Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas/Winter Dining Room Decor Tour

Welcome to my Dining Room Tour all decorated for the Christmas and Winter Holidays. I love decorating my dining room for the different holidays & seasons and look forward to every change (ie: opportunity to do something different with the room.... 😉)

Decorating the Chandelier Adds Interest & Dimension

I am particularly proud of how my chandelier turned out this season. It is just as I imagined, or rather, envisioned.  This is just a simple, contractor grade 8 arm brass chandelier that was installed when the house was built. I have never liked it as it has no memorable details, and probably not anything I would have picked. However, I can decorate it and just fall in love, never wanting to change it out. 😊 After the Day of Epiphany I will pull out the poinsettias and replace them with roses. Everything else will remain the same until after Valentines. Then I will decorate for the spring season & holidays. I will be sure to make a full video of the process. 

Adding a garland, silk flowers, sprigs and ribbons are one way to
add interest and dimension to an otherwise plain chandelier.

The Table Setting & Dishes

Dishes are Victorian Holiday by Baum Brothers

I chose white battenberg placemats and napkins. They really make everything stand out and look so elegant. I have had them for 23-25 years and they are beginning to show a lot of use, I still enjoy using them & so much easier to iron than a tablecloth. The chargers I purchased from Old Time Pottery Barn in Pelham. (No affiliation, but it is a great place to purchase large or small quantities of home decor/party items. They have less than a dozen locations in the US. I am fortunate to have one nearby.) The china we purchased right after we got married. I have had to replace a couple of pieces. always seems to have pieces in stock. I keep my Christmas dishes out until after Valentines and will often use them for our Valentine's Day dinner. 

I have been told that the scalloped edged bowls with electroplated gold edging belonged to one of my great grandmothers, though I do not know of any history behind them. The set includes a serving bowl and 6 fruit/salad bowls. The edging has a little wear, but it doesn't matter. I still love them and use them.                                                The ornament place card holder I have had for a very long time. I even have the original boxes that they came in. (Kept them for storage of course.) The price tag is still on them. $2.99 for four! I am sure I got them at a post season sale. 

The napkin rings are lovely poinsettias & leaves. They are a gift from my mother-in-law and I honestly do not remember if she gave them to my husband before we married or if she gave them to me the first Christmas after we married. Either way, she had wonderful taste and I have always loved these napkin rings using them every Christmas. 

 Beverage & Wine Glasses

The wine and beverage glasses have interesting stories. I bought the wine glasses (a set of 6) and matching after dinner cordial glasses (also a set of 6) when I first started working and out on my own. (Notice that they are a proper sized wine glasses..... We use them for our sparkling Welch's Grape Juice.) When I was young, I loved going into antique and old furniture shops. I saw these and loved them. Always wanted them. Years later, they were still in the shop and I bought them. 
The beverage glass is an Arby's glass. The year we married Arby's was selling them for .99 with purchase.  They matched my new Christmas China perfectly! After going through the drive thru every morning on my way to work, the lady at the window asked me if I was collecting them. Of course I replied "Yes!" with a big smile. She asked me how many did I need and sold them to me, completing a set of 8. 

The Placecards 

An elegant table setting is not complete without a placecard. These only took a few minutes to make. I cut up cardstock into 2x4 inch rectangles and using a 3mm calligraphy pen wrote the names and did a tad bit of Christmas doodle with fine tip marker pins. 

 The Tablescape 

The tablescape has various elements, textures and heights all the while, not blocking sight lines across the table so that there will be ease in conversations. Using old, new, nature and a bit of sparkle, the tablescape is stacked with layers of the different elements used to decorate the table. 

I started out with a white hemstitched runner. Actually, you can use anything. I have even see people use a full length mirror that they picked up at the $$ Tree. The idea is to start with your base layer and build from there. It also helps to protect the finish of the table from anything that might scratch or mark it up in any way. 

See the little red sprigs of berries in the above photos? They are from an inexpensive garland that I purchased from Michael's Craft store. I did not think to take a photo as I was placing it (sorry!). It is in an "S" curve (I love my "S" curves) going from one end of the runner to the other end. It doesn't look like much, but adds a lot to the overall scape. 
Next I added the vertical pieces such as the mercury glass candle holders, votives, silver pitchers, 3 tiered display bowl, and my salt & pepper shakers. 😊 

The Mercury Glass lamps came from Ross. They were $7.99 each! Originally planned to use them as Dirty Santa gifts, but they ended up on my table instead. 😉

The gold trimmed votives have been around for a long time and look great with any decor.

