Christmas on the Farm

Is there anything better than the smell of a live Christmas tree?! Picking out our tree every year was one of my favorite holiday memories as a child. We really wanted to start some new family traditions this year so we ditched our fake tree during The Great Purge right before we moved and never looked back.

Our tradition is to decorate either Thanksgiving evening after dinner or on Black Friday. This year we were scheduled to depart for a Christmas Disney vacation a few days after Thanksgiving & decided to decorate a little early. It was so nice to come home from vacation as see the twinkle of the tree through the front window as we arrived home!

We still have A LOT of work to do on the farmhouse, but there are several areas that I just adore. The front porch and formal living room with its beautiful bay window are just full of simple, imperfect farmhouse beauty. (We can also close the doors to those areas and keep little hands from un-decking the halls!) Baker LOVES the Christmas tree.. and taking all the pretty ornaments ball-balls off to show mommy and daddy.  :)

We've been working on lots of projects since I last posted. Brett ran power out to the barn. He did an excellent job and now has a fully functioning workshop! We've also completely renovated Baker's new big boy room upstairs. We have a few small details I'm finishing up there, but hopefully I can reveal the whole thing soon! We've already moved him in and I think he's really enjoying having his own little space that's just for him.

Here's a peek at how we're spending our Christmas on the farm this year! I've included a really easy "recipe" you can use to help keep your real tree alive longer. Scroll to the bottom for some great tips on Christmas tree preservation!

Wishing you Warmth, Joy and Happiness this Christmas from our family to yours..

Brett made the star tree topper out of old wood from the barn. It feels special and it's one of my favorite pieces this year!

The Christmas tractor.. Baker's favorite Christmas decoration.

You better watch out - You better not cry. You better not POUT - I'm telling you why. (Baker didn't get the message!)  I think he's still on the nice list. :)

5 Easy Tips to Preserve Your Christmas tree

I researched several concoctions to help preserve our tree this year. Some swear by the commercial preservatives. Some use sprite, corn syrup or even aspirin. Some just use water. I mixed a solution of 2 quarts of water, 2 cups of light corn syrup, juice from 1 whole lemon, and 2 tbs of bleach. You can mix a large batch and store it in a sealed container to use throughout the holiday season.

Pay attention to the condition of the tree you choose. Look for a tree that appears as fresh as possible. (Are the limbs sagging? Are the needles dry or falling off?)

Make sure to cut the bottom of the tree trunk before you put it in the stand. Tree sap will seal the bottom of the trunk after it's cut and will keep your tree from soaking up water. Experts say this process takes about three hours before the sap hardens. Most tree farms will trim the bottom for you before you leave!

We are also using a timer for our lights. Sometimes I love the glow of the tree when I'm home during the day, but most of the time I leave the timer set to turn on for a few hours in the evening so that the heat won't dry the tree out completely. 

My last tip is just to water, water, water! The best little tool I found this year was a funnel designed JUST to water your Christmas tree! It was only $4 at Home Depot! It has a long, slender tube that slides right into the base so you don't have to crawl under the tree to water it. Genius!

So far, our tree is still alive and kicking'... Hope these tips help you, too! Merry Christmas, friends!



A Sweet Fall Treat

I am super blessed to nanny for an incredible family a few days a week. The sweet momma I work for is always creating the most adorable treats with the kids and this year they made these Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats for their Fall classroom parties. They are just to.die.for and I HAD to borrow her idea and make some this weekend! Aren't they festive?! And better yet - Easy!

Official Taste-Tester

You'll Need:

1-2 Sticks Butter
Two Packages Mini Marshmallows
1 Large Box Rice Krispies Cereal
Food Coloring
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
Shallow, Round Cake Pan or Pie Dish


Spray your dish with non-stick cooking spray. (I used an 8" round cake pan.)

**Tip: I spread a piece of wax paper across the counter and sprayed the entire sheet with cooking spray so that I could pour the rice krispie mixture onto it and then spoon it into the pan. If you do not spray and adequate amount of non-stick spray, you will end up with a STICKY MESS! Trust me. This will turn into a Pinterest-Fail very quickly. Non-stick spray is your friend! Also, have a large spoon handy to press the mixture into the pan. Spray the spoon, as well! Front and back.**


Yellow Ring: Melt about 3-tbs butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add about 5 cups of mini marshmallows and stir until melted. Add yellow food coloring until you reach desired color. Last, add about 4-5 cups of rice krispie cereal and stir until all the cereal is coated in the marshmallow mixture. 

