Ya’ll I got freed!

Every year for the last seven I’ve made a fabulous frozen punch for our church open house. It’s a grand recipe I got from a friend years ago but it is extremely time intensive. I borrow a large stock pot from the church every year to make it…. you dissolve stuff and add a million ingredients and then pour up into a thousand ice trays because I quadruple the recipe. I’ve never minded making it but this year I seemed to be running behind.

This past Friday I was walking out of Mom’s In Prayer and my friend and I were talking about our plans for that day. I told her about the punch I was about to make. She looked at me and said, “Why do you do that?” I was all like, “Uhh well I think it’s because….” She stopped me and said with all seriousness in her voice, “You need to stop that and make a different punch recipe. Here’s a great one…..” And she gave me the equivalent of a fabulous punch that cost half the price and takes about 75% less time to make! I took that permission and ran all the way to the grocery store to purchase my newly discovered, two-ingredient punch.

My friend assured me that once I made this punch I’d never go back. And she’s totally right! We lapped up every ounce of four rounds of the Christmas punch and I will never go back because it was so good.

Sophie and her friend did a great job seeing punch. They graduated from last year which was staying their punch post for a whopping 20 minutes before getting bored and ditching the punch bowl to go play nerf guns upstairs. This year I reminded them they were older and could stay longer. And they did a good job of serving punch for an hour before I released them. You should’ve seen them bolt. The next thing I knew Sophie had on her muck boots and a school sweatshirt (over her dress mind you) throwing snowballs at the boys outside. No really.

You’ll notice there’s not one ounce of greenery to decorate the punch bowl which is slightly disappointing but I flat out ran out of time not to mention there was snow covering all my greenery outside so it just didn’t happen this year. But the good news is that we all lived even though the punch bowl wasn’t decorated. My Mom might not have lived through it if she was here because she’s the queen of decorating and would’ve found something green to put on that punch table.

So here’s your new easy punch recipe that the whole world quite possibly already knows about. I’m typically about ten years behind on a good day. But if I have a soul mate out there that is equally behind you’ll be glad to know about this punch recipe that will save you lots of time and still produce a good punch your guests will enjoy.

Punch (1) 2 litre cheer wine; (1) can of pineapple juice.

Mix together. You can freeze the pineapple juice to make it slushy. Just pull out a bit before serving.

No really. I’m not kidding. That’s all.

Oh well there is the ice ring should you choose to use.

The ice ring:  Mix a packet of lemon-lime Kool Aide according to directions on back and pour in a jello mold then add a few cherries to make it look like a wreath. Mine didn’t keep the green color though. As soon as I put it in the punch the whole thing turned red. I had to chip at it to make the green show up.

My friend who gave me the recipe showed up to the open house and we were talking by the punch bowl. I was waxing not so eloquently about the process of making the punch and how much I loved the recipe but that my ice ring wreath wasn’t green and the whole time I’m chipping away at the ice ring with the ladle to unveil the green underneath. She’s still standing there the minutes later patiently waiting for a cup of punch. Finally I realized the mesmerized state I had put myself into and said, “Oh my word, you’re waiting on punch. So sorry!”

My 11 year old did a better job of serving the punch than I did.

I’m so thankful my friend freed me from my seven year punch bondage and that she waited ever so patiently for a cup. Maybe it was worth the seven year wait.

Go make yourself some punch friends! I’m toasting to you as I type.


Church People Can Have Fun Too!

Church People can have fun too!

And my church is proof.

This year our church gathered once again for an open house in our home and we had a blast. Some really funny things happened this year. Some planned and some not so much.

Like the coat rack crashing and all the coats being left in a pile on the floor. As people left they had to dig through a pile of coats to find theirs. I noticed that the people who floated in after the coat rack catastrophe just decided to wear their coats. Of course that could also be because of how cold we keep the house. It’s not good for the hostess to have a hot flash with church people in her home. She’s able to shed some clothes faster than grease lightening.

