Christmas at Daystar

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We finally checked off another item on our Christmas #bucketlist this year with the lights at Daystar! This was our first year walking around the grounds and seeing the more than 1.5 million lights. And it definitely won’t be our last!

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The girls loved climbing in the igloo of lights and seeing some of their favorite characters. But one of the things I’ll treasure the most was watching them kneel next to the statue of baby Jesus at their life-size Nativity display while listening to scripture passages being read. It was a beautiful reminder of the humble beginning and of the true reason for the season.

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After walking around the beautiful light display, one of Santa’s elves took us on a sleigh ride over to their Scratch Café where we enjoyed some yummy treats and a free photo opp with Santa, himself! It was the perfect ending to a memorable and festive night!

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Their holiday light display is open now through January 5th from 6 pm to 12 am so don’t miss out! It will definitely be a tradition for years to come for our family! Thank you for having us, Daystar!

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Daystar Television Network

3901 Highway 121 Bedford, Texas 76021

Favorite Fall Soups

Fall temps are finally here, and our favorite soups are on repeat! Today, I’m sharing two of my tried and true recipes that I’ve found and a way to kick your soup nights up a notch for $2!

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Creamy Zuppa Toscana Soup Yes! You read the title right! This is the closest copycat recipe I’ve tried to the wildly popular and delicious Olive Garden soup! And if I’m being honest, Tastes Better From Scratch is one of my favorite food blogs PERIOD.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup The soup that started it all. This was the very first soup I made as a newlywed, and it was worthy enough to make it to my recipe book- but don’t let that scare you. Let that relieve you. Because anything that gets added to my recipe book means it’s FAIL PROOF. HAHA!!

And wanna hear that tip that’ll kick your soup night up a notch?? Panera bread bowls! Make a big pot of soup at home, and hit the Panera drive-thru for their $2 baked bread bowls. Our family loves it! $8 for the family is frugal in comparison to all of us going out to eat. Am I right?

Stay warm, friends! Happy Fall, y’all!

XOXO Lauren

Quinny Bee’s First “Bee” Day

Over the weekend, we celebrated Quinny’s First Birthday with family! We did a simple “bee” theme playing off of her nickname “Quinny Bee” (our little “Queen Bee”) and it may or may not give you a hint as to what she’ll be for Halloween! Okay, maybe not a hint. It’s pretty obvious!

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For the background, I knew I wanted some sort of balloon garland. My friend, Nichole (Instagram @nichole_mallett), is a balloon garland slaying QUEEN and recently shared a great tip on her Instastories. She buys a balloon garland tape that comes with pre-cut holes to stick the balloons through. This leads to easy assembly in terms of getting the balloons on the garland and easy assembly in terms of getting it hung up on the wall. Genius! The greenery backdrop was purchased on Amazon. I love it because it adds so much more texture (literally and figuratively) versus staring at my wall behind the balloon garland.

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To tie in the bee theme, I added little touches here and there; from the light yellows and golds, to the greenery, to the fresh flowers and even tiny bees on the cake.

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I wasn’t able to get a picture of the whole spread before guests started to arrive, but in addition to the cake and chicken salad sandwiches we had a few charcuterie boards to cover the bases!

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I’ve done a number of birthday parties for my girls over the years, but this was my first attempt at making one of their birthday cakes. My friend, Erika, is a talented baker and gave me some great tips! I went with a simple “naked” cake, as I have zero frosting skills! My goal for this first cake was just to get it level and to taste half decent! Because it was a basic cake in regards to the look, I decorated it with fresh flowers and little wooden bees to add some texture.

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For table decor, I put out two mason jar vases with sunflowers, baby’s breath and honey stir sticks. The mason jar vases gave it that farm fresh feel and the honey stir sticks tied in the bee theme. We also had a jar of edible honey sticks for guests. The girls and I go to a local market store by our house and they always ask for these up at the cash register!

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….And I obviously had to save the best picture for last! Wink! I can’t believe our Quinny Bee is already one. Tear! Nobody warned me that the years get exponentially faster with more kids! We were so grateful to be surrounded by family as we celebrated her first year on this earth. She loved the cake and all of the attention. And for a third babe, she’s definitely not deprived of the spotlight. She’s our rainbow babe—our testament of hope, of God’s timing, of second chances, of answered prayers. She’s the perfect third babe—the calm to our constant chaos, a lover of all things noise and commotion (the louder the better!) and the snuggliest little thing. She’s healed our hearts and brought more smiles to our faces than she’ll ever know! Happy Birthday, Quinny Bee!

 

 

 

 

How to Preserve Pumpkins

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I do this trick EVERY YEAR when we bring our pumpkins home and they last well through Thanksgiving until I’m ready to throw them away! Maybe even through Christmas… don’t ask me how I know that.. I first found this idea on @missyrakes’s blog: Graceful Little Honey Bee. All credit to her! It’ll save those little (or big!) beauties!

“How to Preserve Pumpkins for Décor or Storage

1. Fill your sink with water and add 1 tbsp dish soap per gallon.

(You may also add 1 tbsp bleach per gallon of water if desired)

2. Let pumpkins soak 5 minutes. This kills any bacteria on the surface of the pumpkin that can lead to early rot.

3. Gently remove any visible dirt with your hands or a soft scrub brush.

4. Rinse pumpkins and dry thoroughly. Moisture is not your pumpkin’s friend.

*If you are using your pumpkins for decorating purposes then you are finished!*”

Thank you, Missy!!

EDITED TO ADD: I had also read somewhere to put petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on them. So after they’re done drying, I rub it on. Swear by it!

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Happy Fall, y’all!

XOXO

Lauren

Halloween Book Wall

We’ve finally finished curating our Halloween book wall for this year! If you’ve been following my Instagram stories @SayingItSouthern, you’ve seen that we’ve been budgeting a book a week to spread out the cost! We plan to add a book or two each year, but this was great to get our collection started.

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All of our book recommendations either came from wildly popular reviews on Amazon or rave reviews from friends!

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To decorate the shelves, I created a simple paper banner that cost no more than $4. FOUR DOLLARS! I went to Hobby Lobby and, in their scrapbooking section, picked up a few pieces of black/white/orange scrapbook paper. I cut them into strips and then cut out a pennant flag at the bottom to give it some character. And voila! Strung them on some twine and they were done!

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Here are the books that we chose:

1. The Ugly Pumpkin

2. Pick a Pumpkin

3. Big Pumpkin

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4. Bone Soup

5. How To Make Friends With A Ghost

6. Bonaparte

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7. Room on the Broom

8. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

9. Stumpkin

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I hope that gives you an idea of some frightening and festive kids books to start or add to your own collection! I’d love to hear any other recommendations to add to ours for next year!

XOXO

Lauren