You can either pour your mixture directly into your greased pan, OR you can pour it onto a greased counter top or sheet of paper and then spoon it into your pan. You want to press it into the outside rim of the pan, creating your outermost "ring". This is where your greased spoon will come in handy. 

Once your first ring is complete, repeat steps for the orange and white layers. As you work your way inwards, you will use less ingredient amounts. 

I estimate 2.5 tbs butter/3.5 cups marshmallows/3.5 cups rice krispies for the ORANGE ring and 2 tbs butter/2.5 cups marshmallows/2.5 cups rice krispies for the WHITE center. (You will NOT need any food coloring for the white center!)

Once you've finished putting together all three layers, let the entire pan cool completely. I let mine set in the fridge overnight, but if you do put your pan in the fridge, make sure to let it warm to room temp before trying to extract the form. Once cooled, flip your pan over. The round form should pop right out if you've used enough non-stick spray.

Cut the round form into wedges to create your adorable Candy Corn shaped treats! I used lollipop sticks to create my "Candy Corn Pops"...

VOILA!!! (Link to all ingredients are at the bottom of the post!)

Baker certainly enjoyed these! Nothing wrong with a little sugar and butter for dinner.. (with a side of dirt - he kept dropping it on the ground!) ;)

We had a Chili & S'mores fall party at the farm this weekend and these were a big hit with everyone! (Thanks, Sarah! Two Thumbs Up!) I'm sure they will continue to be a dessert staple around here and we'll probably make another batch for the kids at Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did!

xo - Lauren

Want to recreate this fun project? Here's what you'll need!
(affiliate links)

Wilton 6-Inch Cookie Sticks Mega Pack, 60-Count

Rice Krispies Toasted Rice Cereal, 18-Ounce

AmeriColor Beginner Soft Gel Paste Food Color 4 Pack Kit

Cuisinart AMB-9RCK 9-Inch Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware Round Cake Pan, Silver

Pam Original Cooking Spray, 6 oz


Who Wants S'mores?! - Our Latest Project

The day we found this piece of property I spotted the PERFECT spot for an outdoor project we've been dreaming about for years. A flat, grassy knoll perched just high enough to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire property. Although we have what seems to be an eternal list of to-do's for the farmhouse interior, we decided to jump right in and start this project first so that we could enjoy this beautiful fall season to the fullest. To say we're thrilled with how it turned out would be an understatement! It's definitely one of the coolest spaces we've ever created and we're already having a blast hosting our family and friends.


Before you see the finished project, I wanted to show you a little of the build process. This was definitely a labor of love, but SO worth it! Brett is a ROCKSTAR and we completed this entire project ourselves in about three weeks. (Mostly comprised of late afternoons and a few weekend days.) The project was inspired by a popular pin on Pinterest and we added a few customizations to fulfill our vision for the space, as well.

First things first, we had to decide how big we wanted to build this thing and plot out where we were going to place the posts. We initially struggled with the post hole digger, but I'll let you guess who won that fight. (Hint: The support posts are now set nearly 4 ft. in the ground - with concrete. They aren't going anywhere.) ;)

The Perfect Spot

One afternoon I thought I caught Brett in a death trap as he was placing the top beams with the tractor bucket. Alas, the beams are secure and Brett survived. Thank goodness.

Brett completed the fire pit and then we had to figure out a plan for seating. We knew we wanted several swings because they represent everything we had in mind for the space. They're peaceful and southern and just plain awesome. I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy some good porch swingin'. However, the frame of the structure was so large that we didn't think the swings would be close enough to enjoy an intimate fire. Our dilemma: porch swings are expensive we hadn't budgeted for additional seating. Brett is incredibly talented, but we were worried that if we attempted to build all the swings ourselves it would take us so long to complete the project that we wouldn't get to enjoy it very long this season. Thanks to some great referrals, we found someone local who built us SIX 6-ft porch swings and we spent less than half of what we budgeted! (HAPPY DANCE!) Brett then built six additional adirondack style chairs to surround the fire pit that turned out beautifully.

The last addition we made to complete the project was an area that would serve dual purposes: firewood storage and a table top. Brett crafted a bar style ledge that is the perfect height for dining and serving. We're planning on installing some exterior outlets on the back so we can easily use crock pots, carafes and other party essentials out there, too.

