4TH OF JULY FARMHOUSE LIVING

The 4th of July is only one week away and that date on the calendar often reminds of a few things.  First of all, it makes me think of how lucky we all are to live in this amazing country and have the freedoms that we truly can enjoy.  It makes me think of outstanding memories watching beautiful fireworks with my friends and family off of our balcony, on a beach, or from our front porch.  It also reminds that we are already half way through summer, and that just wants me to make time stop for a little bit!

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This year, we brought a little of the red, white, and blue into our family room.  We are decorating the outside of our house too, but I thought it would be fun to add some color to our typically white room.

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As I shared in my first FARMHOUSE TOUR post, all of our walls are painted white.  My slipcovered sofas have become a pair again and are together in the family room.  We have a side chair with a red strip down the middle, that I fell in love with when I was at the store.  And the red floral curtains, well, they were the steal of the century a few months ago, and I knew they would bring some life into the room!

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(Can you spot the THE DRESSER OF SANITY? It’s resting while on summer vacation.)

We just needed a few accents.  I picked up the Liberty sign and the silver eagle statue at Homegoods, along with the two red, white, and blue pillows.  The little flags are from the grocery store and I just popped them into a Ball jar.  In just a week or so, the nostalgic reminders of the USA will be tucked away until Labor Day, and the red, white, and black palette will be the foundation of the room.  (I’ll make sure to share that with you too!)

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Our living room is long and narrow and honestly, a real challenge to decorate around.  These sofas have been everywhere in the room.  In the winter I love to put them facing each other right in front of the fireplace, with our table in the middle.

 

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I love to move the furniture around, because it makes me feel like I have a new space regularly.  It keeps things fresh and enjoyable for me.  The layout we currently have, means that the whole family can enjoy the space.  Try it in your home, if you can.  It’s amazing what a little change with your own things can provide to your home.

Here are some final tips in incorporating some holiday spirit into your room:

  1. Focus on incorporating small items: throw pillows, a decorative sign, or some basic flags, can really give the splash that you need to incorporate the holiday.
  2. Make sure the items you include don’t overwhelm the space, but instead, enhance it.
  3. Limit the number of decorative elements that represent the holiday, as to not have them take over the space.

So have some fun sprucing up your space for the holidays!  Please share how you brought some Americana into your home this year!

Have a wonderful 4th of July with your friends and family.

Make it a great day,

Kellie

 

OFF TO CAMP

The time has come where my boys are packing up their sleeping bags, making sure they have enough bug spray, and checking to see that their flashlights are charged with enough battery power to last all week.  They are headed off to their first sleep away camp with their friends.

While mom may shed a tear as we drive away from the “drop off zone”, they more than likely, will not even look back.  They are young boys maturing into young men and this rite of passage is a special time in their lives.

Because I can only think they may get homesick (However, I’m probably completely wrong on this!) I created some fun little treats for them to open each evening when they are back in their cabin.

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I found these adorable tags in the $1 section at Target.  They also had all sorts of candy treats, including some of the boys favorites, like Gummy Bears and Altoids, all for $1.  I packed in some protein bars and beef jerky also.  I found the cellophane treat bags in the party section of Target, and wrapped each “treat” individually.  There is a bag for the first six nights away at camp.  The seventh day, we get to pick them up…we are their treat that day!

I tried to write something special each day reminding the boys of what I remembered about camp.  Making a new friend, watching a campfire and telling stories, jumping in the lake and swimming to the raft, or just eating a meal in the “mess hall” with my friends.  I let them know how proud Andy and I are of them and their willingness to try something new, like going to camp.

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I’m hoping they come home happy and filled with stories to tell and remember for years to come.  What are you sending your little campers off with this year?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Make it a great day!

 

Kellie

THE BEST DADS EVER

In just a few days, it will mark the eleventh year since my dad was lifted up to heaven by angels.  Because of this, Father’s Day always becomes somewhat of a nostalgic and bittersweet time of the year.  The year he passed, my second son, Gus, had just been born three weeks before.  On Father’s Day of that year, I sat by his side while he attempted to watch television from his bed, gave him a Tommy Bahama shirt that he would never have the chance to wear, and talk to him about how amazing of a father he truly was.

My dad was the hardest working person I have ever met in my life.  He showed me that if you put effort into something, you can do anything that you can dream of.  He cared about me and was always striving to influence.

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Every Saturday morning he would take me to the local donut shop.  He would have black decaf coffee and I would have orange juice.  He’d choose an apple fritter and I would have a Boston creme.  My dad always talked to the shop owner and included me in the conversation.  My dad always asked me what was going on in my life.  He was the ultimate listener.  He was a salesman and he had this ability to listen to every word I said.  He never interrupted to share his thoughts, he listened and assessed.  He’d sprinkle in his thoughts, and of course let his opinion be known, but he never pushed his opinion on me.

