We started out on Thanksgiving afternoon, everyone arriving from various parts of the East Coast. Ben’s family only gets together once a year, so it’s a looked-forward to time.
Here are some pictures of the weekend together.

The Thanksgiving meal:
just because it’s at a camp doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty. :)

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 The Deep South: where sweet tea abounds. :)

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 Ben and I made this Festive Autumn Salad ~
I love the English cucumber serving as a bowl.

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Cute kids were in abundance. :)

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During the day, the weather was lovely for hiking and fisbee football.

In the evening and when it got chilly it was a bit challenging to keep the smaller grandkids occupied – without them roaring around. :) We  made play dough for all of the little ones and that was a great quiet diversion!

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My sister-in-law threw a surprise party for the November birthdays one night!

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And she made a Red Velvet Cheesecake that rivaled the Cheesecake Factory itself!
And, it was one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever seen.

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We snapped a few family pictures before everyone headed out.

Ben’s mother and aunt.

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Ben’s dad and sister Beth.

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The grandkids…

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… with Grandpa and Grandma.

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The Five Lovely Sisters.

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The Four Brothers, and the Father.

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The Whole Family. :)

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And that concludes Thanksgiving, Twenty-Thirteen!


It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and nearly all the United States citizens are posting Thanksgiving pictures and pictures of their Christmas trees
and talking about the Cyber Monday sales, and well,
here at the little ol’ cottage we’re just busy catching up on some sleep. :)

We had a special holiday weekend, hopefully with a few pictures to come, and enjoyed family time to the gills with my husband’s family and then with some cousins from my family stopping by!
It was lovely, and today we are just trying to recuperate from the good times. :)

So until I get the pictures edited from the weekend, here are a few of my latest crush
- the color GOLD.

If you know me, you know that I love little details.
I love to see God in the little things of life,
and celebrate His beauty and character in those things!

Here is just one more little thing that I’m learning to love. :)

I know, I know ~ until this fall I thought gold was such an ’80′s color.
And that it was OUT. Out with the big poofy hair and big puffed sleeves.
… Until this fall. And suddenly, I’m crushing.

Here are a few little ways that I’ve learned to love gold.
And perhaps, just perhaps, some of you will too. :)

… gold glitter belt.

It gives a fun little sparkle, just a touch of fun and a small pop of color.

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[buy it here]

… gold Christmas mug

with hot steaming coffee to anticipate the coming season!

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[gifted from a friend several years ago]

… gold painted pumpkins!

These have been greatly enjoyed,
but this week, they will be exchanged for Christmas things.

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… gold leaf place settings.

These spray-painted magnolia leaves would also be pretty at Christmas.
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… Gold paint.

As a DIY-er, paint is a general favorite around here. :)
One of these is a gold, and one is a glitter gold.
I used these for anything from leaves to pumpkins to…

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… gold shoes!

I bought neutral-colored flats at Goodwill, and painted them with one coat of gold, and then a top coat of glitter gold. I love how they turned out, and now wear them all. the. time!

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… phone covers.

This is my sister’s phone, and I just love her phone cover! I’ve been looking around and found a few similar here and here, but haven’t bought one yet. Very soon. :)

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… nail polish.

My other sister got me hooked on gold nail polish.
It’s surprisingly very neutral, but still just the right pop of pretty and sparkle.

gold nail polish

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… antique dishes & china.

These are so fun for special dinners and tea parties.

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… gold paint pens.

These are found at Walmart, Joann Fabrics, Michaels, or A.C. Moore in the craft department, and they are so pretty for a little packaging touch, for name tags, envelopes,
and just all kinds of creative things. :)

gold paint pen
biscotti gold writing

And, as a believer in Jesus Christ,
one day I will be walking on streets of gold with my Savior and other people I love!
How exciting and wonderful will that be?!

Happy Monday, you all!
What is YOUR seasonal crush? :)


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I found this quote today, and loved it!
Too often this time of year can be a busy flurry of decor & planning & food preparation,
which is all fine and good and even necessary;
but if not accompanied by a HEART that is grateful and at rest,
what true good is all that preparation?


true thanksgiving


The truest Thanksgiving is not just those words we speak,
but the life we live.
And not just in November,
but the other 335 days of the year.

If there’s one character trait I want to be strong in my children,
I want it to be gratefulness.

I want them to live with an awareness of what God, and other people, have given them.
I do not want them to live with a sense of entitlement, that people owe them something,
but rather, a continual focus on the blessings, rather than the distresses, of life.

How much of this is a training process of parent to child,
and how much of it is a prayer from parent to God,
I’m not certain.
Because I’m in the training right with them!

But, with all my heart, I do want to live a life of gratitude.




On Sunday I stayed home from church with the oldest (due to her tonsillectomy) and the youngest (due to a flu bug). Gone are the days when staying home is a relaxing experience! Two children [one permanently attached to my hip] made for a lot of together time for all of us, and not any quiet time for me. [i.e. Still learning flexibility: the key to Parenting 101!! :) ]

So we decided to throw a little thanksgiving party for the other two when they returned for lunch. We decorated the table, we cooked good food, and it was a great diversion had by all.

With big extended family activities on all holidays, we don’t normally have our own little holiday, so that’s kind of what we did here. A relaxed feel, & just being together was the desire, and it was accomplished.

