RSS Feed

Author Archives: realsouthernliving

Memories of the Ceramic Lighted Christmas Tree

Ceramic Christmas Tree copy

How many of you have memories of your Grandmother’s ceramic light up Christmas Tree? I sure do. 

I am sure at one point I use to think the tree was tacky and would never imagine wanting one for my own. I saw this cute tree last week and I knew I had to have it as brought back so many fun memories of my Grandparents around Christmas time.  I remember the ceramic tree coming to Christmas dinner and my Poppa carrying it in to the house in a box with special care. 

When my tree was being packed up in a box with special care to come home and I realized all those little light bulbs come out, it brought back a memory of how my Grandparents had glued those lights in place on their tree.  I remember this tree being very special to my Grammy and I wish I remembered or knew more about her special tree.  Now that she has been gone for 10 years I am glad I came across my own special nostalgic tree. 

Everyone that see’s it says “my Grandma had one like that!” I had an older lady tell me “every old lady has one of those!” I laughed and then of course realized I guess I am now one of “those” old ladies!

I hope your family is building special memories around the holidays like ours is. We celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I have been trying to instill in my kids to look at ways to spread Christmas Kindness.  We have a jar that they have been writing down ways they’ve helped spread kindness and we will read them on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas day, if everyone is feeling better from their colds, we have plans to go help the homeless and hand out needed supplies like gloves, hats, coats and toothbrushes with other families.  My hope is to continue the tradition so that the kids grow up remembering the real reason for the season and not just a time of getting gifts.

Merry Christmas from Real Southern Living!


Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

I know none of us will ever forget where we were and what we were doing when we heard the terrible news of the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Ct.  I had just come out of shopping at IKEA with my husband and so excited to post some pictures of our great finds only to get in the car, check my Facebook page to see posts of sadness and then turn on satellite radio to figure out what had happened.  It didn’t help that on Friday evening our family was planning to attend a funeral for a family friends 17 year old son killed in a horrific car accident Monday afternoon.  I was just sick listening to the news, like many of us, and felt the sadness of the parents hearing the news of their sweet innocent children.  I am sure many of you like me have wondered what we could do to help? How do we communicate the love and compassion we have for this community?

Paper Snowflakes 006

Then today I found the website for the CT PTA and they are asking for Snowflake donations.  I can do that! We have Snowflakes hanging all around our house.  The kids had so much fun making them (See Here for Tutorial) and we can make more over the Holidays. What a great way for the kids to be able to get involved helping other kids.

making your own paper snowflakes 04

Here’s the details from the CT PTA if you would like to get your kids together and send Snowflakes to the children of Sandy Hook.

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook
Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland at their new school! Get Creative!!  No two snowflakes are alike. Make and send snowflakes to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT  06514, by January 12, 2013.

I hope you will join our family and send an envelope of snowflakes for their new school!  I would love to hear in the comments where you will be sending them from. Wouldn’t it be great if they came from all over!  We will start with Georgia representing in the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook project!

My Favorite Things of 2012

I am linking up to 320 Sycamore Favorite Things party.  I look forward to this every year and contemplate my favorite things many weeks before.  It is so hard for me to decide what my favorite things are (or narrow down the list) and yet I can have a somewhat running list in my head but, then sit down to write this post and totally draw a blank! Let’s see how I do…

My favorite people of course are my family.

Johnson Family 01 copy

My favorite new book is The Child Whisperer and anyone who deals with children should have this book…even if the children are adults too! What a healing book this has been for me and yet so helpful with understanding each of my 5 children in a new light.


I love my Canon T1i camera and I bought a Camera Coat for it that protects it from getting banged up and wet.

camera coat

I drink Spark every morning and it has helped me to have the energy I need and provide vitamins as well to help me with exercising.

Advocare Spark - Fruit Punch

I also love the Herbal Cleanse from Advocare and it jumped started my healthy eating and weight loss. I also drink the fiber drinks a few times a week.

 Advocare Herbal Cleanse - Peaches and Cream

I love herbal tea’s on cold days and I found this Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride at the store and loved it!

sugar cookie tea

I love Bob’s Sweet Stripes Peppermint’s any shapes or sizes but, the brand is the best soft mint’s for Christmas time.

