If you're looking for more fun ways to use fresh berries this year, check out our beautiful cookbook, Berries!
After picking more berries than our arms can carry, we develop a game plan to make the most of our haul. We usually dip a good many of them in chocolate, make a few fresh strawberry milkshakes, whip up a cobbler or two, eat some with yogurt or cereal, and did I mention dip some in chocolate?
This year (after the initial chocolate dipping) I decided to recreate a Strawberry Crisp recipe that was shared with me a few years back by my friend Kaitlyn.
This recipe is so simple to make, and uses items that you probably have in your pantry already. It's a quick and delicious dessert that is sure to please a crowd.
The crunchy topping, made up of brown sugar, flour and oats create the perfect contrast to the soft strawberry center.
I've made this dessert twice already this season! The last time I made it, I decided to try baking it in ramekins. I love all desserts, but I especially love anything that is served individually. There is just something so fun about being presented your very own dish!
They baked so beautifully, and I think that they may have even tasted better than usual!
You should know that this Strawberry Crisp, however, should never be served without a scoop of ice cream on top.
If this Strawberry Crisp recipe doesn't get you excited about Strawberry season, I don't know what will! I hope you'll check it out and try it for yourself. If you live in the area, you should definitely visit Paulk Vineyards pick-your-own strawberry fields. If you don't, search your surrounding area and see if you can find one near you! Make a day of it, with your family and friends, and start a tradition of your own!
If you're looking for more fun ways to use fresh berries this year, check out our beautiful cookbook, Berries!
Lila made her way into this world on July 20th, 2019. It was all a blur, and movie-like almost, as I stood on the sidewalk outside of Longhorn's Steakhouse. My belly was full (in more ways than one), and I was on the phone with my dad when my water broke right then and there for all of the patiently waiting customers to see. I stared at the puddle in surprise and giggled as Phillip yelled at me to get in the car. (I guess he didn't think it was funny.)
I quickly realized how funny it wasn't as the contractions became stronger. I had been reading books and watching documentaries all to prepare me for this moment, and somehow none of it mattered. Lila was on her way, and that was all I could think about!
She arrived at 10:58, a little over two hours after my water broke. What a whirlwind!
She was tiny, dark and beautiful. I couldn't believe I was her mom. As I held her close and stared at her, all I could think about was how miraculous of an experience this all was.
In the beginning, it was as if I had trouble believing that there was really a baby growing inside of me. However, from the very moment I felt her move, that all changed. All of the sudden I was overly aware that she was there, that she was a part of me. As she grew, so did my attachment of her. I started dreaming of who she'd be and what she'd look like. It also became so evident to me that she did not belong to me, she belonged to God.
God gave us this gift of Lila, and she was in His hands. I don't mean to sound morbid, but I had to train my thoughts to acknowledge that truth. It did, in a way, stunt the growth of my attachment to her. But looking back, it was a gift. It was a gift to be able to fully recognize that she belonged to HIM. That HE was allowing me to be her mom--not her creator. From time to time fear would rise up in me--what if something happened to her? What if I lost her? What if I lost her during delivery? But the fear didn't stop there. What if she gets sick after she is born? What if she gets in an accident and dies suddenly as a child? What if?
Then an overwhelming peace came. She belongs to God. He is in control. He will take care of her. And if He decides to call her home, she will come, whether I am ready or not. Acknowledging that truth early on allowed me to fully love her without overwhelming fear. (*I am human, so not completely without fear.) To care for her and raise her with the attitude that she belongs to God. Now, I know she has only been here for 3 months, and the reality is that as time passes and she grows, it will be challenging to remain in this mindset. However, by choosing to raise her in this way, I will take it day by day. Daily I will choose to lift her up to the Lord. Daily I will love her like the miraculous gift she is.
With one placement ending during the 7th month of my pregnancy, Phillip and I decided to take a break from foster care until after Lila was born. We could take up to a six month break before having to redo our training, so that was the plan. Now, we find ourselves at the end of our break, preparing our hearts to open our home again. It is a bittersweet feeling, but it doesn't come without fear.
Like I said, early on in my pregnancy, I was able to train my thoughts and come to grips with the truth that Lila belonged to God. Although Phillip knows this in his mind, it was still sinking into his heart. Phillip became anxious about foster care and its role in our family's life. He was fearful of what could happen to her once we welcomed other children into our home--children who come from a broken past and who have experienced violence and abuse. Through many prayers and discussions, we finally agreed that foster care is the path that our family is called to. That meeting these broken children where they are and loving them like Jesus does is the life we want to live.
