Minimalist Mantel for Summer and a Chore That Was Way Overdue

Well, can you believe June is already over? My head is still spinning with the all the activity and trouble this month has seemed to be full of. I'm ready for a new month, ready to strip away all the non-essentials for awhile. When I took down the Bunny Love Spring Mantel, I was quite ready to put together this Minimalist Mantel for Summer, and get a chore done that was way overdue too.
Minimalist Mantel for Summer
Last summer I did a Summer Blues themed mantel, with lots of aqua blue and white items. Then I added in a little patriotic decor to jazz it up for the Fourth of July. This year, I pulled out my favorite large painting and placed it in the center for the main focus.
Minimalist Mantel for Summer
I shopped the house to find the faux potted orchid, which happens to be the deep red and orange that can be found in the field of flowers in the painting. Of course, one of the yard sale insulators had to be on the mantel too.
Minimalist Mantel for Summer
On the other side of the painting sit two new-to-me items. The first, the large blue bottle, was a hand-me-down from my mom. She sent it home with my son after he spent a week with them in late May.  The ornate silver box was an estate sale find we came across when my mom spent the week with us in mid-May. I urged her to buy it for herself and she ended up buying it for me instead. Just like a mom, right?
Minimalist Mantel for Summer and Cleaning Soot from Tiles
So, after I got the mantel all set (even though there are only a few items, it still took time), I stepped back and took a few pictures. The cat insisted he be in one of them (top left). As I looked through the pictures, the one thing that my eyes were drawn to was the soot on the tiles above the fireplace box. Mind you, I've been decorating the mantel for a good 5+ years and it never occurred to me to wipe down those tiles. For some reason, this time I went to the kitchen, got out the all-purpose cleaner and some paper towels and went to town. I was seriously blown away by the difference it made. {And, I felt pretty silly that I've never done it before.}Nevertheless, I now have a fresh and clean hearth to start off the summer and a minimalist mantel to boot.
New to Me Aqua Pillow
Because the sofa butts right up to the fireplace, I always try to keep the decor colors in the same family. Lucky for me, my mom also passed down this pretty light aqua linen pillow to me recently. It brightened up the sofa a bit and makes a nice pairing with my existing pillows.
New to Me Aqua Pillow
Taz seems to feel pretty good about the new pillow too. Thanks a bunch for stopping by today! I'm curious...how do you decorate your mantel in the summertime? Do you go all out? Or are you ready for a minimalist change too?
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Food for the Soul ~ Isaiah 41:10

What a 'crazy' couple of weeks it's been! It's not really anything I'll go into here, but suffice it to say, I am thankful I serve a big, big God.  Just when fear starts to find it's way into my thinking, verses like this one from Isaiah 41:10 are brought to mind.
When our trust is in Jesus, our hope can be unshakeable. He is truth. He is righteous. And He is our ever-present Help in time of trouble. Praising His great, great Name today and always! Does this verse bless your heart as much as it does mine today? What are some favorite Bible verses that encourage you when trouble is near?
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Perfect Peach Cobbler

For some reason, I am not a big fan of baking in summer. I think it may have something to do with the 18 years (as an adult) I lived in Phoenix. If you didn't get up early and bake, it just didn't happen too often. No one likes to heat up their kitchen in the dog days of summer, but especially those who have lived through 110+ degree days. Still, there are some days when I just can't help myself.
Perfect Peach Cobbler
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those days. I could have made up a batch of Watkins Brownies or maybe even some Crazy Good Cookie Bars, but I had some peaches in the pantry that had been calling my name. I told some friends I would bring this Perfect Peach Cobbler to their get-together, so I had to follow through. I'm so glad I did. I adore peach cobbler, especially with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Perfect Peach Cobbler Ingredients
Here's what you need: butter, milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, peaches, and cinnamon.
Melted Butter for Perfect Peach Cobbler
Start by melting butter in a 13x9 pan.
Pouring Batter for Perfect Peach Cobbler
Next, in a bowl, mix up milk, sugar, flour, and baking powder until just blended. Batter will be lumpy. Pour over the melted butter. (DO NOT STIR)
Arranging Fruit for Perfect Peach Cobbler
In separate bowl, stir together peaches and cinnamon. Arrange the fruit over the top of the batter.
Perfect Peach Cobbler
Sprinkle sugar over the top. (DO NOT STIR) The batter will rise up and cover the peaches in a blanket of yumminess!
Perfect Peach Cobbler
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden. (You might want to put a sheet of aluminum foil under your pan in case it overflows like mine did. :-)
Perfect Peach Cobbler
Serve it hot, at room temperature, or cold. It's all good. My favorite way is with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream...for breakfast. Okay, maybe not with ice cream for breakfast...but if you want to do it...I won't judge.
Perfect Peach Cobbler with Ice Cream
Perfect Peach Cobbler

