Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lazy Cake Cookies

I have a sweet for you today. The ingredients are probably in your pantry now, except for the mini-chocolate chips. But the regular size chips will work, too.

Lazy Cake Cookies

1 box of classic yellow cake mix (or white)
5 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 eggs beaten
2 cups of mini-chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix, melted butter, and beaten eggs.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture in a 13x9 baking dish. The batter is a little tricky to spread - I use a large plastic spoon and you may have to use your hands. Tricky and messy!

Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool about 30 minutes before cutting. They've cut perfectly every time I've made them.  And even better, they've been moist and delicious every time I've made them :-)

When I was double checking my directions for the recipe, I came across one that used a strawberry cake mix instead of yellow. Let me just say, that sounded divine. Might be trying that version next time!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Inspiration House #3

This is the view from the front porch at my friend Amber's house. She lives a little outside of town and has a beautiful home place, just big enough for plenty of privacy and plenty of horses.

Spring has sprung...

She and I taught down the hall from each other for about twelve years. Not too long ago, she changed schools to shorten her drive and to be a little closer to her neck of the woods. Amber is a believer in doing what makes you happy and following your dreams. And boy, does she have the gift of encouragement. Her students adore her. I sent her a quick text to tell her I stepped way out of my comfort zone and started my blog. Of course she was thrilled for me. In our exchange, I learned Oren Layne Designs (local decorators) had recently updated some rooms in her house. And just like that, she and her husband Tyler became Inspiration House #3.

New Living Room
Living Room Before
Cindy Jensen and Rhoda Vaughn are the owners of Oren Layne Designs. They've been decorating for awhile, but they've only been doing it together for about two years. They've done a bit of everything. They started redoing cabinets and moved to painting furniture. Lately they've been doing less cabinet work and more updating and decorating for clients.

This is one of the two new chairs in the living room - the pillow is my favorite. The room is neutral and fresh. When it's time to change up the space, simply adding some color with accessories is all it will take.

We are in Alabama...
The sofa table, mantle, and unique picture frames in the next three pictures were made by a teenager learning to woodwork to raise money for a mission trip. They are beautifully created - nothing amateur about them.

I want these frames!

The round coffee table is a nice break from the ordinary rectangle.

The brick and the built-ins were painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French linen.

The stair spindles were also painted. I'm sure by now you can tell that horses are special to Amber. I can't see one anywhere without thinking of her...

Refinished stair spindles
The other room updating and changing is Amber and Tyler's guest room. The furniture in the room belonged to Amber's grandmother - made somewhere around 1950. Cindy and Rhoda gave the furniture a make-over using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in country gray.

Guest room

Guest room bed

Thanks to my friends Amber and Tyler for having me. I hope you gathered a little inspiration for your own home place from this special place. You can see more of Oren Layne's work on Facebook. Follow them on Instagram @orenlaynedesigns. Their contact number is 205-799-6911. It was really nice to spend time with them, and hopefully, we'll have the chance to collaborate again!

Have you used Chalk Paint to change anything at your house? Click on comments below and tell us how your project turned out. Or send us a picture to Don't forget you can follow us on Instagram @woodbanklane.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Sunday thought... The 24-Hour Rule

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... James 1:19

Have you ever actually tried to listen first, without speaking, without becoming angry when you're in one of those situations? There really isn't anything harder in the world to do, I don't think. And if it's a situation where you feel someone you love has been wronged, oh my! And if it's your child who you think has been wronged, double oh my! In this technology age, my first instinct is to shoot off an email or text the story as fast as possible. That's when I have to take a deep breath and employ my 24-hour rule. Lots of opinions and emotions change in a 24-hour period. Those 24 hours have saved me a ton of heartache and embarrassment. I've never wished I could go back to that moment of conflict and just let somebody have it after waiting for those 24 hours. But, the opposite has happened many-a-time. I didn't breathe or listen or slow my anger...that I always regret.

Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. - Steven Covey

Have a great week! Inspiration House #3 coming Tuesday...


Friday, April 24, 2015

5 things I've realized lately...

1. I have the best friends, family, and support system around.

I knew I had great people in my life. I just didn't realize how great. I'm so grateful for the support and encouragement they have given me, especially my tech support husband. I was so nervous about starting the blog. It was probably about two or three years ago that my friend Staci decided to redo her daughter's room. She found a picture on Emily A. Clark's blog that she wanted me to go look at. I did. From then on, I wanted to start my own blog. Finally - years later - the doors opened, and I did it. I'm still a little nervous when I hit the publish button, but I think it was the right move, mostly thanks to the great people around me.

2. I love taking pictures!

I can't believe it took me five years of having a nice camera to actually learn how to use it. I guess it just seemed overwhelming, so I never bothered with the how-to part of it. I should have bothered. Oh well, I'm shooting the future now - trying not to think about the good, quality pictures I might have taken. I'm a little afraid to leave the house without my camera. What if I miss a picture that would be a good post for you guys?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Recipe Recap...

Time for a Recipe Recap. I'm putting all the recipes I've shared lately in one spot, in case you missed one or if you'd like to revisit one. I've heard from more than a few of you that artichoke chicken was a huge success on your table. I even had a colleague at work stop me in the hallway and say, "Hey, are you the one who knows about that artichoke chicken?" We love it at my house, too! Here they are...

1. Artichoke Chicken
2. Cream Cheese Danish
3. Easy Chicken Salad
4. Green Apple Dip
5. Pull Apart Bundt Bread
6. Taco Ring

Have you tried one of these yet? Click on comments below and let me know!
It's already Friday for me. We are out of school tomorrow for a weather day! Roll Tide!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Growing up a room...