The 2 silver pitchers belonged to my husband's aunt. Her daughter gave them to me after her mother passed. 

I do want to give a shout out to Denise with She uses a lot of silver & silver plate in her decor and it looks so pretty! Shamed me and inspired me to get busy with the polish and elbow grease. 😊 I am so glad that I did. All of the "bling" reflected the candlelight nicely. 

You may remember this 3 tier display bowl from my fall video & post. This piece is so versatile! Red is one of my favorite colors. The red ornaments look so good displayed in this piece. I use red ornaments in empty vases, bowls, compotes, anything that is empty, I will fill with red ornaments. Post season is the best time to purchase them. You might prefer silver or gold, maybe another color altogether. A very nice and inexpensive way to add another element to your decor.  

I think I am going to have fun with this 3 tiered (I also have a 2 tiered)  for as long as those shark teeth (they tend to chip) on the edging last. I think that we will have eggs displayed in the bowls come this Easter. 

And of course, I have salt and pepper shakers. A few more out of my collection. And this season, I did not purchase any additional sets! Yay me! Good impulse control.

I love collecting and using salt & pepper shakers in my decor. The swans in the above photo are actually salt & pepper cellars! They belonged to my Mother-in-Law who used them regularly on her dining table for holidays and feasts. They each have tiny spoons that you can use to sprinkle salt or pepper onto your food. 

All that is left for the tablescape are greenery, sprigs, ornaments & silk flowers. All of the greenery I pruned from the evergreen shrubs in my yard. We also had a large branch from a pine tree to fall down from the weight of the snow we had a few weeks ago. (That was very handy and perfect timing!)  The greenery lasted weeks except for the variegated ivy. It did dry out and had to be replaced. All you have to do is place the greenery and plug in silk (or real if you have them) flowers and ornaments. 


My sideboard is set up for dessert & coffee. I also have a small collection of nutcrackers. A nutcracker runner, the Victorian Holiday china. 

The carafe over to the far right will have warm cider or hot chocolate for guest to enjoy with the nutcrackers standing guard over it all.

Corner Cabinet Cubbies

My dining room decor would not be complete without my cabinet cubbies being decorated. 

 More silverplate polished and ready to use for serving something delicious. A compote filled with red ornaments and another nutcracker standing guard.
I did say that I like to use red ornaments as fillers. They really do add a "pop" of color to the vinyette. 

And these sweet angel salt & pepper shakers are my very favorite. They do not go into storage when the season is over, but stay on display in one of my corner cabinets all year long.

That concludes the "photo" tour of my dining room decorated for the Christmas & Winter Holidays. I will post some more photos when it is decorated for Valentine's. I hope that you enjoyed "seeing" & reading about it as much as I enjoyed sharing.

You can see more in the video on my YouTube channel. Just click on the link below.

As this season comes to a close, I love to reflect upon the blessings that God has so graciously bestowed upon my family and me. And yes, we do celebrate the birth of Christ, but we also remember Christ's divinity and sacrifice so that we may have eternal life. It is my hope and prayer that you and yours will enjoy a blessed season that last throughout the new year.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Missy's Little Things in Life!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Are You Feeding the Fat?

Back in the day, when I taught fitness classes, ladies would come into class, pat their tummy and say, "Can we do extra abs today? I need to get rid of this..."

I knew that these ladies had a rack/6 pack abs, because they were faithful to workout regularly. However, they had that layer of flab/jelly that they just could not get rid of. You know, all the ab work in the world will not get ride of tummy flab/jelly when you continue to feed it. And like me, these ladies liked their ice cream, breads and desserts.

I have a great article on my "Make Green Go Green" site that explains "why" exercise is not enough. :-) Enjoy!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Going Natural ~ My Gray Journey

Going Natural: Embrace It! Own It! Rock It! Well, 

I'm still working on the "Rock It" part. 

