Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}


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Son of a Nutcracker!

Since we’re only about 1 day from Christmas, I figured it was high time that I shared about our Christmas decorations! The past few years we’ve had a tree, some garland, and wreath on the door. I’d say my efforts were a mediocre 3 on the scale of Christmas cheer. But this year, gosh. This year is a solid 8.  We upped our game and brought the Christmas cheer in full force this year!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Thanks to Josh’s awesome handiwork, we added this amazing backlit star this year. We were inspired by this one on Beyond The Picket Fence and couldn’t wait to create our own. Because we had a big open space to work with, we made ours a bit larger and added some sweet backlighting. The wood is from a reclaimed picket fence that Josh found and cleaned up. After Christmas, we’re thinking of repurposing the boards into another art project. Promise I’ll share those details when it’s time!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

The star is a simple square that Josh fastened onto 2″ x 2″ pieces behind. It’s backlit with a strand of leftover Christmas lights. The only thing we purchased for this project was a $3 spool of ribbon! A pretty great project if you ask me! :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. EdwardsI’ve been seeing a ton of fun chalkboard ideas all over, but since my chalk hand writing leaves a lot to be desired, I cheated a bit and used this transfer trick to write the Christmassy message below. If you doubt your writing skills, I highly recommend this transfer technique! The only thing I did differently was use a chalk pen to fill in my lines instead of regular chalk. My finished product may not look as rustic as it could, but I was lacking the patience and steady hand necessary to trace over the whole thing in smear-able chalk. I may re-do this again with real chalk someday, but I’m perfectly happy with the way this version turned out!

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Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Last year I made this fun Christmas card wreath out of a pack of Dollar Tree clothes pins, a little green spray paint, some red beads, some bailing wire, and red ribbon. One of the easiest projects ever! I’m happy to say that since this photo was taken we’ve filled up the entire wreath with fun cards from family and friends!

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Among other fine qualities, our house has a really odd living room with multiple doors on each wall. The only place that our TV fits is right in front of a coat closet that we don’t really use. I got tired of people asking why our TV was in front of a door, so earlier this year I made a curtain to hang in front of the door. This was also the point in which I got fed up with our dark redwood walls and decided to cover 2 walls in burlap. Thankfully both projects turned out great and we no longer receive weird comments or looks when someone comes into our house!

Thanks to some scissor wielding friends who were over one night, we ended up with a stack of beautiful paper snowflakes that were just begging to be displayed. It only made sense to hang them in front of the curtain that’s in front of the coat closet door. Duh, right? Thankfully, that experiment turned out great too!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

If  you’re on Pinterest, it’s very likely that you’ve seen tutorials on how to replicate mercury glass with mirrored spray paint and a spray bottle of vinegar/water. Well, I took a stab at it with some vases and candle holders and kind of failed. When they say that you MUST use the Krylon mirrored spray paint for it to turn out, they’re not kidding. I used some Rustoleum silver spray paint and my pieces turned out lacking some pizzaz (I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever used the word pizzaz…) I honestly really like how these vases and candle holders turned out, but they’re nothing like real or faux mercury glass. I think it has to do with the air temperature I was spray painting in and that I used the wrong type of spray paint. Oh well, ya win some, ya fail some.

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

I really like the arrangement and that I get to display it on some antique doilies from my Mom. The view below is my absolute favorite this year! It’s what I see every night sitting on the couch :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Here are a few photos of the living room as a whole (this room is hard to photograph!)…

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards
Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Although we spend the majority of our time in the living room, a little bit of Christmas cheer spilled over into the dining room too. On the china hutch I simply hung some paper garland that I made last year…

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All it is is circle punches of scrap booking paper and Trader Joe’s bags sewed together…seriously, so simple.

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

The other thing I added is a Merry Christmas banner that we got at Target a few years back hanging on an old window from my parent’s house. Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards IMG_3266

My favorite Christmas tradition so far has been buying a Christmas ornament from our travels throughout the year. Hopefully someday our tree will be filled with ornaments from around the country and world! These three are from our trips in 2012:

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

These ornaments and many others were placed on our tree with love and care while we donned our antler headbands and turned on a Christmas movie. Ahh, I love tradition!

So, did you up your decorating game in 2012? What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Can you believe that Christmas is TOMORROW?!