Bob's peppermint's

My top 3 websites I surf and buy from are:

Christmas DYT Sale

Dressing Your Truth Online Course
Dressing Your Truth Online Store

{Go Check out Dressing Your Truth if you’ve never heard of it. It has changed my life in so many wonderful ways!}


I love all the deals with unique gifts at Groop Dealz Boutique.


Downeast Clothing – I buy clothes for my daughters and myself when sales are going on. I love the modest dresses, skirts and undershirts and t’s.

My favorite store to frequent in person is Ross. I love finding deals in this store and I have a routine in the way I shop the store. I have found some great clothes and shoes but, I love the decorative pillow isle and kitchen dish isles too. I got my ceramic egg holders-I use as jewelry holders- for under $5 each and all new hangers for my closet.


Last I love Pinterest…I am really addicted…like bad but, I love it and have learned so many great new tips from cleaning to crafting…so that makes it okay right???!!!


And look at that I came up with 12 without even trying all in honor of 12/12/12 Favorite Things Party! I can’t wait to read about everyone’s favorite things. I always pick out a few to try.

Holiday Home Tour 2012

Holiday Home Tour 2012 07Holiday Home Tour 2012 12

After about a week of Christmas Tree stand drama and trying to get the tree to stand without falling over it is finally looking like Christmas around the house.  The stockings are hung and the Christmas Tree has been decorated 3 times!

Holiday Home Tour 2012 05Holiday Home Tour 2012 08

I was rather frustrated last weekend trying to get into the Christmas spirit of decorating and kind of thankful now for the chance to re-do decorating this weekend.  It was much more peaceful and I love the added changes I made.

Holiday Home Tour 2012 01Holiday Home Tour 2012 06

Even Mokey the monkey has gotten into Christmas spirit and finding how a cute 8 yr old boy left him hanging on the bench put a smile on my face to remind me what Christmas is really about.

Holiday Home Tour 2012 13Holiday Home Tour 2012 02Holiday Home Tour 2012 03

Yes, the tree saga was enough to have driven this Mom to want to just skip Christmas this year and throw out the tree but, in the end it was all meant to be.  Even if I strung the tree with lights 3 times and had pine needles and ornaments everywhere all week long the final result is that it improved each time I decorated the tree. 

Holiday Home Tour 2012 09Holiday Home Tour 2012 04

I got to reflect on the special ornaments that have special memories on our tree and thankfully nothing was broken when the tree went timber.  We added Mr. Christmas this year to the tree and he is fun.  He turns your lights on and off with voice activation but, he also plays Christmas Carols and blinks the lights to the music…okay he can be really annoying but, again the kids LOVE him!

Holiday Home Tour 2012 11

I tried to keep things simple and just put out things here or there around our existing decor to remind us it is Christmas time and to remember the reason for the season.

Holiday Home Tour 2012 10

Happy Holiday’s and a good time to remember "Your home is about how you feel when you walk through the front door.  It is about your family, life and dreams together.”  All the other ‘stuff’ isn’t what is most important, it is about the cherish memories you share together and what better time to remind us of that then Christmas.

Linking to: At the Picket Fence, Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap up Party , Show and Tell Saturdays , Serenity You, Six Sisters Stuff, Think Pink Sundays, I Heart Nap Time, The DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrifty Things, It’s Overflowing, Meet Me Mondays, Its So Very Cheri, Made with love Monday, Martha Monday’s, The Dedicated House, Naptime Review, Pink Hippo Party, Motivate me Monday, Craftastic Monday, Market yourself Monday, A Round Tuit, Creative Me Monday,House On The Way, Not Just A Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons, The DIY Dreamer, The Shabby Cottage, 52 Mantels, Savvy Southern, Southern Lovely, Fresh Eggs Daily, 12 Days of Christmas

Ruffle Christmas Tree Skirt

I’ve been pinning pictures of ruffled Christmas Tree Skirts floating around Pinterest for over a year now and finally decided to give one a try.  The last few years I have just been using a table cloth as a tree skirt because let’s face it Tree Skirts can be expensive.  At the store the other day I was pricing them and I saw several that were $100 and frankly not anything I thought cute enough to even pay $30 for.  This one I made maybe cost me $20 if I had to buy all the supplies but, I used mostly what I had on hand.  I love it because it turned out one of a kind and it looks darling under the tree.
Christmas Tree Skirt 005

