Fun in Atlanta….


Back in the autumn we took a fun trip to Atlanta, GA. We’ve gone to Atlanta many times ….. we have family there; but I thought I would share a few, fun little things to see and do while you’re there for anyone that may be going for the first time.

We started our fun at the Country Living Fair…..if you have never been to a Country Living Fair, put it on your list of ‘to-do’s’! There is one in the spring in Ohio and one in the fall in Atlanta. It is definitely worth it.

My Little One thought this was definitely the best way to see everything…on the back of Grammy’s scooter!  {You can read my 25 Things Atlanta Version Post here.}

Country Living Fair in Atlanta Country Living Fair in Atlanta

Another great spot that you cannot miss {if you have never been} is the Georgia Aquarium. It is the world’s largest aquarium….and it is truly a treat. Handsome and Grammy had never been and they were in awe……so fun!

Georgia Aquarium

One of my favorites are the moon jellies…they glow in the dark…..

Georgia Aquarium Jellyfish Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium Georgia Aquarium

Right outside the aquarium is Centennial Park….the center hub of where it all happened when the Olympics were held in Atlanta in the 90’s. {CNN is another great place to visit.  We did that a few years ago and it was a lot of fun.}

Centennial Park

The walkways are paved with pavers that have messages on them from people that donated to the building of the park…..

Centennial Park in Atlanta

The week that we went to Atlanta was a little over a week after my grandmother passed away…and we happened to find a brick with this message. I called my grandmother Ma-Ma… it was special.

Centennial Park in Atlanta

In the same block as the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Park is the World of Coke. A treasure trove of all things Coke.  You can watch Coke being bottled and taste Coke products from around the world.

World of Coke in Atlanta

Here’s the Coke couch from American Idol….

American Idol Sofa at World of Coke

This is the very first Coke dispenser…..

First Coke Dispenser

No trip to Atlanta is complete without grabbing a bite to eat at The Varsity! Serving great food here since 1928. “What’ll ya have” is the first thing you’ll here when you step up to the counter….and you better have your order ready, they won’t wait!

The Varsity The Varsity Counter, Atlanta

Downtown Roswell is another really fun spot to spend time and play……it’s a treasure trove.

Downtown Roswell Downtown Roswell

{Source for Roswell pics}

While you’re in the area another one of our favorite places to explore is Marietta…you can read my Marietta post here.

Yours truly in Marietta with the famous pistol that Scarlett O’Hara used in Gone With the Wind…..

Oh the thoughts running through my head! {No worries…I haven’t acted on any of them!}

Scarlett O'Hara Pistol from Gone With the Wind

Do you have any tips on anywhere you’ve been lately? I would love to hear them, because we love to travel and learn about new spots!




Thanksgiving Traditions

Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions?

Over the years as the kids have grown we have special books that we used to read each Thanksgiving…and many we still do.

We also start our Thankful Boxes on November 1st…you can read about them here.

Of course there is the Turkey and all the trimmings……

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…….

And seeing who gets the wishbone…….

We also have fun with decorations and doing fun things with our table settings, add some special trivia to our dinners in the evening, and like to make little bags of treats for each person that will be at the Thanksgiving table at my parents’ house.

Here are some fun Thanksgiving printables that I shared last year.

If you live in the US…….what are some neat traditions that you and your family  have for Thanksgiving?

Feeling blessed and thankful…..

An Autumn Gathering……

Some of my happiest and most content times are when I am preparing and opening our home for some kind of gathering….large or small, it doesn’t matter. I love setting the table, preparing the food, getting our cottage ready to make others feel loved and special.

Whether it is an impromptu “Come in and join us for dinner” or a large party that takes weeks to prepare…….I just love it! I also enjoy preparing and planning gatherings in other locations…..but my very favorite – the ones that make my heart sing – are the ones that are held here in our home. I hope our home is a haven of sweet ministry to those that cross its threshold….warm, lived-in, and welcoming.

