Mamaw’s Fruit Salad

My Mamaw Gibson has been bringing this fruit salad to every family event and church social for as long as I can remember. It is one of my favorites. It’s also my brother’s absolute favorite fruit salad ever and he always requests it when we all get together. It makes the perfect sweet summer treat.


  • 1 can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 can sliced peaches, drained
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 can strawberry pie filling

Drain the canned fruit really well and pour into a large bowl. Add sliced bananas. Pour strawberry pie filling over the top and mix well. Refrigerate before serving. 


Styling a Home with Hand-me-downs

Whenever people come to my house, they are always asking me where I got my furniture and home decor items. Instead of the typical responses (store names), they usually end up hearing a story about how my grandfather found this piece in a barn or my uncle gave me this after his aunt gave it to him. Almost all of my furniture has a story, and I like it that way. None of it matches, and yet it feels cozy and homey and comfortable. 

I think a lot of people want to make their homes look just like a furniture store showroom or commercial. To me, the best way to find your style is to let it happen organically, and you can’t do that if you’re buying cookie-cutter pieces from a catalog for everything you put in your home.

So today on the blog, I’m going to take you on a tour of my house and tell you exactly what I bought and what was handed down and how those things have evolved over time to create our cozy little space. 

Welcome to my house. I hope you enjoy it! 


My kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I have lots of ideas for renovations, like installing a backsplash, painting the cabinets, and updating the appliances to stainless steel, but even without doing those things this kitchen is awesome because of its size and the tons of storage.

The table in this nook of my kitchen was handed down to me by my grandparents. My grandmother used to own a little gift shop, and this table was in her store. To go with it, I bought these chairs at the Vernon Antique Mall in my hometown. I actually got both chairs for $15, so it was a total steal. The blue metal shelf is from Hobby Lobby. I bought it on sale for around $30 when I lived in my first house. 

One thing that is really important about styling a home is how you style and organize your shelves. On the top shelf, the little flipbook cookbook was a wedding gift and the rolling pin and butter dish are made by The Pioneer Woman (available at Walmart). On the second shelf, I used cookbooks to support my Pioneer Woman pitcher (again, from Walmart). The center display on this shelf is old cookbooks and home economics books that belonged to my grandmother and her picture. The mason jar measuring cups and salt and pepper shakers were a gift last Christmas and came from Avon. The third shelf is filled with old Tupperware containers that I found while helping clean out my great-aunt’s house after she passed away. They were in her garage and were a mess, but with a little elbow grease, they cleaned up really well and the lids fit well, so I use them to store flour, sugar, coffee pods for our Keurig, and tea bags. On the bottom shelf, I have some of my cookbook collection and a large Pioneer Woman stockpot from Walmart and a Cooks Tools Crock from Belk that were also gifts. 

One of my favorite areas of this room is our coffee bar. I don’t drink coffee, but Jeff does, so this space is set up for him. The cabinet is an old wash stand that was in my grandmother’s gift shop. It was damaged in a fire at the shop, but thankfully it was still sturdy enough to be used. I just had to prime and paint it to cover the smoke damage and installed new knobs on the doors. I store extra coffee stuff and cookbooks in the bottom part of this cabinet. The bowl of coffee pods is a large mixing bowl made by The Pioneer Woman (from Walmart). The tray was a wedding gift. The coffee maker is a Keurig. The signs above the cabinet and the chalkboard hanging on the wall beside it are all from Hobby Lobby.

Living Room

Our living room is the one place where we did spend some serious money and purchased our own furniture instead of keeping hand-me-downs. My husband really wanted a huge sectional couch, and we purchased this one from Ashley Furniture when we bought the house. Once the couch was delivered, our old coffee table didn’t fit (it was a rectangular table and was too big for the space), so we moved it to the basement where we have our old couch set up in our game room and Jeff bought me this table for Christmas from Sticks and Stuff. The tray on the coffee table is made by Wilton Armetele and came from our wedding registry at Belk. The “Love You More” pillow on the couch is from Walmart. The other pillows either came with the couch or were given to us as gifts. The crocheted throw was made by my mom as a gift for Jeff and the quilt was a wedding gift.