Do you remember when and where you were when you discovered that you were turning gray? That is, your hair had started turning gray? I do. I was 20 years old, at work in a retail store. During a lull in customers one of my co-workers, who was taller than me, said "Man, you're turning gray!" I freaked a little. I did not want to be turning gray at 20! I can remember, as a small child, playing with my daddy's graying hair. He was in his early 30's I think. Well, I got my dad's early graying genes. My co-worker and I immediately began to start plucking. And for quite a while, that is how I controlled my gray. But then, my hair started getting thin.... 

Since then my hair has been brown, dark brown, red, auburn, orange, blond, almost black (supposed to have been brown), frosted, highlighted and natural. I have gone both the DIY route to color my hair and have had my hair colored professionally at a salon. Either way,  i still had roots to deal with. My hair grows fast and keeping the roots covered is a chore and can be expensive when you are going to a professional hair dresser. But in my early years what I did to hide my gray hair is I kept my hair colored. Then I got busy with my career and I did well to go to a salon to have an occasional haircut. In my late 20's I decided to stop coloring my hair altogether.  I didn't mind a little salt & pepper. In fact I embraced it! I married, we were (and still are) happy and moved on with our lives.

Then motherhood happened...

This is me at 39. I had a good head of salt and pepper. This is also one of the 2-3 times in my life that I had short hair. I remember that this was the day we brought our daughter from the hospital. She was premature and stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks after being born. The day we brought her home I was asked 3 times, before leaving the hospital with her, if I was excited about my "grand-daughter" coming home. Yep. To my face. 😒

For several years following I was constantly being asked about my "grand-daughter". When she was in kindergarten, I was volunteering at her school. Yep, I was asked, once again, about my "grand-daughter". On my way home I stopped by the store, bought a couple of "boxes" and that night, no more gray! 😁 I have not been asked about my "grand-daughter" since! I suppose you could say that my vanity got the best of me. But you know what, I do not regret coloring my hair these past 15 years. 

Now our daughter is in college, I am a lot older and tired of my roots, (My daughter always called them "gray seams" and did not like them!), tired of the expense, tired of the effort. Besides, my gray hair is really pretty! It goes from white to silver to a salt and pepper. Naturally streaked! I am ready to EMBRACE IT! 

My hair does grow fast. Above you can see my "silver" hairline or as my daughter calls them, "gray seams".
I think this is only about 4-5 weeks of root growth.

As you can see here, the gray really shows after a few short weeks of having my hair done. This is only about 4-5 weeks of growth.  It does grow fast!
I hate it when my roots get that long. It is like they are screaming at me every time I look in the mirror. Options? Spray on color....(will cover that in 'tips' down below). 

7 Tips For Going Naturally Gray

    1.  Invest in a can of "spray on" temporary color. You can pick up a can at Walmart for $8-$10 or Sally's for $5-$6. There are different brands and they all work the same. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these company's other than they seem to get a good bit of my money...) This is great for touching up your part or your hairline. As the roots get longer, it takes more for coverage. And it does leave a dry "gunk" feeling on your hair. But is effective. 

    Yes, I still have a Kindness 20 and I love it!
    2.Take a few extra minutes to fix your hair so that it looks nice. If it means taking an extra 30 minutes or more to get out the Kindness 20 and rolling your hair, do it.

    I honestly believe that if you feel like your hair looks good, you will feel better about the roots or at least, notice them less. Even if you have a late 70's-80's look. Seems like I heard that those styles are coming back. 😃

    3. Wear a hat. If you have shoulder length or longer hair, it will take around 2 years for your roots to grow to that full length. That is a long time to wear a hat! But there are also some really nice cool hats out there. Who knows! Maybe we can start a new trend!

    4. Color the roots on each side of your part. But first, you want to start parting your hair on the opposite side. Keep the roots touched up about 1&1/4 inch on each side of the part line being sure to cover the back past your crown. As your gray roots grow out, your "touched - up" hair is "combed over" the gray. Eventually your gray hair grows out and you go back to your old way of parting your hair. It will be all gray with "low - light" undertones where you have been coloring the roots. 

    The downside to this is as your untouched gray roots grow, your combed over hair looks just like that, a bad "comb over".  Yep, that is all gray peaking through my small section of hair that I have kept colored around my part line. (It is not marked in the photo, but on the left side of my part you can see gray peeking through as well.) That is when I get out the spray on hair color and do my best to fill it in..... 

    5. Get a cute, shorter haircut that is feathered. I have a friend who is doing this and it is just adorable and she looks great! 