One such gathering happened last autumn…..such a fun evening full of meeting new friends and learning more about the ones I already thought I knew. {And, of course, some added steeped memories.}

Just a few weeks ago we had a much smaller gathering…..and it was just as special and enjoyable, but for different reasons.  Great conversation went into the evening and we got to know two more people so much better than we did before.

What is something that makes your heart sing when you get to do it?

Looking forward to the next gathering…….

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

Autumn Recipes ::: Treats & Eats!

I have found some absolutely scrumptious recipes the past few weeks! I thought I would share my favorites!  Fall is my favorite time of year…and I get in the mood to try new recipes and add new comfort foods to our favorites list.

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants

Pumpkin Cookies

Autumn Chopped Salad

Crock Pot Apple Butter

25 Different Fall Soup Recipes!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes

Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Icing

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

I’ve found lots more yummy autumn goodness… can check them all out on my Autumn Pinterest board if you’d like some more fun ideas:

Autumn Pinterest Board

Which one is your favorite?


A Year of Front Porches……

Our porch is our favorite place to hang out….and we eat as many meals as possible on it. It’s where we sit with friends. Have long talks. Hash things out. Visit. Catch up. Read. Curl Up. Contemplate. Have quiet times. A place for lemonade and iced tea.

Last week I looked back over a year of mantels….and I thought it would be fun to look back at a year of porches.  We enjoy changing our porch with the seasons….or for whatever happens to be going on at the time in our home.

So, here it is….a year of porches:

{You can click on the links and see the entire post of each porch with more pictures}

Christmas 2011

Winter 2012

Spring 2012

Summer 2012

Autumn 2012

fall front porch

Do you have a porch? Do you enjoy changing it with the seasons?

What’s your favorite thing to do with your entryway???

On the porch~

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

Autumn Inspiration……

This is my favorite time of the year! I want to hold onto every second and not miss it.

Even as things seems to speed up and get so busy and full….autumn still says, “Slow down and cuddle up. Savor. Enjoy. Breathe. Prepare.”

I love that.

{I think it also says, ‘Eat’….but if you read yesterday’s post…you know, I’m just not going there….}

I love signs….and have always loved a good hayride. I think it would be fun to have an autumn party for just adults and have a couple’s hayride.  Wouldn’t that be great!?


We went on a picnic this past weekend in a spot that resembles this picture….I love fall picnics. The crisp air, the fabrics, the smells, the colors…….


I get so excited when I get to get my favorite boot socks out. They almost make me giddy.


And putting leaves on everything…….


I think large groups of pumpkins and cornstalks are so fun…and speak of the season at hand.  You just need a cup of hot cider……


Bonfires! The smell of woodsmoke is intoxicating to me. It’s one of my favorite smells.  There is something mesmerizing about a fire outside….and so relaxing. We use our fire pit as often as possible!


Living in Oak Cottage……we are surrounded by oaks. We do a lot of raking. ha! It’s a ‘every weekend activity’ beginning mid to late October and lasting into January.


I love the upholstery tacks used to decorate these pumpkins…..


So glad October is here…….


Hope wherever you are that you are having a wonderful autumn….

Ever Wonder Friday {No. 6}


1.  When will you ever have more time than you do right now?

2.  What are the five things you value most in life?

3. Do you treat love as a noun or a verb?

4. What is the one thing that you think of that always makes you smile?

5. Can you really be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you?

I hope you weekend is full of autumn!

Fun Autumn Find ::: Green Acorns

Last year when we had the disaster…..the 150 foot oak tree that fell onto our cottage during a hurricane……we started finding the neatest things all over our yard.

I guess I always knew that acorns were green while they were still growing…and not yet “ripe”. {Do acorns get ‘ripe’?} Well, you know…….

oak acorn

But usually when they started falling all over the yard and hitting us on the head {we are completely convinced that the squirrels actually are THROWING them at our heads!}…they are usually a lovely brown or, like this year, almost black. And, of course, we use them to decorate for autumn and for all kinds of other neat things.

oak acorn

But last year, all over our garden and yard, we had these fun little green acorns. We gathered them up and put them in containers. They were a fun bright spot to look at during all the arduous cleanup and repairs.

oak acorn

Aren’t they fun!?  Brown little caps and bright lime green bodies. {Do acorns have bodies?} I’m obviously NOT well-versed in acorns. Seeing as how this IS Cottage in the Oaks…and our home is named Oak Cottage…..I better get with it!

oak acorn

Even though I don’t have tons of acorn knowledge…..every time I see them they remind me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.”

