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New Planner from Hearth & Hand


*This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. 


Since this is my first post on the blog for the new year, I guess I should say “Happy New Year!”, even though it’s already the 20th of January! Every year I resolve to get organized because organization is NOT one of my stronger points. Honestly, I think organization doesn’t typically come easy to creatives (though there’s always an exception to the rule). There’s certain things I’m organized with (hold on while I try to think of one…ha!), but most things are jumbled. I don’t mean that my house is a mess, or laundry doesn’t get done or anything like that. The pantry could use a good organizing, as well as the kids closet (probably like a lot of you), but mostly, my BRAIN is a mess! I’m forgetful (thank you Lupus) and I have to write things down most of the time or I’ll forget. Last year I bought a cute planner from Anthropologie and never wrote anything in it (thank goodness it was WAY on sale). SO, I’m starting over again this year with a new planner from the Hearth & Hand collection at Target.

I saw this planner a couple times before I bought it and really liked the simplicity of it, and it comes with everything I think I need at this point. I’ve seen a lot of really cute, very complex and expensive planners out there, but I don’t really think I need all that to keep up with my schedule. And this one was priced right!

The simplicity is keeping with Joanna Gaines style.

I love how she puts little house keeping and home decor tips throughout the pages.

There’s space for all your goal planning, too.

Do any of you ever fill out these contacts pages? Miss Organized here never does. BUT, I actually typed up addresses of family and friends a couple years ago and keep it saved on my computer. Go me! I am now well on my way to being an organizational guru!!

How many of you keep yearly planners? I’d love to hear what you use!

Click here to get this simple, but lovely planner from the Hearth and Hand collection!

Till the next time,





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Christmas at Victory Cottage {A Christmas House Tour}

Hey, y’all! I’m here with my Christmas House Tour, so get ready to be overloaded with photos! I’ll try to keep my talking minimal and just let you enjoy the pictures. Once again, I’m linking up at Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Housewalk! I always enjoy looking at different bloggers’ homes and then linking up to her party.

If you’re new here, we live in a 1928 Tudor cottage that we’ve *almost* completely renovated since 2011. Christmas is my favorite time of year, so I do what I can to make the house festive and fun for my 5 year old twins…and for me too (I don’t think Hubby cares one way or the other). 🙂

I’ll start with the living room. It’s the first room you walk into when you come through the front door. We usually have a live tree, but this year we went with a fake slim flocked tree from King of Christmas. I love how beautiful it is, the lack of messy needles, and the ease of decorating, but I do miss the live tree.

Now, moving to the dining room…

I’m hoping for a lot more cards to fill up this wall! Every year, I do something different to display all the beautiful cards we receive. It’s one of my favorite things of the season!

Next on the tour is our kitchen…I was losing light when I photographed the kitchen, so forgive the grainy photos! This is the space that I usually keep light and fun, displaying some of my nutcracker collection. Of course, the kids love this one…and they have their endless jar of candy here, as well!

Santa is guarding some sweet Christmas cookies the kids made with their Nee-Nee this week.

That “Fa La La” sign is a custom order waiting to be framed, but I think I might just keep it. 😉

Edited to show you the finished sign! I love how it turned out!


And last, I’ll show you a few shots from our master bedroom. I just did some simple touches of Christmas here.

I hope you enjoyed Christmas at Victory Cottage! I hope to be back to explain details of some of these photos, and sources where they apply.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6











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Harrison & Lyla’s 5th Birthday Farm Party {Down on the Farm}

Harrison & Lyla celebrated their 5th birthday a week early at the end of August. I figured since it’s now October, it’s about time to blog about it. 😉

I don’t do parties every year. In fact, other than family get together’s at Chuck E. Cheese, the twins haven’t had a party since their first birthday (see that party here). This is totally just my view, but I don’t want my kids expecting a huge party every year with tons of gifts. I also feel it’s a burden on guests to have to buy EVERY year for the same kids. Especially when I have two at the same party. I feel my kids will appreciate something more when it’s not expected every year. Anyway, that’s just my opinion, so if you’re different, that’s totally fine. Ok, mooo-ving on… (see what I did there?)

