These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

I love reading or hearing about other people’s favorite things….places to travel, activities, products, shops, etc.  When I started thinking of all my favorite things……whoa, it could get out of hand. There’s a lot! But I thought I would just share a few of my everyday favorite products…….maybe you might discover something cool you’ve never tried or heard about. =)

This is not a sponsored post….just me sharing some of my favorite items that I use everyday!

A Few of My Favorite Things

1.  Orbit sweet mint gum. Found it by accident…and now it is my favorite. {I have to only chew it when I’m by myself….I tend to really get-in to chewing my gum!}

2.  Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover. This stuff rocks! We’ve used it for years….and so far there has been nothing that it can’t get out.  I’ve shared it with so many people and they all fall in love with it. {You can quite often find it at AC Moore, Hancock Fabrics, Bed, Bath, & Beyond.}

3.  Muvazi Skin Care….every morning and every night. All natural, no chemicals, preservatives, etc.  Love it! It’s my twice daily routine.

4.  Restoration Hardware Super Hand Cream…..aaaahhhh, the BEST! I use it year round. The original is my favorite….and I love the smell.

5.  This candle burns in our home daily…..all day. Volcano is the name…and smelling wondrous is its game.

6.  A while ago I discovered a new cosmetic line……so far I have loved everything I’ve tried. My favorites are the smolder eyes liners and the lipsticks and the primers. Great stuff! {It’s sold at Ulta…and, of course, online.}

7.  Izzes….our favorite drink around here. There are 8 different flavors, we love them all. My personal two favorites are grapefruit and peach. But I also love apple and blackberry. Oh yeah, and pomegranate and blueberry. And yes, I also love clementine. They’re just all good…go get some!

8.  I started using Stonewall Kitchen products many years ago…and they are still a favorite. The syrups are divine…we use all of them…and we also love all the jams and jellies.

9.  Moroccan Oil……use it every time I wash my hair. Wonderful stuff. Smelly good stuff. Hair miracle stuff. Love all their products. {Don’t freak when you see the price…one bottle of the oil lasts me and my 2 girls almost 8 months.}

10. I love this artwork that our church is currently using. It reminds me that I want everything that I do, to have Jesus’ handprint on it. Everything. {I miss it sometimes and the handprint says Daune…..but I’m striving for it……}

11. We love Mrs. Meyers cleaning supplies.  It’s close to impossible to find all-natural cleaning products that smell good. I’m all about smelling good……and when you use Mrs. Meyer’s….you get both. Aromatherapy while you clean. Basil is our favorite…..we use the sprays, scrubbing/scouring powder, glass cleaner…. I also like Geranium, but Basil is definitely my favorite.

12.  This mascara is the bomb! I’ve used it for 26  years…..and every time I try something new I always end up going back to this one.

13. Our hand soap and dish liquid is always this stuff. We have a few favorites that we change out during the year:  Basil in the spring/summer, Spiced Chestnut in the fall, and Winter Forest in the winter. Works great….and, once again, my smelly needs are met.

14. I love Williams-Sonoma spices……you really can tell a difference when you cook with good spices. I cannot tell a lie. I would love to tell you to go to the dollar store and buy your spices….but I would be leading you astray. My favorite is the Hickory Smoked Sea Salt. I go to the pantry and get it out just to sniff it. {Is that a problem? Should I worry?} Here’s a recipe with it…..but we use it on everything.

15.  This cosmetic line is overall my favorite. Most of my cosmetics come from this line….love the colors and the quality. I’ve also loved getting my girls started with it because the colors are so beautiful and natural…they enhance…great for teenagers. {And non-teenagers, like myself. *ahem*}

16.  This paper company is my very favorite. I love a lot of paper/stationery companies…but this one is where I get most of my cards, writing pads, fun stuff, etc. {You may have seen many of their items in Anthropologie…they often carry a lot of this brand.}

OK…I shared a few of my everyday favorites. What are some of yours? I love new discoveries!

Happy Monday~

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Our Annual Christmas Party……..

For the past 18 years we have hosted an annual Christmas party at our home. The first year we started No. 1 Son was only a few months old and I had him in a sling all night. We initially began the party because we had just moved into Oak Cottage and didn’t know anyone…..we thought it would be a great way to get to know the neighbors. That first year we had around 50 people. We enjoyed it so much we decided to make it an annual tradition. We now have over 200 people coming through here each year…..it is something that our whole family looks forward to all year. For the past several years there are always many overnight guests after the party….our kids’ friends…..so it almost turns into a weekend celebration.