In the corner of our living room, we have a ladder to store our quilts (the top one was given to me by my great-aunt and the bottom one was made for me by my great-grandmother). The ladder is from an online boutique that I found on Facebook called Shelia Dee Creations. The black table was one Jeff had in his apartment when we got married. The stump with our names on it was made by my grandfather as the display for our wedding cake at our wedding. The artwork was given to us by a friend, and the TV cabinet (which you can see one corner of here) was something Jeff already had in his apartment when we got married. 

Dining Room

Our dining room table is a hand-me-down from my parents, but it is not really an antique. They purchased it and the chairs a few years ago from the Better Homes and Garden collection at Walmart, and handed it down to me when I rented my first house. The shelf in the background was built by my grandfather. The lamp in the corner was a super ugly gold lamp that Jeff had in his apartment when we started dating. I spray painted it a metallic bronze and changed the shade to a clean white one, and it ended up looking pretty great! (Spray paint is my best friend!)

The sign on the top of this shelf is from, an online boutique and sign company. The collection of figurines and shells are from our travels since we have been married. The antique chalk box was my aunt’s, and I fell in love with it and wouldn’t let them throw it away when they cleaned out her house because I thought it was cool (she was a teacher, and I’m sure that’s where she got it – and since I’m a teacher now, I decided to keep it).

I also use this shelf for storing photo albums, books, and board games.

This hutch was originally my great-aunt’s. It was handed down to my uncle, and then eventually to me. When I got it, it was stained oak, and it just didn’t look right with all the black we had in the room (plus my husband thought it was ugly). My mom and I refinished it with black chalk paint and updated the drawer pulls and knobs with modern ones from Hobby Lobby. The director’s chair is one I bought when I was in college. It came from Pier One. My mom had the sign with our names on it made for me as a Christmas gift last year. 

Guest Bedroom

Our guest bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in our house. When we moved in, this room was painted purple and had been used as a kid’s playroom. We repainted the walls a cool grey that really helped make the room feel bigger. The iron bed is a full sized bed that my grandfather found in a barn he was cleaning out for someone when my mom was little. It was her bed and was then handed down to me when I was a teenager. We have spray painted it countless times to fit whatever style my bedroom was at the time. I’d really like to paint it red to match the desk, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. The white quilt set came from Belk and the accent pillows were all given to us as gifts. 

This desk is one of my favorite pieces of furniture that we own. It was in my grandmother’s gift shop and was also damaged by fire and smoke when the shop burned, but it was in good enough shape that a good cleaning and some chalk paint covered the damage. There wasn’t a chair to match the desk, but I found this adorable chair at the Antique Mall in Vernon, AL (my hometown) for $20 and I couldn’t resist it. I used the colors in the cushion of the chair to pick some whimsical knobs for the desk drawers and I love how it turned out. The window frame above the desk is one that I found in my grandfather’s shed. The yellow magnetic message board is from Hobby Lobby, and the other three pieces of artwork all came from crafts fairs. My grandfather made the birdhouse lamp for me. The tray came from Walmart and I keep it filled with essential toiletries for our guests (travel sized shampoo, body wash, and lotion).

This chest of drawers was handed down to me as part of a bedroom set from my great aunt. I painted it white and changed the knobs. I use this to store extra linens and have a few empty drawers for guests. The glass candy dishes on top of this chest belonged to my Mamaw Hall and my Aunt Earline. I always loved them when I was little, and no one else really wanted them, so I got both of them when we cleaned out their houses after they passed away. The mirror is from Walmart, and I found the blue glass jars in a box of junk in my grandfather’s garage. 

