Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roses for Mother

Today is the long-awaited day. Today I will hug my Mother and Father.

I will give Mother a bouquet of roses to tell her how much I have missed her.

We will share pretty pink cupcakes to celebrate the sweet gift of time together.

And I will give Mother a special gift to honor her for all she has been through:

This beautiful handcrafted necklace from Blush Envy.

This necklace looks fair and delicate, but it is actually very strong.

Just like my Mother.

Today I am thankful for the gift of the present.

And sharing it with the ones I love most.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Haley's Bridal Luncheon

Saturday the girls and I attended bride-to-be Haley's bridesmaids luncheon. Our hostess provided a lovely southern meal, which 4-year-old Emma was eager to sample. 

Here is Emma, who slipped in right as I took this picture to swipe a bite of fruit off one of the plates. Haley later took this seat, so maybe Emma thought she was being a good flower girl to make sure the food was safe for our princess bride to eat.

The tables reflected Haley's tastes, with birds, nests and lovely shades of green. I look forward to sharing details of the wedding, which is this Saturday!

Here is Haley (front row in the black dress) with her bridesmaids and flower girls. Aren't they beautiful?

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Rosey Outlook

I am so excited about this weekend and three special events it brings. First, our ladies book club will meet tonight to discuss Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. We have planned a tranquil beach-themed gathering, so I will look forward to sharing all the details with you next week. Next, Mary Ashley, Emma and I will join our sweet friend Haley for her bridal luncheon Saturday. Haley is so precious to us, and we are excited to play a role in her special day. And finally, the biggest moment of the weekend and a huge answered prayer:

I will get to hug my Mother.

I have dreamed of this moment all summer, and I'm so glad that the time for our reunion has finally arrived. My parents flew home from Salt Lake City last night. I have baked cupcakes (my first in months) in anticipation of Mother's homecoming. I get choked up every time I think about seeing my parents again, so I can only imagine how emotional our reunion will be. After the difficulties our family has faced this summer, I think we are definitely overdue for an emotional release. So bring on the happy tears!
I hope you are expecting roses this weekend, too. Blessings to you, friends!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Country Pleasures

A few moments of bliss ...

A few surprise gardenia blooms.

An inspirational look at Cabbages & Roses style in At Home with Country by Christina Strutt.

Dreamy jammies with feminine, floral details from April Cornell.

A pluot -- a sweet and tart hybrid of the plum and apricot -- shared with a friend.

Altogether, a morning of country pleasures.

"Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find."
-- William Wordsworth, 1806

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stone Gable Salt Scrub

This summer I discovered StoneGable, an inspiring blog where I love to linger. Gracious host Yvonne welcomes us into her home each day, sharing recipes, craft ideas and tablescapes. I have thought often this summer how lovely it would be to visit StoneGable, but I don't think I could bear to leave!

I was so pleased to find Yvonne's StoneGable salt scrub tutorial -- a perfect quick creative project I could do at the kitchen counter without taxing my back. Above you can see my first attempt, a fragrant pink salt scrub infused with rose and lavender. I have enjoyed sampling the scrub myself this week, and I am already on the lookout for more pretty jars so I can share this gift of pampering with others.

I am including Yvonne's salt scrub recipe below, but be sure to visit her blog for more detailed information and helpful hints. I promise you will eagerly anticipate each visit with Yvonne, garnering daily inspiration for beautiful living from a gracious lady whose hands are always busy saying welcome home.

StoneGable Salt Scrub
1 cup fine textured sea salt
4 oz. grape seed oil
2 drops Petal Pink Wilton food coloring
3 drops rose essential oil
2 drops Savannah rain essential oil
Using a bowl and spoon that will not be used for food, mix the salt with the oil. Add food coloring and mix thoroughly. Add essential oils and mix. (Note: Rounding up all the ingredients actually took longer than making the salt scrub. I found fine-textured sea salt at Wal-Mart, grape seed oil at Fresh Market, essential oils and scents at Michaels and the crackled jar with silver lid at TJ Maxx.)

"Give her the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates" (Proverbs 31:31).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coming Up Roses

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." -- Emma Goldman

This week everything is coming up roses on A Little Loveliness. I have made tremendous strides toward recovery and thank you so much for all your prayers, encouraging words and acts of kindness. Each one has been like a rose along this path. Per my doctor's orders, I am walking every day -- and I hope to pass the 1-mile mark today. I am also more able to enjoy some of the creative pursuits I love. This week I am working diligently to complete flower girl dresses for the girls, so I will look forward to sharing details of that project soon. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy stopping in to smell the roses this week -- gifts of love from me to you.

"To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat." -- Beverly Nichols

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back Tickles

Although this has been a difficult summer in many ways, the children have definitely lightened the mood with their funny antics. Here are a few moments I don't want to forget.

