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I'm Laura. Welcome to Simple and Serene Living. I've worn many hats in my life on this fabulous planet; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and friend. This space is one of my favorite hats.
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READING, AND WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Do you remember that old song

School days, school days dear old golden rule days

Reading, and writing, and arithmetic...

reading books

I am definitely not into arithmetic these days and the only writing I do is for this blog, but I am doing a lot more reading.

I was always a prolific reader. I learned to read at age six and that is when I started to read everything.

At breakfast, I would read the back of the cereal box if that was all that was available.

I remember getting three Nancy Drew books for Christmas and having them read by my birthday, which was two days later. 

That love of reading carried on into my adult years and I was never without a book to read. 

reading and coffee

Then the pandemic hit and for some reason, I stopped reading. It was as if a switch was turned off and that switch was my love of reading.

I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I think all of the stress affected my concentration.

I am now happy to say that I have started reading again.

Current Reads

These are the books that are currently on my bedside table waiting to be read.

autopsy Patricia Cornwell

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera


All The Forgivenesses Elizabeth Hardinger


The Daughters of Erietown Connie Schultz


Future Reads


Jacqueline Winspear A Sunlit Weapon


Winter Solstice Rosamunde Pilcher


Karen White The Shop On Royal Street


All The Ways We Said Goodbye a novel



I am so excited to be reading again.

Do you have a favorite book you are reading now? I hope you will share.

reading

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This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.

WATCHING THE SNOW FALL

Monday, January 17, 2022

Yesterday as I sat in my comfy chair looking out the window it started to lightly snow.

My first thought was to call the National Guard, man the ships, prepare for a zombie apocalypse.

Atlanta does not do well when it snows. 

snow on a pine tree


My daughter told me that when the last major snowstorm hit over ten years ago the city was shut down for a week while the city's one snowplow went from street to street. 

The city now has fifty, which they haven't needed in the last ten years.

When I was growing up I loved all of the snow we got. 

bird in the snow

Snow meant tobogganing, ice skating, and building snowmen.

I couldn't wait to pull on my jacket, gloves, scarf, boots, and hat and rush outside. 

Sometimes my neighbor would hitch his horse up to his sleigh and take me for a ride.

horse drawn sleigh in the snow

At night snowfall brought about a stillness that calmed the earth.

I loved to sit and watch the snow in the streetlight outside my window.

As an adult, I have lived in many places. 

Some had cold winters and some had warm winters.

snow on the mountains

In California, we lived at the base of a mountain so when winter storms hit, while we got rain the community at the top of the mountain got snow. 

A short drive up the mountain meant my girls could have an afternoon playing in the snow. 

snowman in the mountains

Tessa loves snow and when she came to visit me in Kentucky a few years ago I convinced her that I had produced the big snowfall we got while she was there just for her. 

Three weeks later my mom passed away and on the day of the funeral, when Tessa was once again there, it started to snow.

My mom loved watching the snow and Tessa informed me that I was good at creating snow but not as good as GiGi. 

I think she was right.

little cottage in the snow

She was born here in Atlanta and doesn't see a lot of snow so I was imagining her in her flip-flops running out to taste it while it fell from the sky.

That girl never seems to feel the cold.

cabin in the snow

Etsy

Winter is very fickle in Atlanta. 

Two weeks ago the temperatures were in the 70s and now they have dropped forty degrees. 

I definitely prefer the warmer weather these days, but I had forgotten how much I enjoy sitting and watching the snow fall. 

watching the snow fall

Thanks for visiting. 

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COZY TRADITIONAL HOME DECOR

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Yesterday's post touched on a new/old trend for home decor in 2022. Once again cozy comfortable interiors are trendy.

I have reached an age where I firmly believe that your home should reflect who you are. 

Unless you are a super influencer who makes your money from constantly changing out your home for clicks then don't succumb to pressure to decorate in a style you don't like. 

cottage living room

My style is cozy, comfortable, English cottage style and so of course I was happy to see that it is on-trend this year. 

It means there will be more fodder for my insatiable appetite for cozy room decor.