We set the table in white, brown, & gold…

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We made name tags on gold leaves….

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We  used kraft paper [found in the packaging section at Walmart],
and copied last year’s Thanksgiving idea… but instead of individual placemats,
we made long runners that reached the whole lenth of the table,
and wrote, “I am thankful for…” at each place setting.

This would also be SO pretty in white or gold lettering.
I was sad I didn’t have that idea until it was all over. :)

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To make it kid-friendly, we put colored pencils in jelly jars, for a bit of fun at the table.

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We tried three slightly different centerpieces…

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An Italian meal was served instead of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey….

Grilled Caesar Salad…

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Ravioli with Grilled Chicken & Cream Sauce…


It was a fun little time, and two little girls particularly enjoyed it!
One poor little boy, however, particularly did not.
Lest the pictures look all glamorous & perfect,
here’s a little touch of reality. :)

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strong constraints of gratitude

If you are hosting or helping to host a Thanksgiving celebration,
THIS post by my friend Elizabeth Marie has excellent organization tips & ideas!
I call her my “hero mom.” :) xo Liz!

Happy Thanks-LIVING!


With Christmas a little over a month away,
and Black Friday a week away,
I’m running a few early specials on Mary Kay products
as well as My Faire Lady Design items!

This sale runs from today, November 19, until next Tuesday, November 26.
This gives you time to shop ahead without the mad rush of post-Thanksgiving shopping!

The Mary Kay specials are 20% off the entire inventory!
Think stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, or just a little extra to fill that gift box.

Here are a few ideas, most of which are $15 or less
[the Satin Hands set is more, but a great gift!].

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Links to follow:

Creme Eye Color
Mineral Eye Color
Nourishine Lip Gloss
Botanicals Skin Care
Mary Kay Compact
At Play Lip Gloss
Lash Love Mascara
Creme Blush
Vanilla Sugar Satin Hands

There is also a fun page of all items under $25 here.

Or, if you are wanting to restock your own supply of skin care,
or wanting more information if you’re new to Mary Kay,
you can check out these links:

Teenagers & Acne Prone Skin

For Women – 20′s & 30′s [Age Fighting]
[I use these daily, and am so pleased with the results]

For Women – 40′s & older [Advanced Age Fighting]

For the Men!
[my husband loves these products! :)]

Again, all Mary Kay products are 20% off, discount will be applied by me at checkout!
There will be a flat fee shipping rate of $2.

Please feel free to message me with any questions, and I’ll be happy to respond!
Also, if you already have a Mary Kay consultant, please check with her for her specific sales.


Sales from My Faire Lady Designs!

These specials run from November 19 until December 3.

MFL logo

All My Faire Lady Designs items are 20% off!
[hair accessories: headbands, flower pins & clips]

Also, all items from the My Faire Bebe’ line are 20% off!
[burp cloths, diaper clutches, tie onesie, bow ties]

Be sure to ‘like’ the facebook page,
and then look around!
There just may be something you need for those little people in your life. :)

There is a flat-rate shipping fee of $2 on all My Faire Lady & Bebe orders.

My Faire Lady Designs collage

Happy Shopping! :)


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Yes, I DO realize that I’m about exactly two months behind the rest of the world in the festivities of painting autumnal pumpkins.

BUT, there is a reason for it! A very good reason.
You see, my sister Ervina was coming to visit and we wanted to wait until she was here with us. [It's been a childhood dream of hers, never before accomplished, and we wanted to be there for the Big Day].

So, she arrived, we were having heaps of fun visiting our other sister Jana, missing our yet other sister Claudia [missing her not included in the 'heaps of fun'], sitting and drinking coffee and eating quiche just like we’ve always dreamed of doing together [except 360 days of the year we're too far apart from each other to do that].

And then, it was the

Day of Painting Pumpkins.

The children were so very excited, it’s true. And what even truer is that the big kids were even more excited. It’s a way of bringing out the inner artist you didn’t realize you had, and feeling extremely happy with the result.

The ‘Punkins,’ as Zoe says.
[Or is that 'Pungkins'? Something along those lines. Definitely without the 'Pump' part.]

the pumpkins

Unfortunately, by the time I went to purchase some, everyone else around here had bought out nearly every single pumpkin. The result was a great scarcity, resulting in very cheap ones in those I could find, and of pulling out pretty much every plastic pumpkin I had around as well.

Let the painting begin!

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I’m on a gold fetish right now. [More on that another time.]
But I bought a gold and gold glitter paint in the craft section at Walmart,
and that was what we big kids used the most of.

Also, we couldn’t find more than one white pumpkin, so we painted some of the orange ones white.

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There are just so many fun options!
Of course, you can’t expect children to stay with a neutral pallette. Oh no.
The rainbow assortment is the very best kind, of course. :)

kiddo painted pumpkins


The different styles we made…

The polka dot.

This would also be so pretty on a white base…

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The scallop.

scallop pumpkin

The stripe.

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The glitter.

This was fun, but I think it would have turned out better if I would’ve painted the pumpkin white, and used gold glitter instead of silver.

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The leaf # 1.

leaves 1

The leaf  #2.

leaves pumpkin 2

The white & glitter.

[yes, this was a green pumpkin!]

white & glitter pumpkin

These now so festively adorn my home for a few more weeks!

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