I think it’s a little hard to come up with cute party themes when you’re having to do boy/girl. Luckily, I didn’t think too much on this one and the kids were ecstatic about it, so I went with it. And Y’ALL. I decided to do this party TWO weeks before the party date. Yikes. Other than invitations and reserving the bounce house, I did every bit of shopping, crafting and work the week of the party. It was luckily a slow week (except for the fact that we were leaving on vacation 3 days after the party, and I was also trying to get outfits together for family photos). Why do I do this to myself? Ohhh yeah…for my kids.

So, the farm theme was a hit with my kids and I thought it all turned out cute, so here I am sharing. We had the party at my parents place. This is basically where I grew up from age 11: out in the country, but right on the edge of town. Pretty perfect. They have about 6 acres including a small pond…or a tank as Texans say. There’s no animals now, other than some wild turkey, rattlesnakes and a few deer now and then. We had a someone else’s horses at one point and my dad had a few cattle…we also had some chickens, cats and dogs in the mix too. 🙂

So, here we go with the pictures. Here’s the invitation I designed with cute clip art from Etsy. (Source at the bottom of the post)

The food tables.

Y’all, my friend made the cake. She also made the cake for their first birthday party, you can see that post here. All I did is show her a Pinterest picture of a cake the kids picked out and she DELIVERED! In her defense, it was hot and humid, so some of this was melting by the time I got a pic, but isn’t this the cutest? She did fabulous!

I made these food labels and attached with miniature clothes-pins.

Ignore the box of forks I forgot to move in my rush to get pictures taken before the guests started eating!

Brownies cut into circles for “cow patties”.

Chex Mix made for good “chicken feed”, little smokies wrapped in crescent rolls for “pigs in a blanket”,  “pitchforks” in a metal bucket, and rice krispie treats as “haystacks”. That label blew away in the wind….. 

Deviled eggs as “farm fresh eggs”. 

Robbing the kids toy box made for easy table decorations!

My dad let us use his Kubota tractor as the photo booth! I LOVE how it turned out!

I downloaded these photo booth props at the last minute from Etsy because the ones I ordered from Amazon didn’t make it in time. They were easy to cut out and glue on a stick. (Source at bottom of Post)



I couldn’t believe I found a farm theme bounce house! It was perfect and the kids loved it! And of course, we had lemonade and sweet tea!

The birthday kids! Can you spot the evidence of a mouth full of chocolate???

I have the sources listed for these cute shirts at the bottom of the post.

It turned out to be a fun day “down on the farm”!



“Country as a Biscuit” tee

“Cow You Doin’?” tee

Farm Photo Booth Downloadable Props

Farm Party Clip Art

Drink Canisters (similar)

Cow Fabric

Bandana Fabric

Red & White Checkered Fabric

Galvanized Bucket

Farm Bounce House

Farm Animal Figurines

Mini Hay Bales

*This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. 








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Chalk Painted Media Cabinet

I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for a TV sitting out in the open in the main living area of a house. I hate for it to be the “center of attention” in the room. We only have one living area in our home, so when we bought the house, we bought a media cabinet for the black box. We found this one at “Kiss it Good Buy” in historic downtown Grapevine, Tx. If you ever get a chance to shop there, you should! SO many great higher end items on consignment (we also got our antique dining set there). Anyway, this cabinet was white and I was in love with red at the time, so I painted the cabinet “Emporer’s Silk” by Annie Sloan. No judging here, please, as this was my first ever piece of furniture to paint! I look at it and cringe. Anyway, recently, she got an update in white chalk paint and I’m loving it!

Here’s a before pic in the red that I was SO sick of. This picture was taken 3 Christmases ago. That’s the last time I intentionally photographed the cabinet. Since then, it’s mostly been left out of photos!! It’s amazing how styles and decor tastes change over time!

So, moving on to better things….. 🙂

Here’s how she looks today! I’m still contemplating whether I want to distress it or not, and I need to add the finishing coat of wax. But let me tell you just how much I’m loving the change!

