hurricane matthew

boy am i glad that hurricane matthew has passed and the skies are sunny once again here in our little piece of the sunshine state. we are beyond blessed to have made it thought the hurricane with no damage and we maintained power the whole time. some people in the area have been told not to expect to have power restored until tuesday evening. that would be five days without power!! some people can't even get back to their homes yet to see what is left, and some of our friends have had their home destroyed. we feel extremely blessed and I thank God for protecting us. 

Thank you each and every one of you who extended well wishes and prayers for us!

in everything we give thanks | goals for october

autumn is supposed to be the season in which we tend to be the most thankful. surrounded by family and friends, the warmth of a roaring fire and a good meal. it is all so perfect. and it is easy to give thanks for all that we have in the easy moments. but what about when life isn't so perfect, when the our flame is running low and we feel like we can hardly make it through the next day, hour or minute. how do we offer up our thankfulness then? i know that i am guilty of refusing or failing to be thankful when things are going quite they way i wished they would go. i have muttered my complaints to God, when i should have been thanking him. i want to focus more on thankfulness this month and turn my attention toward home.

i wanted my goals for october to be simple, and ones that affected our everyday lives and well being. i want to look back on this season as season of growth and thankfulness.

my goals for october:
- cut out diet coke as much as possible. i actually started doing that this past week kind of on accident, and when i noticed a difference in how i was feeling i decided to continue on the trail of cutting out diet coke!
- write kristopher at least one note a week. leaving little notes for kristopher is one of my favorite things to do. even though he finds them before he is supposed to.
- keep a thankful journal. i want to write down one thing that i am thankful for each day in the month of october. for me, there is something about writing things down that help me remember and appreciate them more.
- cook dinner more. now i do already cook a fair amount. usually 3ish nights a week, and breakfast on the weekend sometimes. but i want to cook more. i want to know what we are eating and save a little money in the process.

i am so looking forward to the month of october, the cool weather, warm knits and recipies full of pumpkin. do you have any goals for october? i would love to hear them.

curating everyday moments

when i created the name, a mrs among magnolias, i was deep in the middle of find my style and my main focus was decorating our little home. three plus years have passed and i find that a mrs among magnolias doesn't suit me the way it used to. our home still changes occasionally and i am sure it still will as time goes on, but it is not my main focus. it is more about the everyday. enjoying those moments, the moments that may seem simple and mundane in the moment, but then later we realize that those were the moments in which the greatest things happened. i still love to set a good table, but i have begun to view them less as a production and more as a purpose. this change began in this blog post. i shared a little of my heart and what i wanted to change going forward.

gone are the days of collecting jack rogers, purses and clothes galore. and i am one thousand percent ok with with. i want to collect things that enrich our family, that we can look back on one day and know that those things made a difference for our family. i was to decorate our home in a way that we will enjoy, not in a way that will get the most likes or view online.

i hope that y'all will continue on this journey with me while i curate everyday moments.

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mourning and dancing

“Because of Christ, life comes from death.

Because of Christ, we will dance again”

I have never really taken the time or had the thought to sit down and write out my journey to being a mama, until now. maybe one day, someone out there will read this and find comfort and know they are not alone. maybe I am just writing this for myself, reliving this pain is hard. it reminds me of the hours, days, weeks that i cried. i cried out in pain, in confusion, in anger, in brokenness, in insufficiency.  this was some of the greatest joy, followed by the deepest pain i had ever felt. as these hot summer days melt into the cool breeze of fall i can’t help but feel sad. our baby would have been one in late october/early november. 

hearing the words that the baby was gone was almost an out of body experience. i felt like i was watching a movie, or reading the words of another mama to be who was walking this road. my mama never had a miscarriage or lost a baby so i always thought that i would never have to endure that burden either. the emotions of loss have never been more real to me than in that doctors office. we had begun planning and i had began dreaming. dreaming of those little baby kicks, of the nursery and most of all what our little baby would be like. 

