Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Give Thanks"

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged. I hope everyone is getting ready for the upcoming Holidays. Thanksgivin' is right around the corner. I am ecstatic that my family will be joinin' me again this year :) Ever since I moved to Virginia it has become a tradition that they drive up to be with me on Thanksgivin'. I wish I could see them more often but I am thankful that I get to see them anytime no matter how long or short the visit.

Around this time of year people really start thinkin' about the things they are Thankful for. I could write a never ending list of things that I am Thankful for. To start and the most important would be My Wonderful Husband, Family, Friends, Vehicles, Food, Pets (aka: Bender Babies), My house & My Church. The last but not least would be my Heavenly Father, My Savior, My God, My Redeemer, My Counselor, The Alpha, The Omega, The beginning, The End, The giver of life. Without him I am nothin' and I have nothin'. He has Blessed me with all the things I have in life and to him I "Give Thanks."

What are you thankful for? Think about it and "Give Thanks" to the one who gave it all to you.

I love to Give Thanks to my Heavenly Father all year long because HE IS GOOD!

I made a sign for Thanksgivin' to display in my home but then I decided that I should display it year round!

It will always remind me to "Give Thanks" for all that I have!

I made this sign from a piece of wood I had laying around the house.
The writing came from a Pumpkin Stencil that I bought at Cracker Barrel for .99 cents!
I knew that I wasn't going to stencil a pumpkin so I made this instead.
What do you think?

Whatever you do this Thanksgivin', "Give Thanks."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give Thanks in all Circumstance's, for this is God's Will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 118: Give Thanks to the Lord, For He is Good; His Love Endures Forever.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Presidential Election Day 2012

We have finally made it! Election Day 2012 is upon us! I have cast my vote!! After tonight there will be no more "Politial Adds" for another 4 years!!! Praise the Lord... OH YEAH and After tonight I will be able to go back on Face Book!!! I miss my good ol' friend Face Book. My girlfiend Morgan and I have been fasting it for 40 long days and praying for this Presidential Election!

 I don't know about you but I am sure hoping for a Conservative Republican President. Mitt Romney is what our country needs to help save and restore America! My opinion of course :)

Sunday we had a "God Save America" prayer meeting at church and I happened upon these cute "VOTE" shirts in the mens department of Target. $6.00 each. Can't beat that! I bought her and I both one!!

What's hotter than Christian Republican girls wearing Cowboy Boots and Republican Red Heels anyways?

Besides our "Vote" shirts...NOTHING! Hehe

I love this girl to death! Together her and I have fought our way through alot this year! One thing is for sure, No matter how this Presiential Election turns out, her and I will be friends till death do us apart! AND we will always be Republicans!!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Organic Sweet Tea

This is not a paid advertisement but rather my opinion of this product.

A few weeks ago I received some coupons for this "organic" tea atop some bottled water that I purchased at Winn-Dixie.

I dont normally shop at Winn-Dixie but it was the closest grocery store to our tailgate party.

As soon as I saw the coupon I immediately went to find the drinks because it was quite a deal.

With no luck at Winn-Dixie I tried locating the teas at my regular grocery store, Publix. I didnt have any luck and it seemed nobody knew anything about the tea. 

So, last week while shopping I found them! In a refrigerated cooler in the back of the store. 

I was too happy that I found them because they were almost expired. 

I was greatly impressed with the selections of the teas. 

I only purchased 4 because my coupon was $1off when you buy 2 and the store had them for 10 for $10 so I basically got 2 for free and who doesn't like free?

They had original sweet tea, diet citrus green tea, diet original sweet tea, half and half lemonade tea, original lemonade, unsweet lemon and lime tea, peach tea, raspberry tea,  and green tea with mint and honey.

I personally like the Mint & Honey Green Tea

This photo is the " Our Story" on the back.

And under every cap you get a Grannyism! They are always quirky and cute. 

So without dragging this out any further, GO TRY THEM! They are really good.

 - Rich

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

wildflower mini - sessions from spring

I know its a little late to be talking about spring but back in the beginning of spring my dear friend Elise, over at Elise Kersey Photography, took my niece, Emily to a nearby flower field for a "wildflower" mini session.

She has been so busy juggling being a mother (to the most adorable little girl), photographer (the best) and going to school that I was in no rush to get them from her.

I think I actually forgot about them!

Well, the other evening she sent them to me!

She did such an amazing job I wanted to share them with you guys.

She looks like a little Southern Belle!

