setting the mood from the very first impression.


The basic part of this wreath is made out of a grape vine wreath and a pack or two of lunch napkins from the party section at Wal-Mart.

All you have to do is lay your napkin out flat.


Then, from the white side of the napkin {if it is not double-sided} pull your napkin like the picture below from the center point. The man hand is Colby’s by the way.


Then, just fit it into the wreath and pull it through the back. Fill in all around until it is as full as you like.


Your finished product should look like this {with the exception of the number in the middle}.


How easy is that? No glue or anything! Just napkins and a wreath form!

Now, if you want to make the numbers to go on top of the wreath, you will need the following: poster board, napkins, a pencil, scissors, and a small knife.

I don’t have picture of this process, but all I did was follow the steps below:

  1. Use the poster board to draw out the number you desire.
  2. Cut it out with the scissors. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  3. Poke holes in the poster board where the napkins will fill in.
  4. Cut the napkins into fourths. Hold the napkins just like it was done for the wreath and insert the the napkins just like it was done with the wreath. It is not going to look pretty from the back, but that doesn’t matter much.
  5. Attach the number to the wreath with a small piece of ribbon by wrapping it around and tying it up until it is center with the wreath.

That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bluegrass Tuesday Night

This week I had the opportunity to attend a Brewton Arts Council event, and I don’t think I could have picked a better time to buy season tickets. As a matter of fact, the act that came to our itty bitty small town probably most influenced my buying of the season tickets, and I am so glad that I did. For the past few years, I have been yearning to make a trip to Nashville and experience all that it has to offer….especially the Grand Ole Opry. I haven’t made the trip yet, which made this year’s act irresistible.


Brewton was proud to have Ricky Skaggs enter our city limits and provide us with a couple of hours of entertainment. That’s about as close to the Grand Ole Opry as you can get in this little town. Can you seriously resist a mandolin, a banjo, a guitar, and a fiddle? I know I can’t. That’s why I love going to Tennessee every year. I love how laid back things are, and it forces you into relaxation. It makes you enjoy the simple life. Then, to top it off, you hear the sounds of bluegrass everywhere you go.


Anyhow…Ricky came to the local community college and picked the mandolin for a good hour and a half {maybe even longer}. I felt like I was in one of those 1950s or 60s movies in the auditorium watching a big act come to town. Like in Walk the Line with Johnny Cash. I’m so used to going to concerts with thousands of people, and this was a much more relaxed and personal experience.


He sang about the simple life and not hurting ham. He sang about his mama and Uncle Pen. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just click on the links.

This is about as close as I could get to what we saw!

For all of you in the Brewton community, buy those season tickets and support the arts around this town. The Brewton Arts Council does much more than people realize, and we should all take better advantage of what our lovely town has to offer. We need to be more grateful for the simple life!

Number 94 on the 101 List- Check!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Football Legacy

Colby and I ventured out away from our hole that we call home, so he could participate in a legacy football game. Colby attended T.R. Miller High School, and the year he was a senior the football team won the state championship. The Legacy Game wasn’t to just honor their particular football team though {while I do think that would be a stupendous idea}. The Legacy Game was to honor the football tradition at T.R. Miller High School and all of its past players.

Many events and activities were put together for this special game. For starters, the current players got to pick a former player that they wanted to honor. The former player’s name was put on the current player’s jersey for the night. In an effort to raise money for the athletic department, the players went out and searched for sponsors and pledges for their jersey. In addition to those pledges, anyone could make a pledge and honor a former football player, and all of those names were published in the night’s program. A special roster was also made for the game. At the end of the night, the current players handed over the jersey that was worn that night to the one they had honored.

That was the major event for the Legacy Game, but there was still so much more. T-shirts were sold. The annual tailgating party was held outside the field house, and a flag football game was held for those former football players who couldn’t wait to show off what they could do. Many of them were probably feeling great that night, but I’m not so sure about the next morning. This flag football game is what got us out of the house and under the lights.


These two are the reason the wives {Dusty’s and Colby’s} were there in the first place. Dusty and Colby are both firefighters, and now we are all living close enough to each other to see each other more often and not be such strangers.


On this night the black team {players from the 2000s and 1970s or later aka Coach Riggs} went up against the red team {players from the 80s and 90s}. It was a sight…that’s for sure!


The boys made their plan and were ready to get the game started!


I wasn’t really able to get that many good pictures of Colby though. For that, I was a bit disappointed. I have been able to tell that I haven’t picked up my camera in a while, but the past week or two has started to change that. Hopefully, I will get back in the groove of things. Here are a few other shots from the night.






Now I am going to be completely honest. I have no idea who won the game. I heard it was a tie, but I could be badly mistaken. Who knows! After the first half was over, I simply there in body but no longer in mind. By 8 p.m., this sister is ready to hit the bed!