I’ve been waiting for months to dress the cabinet up with these beautiful knobs from Anthropologie!

So, what do you think? Better??

Maybe one day I’ll have a second living area the TV can find a home in, but until then, a pretty cabinet will do just fine.

Till the next time,



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Decorating with Fresh Flowers (Doesn’t Have to be Expensive)

*This post may contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience. 

I have this thing for fresh flowers. No, not the big expensive bouquets (though sometimes those are nice, too), but just the simple little bunch you can pick from your yard or buy on a regular trip to the grocery store. This year, I realized I’ve been on a roll and I’ve had fresh flowers every few weeks since springtime. They just seem to make a space happier. And happiness for about $6 is pretty great! 🙂 Almost as great as my happiness in a Starbucks cup for $4.93.

I thought I’d share a few pictures of the different flowers I’ve had so far this spring and summer (since it HAS been forever since I’ve updated the blog). Do I even have readers left??

This year, I have a Hydrangea bush, and though it’s not doing much now, I did have these big beautiful pink blooms. And Hydrangea dry beautifully, so you can use them longer.

I have overcome the world

spring dining room 2017

This bunch of Babies’ Breath caught my attention at the store, was cheap, but I couldn’t handle the smell. I never realized how awful they smell! It was literally making me nauseous, and my kids were complaining, so these went to the front porch till they dried up! I don’t know where they got their name. My babies always had sweet breath. They shoulda named these “toddler’s breath”. My kids have THE stinkiest breath in the mornings. UGH.

spring dining room 2017 11

They got replaced with these fresh twigs/leaves from a tree my hubby was trimming in our yard. Can’t get better than FREE, right?

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And then there was this cute little bunch my hubby picked up when we had company coming for dinner. He got them at Wal-Mart for $6.

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dining room 15

And look at these beautiful tulips! These were the most expensive at $10, but they came in a HUGE bunch. I love the way they gracefully drape, but they didn’t last too long.

white tulips 2

tulips in the dining room 1

white tulips 3

When the tulips started getting too droopy, I cut them down and kept on going until they absolutely looked awful!! Gotta get that ten dollars’ worth!! Ha! (And you really can’t see them well in this picture, but hey, it’s a pretty picture!)

spring bedroom 2017 1

Here’s a loner, but still looking pretty in one of the vases we got at our wedding shower (almost 7 years ago)!!! Where has the time gone?!


So there you have it! You CAN have fresh flowers without spending a fortune. Just a couple tips (although I’m not a pro) for keeping them looking fresh longer:

  1. Cut stems at a slant and put cut flowers in lukewarm water and bulb flowers in cold water.
  2. Change the water out every couple days.
  3. Give them food….flower food. They like to eat too. 🙂

My hubby sent me this bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers on Valentines Day this year. They are gorgeous. I’ve always told him I’d rather have something I can keep for the house, or something to wear. But, I’d become obsessed with this particular place, and had told him I’d love to have some. I don’t really think he remembered – I have my BFF to thank…. hahaha….but he came through. 😉 Anyway, in all honesty, though I loved these flowers, I’m just as happy with the simple little bouquets I bring home from the market. I told him he can go back to regular programming next year…..

valentines day 2017 1

So there you have it! Go buy some fresh flowers and see if they put a smile on your face and make the room happy! And check out my links below for some really cute vases. I have the DARLING Kate Spade one, but for some reason, none of these flowers ended up in that vase. It’s holding important things on my dresser….

Linking up at The Chronicles of Home for the Inspiration Gallery.