As I thought about the fear of what could happen to Lila as we open up our home more and more, I was reminded of Abraham.
" He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” " Genesis 22:2
Take your son, your only son, whom you love...and offer him there as a burnt offering. (If you have never read this story, or it's been a while since you have, read it now! )
Wow. If this story didn't get to me before, it certainly does now that I am a parent. Abraham, being the faithful servant he was, obeyed. He didn't question God. He didn't bargain with God. He was obedient. Was he so full of faith that he knew the Lord would provide a lamb? Or was he acknowledging the truth that Isaac belonged to God? Or both?
I sat, with tear-filled eyes, and thought to myself--I love Lila, but God loves her more.
I want to raise my family in a way that honors The Lord. I want my time on this earth to be about other people--sharing the love of Christ. I want Lila to understand just what Jesus intended our lives to be--full of love and sacrifice.
Lila Monroe Smith is a pure JOY. She is the sweetest-natured baby and loves everyone she meets. She looks just like her daddy, but might have her mama's eyes. She is the best snuggler and loves to chat. She loves being outside and reading books. Lila is the best gift--and we are so excited to be her mom and dad.
Thank you to Dixie Cook Sherrod for the beautiful photos!
My Papa was one heck of a man. Honest, trustworthy, dedicated, patient, kind, hardworking, simple, loving...I could go on and on. One of his great loves was fishing. He loved it so much, that he made sure his kids and grandkids had the opportunity to learn and love it too. I remember digging up worms in his worm bed, learning to bait a hook with stuck and bloody fingers, starting off with a cane pole and graduating to a rod and reel, sitting on an upside-down 5 gallon bucket, and getting caught in the trees more times than I'd like to admit. He cultivated a love for the outdoors in me at a young age, and I still enjoy fishing today.
My Nana's parents, who we called Pap and Granny Honey, also loved to fish. They decided to make use of a low spot behind their house and have a small pond dug. This turned out to be perfect for us kids, since Nana and Papa lived right next door! I remember thinking how magical and mysterious this small wooded pond was--never knowing what I'd pull out of that dark water.
From an early age, I remember loving the taste of fried fish. Our family usually gathered over a "fish fry" to celebrate birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. With such a large family to feed, this was one cost-effective way to please the crowd. Papa would fish for weekends, freezing his bounty, saving up for the big day. He and Nana would stand over the bubbling grease, waiting for the hushpuppies to float. Served alongside grits, homemade french fries, and slaw, it was a feast. He would stand in line with us kids, telling us what each piece was and what he thought we might like best. Then my mom or Nana would help us diligently pick it off of the bones to ensure we didn't accidentally swallow one and ruin the night. I'd sit barefoot at the table with my legs crisscrossed feeling like I was in heaven.
There was a period of time that I spent every Friday night with my grandparents. They, along with about 10 other couples, would gather at the cabin to hold a weekly fish fry. The men would spend their week catching as many fish as they could just so they would have an excuse to get together for supper. The women would bring in their specialties, whether it be a side or dessert, as their contribution. I remember sitting at a table, surrounded by "old women" talking about "old men", while the men gathered in the kitchen to chit chat and heat the grease. I didn't care that I was the only kid there--I got to eat my favorite meal and go home with my favorite people.
When my Papa got sick, I reflected on what it was about him that I admire and would miss so much. I decided that if I could marry someone that was half of the man he was, I would be happy. Little did I know that Phillip would come calling, and I would find him, too, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, patient, kind, hardworking, simple, and loving. The funny thing is, Phillip is also a carpenter (like my Papa), and he too loves to fish.
Phillip's family has a deep love for fishing as well, and "fish frys" are a common occurrence around their house. Needless to say, I fit right in.
Fried catfish and bream may seem like a poor man's dinner to some, but let me tell you, it's a feast fit for a king. I love the feeling of nostalgia and flood of memories that hot, greasy fish and homemade french fries bring. You know the old saying, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."? It is easy to believe that if I had only eaten a plate of fish at family get-togethers, rather than investing in the experience of fishing as a child, I wouldn't feel the way I do today. Good thing my Papa taught us to fish, because it did more than feed us for a lifetime.
If fried fish is new to you, but you'd like to give it a try, take home the Deep South cookbook! It showcases traditional Southern meals, like fried catfish with hush puppies and tartar sauce. Yum!
