When You Are Frustrated With Your Walk

Yesterday the pastor asked, "Are you ever frustrated with your walk with the Lord?" He went on to read Acts 16:6-8

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. (NKJV)

Have you ever been here? You've felt the call- the urge. You've left everything you knew to journey into everything you didn't, only to have God lead you in a completely different direction- leaving you wondering if you were wrong all along. Did you miss His call?


Several years ago now we were working with some foster kids. Going in we were told one would be short-term (a couple days to a week tops) the other one would end up with us permanently. Three months later they were both still with us. It was amazing to watch these world battered kids begin to grow and bloom and spread their wings to try new things.

Lil' Bit the older one came to us at age two speaking only two words "Dada" and "Eat", we taught him sign language to help him communicate. He loved church so much, every time we got in the car he would sign church over and over and nearly cry when we told him we weren't going today. And then suddenly 3 months later he was gone, back to his biological parents for better or worse and a huge hole was left in our hearts. But we trusted that God had the answers, and He knew the big picture. And six months later Baby Bit was gone too, and we found ourselves asking God what did we miss? Did we miss His calling? If we had raced ahead of His plan? Or if He hadn't led us here after all?

Related Article: When The World Tells You To Take A Vacation

A well-meaning friend took it upon herself to tell us that we were cursed, that we were outside His perfect will and He was punishing us- I don't know about you, but I serve a loving, merciful God. Who sent His one and only son to rescue me. Not a petty, vengeful deity that takes pleasure in my pain. My bible says I am engraved on His hands.


The pastor went on to explain that there are seasons when God doesn't show us the whole picture, He doesn't light the entire walkway but only the next step. Because He doesn't want us to run ahead of Him. But instead learn to trust Him, even when we don't understand. That sometimes there is a lesson in the journey we are on, so He directs us somewhere else because we aren't ready for that destination.

As I was working in the garden planting flowers around our new river (pix to come) it suddenly struck me -I could almost hear an audible voice saying- those were your Phrygia and Galatia. Your Mysia and Troas.

Related Article: I Have Cared For You

You see it wasn't that they missed God's call. It wasn't that God didn't love the people in those towns. It wasn't that He didn't want them to hear the Good News. It was about teaching Paul and those with Him to trust God, even when His plan, His direction didn't make sense. It was about them learning to trust, even though they didn't have the why. It was about teaching them to walk in the illuminated step in front of them without turning to the right or the left- without racing ahead. It was about learning to walk next to Him.

Are you in this place? Wondering if you missed His will, hurting and frustrated?


Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 NIV
For you have delivered ... my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm 56:13 NIV
Take the next step illuminated step, and trust Him for the one after that, trust Him with the destination and walk with Him.

Lemongrass Spa Review

Recently we were introduced to Lemongrass Spa by Ruth Anne, we try to be very conscious of what is in the products we use -whether in the garden, in our recipes or on our skin- so we were very excited to try out this companies product. Especially when we heard that they don't use chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Petroleum byproducts, and parabens (who wants that stuff on their skin? Not me!)
All of their products are natural, organic, toxin free, gluten free, cruelty-free and most are also soy free too!

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When the package arrived we were so excited to try them, and we were not disappointed! They all smell good enough to eat! I can't tell you which is our favorite because we love them all! They make your skin feel amazing, without feeling heavy or greasy. They don't burn our sensitive skin like some other products we've tried and you have peace of mind using them! They are definitely some of our all-time favorite skin care products!

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Lemongrass Spa has a wide range of products -skin care, family and baby, beauty, body care and spa luxuries, men's collection, essential oils, and aromatherapy. Check out their products HERE.

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Have you tried Lemongrass Spa products before?

Building A River In The Garden

Grandma Cottage absolutely loved Jesus, ponds, and roses so when we moved to this house 18+ years ago she was thrilled. There was plenty of room for ponds and a rose garden! We had a convenient, rather large gully in our yard that always collected water and was a pain to mow. Just like that, the idea for the big pond was born. We tried a hard plastic liner, but Mr. Cottage just didn't care for it so we pulled it back out and dug the hole wider and got a rubber pond liner. We covered the edges with rocks a variety of rocks (most of those are from our yard believe it or not). Originally we had a river behind the waterfall so the water traveled down it and then over the waterfall but we ended up changing it to what you see now. 

