Top Projects 2011

Today I’m featuring some of my favorite projects from 2011. I have plenty of decorating plans for 2012, but then I always have decorating  plans for something! We’ll just have to wait and see what this new year brings. I’m hoping it brings board and batten and a new color in the kitchen. 

In early July, I painted my front door an unexpected color. I was so tired of the burgundy and the punch of color on the door was the answer.  

An unexpected color on the front door.

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The light fixtures got a make over too. Here’s the door decorated for Christmas 1aa2011_12_14_3200

 

Later in July, I made over this old table with a pop of color too.

Table Make Over X 2

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In August I posted Curbside Treasure Revisited. This old vanity table was out for the trash and I snagged it.

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It got cleaned up and decoupaged with old sheet music.

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Now, it’s part of this vignette in our basement family room.

 

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I couldn’t do a review without including A Pile of Twigs becomes a Wreath.

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or, 5 Minutes to Craft a Pumpkin with Burlap and Plastic bags.

 

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These 2 easy projects were popular on Pinterest and took so little time to create.

The first project in the new year will be painting a guest bedroom. It’s a small room, so it will go fast and then I’ll have some fun decorating. smile_regular

I’m linking up to Rhoda’s Top projects 2011.

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Hope you had a blessed Christmas!

Debbie (((xx)))

Mary did you know?

Merry Christmas my friends! Blessings to you and your family in the new year. I’m sharing this beautiful Christmas song, it’s one of my favorites.

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                      Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God.

 
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding,

is the great I AM

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             Christ is the ultimate gift.

                 Rejoice in His birth!

 

 

Debbie (((xx)))

The making of The Princess and the Pea, doll, bed and pea, Part 2

This princess and the pea creation is a gift for my granddaughter. I hope she likes it as much as I do! You can see how I created the bed in Part 1.
My first attempt at making the princess doll was not so great. One arm was so much longer than the other and I just didn’t like the way it was turning out, so I started all over again. The second attempt was better, but only slightly.
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This time I made the arms, legs and head separately. Ignore the head in these pictures because I ended up cutting it off.
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After I had it sewn together, I cut off her head and attached a bigger head with a few hand stitches. That’s how I do most projects…..making it up as I go along.
I drew on her face with fine tipped markers. For her hair I basically followed a tutorial like THIS. I twisted some pipe cleaners into her head and body so her head wouldn’t fall over due to the weight of her hair.
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Here’s how she turned out. I’m glad I was going for cuteness and not perfection!
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I used an elastic hair band as the base for her tutu, then tied on strips of tulle and ribbon.
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Here she’s wearing her cape, princess hat and even furry boots. The base for her hat is made from pipe cleaners and her boots are pieces of furry trim glued together.
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Her bed was sprayed purple and I added some black accents and a princess plaque.
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She only has 7 mattresses. In the story she has 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds!
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My friend used her fancy Baby Lock sewing machine to embroider the blanket for me. Would I ever love to have a machine like that! It’s awesome!
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The pea is oversized to prevent little ones from putting it in their mouths! A round wooden ball encased in fiber filling with a piece of green felt hand sewn around it, is how I made the pea.
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Do you think she looks like a blonde Shannen Doherty!
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I wrapped it like this, so the box can be lifted off on Christmas morning.
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This series was supposed to be in 3 parts, but I wanted to get it posted before Christmas so I squeezed it into 2 parts. She knows the story of the Princess and the Pea so it’s going to be awesome watching her open this. I’ll try to get some good pictures to share.

Merry Christmas!

Debbie (((xx)))

White Trash, A sweet treat for gift giving.

A sweet and salty concoction, this treat is commonly known as white trash. Personally, I don’t like that name much, but I do like to snacking on this delicious mix.
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Here’s the basic recipe;
In a large bowl mix together,
3 ½ cups honey nut cheerios
3 cups rice chex
3 cups wheat chex
1 lb. m & m’s, Christmas colors
2 ½ cups salted nuts
2 ½ cups mini pretzels
Then stir in in melted white chocolate. I used 4- 12oz. bags of white morsels.
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You can alter this recipe to use ingredients you like, any kind of cheerios or chex and whatever type of nuts you prefer. After it’s mixed together, lay it out on cookie sheets to dry.
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I found some clear bags and white boxes to package up the mix for gift giving.
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I wanted to line the box with parchment but used wax paper because I was out of parchment paper.
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I folded it up neatly, added a Christmas sticker and tied it up in a pretty ribbon.
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The bags look so festive tied up with ribbon and are all ready to give to neighbors and friends.
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This recipe gave me 6, 8 ounce bags and 1, 24 ounce box of candy.
Do you make sweet treats to give as gifts? I know I sure like anything home made!
Merry Christmas!