And in case you didn't know, lemon pie is a must when fish is on the menu. If you don't have a recipe of your own that you love, try out our Southern Pies cookbook!
The last room to reveal in our home renovation just so happens to be my favorite--the master bedroom! Though I truly love every single room, I think I love this one most because it has become my little nest! It is where I read, where I rest, and where I feel most comfortable. I am excited to share its transformation with you, and hope that you love it too! Here is a reminder of what this room looked like when we purchased the home.
With 6 large windows and an exterior door, we wondered what this room was used for. A friend of ours who researches old homes called this room a solarium (sun room), which was often used for gatherings and quite possibly a bedroom. After talking with the granddaughter of the original owners of the home, she informed us that this was, in fact, her grandparents' bedroom! She said that it also doubled as a sitting room, and guests would gather around the fireplace to chat after dinner.
In order to make this room our master bedroom, we knew we wanted to add a master bath and move a few doorways around. Before we could get started, we had the daunting task of removing all of the bead board from the walls, once again!
We decided to close up the middle window to give us a place for our bed, as well as tear out and cover up the fireplace. This fireplace was no longer in working order and had sustained some damage to the brick over time, so we decided that a solid wall might be of more use. We had it insulated and sheet-rocked, and we were ready to roll! The original floors turned out beautifully once refinished.
One night, two sweet friends came over to help me paint the walls so we could be one step closer to moving in! You might recognize the blonde on the right, that's Katelyn! :) When deciding on a paint color, I knew I wanted something cozy. With so many windows and white trim, I knew a dark color would be the way to go. I saw this bedroom (middle picture) on Pinterest and fell in love with the brown walls! I ended up going with Less Brown SW6040 by Sherwin Williams , and I love how it turned out!
Now, for the finished room! You enter our bedroom from the end of the hallway, right next to the guest bathroom.
Phillip built our bed, which turned out perfect for the space! I was so glad that we decided to get rid of the middle window. It is so fun to dream something up, and watch it come to life. It wasn't so simple when I went on the search for our other bedroom furniture. I just couldn't find anything I liked in the surrounding furniture stores--it all seemed so bulky and traditional. I wanted a softer look, that would coordinate but not "match" the bed. I finally decided to take a chance and order something online! I was nervous, but I am so happy with my choice! The night stands, dresser and chest of drawers came from Pier 1.
I have also had the hardest time finding curtains that I liked, and could actually afford! I had no idea that Ikea had a select few curtains available in 118". They turned out to be beautiful--and I love how the white just brightens up the space!
One of my favorite things in our bedroom are my monogrammed pillow cases! Our sweet Ms. Carolyn embroidered them by hand. What a treasure! It makes me happy every time I crawl into bed, and every time I make it up. I just love the personal touch it adds to the room!
This view shows you how we moved the doorways around to make the master bath add-on make sense.
It worked out great that we ended up sheet-rocking over the fireplace. Now we have a solid wall that provides enough space for our dresser.
Our most recent addition to the bedroom has been a sweet little crib for Lila! Throughout our journey in foster care, one thing that we have realized is how uncertain things can be. We decided to just plan on Lila being in our room for a little while, while we get used to this baby thing! We had plenty of room to put the crib over by the windows.
It has been a sweet thing to look over and be reminded that she will be here so soon.
As we anxiously await her arrival, we have prepared as much as possible! I can't wait to see her sweet face, and bring her to this house we've made a home. I hope she grows to love it as much as we do.
I hope you have enjoyed the last Beech Street Bungalow Room Reveal! Don't worry, there are still more projects to be finished and decorating to do--so this definitely won't be the last Beech Street blog. I have a long list of things that I still want to share with you! In the mean time, feel free to go back and relive our progress!
Beech Street Bungalow: Before
Beech Street Bungalow: The Fireplace
Beech Street Bungalow: The Walls
Beech Street Bungalow: The Floors
Beech Street Bungalow: The Kitchen
Beech Street Bungalow: The Master Bath
Beech Street Bungalow: The Living and Dining Room
Beech Street Bungalow: Guest Bath
Beech Street Bungalow: The Laundry Room
Beech Street Bungalow: The Exterior
Beech Street Bungalow: Porch Planters
Beech Street Bungalow: The Kid's Rooms
"It takes a village to raise a child."
This statement is an old African proverb thats relevancy rings even more true today. In a world where marriages are broken, families are ravished by poverty and addiction, and the lives of children are not cherished; it truly takes a village.