A few posts back I mentioned that I am finally finding a little time to "grow up" my youngest son's bedroom. He has outgrown everything this year, including his bed! I thought I would give you a quick look at a few things I'm planning on using in the room.

Fabrics and colors I like

A lamp I found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $6. No luck yet finding the right shade.
Bargain lamp!

I lost my grandmother, we called her Momma Bea, in October and while cleaning out her house we found this old quilt. I love it and the colors and it looks masculine to me. It's really the inspiration for what I'm planning to do in his room.

This mirror has been in his room for years. I really like the wide frame and will be keeping it in the space. I thought about spray painting it to change it up some. We'll see...

This is the picture I mentioned in an earlier post. I ordered it from a new company in Texas called Smallwoods. I'm not sure this one is still available, but they have lots of wooden signs to choose from.
Smallwoods picture

Hopefully, the room will be finished, and I can share it before he goes to college :-) Hard to believe this will be the last time I change up a room for one of my children who has out grown a space. Later on I'll show you my daughter's last room at home. A friend and I painted stripes on one of the walls. My daughter and I love the accent wall, but it was work!

Are you in the middle of any projects at your house?


Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Sunday thought... Our Words

When I was in college 100 years ago, I came across the book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Do you remember this one? It was written by Robert Fulghum.

It’s a book of mini-chapters designed to give us a lesson or two for the road of life. I want to share the chapter that I most remember…

"In the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific some villagers practice a unique form of logging. If a tree is too large to be felled with an ax, the natives cut it down by yelling at it. (Can't lay my hands on the article, but I swear I read it.) Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree just at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs. They continue this for thirty days. The tree dies and falls over. The theory is that the hollering kills the spirit of the tree. According to the villagers, it always works.

Ah, those poor naive innocents. Such quaintly charming habits of the jungle. Screaming at trees, indeed. How primitive. Too bad they don't have the advantages of modern technology and the scientific mind.

Me? I yell at my wife. And yell at the telephone and the lawn mower. And yell at the TV and the newspaper and my children. I've even been known to shake my fist and yell at the sky at times. Man next door yells at his car a lot. And this summer I heard him yell at a stepladder for most of an afternoon. We modern, urban, educated folks yell at traffic and umpires and bills and banks and machines - especially machines. Machines and relatives get most of the yelling.

Don't know what good it does. Machines and things just sit there. Even kicking doesn't always help. As for people, well the Solomon Islanders may have a point. Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will break our hearts..."

Proverbs 12:18
...the tongue of the wise brings healing.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Brass is back...

I'd never even heard of Bar Keeper's Friend...

...until I found an $8 tarnished brass tray that I couldn't leave behind. It was gorgeous, and I knew someone out there in the bloggersphere would have the information I needed to help me clean it up.

One of the blogs I like is Dimples and Tangles. So I emailed Jennifer@Dimples and Tangles and asked her what to do with my tarnished tray. This cleaner was her suggestion. I found it at Lowe's. In texture, Bar Keeper's Friend is a little like Comet. It was really easy to use. I just followed the directions on the can, and I couldn't believe what happened. It worked!

I'm using a tray in almost every room of my house (a post for another day), and this one landed on my coffee table.

Azaleas from my yard 
If you have some brass that needs a face lift, try this cleaner. I would just do a small area first to test it out. But I am pleased with my results.

How do you feel about brass? Click on comments below and let me know.
Have a great weekend!!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pull Apart Bundt Bread

Today's recipe is a tasty, full-of-flavor bread. This might be my favorite bread to serve because like the taco ring, it's so pretty once it's ready to eat. It's good with any meal. It looks like work, but - as with most of the recipes I share - it's easy, fast, and delicious!

1 - 8 count can of Grands biscuits
1/2 stick of butter 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the 1/2 stick of butter in a bundt pan. Place the pan in the preheating oven allowing the butter to melt. This only takes a few minutes. Set the butter aside once it's melted. While the butter melts, cut each biscuit into four pieces. I use a pizza cutter. Works like a charm and it's fast. 

Mix the garlic, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning in a bowl.

 Add in the biscuit pieces and toss.

Arrange the biscuit mixture in the bundt pan on top of the melted butter.

Put any leftover seasoning on top of the biscuits.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. The bread will be golden brown.

Empty the bundt pan onto a plate, pull apart, and enjoy!

Almost the weekend...


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Door duty...

You know how using old things in new ways is the new thing? Well, today I want to show you how one of my dearest friends repurposed 100 year old doors from her great-grandmother's house in Causeyville, Mississippi.  My friend Kristi's living room opens into a space that was originally an outdoor covered deck. She and her husband decided to enclose the area and made it into a playroom for her two girls Mallory and Mayson. But, you know how the story goes-one grew up and got married and the other one turned into a teenager. So the space is now a cozy sitting area.
Sitting room
The vintage doors separate the living and sitting rooms. Like her mom, Inspiration House #1, Kristi knows how to make a room a great space. She told me the aged rolling doors are her favorite thing about her house and if she ever leaves, they'll be going with her.

She has mixed other old things with new things in other parts of her house, and I'll show you some of those in a later post.

Here are a few other examples of how rolling doors can be used.

For closing off a room...
Image Source:
For hiding a pantry...
For hiding the laundry room...
Image Source: House Beautiful
For saying goodnight...
Image Source:
Thanks so much to my friend Kristi for opening her doors to Woodbank Lane. Have you used any old, special items in new ways in your home? Click on comments below and share.
Come follow us on Instagram @woodbanklane.

Have a great week!