Linking up to  Tutes and Tips at Home Stories A 2 Z.

Debbie (((xx)))

How to create a trio of wreaths on your front door.

This beautiful trio of wreaths from Martha Stewart inspired me to try and recreate the look on my front door. Because we have a metal door, it wasn’t all that easy to put together and took several attempts to get it right.
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If you are considering this look and have a metal door like me, here’s how I did it.
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Start with the long ribbon, about 7’.  Easy right? But how do you get it to lay flat and stay that way? After trial and error, I ended up using little dabs of white glue. There’s probably a much better glue for this purpose, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. The ribbons that are wrapped around the top of the wreaths are added later.
I have a permanent wreath hanger ( a screw) on the door, but it was too low to hang the top wreath, so I attached a wire to the top of the wreath and secured it over the top of the door with heavy packing tape.
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A wire holds the bottom of the top wreath to the top of the middle wreath and the bottom of the middle wreath to the top of the bottom wreath.   Another wire is attached to the bottom of the bottom wreath and is taped under the door.
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Silver florist’s wire is almost invisible with silver ribbon.
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Next take a length of ribbon and wrap it around the top of the middle and bottom wreaths. I just used a safety pin to hold it on.
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Some fresh greens were tucked in to plump up the fake wreaths and there it is!  Merry Christmas!

Linked up to these parties,
Making the World Cuter MondaySkip to my LouLife made Lovely
Between Naps on the Porch    
Ivy and Elephants

Debbie (((xx)))

Red and green Christmas poke cake

Have you ever made a poke cake? Basically, you poke holes in a cake and pour jello over it. And it’s a cake mix, easy peasy, got to love that! This is a Christmas version in red and green.

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Here’s the recipe from the jello web site. Their recipe uses Cool Whip for icing, but I like to frost this cake with 7 minute icing. It’s a cooked meringue-like icing that is so delicious!

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Seven minute icing

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cold water
2 egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine in a double boiler, sugar, water, egg whites, and corn syrup. Beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Place over boiling water. Do not let the top pan touch the boiling water. Cook and  beat, for  7 minutes, on high. Frosting should start forming peaks. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes.

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Look at those luscious peaks! So good!

 

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It’s so festive looking, tastes great and would be a great addition to a dessert table.

Are you baking any goodies this year? Cookies?

Only 10 days til Christmas, Happy Holidays!

 

floral-white-and-brown-free-scrapbook-paper-4Inspiration Friday Graphic-1Potpourri Party

 

 

Debbie (((xx)))

Front porch Christmas decorating 2011

 

Welcome to our home!

This year the porch is decorated with a trio of wreaths on the door and greenery filled urns flanking each side.

Using sparkly silver ribbon on the wreaths and touches of spray snow on the greenery in the urns makes it feel like a winter wonderland.

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The greenery in the urns was clipped from shrubs and trees in our yard, and a few sprigs of greenery are tucked into each faux wreath.

 

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For height in the urns, I added a few longer twigs and sprayed on a little fake snow.

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I added a few pinecones, snowflakes and silver ornaments.

 

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Creating the trio of wreaths was a bit trickier than I imagined and I’ll explain in another post.

I get asked a lot about the iron piece on the stone wall; it’s actually supposed to be a door mat, but because it’s iron, it’s hard to stand on. So, it hangs on the wall instead.

I’ve been doing some baking and will post a few recipes soon.

Hope you’re enjoying this holiday season!

My Christmas 11 posts are here.

Linked up at a la Mode, Holiday Home Highlights

Debbie (((xx)))

How I created this year’s mantle/Christmas crafts

 Let’s start with the focal point, the center frame of the mantle.
A piece of plywood I found in the basement fit perfectly in the frame, I didn’t even need to cut it. I used Mod Podge to glue on hymnal pages, then put a thin coat of Mod Podge on top and allowed it dry to over night.full2011_12_10_3120

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The letters came from Michael’s and were spray painted white, then outlined with a little dark brown paint. I added some Martha Stewart glue and glitter. Next I glued the letters onto the center of the hymnal pages.
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Next project, the white rose tree. I will not roll a felt flower again for a long, long time. I’m estimating I rolled about 200 for this project!
Beth from Home Stories A 2 Z has about the best tutorial for creating rolled felt flowers HERE.
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I created a cone from an old yardsale sign I found in the garage. The cone got covered with a piece of scrap white fabric, because I didn’t want any  brown cone to show. Then I started creating roses from felt squares, gluing larger roses on the bottom and gradually becoming smaller toward the top. When I was finally finished I rejoiced!
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The twig tree was a quick project. Again, I created a cone, this time from a cereal box, and glued on twigs of different lengths, adding pieces to fill in empty spots. Spray paint and that’s it’s!
I think these twig trees would look great left natural too, on a piece of a wide branch for a base.
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And last, the glittered pinecones I dried and created HERE.
Holiday craft link party at Centsational Girl.
Today’s creative blog, get your craft on.
Coastal Charm, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Seeing the Christmas décor at linky parties all over blogland is fun. It’s like peeking into other peoples homes and it helps get you in the Christmas mood. Well, it does me anyhow.
I received so many wonderful comments about the mantle this year. Thank You all so much! Big hug and kiss!
Next, I’ll be sharing the front porch.
Debbie (((xx)))