    6. Get some silver & gray highlights and low lights. If you are like me, and prefer the longer hair, this is a good option for a nice "natural look" of blending as your hair continues to grow. I may eventually have something like this done to my hair because I am finding it difficult to go allow my gray grow gracefully. I will keep you posted. 😊

    7. Just let it go. Yes, just let it go and focus on what it will look like in 2 years. I have a friend who did that. She stopped coloring her hair 2 years ago. She "just let it go" and was patient about it. She, like me, was tired of the expense, effort and she resisted the temptation of going back to keep up her roots. Her hair is just gorgeous now! If you are tempted to go back to coloring, go to Pinterest and look at all of the beautiful, gray hairstyles there. (Here is my Pin collection here: Hair that you are free to go check out.) 

    Have you or are you "going naturally gray"? Are you "Rocking It"? Do you have any suggestions to add? I would love to hear/read comments from you on how your journey is going.

    I will keep you posted as my journey continues. And I will continue to work on the "Rock It" part. Going natural, just another one of those simple,

    Little Things In Life

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    What's for Supper? Turnip Green Soup!

    There is nothing better on a cold, chilly day than the anticipation of a hot bowl of soup. Soup that has been cooking all day in the crock pot. Today I am going to share with you a "newer" version of my Turnip Green Soup (this link is to my old version). I posted this recipe many many years ago. It came from the Birmingham News and the recipe used canned vegetables and packaged seasonings. Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to develop the same soup the wonderful taste, but have ingredients that have less processing and no MSG. A slightly healthier version of the old. 😃 I hope that you enjoy it! 

    Turnip Green Soup, the perfect comfort food served with fresh hot cornbread on the side.

    This recipe is both filling and satisfying. And will feed an army! 

    Recipe for Turnip Green Soup

    • 1 package of dried navy beans (soaked in filtered water for 24 hours)
    • 1/2 package of fresh chopped turnip greens or 1 large package of fresh frozen turnip greens (rinsed or washed)
    • 1 & 1/2 package of Kiolbassa sausage (Any all beef sausage will do, I just prefer a sausage with all natural ingredients and no nitrates.) (cooked)
    • 1 quart of vegetable stock or broth
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced or grated
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
    I also like to add a tad bit of apple cider vinegar (with mother) an hour or two before serving. It give is just a little extra flavor. 

    Directions for Turnip Green Soup

    I start off by preparing my beans the day before. I first rinse them off and then place them in a large bowl adding filtered water filling the bowl almost full. (The beans will double in size as they absorb the water.) Put them in the refrigerator and let them soak for about 24 hours. I use filtered water because the tap water where I live is very hard and dried beans do not seem to get tender when soaked in hard water.
    1 Package of Dried Navy Beans. Soak them in filtered water for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

    Next you will want to prepare your sausage. I prefer the Kiolbassa Sausage because of the all natural ingredients. They do not sponsor me or pay me to promote them in any way. But any sausage that you prefer will be fine.

    I prefer Kiolbassa sausage because of the all natural ingredients and they do not contain any nitrates.
    You can get by on one package, but 1 & 1/2 packages is better. That would be 6 sausages.

    I use one and a half packages to make my soup a little meatier. You can get by on one package though.

    Slice them lengthwise before cooking. I usually fry mine in a cast iron skillet.

    Making sure to turn and get them brown on both sides. You can omit this part, but this sure gets a lot of the fat out of the sausages before adding them to the crock pot.

    Drain cooked sausages on paper towels

    Then cut up into bite size pieces

    Chop your bell pepper and onion set to the side

    Combine your seasonings and set to the side

    Get your Turnip Greens ready. If you are using fresh frozen, rinse them off and let them drain, if you are using fresh, be sure to wash thoroughly and let them drain or spin dry.
    You will need a large carton of vegetable broth or a quart jar of broth/stock you have made yourself.

    Now you are ready to combine everything

    Don't forget the seasonings and your garlic!

    After adding the broth or stock, you will need to add a tad bit of water .

    Turn the crock pot on to low setting. Then give everything a good stir, cover and let the crock pot do the rest. 😊 
     Half way through the day it will look something like this

    For supper, put it on first thing in the morning. For lunch you can start it before going to bed and it will be ready by lunch. Leftovers can be put in mason jars and refrigerated.