One lovely evening in May, our neighbor's Vizsla frolicked over and impregnated our British lab. What's done is done. 

Therefore, on July 7th, 2021 we welcomed 11 puppies into our already chaotic family life. Puppy birth is an education unto itself -- and I'm counting on the experience to make up for any holes or gaps left in the wake of homeschool science.

Sally, the mama dog, successfully birthed 6 blonde/strawberry blonde pups and 5 black pups. 

It's therapy. Puppies are therapy. And if you don't love them at least a little bit, then you probably have no soul. 

As it currently stands, we have 5 promised to owners, 4 lighter pups and 1 darker. This means we have 2 light and 4 dark that need a person or persons.

These pics are from the BIRTHnight. We had so many puppies we actually got bored and went to bed on puppy number 9. We awoke to 2 more, totaling ELEVEN. #hastag #fertilemertle

We are selling them for $55/pup to cover the cost of shots + food. You know you want one or TWO.

Seriously, the cycle of life is amazing. We made some memories on this night. Some families go to Disney. Some have puppies. 

For real, email or DM me if you want one.



Summer Staples


Every spring we plant zinnia seeds. I get the biggest rush making a bouquet from my own cuttings. They are so easy to grow. All you need is a patch of grass or a pot, water, and lots of sunshine.


If I find myself running errands in the afternoon, I love nothing more than to grab a coffee from the Vintage Cafe. 


Literally, nothing better. Throw on a little feta, fresh herbs, vinaigrette salad dressing or olive oil, salt, pepper. The end. 


This is the easiest way to protect little faces. Realistically, I'm not gonna reapply if I have to hold my kids down and get my hands dirty.

What are your summer staples? Jean shorts? Old movies? Linen sheets? 

It's the little things. 


The 4th + Welcome Home from Camp CAKE

Do you have any 4th of July traditions? We usually go to my sister's pool for the afternoon and eat barbecue nachos or something equally as good. We deck out in our patriotic garb and the kids end up doing some sort of parade or 4th of July "show." 

It's one of my favorite holidays. I LOVE THIS LAND, and I am so grateful to live here!


Following the 4th, on the 6th, we retrieved our older 2 kids from camp. They were gone for 3.5 weeks! This mama is happy to have us all under one roof again. 

While they were gone I had a bit of an identity crisis. Suddenly I had so much less responsibility -- kidwise. Who am I? Why was I put on this earth? 

Now that they are all home again I am so busy and overwhelmed. I'm cranking out huge batches of taco meat and my washer has. not. stopped. in three days. It's hilarious to imagine all that questioning and deep thinking I was doing 2 weeks ago.

And because no homecoming is complete without a cake, I made this easy chocolate chip one. 

It lasted 5 minutes. It's SO good!

great picture, right? 

1 box yellow cake mix 
2 3 oz boxes instant vanilla pudding 
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
8 oz sour cream 
1 cup oil 
1/4 cup water 
8 oz chocolate chips 

bake in a greased bundt pan at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes



How did you all fair during the pandemic/lockdown/Covid-19? Was it wild or what? Is it still going? 

I remember feeling nervous in early March last year. 

Church was the first thing officially canceled. Then schools said don't come back after spring break. One by one, things fell off the calendar. 

Next, 15 days to slow the spread. 

We started zooming. Zoom Sunday school. Zoom ballet. Zoom speech therapy. I hate zoom.

We began sneaking around with friends, having drinks in dark yards. Was this really happening?

My brother's wedding was scheduled for early May. He and his fiancé moved it up to early April because better to go ahead and get married in quarantine than wait this thing out. Turns out it was the right decision.

homemade alcohol wipes, let me know if you want the recipe

Funnily enough, that weekend was the absolute peak of the pandemic hysteria. Both governors of our states issued lockdowns and travel restrictions. 

But this is AMERICA! Forgive us, we did not stay home and save lives that weekend. We loaded up the fam in our SUV and with wind blowing in our hair -- we crossed the state line without incident. 

rehearsal dinner

It's fun to tell the tale now, but there was heightened anxiety. We had never done this before, defied the government during a lockdown. My fear was getting in trouble with the authorities and being fined some arbitrary amount -- or worse, carted off to jail!

Side story: we left all the kids' wedding clothes at home on our bed. And by we, I mean Stephen. As soon as we realized it, without hesitation he said he would drive 4 hours back home and get them. Of course, I told him absolutely no, but his willingness to drive a total of 12 hours to Jackson to Montgomery to Jackson is proof that he has a heart of gold. 

We made do...without proper clothes. The wedding was beautiful in their backyard, perfect weather, immediate family, a preacher, and a photographer. Some things you just can't miss, and your only baby brother getting married is one of them! Pandemics be damned.

Then there was the worst Easter ever. The weather was hot, humid, and cloudy. No church. 

And that's when we snapped. We were DONE with Covid. 

We formed our Covid family. Us and a few others broke quarantine (again). We went to the lake, the beach, the pool, we had pizzas on Sunday nights, gathered on the 4th of July. We had a blast, quite frankly. No one got Covid. These are the people I want to be with when the world ends.

Summer camps were canceled. Everything was canceled. Masks mandates were in full force. By early fall 2020, things were back but not normal. 