As you can tell, most of the items in our house have been handed down to us or found. With the exception of our couch and coffee table, we haven’t really bought anything to set up our house. I love that everything has a history and that it’s a combination of things from my family and Jeff’s. 

Happy decorating! 

Friday Introductions

I haven’t done a Friday Introductions post in a while, so I thought today would be a good day for one! 

I’m Christina, a small town girl from Alabama. I married the greatest guy in the world in March of 2016 and we are expecting our first child any day now. We live in Tuscaloosa with our two cats, George and Pickles. I’m a high school English teacher, so during the summers I get to pretend that I’m a housewife and I love it. I absolutely love cooking (and eating), decorating our home, and attempting to be crafty. 

As part of my introduction this week, I thought I’d use this questionnaire that I have seen going around Facebook lately. 

Here are 40 random things about me:

  1. Do you like blue cheese? NO. Not at all! 
  2. Coke or Pepsi? Coke for sure, but Dr. Pepper is my favorite. 
  3. Do you own a gun? Yes.
  4. What flavor Kool-aid? My favorite is VBS Kool-aid. When I was little, the older ladies at my church always made this special concoction for Vacation Bible School every year. They would mix cherry, grape, and orange Kool-aid mix together, put in way too much sugar, and serve it really, really cold in those little paper Dixie cups. That was the best stuff ever when you came in all sweaty from playing games outside. We only got it that one time of year, and it was probably my favorite thing about VBS every year. 
  5.  What do you think of hot dogs? I love them, BUT they have to be good ones (not the little red ones) and they have to be cooked really well. My husband loves Nathan’s hot dogs, which are pretty good. My favorite are the big Ballpark bun sized ones. I also love the ones they have at Sonic. 
  6. Favorite TV show? I watch reruns of Friends on Netflix almost every single day, and it will forever be my favorite show. I also currently love The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, House of Cards, The Office, Fargo, Fixer Upper, and tons of Food Network cooking shows.
  7. Favorite movie? I can’t narrow this down to just one! The Godfather, Bull Durham, Ever After, Holes, Tombstone… the list could go on and on.
  8. What do you drink in the morning? NOT coffee. I love the way it smells, but I have never liked the taste. I usually fix a big tumbler of ice water in the morning and sip on it all day. If I have a Coke or Dr. Pepper in the fridge, I’ll drink that first, but I’m trying to quit my Coke habit.
  9. Can you do a push-up?  Just one? Yes. Will my form be perfect? No. Can I do a lot more than one? Nope.
  10. Favorite jewelry? My engagement and wedding rings. They are the only pieces of jewelry that I wear every day. 
  11. Favorite hobby? This changes according to the seasons. Sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes Bible journaling, sometimes reading. I like to try different things. 
  12. Do you have ADD? No. I’m just busy and have a lot on my mind. 
  13. Do you wear glasses? Yes.
  14. Favorite cartoon character? Pluto.
  15. Three things you did yesterday? Took a nap, watched Friends reruns, took cute pictures of my cats. 
  16. Three drinks you drink regularly? Water, sweet tea, orange juice.
  17. Current worry? Not gonna lie… I’m getting extremely anxious about giving birth soon!!! I have read and heard so may horror stories and I’m just praying that I have a normal, healthy birth.
  18. Current hates? Swollen feet (did I mention that I’m 9 months pregnant?) and this 100 degree heat. 
  19. Favorite place to go? Anywhere with Jeff – we love going to new places.
  20. How did you bring in the new year? Jeff was on call, so we spent the night at home.
  21. Where would you like to go? Alaska.
  22. What famous person would you want to hang out with for a day? Samantha Ponder.
  23. Favorite color? Turquoise blue.
  24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I don’t think I have ever slept on satin sheets, so I don’t know.
  25. Can you whistle? Yes, but my Mamaw Freeman always said that ladies should never whistle, so I almost never do it. 
  26. Where are you now? At home.
  27. Would you be a pirate? I’m fascinated by pirate movies, but I don’t think I have the right demeanor to actually be one. I’m too much of a goody-two-shoes.
  28. Favorite food? Seriously? This pregnant woman could write a book of favorite foods right now! I guess my absolute favorite is my mom’s steak and gravy with mashed potatoes.
  29. What’s in your pockets? I don’t have pockets – I’m wearing running shorts. 
  30. Last thing that made you laugh? Pickles chasing a bug in the living room.
  31. Favorite animal? I love owls! They are so cute!!!
  32. What’s your most recent injury? I’m sure it was probably a cat scratch.
  33. How many TVs are in your house? Three.
  34. Worst pain ever? Well, so far it would be breaking my foot when I was in high school, but I have a feeling childbirth is going to be worse than that…
  35. Do you like to dance? Absolutely.
  36. Are your parents still alive? Yes.
  37. Do you enjoy camping? I like it, but not for an extended period of time. I love nature, but I also love my modern convinces like air conditioning and a shower.
  38. How many places have you lived? Five different towns. Too many houses/apartments to count.
  39. What kind of car do you drive? A Chevy Cruze.
  40. What is the last station you listened to on the radio? The last thing I listened to was the Jason Isbell station on my Pandora app. 