A while later we added a small little plastic pond further down the path, again we didn't end up liking it so we removed it and used a rubber liner and covered the edges with rocks. Grandma always wanted to add a river between the two ponds but we never got around to it- until now. Last week after several days of rain I decided to make her dream a reality.  #DIY #River #WaterGarden #WaterFeature #Waterfall #Cottage #Garden #Ponds

#DIY #River #WaterGarden #WaterFeature #Waterfall #Cottage #Garden #Ponds

This is the pathway and patio before we started our project, the bushes have grown out enough that it was annoying to walk down the path. We put our cowboy grill and extra chairs from our outdoor table out here so we could enjoy the evenings.

Related Article: Beginnings Of The Cottage

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We already had some of the landscaping done, with some slight transplanting we had it set.

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We pulled up 4 rows of stones along the walkway to the pool and all the stepping stones along the path.

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We dug the outline out slightly so we could see it, once we got the angles and layout right we went ahead and continued digging.

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We decided to have the river cascade at this point into the smaller pond. We removed the rocks on the end and dug a ditch 4 inches deep to the big pond. Don't worry that isn't the water line on the smaller pool we drained it to get the gunk off the bottom from several years of just sitting there.

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We got a little too wide so we ended up backfilling and raising sections to 10 inches tall.

Related Article: Cottage Garden Tour

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We picked up 2 rubber liners from Lowes, and attached them together with tape (also from Lowes) then spread it down the ditch making sure it was well over the sides. We tried to get as many wrinkles out of it as possible. We saved digging out the section next to the big pond for last so we wouldn't have water everywhere. We ended up cutting some of the excess off the side of the liner and using a piece to help cover the seam between the pond and river so we wouldn't have any leaks. Next, we added rocks, one of the very few good things about having a rocky yard.

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It took a little adjusting to get the flow right, but after some shifting and digging we got it working right and began thinking about landscaping!

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Here is another view of the river flowing down to the little pond.

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We stopped by our local Lowes and found some beautiful flowers on clearance for 50% off and "adopted" them for this space.

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The brown mulch was also on sale so we went with that to mulch around the pond. I love how rich the color is!

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Mr. Cottage also built a bridge for us [Tutorial coming soon!]! We also brought two of our butterfly benches out to the patio and some cute garden art. It's so nice to sit out here in the evenings and watch the dragonflies and butterflies dance through the air and listen to the water!

#DIY #River #WaterGarden #WaterFeature #Waterfall #Cottage #Garden #Ponds

Do you have a water feature in your garden? 

Chili Cheese Omelets

There is just something wonderful about a big pot of chili on the stove. The smell of the spices filling the air... mmmmm, wonderful! Grandma was the queen of chili and neighbors loved when she would make large pots of it and make them care packages to take home with them. It was the best.  The next morning she would make these omelets for us for breakfast. Oh man! What a treat! Try her recipe and see what you think.


Related Post: Our 4 Bean Chili Recipe

Ingredients:


2-3 Pastured Eggs
Coconut oil, grass-fed butter or olive oil
Himalayan Pink Salt
Pepper
Cheese of your choice
Leftover Chili (Try our recipe)
Optional: Sour Cream we use organic but you can use what you have

Directions:


Heat your chili in a small saucepan.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and season to your taste.  
Pour into an omelet pan (with butter or coconut oil).  
Cook until the bottom of the eggs are sturdy enough and ready to flip.  
Using a spatula, turn the egg over and then ladle your chili inside on half of the round egg, add cheese then fold over the eggs to cover your mixture. 

Place lid on the pan to help it cook and cheese to melt for a couple of minutes and turn on low. Remove lid and use a spatula to move it to your plate. Top with more chili a bit more cheese and you even can put on some diced tomatoes, and green onions. Whatever you like!  Enjoy!