the days following the news were dark days, i remained a little hopeful that i could still carry a little baby. but as the months passed and the negative tests were pilling up that hope was fading. the self doubt and the feeling that i was an inadequate wife, and woman became strong. we tried medicine and other things short of IVF until i felt so empty that i had to walk away despite the feeling that a part of me was dying. the doctors visits and the medicine and the schedules became so consuming that i feel like i lost that part of my life and i didn’t get to enjoy those days with my husband and family. 

i still have no baby in my belly... those words are hard to write and hard to come to terms with somedays, but it is the reality of today. what has gotten me through each negative that appears on that little stick is that God has a plan. he knows what tomorrow holds, he knows the right moment to place a baby in my womb. that doesn’t mean that i still don't cry a little each time the result appears that i am not pregnant, but i have to remember i serve a larger purpose. 

it seems like everyday, someone that i know is either giving birth or announcing that they are expecting. and i am genuinely happy for each of them, but my mama heart does break a little each time. i have learned that i ok to be sad, it is ok to mourn. but its not ok to spend each day completely consumed by the past. it is not ok to question my self worth, because my self worth isn't found in two pink lines, or in the title of mama. instead it is found in God. in being His child, serving His purpose and following His direction. 

Lord willing, I will dance again with joy over a positive pregnancy test. Lord willing, I will one day be a mama. but until then I will live each day in His footsteps. bettering myself and my soul. preparing for what lies ahead. and above all remembering that He will not give us more than we can handle. He knows how strong we are. He may push us out of our comfort zone, but He will always make a way. a way in the darkness when we think all hope is lost. as Ecclesiastes 3 says, there is a time to be born and a time to die. - the Lord knows the exact perfect timing to bring a baby into your life. 

If you are a hoping to be mama out there, breathe. give yourself a rest and know that He is in control. if you had already gotten pregnant and had a baby, then you wouldn’t have your future baby. you wouldn’t have that bundle of joy. that unique person. how amazing is that to think about. God has your baby already in his hands, and he doesn’t want you to have anything less than the best. 

“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice.
You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” //John 16:20

rest in the Lord and he will give you strength. 

homemade apple crisp

after picking up a whole basket full of apples this weekend, i decided to make a homemade apple crisp. fall baking is one of my favorite things to do pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, all the smells. i love a good apple crips and this was my first time making a homemade one. after i made it, kristopher kept saying he didn't think he would like it because he doesn't like mushy apples. but once i had my helping and was settling down on the couch, he came around the corner with a helping for himself. i would call that a success and a new family favorite. this has been the first real bit of fall that we have had in our home, except for the store bought pumpkin pie i picked up last week. it finally has me in the mood for sweaters and cooler weather. 

homemade apple crisp

4 medium applies - peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/3 c softened butter
 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
vanilla ice cream (optional, but a must)

directions: Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch pan // Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except ice cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples // Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.

happy baking!

handmade autumn table

while helping my mama design her new dining room and kitchen, we came across a few table runners hand sewn by my great grandmother. the colors and design instantly spoke to me, i could almost see my great grandmother sitting there sewing these stitch by stitch. i packed them up and brought them home with me and i couldn't wait to use this one to set the mood for autumn. as i started to put things together, i quickly realized how perfectly they match these handmade napkins from Dot and Army. these beautiful napkins are handmade in Georgia. i picked them up at last years southern living shrimp and grits festival. they were a little different than my normal choice in napkins, but i am so glad i choose these. especially for the summer and autumn months. 

some of the most beautiful moments happen around a family table. i love the quote, "When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence." so often we want to keep our blessings to ourselves, we don't want to share our material accomplishments with others. but what we fail to realize is that when we open our hearts and our homes, we end up feeling more blessed in ways that things cannot. 

it is hard to believe that the first day of autumn is later this week. i really don't know where this year is going so quickly. my hope is that we will slow down and enjoy autumn more this year. get away and see all the colors of fall. turn our phones off and enjoy the company of the person right in front of us. this season won't be here for long and I want to soak in each minute before it is gone. 