Our family is at its best when we are all together and have a home full of people. Handsome and I knew that hospitality was one of our ‘things’….but it has been neat to see that it is actually one of our whole family’s ‘things’. We love opening our home to others…whether it is just one person for coffee, or hundreds for a big party. Hospitality is wonderful ministry….and we love doing it together.

Here’s some little snippets of the preparation, etc. of our party last week.  I added in a recipe or two……

We use a whole lot of Stonewall Kitchen products around here…and one of our favorites is the Cranberry Horseradish Sauce. We mix the whole jar with 8 oz. of cream cheese….and it is the best dip ever! They also have wonderful syrups…it is the only kind we use. {No, they have no idea who I am…I just like their stuff, and so I am sharing it with you. :)}
cranberry horseradish sauce

Making these mini apple pocket pies is so much fun. To make them I use mini pocket pie molds from Williams-Sonoma, my favorite pie crust recipe, and Comstock apples……I mix lots of cinnamon and sugar into the apples, and then also sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the outside right before baking.

mini pocket pies

Love making cupcakes…regular-sized and these mini ones……I usually make a white cake with white icing. It helps with the Steeped Memories…. 😉

mini cupcakes

I am a list-maker…but also free-spirited, SO that makes me a free-spirited list-maker! ha! I have long used this fun pad of paper called The Entertainment Pad. It’s where I make lists of what will be served, what dishes will be used for each dish, what needs to be done 3 days, 2 days, day before, day of…..you know, it’s where it all happens. One year I accidentally left this out in the kitchen…and I noticed lots of people hovered over something on the counter, taking notes. When I walked over I realized they were checking out the pad of notes, etc. ha! They said that they learned a lot. {Probably a lot about my slight insanity……..}

entertainment pad

Some of the fun treats ready and waiting…..

party collage

Do you enjoy opening your home to others or do you prefer it to only be filled with you and your family?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! We have a party or two and then all 3 of our kids are performing {violin} at a Christmas Tea for the historical society in a lovely old, historical home. Can’t wait to see it!

Warm Christmas Wishes for your weekend~

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Fun Stuff & A WINNER!!!!

Good Monday morning! I hope you had a super weekend. Can you believe that it is Thanksgiving week? Whoa. This is my favorite time of the year and I have been trying to slow it down and not miss anything. Whew! It’s a full time job to do that.

I wanted to share some fun things that we have in the shop with you….and a special discount code that is just for Cottage in the Oaks readers! {You can click on each picture to be taken to the item.}

Many of the items are in very limited quantity and when they are gone…they will be gone!

I love this photo print of what we’ve named “The Reindeer Barn”. I took this photo on one of our road trips in the fall. It is so fun.  We have an 11 x 14 photo print, as well as sets of postcards of this print.

We also have some neat chalkboards tags/labels. Several different shapes to choose from….circles, hearts, rectangles, ovals……

The best-seller in our shop is the Mini French Cafe Tabletop Chalkboard…..and we’ve done a special one just for Christmas! {You can also still order the other colors/finishes, as well.}

Cuffs galore!  You can special order any name or date, short phrase, etc. We’ll be happy to customize one for you.

Some bunting/pennants….

Flour sack tea towels in all kinds of prints…….

Fitz and Floyd created this gorgeous Christmas pattern called St. Nicholas over 20 years ago….it has not been available for the past several years.  We have some wonderful pieces…adding up to a whole set.  If you’d like to start or add to your Christmas china…..we have dinner plates, salad plates, creamer/sugar, dessert plates, cups and saucers….platters.  Check it out! {I love this pattern!}

There’s lots more….those were just some fun highlights.  For this week only we want to offer you a special discount of 20% off your total purchase through November 25, 2012.  Just use the code:

MERRYMERRY

when you checkout. You can get a jump on your Christmas shopping…or fun-for-you shopping. 🙂 You can visit the shop here.

Also….just some blog maintenance……we have outgrown our servers. SO, within the next few weeks we will be updating and changing to a new server.  This should not cause us to lose anyone….BUT, if you subscribe to Cottage in the Oaks via feed there is a slight possibility that the transfer will cause us to lose you. {That would make me sad.} I’ll give you a heads up when we get ready to do it, and if all of a sudden you don’t get a post from us on a weekday….you know we lost you! SO, be sure to come back here and subscribe to the feed again, and we’ll be back on track!

