by laura janning

Kicking off Spring Break with my Simply Simplistic Spring Mantel

March 31, 2014

Yes, today officially kicks off Spring Break for us and because of a fractured foot in the house, the family will be enjoying the week taking a stay-cation. We got a whole schedule of events that the kids picked out and we can hardly wait to enjoy the week with each other.

Since today is the first day of spring break, I thought it appropriate to share the spring mantel...... before the kids summer break starts! 

This is probably the simplest spring mantels I have ever done and guess what..... I love it. The approach to my mantel this year is similar to my approach on a lot of decisions in my life these days, simple, effortless and without complication....courtesy of items that were within arms reach in the house and some Bradford Pear trees outside that I co-mingled with some cute little blue blooms from Hobby Lobby.

My beloved Cairn terriers, Kara and Kayla, are making a repeat performance this year (first performance was here) , as is this cute egg print that I got from a book that I ordered here and framed. 

I filled a white compote bowl with mega huge eggs, my kids seriously think a dinosaur laid them, that I used last year here and topped it off with a bird nest that I used on the Spring wreath here.

If you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed two changes to my mantel. Any guesses????

Yup, the mantel is now white and my sweet little family picture has now been replaced with this gorgeous blue clock that I picked up a few months ago while antique shopping in Atlanta. And if you are really observant you will notice the lack of clock hands.

Remember, I am going after simple and effortless ....who cares what time it is anyways! 

What's your approach to life these days?

Grateful for~
Movies, bowling, chuckie cheese and all things on 
the stay-cation list.

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A New Twist on PB & J

March 25, 2014

Don't tell my kids that while I am down in S.Florida for a few days this week, I am noshing on Peanut Butter and Jelly..... cupcakes. And since they aren't looking, I am calling it lunch.

Yup, cupcakes. Good ole peanut butter and jelly on a graham cracker crust, topped off with a glass of cold milk.
And boy are they yummy. 

At a barbecue on Sunday, my sister whipped up a batch of these crowd favorite cupcakes, and I just couldn't wait to share the recipe with you.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
1 package of cream cheese (8 oz)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/4 graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup of butter
3/4 cup of preserves- your choice. We used strawberry
Cupcake liners

combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl. Stir in butter and mix until thoroughly blended. Spoon a 'healthy' tablespoon into each cupcake liner. Press crumbs with a bottom of a cup to secure and set into place. Set aside crusts.

Peanut Butter Filling
Combine cream cheese and peanut butter in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Add sugar and milk. Mix thoroughly. Spoon peanut butter filling into graham cracker crusts, filling 3/4 full. Spread preserves on top of the cupcakes.
Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Who know's..... perhaps when I go home, I will conveniently forget the bread while shopping and whip up a batch of these for my kids instead..... when they want a PB&J sandwich. 

They are after all..... mom approved!

I am taking a few days to thoroughly enjoy my time with my family and friends in South. Florida.  
I hope you will have a great week too!

Grateful for~
Time with my sisters and family in Florida this week and for hubby and nana holding the fort down back home.


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Build a Succulent Garden in under 5 mins

March 19, 2014

I wrote this post specifically for the green and non green thumb plant lovers. You know who you are....we won't tell.

Succulent gardens..... Aren't they pretty?

The definition of a succulent, is a plant that retains water. That's why the leaves are generally thick and full looking. For the non-green thumbs, they require little maintenance and for you green thumbs, the options and designs of succulent gardens are endless.

I have a few gardens around the house and during these 'almost spring time days' when things aren't quite in bloom, the gorgeous colors of some succulent plants more then make up for the absence of color outside.

I wanted to share a super easy method of putting together a succulent garden that you can do in less than 5 mins. Really..... you can.

Container for your garden. In these pictures I am using wood crates and milk glass 
Small rocks for drainage
Succulent plants- you can pick these up at a nursery or home inprovement store. I use at least 2-3 different varieties in my gardens. You can pick these up for $2-$4 each,depending on the plant.
Potting Soil
Sheet Moss- found in floral departments

Step 1
Choose your container and place a few small rocks on the bottom for drainage. For the wood crate or anything else without a solid bottom, I would line it with some sheet moss first.

Step 2
Place potting soil 1/4  full in the container right over the stones.

Step 3
Take your plants out of the container and gently break up the root ball. Place the plant in the center of your container. The base of the plant should not be higher then the container.

Step 4
Take your other plants and divide into several pieces. You don't want the smaller plants to grow bigger then your center plant. Be gentle as some of these smaller plants are fragile and will break easily. Place these plants around the center plant in the container.

Step 5
Fill in the container with potting soil, covering all the bases of the plants.

Step 6
Water your plant thoroughly. You can place rocks, marbles or wine corks on the top of your soil if you want to add some added interest and bling to your garden. Be assured that your garden will still grow without the bling added. I cut up wine corks and added them to the first garden picture shown above and the picture below.