The food was so good – lots of great meat dishes came this year which was wonderful. The desserts and appetizers were stellar as well.

I’m not sure Sophie’s friend knew what she was getting into when she home with us after church Sunday. Bless her heart. We put her to work as much as the rest of us. She and Sophie cleaned, cooked and served punch! I hope she’ll want to come back over sometime.

Okay but ya’ll the best part of this year’s Open House?

Oh my goodness.

In response to this church announcement shown a few weeks ago we had a special guest show up unbeknownst to me or anyone else except two people. Randy didn’t even know about it.


Rowanda Mcsomething-something showed up as “Bonita Beehive’s” sister. And because I was just serving punch at the Open House as “Melody” and wasn’t expecting said sister to show up I had to go and get my Bonita Beehive on and come back downstairs.

When I got downstairs Rowanda starting showing me some of her purse contents which included a small mason jar of “special punch”. I’m still in shock at all this going down and a crowd is gathering. Suddenly I hear, “Sing if the ocean were whiskey.” I knew the song but small kids were there and I just really couldn’t sing it the right way with them there. So I made a church version which replaced “rye whiskey” with “punch” and it just didn’t sound right at all. In more ways than one. It was just flat out wrong funny. But we were laughing so hard. This man from our church who dressed up as ……wait for it……HIS MOM……wore everything of his Moms. Down to her hair. I’m not kidding. Everything he had on was hers. I wish I had gotten a picture of his boots because he had ten rings on his boot laces. And ya’ll he’s really not crazy. He’s legit normal with a wife and son and leads mission trips and loves Jesus. Promise. Don’t judge.

What I love about this picture above is my hubs lol-ing so hard in the background. This is my ticket out of trouble. If he gets called in before the deacon board to ‘splain hisself and he says, “But it was my wife.” I’m gonna whip this picture out to gently remind him just how funny he thought this was all by hims own self. Bonita ain’t no dummy.

So this is the part where I always fail at pretty much every hostess type event I do. You will see beautiful lights and unnecessary but fun details such as garnished platters and pretty flower arrangements and such but then you might notice there ARE NO FORKS or that DEAD PLANT to greet you as you walk up the front steps. This is so me. I can never pull it all the way off you know what I mean? But I think if I were to be able to pull it all the way off I’d soon take credit for it and think I’m good at it. When in actuality it’s about people gathering and being together.

I love my church family and I love that we can laugh together and play and have fun. I love that we can work hard together and let our hair down together. That we can learn together, have hard conversations together and keep showing up even if when we’re not all pulled together. This is what I love.

2015 Christmas on Main – “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”


We’ve lived in tiny one bedroom apartments in South Carolina to a ranch style home in Georgia to our current home on Historic Main Street in a small town in North Carolina. All of them have been just that – home. Some days “home” looks neat and picked up while other days it looks like a lego, sword, baby doll, books and paper tornado hit our home dead center.  But that’s sort of when you know it’s a real home.

Without further commentary…….come on in. And if you’re local – and I do mean this sincerely ….come on in in real life on December 20th from 6-8pm for our annual Open House. It will be crammed with wonderfully sweet people from our church who make killer appetizers. We would love to serve you some punch.


(I won’t be so cray-cray as to list my address here but message me and if you don’t sound super creepy with demon eyes I’ll give you our address.)




The den is where we do our living – chilling, tv, gaming, movies, candy crushing, folding laundry, naps and talking. The tree in the den is our “Georgia” tree with Coke memorabilia and UGA stuff. We are from GA and even though NC is home to us now we’ll always have Georgia in our blood.


The living room is where we gather for family chats, devotions, birthday present opening, reading and Christmas morning. It’s not quite as relaxed as the den yet it’s warm and we enjoy the ambiance of the living room. Someone asked me last week the paint color of our yellow – it’s SW Anjou Pear – a yellow that my husband picked out and nailed it.  Yellows can be hard to pick but he did great.