We have a winner of the fabulous Moen Shower Giveaway! It is comment #42: Rebecca Reavis!

Rebecca, shoot me a quick e-mail: cottageintheoaks [at] me [dot] com with your mailing address and we will get it right out to you! Congratulations!

Lot’s of fun stuff going on……

Burlap Curtains

Burlap is one of my favorite things to use….just under European grain sacks….anywhere I need fabric in our home. Ever since we started the living room redo a year ago I’ve been looking for just the right thing to put on the windows.  They are very large windows and cross the entire front of our cottage.

I found these great rope tiebacks at an outlet type store….and I knew that whatever I did to the windows I wanted to use them! And, of course, rope leads straight to burlap in my mind. 🙂

I wanted the curtains to be very sheer…didn’t want to cover up the view or block the natural light. {I LOVE natural light….don’t like lamps too much.}

We ran across these wonderful rolls of landscape burlap at an old general store when we were out of town one day….and I knew they were perfect! They are a very loose-weave burlap. They are 3′ x 12′ each and only cost $6.00 a roll. ha! Cannot beat that. Curtains for 3 large windows only cost $36.

We loaded up on 6 rolls and they’ve been waiting in a closet for a few months …… waiting for me to get to them and make curtains. Last week I got out the sewing machine, started sewing, and my machine decided to stop working. Grrrrrrr. I was determined to get these curtains up. SO, I whip-stitched the top seam……and hung them on the rods, trimmed the bottom a bit longer than the floor, and then……YEP, I hot glued the hem! Done. {If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know how I feel about sewing machines. It’s bittersweet and doesn’t always bring out the best in me.}

From start to finish I made floor-length curtains for 3 large windows in under an hour. And….I love ’em. Thank you whip-stitch and hot glue! You know, it actually looks better than if I had sewn them on the machine.  You do not see a seam anywhere. All things work together for good, you guys! 😉

What have you been doing in your home lately?

Covered in burlap fuzz~

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MOEN Shower Faucet Giveaway!!!

When we started working on our master bath redo we already knew which new shower faucet/tub faucet that we wanted: Moen!  I had the pleasure of meeting several of their wonderful representatives at the Haven Conference this summer….and I learned so much.

Moen has always been a favorite of ours….but after learning more, it sealed the deal!

When they heard we were redoing our master bath they sent us this incredible oil rubbed bronze or ‘mediterranean bronze’ shower and tub hardware.  It is gorgeous!

They were super helpful as we had questions about installation, etc. We spoke with them countless times and they always went above and beyond in customer service and helping us.  I just can’t speak highly enough about our experience with them.

Here’s our new shower head and temp control……

Isn’t it great!!????

SO, how cool is it that Moen has given us an extra shower head/temp control to give away to you guys!!!  It is a $248 value….you can check out the details of what is being given away here.

We will keep this giveaway open until Friday, November 16 at 11:00 pm EST. This giveaway is open to the lower 48 US residents only and here’s how you can enter:

Mandatory:  1. Follow Cottage in the Oaks and comment that you do.

More options for more entries {these are optional}:

2.  Follow Cottage in the Oaks on twitter here. Leave a comment that you do.

3. Like Cottage in the Oaks Facebook page here. Leave a comment that you did.

4. Blog about the giveaway and comment with the link.

5. Tweet about the giveaway and comment with the link.

WOW!  5 ways to enter!!!! This is a gorgeous set……I know you guys will love it!

Best Wishes…..can’t wait to send this out to someone!

Blessings~

New Stuff…..

Happy Monday!

The weekend flew past….whew!

I thought I would share some new stuff that we put in the shop over the weekend.  We’ve just started adding items for Thanksgiving and Christmas….some more fun things will be added in the coming weeks.

I love the Mini French Cafe tabletop chalkboard in red for Christmas….

Some other new colors we’ve added are duck egg blue…..

and vintage white…….

Our autumn and Thanksgiving banners/pennants/bunting are back in the shop, too…….

And we have lots of new tea towels that we’ve been making……..

I would love it if you’d run on over and check it out…..what’s your favorite item?  What is something that you would like to see in the shop?

