Spring backyard patio decorating

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of At Home. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve always stood by my claim that summer is the best season of all. But, I have to admit, spring does give it a good run for its money. I love spring for many reasons, but mostly because of all the possibilities it brings with it.

This time of year, our family likes to talk about all the fun things we want to do outside when it warms up, including heading to the lake and hitting up our favorite ice cream shack. It’s also the time of year I get inspired to put the back patio in party order.

This year, I wanted to keep it simple and spruce up our back patio by adding some budget-friendly color and texture. This space was looking rather sad after another long, Pennsylvania winter.

I decided that a rug and some new garden planters would provide the most impact without costing me a lot of money or time. I headed over to the new At Home Store in Mannassas, Virginia, to see what they had in stock for outdoor decor. (This store is not too far from where I’ve been spending the past several weeks on a business-related trip.)

This is the first time I’ve ever been in an At Home store. Oh wow. If you’re like me and you brake for shiny things, you will need to go into this store with an iron-clad game plan. I could have easily spent several hours – no days – looking at all the home-related deliciousness.

Actually, I could have spent several hours alone just perusing the Outdoor Decor Collections  in this store. 

Huge, huge, huge selection of home goodies for any budget.

I settled on this rug and two, large metallic planters for the back patio. The 5’x7′ rug from the At Home Patio section of the store was $49.99 and the planters were $69.99.

I spent a few hours scrubbing the porch and cleaning up the patio furniture, windows and siding. Then I added my new decor.

It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and budget-friendly decorating can do for a backyard space.

Have you done any outdoor decorating yet this year? I’d love to hear ideas you’ve got planned this year for Outdoor Entertaining.

Visit Sponsors Site

Christmas decorations around our home

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share some of the Christmas decorations we’ve put up around our home. If you’re anything like me, you love taking a peek at all the festive decorations around your neighborhood and in blogland. It always puts me in the holiday mood.

This year, I kept things pretty simple. In other words, I didn’t fret over every small detail, mostly because I’m so busy with the flip house. And I let the kids help – a lot! I have to admit, it felt pretty good to let myself off the hook and not try to get everything perfect. I should let myself off the hook more often. 😉


In the living room, we switched to an artificial tree with flocking.


Are you a faux-tree or real-tree family? We’ve tried both. I left it up to my husband this year, and he said to go ahead and put up the fake tree. Less mess, I guess. 😉


I like to go with more of a natural, woodland feel in the living room. I fell in love with these faux-fur stockings last year and snatched them up at Target.


I fill my little woodland reindeer with white Poinsettias every year. The only challenge is remembering to water them. 😉


This tiny nativity set is my most favorite decoration of all. I picked it up while on a mission trip to Guatemala. It is one of the few material objects in my home that I feel truly sentimental about. It is a constant reminder of the true reason for the season.


We usually set up our Christmas village on the TV stand. It is so hard for our little guy to keep his hands off this. 🙂 This year, our daughter set it up. Didn’t she do a great job?


I’m really enjoying this coffee table Christmas book, “Christmas at America’s Landmark Houses.” I got a complimentary copy to review. I would absolutely LOVE to get the chance to visit many of these homes in person at Christmastime. They are absolutely stunning! Also, check out the cute wool throw blanket I picked up at the thrift store the other day. Score!

The dining room is where I go full-on red and green.


I think the holidays are a great time to bring out sentimental family pieces, don’t you?


Our dining room table features china and glasses handed down from Matt’s Grandma Delger.


I like to keep my dining room decorations very traditional. I even like to add whole nuts, which seem to be a hit with guests. I displayed them in a basket we got from Matt’s Aunt Cherie, who passed away earlier this year.

I’m also looking for a very special place to display a doilie from Matt’s Grandma Penning, who went to be with the Lord recently. It’s been a rough year for our family. These very special ladies knew the Lord, so we know we’ll be reunited again one day.


The space above my kitchen cabinets is a great place to display Christmas decorations.


And I always like to put a few Christmas touches in our downstairs bathroom, for guests to enjoy.

Have you finished decorating for the holidays yet? What is your favorite sentimental decoration?

A porch worthy of Thanksgiving

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

Over the past several years, it’s become a tradition to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home for my extended family. I always look forward to preparing for this special day that we all get to spend together.

There have been years in our lives when we have been away on military duty and separated from family over the holidays. So I try to never take for granted these precious moments when we’re all present.

This year, I created a festive Thanksgiving vignette on the front porch, so when folks arrive on the big day, they’re already feeling inspired and in the holiday mood.


For example, I added some pumpkins, a Chrysanthemum, a gourd and a Thanksgiving-worthy wreath.



I kept my stenciled dropcloth pillows on the chairs and rocker because I felt the colors and pattern were appropriate for the season. I simply added a fall-inspired plaid throw to the mix.

Porch-rockerPorch-rocker-closeupAs we all gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we’ll be thanking God for the privilege to be together. And we’ll be sending up heartfelt prayers for those brave men and women serving in our military who won’t be able to share a holiday meal with their family this year.

I hope you’ll keep them in your thoughts and prayers, too. One way we can all show our support is by helping out with the USO’s Operation Celebration™ program.

Marie Callender’s is teaming up with the USO to support this program, which shares a bit of home with our troops and helps them celebrate the holidays year round.

Every time you enter a code from specially-marked packages of Marie Callender’s meals or desserts, Marie Callender’s will make a donation to the USO to support USO Operation Celebration™.

Marie-Callender's-Comforts-from-HomeAdditionally, Marie Callender’s is holding a Comforts From Home Facebook challenge, encouraging you to submit your own photos in support of the USO. You should use the hashtag #ComfortsFromHome and share and describe photos that depict what home means to you.

Submitted photos may be featured on-air during special episodes of Kitchen Crashers (HGTV), Hello/Goodbye (Travel Channel), and Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network).

Kitchen Crashers on DIYNetwork & HGTV – Airing Nov. 9 and Nov. 14
Hello/Goodbye on Travel Channel – Airing Nov. 10
Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network and Cooking Channel – Airing Dec. 14 and Dec. 19

The best part? Scripps Network will donate $1 to the USO for each photo received (up to $10K)!

Visit ComfortsfromHome.com to learn more about how you can join Marie Callender’s in helping to bring a little bit of home sweet home to our U.S. servicemen and women overseas.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marie Callender’s. The opinions and text are all mine.