Happy Thanksgiving!

table settng ideas first published at Charlotte Home+Garden

table settng ideas first published at Charlotte Home+Garden

Yesterday my husband and I went to two first-grade Thanksgiving plays...happening at the same time...in two different classrooms. We ran back and forth to make sure our two children saw us during the performance. And at the same time I saw a student cry because her Mom wasn't able to make it. It broke my heart and words felt lacking as I tried to comfort her.

The holidays will always have a mix of joy with bitter. At times it is because of our own expectations. Other times its homesickness or missing family members who have passed or live far away. Or a physical ailment that creates limitations. And we have an opportunity to share joy with others in person and on social media.

So as you shop for last minute cranberry sauce take the time to smile at the person in line behind you. They may not respond, but it might just spread cheer to a hurting person on Thanksgiving.

table setting with vintage photograph

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!   1 Chronicles 16:34

In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers.  Wishing you a holiday filled with joy and thankfulness.

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A Southern Mac & Cheese Recipe

a classic Southern mac & cheese recipe

Its been too long since I have shared a recipe here! While I am sharing recipes at Charlotte Magazine's Home+Garden blog, this site has gone quiet. And I miss you all! It is my honest to goodness goal to bring you more original content in the weeks to come.

So:: onward to why I picked Macaroni and Cheese to share with you today. Well, this recipe has been in our family for as long as I can remember. We eat it at every holiday, along with the typical meats, squash casserole, creamed corn, and rice and gravy (pound cake or coca cola cake for dessert). In our family the more dishes on the buffet the better!

When we lived in Minnesota and I got homesick for my family in the south, I would make this dish. The egg in this recipe gives the dish a slight custard/casserole texture that is good the first day and even better the next day. It is the ultimate comfort food.


how to make baked macaroni and cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese


1/2 lb macaroni (about 1/2 of a box), cooked al dente

4 tablespoons butter, chopped into chunks (I use salted)

2 eggs

2 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons dry mustard

A 8 oz block of sharp cheddar cheese (as my Grandma says: more is better!)

Salt, Pepper, and ground red pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil macaroni in salted water until al dente, drain. Place chunks of butter (about 8-10 pieces) along bottom of baking dish. Pour half of the warm cooked noodles over butter pieces. 

Whisk together egg, milk, mustard, salt and pepper.

Pour half of the milk+egg mixture over noodles. Top with 4oz of shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining noodles, liquid milk+egg mixture, and finally cheese. 

Bake for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted and a little crispy. Serve warm as a side dish.

baked mac & cheese (perfect comfort food!)

A few quick notes:

Use regular, not reduced fat cheese, for best texture and taste.

Be sure to use a sharp cheese in block form. Pre-shredded cheese won't have enough moisture.

This post is in partnership with A Blogsgiving Dinner!

As a way to celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are more than 60 blogs sharing recipes this week! The idea is based on an old-fashioned potluck dinner party. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. Check out all the dishes using the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner on twitter and instagram.

Take a Day Trip (or Weekend Trip!) to Asheville, NC

Asheville, North Carolina is a quick two hours from Charlotte, North Carolina. If you haven't been before Asheville has a wonderful artistic vibe with some amazing hotels, hiking, waterfalls, restaurants, and shopping.

My husband and I recently stayed there for our 10 year anniversary. We splurged on the Grove Park Inn: a stone hotel built in 1913 filled with a rich history of famous visitors. And the lobby is magnificent with large oversized fireplaces. But you don't have to stay overnight to enjoy the hotel: stop by the breakfast buffet. It was one of the best I've ever had, with views of the mountains and city (the grits were amazing, and I am picky about grits).

While visiting Asheville we also spent several hours downtown walking around. You will find a lot of eclectic dining options, coffee shops, gift shops, and mercantiles. Mast General Store is worth a visit, and breakfast or lunch at Early Girl Eatery (try the vegetable platter and the cornbread!)

I am a big advocate for shopping local vendors and gift shops. But I also recommend visiting the new Asheville Outlets (and the West Elm outlet! I wrote an article about it here).

And of course while in Asheville drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, check out the Biltmore, and take a few hikes. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Asheville?

// I was in no way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own!

Celebrating the Beauty in Autism

I am a mom to a child with high functioning autism. Our almost 8 year old is verbal, does well with structure, is extremely literal, and functions in a mainstream classroom. His diagnosis is not new to us: we have known since he was 4. Last year I wrote a little update when he was 7. And I also recommended a few books (in case you are looking for good info on autism).

At the moment within the autism community articles written by parents of an autistic child are looked down upon. (I believe) this is in part because some parents have written negative articles. And it is also because many autistic adults and young adults have found their voice through the internet and that is a beautiful thing. I hope our child is able to do that someday if he so chooses.

In the meantime I would like to reflect a little joy in this corner of the web. We went to an apple orchard a few weeks ago, and to be honest I wasn't sure how it would go. Our son often works himself up with expectations and routes we should take. But this day he was calm and it was a huge surprise to find a bouncy trampoline when we arrived.

Our two kids were in heaven. It was perfect. Children on the spectrum often have a high need for sensory input, and that can looks different for each child. For our guy he tends to love heavy blankets, snuggling (on his terms), spinning and rolling. On a related note this year we are doing gymnastics and it is going really well so far. He gets to jump and push and pull and climb with abandon. And it isn't a competition directly against anyone else (which is hard for him even in video games). 

So today I am just celebrating those beautiful smiles. Not that life is perfect or predictable, but that God has blessed us richly with our two kids: one of whom has autism.

We Bought A Rug!

We are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary next week! Instead of spending money on a getaway (we went to Charleston in July), we decided to update our Master Bedroom. Really the only things we are happy with right now is our mid century desk and chair. But now we have a rug! And I am overly excited about it!

I just have to share a quick photo of us 10 years ago. Such babies! And we were. We met when I was 20 studying Industrial Design at Georgia Tech, Lee was 25 getting his Masters in Industrial Design at SCAD. Two years later wedding bells rang and we moved to Kentucky where we designed kitchen appliances. 

Anyway, somehow getting the rug feels symbolic of progress in our bedroom design. We've lived in our North Carolina house for over a year and our room felt like an uninspired dorm room.

The Plan

  • Purchase a rug (define texture/style of room)--Done! Found this guy at the West Elm Outlet 
  • Buy Paint (thinking Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray)
  • Replace mini blinds with curtains
  • Find nightstands at the thrift store
  • Find a bench for the end of the bed (or DIY?)
  • Add a vintage map over the desk
  • Mirror+Artwork
  • Replace queen bed with a king

Any advice? I have also heard there is a Pottery Barn outlet not too far from Charlotte. I may need to check that out next!