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Didn’t quite get much Christmas up in the kitchen – that strand of red berries on greenery is all I’m feeling this year. Now that I’m seeing it I do believe that baker’s rack is getting a bit “junky” as my Mother would say. “Junky” and “gap-0sis” are two decorating terms she always taught me and my sister. You don’t want too much stuff for it can go junky in a heartbeat. And to have gap-osis is to have a hole or void somewhere. I’m pretty sure we have both going on all over the place in our home.


The secretary below was a wonderful find in the North Georgia mountains. This year I decided to use all our same Christmas decorations but in different places in the house and in completely different contexts. The Byers people that have been sitting on the same Pembroke table for the last 20 Christmases are now tied into the garland. I’m trying to determine if it’s bordering tacky with a capital T or if it’s quite clever and cute. I remain unsure. Take notice there are 3 Byers people because somewhere along the way I learned you don’t decorate in even numbers (rule broken with the red berry trees on top). It’s not pleasing to the eye. See, you are really bothered right now because you are looking at two trees atop a secretary and you are subliminally bothered and agitated wishing it was only 1 or 3. Ha! Kidding.

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This dining room is a room that is still slowly coming together. It’s by far the coldest room in the house yet we use it a lot when people come over and for parties. It turns very easily into any kind of themed party. Getting that white shag rug in there was a  huge help in warming it up. Sam’s you guys! It was a Martha Stewart rug but we got it at Sam’s last year for less than $200.

The kids rooms didn’t get decorated this year. They’ve not said a word about it and I’m soooooo glad. I’ve been secretly hoping Sophie wouldn’t remember her pink Christmas tree that is still in the attic. This is a picture from the Open House a few years ago. I always love going upstairs and seeing empty punch cups on tables, kids playing hide and go seek and girls giggling on the bed. It brings back wonderful memories of dinner parties growing up in which the kids would play for hours in their own imaginary world. I won’t tell you that one year I actually retreated from being hostess and gathered with some of the girls and we prank called their friends. Do not tell their Mothers please. I’m so mature it’s intimidating even to myself.

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Talking about maturity…..I leave you with this angelic picture.


Behold the classic “nekked angel” ornament. The ornament that everyone in the family fights over to hang.

I’m sorry I leave you with this visual. Perhaps you can unsee it if you wish.

Merry Christmas Ya’ll!

Linking for the first time with The Nester – you will love her blog! I do already.

How I found myself in the middle of a live Frat party this week.


My sweet Christian friend who is sharing her story of redemption and freedom from drug addiction started sharing her story through a variety of social media platforms. One of which is Periscope. I wasn’t familiar with this app so I was playing around with it trying to figure out how to follow and watch her daily 2pm coffee chats. Well somehow – I swear I don’t know how – I found myself in the middle of a live virtual Frat party in which I was asked to show specific body parts!!!!!

Say what?!! You are kidding, right? No people. I am not kidding.

I could see the party going on live – close up – but they can only see a comment thread from everyone else who was watching or following. Clearly I just clicked on a random “live” event and had no clue what I was doing. I figured I was about to view a live Christian ladies event…. yeah but no.

I was so appalled that I gave the granny talkin’ to to this group of wild thangs and then got out of there fast and ran and told on them to my Christian speaker friend. I suppose my user name didn’t help much (@bowlofwedgies) and is giving me great pause and reconsideration at this point in my social media career. But seriously there is some crazy stuff out there with apps. You have to be so careful.  Christian speakers use Periscope so people can hear them speak live and I was under the impression that it was for Christian speakers but nooooooooo. It’s really not. In fact when my friend was speaking via Periscope I was outraged at some of the comments she received from random followers – called “trolls”. Her husband would block users that were being totally inappropriate or mean. But I love the fact that she is still speaking through Periscope because this is a great platform to be sharing Jesus. The opposition is great and we’re told we’ll be persecuted when sharing Truth. It shouldn’t scare us – we should approach it with caution and with great boldness.