Till the next time,


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Wichita County Heritage Society Preservation Award

Hello friends! Wow, I logged in on WordPress and realized I haven’t updated the blog in 2 months! Goodness…

Anyhow, here I am to tell you something I’m so excited about! We got a congratulatory letter in the mail about a month ago announcing we had been selected to receive a Residential Preservation Award from our Heritage Society. The award (and I quote) is “in recognition of the successful effort to preserve a piece of Wichita County history through historic preservation”. Y’all, we were so shocked and grateful! This has made my year! 🙂

If you’ve followed my blog very long, you know I love history and I love old homes. So that means I love the history behind the old homes. Living in our home and restoring it has been a dream come true. And even though we have lived here 6 years now, we are still not finished with all we’d like to do. When time and money is not limitless, and you’re doing all the work yourselves, it takes a long time! And maybe it’s never really finished. I think there’s already things I’d like to “redo” from the first “redo”. Ha! But seriously, it’s a lot of hard work, and even though the biggest reward is getting to enjoy the home with our family, this recognition in our city is such an honor.

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This past week, we attended a dinner where we received a glass brick as an award to display in our home. We also will have a sign in our yard in recognition of this award for one year, as well as a complimentary year-long membership to the Heritage Society. A big thanks goes out to our kind neighbor, John Stephens (who lives in an amazingly gorgeous home he and his late wife restored), for nominating us for this award! Thank you!

wichita county preservation award 2017

wichita county preservation award 2017 2

Here’s a couple pics from the dinner.

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wichita county preservation award 2017 5

And just in case you needed a reminder of where we started, here’s how the house looked the day we closed 6 years ago!

our house first picture

And here’s how she looks today! We’ve done a little more to the exterior since the Heritage Society sneakily took that photo displayed at the dinner. Y’all, we FINALLY have some more shrubs! The yard needs a ton of work, but it’s a start. And how about that metal “P” on the chimney? I love it! It’s custom made from Vintage Metal Co. Check them out for custom metal signs!

our house after 1

So, there you have it. I hope all of the wonderful mothers out there are having a fabulous Mother’s Day! I sure am! We had church, then lunch with my mom and now just a relaxing afternoon. I’m thinking ice cream or coffee and a drive at golden hour is on the agenda this evening!

Till the next time,


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Early Spring Mantel

*this post may contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

Who can believe Spring is practically here?! I’m sure winter will surprise us again with Easter being a little late this year, but most days are feeling more like Spring where I am in Texas.

I changed up my mantel a couple weeks ago to feel more Spring-ish. I knew it wasn’t finished, and probably still isn’t, but yesterday I found these cute little string indoor/outdoor lights in the garden section at TJMaxx. I threw them on the mantel real quick to see what it looked like and they stayed. When it’s too warm for the glow of the fireplace, these lights will do nicely with cool evenings. 😉

I’ve had several ask me about this cute “hello” sign on Instagram, so I  thought I’d share the direct link for it. I LOVE it! You can click HERE to purchase your own!

spring mantel 2017 with lights 2

spring mantel 2017 with lights 1

Aren’t the lights super cute?

spring mantel 2017 with lights 3

I guess at some point, I’ll take down the felt garland that’s been there since fall, but for now it’s staying put!

spring mantel 2017 with lights

spring mantel 2017 with lights 4

Do y’all have any spring decorating done yet? This is about all I’ve accomplished so far….

Happy week-end everyone!


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A Modern Spring Wreath Tutorial

Hey, friends! I’m back today with an easy spring wreath tutorial. You’ll have to forgive the terrible photos of the tutorial part – I decided at the last minute to make this a tutorial, I’d already lost too much natural light…then I had to come back later and finish it and forgot to photograph the last part. Goodness. Anyway, at least I’m sharing, right? 🙂

modern spring wreath tutorial 5

Your supplies for this are pictured below:

1 – Embroidery Hoop (this is a large one)

2 – A medium-sized package of moss

3 – Flowers of your choice

4 – Hot glue gun/glue

5 – Scissors or wire cutter, depending on what you need to take the stems from your flowers.

