Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Simply Spaghetti

I know everyone can make spaghetti.  I mean, it's the most "American"-ized Italian dish in this country.  It's served in almost every home, school, church potluck and much, much more.  It's also one of the easiest and quick meals you can make for your family, or yourself.  I wanted to share The Farmer's preferred way to make spaghetti.  He is very particular when it comes to spaghetti...I'm not joking.  I'm always trying to sneak in garlic salt and basil, but unfortunately, I'm always caught right before they fall in. He is a simple man, who likes simple things, so as you can imagine this spaghetti recipe is simple, but very tasty!


2, 8 oz cans of tomato paste
1 lb of ground beef
3/4 c of water
1/2 a package of noodles
Thick and Zesty seasoning
*secret* If you have a very particular spaghetti lover in your life, add these in secret if you would like...
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbls basil

1. Brown the meat.  We get ours from The Farmer's uncle who raises grass fed beef.  They sell online and you can check them out here.

2.  Add two cans of tomato paste, water, thick and zesty seasoning and your secret ingredients.

3.  Keep the meat/sauce on low heat and allow it to slowly heat.

4.  Boil noodles by following the directions on the package.

5.  Serve by putting noodles on plate first, then the meat/sauce on top!

See what I mean? Simple.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Bonfire Bliss

With Fall, comes bonfires; and with bonfires come smores, hotdogs, chili, warmth, crisp air, friends, family and that smell that follows you to your bed as a reminder of the perfection that your night held.  Flannel, fleece and denim hold the people around the fire in their warm, fuzzy embrace and gloves and boots help keep feet and hands protected from the harsh chill of the Autumn wind. Bonfires have always been a special "ritual" of Falls past.  I love what bonfires are and what they mean to each person.

My best friend had a bonfire this past weekend and I loved every second of it.  Here are some pictures to put you in the bonfire mood:

Bonfires, the glue of a Southern Autumn!  

Stay warm,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Blog Design - Again.

Yes, it all looks different again.  I just needed to simplify and "de-junk" my blog.  There may be small changes here and there, but I think I'm pretty decided on this!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Antiquing - It's Good for the Soul

I cannot express how much I ardently love antiquing.  I love the booths full of glass milk bottles, mason jars, old, wooden tables and chairs and postcards and old license plates and photos and anything that holds a moment of history within itself. Anything old, I love.

To fill up some free time today, I went to a local antique store and perused its history ridden shelves.  I came across some very cool things. Antique stores have a lovely balance of old and unique, and sometimes even funny.
I am attracted to mugs and vases like no other.  I have to stop myself each time I see a floral or festive mug...I just can't keep buying them. I have way too many in my possession! 

I seriously almost bought this, but $17.99 is just too much.

"Friendship is the sweetest flower that a garden grows"

Again, I almost bought this but I just couldn't make myself.

I did buy a few things that I am very excited about!  If you're in need of cute Christmas nick nacks, go to an antique store, seriously. I saw some of the cutest stuff...if only it were time to decorate for Christmas.


Isn't it cute? I believe he will enjoy his new home on top of my TV stand.



I really want to stain/crackle paint these shutters and put them above my oven. Thoughts? 

This wooden tote does not have a decided fate yet.  I am open to all suggestions!

The best part about all of this? I got all of these items for a total of $30.76!

Antiquing wins again,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin - Caramel Cookies

I miss posting recipes! I haven't entered the kitchen in weeks and each day that passes without a "cooked-by-me" meal my heart dies a little more inside.  I hate that I haven't cooked or baked in forever, but I'm even more angry that I am forced to take this absence during the BEST season for food! Why haven't I been cooking pies and pumpkin bread and soup and roast?! Well there are multiple parts to this answer including school, time, energy and the fact that my kitchen is 4 ft x 4ft...guys, I own the world's smallest kitchen.

Much to my pleasure I ran across the easiest recipe known to mankind and luckily for you it is right below these lovely words:

What you'll need:
1. 1 can of pumpkin (did you know that canned "pumpkin" is actually squash.  You can buy a real pumpkin, gut it, scrape off the sides and use that instead!)
2. 1 box of caramel cake mix

1.  Mix the ingredients together, and shape them into balls and place them on a cookie sheet.

2.  Heat the oven to the temperature indicated on the cake box and bake for the suggested time.  I had to bake mine for about 10 minutes longer so just use your own discretion!

That's it!  They taste amazing and they'll put your tastebuds into the Autumn spirit...and they're easy.


PS - I unfortunately have no pictures of this endeavor, so if you make some put them on Instagram and use #NTPumpkinCaramel so I can see!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Free Download for You

I just discovered my love for graphic design a few minutes ago. I know it's crazy to already proclaim love to something, but it was truly love at first sight. I just purchased my first MacBook Pro a few weeks ago and while playing around on it I found an amazing app (Sketch Express) that allows me to created so many things.

As you all know, I just opened my Etsy shop, WhiteWillowGrove, and sales have been very good.  I have decided to add a new type of product to my shop:  Downloads!  The possibilities are endless.  Thank you cards, wedding invites, birthday cards, baby shower cards and much, much more.  I have created quite a few designs so far and to celebrate this new venture, I wanted to make a free design for all of you to enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Harvest Days

One of the biggest parts of the farming world is the harvest. Harvesting is the moment when all the hard work is coming to an end and the slow, cozy winter break is the light at the end of the tunnel. This is my first "official" year to experience the harvest lifestyle.  Every day of this two month period is busy, hard, long and worth it.

