It’s the Little Things that make the World Beautiful

Tea for days? Mhmmm! @AuthenticVirtue.com

Ah … Wednesdays. It’s a great day to be enjoying the little things in life. Things like beautiful boxes of tea, sunshine, Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper bunny shakers, a stomach full of sweetened oatmeal, morning kisses, surprise bed + breakfasts (that will tucked in another post), good music and the promise of family visits.

What are you enjoying today? Are there any adventures, quiet or not, finding you this Spring? 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Winter Day DIY in Our Missouri Nest

DIY in Our Nest

Ah … friends, hello. I’ve had the most glorious weekend. Good coffee and great music flowed generously during my quiet hours. I think I wore the same grey sweater all weekend but that doesn’t matter.

It’s my last day and I’m sitting with my favorite mug next to me and basking in the glory of finished projects and planning future endeavors.

Here’s what my weekend involved … I’d love to hear about yours too.

Winter Day at Home

Don’t laugh but I woke up at 4 o’clock Sunday morning, made a cup of coffee and settled onto our ottoman and played Minecraft with my beloved. (Talk about quirky!) 😉 We also watched a sermon by one of our favorite pastors and had snuggles and breakfast in bed … the perfect start for Valentine’s Day. (Waking up to a neighborhood covered in snow was also delightful.)

Our Nest

Saturday, I started the day in Hobby Lobby trying to find some crafting odds and ends I could make into loveliness.

I settled on two jars of Americana Decor’ chalky finish paint, paintbrushes, a package of nails, polished wood pieces and two doll rods for diy curtain rods.

I pinned, hot glued and banged nails into the wall (with a large rock no less … lol, were tool illiterate in this house 😉 ). In the end, I decided to copy these beautiful window swags. I keep laughing at how satisfyingly beautiful and simple the draped burlap ended up being. Hearts.

diy in our house

Next, I began a three hour drama by painting our armoire. I’m not sure if it’s forgiven me for painting it when it was already perfectly lovely. My love for shabby/recycled/cottage/hobbit-home style décor (plus our newlywed budget) means our home is furnished with many mismatching pieces. And while our bedroom furniture was already quite lovely we both yearned for a lighter hue.

Hence, the two jars of paint.

There were moments when I had my doubts and almost broke into nervous “What have I done!” tears. But in the end I’ve decided everything in our home should be painted white … I mean, look at how beautiful it is! 😉

diy in our nest

I still need to add one more coat, distress the edges and wax. But again, hearts, hearts, hearts.

Crafting in Our Nest

Friday found me sweeping, budgeting, Periscoping, and watching a delightful library find. I also needed to stock up on stationary so I busied my hands with bits of paper and glue sticks. Making my own writing supplies works a lot of delight in my heart.

Overall, the weekend was a grand success full of quiet moments, busy hands and planned out endeavors. Every once in a while this introvert needs time alone to create, read and write; thank You, Lord, for giving me these few days of quiet and rest. You are so good to know each of our delicate frames and give such tailored gifts!

What did your weekend involve? Leave me a comment and I’ll leave you a reply! 🙂 

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Celebrating Us with Carnival Cruise + Eastern Caribbean

Hey sweet folk!

Three weeks ago my Darling Man and I flew south and embarked upon a glorious, fun 2nd anniversary trip (which isn’t actually until March 7th!). We just loved our seven day Carnival Cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. I only wish I had enjoyed it more! (And for you’re enjoyment click on the picture to see them up close.) 😉

We loved starting our trip by visiting wit Dalton’s aunt and uncle … they were so awesome and dropped us at the St. Louis airport at the crack of dawn (3 am!). We’re so thankful for you, Bob and Judee!

Oh, I also have to mention “Clubby,” the one-footed pigeon in the Fort Lauderdale airport; we loved being greeted by a tourist friendly bird. 😉

The ship was so beautiful. We sailed on the Conquest which housed … I think up to 2,000 visitors from all over the country. It was hard to choose what to do with the many pools and hot tubs, water slide, giant movie screen, live entertainment and music, and several restaurants.

We were so excited to get a suite — we decided that we were willing to pay to have a view! There were no regrets. Our room was beautiful and we really enjoyed our sweet room attendant, Aileen, who made our bed, turned down the sheets and always had our ice bucket filled up. I especially had fun squealing over her towel-animal creations; she was so talented! It was fun feeling like royals for a week! 😉

We sailed the first two days, and then visited one of the ports on Grand Turk (the capital of Turks & Caicos Islands). Such a lovely place! We went on an excursion where we snorkeled over a reef and then went to Gibbs Cay where sting rays were swimming around. I didn’t touch one but it was fun watching other’s squirm with them!