Similar basket tray, pillow

Grandmillennial Style 

Grandmillenialls are given credit for driving a return to 'granny chic', and I am more than happy to give them credit. 

Staying at home during the pandemic has given them a desire to return to a time when they felt safe and comforted in their grandparents' homes. 

Can't say that I blame them. I miss the smell of my mom's freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when I walked in the door from a day of misbehaving exemplary behavior at school.

I think it is wonderful that they are returning to a love of antique furniture, chintz, and blue and white china while adding their own updated twist to their decor. 

As someone who has always respected our climate, buying antiques and vintage home decor items is a win-win for our environment. 

similar platter, curtains

Traditional Details

According to Good Housekeeping traditional details are making a big comeback.

traditional living room

Don't expect full-on granny. Instead there will be more layering of effects including more pattern mixing.

Similar horse prints

Honoring Character

Veranda Magazine tells us that personal character is front and center.

Younger clients are pulling out their grandmother's china to hang on walls and are opting for individual antique pieces, even if not perfect over mass produced items.


"Investing both time and money in the objects that transform a house to a home of pride and comfort will be priority. " says Michael Cox, of Foley and Cox in New York. 

similar rug, wallpaper

I guess one upside to people now spending more time in their homes is a return to traditional decor and saving treasures from the past. 

I for one am very happy about that.

cozy traditional home decor

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HOME DECOR TREND 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022

Simple Pleasures #23

The other day I saw a post about the new color of the year. It was distinctly purple.

Don't get mad at me if you love purple, but just how long do you think people are going to love a home full of bright purple? 

Another post said we are all going back to beige decor. Really???

Then I came across this article and breathed a sigh of relief. The author talks about timeless traditions making a comeback and I agree completely.

Grandmillennial style

Back in September, I wrote about the grandmillennial style and how it is changing the way younger people are driving decor.

In recent years younger people wanted disposable decor that would allow them to move from place to place, but the pandemic has changed that. 

Now they are craving homes that bring them comfort. Homes that take them back to their childhoods. 

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I am going to delve into this further. 

Simple Inspiration

home inspirational quote

Lovely Reads







This Week's Gluten-Free Recipe

Yes, I managed to get my new Instant Pot out of the box and into my kitchen which required a nap afterwards. 

I am now scouring the internet for recipes. As I have some chicken breasts in the freezer that I need to cook I decided to look for some recipes for those. 

These lemon garlic chicken breasts look really yummy and you don't have to be gluten-free to enjoy them. 

instant pot lemon garlic chicken breasts

As I can't eat spicy foods I will probably eliminate the sriracha and red chili pepper flakes, but for those of you who love spicy foods this sounds perfect.

Catching Up

Posts from the past week.





Cozy Home Shopping

Flower Embroidery cushion cover


Brown Transferware Oval Serving platter

brown transferware oval serving platter

Rolled Arm Chesterfield Sofa

Wayfair rolled arm sofa


Pansy Chintz Bone China Teacup And Saucer

pansy bone china teacup and saucer


Ceramic Vase Set

ceramic vase set



Ceramic Blue And White Table Lamp

ceramic blue and white table lamp


Vintage Sadler English Teapot

vintage English London Sadler teapot

Apron Dress For House Or Garden

apron dress with pockets

Traditional Wingback Chair

Wayfair wingback chair

What I'm Reading

I am currently finishing up The Attic on Queen Street by Karen White. Love it.

The Attic On Queen Street Karen White



Next up I will be starting on Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera, which was a Christmas gift from my daughter. "A mesmerizing southern tale"


home decor trend 2022



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Find me on PinterestInstagramand Etsy.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission from your purchase. This does not affect your cost.

SETTING PRIORITIES

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I used to feel like I was an organized person, but in recent years I feel more like I am on a treadmill that is going faster and faster and I am going to get thrown off and land on the floor. 

Full disclosure this did actually happen to me once. Just another one of those embarrassing moments in my life. 

bird digital download printable

Priorities


priorities quote


I don't normally pick a word of the year, but I think this year mine will be priorities. 

I feel myself being pushed and pulled in so many directions and not being able to accomplish the things I need and want to do. 