Just for our readers……use the code: autumn

for 20% off your entire order today through September 23!

Blessings~

Some Favorite Reads……

Magazines are so fun…like a mini vacation or getaway. My form of Calgon!

My very favorite for years was Cottage Living….it is no longer produced. *sigh*

cottage living magazine

Same with Country Home….they only do 4 a year as special publications.

country home magazine

Here are some of my all time favorites that I really enjoy reading……..many are Stampington Publications……they produce wonderful material! I also LOVE the British version of Country Living….such a treat. I wish you could subscribe here in the states.

favorite magazines

I also absolutely LOVE this one…published only 4 times per year.  You can usually get it at Anthropologie or Williams-Sonoma.

kinfolk magazine

And this one is a new one that is neat……based out of Kentucky. You don’t hear of too many magazines being published in Kentucky! {I love Kentucky!}

Folk Magazine

Here’s a new e-book featuring 40 bloggers about decorating your porches for autumn…..guess who is one of the 40 bloggers???  {Right..it’s me! You guys are SO good!} You’ll have to check it out…it’s fun!

{Just click on it to be sent to the page…..}

autumn front porches

Do you enjoy looking at/reading magazines?  What are your favorites?

Blessings~

{FYI}: What Do the Stickers on Fruit Mean?

I thought I would pass along some info that I have learned this year. You might be in need of some fun facts.

I always wondered what the sticker numbers on produce meant…..and I think everyone should know the actual meanings of those numbered stickers that we peel off before washing our purchases!

We eat organic and all-natural whenever possible. So these numbers have become very important…and quite an eye opener.  This information was shared with me via a friend that is a nutritionist.

  1. If there are only four numbers in the PLU, this means that the produce was grown conventionally with the use of pesticides here in the US. The last four letters of the PLU code are simply what kind of vegetable or fruit. For example: all bananas are labeled 4011.
  2. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with 8, this means that the fruit/vegetable is a genetically modified fruit or vegetable or GMO. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables override being organic. So, it’s possible to eat organic produce that’s grown from genetically modified seeds. A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
  3. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with 9, this means that the fruit/vegetable was grown organically and is not genetically modified. An organic banana would be: 94011
Go for the 9’s, guys! Start looking at these important numbers….so many people think that they are buying healthy, organic produce; but if it has been genetically modified it is pretty much equal health wise  as the conventionally grown with pesticides.
Now you know…….the rest of the story.
PS Anyone else remember Walter Cronkite? I just loved him growing up……when he came on I knew it was almost dinner!

Vintage Shave Brush Collection……

I remember watching my grandfather shave with his handheld brush and lather cup…

And I remember watching the men get shaved at the barber shop when I went with my Dad for him to get a haircut.

I always thought those brushes were so neat!

 So, years ago I started my own collection of vintage shave brushes.

 They sit on the window sill of a vintage stained glass window in our master bathroom….and we add to them as we find neat ones.

 My favorites…and most of my collection, is from Europe….pure badger hair with handles made from ivory, wood, bakelite, or brass.

What is something that you like to collect?

Here are a few of our other collections:

Did you know that I collect P?

Printers’ Tray Collections

Signs

Ticket Stubs

Beach Sand

In fact….I think we are a collector of collections around here. ha!

How about you? I love to find out what others collect…..

Blessings~

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New Things……

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a super weekend…they just go by too fast!

We got lots done in the garden, cleaned off the front porch…….

and had fun walking around in the rain at the garden center. 🙂

This is our last week of school here…..yaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!

We homeschool….and I’m never sure who is more excited to get things wrapped up for the year…me or the kids. We all have fun and love it, but once we hit mid-March we are all ready to finish up! 🙂 Ready for summer adventures, a little less structure, and some relaxation. {The pool opens this Saturday!}

I thought I’d share some new things in our etsy shop with you……

We created another version of our Mini French Cafe Tabletop Chalkboard.

It now not only comes in the darker, walnut stain….but in a light French Country gray.

 We also added a couple of new Vintage Flour Sack Tea Towels.

A French Fleura {florist} Advertisement

 and a French sheep advertisement….

 I love sheep. I want some. And chickens.

I need a farm.

If you’d like you can follow my love of sheep, chickens, farms, vintage, fun things, food, etc. on Pinterest here.

What have you guys been up to this weekend?

Blessings~