I’d love to get to meet you! Tell me a few things about yourself in the comments! 

Thursday Thoughts – Bible Journaling and Devotions for Moms

Last week, I saw an Instagram post about this book: Long Days of Small Things by Catherine McNiel. I know that I don’t have little kids yet, but I decided to go ahead and order it from Amazon and start reading it as I’m waiting for my little one to get here. I’ve been going through it slowly, just reading one chapter at a time and giving myself time for the scriptures and the lessons to really sink in, and it has been so good so far. 

One thing that I really want to do is get back into Bible Journaling. I really enjoy being creative and spending that time in the Word, so I have been journaling my way through this book. 

Here are my pages based on the first two chapters. The first page highlights scripture from Luke 1 where Mary is told that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus and she accepts God’s will and surrenders her life to him. The second page focuses on Colossians 3:23, which says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men,” and deals with us inviting God to be a part of our everyday activities like cleaning and cooking and laundry. I love that the author of this book focuses so much on God meeting us right where we are in our daily lives, because that’s exactly what He does if we allow ourselves to slow down enough to notice. I am only two chapters in so far, but I would highly recommend this book to any mom or mom-to-be! 

Do you journal in your Bible? If so, do you do really artsy journaling or do you stick to more traditional highlighting and notes? My Bible is kind of a mix of both. Some days I put a lot of color and artistic elements on a page and on other days, I do a lot of writing. One thing I had to decide early on when I got my journaling Bible and started journaling was that I would not compare my Bible pages with the ones I see on Instagram. I follow a lot of ladies from the Bible journaling community, and they make beautiful pages. I love looking at their work as inspiration, but I try really hard not to compare my pages with theirs. This Bible is for me to connect to God and to be able to look back and see how God was working in my life at different moments, so I really have to let go of my perfectionist gene when I’m working on a page in my Bible and just let myself enjoy it. 

Here are some other pages I’ve done in my Bible:

Baby Jack’s Finished Nursery

The nursery is finally completed! With just a few more weeks before Jack’s due date, it was really getting to me that there were still unfinished projects, so my mom came over today and helped me install the car seat in my car and then we worked on hanging some shelves and organizing the nursery. Here’s the finished room. Now all we need is for Baby Jack to decide when he’s going to make his arrival!

The wall mural that Jeff and I painted is one of my favorite things about this room. We both love nature and we wanted that to be the theme for Jack’s nursery, so I drew these mountains on the wall and Jeff painted them for me. We decided to go with a dark blue for the sky so we could add the glow-in-the-dark stars, and I am so glad we did. They look so cool at night and I know the baby will love looking up at them. A friend made the vinyl letters for us. 