Christmas mantle 2011

The carol O Holy Night, inspired snow covered greens, white, silver and sparkle, for the mantle this year. It’s always been one of my favorite Christmas songs. On this mantle, the stars are brightly shining.
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Decoupaged sheet music from an old hymnal and sparkly letters create the focal point.
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The white rose tree was a craft project that made me crazy. It took forever! I was rolling flowers for days!
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All the greens are freshly cut from our yard and sprayed with snow.
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The twig tree was another project, but it was was quick and easy.
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The right side of the mantle with the twig tree perched on an urn turned upside down.
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The left side, with the rose tree sitting on an old wooden pedestal that I never got around to painting white.
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My glittered pinecones looks so pretty nestled in the greens.
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Last year the mantle was done in red, and while I liked it, this one I love! It’s definitely a bit over the top but that’s ok, it’s Christmas!
I’ll be sharing more of how I created the mantle in another post.

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Happy Holidays!

Debbie (((xx)))

Stairs, inspiration from Pinterest

Staircases look beautiful decorated for Christmas! I don’t have a stairway
in my home to share with you, instead I’ll inspire you with some of my
recent pins.
Source: bhg.com via Bungalow on Pinterest

The touch of lime in this garland is so pretty.

Source: bhg.com via Bungalow on Pinterest

I love the deep swags and simple ribbon on this one.

If you don’t like the mess of using real greens indoors and have an artificial  tree that you don’t use anymore, you could repurpose the branches in wreaths and swags or something like this for your staircase.

Source: bhg.com via Bungalow on Pinterest
 
There’s something so special about a tree at the bottom of a staircase, even a
small one. The touches of pink and the way the ornaments are hung
from the railing are so pretty
Source: bhg.com via Bungalow on Pinterest

The next 2 pictures from Centsational Girl are just stunning! Don’t you love her garlands?

This picture is before she made over her staircase. The red in the garland is gorgeous.
 

A little more red inspiration from Martha Stewart.

From Pottery Barn, a trio of wreaths with burlap bows and silver bells, simple but festive!
Looking at beautiful pictures of stairways almost makes up for not having one. I can dream!
Is your decorating finished? I just finished my mantle today and have only a few more things left to do. That makes me happy!


*Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below, for a Gorgeous Southern Living style book in the post below!

Debbie (((xx)))

Southern Living Style Book Giveaway

Giveaway is closed. Thank you!
Southern Living magazine has always been one of my favorite magazines, so when I was asked if I’d like a copy of Southern Living Style to review, I immediately said yes! Being from the north doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate timeless and classic Southern Style!
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When I received my copy, I spent about an hour just perusing the beautiful pages! Page after page of inspiration.
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This beautiful book will take you through defining southern style using slipcovers, collections, paint, patterns and old to new.
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Not only does this book inspire, it pushes you to become bolder in your design and shows you how to do it!
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Designers share how to approach rooms, design tips and how to pull it all together.
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If you enjoy updating or reinventing old things to use in a new way, this book will inspire you too!  Think of it as a 288 page step-by-step guide on crafting rooms that are traditional, eclectic, and unexpected. This comprehensive décor book features gorgeous rooms that have graced the pages of Southern Living Magazine.
Personally, I love decorating books and it’s a joy to now have this one in my collection.
AND I’m thrilled to be able to offer a copy to one lucky reader. Giveaway limited to USA. You can also purchase Southern Living Style HERE.
How to enter the giveaway;
For 1 entry, Leave a comment telling me how you describe your personal design style.
For a second entry, Tweet this giveaway and come back and insert the url of your tweet in the comment.
To find the url of your tweet, click on the time that’s underneath your tweet  and copy that url, then paste it in your comment.
Believe me, this is one gorgeous book and I know I’ll be referring to it again and again!
Giveaway ends Wed. Dec. 14.