3/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
4 1/2 cups peeled and sliced peaches (can be frozen, fresh or canned...or a mixture)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour in 13x9 inch pan. (I placed my butter in the pan into the oven and let it melt as the oven preheated.) In mixing bowl, combine milk, 1 1/4 cup sugar, flour and baking powder. Stir until just blended. (The batter will be lumpy.) Pour over the melted butter. DO NOT STIR. In separate bowl, stir together the peaches and cinnamon. Arrange fruit over the top of the batter. DO NOT STIR. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden.
Perfect Peach Cobbler with Ice Cream
This truly is one of my favorite baked treats. I think of it mostly in the summer when the peaches are ripe, but it is every bit as delicious with canned and frozen fruit too. I know there are lots of other cobbler variations. What's your favorite fruit to put in cobbler?

More Great Get-Together Dessert Recipes
Watkins Brownies
Crazy Good Cookie Bars
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Creative Ways Link Party #8 and Features

Whew! What a week! Do you ever have those weeks in your life that feel like they have lasted an eternity...and it's not necessarily a good thing? Yep. It's been one of those times around here. But, I am choosing to rejoice in this trial, because I know that the testing of our faith is producing perseverance (James 1:2-4). I have great hope in an even greater God! I have to say that seeing the projects you bring to this Creative Ways Link Party each week, inspires me and encourages me. I'm so glad you are here again this week to share with us all!
Here were some of the many posts that caught my eye this week. You all keep raising the bar on creativity...Thank you for inspiring us!
clockwise from top left
Pink Lemonade Ice Box Pie Squares by Tastes of Lizzy T
(This Ice Box Pie looks like the perfect summer treat!)
Aztec Clay Pendants by The DIY Dreamer
(Such a fun project for a great diy accessory! I bet my tween would love this!)
Asparagus Quiche by Luv a Bargain
(I'm a sucker for asparagus! Put it in a quiche, and I'll be your best friend!)
Top 15 Ingredient Substitutions by LouLou Girls
(I am notorious for running out of staples in the kitchen. I'll be printing out this list of substitutions.)
Outback Copycat Honey Whole Wheat Bread by Carmel Moments
(Forget the "Bloomin' Onions"! This bread is why I would even go to Outback! Can't wait to try this recipe!)
Wooden Copper Bowl by Bumblebree Blog
(I love how Bree took an interesting shaped wooden bowl and made it into a useful and beautiful home accessory.)

Link Party Guidelines
  • Please link up to 3 of your family-friendly DIY Projects, Crafts or Recipes...your Creative Ways
  • Please link to a specific post on your blog, not just your home page.
  • Please do not link up Etsy shops or giveaways
  • Please follow Posed Perfection by clicking on one of my pretty, colorful buttons on the sidebar, and let me know so I can follow you back.
  • I'd love for you to add the party button to your post, a visible link back on your post, or a link on a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • Be sure to visit at least 2 links and leave some comment love. 
  • By linking up to this party, your are giving authorization for your projects/recipes to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog.
Posed Perfection
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I've gotten a few messages that you aren't getting notifications of my new posts.  I would love for you to start following me on BlogLovin' to ensure you get the latest posts. You'll get an email every day with updates from all the blogs you follow on BlogLovin'. I would hate for you to be missing out on fun new content all because of technology issues. I can't wait to see all your Creative Ways!
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Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #PaintYourWay http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

We've been working on fixing up my tween daughter's room over the course of the last month or two. It's a slow process, but we are having fun with it. One thing that has been consistent throughout this little "makeover" is that my daughter loves all things colorful and artsy.
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
Above her desk, we thought a magnetic memo board would be fun for small keepsakes, so we came up with this Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board. Sharpie Paint Markers provided just the right amount of pizazz for the project. By the way, this is a great craft for your tweens to do this summer!
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
Here's what you'll need for the project: piece of sheet metal, Sharpie Paint Markers, ribbon, assorted magnets, drill, and tin snips.
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
Start by trimming the sheet metal to remove the dangerous sharp corners.
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
Then, drill holes in top two corners for ribbon hanger.
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
Finally, prime your Sharpie Paint Markers according to directions on package and get creative. Go crazy! Make it colorful!
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
The paint markers dry pretty fast. Once your project is dry, insert the ribbon into the holes and secure.
Hang up on the wall and start using those magnets!