I loved the idea of the coke and vintage suitcase!

She reminds me of "Rose" from "Titanic" in this picture.

She has the most beautiful smile of any child i've seen. 

If you know anyone around Gainesville that needs child or family portraits, Call her! 

She is the best in the business and is sooo sweet. 

 -  Rich

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's fall at the Bender house ya'll!

Hello darlin'!

It's officially Fall here in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, My favorite time of year!

We've got the golden sunflower yellows, candy apple reds and cider oranges startin' to peak.
I just can't wait till it's in full swing.

The temperatures are crisp at night and sometime dippin' into the high 40's and between 63-75  degrees durin' the day.

Everywhere you look you see changing leaves, corn fields, pumpkins and mums. I can't wait to visit all the Fall festivities.

Over the weekend I decided to add some "Fall Southern Charm" to my front porch. (I am still workin' on the inside though)

I will post pictures of that once I am done.

I went to Wal-Mart and found corn stalk for $3.98 a bunch.
(I bought two bunches)

I also found "real" mini hay bales there for around the same price.
Considerin' you pay close to $10.00 bucks for a fake hay bale I thought to myself "there is no way I'm passin' up that deal. I bought two of them as well.

Thank God I was drivin' my Husband's truck that day.

I loaded them bad boys up and took em' home.

I had a plan :)

I put the corn stalk on both sides of my door.
The hay bales I layed in front of them on both sides and then I sat my beautiful "Hardy Mums" on top. Of course it wouldn't be fall without pumpkins, Had to add them as well.

So now that I have you curious about what it looks like...Here it is...

It kinda makes me feel like I am walkin' up on the front porch to someone's house on the cover of "Southern Living" magazine.

My beautiful "Hardy Mums"!
 I wrapped my smaller Mum in burlap since the pot was white.
Besides every room in my house has a touch of burlap in it. Can't leave out the porch.

I hope I have inspired ya'll to add some " Fall Southern Charm" to your porch.
Just let your imagination control your hands. You never know what the outcome will be.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Make your vote count!

Hey Ya'll! Just though I'd share with you my great buy of the day! Went to 7-eleven this mornin' and they had FREE coffee and Romney cups. I love anything Free and my vote is definitely Romney for President 2012!!! Just like the great song say's, "The land of the FREE and the home of the brave!" This is a free country that we live in. We have the freedom of speech and the freedom to vote. With that being said, get out and vote! Every vote counts! This is a crucial Election year guys. We can't continue to go down the road we're on now. We need God and change in this country. Oh and I guess I should also mention that they have Obama cups as well for the Democrats out there! I'm sure Rich will not approve of this post as he is votin' for Obama. That's ok though I can take him :)

Aren't they so cute?!

Lovin' showing off my Romney pride today!

Don't forget to PRAY for our country and most importantly don't forget to VOTE!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Wreath

So here we are Monday morning, two days into fall and we get our first bit of actual fall-like weather!

I woke up this morning to a cool 56 degrees. It had been well into the 90's yesterday (or so it felt) so it came as a bit of a surprise.

With fall here and cooler weather, I hope to be inspired for some decorating. I know I'm a bit late but I just can't settle on what I want to do.

The other day I had written a post about "Fall Porch Inspiration" and was so inspired that I actually created a fall wreath that night!

I had purchased a vine wreath a few weeks ago at Michael's and would later return to purchase the fall flowers to make the wreath, but came across the leftover wedding garlands and knew immediately it would work perfectly.

I sure am glad I found it because I had missed it and didn't realize it!

And here is a closeup 

I just love the way it turned out and will be making more to sell in my etsy shop.

 - Rich

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Go Gators!

I have a love/hate relationship with Gainesville. I love it because its home to my favorite college football team (and my home) and hate it because after all, it is a college town and gets really crowded when we have a home game.

So, with game day upon us and the gators back home in the swamp, I just want to say GO GATORS!
We are currently 3-0 so here's to hoping for 4-0!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. In Florida it is rare to actually see the colors of fall except in a pumpkin patch.

Every year since my niece , Emily, has been born, I have taken her to the pumpkin patch to take photos of her.

Taking her picture is so easy because she's just so photogenic. Im looking forward to this years trip but haven't seen any open patches yet.

This first two are of her first year. I got this shot of her with her tongue out. Isn't she just the cutest thing you've ever seen?!

She was only 9 months! She was in that stage of sticking everything in her mouth.