Ice Ice, Baby
Eight-year-old Christian burst into my bedroom recently to announce, "Guess what, Mom? I can sing the song 'Ice Ice Baby' in the new language Carson has been learning. Tkin, tkin, shu-shu. Tkin, tkin, shu-shu."

"Wow, Christian," I replied. "What language was that?"

"Mom," he replied with disdain, " 'Ice Ice Baby' is English."

King of the Castle
On our recent beach trip with Joe's family, Mary Ashley and Emma convinced a reluctant little boy cousin to play prince and princesses with them. At first, 5-year-old Reese grinned bashfully as the girls gushed over their handsome prince. But he grew tired of the game when Cinderemma demanded that he dance with her at the ball. "Can't we frow the Frisbee instead?" he offered weakly.

When Emma let him know this would not do, he capitulated and led her in a dance. But as he placed an arm on her shoulder, he put his foot down: "All right. But no tissing. I don't like tissing."

Fitting Room
Four-year-old Emma and I were shopping recently, and she encouraged me to buy a dress. I bought it without trying it on in the store and was disappointed to slip it on at home and discover it didn't fit.

"Oh, this is not going to work," I muttered under my breath. "It's too tight."

Little Emma, playing nearby, moaned dramatically, "Oh-h-h-h, no ... if it's too tight for you, that means it will be too tight for me, too."

Sugar Free
In a related story, I have made several attempts this summer at eliminating sugar from my diet. The children have taken notice, and yesterday when Emma joined me for a morning walk, she said, "Mommy, I have decided not to eat sugar anymore. I'm not going to have it for three whole days."

"Wow, Emma, that's great," I encouraged. "That's very healthy."

We walked a few more steps, and I thought I should explain, "You do know that this means no icy pops for a few days, right?"

"What?" she said, eyes wide with surprise.

We walked quietly for a bit until Emma broke the silence:

"I think I'll start that tomorrow."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

C Is for Cookie; J is for Jonathan

Are these cookies the cutest thing you have ever seen? -- second only to the little one they were made to celebrate.

After spending the first week with my sister, Jennifer, after the birth of her first  two children, I was so disappointed not to play an active role in welcoming my new nephew Jonathan this summer. I wanted to surprise the family with something special, and I was delighted to find Lori's Place on Etsy. I thought siblings David and Caitlin would be happy to celebrate their new baby brother with monogrammed cookies. Lori was easy to work with, and I could not be more pleased with the cookies she made. Check out her shop, and you are sure to find some sweet inspiration for your next celebration.

"Cookies are made of butter and love." -- Norwegian Proverb

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sugar Baby

Meet the newest addition to our family, my precious nephew Jonathan Page Driver.

I have not gotten to hold Jonathan yet, but I am hoping to get some snuggle time with this little guy soon. I can almost smell his sweet, milky breath in these photos by photographer Sally Kent.

I can tell you he has already left footprints on the hearts of his Mommy and Daddy, as well as big brother, David, and big sister, Caitlin.

Welcome to the family, sweet Jonathan. I love you, Angel Baby!

Tomorrow, a sweet treat to celebrate the newest addition to the family.

Photos by Sally Kent.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Crazy for Crepe Myrtles

Years ago when I read a southern novel that mentioned crepe myrtles, I did not know what they were. Now I look forward to enjoying the blooms of this regional favorite throughout the summer.

When Mary Ashley and Emma joined me for tea at Southern Homes and Gardens in Montgomery earlier this summer, we enjoyed seeing their crepe myrtles.

We planted several small crepe myrtles a couple of years ago, and I wasn't sure they were going to survive. But I was delighted to find our first blooms this summer. I hope one day our crepe myrtles will bloom in profusion like the one below from Southern Homes.

For now we will take what we can get!

I hope you will take some time to enjoy summer's blooms this week.

"How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence." -- Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken Poppy Seed Salad


This chicken poppy seed salad was a lunchtime treat on our recent Lester family beach trip. My sister-in-law Shannon made this recipe from the new cookbook Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood.

Chicken Poppy Seed Salad
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 cups seedless grapes, halved
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons dried dill
Boil the chicken in a large pot filled with water until done, about 45 minutes. Drain the chicken and set aside to cool. Once the chicken is cooled, dice into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the celery, grapes, almonds, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, poppy seeds and dill. Mix until the salad is fully combined. Store in the refrigerator. Serves 12.

Shannon was kind enough to pick up a copy of Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood for me during my recovery, and what a beautiful book it is! Every recipe is accompanied by a full-page photo of the dish. I have already found several I can't wait to try. Find this new classic southern cookbook discounted here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cousins to the Beach

"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." -- Joyce Brothers

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