I also love our rocking chair. It is an antique that came from my great-grandmother Freeman’s house. My mom bought the new cushion to match the colors of the nursery and I love how it turned out. On the wall behind the rocking chair, I’ve got a framed cross stitch picture that Mamaw Gibson made for my nursery when I was a baby and some of our maternity pictures.

The cube organizer against this wall came from Target. I am planning to get some navy blue bins to hide toys and clutter to go in the bottom four cubbies at some point, but this works for now. 

One thing I really wanted where the floating shelves for books. I had big plans to DIY them myself, but that didn’t happen. My mom and Papaw Hoot made these for me and Jeff painted them. We screwed them directly into the studs to make sure they are secure. I love how these allow me to display Jack’s books. 

The metal USA wall hanging came from Michael’s, and the Little Explorer Wood Sign is from Hobby Lobby.

For Jack’s changing table, we used an old dresser than was handed down to us from my uncle. We just cleaned it up a little and added new knobs from Hobby Lobby. I bought the changing pad and cover at Walmart. The woodland animal art prints hanging above the dresser are from Amazon. Jeff’s mom got those for us. The little fox trash can was a lucky find in the bathroom aisle at Walmart. 

I used an old nightstand that was handed down to me from my great aunt as a side table for my rocking chair. It was already a pretty close match to the chair and the crib, so I left it in its original finish and just changed the knobs to match the ones on the dresser. The owl nightlight soother is from Target and the woodland animal lamp is from Babies R Us.

This teddy bear is one of the first things I purchased for the nursery. He was just too cute for me to pass up, and he goes perfectly with our mountain and woodland animal theme. The letter board was a lucky find at Target (it was only $12!).

I originally intended to just pick one of our maternity photos to frame and hang in the nursery, but they were all so good that I couldn’t just pick one. I found these frames on sale for half price at Hobby Lobby and ordered the prints from Shutterfly. 

5 Easy Steps to a Tidy House

Nothing starts my day off on the wrong foot like waking up to a messy house, especially these days with the baby coming any day now and me knowing that people are going to be coming to my house to see him a lot.

My husband and I are not neat freaks by any means. In fact, both of us have the tendency to be a little messy. However, we both feel better when the house looks clean and tidy.

Notice I said “looks.” I’m not the best housekeeper, but we have figured out a pretty simple system for keeping the place looking decent between those deep cleaning days. 

Here are 5 things that we do every night to keep the house tidy: 

  1. Clean the kitchen sink and wipe down the counters – Leaving dirty dishes in the sink is the number one way to assure that your house looks messy. It also causes your kitchen to stink and causes flies. Every night after we eat dinner, we load the dishwasher and make sure to completely clean out the sink and wipe down the counters. A nice, shiny sink can make the whole place look good, especially in our house because our kitchen and living room are open to each other. 
  2. Straighten the couch cushions and pillows/throws – We have a huge sectional couch in our living room, and we lounge on it hard in the evenings. It takes just a few minutes at the end of the day to straighten the cushions, fold any quilts or throws we’ve used, and fluff our throw pillows. This is one of those easy chores that takes so little time, but makes such a big difference.
  3. Pick up dirty clothes, shoes, toys, etc. and return them to their proper place – We don’t have kids (yet), so we aren’t picking up toys, but we do always take a few minutes to scan each room and pick up shoes we might have kicked off under the coffee table and cups that were left on nightstands or other random things that are out of place. Sometimes, I’ll carry a small laundry basket to collect the items and just put them away as I walk through each room. This sounds like a lot, but it really only takes a few minutes and it keeps clutter from piling up around the house. 
  4. Run the dishwasher – Like I already mentioned, we load the dishwasher after dinner every night. Instead of running it immediately, I always wait until right before bed to turn it on. That way, if we use another cup or plate for any reason, it’s not hanging out in the sink overnight. One of the last things I do before leaving the kitchen/living room area is turn on the dishwasher. Then, the next morning (or the next afternoon before I start cooking dinner), I empty the dishwasher so I can clean as I’m cooking and fill it up as I am using dishes. 
  5. Spray down the shower and wipe down the bathroom sink and counter – While I’m brushing my teeth, I always spray down my shower with Scrubbing Bubbles Daily Shower Cleaner and pull the shower curtain closed (if I didn’t do this earlier in the day – I usually try to do this right after getting out of the shower). I also use a rag to wipe down the bathroom sink and counter. Just like a kitchen sink full of dishes makes the whole kitchen look dirty, a bathroom sink full of toothpaste, spilled makeup, or hair can make your bathroom look like a complete mess. Taking a few seconds each night to rinse out the sink and wipe down the counter also means that I don’t have to scrub as hard when I do actually deep clean because I’ve gotten rid of stains and hard to clean, stuck on messes before they got out of control. About once a week, I’ll add another few minutes to this routine to clean the toilet as well. 