Related Article: Chili Baked Potato

Leave a comment below and tell us what you think. If you try it, be sure to let us know.

It's Worth It

Life at the Cottage isn't always cute sundresses, fun photoshoots, cuddling adorable animals, flower beds full of flowers and bountiful harvests. It's not always smiles, and bare feet. Or quiet evenings on the porch. It's not always sunshine and rainbows. It's not always perfect, in fact, most of the time it isn't.

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Most of the time it looks like overalls, dirty hands, broken nails, blistered fingers, chipped polish, sore shoulders, tired feet, scratches, scrapes and sunburned skin. It's tired, so tired all you want to do is drop in bed.

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It's late nights and early mornings. Sometimes it's a lot of tears and feeling like a failure, somedays it's hard to keep all of the balls in the air and some days it feels a whole lot like failure. It's loss and heartache and fighting losing battles.

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 It's falling in bed swearing your done, only to get up in the morning and start all over. Why? Because it's worth it. It's hard work, and sweat, and laughter between tears.

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It's carefully raising plants and nursing sick animals back to health. It's early mornings treks to the chicken coop and quiet moments listening to the ducks play in their water bowls. It's peaceful moments tending the garden and whispering heartfelt prayers.

Related Article: Beginnings Of The Cottage 

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It's good days and bad. Some days you win and others you don't, plants die, animals get hurt, and critters destroy what you worked so hard to make grow and protect. Predators break-in and hurt the babies you raised and laughed at their antics. Projects don't turn out how you wanted them too.

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Some days you feel defeated, some days you feel like you are on top of the world, and some days people point out your weeds instead of seeing the beauty and hard work that has been put in- and sometimes that person is you.

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But every moment is worth it because you grow and change with the very things you raised and planted. Yes, it's hard. Yes. somedays we want to quit. It can be discouraging. Somedays it's downright heartbreaking...

Related Article: Our Raised Bed Garden

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But it is also amazing adventures, laughter, and endless lessons in faith and perseverance. It's learning new things, its simple moments that turn to beautiful memories. It's learning to pray about everything, and notice the little things. And it is totally worth it...

#Farmlifestyle #farm #countryliving #countrylife #garden #vintagesundress #simpleliving

Easy Strawberry Tarts For Independence Day

Needing a last-minute Independence Day dessert? We've got you covered! Try these adorable little tarts! Super easy to make, and so tasty! 


Crust:


1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Grass Fed Butter
1/2 Cup Raw Sugar
1 Free Range Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Combine flour, soda, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. In an electric mixer beat butter for 30 seconds or so. Add sugar and beat until fluffy, follow that with egg and vanilla. Beat until combined then add dry ingredients a bit at a time. When combined grease a medium size muffin tin, press 2-inch rounds of dough into each cup. Make sure the dough isn't too thick and comes up the sides of the cup. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and use something round and slightly smaller than the cup to press the dough back down (I used an ice cream scoop). Allow to cool and harden before removing from pan.

Related Article: Patriotic Cherry Pie

#4thOfJuly #Recipe #IndependenceDay #4thofJulyfood #dessert #strawberries #tarts

Filling:

1 pkg Cream Cheese
4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
Stevia to taste
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Place cream cheese in an electric mixer beat until smooth, add powdered sugar, stevia, and vanilla mix until combined. Spoon into an icing bag or a ziplock bag (I just used a ziplock bag with an icing tip in one end because I couldn't find my bags.), pip filling into the cups once they are completely cold.

Topping:


Slice strawberries, slide one through the "V" of another so it becomes three dimensional and looks somewhat like an "X". Place on top of filling. Serve cold.

He Meets Me With Reckless Love

Love... My sin nailed Him to that cross, yet I was met with love. I threw angry words in His face, I've run from him- spit on his grace and did things my way. I've ignored Him like a wayward child dancing on the line I was told not to cross until finally the ground  I presumed as solid slips away like sand in the tide and I find myself lost in a world of pain and hurt. It might as well have been my hands that held the hammer posed above that nail ready to strike.