With the recent uproar over the war on abortion, I find my heart broken. Broken for the babies who will never take a breath, broken for the young mothers contemplating abortion.
As these thoughts swirl through my mind, I can't help but wonder how some of these young moms must feel...scared, embarrassed, unfit, unqualified, inexperienced, ill-equipped, lonely, unprepared, uneducated...the list goes on. To those mothers--where is your village? Do you even have one? You most certainly need one to take on the responsibility of raising a child today. I ran across a quote that perfectly expressed my heart on this matter, beautifully portraying how we, The Church, are called to be the village.
It seems so simple, yet why aren't we doing it? Why isn't The Church being the village? There are so many other practical ways to step in and be a champion for the cause, rather than participating in a march or holding up a sign.
"We must listen, love, foster, adopt, give money, babysit, donate supplies, mentor young women, and support in whatever ways God has equipped us."
I say, if we can't take care of the orphans that are living on this earth now, what shall we do? When there are over 30,000 abortions taking place in Georgia each year, what shall we do? If we can't find foster homes to house the children who are a result of addiction and abuse, what shall we do? Why are there over 170 children in foster care and only 10 foster families in my region? Why do Christians outnumber orphans 15 to 1?
These are the honest and convicting thoughts I struggle with as I contemplate our purpose as a family, and as The Church.
Phillip and I have officially been foster parents for three months now. As I type these words, tears fall from my eyes. No amount of preparation, training, volunteering, or even praying, opened my eyes to the reality of raising a child that is not your own. Responsibility, consistency, patience, kindness, understanding, strength, faith, selflessness, devotion...these are all words describing what must pour out of us daily. We knew it would be challenging, and it is. But we also never could have imagined the joy a child brings when they simply bring themselves.
During this season, we have had friends offer to bring us dinner on multiple occasions. Our church family has made us feel more welcome than ever, supporting us in so many seen, and unseen ways. My work family has rallied together to help us in any way they can--welcoming after school visits and making this child feel like she belongs. Our own families have treated her as their own blood, including her in family plans and spending one on one time with her. Sweet, dear friends, have gone above and beyond to help after school or when school is out so that we can maintain as normal of a work schedule as possible. College friends have taken the time to talk through issues over the phone--listening and giving advice. New friends have stayed up with us, hours into the night, encouraging and praying for us when times have been tough. And not to mention the sweet friends who have called, texted, visited, and prayed for us during this journey.
These children come from a broken past, often times with no family to care for them and no community to support them. But, when we welcome them into our home, they instantly have a village. A village of friends who care about them, a village that prays for them daily, a village that genuinely wants to spend time with them, a village that makes them feel like family.
Sometimes I wonder if this village is for them, or for me? I realize, now, that it is for all of us. It is for when I need a little encouragement on the hard days, it is for when Phillip needs an afternoon to himself, it is for when she needs a little girl time with someone who isn't acting as her "mom". When this village of family and friends come along side us in this broken journey--we find the light. We find a glimpse into what God created families and The Church to be. We find the strength to make it through another day. We find that extra little bit of love we need, just to pour it right back out again.
We are the village. YOU are the village. The part you play in this village may look a little differently than your neighbors, but I would encourage you to seek out the ways in which God has equipped you.
We have had people ask us on multiple occasions why we foster, do we not want children of our own? If it were only that simple. We foster because we don't want any child to feel unloved or go uncared for, we don't want any family to be broken. We foster because it isn't about what we want.
Now, three months in, we find ourselves expecting a baby girl of our own in just three more short months.
Though this was somewhat of a surprise, we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. What we wish for her is what we wish for every child that enters our home; that they will choose to work hard for what they want, love people whole-heartedly, live selflessly, stand up for what they believe in, and be brave. We have been blessed with what I believe to be the best village around--and I am overjoyed that we get to raise this child surrounded by such wonderful people.
So, thank you to my village. You'll never know how much it means to us to know how much you care. We couldn't do it without you!
If you find yourself looking for ways to serve, reach out to us! We have been blessed to be involved with a wonderful organization in South Georgia that supports foster families and birth families alike. We'd love to talk with you, and provide you with
information and opportunities to serve.