I did buy a vinyl round 70” table cloth for $5.99 at Ross.  (Probably can find them at the $1 store. I just didn’t have time to go check.) I folded my table cloth in fourths (fold in half and then fold in half again) and trimmed the point creating a round hole for the tree trunk.  Then I cut a slit to the center so I can easily get it around the tree trunk.
Christmas Tree Skirt 001
Next, I took an old table cloth and other fabric I had around the house and ripped it into strips of approximately 4-5 inch even widths.  I did use the sewing machine to stitch the strips together and then gathered one side using a the tightest tension and largest stitch settings.  You don’t have to do this step if you don’t have a sewing machine and can skip to the next step with the glue gun.
Christmas Tree Skirt 002Christmas Tree Skirt 003Christmas Tree Skirt 004Christmas Tree Skirt 005
I inquired of 2 helpers to come help me start gluing.  I had them start on the outside on one side of the slit and hot glue the strips just so they over lapped each other slightly.  They were not scientific or perfect in measurement. One of them pulled the trigger on the glue while the other placed the ruffles.  We created a pattern since we had 4 different fabrics. When they got to the edge on the other side they just trimmed the strip of fabric.  I did not hem the fabric and plan to use some fray check on the edges because we did have a lot of loose strings.
I am guessing we had about 2 yards of each of the 4 fabrics and we did end up with some strips of fabric left over.  If you don’t ruffle ahead of time as you glue the fabric down you can scrunch it up as you go giving it a ruffle effect.  I had helpers that were just learning to use a glue gun so, me making the ruffles ahead of time made it easier on them to glue and still get the look I was going for.
Christmas Tree Skirt 006
Just use what you have on hand or find inexpensive fabric, sheets, table clothes to rip up.  The nice thing about this tree skirt is that it is large enough to completely cover the stand and the vinyl table cloth makes it a nice weight with the flannel backing to keep it in place.  This way my animals can not access the tree stand as their water bowl.
Christmas Tree 2012
Thankfully I snapped this picture before the tree fell over and everything fell off…yes on to finding a tree stand that works for this big beautiful tree.
Linking to: At the Picket Fence, Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap up Party , Show and Tell Saturdays , Serenity You, Weekend Soiree,Scrappy Saturdays, Six Sisters Stuff,Think Pink Sundays, I Heart Nap Time, The DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrifty Things, It’s Overflowing, Meet Me Mondays, Its So Very Cheri, Made with love Monday, Martha Monday’s, The Dedicated House,Naptime Review, Pink Hippo Party, Motivate me Monday, Craftastic Monday,Making the World Cuter, Market yourself Monday, A Round Tuit, Creative Me Monday,House On The Way, Not Just A Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Some What Simple,The DIY Dreamer, The Shabby Cottage, 52 Mantels, Savvy Southern, Southern Lovely,Fresh Eggs Daily, 12 Days of Christmas

Pie Night 2012 + Giveaway for a Mrs. Smith’s Pie

We had a fabulous time at our annual Pie Night with about 70 people coming over for a slice a pie and since I couldn’t have all my blogger friends over for Pie I am hosting Pie Giveaway here at Real Southern Living!

How would you like a $1 off coupon for trying out Mrs. Smith’s Holiday Microsite or better yet a chance to win a free Pie from Mrs. Smith’s just for leaving me a comment below of what type of Pie you would buy and why? Contest closes Thursday December 13th at midnight and winner will be chosen by random number generator according to the number of your comment.  Feel free to leave multiple comments.

Mrs Smiths Opperation Home Front

This holiday season keep in touch with friends and family with the Mrs. Smith’s Holiday microsite where you can create and send holiday e-cards. Best part is that there is also a free coupon for the sender and receiver of the e-card AND a portion of all sales of Mrs. Smith’s pies will be donated to Operation Home front! Mrs. Smith’s will be donating a $1 for every Mrs. Smith’s pie purchased during December. They will also be providing pies to Operation Home front. It is easy to click on the card you want to send, enter the information for the sender and receiver and you are done! Log onto and send a free e-card and get your $1 off coupon delivered to your email right away!

mrs smiths prebaked coconut

Our family loves Coconut pies so I am pretty sure the Coconut Custard Pie would be a top contender for our favorite…we do love Pumpkin, Apple and Peach Pie too! It is so hard to pick a favorite because all of Mrs. Smith’s pies are yummy.  We also had Edward’s pies at our party which is a division of Mrs. Smith’s and the Key Lime was a huge hit.