So friends, if you’ve never been to a frat party you’re not missing anything. I know this because I found myself in the middle of one for about one minute and one minute too long! It’s not worth it. And to my teenage and college friends who feel that virtual attendance to such parties is not the same thing – you’re wrong sweet people. It is the same thing. Guard yourself online. Set up boundaries. This world has no concern for your personal integrity or purity. It will be the Holy Spirit who helps you in this area so depend on him heavily.




Plantation ferns, cucumber sandwiches and peonies = Simply Southern

I’ve never done one of those home parties before where you have a representative come and sell their product and people that are interested come by and look and purchase if they want. I have a friend who asked me about hosting one for Jamberry Nails and I agreed and asked if we could also combine it with a Silpada party and so we did. And it was a lot of fun!

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Sophie was a really big help in the process. She was excited about this party herself because she got to have her nails done ahead of time by the Jamberry Nails Rep/Friend and she LOVED her soccer ball nails and her other funky ones too. She was excited about the potential of getting to pick out some wraps herself. She helped make the cucumber sandwiches which I got from here. They were really good even if I did make them! Now my lemon squares? Not so much. Let’s not talk about that.



There were a lot of great give-aways and fun games. I regret I didn’t get any pictures of the Silpada table because there were some really nice pieces and the rep/now friend (I didn’t know her before) also did a great job making people feel comfortable but was not pushy in any way. I like that in a sales rep. Just tell me about your product and why you love it but don’t push me to buy it thankyouverymuch.

I think my favorite part of the day was preparing for it – flowers oh my goodness, I could eat them petal by petal. Seriously I love them. So arranging them was a fun part for me. Also, giving away door prizes is always so.much.fun. I love it!



When we act bigger than we really are

Oh bless’er. She was born wanting to be a toddler and now that she’s in second grade she wants to be a preteen.

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Oh she still plays with her dolls, dresses up her big bear and plays “pretend” but sometimes she steps into responsibility that doesn’t belong to her. Like at the Super Bowl party we just had at our house. She and several other little girls were all playing upstairs and apparently the toddler among them had a “stinky” diaper. So while the adults were downstairs cheering the SeaHawks on Sophie took it upon herself to change her first poopy diaper ever. When my friend went upstairs to check on her toddler she came down laughing and gave us the lowdown…

Sophie was in the bathroom dry heaving in the sink while the older sister of the toddler was puking in the toilet. My friend asked Sophie what was the matter and she said, “Nothing.” When she asked her a second time she confessed proudly she had just changed the toddler’s diaper but then started gagging after it was all done.

Insert deep belly laughter from all the Moms. We decided it would be a story the girls would one day laugh about hysterically. Sophie one-upping her friend saying, “I kept mine in but yours came out! Na-na-na-boo-boo.”

My friend had to “finish the job” if you know what I mean. But she stepped in and finished the job and all was well.

I laugh, but I do it too.

I try to do things that don’t belong in my realm of responsibility. Sometimes I try to help God out by taking the bold initiative to do things He didn’t ask of me. I move forward in utter independence when I need to wait on Him to do the things I can’t really do. My forgetfulness and sometimes it’s my unwillingness to ask for His help leaves me gagging over the mess I get myself in. So yeah, second grade or 40 something years old – it’s still a battle to fight.

But the amazing thing about my God is this: He’s always there to rescue me and love me just the same. This thought makes me more apt to pause before delving into self-initiated territory. It makes me want to seek Him and His plans for me – not my own.

And for the record…..I love the fact that my girl is independent and will try to figure things out for herself. This quality is a good one and even better when framed with the truth that she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength.

Linking with Holley, Jennifer and Kristin today.



Pintest Plans down the drain.