This last picture here is of her 2nd year to the pumpkin patch. She was determined to pick up this pumpkin that weighed more than she did! I really can't believe how big she has gotten! She will be 3 next January! Where does the time go??

She has so much personality it isn't funny! 

I will be posting some pictures of our trip to the patch this year as soon as we are able to go. 

 - Rich

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Porch Inspiration

With start of Fall just around the corner (friday to be exact) I thought it would be appropriate to show off a few of my favorite fall porches!

I've never posted anything like this but I thought it would be a great way to get everyone in that Fall spirit and to break out those decorations we've had stored away since last year!

I just love the fiery reds, "texas sunflower yellow's", pumpkin oranges and evergreen decor of fall.

Living in Florida, we normally don't get so lucky with the season changes, especially fall.

I just love the the picture below because its simple and country. Mum alone really convey the feeling of fall. Notice the harvest corn wreath on the door - so simple.

I love the use of color in this photo (or the lack there of). Its so simple and sorta monochromatic in a way. Notice the simple leaf wreath. Thats totally a DIY project.

I just adore these pumpkin topiaries and the two swag style bunches flanking each side of the door.

This photo is so country! I love the wire "welcome" sign. The wreath in this photo is also amazing. I would love to make all leaf wreaths for the windows on the front of my home.

I love the use of the hay bales and corn stalks with the mums in the natural wood baskets as plant holders for the mums. The detail in this photo makes this one of my favorites.

I hope this post gets you as excited about fall as it did me. Im actually so inspired right now that I think i'm going to make a fall wreath tonight! 

I will post for you guys, my finished project!!

 - Rich

Friday, September 14, 2012

Faith, Family and Friends

Wow! I can't tell you how excited I am, to not only share some of me with you but to share a blog with my brother. 

I think it is apprapriate that I start by telling you a little about myself. 

As my brother mentioned, I am a Plant City, Florida girl, although my home is now in Virginia. 
I love anything strawberry! 
For those of you who may not know, Plant City is the strawberry capital of the world and I spent so many years playin' in strawberry fields. 

I am a christian and I have a true living relationship with my savior. 
I love to worship and sing praises to my God, always!!

I am married to the most amazing Godly man. He is my world!  
He teaches me so much about God and life in general. 
He works so hard and he never slows down. 
He is a dedicated man who is loyal, loving and passionate about God, family, friends and life. 
I would literally be lost without him. 

I have three pets who are considered my Bender babies. 
Two cockatiels, Lucy and Gomer and a sweet little miniature schnauzer named Mason. I can honestly say that our animals love us more than they love themselves.  

I am the oldest of two boys. Rich and Bryan.
God has truly blessed me with the most incredible family any one could ask for. 
Our love in this family is so passionately indestructible! Nothing will ever come in between us. 

I have the best friends in the world. 
I absolutely love the FLORIDA GATORS, sweet tea, boiled peanuts, fried okra, country music, mason jars, burlap and anything else that would be considered southern. I love DIY decorating my home and helping others decorate theirs as well. 
I am passionate about party planning and I hope to start my own business in that industry one day.

- Jeanie

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Author To The Blog!

So, every morning I get a call from my sister asking why I haven't blogged! I never have a good answer for her other than the fact that I've just been sooo busy and haven't been able to craft anything or go on my regular trips to the antique malls and small shops around town.

Today I decided to add her as an author of the blog! Since we have pretty much the same style and taste in just about everything and the fact that she's my best friend,  I don't know why I didn't think of this before now! Since we live in separate states we only get to see each other for holidays and vacations. We talk on the phone multiple times a day and rack each others brain on ideas of decorating and craft projects. 

Here is a photo of she and I last Thanksgiving.

Her name is Jeanie, she and her husband live in Virginia in a gorgeous mountainside home. She doesn't have any children yet but Hopefully in the next couple of years. She has an antique farmhouse/country sense of decor. A southern belle born and raised in Plant City, Fl. She has a passion for shopping, decorating, planning events and dreaming of weddings.

I hope you guys like her as much as you like me : )

- Rich

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vintage Wedding Inspiration

Oil lamps are everywhere, so it was no surprise to find these a few weeks ago at a local antique mall. 

I have always loved the idea of a simple southern wedding under sprawling grand daddy oaks with spanish moss swaying lazily in the breeze of the low country. 

I live for southern design and would love to decorate a wedding in that type of decor!

I located a few pictures on the web for inspirtaion. 
This tablescape is the epitome of southern charm! 
I adore the rustic wooden barn with the rusty ole star! 
I love the idea of tables set up on a lush green lawn for the reception either under an old oak tree or with rustic barns in the background or even inside the barn!