Before our trip was over we also spent a day at Amber Cove on the Dominican Republic and Nassau, Bahamas (which was my favorite).

What was our personal favorites on the ship? I know I enjoyed the coffee bar and since Dalton worked out at least 2-3 times a day I’d wager he enjoyed the gym. 😉

It was so special to spend my 26th birthday at on our cruise. Early in the morning we got a knock on our door where someone delivered Dalton’s surprise gift to me — a yummy chocolate cake and rose! He is SUCH a sweetheart! It was a lot of fun to spend the rest of the day docked in Nassau. We walked several blocks of the old, downtown area … I especially wanted to visit their library and my dear Dalton went to take me but we got lost among the old buildings!

This is where I have to stop and say how much more I wish I had enjoyed this trip. I had been feeling queasy most of our vacation (due to sea sickness, I think) but the day of my birthday ended with me spending several hours sick to my stomach. (What a waste of a perfect birthday cake!) 😉

Because of that I was a real party-pooper most of the trip. I’ve got to brag on my Man because all through the trip he continued to bless and encourage me despite my grumpiness. One of these vacations I’ll learn to take full advantage of it! 😉 Anyways, I have got one great man! Hearts!

IMG_4062I loved seeing D all dressed up for the elegant dinner on the 2nd day of sea. He’s such a stud!

I’m pretty sure all eyes were on us during the trip because of our (fairly) conservative appearance. More then once we were asked if we were Mennonite and which colony we came from! Haha!

I think that’s why I loved our “dressing up” night You can’t see it here but I had a beautiful, colorful hi-low skirt on paired with a black top and D looked super cute in his dress jeans, button up and black vest. We must have looked like very stylish Mennonites. 😉

p.s. I just have to ogle Dalton’s gorgeous beard! I love it when he can grow it out since work requires him clean shaven. Hahaha … oh, are you uncomfortable? But just look at how GORGOUS his manbeard is?! Okay, okay, I’ll stop. 😉 😀

IMG_4165

Overall, it was a splendid trip and I’m so glad we were able to go. Since we try to go on a big trip with each other every year I’m looking forward to next year’s anniversary itinerary. Next week I’ll have a packing list of what to bring on a cruise from my point of view.

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

Hello 2016!

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

We all celebrate milestones differently. Me? I light candles, pour coffee and snuggle in; especially now as I reflect over what the Lord did in 2015 and what He may do this coming year.

It’s been a blessed, beautiful, adventure-filled year.

First, we celebrated our 1st anniversary and went on our postponed honeymoon to Las Vegas (baby!). We absolutely loved being able to afford our first nine day vacation with each other. We walked the strip (a lot), swam in our resort’s lazy river every day and thoroughly enjoyed our friendship and recalling our first year together.

Las Vegas! Las Vegas! Me and my Darling!

We logged hundreds of hours on our local interstate visiting family and making memories with the folk who really make our life tick. I’ve got to say that we really love Dalton’s 3-day weekends! We’ve been to Branson, Missouri with both sides of our family, surprised parents, and spent a lot of time in my mother-in-law’s salon. I’m so thankful our dear family are only 3 hours down the road.

What a silly group of folk

I began last year substituting in a local Christian school and then accepted an official, part-time position this school year as librarian and p.e. instructor. I’ve learned so much from accepting this position. I’ve helped put together a book fair, discovered how to prepare usable lesson plans, spent hours decorating my space and countless time loving (and being loved) by awesome kids and staff. It’s a challenge I’m so glad I accepted.

I even hosted my very own brunch! 😉 Only one soul was able to attend but we sure had a delightful time and I finally branched into hosting!

Hello, brunch!

This blog has also grown! I feel like Authentic Virtue became an adult this year when I moved from my beloved BlogSpot space to my own domain and WordPress! 😀 I enjoyed the excitement of having one of my articles featured by To Love, Honor and Vacuum and felt the thrill (and freakout!) of branching into an actual Facebook site and Periscope channel!

Speaking of the blog, here are 2015’s top five posts of the year! (I still can’t believe #1 got 1,752 views! I also can’t believe I wrote about such a controversial topic!)

Yes, it’s been a beautiful year. I’ve become more adultish. I’ve had to schedule my own doctor appointments, successfully completed a sugar fast (twice!), read more, made friends (hey! it’s a big deal for an introvert in a new city 😉 ), and pushed myself to work harder for my goals and dreams.