It's been quite some time since I've given an update on our home renovation--but hopefully it will be worth the wait! With so much happening in our lives over the past few months, (IMPACT training, the holidays, home inspections, etc.) we have just now been able to tie up a few loose ends in our two extra bedrooms! Although they aren't 100% complete, I just couldn't wait any longer to share them with you! If you read the blog, Called to Care, you'll remember that a large factor in our home search involved finding a house that had three bedrooms. I was set on having at least three bedrooms because this would be necessary in foster care if you have children of the opposite sex in your home. Here is a glimpse into what went through my mind while planning the kid's rooms in our home:
After we began putting our home back together, I started dreaming up what the "girl room" and "boy room" should look like. I loved the idea of creating a comfortable and safe space that any child might love. Lots of thought and planning has gone into these two special rooms in our home, and my heart is anxiously awaiting the day when these rooms will be finished and full.
Let's take a minute to look back at the before pictures of the middle bedroom, what became the "girl room". We removed the pocket doors separating the bedrooms, and put them between the kitchen and laundry room.
I love how the light from the windows fill up this room! We turned this doorway into a closet for this room, and moved the bedroom door to the right wall, opening to the hallway.
Once the sheetrock was up, I started dreaming of what this room would be! I had a floral comforter that I loved, and knew I wanted to use in this room. I pulled a light peachy color from it for the walls, Nearly Peach by Sherwin Williams. I knew the wall color needed to be soft and welcoming to complement the natural light, and it turned out to be perfect.
My mom gave us my childhood bed to use in this room. It is a special piece that fit seamlessly into the design.
An antique armoire provides extra closet space, since we were able to fit two beds into this room!
I desperately tried to scrub the yellow brick on this fireplace, hoping it would clean up nicely. I tried every trick in the book, but nothing brightened it up. I finally decided just to paint the fireplace white to give it a fresh new look. I carefully taped off and lightly spray-painted the fireplace cover with a bronzy-gold finish. We stripped down the original mantels to bring them back to life, leaving them their natural color.
This room seems so peaceful, yet fun, all at the same time! I have baskets of books and stuffed animals in the room, just waiting to be loved!
Here is a look at the before pictures of the front bedroom, what we call the "boy room". We turned the bathroom into a walk-in closet, which has been a wonderful place for extra storage. The most fun part of this room is the bead-board accent over the fireplace that we decided to keep! Since the whole house was filled with bead-board just like this, we thought it would be fun to keep it visible in one special place!
And here is the finished room! We used the bead-board accent wall as inspiration for our wall and fireplace colors. The wall color is Rushing River by Sherwin Williams, and the fireplace is Sea Serpent by Sherwin Williams--which is also our exterior color! We stripped down this original mantel too, trying to avoid making the room look too busy.
Some very sweet friends of ours passed down this set of bunk beds to us. They fit perfectly on this wall, allowing the room to still feel spacious.
We were able to keep one of the solid bead-board walls in this room. It just needed a little caulk and paint!
I tried to mix in a few patterns without getting too crazy, since there is already so much going on in this room.
Here is one more look at the fireplace. It is a fun reminder of what all we went through to be where we are today!
I set up a desk area on one wall, hanging a few of my Papa's old paddles for decoration.
With a few books and toys, the room is set.
Now that the "kid's rooms" are finished, we are ready to welcome children into our home! This is such an exciting time that we feel like we have waited so long for, and I can't believe it is finally here! We already have our first placement, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. But that's another blog for another day!
I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I hope you'll keep in touch! I love hearing your thoughts about our progress while sharing this journey with you.
Check out more Beech Street Bungalow renovation stories here!
Who doesn't love an iced sugar cookie? And the prettier it is, the better! Sugar cookies are a staple around here, so we are always looking for fun and creative ways to decorate them!
While dreaming up our Valentine's Day treats for our brick-and-mortar location, I was inspired by the marbling trend. I thought that if you could do it with paint and dye, why couldn't you do it with royal icing? I thought I'd give it a shot and share my tips and tricks with you!
Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Make sure that it is a sturdy cookie-not a crumbly one! This will be important when you start to ice the cookies. If you don't have a favorite of your own, you can find our favorite sugar cookie recipe in our Recipe Archive! Roll, cut out, and bake your cookies. I chose a heart-shaped cookie cutter for Valentine's Day! Our sugar cookie recipe will make about 25 heart cookies per batch. Let them cool completely before icing.