Living in a home surrounded by huge oak trees….and seeing their strength and stamina….and then looking at these tiny acorns and realizing that this is how they started is encouraging. God has put in this little acorn everything it needs to become a mighty oak….even though it doesn’t look like it… has all it needs to turn into a towering tree. One of the strongest.

Big things start with small ideas. Small steps. Bits of intention. A little thought. A small gesture. One little step forward…….

Today that is what these little green acorns are reminding me…….

God has put everything I need within me, all I need to do is act on the small ideas and take a small step forward……

You, too.

What small little ideas are you feeling a nudge to act upon?


The Porch in Autumn ::: Fall Front Porch

Those of you that have been here for a while know that I love to change our porch with the seasons.  And, you know how I feel about porches…last week I shared that if the kitchen is the heart of the home…then the porch is the soul.

I thought I would share our fall front porch with you guys……it was so fun to do!

fall front porch

I love to see how many different kinds of pumpkins we can find at the patch.  Check out that crazy one behind the lantern…..I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. But I had never seen one like it, so it had to come home with us. Does anyone know what that kind of pumpkin is called. {And, no, the name of it is not “Weird”} 😉

fall front porch

fall front porch

The French cafe sidewalk chalkboard that Handsome made last year is another fun thing that we enjoy changing around and using in all sorts of ways.

fall front porch

Corn stalks….can you have fall without corn stalks?

fall front porch

fall front porch

fall front porch

I just got back a few hours ago from our NYC trip…..I might need to spend some time on our porch today….just staring…..into space…..with coffee…..


Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo, The Inspired Room

On an Adventure……..NYC Bound!


In the wee hours of the morning today I headed to NYC with my #1 Son {a.k.a. Handsome, Jr.} I am so excited to share a very special place in my heart with him!  We’ve been planning for a long time, and I can’t believe it is here.  We will be in the city that never sleeps for the next four days…..and it’s going to be a great adventure. You can follow our adventures on instagram, if you’d like…..right here. {@cottageintheoaks} Or you can scan this with your phone:

It’s his senior year……and we’ve wanted to do some special things with him this year.  I think we do a lot of special things with our kids….but we wanted to do some really special, super, standout things during this Senior year. {He’s also headed to China in a few weeks!}


I have taken each one of our daughters to NYC individually and now it’s #1 Son’s turn! I have treasured the trips and adventures that I’ve had with each of our children individually…..traveling with just one at a time is a very special adventure. Ones that I {and I hope they} will treasure forever.


Even if you take them to the exact same place….it is like 3 different trips. It is so wonderful to see what makes their eyes sparkle, where they see beauty, what excites them, what draws them in………..seeing through their eyes and hopes – right to their hearts.


I want my children to have deep roots…not shallow. I feel that part of having deep roots involves travel and new experiences and adventures.


With each new adventure you learn more about your place in the world, who you are, your purpose, your heart’s desires. It adds another dimension.


I was so blessed to do a great amount of traveling all throughout my whole life….even from a very young age. It has been an important part of polishing who I am; and has always been my best teacher.

Travel…whether just to another city or state..or to a whole other country gets us out of ourselves…to see beyond where we are individually. It gets us out of our comfort zones and can test us, energize us, help us live beyond ourselves.

Have you ever been to NYC? What is your favorite area/restaurant/thing to do there?

I am sure my 17-year-old will want to check out the Apple Store on 5th Ave.


If you have never been….it’s a fun experience.  You enter a clear glass ‘tube’ and descend into the ground….which is where the store is located. I’ve been there several times…and it’s still fun. 🙂

Hope you are having a super week~