These five little chores take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete each night, but they make a huge difference in how my house looks. It really helps me feel less stressed if someone drops by unexpectedly (which I’m sure will happen a LOT more often once our little man arrives), and it’s just good for my peace of mind to not wake up to a long list of chores that need to be done.

Freezer Cooking, Part Two

A lot of you really liked my post about freezer cooking that I wrote a few weeks ago. If you missed it, you can find it here.

In this post, I’m going to share a couple more recipes that my mom and I made when we did our last freezer cooking day.

All of these recipes will keep in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 

Mamaw Hopper’s Squash Dressing

This recipe is very similar to the chicken dressing recipe that I shared a few weeks ago. It has a cornbread base, but instead of chicken, it uses squash. My grandmother used to make this a lot, especially in the summer when she would have fresh squash from the garden.

  • 2 cups yellow squash (boiled, drained, and mashed)
  • 2 cups cornbread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • Salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste
  • 3/4 stick butter, melted

Moisten bread crumbs with a little water. Add remaining ingredients. If too thick, add more water until mixture pours easily into greased or sprayed casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

If you are going to freeze this dish, you don’t need to cook it before freezing. Just pour into your pan and cover tightly before freezing. When you’re ready to cook it, let it thaw completely and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Christina’s Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of my husband’s absolute favorite meals, and before I met him, I had never made one. I used trial and error a few times before settling on this easy recipe. 

My mom is a baker and makes breads and doughs look easy, but I totally cheat and buy my pie crust at the grocery store. You can definitely make your own crust if you have a recipe you love.

  • 4 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder, parsley, and minced garlic to taste
  • 2 prepared pie crusts

In a medium pot, stir together shredded chicken and cream of chicken soup. Add a few tablespoons of water (or the broth left over from boiling the chicken) to thin the mixture. Mix together well and heat on medium heat. Add frozen vegetables and simmer on medium/low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in spices to taste and mix well.

Spread one pie crust into the bottom of a pie plate. Pierce the crust with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up. Pour the chicken mixture into the pie crust and top with the second crust. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together on the edges to seal and remove any extra crust. Cut ventilation slits in the top of the crust (I usually cut about 5 one inch slits in a star pattern in the center of the pie). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Cover the edges with foil for the last 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. 

If you are freezing your pie, you do not need to cook it before freezing. Make sure to cover it well and place in the freezer. To cook it after freezing, allow it to thaw completely and bake following the directions above. 

Cheesy Squash Casserole

This is a new recipe that we tried for the first time for this freezer cooking session at the request of my husband. One of his favorite places to go out to eat is Moe’s BBQ, and they sometimes have squash casserole as one of their side dishes. He really likes it and wanted us to see if we could make something similar. My mom found this recipe on All Recipes and it is husband approved. It makes a great side dish for pretty much any meal. Click the link for the recipe. As with the rest of these, we did not precook this before freezing. To cook from the freezer, make sure you allow the casserole time to thaw and bake following the directions in the recipe.