And yet His love meets me in this place, in the arid wasteland of my creating. It finds me in this broken place, in this fortress I have built around myself to hide away and wallow in my pain. And yet He finds me in this place- where no one else dares to venture. He comes swooping in and rescues me... Even when I was His foe, he rescued me. Though my sin nailed him to a cross, still His love chased after me. Still, he tore down the wall of carefully laid stones and lit up my dark prison.


Recklessly He meets me right where I am, knowing that I'm the one who pushed Him away, knowing I am the one who ran, knowing that I might do it again- still He comes. And meets me with love, He meets with grace, He meets me with forgiveness. He meets me. He comes running after me, waiting to pick me up and hold me close like a loving father. To whisper His goodness over my bruises and fill me with His overwhelming love.

Are you lost? Are you locked deep inside a fortress hiding from the world? Are you wandering through a wasteland as your life burns around you? He's there, He's waiting, He'll never stop chasing you, never turn away and say you aren't worth it. He will never stop fighting for you. You are his precious child, Matthew 18:12-13

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:12-14 NIV


He is El Roi the God sees you. The father who knows all of your pain. Jehovah-Raah the shepherd that will leave his 99 to seek you.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? if I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139: 7-12 NIV

He is El Elyon, The Most High God who sent his son to be your Jehovah Nissi - your banner, that He may become your Jehovah Mekoddishkem the God who sanctifies you.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:2-5 NIV 

 

Take Me Out To The Ballgame Burger Recipe

Independence Day is always a time for grilling out here at the Cottage, we've even been known to pull the grill up to the back door and grill during thunderstorms. We also don't believe in boring burgers- enter the Take Me Out To The Ball Game Burger loaded with tater tots, BBQ onions, lettuce, cheese and juicy burger patties. This is one of my favorite burgers!

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What You Will Need:

Brioche Buns or Make Your Own - Recipe HERE-
Burger Patty
Lettuce
Mayonaise
BBQ Onions
Simple Truth Organic Potato Puffs or Tater Tots
Nitrate Free uncured Bacon (or your favorite bacon)
Colby Jack Cheese

Related Article: Lone Star Burger

#Burgers #BurgerRecipe #4thofjulyrecipe #4thofjuly #independecedayrecipes #IndependenceDay #Food #grilling #summerrecipes #summercooking

Meat:

Ground Beef
Himalayan Pink Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Nutritional Yeast
Coconut Aminos
Mild Cheddar

Related Article: Pearl Harbor Burger

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and form patties. Cook until done and melt cheese over the top.

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Assembly:

Spread mayonnaise over the buns, add a touch of bbq sauce. Place the meat on top of the bottom bun, spoon onions over the top. Cut bacon in half and place it on top of the onions. Slice tater tots in half and add to the top. Add the lettuce to the top and place the second burger bun on top.

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links cost nothing extra but help us to keep bringing you great articles. 


Basic Invites Baby Shower Invites

I don't know about you but a lot of our friends are expecting little blessings in the coming months which makes this baby shower season! Is there anything sweeter than a baby? Well if there is God kept it to himself!


I have to say we are really loving these adorable princess themed baby shower invitations from Basic Invites almost as much! The awesome thing about this company? They have almost unlimited colors! They also have flat and raised foil invites. And they don't just offer baby shower invitations for girls they have custom invitations for every occasion! Plus they are one of the few companies that allow you to order a printed sample of your card!


They also have over 40 different colors of envelopes and they all come and peel and seal - so long paper cuts! How cool is that?

Another great feature we love is their address capturing service that allows you to share a link on any social media and request your friends and families address. They then store it so you can use it any time you need! Goodbye looking for the address book that always goes missing when you need it... Seriously you'd think that book had legs or the ability to go invisible. They also offer free address printing on Christmas card orders!

Right now they are offering 15% off when you use coupon code 15FF51.

Find them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest


This post contains sponsored content.

Independence Day Decor At The Cottage

Here at the Cottage, we decorate for almost every holiday, Independence Day is no exception! Over the years we've been blogging you've probably gathered that we love this holiday. It's kind of extra special for us because it's kinda neat to see your ancestors names beneath the Declaration Of Independence and among the founding fathers. 