Whip up your favorite royal icing recipe and separate it into two bowls. Choose two colors that you want to use and dye each bowl of icing using gel food coloring. I chose pink and white! If you choose to use a color other than white, just make sure that it blends with the other color you choose. (Examples: pink and purple, pink and red, blue and purple, orange and red, orange and yellow)
Take a spoon and zig zag the lighter color icing in the bowl with the darker color. Then take a toothpick and drag it going in the opposite direction to give the icing the marble effect.
Take the cookie and dip it face down in the icing. Make sure that you are holding the cookie as flat as possible to ensure an even coating of icing. Also, make sure that your finger tips don't get in the way! When you pull the cookie out of the icing, allow the excess to drip into the bowl. You can even give the cookie a little shake to get some of the extra icing off. Flip the cookie quickly to reveal your beautiful pattern! Each cookie will be unique--which is what makes this so fun!
I don't like the icing to run off the edge of my cookies, so while the icing is still wet I will wipe the sides if needed. If you need to fill in certain areas that didn't get an even coating of icing, you an do this with a toothpick while the icing is still wet. You can even do the marble technique on the cookie if you decide it needs a little extra color in one spot! Just drop a dab of icing and swirl it with your toothpick. I always let my cookies dry overnight to be sure that the icing has hardened completely.
If you love the idea of gifting special sugar cookies this Valentine's Day, we've put together a must-have kit for you! Our Valentine's Day Cookie Kit includes just what you'll need to put together 6 cute cookie boxes.
6 Cookie Boxes
6 Valentine's Day Gift Tags
Red and White Yarn
Valentine's Day Sprinkles
Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter
The Southern Mercantile Sugar Cookie Recipe Card
We hope you enjoyed this how-to and we hope you'll give it a try! We'd love for you to tag us on Instagram or Facebook to share your Valentine's Day treats with us!
In one of my recent posts, Brunch Favorites, I shared my love for breakfast food with you. You should also know by now that I love to bake! Today I am going to take my love for breakfast and baking one step further and show you how to dress up your cupcakes and muffins!
This bakery-style dressing will make your muffins stand out in a crowd, and add a little fancy to even your store-bought mixes!
It adds a little something special to your cupcakes too. You won't regret taking this extra step to show off your baked goodies!
Now, here's the plan. Gather together parchment paper, (I like the unbleached, kraft color) scissors, and your pans.
*When making muffins, you want to get your batter into the oven as quick as possible so that they will rise correctly. When making cupcakes, you don't have to rush as much!
First, place your square over the muffin cup until it is right in the middle, leaving the same amount of paper hanging over each side.
Use your finger tips to press the paper into the cup, making sure that the edges are remaining even on each side.
You will see how the paper starts to bunch up where it overlaps, that is good!
Use your fingers to press and create a fold where that happens. You will want to be sure to crease these areas really well.
Now that your square fits down into the cup, and your folds are creased, you can start filling them one by one! Filling the cups once you have the wrapper like you want it is a bit tricky, so if you have someone to help you, it will make it go by much quicker!
You want to be sure that the folds are creased really good to prevent batter from seeping behind the fold. If this happens, your liner will not look as pretty once the muffins are baked. The trick to this is practice! Having an extra hand helps, but it will just take practice to crease and fill the cups neatly!
I hope you enjoyed this simple tip on dressing up your cupcakes and muffins! Practice makes perfect--so practice on your family before your next party!
This past weekend we had the privilege of hosting a couples shower for Phillip's sister, Mary Beth, and her fiancé, J.D.! We love them so much and we were so happy to be able to honor them in such a fun way.
When we started the planning process, we knew that on any given Saturday, there would be a UGA game that our guests would hate to miss. We decided to incorporate the love for the game into our party. Mary Beth and J.D. loved this idea, considering they are huge fans--and so are their friends! We had a blast and everyone enjoyed the laid back environment of a football party. Today, I will share with you a few fun tips for making your next Football celebration a hit!
Keep team colors in mind when choosing your decor for the party. Don't go overboard, but your team of choice should be obvious by your selection. Stick with prints and patterns that could be used every day to show sophistication.
Little touches go a long way. Chalkboard art is always a fun idea to spice things up and customize the party! If you don't feel confident taking this on, recruit a friend with perfect penmanship to help you with this project.
Have a little fun and keep the theme going throughout the party. An easy way to do this is to make banners and food tags that coordinate with the invitation. I printed off letters to spell "Go Dawgs" in the same font that I used on the invitation. Cut them in the shape of a triangle and wallah! I did the same thing for the food tags to tie it all together. The ribbon I chose for the banner matched my fabric choices on the food table. You're sure to make an impression by carrying out your theme!