Of course my first priorities are always my family and my health, but what I am talking about are business priorities.

vintage Royal baking powder digital download

I didn't expect to be working at this point in my life, but as I have shared before, like millions of other women who spent most of their adult lives raising children, my Social Security doesn't come close to supporting me. 

Over the last nine months or so I have been testing the waters on different things. 

I have ramped up my blog, become an influencer, and started adding vintage digital downloads to my Etsy shop. 

Now I need to start thinking about setting priorities.

Making A Plan


check list

Do you make lists? I do and I am making a list of my priorities and the pros and cons of each one. 

I have had my Etsy vintage shop for quite a while now so I am pretty comfortable with the ins and outs of running it.

My concern is that although I am able to still source, sell, and ship physical items I realistically know that at some point I may not be able to do that. 

That is why this fall I dragged out my huge box of vintage prints and decided to learn how to turn them into digital downloads.


Believe me when I say it has been a steep learning curve, but I am finally getting the hang of it and starting to sell a few. 

I currently have about 80 digital listings and I am adding more each  day.


As for the affiliate links I have to admit that they have not done nearly as well as I had hoped. 

I know that a big reason is my blog's traffic. I can't seem to increase it and I will have to decide if it is worth all of the time I am devoting to it. 

I plan to give it a few more months and then make some decisions.

We are living in uncertain times, but it doesn't seem like things are going to change much in the near future. 

Priorities will be on my mind and decisions will be made. Hopefully there will be signs to help me. 

setting priorities


Thanks for visiting. 

Find me on PinterestInstagramand Etsy.










INSTANT POT SOUPS AND STEWS

Monday, January 10, 2022

Saturday I was finally able to be with my family and celebrate the Christmas that we missed because of Covid.

We had such a great time together and I was so excited to receive one of the gifts that was at the top of my wish list. 

I imagine that you are able to figure out what that is. Yes, it's an Instant Pot, and I can't wait to start using it.

bowl of soup

This colder weather we are having is making me crave soups and stews and the Instant Pot is perfect for creating meals in a bowl.

Soups

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli cheddar soup has always been a favorite of mine. What's not to like about something so very cheesy.

Instant Pot broccoli cheddar soup

I love that you can saute the veggies and cook it all in the Instant Pot and with the pressure cooker function it is done in 30 minutes. 

Lentil Soup

If you are a long-time reader of this blog you may already know that lentil soup is one of my favorites and you can find my recipe here. 

This Instant Pot lentil soup with potatoes may become my new favorite.

Instant Pot lentil soup with potatoes

You seriously just throw all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot and pressure cook it. Even a lazy cook like me can get behind that. 

I'm beginning to wonder if my family was complicit in finding a way to get me to eat my veggies. 

Cauliflower Soup

I know that a lot of people don't like cauliflower, but I am actually a big fan of it. 

Tessa might even get behind this cauliflower soup recipe because it has bacon in it. She informed me she is a bacontarian, a vegetarian that eats bacon. 

That girl is such a hoot. If you ever run into her make sure she tells you her bacon story. She has told it to me no less than a thousand times.

Instant Pot cauliflower soup

This soup is rich and creamy without being loaded down with cream or cheese.

Did I mention that it is low carb, keto-friendly, and gluten-free. 

Stews

Beef Stew

I very rarely eat beef, but I do love a good beef stew.

There is just something comforting about beef stew on a cold winter day and this recipe will warm you up and fill you up.

Instant Pot beef stew

It's full of tender meat, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. 

Once again I love that you can saute the meat right in the Instant Pot, which means less clean-up for me.

Did I mention that not only am I a lazy cook, but I am also a lazy cleaner-upper?

Sweet Potato Stew 

Isn't it great that the Instant Pot also can be used as a slow cooker?

So if you are not in a hurry and want to have your home smell wonderful you will want to try this sweet potato stew recipe

sweet potato stew

This recipe can also be cooked on the pressure cooker setting.

I definitely can't wait to try out my new Instant Pot.

Do you have one? What are your favorite things to cook in yours?

Instant Pot soups and stews



This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.