The good news is that fall is starting to peek it’s beautiful face out with some cooler nights. It makes for perfect football weather. What do you think? Don’t you think this was a terrific idea?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A 50th Birthday Celebration


Last week was one of the busiest weeks I have had in quite a while, and I was beginning to stress out. Why? My mom was turning 50, and we were having a surprise birthday party on a day after her birthday. Good heavens! I concocted more “fibs” last week than I have in my entire life. First of all, my sister had to make a trip to Pensacola on a day that I wasn’t crazy busy. So, we went to Pensacola and bought all of the food we needed. Thank you, Sam’s Club! We lied about where we were and what we were doing. We even got my poor grandmother involved in taking her out on her birthday because we were all going to go to supper and do something small, so she wouldn’t suspect anything. Then, we found out afterwards from my dad that he already had a decoy birthday supper in place for her. Therefore, we had to come up with another plan to ditch the previous plans my grandmother made.


My poor mama….she probably thought she was the least important person in the world. I didn’t even see her on her birthday. I sent her a gift with my dad who was stowing away her birthday present from him at my house, so she would be getting something at the surprise party. With that said, she didn’t get one darn thing from him that day either. On Friday, I called her and asked her about her birthday. Of course, she bragged on her dear friend who provided the decoy party, so I knew she was totally let down.



The lies continued on Saturday. I had my husband make “fake” phone calls to get them to come to the L House where we were hosting the party. I didn’t even call her for fear of giving the whole thing away. Basically, we all worked together to make this thing happen and really surprise  her! I feel she was almost ready to kill us all….deservingly so.


Once we finally got her there, we couldn’t get her to come inside. She thought she was there with my dad picking up money from Colby while we were at a party. Since she wasn’t invited, she didn’t want to impose. We eventually sent my niece out there to bring her inside. Aly made sure we were aware that she was on her way in!

Pay attention to Aly’s warning! It was hilarious!

Once we finally got her inside, everyone had a wonderful time sharing food and celebrating my mom and their memories of her. I am so blessed to have a mother like her, and I am thankful for all she has done for me. I am glad we were able to do something for her unexpected that she would truly enjoy and see the love around her from others.

Mom's 50th Birthday

Also, I made this really terrific drink for the party that I found the recipe off of {none other} than Pinterest.


The recipe is as follows:

12 oz. of frozen {but thawed} Strawberry Daiquiri Mix

1 liter of strawberry flavored sparkling water

1 pack of Strawberry Kool-Aid Mix

1 two liter 7-up or ginger ale

1 pack of frozen strawberries

Be sure to put all of the liquids in the refrigerator, so they will be cold before you serve. When ready to serve, mix the daiquiri mix and the kool-aid mix together. Make sure it is blended well. Then, slowly add in the sparkling water and ginger ale. You do not want all of the bubbles to be wasted on pouring it in. Poor slowly! Once all is added together, put in the frozen strawberries. They will serve as your ice cubes. You can then garnish drinks with the strawberries. Delish!

Some of you saw my wreath on Instagram, too. I will be doing a how-to post on it coming up.

Thanks to all who came and helped out!

P.S. If you’re looking for a great place in town to host a party, check out the L House! It’s so beautiful that decorations can be kept simple, and it will still look wonderful. You really can’t beat the tables and chairs either!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Scrub a Dub Dub

One thing that has been on my to-do list for way to long is cleaning my wedding rings. You would think that since my husband was generous enough to get me such a nice set that I would keep them in tip top shape, but it has been quite the opposite. Sadly, my rings probably haven’t been cleaned since last year. Shame on me! I even messaged Weaver’s of Brewton and asked them how much they would charge to clean them properly as that is what I usually do when in Andalusia. Colby got my rings from a jeweler there, and they always “pressure wash” them is what I think of their process. Plus, they actually look at them closely to make sure everything is still intact.

While I do not think of this as an absolute substitute for cleaning my rings, I do think this is something I will be doing on a more regular basis when I’m unable to travel that far. After all, it is very seldom that I go up that way. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and followed the link. I figured it was worth a shot.

julie cottrell photography 82

Here is what you need:

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of  salt

1 tablespoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent

Old toothbrush and/or toothpick

Aluminum Foil

And here is what you need to do:

Heat the cup of water up in a bowl for 1 to 2 minutes. After you have heated it up, add in the salt, baking soda, and dishwashing detergent and mix together. Then, place the rings in the aluminum foil. The foil should be small enough to put right inside the bowl. Sit the rings in the bowl for 5 to 10 minutes. Take out of the mixture and brush in between the crevices, so all of the grime gets out. I should all be loose by then. Dry the rings off. Now, they are ready to wear again.

julie cottrell photography 105

I was a bit shocked to see how well this worked on my rings. I didn’t have an old toothbrush on hand, so I used a toothpick to get into the back of the stone where all of the dirt and grime seems to collect. Try it. It’s too easy to do!

Disclaimer: All photos are by the wonderful Julie Cottrell

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Room Reveal: The Breakfast Room

Since I have come to terms that our house will constantly be a work in progress and that it will take years for me to get what I want throughout our house, I am just going to be posting rooms as I am able to take photos of them and share them with you. The rooms in my house don’t look near of what I want them look, but I have to constantly remind myself that we have only been living in the house for a month. It’s not going to come together by a snap of the finger. Even as I share this room with you, I already have a to do list to complete in here.