happy last few days of summer!

natural homemade deodorant

in an attempt to make our home and the products we use better for us, I tried my hand at making deodorant. I was a little nervous at first, but it ended up being super easy and best of all I know what is in it and what it going on our bodies. 

deodorant ingredients:
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
1/3 cup coconut oil - do not use fractioned, it will not harden
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons coco butter or shea butter
3 tablespoons organic beeswax pellets
20 drop essential oil**

** you can include whichever oils you would like to here, but you will always need to have atleast 5 drops of tea tree oil in each batch. tea tree is know for its antiseptic properties, it also has antimicrobial properties that destroy the baiters on your skin that cause body odor. 

tools needed to make:
a sauce pan or a glass bowl/cup that you don't mind ruining - if you use a glass bowl or cup you will create a double boiler.
old spoon or whisk to stir with
empty deodorant containers- you can use some that you already have or you can purchase empty ones. I used these and one batch created 3 containers of deodorant. 

combine the coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and coco butter/ shea butter, and heat until the beeswax pellets are melted. stirring can help speed up this process. once pellets are melted, remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. mix well. pour into containers and allow to sit in a cool place overnight. since this deodorant has beeswax in it, it should not melt but you do not want to leave it in direct sunlight.

NOTE: this mixture will harden fairly quickly, so don't stop in the middle! 

I used this combination: 5 drops tea tree oil // 5 drops ylang ylang oil // 10 drops geranium oil. it smells like a bouquet of flowers. 

you will sweat some from using this deodorant, because it does not include chemicals that prevent your body from sweating some, but you will not smell bad! I hope y'all try to make this for yourself and make your home and your body a little better.

Happy deodorant making! 

move as life moves

we have a modest little 1800 square foot home. it has plenty of room for just the two of us, but there are sometimes i feel like we are just running out of room, which just sounds crazy! i have collected and hoarded way to many things over the past five years and it has been nice to go through and get rid of things we don't love or use anymore. I don't quite know why I feel the need to hold on to all this stuff that I never use, but it certainly feels good when it leaves our house never to return. its like breathing a deep sigh of relief.

this major cleaning and donating urge started when we had to take everything out of the laundry room in order to paint it and give it a little makeover. upon cleaning everything out of the laundry room I discovered the unnecessary amount of towels i had- dish towel, tea towel, decorative towel that have never been used, small towels that i didn't even recognize, towels that were not my taste at all. you name it, it was probably in there in the form of a towel. I honestly could not fathom how I accumulated so many towel. and how much money was sitting there in the form of towels! then i thought that if i had that many extra towels, how much other things have i been collecting excess of. 

I have found myself becoming more of a minimalist. less things on the walls, less things cluttering the counters, tabletops and shelves. and one of the biggest things is less cleaning products of all sizes and shapes. instead of having a granite cleaner, window cleaner, surface cleaner, tile cleaner, etc. i have been finding natural cleaners that would be able to clean all those places while bing safer for our family. 

the secretary desk has been moved around four times since we brought it home. it belonged to my great grandfather, who gave it to my mom and i then convinced her to let us give it a new home.  previously it held trinkets, photos and other things I didn't quite know what to do with. but i knew on this move, i didn't want it to be full of odds and ends and i wanted it to be simple since it is now in my office. (yes there are now two desks in my office) so it sat empty for a few days. then I woke up on morning and it hit me, utilize it as a linen and cleaning storage. i love how this desk has really become a central place in my office to house some of the items i use for home keeping along with some oil and linens.

I would love to know if y'all have any questions or topics that you would like to see in a future blog post. I am working on some more homemade projects posts, but what else would you like to see?

making changes at home

recently I posted on instagram about making changes around our home. I have been focusing more on what the ingredients are in the products in our home, and not just getting it if it says "organic" or "all-natural" or "pure" because I have learned that some of the products I used most were some of the worst. and even 2 of the products I used in my teenage years have lead to issues now in my adult life.