I love the idea of having mixed vintage seating. 
Simple oil lamps strategically placed upon the tabletop are such a strong southern statement. 

Even placing the lamps upon tree stumps make for a beautiful display around the reception area.

This is a great shot. I personally would have added some oil lamps, duh!

As you can see, I get pretty carried away when talking about wedding design. My sister and I always said that we missed our calling to be wedding planners. 

- Rich

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Collecting Fine China

Fine china is beautiful, elegant, and expensive. The question I hear most often is "when are you supposed to use it"? 
Most people value their fine china so much that they don’t know when to use it or even if they should! 
I believe in using what you have, china is no exception. 
There are times and places to use it and the following suggestions are popular uses for fine china and can help you determine when to use it.

Here is come china that I received after my great aunt passed away back in 2000. I only received a few pieces but was so happy to have them as they reminded me so much of her. I have found some pieces in thrift stores and other pieces online to add to my collection. I'm still on the hunt for some pieces to finish off my collection.

Im quite sure it isn't worth much but to me they're priceless.  The type of china is "Garden Bouquet #4078". It's a very southern pattern to me but I love southern so it works!

Sunday Lunch 
Many people gather for Sunday lunch. Growing up, my grandmother always held Sunday Lunch. 
After church it was a time to gather everyone around one table. 
She always prepared different meals that weren't ordinarily cooked, as they were for special occasions. So, this came to me as a no brainer for when to use your fine china. 
Using your china on Sunday is a good idea because it’s only once a week and on a day that is just a little more special than the others because the whole family is dining together.

For holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter are also popular occasions to use your fine china. 

These holidays are usually celebrated with a big meal, lots of family, and everyone wants things to be just a little nicer than usual. 
So, there is no better way to make your table more elegant than with your favorite china. 

Special Occasions 
Any special occasion where we like for things to be a little more elegant is a great time to use your fine china. 

Anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, or any other special occasion that would be celebrated with a nice meal is a perfect opportunity for setting the table with your fine china. 

You, like some people, may only like to collect and not want to use your fine china.
 If you find you are in this situation then possibly you should buy a china cabinet to store your china in. 
If you chose to display your fine china in a china cabinet, give your collection breathing room. Do not stack plates more than six high and place separators between each piece. 
Display teacups atop their saucers. 
Don't hang your teacups on hooks within a china cabinet since that display option places undue stress on the teacup's handle and forces you to screw a hook into your wooden china cabinet, damaging it. 
A full set of fine china should be displayed by itself in one china cabinet. 
Display other collectible objects elsewhere. 
Don't crowd fine china as it needs room to prevent damage and to show off its beauty.

Packing and Storage
If you have to move your china I recommend that you wrap each piece individually. DO NOT use newspaper to wrap the china, as the printing may bleed onto your china and leave streaks or dark stains. Individually wrap each piece of china in acid free tissue paper follow up by wrapping it again in a white cotton cloth or bubble wrap. Do not plan on storing the china in bubble wrap long term because bubble wrap traps heat and can damage the china.

- Rich

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Antiquing Around Town

I went to the nearby historic town of Micanopy, Fl yesterday on an antiquing trip. 
I had this brilliant idea come to me that maybe I should blog about the towns I visit and frequent on my antiquing adventures! 
You may think, "I don't want to read history about the places you visit" and if thats the case then close the tab and go to another blog. 
Im all about history and southern culture. If you do care then read on! 

Here's some information that I know and some that I gathered from the internet about the area. 
I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave comments about your trip there or if you plan on making the trip, I would love to hear about it.

It is one of the least-occupied, small Florida towns. 
Located in Alachua County, The population is less than 700. 
The town is so small, the historic district is the center of the town, which consists of mainly antique shops, which was featured in the book Antiquing in Florida and many other guides.

Those who are used to the hustle and bustle of bigger towns/cities might feel lost when visiting this entrancing town. 
The streets are lined with giant oak trees with Spanish moss swaying lazily in the breeze. 
The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
The buildings are from the eighteen hundreds, and still in use today. 
This town was also frequented by the likes of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings, who lived close by in Cross Creek, and was the location for the films Doc Hollywood, starring Michael J. Fox, and Cross Creek, the story of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings life, starring Mary Steenburgen.