(I’ve also failed my sugar fast, gained a few pounds and cried a lot over little things … all things in moderation, right? 😉 )

Soon I’ll be penciling plans and dreams into a new calendar. Ordinary, day-to-day tasks will need to be inspired and revamped. I’ll need to find new ways to keep my home better and do small things with great love. We’ll need to organize our priorities as we discuss what we think God desires from us in our mid-Western town. Should we begin a Bible study? Should we get involved with the Boys and Girls Club? Should we look into renting the adorable house up the street?

There’s also the possibilities. Will I get pregnant? Will Dalton apply for a promotion? Will we stay in Jefferson City?

(I’ll also turn twenty-six in eight days … I’m getting old, ya’ll.)

So many possibilities, so many opportunities for God to reveal Himself through our lives.

What has your year looked like? Care to share some of your 2016 schemes and dreams?

I know one thing about 2016; we’ll sure enjoy our 2nd anniversary Eastern Caribbean cruise … 😉

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Decorating for Christmas on a Newlywed Budget

Christmas Decor on a Newlywed Budget

It’s a joy-filled, sunny day in our neck of the woods. Christmas is only ten days away and my little heart can hardly stand it! 🙂 This is our second Christmas as a married couple and it has been enjoyable in every way — what a blessed, love-filled month it has been!

One of the difficulties many new brides (and single folk too!) experience is decorating for Christmas on a budget. We fret, stress and grumble remembering how lovely our childhood Christmas’ were; we want our homes to be as cozy and festive as the one’s left behind. Can any one relate? Or am I alone in this? 😉

Thankfully, creating a beautiful, cozy holiday home does not need to break the newlywed’s budget. Join me as I show you eleven of my favorite affordable decorating ideas for Christmas. (This is an excellent excuse for me to browse Pinterest … cue the hot coffee, chocolate and Pinterest marathon!) 😉

DIY Advent Countdown

Isn’t this Advent calendar delightful? Start with toilet paper rolls, ribbon, tape and paper and end with something you can hide treats in. I love it! (link here)

Handmade Ornaments

Cinnamon ornaments smell yummy and add a rustic charm; I’ll be making some of these this week! (link + recipe here!)

Isn’t this little nest so sweet? Our tree is very reflective of our home and personalities; I have a few birds nest tucked away and several berries springing out of branches; this little nest would be a perfect addition! (link here)

Delightful Decorations

chr 6

Stop by Lowes and ask if you could have the pine branches left from the tree cuttings. Branches are a delicious (free!) way of bringing the natural elements of the winter season  inside. (link here)

Wrap a few miscellaneous boxes in scrapbook paper or pages of books you no longer use (if you have the heart to rip up a book!) 😉 I think these little, hanging gifts would be enchanting above a kitchen sink. (link here)

Use your library to add a unique, quirky “tree” in your home! I loved this idea and made three “trees” in the school’s library using various green books — I just love how bookish and Christmas-y it looks! (link here)

Smells for St. Nicolas

There are so many affordable, natural ways to make your home smell delicious for the holidays. Toss some apple or orange peels, cinnamon sticks and sprinkle various spices to get a yummy November smell or add pine and evergreen for a fresh Christmas smell. (link + recipe here)

Chalkboard Creations

I love Callie’s Christmas décor and her chalkboard is no exception! (link here)

Isn’t this chalkboard by Dear Lillie a delight? Add personal charm to your Christmas home by lettering a unique phrase or bit of Scripture you love. (link here)

Wreath Wishes

Again, Callie’s Christmas coziness inspires me! I love her wreath above the dining table and even the branch in the pitcher. So adorable!! (link here)

Finally, this set of wintery wreaths delight my Christmas-loving heart and have me wishing for inches of snow and never ending coats and mittens. (link here)

The wonderful thing about each of these pictures is that the sort of coziness oozing from them is available to even the tightest budget. If you crave a welcoming, wintry haven but are on a tight budget rejoice! You have the perfect excuse to use your hands and make something beautiful with them.

How do you decorate on a budget? Have you ever known a holiday where finances were tight but your inspiration abounding? Share with us, dear, and let’s grow together in grace and beauty!

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

p.s. Here’s some of my own Christmas inspirations!

Our Christmas tree is very earth toned — it simply delights my heart! Glittery pinecones, bird nests, white berries and fruits of the Spirit written on log slices make it truly unique to us! <3

Of course the quirky, uneven string of lights add to the mood of sweet fun in our home. And leftover Thanksgiving pumpkins sit happily beneath the limbs; I couldn’t bare throwing them out! 😉 Naturally, Braveheart would be an excellent companion to such a wintery day.