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On warmer Saturday mornings, we would often head to the local municipal golf course and play nine holes of golf.  He took the time to build me a putting green in the backyard and let me know, that if I ever went into the business world, golf was a great way to connect with clients.  I learned he was right during my early years of selling tools and medical devices.

My dad encouraged me to buy my first home in my early twenties and taught me the power of purchasing a “fixer upper”.  He took me to the tile store and showed me the difference of cement board and green board.  He gave me a drill set as a housewarming present and taught me how to use it.  He made me believe I could do anything and to not be afraid of trying something new.

My dad often had a vocal opinion about whomever I was dating.  He had no qualms about letting me know if someone was the right fit for me, and although I may not have always agreed with his thoughts at the time, I realized that he was right.  Then one day, I introduced him to Andy.

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He had nothing but happiness in his heart when he met him.  He knew, just like I knew, that he was the one for me.  Of course, he tested him, but had no doubts that he would forever support me in our lives together.  On the day Andy and I got married, my dad walked me down the aisle and beamed knowing that he was leading me to the right man, my forever man.

Almost sixteen years, four children, and four houses later, I realize how right my dad was.  Andy continues to surprise me in the most subtle ways.  What I see in him, is so much of what my dad was to me, and influencer to our children.

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He encourages the boys and shares with them that effort is key in everything they do.  He lets them know that respect is never sacrificed and arrogance is not favorable.  He teaches my girls they can do anything they want to in this world, whether it be an American Ninja Warrior or a veterinarian.  He makes them pancakes and bacon on Sunday mornings before mass. He takes them out fishing to catch the largest smallmouth bass in the lake.  He fills up the inflatable pool with water on a warm summer day when they ask.

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He makes no excuses and he supports these monkeys.  I know they may not know it now, but someday they will realize how much of an influence their dad has been on their lives.

Finally, I just have to say, while I have been blessed to have had an amazing dad, and be married to an incredible dad to my children, I also have the most special and kind dad-in-law.  He already had four children, but on the day I said “I do!” to his son, he scooped me up as one of his own.  My children only have one living “Papa” and I can say, he does the work of two. He is the kindest man I know.

God’s plan is incredible.  I look at the circle of fathers that influence my life and my children’s lives and I am mesmerized by how it all came together.  Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for all three of these incredible men.

Happy Father’s Day to you and all the dads in heaven and on earth.

Make it a great day!

Kellie

 

SINCERE GRATITUDE

Lately I have been overwhelmed by an amazing feeling of pure gratitude.  As Andy and I continue down this path, I cannot share enough how grateful I am and feel.  This new path has allowed us to be present to ourselves, our family, and our friends at a level we have never experienced before. Of course, there is an overwhelming amount of uncertainty as we tackle this new adventure, but the process of living through it continues to teach me so much.  I am gracious for every moment this opportunity is giving me.

This past week, I experienced some moments in my childrens’ lives that truly stood out.  Our oldest daughter graduated from kindergarten and I was present.  Our youngest son turned 11 and together we may “dirt cups” for all of his friends at school.  I had a few moments and I planted my trough gardens…I have been able to feel every moment of everyday.

 

This is new to me and I love it.  I have realized over the past few months, that before I always felt like I was present in my children’s lives, but I now wonder if I truly was.  With my new career comes pure joy and simplicity and with that a true ability to be present to my family, my friends, and to new people I am meeting along the way.

Just yesterday I walked into Ace Hardware and was recognized by the cashier who waited on me just a few days before.  We talked about my project and she remembered me.  I took the time to listen to her and enjoyed the moment.  I am filled with gratitude for this.

I have noticed graciousness in my children too.  We are all more gracious.  When you are loving what you are doing, it affects everyone who surrounds you.  I truly don’t know how to offer advice to you all on gratitude, other than with one thought…just be open to it.  If you can, slow down, even if it’s for a minute.

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Sing “Peter Pan” on the back steps of your porch with your daughter, as you watch the sun go down.  Pull out all the markers and crayons and color for hours with her.  Drive your son to soccer practice and listen to him give you his reasoning as to why “Cake by the Ocean” is overplayed.  Look into your little monkey’s eyes, as they grin knowing the tooth fairy came and delivered $2 in the night.  Try really hard to just slow down for a minute.  

I am so guilty of moving onto the next task on my long list of things to do and I am sure several of you can relate.  Over the past few months I have “forced” myself to look up from the “to-do” list between items and just embrace what is in front of me.  It hasn’t been easy to do.  I am a woman who has always been considered “Type A”.  We are filled with the desire to overachieve and sometimes we miss the beauty right in front of us.  It’s a new way of thought.