Hop forward to November. People actually started getting Covid, people we knew. We had lots of exposures. Our family Thanksgiving plans were canceled. It got real. 

In December, Stephen tested positive. Somehow I did not get it. Crazy, right?

In January, I got it -- the VIRUS-- from a totally different exposure. Three of our kids got it as well. I was thrilled to have natural immunity. 

Early on during this whole ordeal, my mom mailed me a copy of this essay by C.S. Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age. It's a good read. Probably need to keep it on file.


Personal Pizzas + Stocking Up

With George being an only child last week (others at camp), my plan was to minimize time in the kitchen. But a boy's still gotta eat. 

Hello, personal naan bread pizza. 

naan bread
mozzarella cheese

In the oven 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Stephen's method is to layer a little cheese, then the pep, then a little more cheese. This makes it extra good. Trust us.

Of course you could serve naan bread pizzas to a crowd (and I have), but it is especially handy for a meal of one. Keep it in your back pocket if you're hosting a grandchild or dining solo...or cooking for an 8 year old boy after a long swim.

It's no more trouble than making a sandwich.


In other practical matters,

I'm working on getting a comfortable stockpile of consumable items and toiletries. This is not about earthquakes or end times. It's about convenience. 

How to: go to Walmart and get three of everything you need. 

Why three? Because that's what Jordan Page said to do. One for now, two for later. It's extra, but not excessive. 

Of course some things come with multiples in a package...like soap.

Do you keep a stockpile of household goods? 

Traditionally, I've bought things as needed, but after being inconvenienced a couple of times lately, I'm changing my system.

Happy Monday!


Regular Haircuts + Rug Recommendation

I have tried a lot of different haircuts over the years. I really wanted to make bangs work, but I always come back to this chin length bob. 

I have a lot of opinions about hair. Do you? IMO a lot of women keep their hair too long and it looks unhealthy! Hair health should be the #1 priority. 

It's not the most important thing in life, but it's pretty darn important. HA! 

Another thing, I always schedule my next hair appointment when I'm leaving the salon. Set it and forget it. Why not? You're there. I go about every 8 weeks. 

Also, PSA. We bought a new rug for our big hangout room. I love it and it is on major sale at Pottery Barn! 

It is shedding a bit but that is to be expected. This rug is sturdy.

I learned from James Farmer and since have heard it from other designers -- blue and green are nature's neutrals -- think the sky, trees, grass, water. Blue or green almost always work in decor. 

Also, blue and white is always right!


Back to blogging?

Hello friends! Today, I find myself with 3/4 of my children at camp. There's a lot less laundry and a ton less cooking and feeding people. So here I am. 

Life update. We are well. The children are 12, 10, 8, and almost 6 years old. We are definitely entering a new phase of parenting. And it is so fun! 

We can go to a restaurant and actually relax and eat. They can all swim, ride a bike, and make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We have arrived...sorta.

We have spent the past two years homeschooling the oldest 3 (Stephen, Laurie, and George). Caroline has been going to preschool. 

This was a pre-Covid decision, but ended up being the absolute best coincidence.  

Homeschooling is hard. More on that in a future post?

In big life events news.....

*My brother got married in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic and lock downs. It was dramatic and romantic. And thankfully we were there for it. Our new sister-in-law/aunt is the loveliest person and we are so grateful that she's officially part of the fam.

*We gained 2 beautiful nieces! Stephen's sister had her 1st baby in Nov. 2020 and my sister - her 4th in Feb. 2021.

*My mom was diagnosed and treated for stage 1 breast cancer. This was heavy, and I don't like to dwell on the weeks of uncertainty we went through last October. But God, in his kindness, has restored her health, and she is on the other side of chemo and thriving!

*Stephen's grandmother died in December. She was quite a legend. We celebrated her life and the end of an era at a family graveside service in Atlanta. 

*We started a long planned for home renovation in November. We are adding 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a porch, laundry room, and a pantry. I'm going to love the end result, but I'm not loving the process. Stephen is doing most of it himself. He is truly amazing. 

Yesterday,  I came across an old photo book I had made from my Instagram photos...many moons ago before chat books. 

On the front I printed this quote. 

"The ordinary acts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." -- Thomas Moore

Funny how those words resonated with me then (2012) and resonate with me now. I love ordinary days and all that they entail.

George (my only kid home right now) and I went to the farmer's market this morning. We bought peaches, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We stopped by the library. Then we drove through CookOut and got him a hamburger and chocolate milkshake. It's not a bad life being an only child. 

The ordinary. How grand!

With my extra time I've been enjoying cleaning and sorting areas of our home that need attention. Monday I took everything off our living room bookshelves, dusted and wiped them down, and put everything back with special care. This is like therapy for me.

I'm old enough to remember a time before the internet, a time when we didn't take our mini computers with us everywhere.  I've been channeling those pre-internet and pre-smart phone days. Writing letters, calling friends, walking out to my little herb garden sans phone in the morning. 

Even writing this blog post on the internet seems remarkably slower and old fashioned in contrast to social media and phone scrolling. I think it's the whole producing vs. consuming thing that makes it feel more worthwhile. 

This was nice, dabbling back on the blog.
How are y'all doing out there? 

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