It was named after a famous Seminole Indian chief and was the site of a Seminole village called Cuscowilla, it was settled in 1821. 
Ten years later, during the Second Seminole War, the town was occupied territory. 

Decades after the war, some of the grand buildings and architecture was built. 

These are areas documented for their historical roots and protected from any land development. 
There are a few restored c.1910 Queen Anne style homes and historic homes used for business and museums.
The variety of things to be found range from vintage books to jewelry made from coral and shell.
The general areas in town are located on Main Street and Cholokka Boulevard. 
This is known as the antique district. 
There is also a book store known for carrying historical guides about Florida and local authors. 
Many people come to Micanopy just to antique, but are also taken in by the laid-back and natural surroundings of Micanopy and Cross Creek. 
The towns are still as rural as the days when Marjorie Kinan Rawlings wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Yearling. 
She based the characters in the book on some of her neighbors, genuine Floridians who taught the author so much from observation and friendship. 
The lakes nearby were included in the filming of the movie, and  too retain their old Florida charm.

If you are a photographer or an antique enthusiast, you must visit, along with the nearby town of Cross Creek. 

Attractions that shouldn't be missed are: 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Must Have Blooming Houseplants

Lately, I have had fall and winter on the brain.
Im more than ready for some cooler temperatures.
This summer hadn't really been all that bad except for the latter part. 
It seems to rain everyday and I have been forced to be inside more than I like. 
This afternoon I was in the yard watering plants and doing a bit of weeding. 
With the hopes for cooler weather I couldn't help but think of my favorite indoor plants and what joy they bring when they bloom. 

Im sharing today my favorite houseplants that bloom through the winter months.

African Violets

African Violets (botanically known as Saintpaulia ionanthaare my favorite of any houseplant. In my opinion, they are the easiest plant to keep alive. 
They are so easy to care for and are ever rewarding if you take care of them properly. They bloom all year.
There are many different varieties and forms, some have variegated foliage, ruffled or even white-edged blooms.
They love warm conditions and filtered sunlight.
Avoid getting water on the leaves as this will cause them to turn brown. (cold water causes brown spots also)

*If you are a green thumb, you can also snap a leaf off of the violet and place in some moist soil to take root.

Christmas Cactus

Another one of my favorite indoor plants is the Christmas Cactus. (botanically known as Schlumbergera or Zygocactus).They bloom at Christmas and sometimes around Easter if cared for correctly.In fall, keep the plant in a sunny, cool, frost-free location until you see flower buds beginning to develop.Right before the holidays you can watch this plant transform like an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.
Most Christmas Cactus sold today are a only a closely related species sometimes called Thanksgiving cactus, because it usually blooms a few weeks earlier than Christmas cactus.
Regardless, These plants are beautiful and make a grand statement during the holidays.

Kaffir Lily

Better known as Clivia. ( botanically known as Clivia miniata in the Amaryllidaceae family)
It is generally a slow grower.
The plant will eventually become quite large, standing nearly 2 feet tall. It is a native of South Africa.
 As a houseplant it usually blooms in winter with clusters of up to 20 reddish orange or yellow tubular flowers.
 It blooms only when it has been exposed to cool, dry conditions, so give it lower temperatures in winter and keep it dry.
 With its deep green leaves aligned in a single plane, the plant is attractive even when not in bloom. 

*A word of caution, in many parts of Africa (especially South Africa), the term “Kaffir” is considered extremely offensive, used to denote people of African origin.


Few geraniums are grown as houseplants. 
Regal or Martha Washington geranium, has larger, prettier blooms, but require cool growing conditions. 
The common garden geranium (P. x hortorum), and ivy geranium (P. peltatum), also offer showy flowers but on easier-growing plants. 
Most scented geraniums are grown primarily for their deeply divided, fragrant foliage rather than their flowers, which are insignificant.
Outdoors, they are used as annual bedding plants, in hanging baskets, pots and in window boxes. 
Indoors, they are cultured as houseplants in sunny locations.

Rieger Begonia

Rieger begonia (Begonia hiemalis)is one of the winter-blooming begonias. 
It has fibrous roots with a swollen tuber-like base. 
Clusters of camellia-like blossoms in warm colors ranging from yellow to orange and red appear on top of glossy green foliage. 
Rieger begonia looks good as a tabletop plant or in a hanging basket.

Most all of the plants I have listed are winter bloomers. This being that you can have all the colorful blooms outside all spring-summer but when winter comes everything dies. How nice to have something inside to warm our hearts through those cold winter months!

What are your favorite houseplants?