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In our family history is very important to us, mom has spent years tracing our ancestors through history and then teaching us about the amazing men and woman in our family tree. Some well-known figures in history, not all made great choices- a few were whispered to be a bit batty in the belfry if you catch my drift (which explains a lot... just kidding!). Anyway, this holiday is very special to us at the Cottage and it isn't just for the fireworks (But we love those too!). For us, it's like a taste of home, its a breath from the past to thank all of those who have fought and sacrificed to keep this nation the land of the free. 

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Patriotism runs deep in this military family, and the good ole' red white and blue is emblazoned on our hearts. 

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We draped pennants and bunting from the room and over the banisters on either side of the porch. 

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On the door, we went with a grapevine wreath, a metal sign, and a red ribbon to draw some of the colors from the bunting. I love the way it looks against the black door.

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We kept the chalkboard and wagon in place but added pots of red geraniums. 

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 On either side of the stairs, we placed the urns and filled them with red, white and blue flowers and a flag.

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I always have so much fun decorating the dining room, and this holiday was no exception! As you can see we kept the chicken feeder from Burkes in the center of the table but changed out some of the pieces inside. 

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We removed the small potted plants and a few nests from our spring look [catch it HERE] and replaced those with glass bottles with flags. We also filled two slots with some old books in our color scheme.
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We wanted to keep some of the natural touches, so we left one of the nests and added a bit of leaf garland and dried hydrangeas from last year.

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Related Article: 4th Of July Recipe Roundup

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We left the chickens in it because we loved the country/farmhouse feel it gave the centerpiece.

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We used a piece of muslin for the table runner, feed sack placemats we picked up at Walmart a few years ago and patriotic plates. We also used the cute little name tag milk jugs from Hobby Lobby.


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We used daisy blue jean napkin rings [Tutorial HERE] and chicken wire napkin rings [Tutorial HERE] interchangeably around the table.

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We kept much of the side table the same, just added our courage canvass behind the antique silver chocolate pot.

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Remember that German prayer chair we picked up at the yard sale last week? Well, it found a home in this little corner of the house. We also hung these pictures of the Bill of Rights and Declaration Of Independence on either side of the wall unit. 

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The mantel is always a fun challenge to conquer, sometimes it just clicks and other times we have to keep adjusting until something clicks.

We wanted to keep a lot of our neutral colors in here but still add the touch of red white and blue we love so much.

You probably remember the cottage sign we made a few years ago [Tutorial HERE], underneath the sign, we placed this gorgeous blowup of one of our pictures. I love this shot so much! It makes me smile every time I look at it.

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 On either side, we have canisters in whites and creams filled with cotton stems and hydrangeas. For garland, we used a strand of cotton we picked up at Hobby Lobby last year and these adorable driftwood stars. In the center of the mantel we hung this rustic bunting we found at Aldi. I love the whole look so much!

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The trunk we bought at the yard sale with the pray chair is for now at home right here in the living room beneath the troop pictures of my grandfather and great-grandfather. On it, we place a vintage camera, vintage silver candlestick holders, a patriotic canteen, and Mr. Cottage's medals.

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In the kitchen, we hung a tea stained bunting over the sink and changed up some of the decor on the counters.

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We sat this cute enamel tray on the end of the island and sat a tea pot and a bud vase with a hydrangea in it. Down further we filled a bread bowl with fresh veggies from the garden.


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#4thofjuly #farmhouse #decorating #Independencedaydecorations #4thofjulydecor #farmhouse4thofjuly #interiordecorating #redwhiteandblue #america

We added an America sign to this wall to add a touch of 4th Of July to the farmhouse look. 

#4thofjuly #farmhouse #decorating #Independencedaydecorations #4thofjulydecor #farmhouse4thofjuly #interiordecorating #redwhiteandblue #america

Over the window seat, we hung cute pennants and we brought back the cotton wreath over the stove.


Do you decorate for Independence Day? What is your favorite room? Tell us in the comments!