A super simple project made even easier with Sharpie Paint Markers. I bought mine at Michael's, where they had a great selection of colors. I was even able to use my Michael's App to get 50% off. Check out your local Michael's stores for the best deals on Sharpie Paint Markers. Be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter feeds for more fun projects too!
Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board
These Oil Based Sharpie Paint Markers can be used on just about any surface...metal, pottery, wood, glass, plastic. Just imagine all the crafts you can make this summer with these markers! I let my daughter go crazy on this Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board. Anytime she made a mistake, she simply applied a little alcohol to a tissue and wiped it away. When she is tired of the current design, she can wipe it right off and start from scratch!

We had so much fun with these Sharpie Paint Markers, I was looking all over the house for other things I could "decorate". How about you? Any ideas for how you would use these fun paint markers?
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Food for the Soul ~ Romans 8:28

Hi Friends.
I'm so glad to see your smiling faces here today. I've been spending quite a bit of time away from the ole blog this last week. I'd like to say it was for a vacation or some other fun reason. Unfortunately, it has been a very emotional week. I know there is a purpose in trials, and sometimes we don't even see what the purposes are this side of heaven. I am confident of this though, God's plans are perfect. I trust that whatever is going on will ultimately work for the good of our family. To God be the glory!
Praying that you know the deep, deep love of Jesus this week. May He always sustain you with the promise of His Word! Have a wonderful week!

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Creative Ways Link Party #7 and Features

Welcome to another Creative Ways Link Party! I'm so glad you're here to celebrate all things creative! Have you had a good week? Mine has been a bit busy...it is summer, right? I got to see my mom briefly last week, and even did a quick road trip to Abilene to meet up with my dad (so he didn't have to make the full trek to Fort Worth to pick her up). It was a fun little trip, and I'm thankful I got to give my dad his Father's Day present in person and share a quick lunch with him. While I was away, my hubby bought me a "new to me" car. Normally, I'd be a bit perturbed, but I'm pretty happy with his choice. This week, my kiddos are at our church's VBS, so I'm doing a bit of shuttling around. Phew! I'm anxious for a little downtime, how about you? One of my favorite things to do when I'm just chilling out inside is looking through all the fun posts you all link up each week. 
Before we get to this week's party, I wanted to share with you the posts that caught my eye from last week. As usual, y'all brought your "A Game"...so many awesome link ups! You make it difficult to choose features each week!
clockwise from top left
Easy Burlap 4th of July Wreath by Clarks Condensed
(This wreath even looks easy enough for me to make! Love the patriotic chevron burlap ribbon!)
Mexican Street Corn Recipe by Peonies and Orange Blossoms
(We love corn on the cob in our house...the addition of the grilling and cheese make this a home run!)
(I love the simple beauty of these shabby chic bottle vases...each one makes a pretty statement.)
Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes by Anderson & Grant
(Baked potatoes are a staple around here...I will be making some this way with her "secret ingredient.")
(Who knew junk mail could be so pretty? I adore this project!)
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake by Love Bakes Good Cakes
(Jamie brings drool-worthy recipes to the party each week, and this is no exception. I will be trying this.)
Link Party Guidelines
  • Please link up to 3 of your family-friendly DIY Projects, Crafts or Recipes...your Creative Ways
  • Please link to a specific post on your blog, not just your home page.
  • Please do not link up Etsy shops or giveaways
  • Please follow Posed Perfection by clicking on one of my pretty, colorful buttons on the sidebar, and let me know so I can follow you back.
  • I'd love for you to add the party button to your post, a visible link back on your post, or a link on a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • Be sure to visit at least 2 links and leave some comment love. 
  • By linking up to this party, your are giving authorization for your projects/recipes to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog.
Posed Perfection
<a href="www.posedperfection.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc454/pianoprincessdesigns/creativewaysbutton_zps0fd67676.png~original" alt="Posed Perfection" width="250" height="177" /></a>