I know you can find these alternatives all over the internet and pinterest, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites with y'all and what they replaced.

Dry Shampoo: 1 tablespoon corn starch // 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol // 2 tablespoons of water // 4-6 drops essential oils
combine all ingredients and store in a glass amber spray bottle. shake well each time before using. wet roots, brush through rest of hair. you can either let it air dry, or blast your roots with a hair dryer. I personally think it works better when with the hair dyer, but if you are pressed for time air dry works fine.

I used to use either batiste or drybar. Batiste got a 9 out of 10 on the think dirty app (10 being the worst), and drybar came in at a 10. I prefer the homemade dry shampoo to these other two and it leaves my hair feeling much better are more natural. 

Shampoo and Conditioner: this is one thing that I haven't gone to making homemade yet, but I did switch out my old duo for a new one. I was able to notice a difference in my hair within two washes. I used to use OGX renewing with argan oil, and it came in at a 10! a product that is supposed to be organic. after picking my jaw up off the floor I started looking at other shampoos and conditioners. I landed on Honest Company shampoo and conditioner that came in at 1 and 0 respectively. 

Face Scrub: 2 teaspoons baking soda // 1 teaspoon water // 2 drops lavender essential oil
combine into paste. wet skin, massage on to skin, rinse with warm water.
I used to use bore baking soda pore cleaner. you would think that a product that is supposed to be made of baking soda would be good, right... wrong! It came in at a 9! so I did some research and made my own. you make as little or as much as you need and you probably already have everything you need in your pantry already. my face is very acne prone every more in my late 20s than when I was a teenager, thank you mama. This is gentle on my skin, while cleaning it without leaving a chemical residue.

Fabric Softener: 1 cup epsom salt // 10-14 drops of essential oil
mix well to ensure that the oils are dispersed. store in a glass container.  include 4 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup per load of laundry.
I stopped using fabric softener a while back. I didn't like the residue it left on our clothes, that coupled with the overwhelming scent was enough to make me say no. then i experimented with a vinegar fabric softener, but after doing more research I discovered that vinegar can cause the seals on a front load washer to break down much sooner than normal. I certainly don't want that!

Dryer Sheets/ Wool Dryer Balls: I picked up a set at HomeGoods for about five dollars, they are by Laura Ashley Home. I love them. they separate the clothes and linens better and help dry them faster using less energy and less time in the dryer. you can also customize the scent per load. just add about 2-4 drops of oil to each ball. the scent is fairly faint and will last about 2 to 3 loads depending on the size of load and the temperature of the dryer. I used to use the honest company dryer clothes, and they are rated very very well on think dirty coming in at a zero! yes a zero. best score possible. I will still use them occasionally, but I mainly use the dryer balls. they cost less and last a lot longer. If you prefer dyer sheets, the honest company ones are by far the best i've tried. they are non scented and they are wet. that may sound a little odd, but since they are wet when they go in they can last up to two load per sheet. i have used those for a couple of years now and have been very impressed. 

Flour Sack Towels: now I know this isn't quite a change in chemicals, but it has saved us money and reduced waste. instead of using paper towels to clean, I use flour sack towels. they can be used multiple times and then you can just toss them in the washer when they need to be cleaned. you can find them at a lot of places, even target. they are great because you can use them to clean mirrors and glassware streak free. i have developed quite a large collection, but they are perfect for cleaning just about everything. we even used one when we were installing our kitchen backsplash.  since they don't cost much, its not a huge loss to toss one if it gets too nasty.

Essential Oil Diffuser: This is probably the single best and most effective change I have made. I ditched the candles and have been using a diffuser instead. the first time we went to change the AC filter after making the change the evidence of the change was right in our hands. Our filters used to come out almost completely black and we had to use heavy duty ones just to keep up. now, the filters just show signs of normal dust and dirt. it was mind blowing to see the difference that cutting out candles made. I still use them occasionally, but not almost all day like I used to. It is also nice to know that if I forget to turn the diffuser off it won't burn my house down like a candle could. instead it just turns off once it runs out of water. and I can the scent as I want to, instead of having to wait until the candle burns down. Ive also been using a combination of eucalyptus, lemon and peppermint at night to fight my sinuses. I honestly can't say enough good things about using a diffuser. maybe I will make an entire post dedicated to that later.