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Like I said, I am so grateful that God has reopened this door for me.  I tear up often, just realizing that I am doing what I love with all of my heart.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone walk into their home and beam at their new space.  There is nothing more exciting to me, than to share design projects with my almost thirteen year old and have him ask how he can help.  I AM BEYOND grateful for all of this.

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Many of you have asked, “How is the business going?” and I am so grateful for all of the support that Andy and I have received. We both know we are on a tree limb of life and learning.  We are uncertain of what God’s plan is for us and that is ok.  We are embracing this time and experience and I am confident knowing that I will forever strive to embrace each and every moment.

I have gratitude for all that we are experiencing.

Make it a great day and THANK YOU.

 

Kellie

GARDEN TROUGHS

Well, they say its better late than never!  I was finally able to get a few moments to plant our fruits and vegetables in the feeding troughs.  I took the little ladies to the greenhouse last weekend, and because we are starting later than usual, we decided to purchase some plants that were well on their way, instead of starting with seeds.

 

 

Just to be clear, I am the gal at the greenhouse that is asking several questions to the person that works there…I am definitely NOT an expert in this arena.  I just love the process of picking the plants and working to put them in dirt to see what will happen next.  Perhaps this is an experiment just for myself to see if anything will come of it!

So back to our gardening project, we brought our plants home on Saturday, and then experienced so much rain for the next 48 hours, I thought they all might float away!  All that being said, last night was the night, and I gave it go.

The first thing the gardener recommended is that I mix a bag of fresh top soil and a bag of organic manure compost mixture to give a fresh layer to our containers.

 

Instead of starting from scratch, I brushed away some of the dirt to show where the height in the container came from.  I used two 5 gallon pails that I tuned upside down in the galvanized trough last year.  I filled the rest of the container with the topsoil/compost mixture last year (It took 3 bags of each).  Our fresh layer this year required only one bag of each.  This top layer above the orange buckets is about 12″ deep so the roots of the plants have enough dirt to grow into to stabilize.

 

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Then I laid out what we were planting.  We are going to try one of these “bucket” raspberry plants.  (I’m a little uncertain how this one is going to go!)  I also took eight strawberry plants and planted them around the raspberries about 6″ apart.

 

 

In our other container, I planted vegetables.  We have some leeks on the perimeter, pea pods in the center, and two larger tomato plants on the end.  Again, this is a first for us with the leeks, we will see how they do!

 

 

Finally, I watered them both with a mist spray from the hose.  Because they were not planted for several days, I made sure the soil was definitely damp.  I then inserted two old wine bottles, that I filled with water, to create a constant “drip” of water into the soil around the tomatoes and raspberries, because they were the larger plants.

 

 

This process truly took about twenty minutes for me to plant these two troughs.  While I am not 100% sure of the outcome, I am grateful for the process of trying.  We will give it a go, and I will report back as to the progress of the veggies popping up!  I’ll be sure to post the updates on our Instagram page #georgiapepperberry.

Make it a great day!

Kellie

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO SOMEONE

Recently I checked the mailbox and saw that my two boys had received notecards in the mail.  Their names looked like they were written out in Andy’s handwriting, but I wasn’t certain.  The boys each opened up their letters and they sat in two different chairs in our living room.  They both remained motionless as they intently read each word that was written to them.  Each note had words of encouragement and love that had both of these young men beaming when they finished reading them.  

Their father was the author.

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I was so touched by this, recognizing how special it was for these boys to get notes from their dad.  Both of them later shared with me how much it meant that Andy had taken the time to sit down and write them each a letter.

I think back to when I was in college and my mom and dad often would send me sweet letters in the mail.  They made me feel special and gave me the confidence to study extra hard for the upcoming anatomy or art history exam.  My dad continued to write me letters through my young adult life and share words of wisdom and inspiration on relationships and work ethic.

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In the corporate world, there were a few colleagues of mine who would often do the same.  Whether it be a project that I helped execute or a new role I had taken with the organization, I would receive a note.  It always left a lasting impression when I would receive these special notes in the mail.

I’m challenging myself and all of you, to go find or make some stationary.  It really doesn’t need to be fancy at all.  I have found great cards at Target and even Homegoods in their stationary department.  Grab a pen, my favorite is the Sharpie Pen fine point, think of someone special, and just start to write.  Share your thoughts and make your note personal. 

Remind them of a special moment that you shared with them.

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Penmanship doesn’t matter, nor does the length of the note, just be yourself behind the pen.  Sometimes we are easily lost in the world of technology, myself included, yet a good old fashioned letter can be such a blessing at the mailbox.  I thoroughly enjoy hearing the happiness in someone’s voice when they share they have gotten a note in them mail.  I certainly realize the power of a handwritten note and plan on sending many more…maybe I’ll start with my girls.

Make it a great day.

Kellie