I've gotten a few messages that you aren't getting notifications of my new posts.  I would love for you to start following me on BlogLovin' to ensure you get the latest posts. You'll get an email every day with updates from all the blogs you follow on BlogLovin'. I would hate for you to be missing out on fun new content all because of technology issues. I can't wait to see all your Creative Ways!
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Summer Colors on the Front Porch

So, last week I showed you the transformation of the flower beds in front of our house...and I'm still loving the look of the fresh mulch. Now, I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy walking up to my house and seeing fresh potted flowers greeting me. Before I put in the mulch, I had already added some summer colors on the front porch.
Summer Colors on the Front Porch
One weekend last month, my daughter and I decided the pots up front needed some fresh flowers. We went to Lowes and just started loading up the basket. I let my "gardening consultant" be the one to pick out the flowers, with a little guidance from me.
Summer Colors on the Front Porch
We had talked about the "rules of container gardening"...thriller, spiller and fillers.
Summer Colors on the Front Porch
But, when it came down to it, we picked out the flowers based on what could take full sun and the ones that "spoke" to us. For annuals, I think this is a good mantra in your flower pots...pick colors and textures that make you happy.
Welcome Mat with Bird
Of course, with fresh flowers, a fresh "welcome" mat was needed. I found this adorable one at Target in early Spring. I love the colors of the sweet little birdie.
Summer Colors on the Front Porch
This is the big flower pot and it is filled with lots of goodies. We almost hit all the colors of the rainbow with this one!
Front Porch Area Summer 2014
All together with the fresh makeover on the flower beds, the addition of the flower pots and hanging baskets, and a new "welcome" mat, my front porch is finally ready to welcome guests. Not only that, but it makes me smile when I pull up in the driveway. I was starting to feel like the neighbor who doesn't decorate their house for Christmas. My neighbors all around had beautiful flowers growing in their flower beds and baskets. One even asked me if I was going to be planting any flowers soon. It was just the incentive I needed...I didn't want anyone looking at my house and saying, "Bah Humbug!"
Summer Colors on the Back Porch
I don't know about you, but I always seem to have leftover flowers when I plant the pots. Some of my favorite combinations are often all the leftovers thrown together. Here is one of the pots I have on my back patio...filled with leftovers (and barely enough soil).
Summer Colors on the Back Porch
This is the other chippy pot filled with some flowers that came back from last year and a couple of the leftovers from this year.

So, there you have it...my summer planting is done. I'm just trying to keep the flowers happy by remembering to water them every once in awhile.

So, I'm curious...do you ever have leftover flowers? Or are you good about planning out your pots and beds so you don't have any?
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Taco Salad in a Bag {aka Walking Tacos}

Some of our favorite summertime meals are salads. I'm always looking for a fun way to make meals more appealing to my family. This "recipe" for Taco Salad in a Bag (aka Wacos) is one of our favorites. My kids love it for the Doritos; I love it for the convenience.
Taco Salad in a Bag (aka Wacos)
Here's what you need: seasoned, cooked taco meat (chicken, beef, or ground turkey), small bags of Doritos, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, salsa. Other great additions would be avocados, black beans and sour cream.
Taco Salad in a Bag (aka Wacos)
There's no real recipe for these "walking tacos", but here's how we put them together: Start by slightly crushing the small bag of Doritos, then cut the side of the bag open with scissors. You could simply pull the seams open at the top of the bag, but snipping the side gives you a little flatter "bowl" for your fixin's. Add in a handful of lettuce, some tomatoes, about a 1/3 cup of cooked taco meat, some shredded cheese and salsa.  Black beans, avocado and sour cream would be delicious here too.
Taco Salad in a Bag (aka Wacos)
The next step is to walk around and enjoy eating your Taco Salad in a Bag, or Walking Tacos or Wacos...whatever you decide to call them. Pretty simple, huh?

I was first served Wacos at a family get together for a graduation many years ago. It was the perfect food for walking around and mingling with folks, and the kids loved them too. We made up a batch when my friend was in town a couple of weeks ago and we were able to enjoy the time outside that nice evening, because there were minimal dishes to do...another bonus! It's a great "to go" meal too. You could stir up all the salad fixin's, take along some bags of Doritos and plastic forks, and you've got the ideal "fast" food.

What do you think? Have you ever eaten food in a bag like this?

You might like these recipes too!
Homestyle Salsa
Fresh Corn and Avocado Salad

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I'm linking up at some of these great parties and