Singing loud for all to hear,
Mrs. Edwards

P.S. Here’s our 2012 Christmas Card! Designed by the one and only, Josh Edwards :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards


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Crock-pot Chicken Chili & Homemade Corn Bread

Today was one of the first “real” fall days around these parts. It rained overnight throughout the morning and was a wonderfully cloudy and brisk day. It was the perfect day to bundle up and enjoy a day at home. Thankfully, I got to do just that! Today’s weather called for a classic fall dinner- chili and corn bread. My goal with this meal was to not have to go to the grocery store, but to be able to use things that we already had. We typically make chili with ground beef, but Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard only offered chicken today. I went out on a limb and basically made up the chili recipe as I went. I’ve never had a chicken chili, but figured that it would be worth a try. I was a bit nervous at first, but then realized that since I knew we liked all of the ingredients, there was a pretty good chance that the end product would turn out delicious. The cornbread recipe (with a few modifications) comes from my faithful friend, my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. This entire meal was a cinch to put together and the end products were so hearty and delicious!

Crock-pot Chicken Chili
(makes 4-6 servings)

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of great northern beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz.) of tomato paste
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano to taste (1 used about 1 tablespoon of each).
  • If you like green chilis, bell peppers, onions, etc. you can add them too!
  1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock-pot. Add beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. About an hour before serving pull chicken breasts out and shred. Add back into the crock-pot and cook for another hour or so.
  3. ENJOY!

Homemade Corn Bread

  • 1 c. of flour
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or if you’re out of eggs like I was, you can substitute in 4 Tbsp. water + 2 Tbsp. oil + 4 tsp. baking powder)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. Add the 1 Tbsp. butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 1 1/2-inch found baking pan. Place in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove skillet from oven; swirl butter in skillet to coat bottom and sides of pan.
  3. In a small bowl combine eggs (or egg substitute), milk, and oil. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into hot skillet or pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Cut into slices or wedges and serve with your chili
  5. ENJOY!


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Fall Rosette Wreath


On Monday of this week our outdoor thermometer hit 100 degrees. On Tuesday, I placed this wreath on our front door. And on Wednesday, our temperatures dipped back down into the low 70s. I’m absoulely sure that by placing this Fall Rosette Wreath on our front door I was solely responsible for this lovely fall weather that we’ve been experiencing the past few days. Yep, no problem. You’re welcome!

This wreath was so, so, easy to make. And cost less than $10.00! Want to try making one yourself?

Supplies Needed:

  • Grapevine wreath
  • Scissors
  • Felt cut into 3″ x 3″ squares (I used 8 1/4 of the 9″ x 12″ sized sheets to make 100 squares total. I found this color at JoAnn’s)
  • Fabric glue
  • Hot glue gun

First, begin by trimming the edges off of your squares to make a round piece. By no means does your circle need to be perfect, it just needs too be round-ish.

Next, cut your circle into a spiral, leaving a small tab in the center. This tab will become the bottom of your rosette.

Begin rolling your felt from the outside edge of circle inwards towards the center.

Once you have your piece rolled up, place a dab of glue on the bottom and fold the tab over.

Ta-dahh…you have a rosette!

Now just repeat this process until you have about 100 of these (depending on the size of your wreath). This is a great project to park yourself in front of the TV to work on. It’s pretty mindless and actually doesn’t take too long once you get a rhythm going.

Once you have all of your rosettes made, begin hot-gluing them to your wreath. There really isn’t any scientific way to do this. Just place a dollop of hot glue on the bottom of your rosette, stick it on, and hold it in place for a few seconds. I would, however, recommend placing newspaper underneath your wreath to prevent glue from dripping onto your work surface.

Continue placing the rosettes on your wreath until you have completely filled the front side. You can place them as tight or as spread apart as you prefer. I placed mine pretty close together and really like it!

Hang your wreath on your front door and enjoy! This is a great way to way to welcome fall to your home and neighborhood. Maybe your weather hasn’t quite caught on that it’s already October. I hope that once you place this on your front door you begin to experience cooler temperatures and the loveliness of fall :)

Lover of all things fall,
Mrs. Edwards

P.S. This project was inspired by this one  by Stelabird :)


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Vacationing on a Shoestring Budget

What is a young couple to do when they’re on a shoestring budget but are dying to get away for a long weekend? They find the most breathtaking coastal area in their state and go camping.

A few weeks ago we packed up and headed north up the coast to Bodega Bay for a 3 night camping trip. Honestly, we live in one of the most amazing areas in the state. There is never a lack of places to go see and explore, never too few options for a weekend getaway. Last year we headed a couple of hours south down the coast to Big Sur for a weekend camping trip

We headed to Bodega Dunes Campground which is a part of the Sonoma Coast State Park. When you arrive, they tell you to drive around and find a site that you’d like to claim and head back to the gate to check in. Well, after a few loops around the campground, we thought we found “the one.” It was sunny and open and close  (but not too close) to a restroom. We let the nice lady at the gate know that we wanted to claim it and started to set up. Well, we quickly realized that it was too open and too windy. Strike one.

