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Favorite Children’s Books for Little Readers

I’ve had a little reader in my house for about ten years. When my oldest son was a toddler, he was always bringing me books to read with him. He developed a love for books before he could even talk, let alone read. Now my youngest is in first grade, and I’m savoring every fleeting moment that we spend snuggled on the sofa, reading a book together. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of our favorite children’s books since it’s Christmas time, and any of these would make a great gift for the little reader in Read more…

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Christmas Decorating in Four Simple Steps

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? It seems like the holiday season comes earlier and earlier each year. The stores have Christmas decor on the shelves by October! I enjoy looking at the merchandise, and part of me gets so excited for this time of year. But on the other hand, I feel the stress of it all creeping into my life before I even buy our Thanksgiving turkey. So how can we avoid some of that stress? We can’t put our lives on hold for the whole month of December. Bills still have to be paid, homework has Read more…

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My Home Office Update

My home office is ready for its first appearance on the blog! Transforming it took longer than I expected, which I admit was entirely my fault. For one thing, I’m much better at starting a project than finishing one! Also, I really took my time choosing the paint color because I’m planning  to carry the same neutral color throughout most of the house. Here’s what the office looked like before we started painting: After trying a few neutral colors on the walls, I selected Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl. I found it to be the perfect warm gray tone, but it Read more…

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Three Charleston Art Galleries for Finding Local Art

One of my favorite things to do in Charleston is stroll through the many impressive art galleries. Charleston’s vibrant and diverse art scene rivals those of much larger cities. If you’re visiting the holy city, taking a piece of local art home is a great way to remember your time in the lowcountry. If you’re not an experienced art collector, some of the Charleston art galleries can be a bit intimidating (not to mention expensive), so let me tell you about three places where you’ll find friendly artists and beautiful local art. These are all within easy walking distance of Read more…

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A Fun Family Weekend in Gatlinburg

I’ve wanted to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for years. I decided the kids’ fall break would be the perfect time to go. Living in Charleston has many charms, but fall foliage just isn’t one of them. I grew up in New England, so I really miss the foliage, and hoped to show my kids what the trees look like dressed in orange, yellow, and red. Due to an unusually hot October in the southeast, we didn’t see quite as much color as I’d hoped, but the scenery was splendid nonetheless. For this trip, we decided to skip most of the typical Read more…

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Pumpkin Pancakes

Confession: I’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte. I haven’t tried pumpkin spice Oreos, Pringles, or M&M’s either. (Yes, those are real products.) You don’t have to jump on the pumpkin spice consumer bandwagon to enjoy everyone’s favorite fall flavor. All you need is a can of pumpkin, two or three spices, and a few minutes in the kitchen. I often make pumpkin muffins or cookies this time of year, but the easiest way for me to get that pumpkin spice fix is with these delicious pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin Pancakes 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 Read more…

DeaneBowers

How Artist Deane V. Bowers Turns Junk into Joy

What comes to mind when I mention “recycled art?” If you had asked me that question a few months ago, I would have said, “Giant pieces of rusty metal.” But then I met Deane Valentine Bowers. She transforms trash into colorful symbols of coastal Carolina charm. Her environmental folk art is a vibrant mix of materials that come together in an intricate feast for the eyes. If you have a piece of her work in your home, you’ll notice something new about it every time you look. Deane walks the Charleston streets and lowcountry beaches, collecting items to be reused. Read more…

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Liane Moriarty’s Latest Novel: Truly Madly Guilty

One day, a couple of years ago, I went to the library by myself. This was a noteworthy occasion because I usually go to the library with two little boys and leave with a huge stack of books about trucks, animals, and dead presidents. On that particular day, I decided to wander into the grown-up section, and pick out a novel for myself. I chose What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It was the best book I had read in years! When I found out she had written several other books, I vowed to read them all. Liane Moriarty is Read more…

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Paint Colors: My Boys’ Bedrooms

The first item on our new house to-do list was painting our boys’ bedrooms. I was excited to begin making the house our own, but I was a bit stressed about choosing paint colors on a deadline. We wanted to paint B’s room before we moved his bunk beds in, so I only had a few days to test colors, and it rained every day. I don’t recommend choosing paint colors without the sun! B wanted blue walls, and I wanted a color that would play nicely with the blonde wood tone of his furniture, so I decided to go Read more…

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Oatmeal Mix-ins for Picky Eaters (Like Me)

  I’ve always been a picky eater. When I was a kid, my favorite substitute for food I didn’t like was cereal. “Mom’s making halibut for dinner? No, thanks, I’ll just get myself a bowl of cereal.” As an adult, I eat a variety of healthy foods, but I still love my sugary cereals (mostly as a late-night snack rather than a breakfast). According to an article in the New York Times last year, cereal enjoyed popularity among baby boomers and Generation X, but started losing its appeal in the 1990s. Millennials seem to prefer healthier options like oatmeal, yogurt, Read more…