So onto our Pie Night…

Pie Night 002

We had 25 various types of Pies.

Pie Night 001

We had our guests fill in our Grateful Tree of what they were Thankful for.

Pie Night 004

We had 70 people at one time in our home…yes most of those were probably under the age of 18.

Pie Night 007

My favorite Teenagers had a lot of fun coloring on the brown paper table cloths…I set that up for the little kids in the living room and well we all know how much fun coloring is for big kids too!

Pie Night 005

It was a wonderful night and most of our guests chose to sit on the back patio while all the kids played and ran around the back yard.  We had a great time at our 2nd Annual Pie Night and really enjoyed starting this fun tradition.

All right what kind of Mrs. Smith’s Pie you would get if you won the free pie and why?

Tutorial: Pretty Paper Snowflakes

making your own paper snowflakes 01
Remember making snowflakes as a kid in school? Mine never came out so pretty and so I was never very fond of the activity.  Recently I decided to give it a try and it was a huge success.
making your own paper snowflakes 04
In fact all 6 kids in this house got involved and had a blast making them. They had so much fun the first night they asked to do it again the next night. 

The hardest part is folding them so see below and I will do my best to explain each picture.

making your own paper snowflakes 02
1. Fold one corner of your paper over to make a square. (We had extra legal size paper which made for a little more extra to cut off but, I saved it and made smaller snowflakes with the excess.)
2. Cut off the excess paper.
3. You should have a triangle.
4. Fold your triangle in.
5. You should have a smaller triangle.
6. Tricky part…holding the tip of your triangle on the fold your going to fold over 1 side of your triangle and without creasing it yet.
7. I fold the other side over aligning each edge to create 3rds. 
8. It should look like an arrow.
9. Cut off the tails of the arrow.
10. You should have a cone shape.
11. Cut designs into your cone leaving some of the edges intact to hold your snow flake together. (See some design suggestions below). The trick is to cut out a lot of the paper. You can cut off the tip if you want a hole in the center of your snowflake.
12. Unfold it carefully and your done!
Paper Snowflakes 001
Feel free to print out the picture above for design ideas. I traced a few before we opened our snowflakes so you can get an idea of the way we cut them to get more intricate designs. Below you can see another design after we cut it and then opened it up.
snowflake 003snowflakes 002 copy
Every single one is different. We all played with different cuts that we liked and each one was slightly different…there was even one that I accidently cut more than anticipated and it came out better than expected.  The fun part was opening it to see what great masterpiece we had created.
making your own paper snowflakes 03
I strung them up with fish line and Christmas ornament hooks while the kids were in school yesterday.  I taped a few to the back door. The teenagers especially loved coming home to them hanging up and were declaring which designs were theirs.  It was a family project that was a hit that allowed everyone some creativity.  The younger kids needed help folding and their designs may or may have NOT made it up for display yet! I plan to hang them on the Christmas Tree and Garland as well but, I am a little behind getting the Christmas Décor up.  This was a start and the best part was that the kids loved participating.
Snowflake Mess
Beware of the mess it creates when 6 kids and a Mom make snowflakes!
Linking to: At the Picket Fence, Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap up Party , Show and Tell Saturdays , Serenity You, Weekend Soiree,Scrappy Saturdays, Six Sisters Stuff,Think Pink Sundays, I Heart Nap Time, The DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrifty Things, It’s Overflowing, Meet Me Mondays, Its So Very Cheri, Made with love Monday, Martha Monday’s, The Dedicated House, Naptime Review, Pink Hippo Party, Motivate me Monday, Craftastic Monday, Market yourself Monday, A Round Tuit, Creative Me Monday,House On The Way, Not Just A Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Mom’s Library, The DIY Dreamer, The Shabby Cottage, 52 Mantels, Savvy Southern, Southern Lovely,Fresh Eggs Daily