On to site number two. We found this cute little area that was secluded, yet still sunny. It was set back from the road and there was a perfect nook for our tent. It reminded me a little bit of the Secret Garden. Well…this site definitely had its secrets. And unfortunately those secrets were stinky like a skunky.

After the sun went down, we had not one, not two, but THREE skunks that came out of the bushes. Three skunks that had their own agenda and were not the least bit afraid of us. One of us was exceptionally afraid of the skunks. One hint- he has a beard. Josh may or may not have hid behind me as as I was warding off the the stinky beasts. I’ll let it slide this time…

There was no way that we were going to be able to sit and relax around a fire with our new found friends, so we hid in our tent and played cards. Looking back, it’s hilarious. In the moment, not so much. Strike two.

The next morning we packed up camp once again and began looking for another campsite. After looking for a while, we happened upon a gem. It was a campsite that overlooked the bay and had the perfect combination of sun and shade. No skunks in sight. It was glorious!

This was the view from behind our tent. Pretty great, right?

While we were planning the trip, I scoured Pinterest for as many food ideas as possible (see my camping board right here). We tried a few ideas, but relied on some old favorites like Saturday Morning Breakfast.

My Husband is a bit obsessed with campfires. He brought 1/4 truck full of wood and was determined to use it all before we went home. This meant that we had a HUGE fire each morning and night!

We did our fair share of exploring up and down the coast during our 4 days there. The Sonoma coast is  absolutely beautiful. There are areas of sandy shoreline and sections of rocky sheer cliffs. We quickly realized that the ocean was angry and definitely not worth swimming in.

One afternoon, we drove about 30 minutes north to the town of Jenner. It’s a really cute little area with one hotel, one gas station and one little store. The town is built right where the Russian River comes into the ocean. There is a little peninsula that separates the river from the ocean where people kayak and swim. It is also where 50+ seals hang out, play, and sunbathe.

We’ve decided that all of our camping trips need to be at least 3 nights. If anything, it takes that long to find a campsite that isn’t occupied by skunks…

Some tips on how to plan and enjoy a camping vacation on a budget:

  • Choose a location that is close to home, but is far enough to feel like you’re getting away. We traveled about 3 hours from home, which was close enough to save on gas, but far enough to have a change of scenery.
  • Plan simple, but tasty meals. Use websites such as Pinterest and All Recipes to find new ideas.
  • Save in advance! I found it helpful to stash cash away in an envelope or jar for a few paychecks.
  • Use websites/apps like Yelp to find local favorites and affordable restaurants.
  • Plan simple & free activities to enjoy throughout your stay. If you camp within the State Park system your campsite fees will get you into any other local park. If you don’t own bikes, try to borrow some from friends! Take a picnic to the beach, go tide pooling, take a good book and relax!

The Camper,
Mrs. Edwards


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Green Thumb

V is for Vegetable...Garden

Growing up I spent hours upon hours playing in my Grandparents acre sized organic vegetable garden. Their garden yielded enough to sustain themselves throughout the year and share with others. They grew tons of crops (figuratively and literally): potatoes, corn, asparagus, squash, zucchini, peas, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, raspberries, apples, etc. I remember spending lots and lots of time with my Grandmother in their garden, learning to tend the plants, playing with earth worms, and picking flowers that probably weren’t supposed to be picked. One of my favorite things about their garden was their green bean tunnel. It was a wooden trellis tunnel that was about 7 feet tall, 8 feet wide and probably 20ish feet long (as a 5 year old, it seemed HUGE). The plants would grow up and over the top to create this fantastic tunnel with green beans hanging everywhere just begging to be picked. It was a curious child’s paradise. My Mom tells stories of when my Brother was little and she had him in the baby back-pack while she was in the tunnel picking beans. She says that she was picking along and my brother kept reaching out and pulling green beans off and eating them raw. To this day he still eats raw green beans. He probably has many more memories than I do of that garden, but I do know that we both learned a lot from our Grandparents there.

