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

Kids Bathroom Moodboard

If you follow my Instagram stories (@sayingitsouthern) which I highly suggest you do (wink wink), you would know that my husband and I are re-doing our girls’ bathroom! Our house is about 13 year olds, and we knew when we moved in two years ago that we would eventually re-do things like the flooring and tile backsplashes that are terribly outdated. I’m so excited to finally put to paper (or photoshop) all of the ideas and plans that we have for the girls’ bathroom. It’s been such a big learning curve for us in the world of DIY and definitely one that I am grateful for. I will also add that you’re not seeing double with the images below! I posted both to show the contrast with the mirrors and to get your thoughts.bathroommoodboardrattan

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Flooring: the flooring has been the easiest decision thus far. We went with this porcelain tile that looks like calacatta marble. I am a neutrals girl through and through so the simple and classic white and gray just made sense.

Board and batten: we just finished doing a board and batten wall in my daughter’s nursery (more on that in a future post!) and I fell in love! I want to board and batten the whole house! I’ve typically seen board and batten painted white with a contrasting wall color. But I feel like it is becoming more and more common to paint the board and batten a contrasting color against a white wall. I’m here for this trend! We painted our daughter’s board and batten pink against a white wall, and it is so dreamy! For the bathroom, I want to do a taupe color.

Vanity: the original vanity sat on the ground. But because we are re-doing the flooring as well, I felt like I had the freedom to do a floating vanity so I’m running with it! Our girls are still little and are in constant need of a stool, so I envisioned the floating vanity storing a stool underneath when guests or adults are occupying it and see no need for it. It’ll just slide right under!

Faucet: I feel like black is very on trend, especially with the midcentury modern and moody vibes I’m seeing. But the timelessness and class of brass (get it? I’m so funny…) will always have my heart. I want a light and airy vibe in the bathroom, so a light metal was a natural fit.

Mirror: this is where I need some help! A trend that I haven’t fully embraced is the idea of mixing metals: i.e. gold faucet, silver light fixture. Because the light fixture and faucet will be gold, I don’t necessarily want a gold mirror. That just feels like too much. But I’m not sure what looks better. In the moodboards (above) I’ve done both black and rattan. What’s your vote?

Light fixture: as with the faucet, a gold/brass light fixture was my first choice. I want the room to feel airy, light, classic and chic. Because the vanity is so dark and masculine with the wood tones, everything else needed to be pretty light to give a more feminine vibe overall.

Bathtub: we are actually keeping the original bathtub and just having it resurfaced. My girls are still very little, so a standalone shower doesn’t make sense. A combination works great for our little ones and any guests.

Shower tile: if I’m being completely honest, I keep going back and forth on this taupe hexagon mosaic tile. So I’m not even certain that it will be this tile when we are done. But I do want some taupe-y neutral to coordinate with the color on the board and batten. I’m not sure where my love of taupe is coming from lately, but I’m a big fan!

Wall art: I purchased the wall art from a small business that is actually no longer selling it, so I’m glad I grabbed it when I did! It came as unfinished wood so I am going to paint it black. I thought it would be a cute reminder for my girls of what they need to do. More cute sign, less mom nagging! Wink!

And there it is! Our moodboard and vision for the bathroom! If you have some thoughts on which mirror to go with (or maybe a completely different one altogether!) I’d love to hear it!

XOXO

Lauren