So that’s what I was hoping our Super Bowl Party would be looking like but instead it will be pretty much nothing close to that. It’ll still be awesome though and we’ll have spent less money which is always a good thing.

I threw my back out Thursday night – welcome to middle age….when you change bottom bunkbed sheets and come out getting stuck bent over. So all the plans I had for Friday and Saturday have been shot. When I suggested to the hubs about getting “themed plates” for the Super Bowl Party he laughed and said, “Yeah, okay, honey.” Which is code for, “Whatever chickadee!” He’s thinking I need to get my priorities right and first figure out WHO is playing in the Super Bowl and then get some kicking’ hot nacho dip going on and then we’ll worry about figuring out what we’ll eat on and who cares if it’s Pinterest Cute or not. I know, I know. But I love throwing a party and decorating for it. It’s just so much fun.

Our church is hosting Super Bowl Parties in our homes this year which will be really fun. And for the record….I really do know who’s playing the Super Bowl. Granted I had to google it but I do know. And I know who we’re cheering on and what their colors are. The Sea Hawks. But I forget why. I think there’s a really good Christian quarterback or something something??? I’m not sure about that. I’m excited about the commercials of course. And hanging out with everyone. Even if it’s not worth of a Pinterest Board!

So what are your Super Bowl Plans and who are you hoping wins?

Open House and memories of a party crasher


We love having our church family over for an open house every year the Sunday before Christmas. I’ll admit that sometimes I get my panties in a  wad over it. You know, thinking people might spot the massive dust bunnies in the corners of the house or cobwebs that have gone unnoticed. I felt more at home at a church member’s house last week than I ever have. Our host and hostess are the sweetest people ever. She can cook up a storm and is always dressed nice. He has more friends than a cat has fleas and has a grand story for every occasion. As our hostess served us in her home I couldn’t help but notice the mismatched socks and one with a hole. She casually said, “Don’t look at my socks. I had to bleach them and one is a different color.” I said, “Are you kidding? I am looking and it makes me feel SO at home!” And that’s exactly how I felt there. I just wished I had seen some dust somewhere so I would feel even more at home. But no dust bunnies there.

Our first year of doing an open house we invited some of our neighbors as well and since we were new to the neighborhood we didn’t know all of our neighbors. We left our front door open and people came strolling in for some cider and goodies. Little did we know we had a party crasher who’d had a bit too much to drink. We just thought she was a neighbor who had received one of our invitations. But upon talking to her more (after she asked if all we had was cider) I realized she never got an invitation. She wasn’t a neighbor. She was just walking down the street and saw lights and people and was hoping for a little something something. When she realized there was only cider in the house she left abruptly and stumbled into a heap on the sidewalk. We got her a ride home and she was okay.  There hasn’t been that kind of drama in the last few years but who knows what might go down tomorrow night. I’ll be sure to post some open house drama if we have it. Like me sending a tray of goodies flying off the platter and onto the floor – yep, have done that before. Or leaving out a major ingredient in the punch. Yeah, that too. We’ll just hope for the best with little to no drama. That would be nice. But I’m always prepared for something crazy to go down around here. That’s just how we roll.

Merry Christmas friends! Have fun with your friends, family and your church family. And if you’re around Main Street tomorrow night swing by for some punch. I dare you to!



Christmas festivities in full swing


Sophie put on a dress to decorate the tree this year. Adorable. She got hot after about 5 minutes and shed all the clothes. #hotflash


Meet “thingy” – the Christmas ornament I made when I was a kid. Thingy has endured years of ridicule and verbal abuse by my husband and our friends. Our first year of marriage we had friends over for a Christmas party and Randy’s best man in our wedding stole “thingy” off our tree and took it on a trip to Israel with him and sent pictures and a ransom note with it. No really, I’m not kidding for one second. So he’s actually famous, that little ornament I made in second grade.


Sophie had her Christmas program at her school already and it was so good! Love the girls in her class so much. They all get along really well.