Have a little fun when it comes to the menu! Stick with fan-favorites, like Chips and Dip, Cheese Burger Sliders, and Lemonade.
All of the bridesmaids brought a finger food for guests to enjoy. This worked out great and we had plenty to choose from!
When it comes to dessert, you can get a little creative! I chose to make Red Velvet cupcakes to go along with my color scheme, but the possibilities are endless! Cupcakes are fun since they are easy to grab and totally customizable.
*Use baskets lined with napkins, for items like chips, to add an extra layer of look and create interest on the food table!
Keep it Simple
Remember, this is a football party! Relax and have a little fun. Don't stress about the details, just focus on creating a comfortable environment where people feel at home and are able to enjoy the game.
We put a TV outside on the porch so people could enjoy the game wherever they were. Although it was hot, we had a great time celebrating Mary Beth and J.D. Though I didn't have time to capture many pictures before the party started, here are a few pictures I snapped during the festivities!
If you're looking for a few great appetizer ideas for your next party, add "Southern Appetizers" to your cart! It is full of delicious menu ideas your guests will love!
In the last Beech Street Bungalow blog, The Exterior, I mentioned that we were planning to build planters for our front porch! I knew it would be a fun project, and that it would add a little something special to our porch area. What we didn't realize was how much work we were in for!
Here is a look at what we were dealing with...
If you look at the pictures above, you will notice a patch of brick that obviously looks filled in. We decided to remove this brick (since it was not original) and thought we could build planters to fill in the space where the brick was removed.
After the brick was removed, we were faced with the challenge of building planters that fit the space, and that were also functional. I knew without a doubt that Phillip could build beautiful planters that flowed with the rest of the house--it was the inside of the planters that had us stumped! We wanted these planters to last, so we wanted to make sure that the planters had a way to drain and that inside of the planters were protected from the damp conditions.
I searched for what seemed like hours trying to find a tutorial online. What I knew was that the water needed to be able to drain, and that the wet soil didn't need to be in direct contact with the wood...I just couldn't find anyone to tell me how to make it happen!
We started by building the outside of the planters to fit the openings. We purposefully built them wide enough to hang over the edge of the porch to provide a space for them to drain. We also built them bottomless--our design will keep us from having to fill the entire box with soil. (Which will save us money and still look great! :)
This tutorial will only work for planters that are located on the edge of a porch, so that there is a place for them to drain. Like I said before, this will work for window boxes too since they can drain right into your flower beds.
The first step in creating this "V" shape is to cut braces that will hold a piece of plywood in place. We measured and cut the braces for the smaller side of the "V" at a 45 degree angle.
The second step was to cut the braces for the longer side of the "V".
Next, we measured and cut pieces of plywood to attach to the braces and give us a platform that would become the bottom of the planter. Once we had one side of the "V" in place, it was time to cover it and protect the wood from water damage.
Phillip chose to use tar paper (the material used in roofing) to line the planters. He felt like it was our most durable and waterproof option. We carefully lined the planters using nails and a small staple gun. I brought the paper up high enough on the sides to protect the planter, but low enough that it wouldn't be noticed once it was filled with plants.
We added the second piece of plywood and covered it too.
Once the "V" was in place, there was a two inch gap where the water could drain. Because of this gap, we used screen to line the bottom. We knew that the screen wouldn't be enough to keep the soil from washing out, but it would create a draining bottom for the planter.
.e decided to use a material called Weed-X to line the planters, keeping the soil in when watered! This material should do the trick. Water passes through, but soil won't! We gently laid this material along the inside of the planter, stapling it to secure it to the sides.
*You may be wondering why we couldn't skip the screen step, and the answer is because of the weight of the soil and plants. We needed a sturdy, yet drainable, bottom for the planter.
Now we are ready for the fun part! It is still hot (really hot) here in South Georgia, so we are going to wait a little while before we plant. Keep an eye out though, I'll have a little help from my friends choosing the perfect plants to complement our porch! If you have any ideas yourself (preferably hard to kill plants :), leave a comment below! I'll take all the help I can get.
I hope this tutorial was helpful for those who are looking to do a similar project. It is always fun for me to share tips we have picked up along the way!
Check out more Beech Street Bungalow renovation stories here!
If you are not feeling ready to take on large container gardening, check out our selection of smaller pots in the store. Perfect for smaller gardening projects on your porch or patio!