We still need to stain and seal the structure but it's completely functional right now and we couldn't be happier! This is our little piece of farm heaven.

Happy Camper!

Soooo....... WHO WANTS S'MORES???!!!


**We are so excited to partner with Remodelaholic to offer a detailed tutorial on this project! Click HERE to check it out!**

Here is an updated photo of this area after we completed staining it! 


The $5 Halloween Costume You Probably Already Have!

Brainstorming for the perfect Halloween costume is exhilarating to me!  As a child, my mom went ALL OUT for us. Handmade costumes all the way. Super original and always on a budget.
They. Were. AWESOME!
From the Gypsy Fortune Teller with a glowing crystal ball on a wearable table to a Lightning Bug whose bottom turned on & off as we walked down the street…My sisters and I hit the streets to Trick-or-Treat with the best duds in town. The parents got in on it, too! Kiss, Aunt Jemima and two crazy vikings–What can I say? I come by it naturally.
I have GOT to go digging for some old pictures!
Luckily, my husband is just as excited to get in on the Halloween action as I am. He was tossing out fun costume suggestions before our son was even born! This year we took a leap of faith and transitioned from our life in the suburbs to an adventure in farm living.
Our son Baker is 100% boy and LOVES daddy’s new tractor. We spent less than $5 on this year’s costume and voila!...

To see this year's costume check out my feature on Mom Babble where you'll find the dreams, recipes and musings of a southern mom. Not a perfect mom. Not a crafty mom. (That's what I'm here for!) Just a messy, slightly opinionated momma (who is slightly obsessed with lightning bugs.) My dearest MK! 

Find her on https://www.facebook.com/MomBabble or https://twitter.com/MomBabbleBlog


If These Walls Could Talk

I've always had a curiosity and appreciation for things of the past. Antiques, homes, stories. As soon as we found this property we wanted to know everything. Who lived here? What was the property used for? Over 100 years in age. You know it has a few stories to tell.

We quickly fell in love with the aesthetic of the city, as well. The first time we decided to take a drive down Main Street we were in a nostalgic paradise. Antique trolley rides and a BBQ cook off were well under way as families bustled through local shops with handmade milkshakes in tow. "Come for the history, stay for the shopping" boasts the city's website. Were we in Pleasantville? It honestly reminded me so much of my hometown and we loved every bit of it. It was that small town feeling that we'd been looking for.

Main Street, Columbiana AL
When we went to closing, we tried to gather as much information as we could from the previous owner. Her parent's had owned the home for quite some time and were well known and respected members of the community. It's such a close knit town that even the closing attorney had stories to tell about the home! We've been able to trace back about four generations of owners, including a local doctor and a few local families, but it looks like we'll have to do some research into the deed records to find the rest.

The seller gifted us an incredible house warming gift. The first known photograph of the home and the family who lived here. I'd love to find out their surname and uncover their story. We know that the corn crib was relocated from directly behind the house to further back on on the property where it sits now. Also, you can see that the porch was later extended around the side of the home. The foundation supports were enclosed, windows were added to the entryway and the attic space was finished out. Almost everything else is the same. It's surreal to think that I can stand in the front yard and take a photo of the home as it sits now knowing that this family once stood in the same spot taking a photo of their own.


The Shelby County Historical Society Museum & Archives is located in the center of town in what used to be the Old Shelby County Courthouse building, built in 1854. It has quite a history of it's own as it's been utilized in many ways ranging from a boarding school to a funeral home. "A Genealogist and Historian Paradise" according to their pamphlet. We recently visited and had the best time looking at all the neat artifacts and photos. We're hoping to stop by again soon and spend some more time looking into the property. The building itself is beautiful and it's an incredible resource to have! The curators and historic society members truly have a passion for preservation and the museum certainly showcases that.

- Exploring the City -

Bernie's on Main. Super yummy eatery with the charming facade we love!

City of Columbiana Courthouse 

 We have several projects we're working on right now. We're trying to empty out the storage container, repair the corn crib so that it's functional, transition Baker to a "bigger" boy room upstairs, build a fire pit/pergola/outdoor retreat, and the list goes on. But most importantly we're focusing on enjoying the beautiful fall weather and making this House our Home. Slowly, but surely! Family and friends, visit soon! We'd love to show you around!

With Love  -L