The first Christmas party of the season was at Sophie’s Sunday School teacher’s house. She had her kids over for lunch and tons of desserts and then gave them all new Bibles. The kids loved this.


Mitchell made this clay nativity set a few years ago when we first moved to NC. I lost track of the lady who led this class but through Facebook rediscovered her and she is coming to lead a class at my house next week with the girls in Sophie’s class. I’m so excited about this. I love this little nativity set so much and know it will be a keepsake for them one day when they have their own families. If I decide they can take it with them. Ha!


Yeah, about this huge platter. Well, I bought it at Goodwill last year for $2.50 and am determined to use it this season. I served a whopping four garlic breadsticks on it last night at dinner and Randy laughed out loud at the presentation. It had major “gap-o-sis”. That’s a word my Mom always uses in decorating when there is way to much space going on. Tonight I served four cupcakes on it. I think I now know why it was at Goodwill. But it’s really adorably cute for $2.50. Oh well, I’ll use it for the veggie tray I’m taking to an upcoming party. And surely there will be no gaposis.




My Mom is the bomb!

There’s nothing better than pulling off a fabulous surprise. And that’s just what I did for my Mom’s 77th birthday last week. My sweet husband was in full support of me taking off early Saturday morning leaving behind a house full of yellow and black decorations from a bumble bee theme party the night before. No food in the house and dirty laundry. Bless him up one side and down the other because he not only held the fort down but he actually cleaned it up. I don’t deserve that kind of awesomeness.

I conspired with my sister and brother and so they had my Mom thinking she was having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my sister on Saturday night but instead it would be me. Of course there had to be some drama before it all went down and it involved a very scary make over that left me looking like I needed to be walking 14th street downtown Atlanta in fish net hose and spike heels. I was so excited to be seeing my Mom that I exceeded the speed limit to the tune that I was an hour and a half early. So I decided to kill some time by getting my make up done at the Lancome counter. The make up artist worked on me for about 45 minutes and used approximately 13 different brushes. You’d think that might clue me in to the fact that I’d be looking “layered” for sure but I was so tired from driving and relaxed that it never occurred to me I’d be wearing more make up in all my make up wearing years all put together. It wasn’t until she handed me the mirror that I realized I didn’t recognize my own self. My eyes looked like raccoons – thick dark black layered eye liner and several layers of mascara. Sparkly stuff on my eye lids and color tinting on my brows. I could see my mascara without looking in a mirror. That ain’t right. You’re not supposed to walk around with a black halo effect in both your eyes because of your make up. I didn’t want to hurt the lady’s feelings so I just thanked her and paid for the make up and ran, I say RAN, to the closest bathroom. But as soon as I got there I realized I only had 5 minutes before meeting my Mom. I grabbed several wads of toilet paper and started taking off layers of the make up. I just hoped my Mom would know who I was.

The waiter and hostess at Cheesecake Factory were all in on the surprise and saw a picture of Mom and were expecting her. As soon as she came in they escorted her to the booth I was sitting in with my back to her. As soon as she was about to sit down she saw it was me and took two steps back, gasped in shock and turned to the waiter and said, “Oh my goodness, that’s my baby.” She filled up with tears and we hugged. I couldn’t help but think, “how embarrassing –  a 42 year old baby that looks like a hooker” As soon as Mom sat down the next thing she said was, “Your eyes.?” So I started splainin’. She actually liked it but I had to remind her I had taken off a ton of layers. We had a good laugh about it and talked about all the fun surprises we had planned for her over the next few days.

The greatest thing of all happened on my trip back home. I was halfway home when my Mom called to tell me that at her Dr’s appointment that morning they told her she could come off the oxygen she’d been on for a few months. This was a direct answer to our prayers and the perfect book end to a wonderful surprise birthday visit. God is so so good. I shared this testimony in church today because so many of our church family had been praying for my Mom to come off the oxygen and they praised God with us over His perfect timing in answered prayer.