6 – Ribbon of your choice for hanging

7 – Optional chalkboard embellishment (not pictured here)

modern spring wreath tutorial 1

Begin by placing glue on the hoop and adding moss. I worked in small increments to keep the glue from drying before I got to it. Just pat the moss down as I’m doing in the picture.

modern spring wreath tutorial 2

Work your way about half way up (or a little more) on both sides of the hoop, gluing the moss down.

modern spring wreath tutorial 4

This is where my tutorial pictures run out. Blame it on being busy and having two four-year-olds. Even though they weren’t home at the time. We’ll still blame it on them. Poor kids. 😀

Your next steps will be to glue down your flowers on top of the moss. If you choose stems of flowers like I did, you’ll want to cover up the very ends that are left of them with moss. Next, I wrote on the chalkboard, then tied it around the moss and hoop. Last, you’ll add your ribbon at the top for hanging! So easy and quick!

modern spring wreath tutorial 8

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modern spring wreath tutorial 7

modern spring wreath tutorial 5

What do y’all think? I was going for a little of the “less is more” vibe on this one. Anyway, it’s staying put for a couple months till I get tired of it and decide to make something different. Or who knows? It may be on the door till next Christmas! 🙂

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and do something fun this weekend!

much love-


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The Easiest Yummy Sugar Cookie Recipe!

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A few years ago, I ran across a recipe while looking for an easy sugar cookie recipe. My hubby loves sugar cookies, but sometimes they are just a pain to make! I don’t like rolling them out, then trying to cut shapes or whatever, then attempting to transfer to a cookie sheet without messing them up, etc. Maybe y’all have none of these problems because you’re probably a smarter baker than myself, but I found a recipe by Laura Sterns on All Recipes that works for me!!! Yay!!! These are the yummiest, softest sugar cookies ever and there’s no rolling out dough involved! Just roll into little balls and drop them on the cookie sheet. That’s it! So I thought I’d share with you (with my tweaks), a printable recipe (at the bottom of this post), as well as a great cream cheese frosting recipe. I love these topped with fluffy cream cheese!

sugar cookies post

Does anyone else make a total MESS of the kitchen when  you bake??

sugar cookies post 1

I had a couple comments on these jars I use for sugar and flour on Instagram. Y’all, these are just cheap jars from Hobby Lobby (I think Target sells the same ones) that I got when they were half off (uh..every other week!), and I hand lettered on vinyl chalk board decals from Etsy. 

sugar cookies 2

Check those little cookies out! Don’t they look so soft and chewy? They are!

sugar cookies 1

sugar cookies 3

The original recipe calls for adding colorful sugar to these. That’s all perfectly fine, but I prefer homemade cream cheese frosting on mine. (See my note on the recipe print-out about adding the frosting after the cookies are done.) 

sugar cookies 5

Trust me, you won’t be able to eat just one. You’re welcome.

The Easiest Yummy Sugar Cookie Recipe!

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The Easiest Yummy Sugar Cookie Recipe!

{Ellis Jean Design Co –}

Adapted from Laura Stearns on


  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1  1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration (Optional. I prefer cream cheese frosting).


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture  until the dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls (I do a little smaller and get around 35 cookies out of a batch), and roll the balls in the sugar (omit if you choose to do frosting). Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies about 10 minutes until the bottom of cookie is light brown. (Cooking times may vary depending on your oven.) Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. If you choose to add cream cheese frosting, I prefer to keep the frosting refrigerated and just spread a dab on the cookies as I eat them. In my opinion, the cookies get soggy if they’re all frosted and stored that way.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

(Ellis Jean Design Co –}


  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (sifting is recommended, but I never sift and I do just fine)!  🙂
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix cream cheese and butter together with mixer, then slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla until completely mixed together. Use on cookies, cakes and muffins!

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Valentines Mantel

You saw my winter mantel a few weeks ago, and now I’m back to show you the easy transition into Valentines decor. I’m not one for a whole lot of pink and red hearts everywhere, but I do like to incorporate a little bit of decor in for “love” day. 🙂

I hung some little glass heart ornaments on the tree twigs that decorated my kids tree at Christmas. They work perfectly for a subtle Valentines vibe! I added the XOXO sign that came from the dollar spot at Target. Who doesn’t love the dollar spot?!

*This post may contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience, at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting this blog and Ellis Jean Design Co.

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