Okay, I fibbed a little. It actually takes 3 mins and 21 seconds to put a succulent garden together. Are you ready to make yours?

Do you have a green thumb or one that's not so green?




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Spring Mantel Ideas

March 17, 2014

I honestely don't know what the Leprechauns would say if I put the flowers and bunnies up on the mantel before St.Patrick's day, so I will pause, have a pint of green beer and some corned beef hash and wait till ....... 
Until then, here's a few of the ways that I have styled my mantel in the past that say Hello Spring from the mantel top.

Spring Mantel using Cherry Blossoms here

And my Spring mantel using forsythia here

I think when I am done dancing the Irish jig I will start on this years Spring mantel. 

Happy St.Patricks day! To all you Irish readers I say "An la brea" and to the non-Irish readers.....Have a nice day!

PS- click here for some of my favorite Spring projects that you can do while drinking your green beer.

For a lazy Sunday with the family

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4' Simply Spring' Easy Project Ideas

March 11, 2014

I just love Spring time. My most favorite season of the year. From flower buds emerging.... opening windows to let in the fresh air..... sitting outside on the front porch with a light blanket wrapped around me, talking to my husband about all the outdoor adventures we can't wait to start. 
I also love projects that are easy, simple and that just make me happy.  

Today I am joining a few blogging pals to share some spring inspiration and wanted to share a few of my favorite home decor projects that I have done, that are so simple to do and will welcome the spring season in your home ....beautifully. 

Nothing screams spring more than a fun pop of color on a much needed outdoor chair here.

Need some cute PB inspired buckets for those spring flowers or plants....and cost less than .99 each to make?

Most popular project that I have ever done here.....Spring Burlap Wreath.

No one needs to see your cut stems in your glass vase. Make an easy  Spring Vase Wrap. Perfect for displaying those spring flowers.

About the only thing I do not like about the season is....the pollen.  You agree?
So tell me, what do you love about Spring?

Ready for more inspiring Spring projects and ideas? Here's the links for all the bloggers involved in this tour. Enjoy!
Creative Cain Cabin  ~ Eclectically Vintage ~ Housepitality Designs ~ On Sutton Place ~ Savvy Southern Style ~Stone Gable Adventures In Decorating ~ French Country Cottage ~ Home Is Where The Boat Is Pariscope Home ~ Sophia’s Decor ~ Top This Top That

Grateful for~
Always being inspired by others

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Simply Spring Ideas and Inspiration Tour

March 10, 2014

Who's ready for Spring, raise your hand????
To kick off this lovely season, and my favorite time of the year, I am happy to welcome you to the Simply Spring Ideas and Inspiration Tour. You may have remembered me joining up with this group of bloggers before, and I am sure that their Spring tidbits and inspiring ideas will be nothing short of amazing.

Here's the schedule for today.

I am sharing my favorite Spring decor projects on Tuesday so head back here tomorrow after a stop with today's group.

Have an amazing week!

Grateful for~
The start of a beautiful new season....Spring

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Kitchen Progress ...and my new cows

March 5, 2014

I am sure you have all heard the expression putting the ' Cart Before the horse'.... You know the figure of speech that means doing things the wrong way or in the wrong order. Well, I have been known to put the cart before the horse a time or two, but never have I put the  'Cart Before the Cow' until this week, when I hung him......

and him....

I think the new additions look a lot like this guy down at the end of the road....my neighbor.

Don't worry, you didn't miss any big kitchen reveal. In fact, this is the status of the project as of yesterday. Primed and ready to be painted....and hanging in the garage. We are waiting on suitable weather conditions to finish the spraying.

But as I told my husband, as I hung those cows....that the decorating in our 'almost finished except for the doors' kitchen should move right along in the cart. Besides I am a tad bit giddy with excitement.

My main goal all along with the project, was to update the kitchen while keeping costs at a minimum. 
So far, so good..

My pop of color inspiration was determined when I picked up this clock that now resides over my mantel, at a local antique shop a few months ago. Since then, I have picked up a few bowls and cups to mix in with our existing white dishes that we use everyday. I picked up that blue tray at IKEA for lunch money.

My 8 year counter stools will be getting a makeover. Since they are in pretty decent shape, considering the abuse they get daily from my children,  I am going to paint the base white and replace the vinyl cover to a grey fabric that I already have.  

You can see what the counter stools will look like in the next photo.
My kitchen chairs also got a little refresh using the same color grey that I used in my island. The chair pads are from World Market. 

I look forward to completing this project with much anticipation. In fact,  when I am done ......You might even see me jump over the moon....with my cows.

So tell me, do you ever put the cart before the horse...or cow?


that my husband and boys stomach virus lasted 23 hours
 instead of 24 hours......although one little guy is still home sick.

PS- To see where my kitchen started, click here. To follow my kitchen cabinet project click here and here.


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