These are the moments when I feel the most respect for The Farmer.  He's gone, almost all day, to work for our family.  Although there's only two of us, someday there will be more, and these long days, when he wishes God had created more hours, will be the days my children and I will truly know the character of their dad.  They will see him sweat and hurt; they'll see him come home covered in dirt and splashed with the aroma of tobacco in his hair; they'll see him sacrifice sleep to play just one more game of "house" with them and they'll see him continually love them even when he thinks he's too tired to love anymore.

This is his strength.  Even in the 3 months that we've been married, I've experienced these things.  I've seen him sweat and hurt, and I've seen him covered in dirt and with the aroma of tobacco in his hair; I've experienced his sacrifice for sleep so that I can have just 30 more minutes of time with him and with all of these things I've witness his continual love for me.  It does not stop; anger comes, anxiety comes, but this love endures through even that.

There's food in my refridgerator, a roof over my head, and a bed to sleep on.  All of these things would not be here if it weren't for The Farmer. The harvest is a celebration of husbands and farmers everywhere!
 The fruit of his labor has almost come, and I've never been more proud to call this man my husband.

Happy Harvest,

P.S. - Today The Farmer turned 20 and it marks 3 months of marriage! I can proudly say we have made it longer than many celebrity couples.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Exciting News!

I have been working on opening a new Etsy shop for the past few weeks, and I'm finally done!  I have pre made a few items and I will also be providing custom made items, such as monograms. The hardest part of this process was thinking of a name for my Etsy shop.  After many days of deliberation, I finally decided on White Willow Grove.

I had the great pleasure of working with Design by Detail and they created an amazing graphic logo for me!

One important part of this shop that I wanted to tell all of you about is that 20% of every purchase will be donated to Compassion International Ministries.  I hope to someday make enough profits from this shop to sponsor as many kids as possible through this charity.  This is why my slogan is "Creating to Give".

My Etsy shop will open in ONE WEEK (October 18, 2013)!  The first products I will be selling are reusable fabric coffee sleeves and custom monogrammed pocket tees. I'm really excited for all of you to get a chance to buy these reusable fabric coffee sleeves.  There is are only 20 made, so to get everyone excited and ready to buy them, I decided it was time for another giveaway!

The Prize:  
1.  A FREE reusable coffee sleeve!
2.  A FREE customizable monogrammed pocket tee!

To enter:  

1.  Become a public member of this blog by clicking the blue "Join This Site" button.  There have been some issues with this button and from my experience it works best with Safari or Google Chrome.

2.  Post a picture of my Etsy shop Logo to Instagram with the hashtags #WhiteWillowGroveOpening & #CreatingToGive.  

You may enter as many times as you like.

To make this giveaway even more exciting, there will be TWO winners! It will close next week when my shop opens.

Enter away and don't forget my shop opens October 18!  I'm really excited, guys!

Happy giveaway,

Saturday, October 5, 2013

So Many Homecomings

I have very fond memories of Homecoming.  It's something that brought some excitement to the monotony of a school year. Over the years, Homecoming has held some of the best memories I've had.  The Farmer and I were Homecoming dates twice, and those memories in particular will always be in my heart.

In honor of all the homecomings I've been photographing the past few weeks, I thought I would "throw it back" with these gems:

This is our 2011 Homecoming. I was a Junior, he was a Senior...and just so dreamy.

This is our Homecoming 2012.  I was a Senior, he was a Freshman in college. All I remember was that I was freezing, it was raining...the whole time, and I had the time of my life.

There's more than just one type of homecoming. There's the school homecoming, where you are asked to be dates, get giant mums or bouquets, and wear heals, and there's a church homecoming, where past members come home, amazing food is cooked and you enjoy the amazing season of Fall with your spiritual family.  This next throwback is from HBC's 2012 Fall Homecoming.  There was potatoe casserole, green beans, homemade rolls, pecan pie, fudge, BBQ and so many other amazing Southern delicacies.  There was also amazing fellowship with amazing people.

HBC Fall Homecoming 2012

I've had amazing memories when it comes to Homecomings.  I love the mums, the bouquets, the romance and fun of it all, and I also love the memories it creates.  

I had the extreme pleasure to photograph my brother and his date, as well as my brother-in-law and his date (i.e. my best friend).  Here are their amazing pictures that I hope will preserve the amazing memory of Homecoming 2013. 

Matthew & Kayla, Homecoming 2013
She's beautiful, he's handsome, perfect Homecoming combination.

Jordan & Logan, Homecoming 2013
She's my best friend who I cook, quilt, clean, run half marathons, and do multiple other things with and he's my little brother by law with whom I have become pretty great friends with, another perfect Homecoming combination! We are also now bonded by the beautiful blue truck.  The Farmer and I took our engagement and wedding pictures with that truck...maybe it's a sign? Was that too obvious?

Homecomings are amazing.  Yes, sitting at a football game in a dress is not an ideal situation, but the memories of getting dressed up with someone you care about are far greater than the discomforts.  I hope everyone has a great homecoming season that produces memories that will follow you forever!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Today, a chapter of my life was closed and a new one began.  I am officially a "stay at home wife/very small entrepreneur".  I'm excited to have time to clean my home, fold laundry, do homework and cook. And, I'm excited to take my "in the making" Etsy shop to a new, more serious level. Not only will I be spending more time making things for Etsy, The Farmer and I are planning on building a greenhouse that will become my project.  I'm excited to have ended the bank job part of my life and have the blessing of entering into a place of work where I love what I'm doing.

Oh, and I have time to train for a half marathon...not sure that's a good thing or not yet.