My Parents and Brother all have fantastically green thumbs. I’m still doing my best to find mine…and the project below is a testament to that. Since we moved into this house I’ve been wanting to plant some sort of vegetable garden in our side yard. Neither Josh or I have had the time (or money) to invest into one in the past 2 years, but this year we made some time (and budgeted for it)! This isn’t anything like my Grandparents magical oasis, but it’s something. And something is better than nothing! Our first attempt at a garden is in the form of two raised garden beds.  We absolutely didn’t have the budget to go out and spend upwards of $250 on new redwood lumber to build two 3′ x 6′ boxes, so we improvised and used some awesome reclaimed redwood lumber. Not only was this wood free, but it has some cool history to it. We are blessed to work and live at a Christian Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Josh works on the Maintenance Team and recently helped a group of volunteers replace a portion of Victory Circle, our outdoor amphitheater. The portion of wood that they removed was about 30 years old and was not sturdy enough for people to sit or walk on anymore, so it was just going to be tossed. My brilliant husband swooped on the stuff he could salvage and brought it home to build the boxes. How cool is it to think that our vegetable gardens are built out of wood that people have been sitting on for 30 years, sharing how their lives have been transformed by Jesus in this place! That gives me chills every time I go out to tend our garden. God is good to remind me of Himself in the small things!

We started out with a hilly portion of our side yard that was overgrown with weeds that were waist high. It didn’t start as much, but it’s the sunniest area of our place! It gets about 6-7 hours of sun per day, which for being in a redwood forest is like finding Narnia.

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Josh did a number on the area with the weed whacker, and it turned out looking something like this (that’s my cute Mom helping us clean up the junk!):

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

We worked on removing the weeds and leveling two spots for the boxes (that’s our neighbors house next door):

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Once we got the space cleared out, we went to work on the boxes themselves. My handy hubby whipped up a few boxes pretty quickly out of our lumber. Because portions of the wood were beginning to dry rot, we had to be selective in which pieces we used. Thankfully, we had just enough good pieces to patch together two 3′ x 6′ boxes. We built the boxes out of 2″ x 6″ lumber.

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com We began by laying chicken wire down first to combat any unwanted moles or gophers. We actually laid two layers that were offset because those sneaky pests can weasel their way through a standard chicken wire opening. Once we got the wire laid, we placed the 6 ft. pieces at the back of our leveled out area and pounded stakes into each corner to give it some stability. The corner stakes were about 3 ft. long; we pounded them into the ground about 2 feet and then stacked two 2″ x 6″ boards to create a 12″ deep bed. Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Because we were building on a hill we ended up with the uphill side having two 2″ x 6″ planks stacked and the downhill side with three planks to keep the dirt from sliding out from the bottom (not sure if that makes sense, you’ll see it in the other pictures). We tried our hardest to keep everything level and square, but I’m sure it’s not perfect. It holds dirt and that’s all that really matters, right?! :)

Once we had the boxes put together I laid weed fabric in the bottom and stapled it in. We hope that with the combination of chicken wire and weed fabric we won’t have to deal with too many digging pests or weeds. Here’s to hoping!

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

After a few hours of hard work, this is what we had to show! Pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

We visited our local landscaping supply store and picked up a yard of top soil. We then mixed in two bags of manure, one steer and one chicken.

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

My brother-in-law introduced me to a concept called Square Foot Gardening. It’s exactly what it sounds like- growing plants within a square foot! This is a pretty simple concept that is user friendly, very efficient, and pretty productive. Depending on the crop, you can plant 1, 2, 3, 4+ plants in each square foot. There are various recommendations on how to section off your box, but we chose the option of using 1″ish slats of wood (Josh cut them from a piece of scrap wood, so their size is approximate) and attached them directly to the box.

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

We chose to plant a variety of things to see what grows best here. We currently have pole beans, bush beans, corn, cilantro, basil, and lemon thyme in one box and yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, and peas in the other. I started the broccoli, peas, and corn indoors in peat pellets about a week before I planted them in the ground.

Raised Garden Bed via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Fast forward about 3 weeks and this is what we have now…

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.com

Square Foot Garden via www.simplymrsedwards.wordpress.comPretty good, right!? We had bird netting over the boxes until today when we put the stakes in for the beans and peas to climb up (the shorter stakes in the corners of the boxes were to hold up the netting). I’m crossing my fingers that the birds and squirrels don’t get curious now that we’ve taken the netting off…we’ll see!

We still have quite a bit of work to do in the side yard, but its slowly getting there. We want to build some stairs down to the boxes and spread some woodchips around the area to keep the dust down. Hopefully we’ll get to that within the next few weeks. Although it’s still a work in progress and we haven’t actually harvested anything from it yet, our garden brings me so much joy! There is so much to be said about doing hard work with someone you love and literally seeing the fruits of your labor in just a few weeks. I’m thankful that my Grandparents, Parents and Brother have all continued the tradition of home-growing and that I’m getting to enjoy this process, too. I’ll keep you updated on how this garden does over the next few months! :)

Now with a green thumb (whoo!),
Mrs. Edwards