Debbie (((xx)))

Drying pinecones for Christmas Decorations

Gathering pinecones for crafts is a fun family activity. Everybody can get involved picking them up off the ground or taking them from trees. Later you can try to identify what type of tree they came from.
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The cute feathery cones are from a Douglas fir and the long ones are from a spruce tree. The small ones are from Mugo pine.
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It’s best to dry the cones before you use them, and it’s super easy to dry them in the oven. Just place them on foil lined baking sheets and put them in the oven at 200 for about 2 hours or until they open.
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You can see how the petals have opened.
To make them pretty, after the cones were dried, I painted them white with spray paint, allowed the paint to dry, then brushed glue all over them, then sprinkled with glitter. I used plain white glue watered down to make it easier to get into the petals.
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See how pretty they are! My 3 year old granddaughter helped and she wanted to use pink and blue together. After that she wanted to play in the glitter like it was sand!  What a mess! She actually did about 3 cones by herself and was so proud.
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I love these and claimed all of the silver ones for myself and will be using them to decorate the mantle.
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For hanging on the tree, I tucked wire in under the petals around the stem end of the cone, and twisted it together. I left plenty of wire so they’d be easy to hang.
Added to Creative me Monday at Southern Institute
Tutes and Tips at Home Stories A 2 Z

 

Do you love the cinnamon spice smell of those bagged pinecones that are sold in stores like Michaels and AC Moore? You can make them using this method. Don’t paint them, just brush on glue (that dries clear), and sprinkle with spices of your choice. They smell yummy!
My Christmas decorating will officially begin tomorrow. I’m anxious to work on my mantle this year and have a craft going that seems endless. It’s one of those projects where you ask yourself why you ever started!
Happy decorating!

Debbie (((xx)))

Return to Me


In the busy, multi-tasking lives of women, there comes a time that causes us to slow down and reflect upon who we are and who we want to be. The Return to You campaign hopes to encourage women to take a deep breath and discover how to get there. I’m honored to be part of this campaign and share my story.

I’m 58 years old. It’s only a number, but it means I’m no longer scaling that hill, I’m over it, and I’d better embrace each coming year.
Sleepless nights, hot flashes and crazy mood swings of menopause are behind me. My husband will never forget the time I asked him to stop teasing the dog. The barking and growling were getting on my nerves, and I knew the dog would try to bite him. When he didn’t stop, I exploded in a fit of anger, stomping and screaming my way upstairs. I slammed the bedroom door shut and flung myself on the bed sobbing, all because he wouldn’t stop teasing the dog!

My children are successful and have given me grandchildren to love and spoil and a few grey hairs.
But being this age puts us in the sandwich generation between our kids and our parents. Being in the middle can feel like being pulled in both directions at the same time, worrying about our kids and our aging parents. Can we do everything for everybody?
My Mom recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease at age 81.

                                                                       Mom and me on a hot Summer day in 2010.
In 2005, my stepfather passed away suddenly, and I found myself fully responsible for my mom’s care. It felt like smashing into a wall; life changed drastically. I realized how much of the disease he covered up by doing things for her, and it angered me because I was unprepared.

Before placing her in assisted living, I lived with her for almost a year. I don’t know how I kept up with my own home, family and full time job. Let me tell you: guilt is heavy if it’s on your shoulders every day. Add to that witnessing the slow demise of a parent, and the guilt is coupled with a deep sadness. I felt alone in my cocoon of grief.

Now that she’s gone, the cocoon is slowly opening. It’s time for me to focus on who I am, who I can be, and who I want to be. It’s time for me to figure out what it means to Return to Me.
With an average lifespan of 84 years for women, taking care of my physical health is a top priority. Like a car, we need routine maintenance; don’t skip mammograms and preventive checkups.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in American women. For me that means taking a statin drug everyday to lower cholesterol and trying to eat a heart healthy diet. Losing that stubborn 20 pounds is on my list of things I really need to do, but then there’s mocha frappes and cinnamon buns. That’s just not fair!

Return to Me means to stop being so hard on myself. No one’s beating me up except me. Setting boundaries and grabbing a few minutes for myself isn’t selfish; it recharges me to be the best I can for my family.

Stop worrying and learn to laugh from your gut. So I showed up for an appointment on Tuesday but the actual appointment was Thursday? I have to shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes and let it go! It really doesn’t matter.

Return to Me also means staying connected with friends, becoming more involved in ladies’ activities in my church, discovering new interests, trying new things and finding my passion to improve my emotional health.
Return to You can mean different things to each of us. Was there a time in your life when you realized you needed to put yourself first and Return to You? I’d love to hear your personal story. You can share it here in the comments.
It’s time to rediscover your best self. It’s time to return to you.
And don’t forget to check out Pfizer’s Page on Blogher.com to read other blogger “Return to You” stories.
Return to You means reaching out to other women experiencing the same challenges and letting them know they are not alone.
Let’s all reach out!
Debbie (((xx)))