I am constantly reminding myself that homes take years to really get them the way you want them, and by that time some things will be outdated and need to be renovated again. Luckily, I like more of a classic style, so hopefully I won’t have to trade as many things out through the years, but I know that there will always be a need in my head to change things up from time to time. It’s just something I love doing. Unfortunately, I’m just a school teacher with a small salary that can’t afford all of the fancy things in life that will ultimately be meaningless in my eternal home. Therefore, I resort to finding items that resemble all of those items I love without the price tag, and I remember all of the blessings that I have been given thus far in my life. That helps bring all that is important to the forefront, and I become thankful for all that I have been given. With that being said, I do enjoy taking pride in my home and making it reflect who we are.

Since we have moved into the house, we have painted every single room in the house except for one, which I have most recently decided on a color for. We also haven’t gotten to the guest bath, which I’m beginning to think I’m going to do a little something different with.

The breakfast room is a room though that gets used almost daily by my little cousin that comes home with me every afternoon and Colby who uses it as a place to sit down and take care of lawn business.

New House Dining Room

To me, it doesn’t even resemble the same room with the exception of the light fixture, and I plan to change it even more than it has been thus far. You can see my to-do list below:

  • New Rug
  • Paint the dining furniture with white chalk paint
  • Design vignette for buffet
  • Wall art for behind the buffet

For those of you who might want to know, the wall paint color is Benjamin Moore Shale, and the trim is Benjamin Moore White Diamond.

To achieve the look I am going for, I am thinking about doing something along these lines for the buffet.

buffet vignette

Two lamps and mirror or two lamps and some wall art would be perfect I think. It would also provide some extra light when you don’t want to turn on the dining lights. What’s even better is that I already have a piece of wall art in mind…..a family piece, a Willoweise piece. If you’re in the Langham family, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It only needs to be framed and matted.

And do you see how great the furniture looks in white? O.M.G. My heart adores white, while others just don’t see how I can. I think I love it so much because it brings a piece of furniture that looks like your granny had it and makes it look more modern while still holding all of its character.

In addition to painting the furniture and making the buffet over, I desperately need a new rug other than the one I bought for $30 at Old Time Pottery. What was supposed to be a make-do turned into a more permanent situation, but that is all about to change!


This little pretty is from World Market, and it is just what I think would pull together the more casual look that I’m wanting in the breakfast room. Plus, if I get tired of it in there, I can more than likely use it in some other part of the house. Just a thought!

Well, I can’t wait to show you more! Check by this week and hopefully I will have some more!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Non-Laboring Labor Day

I went to bed last night with big plans for today. Well, they really weren’t big plans, but they were at least plans to get out of the house. Just as soon as I do such though, there always seem to be alternative plans that aren’t taken into consideration. In the middle of the night last night, I woke up with a pesky sore throat. What I thought was just a regular sore throat has turned out to be my throat being on pure fire all day today. I drove to the medical center with hopes that at least one poor soul would be there today, but it was a ghost town. Therefore, I have made some new friends today….


Along with some orange juice, chicken noodle soup, and throat drops. Other than the stomach virus, there is nothing more irritating to have than the sore throat. I always dread it, and every time around this time of the year it peeks its ugly head out and threatens to destroy my throat. Maybe I can make it to the doctor some time tomorrow if there is no improvement.

Since I haven’t shared a recipe with you in a while though, I want to share with you a recipe I located on Pinterest that I tried on Saturday for our meal before the first college game of the year! Roll Tide!

Blue Cheese Buttered Steak with Bourbon Caramelized Onions


For the Steak:

4 8-ounce New York Strip Steaks
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

For the caramelized onions:
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the butter:
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons softened butter

Remove steak from the refrigerator and set aside to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat your grill to the highest setting (around 500º F).

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter on medium high and add onions. Stir occasionally until the onions caramelize and brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add brown sugar and stir for about a minute to combine with the butter and juices in the pan. Stir in the bourbon and black pepper, and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 3-5 minutes until the bourbon cooks down and is absorbed by the onions. Turn off the heat.

Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Spray down the preheated grill grates with olive oil or cooking spray. Close the lid for one minute to allow the grates to heat back up. Place the steaks on the grill and close the lid. Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. For medium doneness with 1-1/2″ steaks, flip the steaks to an empty part of the grill after about 2-3 minutes and close the lid. Allow the steaks to grill for another 2-3 minutes and remove to a plate and cover with foil to rest for at least 5 minutes. Adjust your cooking time to achieve your preferred level of doneness.

Mix together butter and blue cheese. Make a base for the steak to lay on by placing the marinated onions on the plate first. Then, lay the steak on top. Put a dollop of the butter and blue cheese mixture on top of the steak.

This recipe is not my own. It is totally from the website linked by the picture above. I strongly suggest that you try this with your steak. It was delicious. On the top of the steak, you taste the tang of the blue cheese, but on the bottom you get the sweetness. It puts your taste buds in to overload.