Air Freshener and Febreze, linen spray alternative: 1/8 teaspoon salt // 2 oz distilled water // 20 drops essential oils
combine the salt and essential oils in an amber glass bottle, shake well until the oils have a chance to marry well with the salt then add the water. shake well each time before use. then just spray where needed.
I love using lavender and rosewood for the linen spray. it is such a soothing comforting scent. you can use regular water instead, but i prefer distilled so that it does leave in mineral deposits on the furniture and so that they don't clog up the spray bottle.

tub scrub: 1/4 cup liquid castile soap // 10 drops essential oils // 1 cup baking soda
combine ingredients together in a mason jar, stir/shake well before each use. spoon onto a scrub bush as needed.
before, i just used an all purpose cleaner on the tub, but this tub scrub has made a world of difference. it makes the tub shine like the top of the crysler building.. now i need to go watch annie!! anyways. this stuff is amazing. I've used it on tubs, tile, countertops, and sinks. I've noticed that in between uses when i am just wiping these surfaces down, that the tub and sink manage to stay cleaner and look brighter. makes my job a little easier. ill take it!

large and small amber glass spray bottles, amber dropper bottles, diffuser, laundry drying rack- amazon. love me some amazon prime
flour sack towels- some are from target, mine had a set of four solid white for under $4. I have also found them at HomeGood and Marshalls. they are especially good when you can snag them on clearance.
mason jars- I either pick up at the grocery store or amazon. depending on where I am when I need more.
peg racks- container store.

happy home keeping. 

preparing for fall

As the new season of the year is on the horizon, I have begun thinking about the goals and plans for myself, our family and our home for this fall season. Not just things like pick a pumpkin or go on a hay ride, but things with more meat. Things that will enrich our lives and out home during this season. To help us be intentional, simple and real. I was to enjoy and savor every moment of the next few months because this year has been moving faster than any other year in my life so far. Normally, about this time each year I would pull out my big box of fall decor and I would fill every open space with fake pumpkins, flowers, leaves and everything fall. This year, I am saying no to all of that. 

Last fall and especially last winter(christmas) I spent more time than I care to think about decorating our home, and then I didn't even get to enjoy it for very long. I was miserable, tired and just over all the Christmas festivities. I feel like I missed out on the joys that fall and winter bring. And sadly, I feel like I didn't even get to enjoy Christmas because I was ready to take down the Christmas tree before Christmas was even over. 

I don't want to force fall into our home. I want to bring in fresh flowers, pumpkins, pinecones and leaves as they cross our path and feel like they need to be brought in. I don't want to fill out home with fake flowers and pumpkins just so that I can post pictures of fall decor. I have bought in to the notion that I have to go overboard just because its fall. but then I end up unhappy because our home feels cluttered and my bank account is a little light because I went out and bought so much fall decor.

We already have more than we need to live a comfortable and beautiful life in our home. Our need for more decor doesn't suddenly happen just because the colors of the world around us are changing. God created a perfect world, and He has given us so many beautiful leaves, flowers, gourds for us to enjoy. I want to bring those things into our home and celebrate the amazing world God created. I want to less time at Michaels shopping for fall decor and more time with my family taking in every moment of this season.

This new season to me, is a season of warmth. A time to cuddle, and snuggle. a time to break out the flannel and wool, to eat good food and to enjoy one anothers company. That is what I want to remember when I look back at fall twenty sixteen. Not how many photos I posted or how many likes I got. I have spent a good portion of the last few months trying to remove and pair down things in our home that we don't use or don't like anymore. I don't want to undo all of that will decor overcrowding.

A new season is near, and I cannot wait!