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The fourth of July is soon upon us.  And what better way than to brighten up the dinner table with some patriotic decor?  Perfect for a dinner gathering and it won’t break the bank.

For about $2.50 a plate, you can create these chargers and napkin rings in any design imaginable.  I first saw the technique on another blog then made it my own by hot glue gunning patriotic fabric to foam board and finding little firecracker’s at a local craft store to augment the theme.

You will need:
12-14″ foam board (you can get a bigger peice and cut down to a few inches bigger than the size of your plate)
Hot glue gun and glue
Fabric- your choice on the design
Napkin ring embellishments

Step 1:  Cut the foam board to the size you need.  Should be a few inches bigger than your plate.  Mine ended up being 12-14″.  Edges do not have to be “perfect”, just reasonably cut.

photo 1


Step 2:  Cut your fabric so there is about an inch on all sides that you can then fold over the foam core on the back.
photo 12

Step 3.  Fold over the fabric on the back of the foam board, glue gun into place on all sides and corners.

photo 4

Step 4.  Place your plate on top of the setting and embellish napkins with ribbon or other accessories.  I chose an ever popular firecracker!


Hope this idea brightens your fourth!  God Bless America! 


I have recently began planning for my daughter’s first communion which is still many months away.  It’s definately an event one wants to be nice and elegant- but as most people these days, we’re on a budget for it.

Going through pinterest, I came accross this beautiful shabby-chic idea of taking wooden spindles from a box store and making them into tall topiary centerpieces for an elegant event.  Using only baby’s breath, it makes a soft and delicate statement.

I made my spindle centerpiece stand for less than $4.00 per centerpiece.  The flowers were $12, (it took 3 bundles of 5 stems each) and the floral ball was about $3.50 from a craft store.  A total cost of under $20!


Here’s what you’ll need:

Wooden spindle
Mider saw if you are cutting it to a specific length
3 Nails (pin like)
Base (very important to get a stable base about 6-8 inches in width for stability.  I had to redo mine and make the base bigger)
Power Drill
Floral ball (I used a 4 inch wet floral ball)
Approx. 15 stems babys breath
Ribbon to accent (optional)

1.  Cut the spindle to the desired height of the arrangement.


2.  Paint the spindles.  Could be gold, silver, white or any other color you can imagine.  The spindles should cost about $2 each.  I used white paint that I already had on hand.  Let dry.

3.  Pre drill the bottom center of the base with the bottom center of the spindle.  Screw in the base and attach to the spindle.

4.  Put in 4 nails at a diagnal on the top of the spindle.  See picture below.spindlenails

5.  Place foral ball for 10 seconds in water, rotating it so it soaks up enough water evenly.

6.  Place wet floral ball on nails.

7.  Proceed to place babys breath stems (with about a 2-3 inch stem) around the entire ball in clusters.

Until finally you have…. a full centerpiece!


Attach ribbon of your choice, we used the ever popular burlap for a shabby-chic look! 


lavedersugarscrub-3I am so excited today to share with you a marvelous recipe on how to make your own sugar scrub. It comes to us today from Sylvia, an Avon representative who is a military wife from South Georgia. She’s been using this easy and wonderful recipe for a while now and was happy to share with On The Way Home readers.

All you need is Avon Skin So Soft, raw sugar, granulated sugar, and any brand lavender essential oil. I just found out today you can buy it anywhere- even at stores like Hobby Lobby & Wal-mart! This is something I am going to be making often. It smells absolutely fabulous and feels wonderful on the skin.

(Sylvia Wages pictured above)




Here’s the recipe:   12 OZ Skin So Soft, 1/2 cup raw sugar, 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon to 8ml essential lavender oil.  (Depending on how potent you want it to smell).
Mix well and there you have it- your very own sugar scrub that is amazing for your skin!


If you need Avon Skin So Soft- please see Sylvia’s page. Avon has some great products. Skin So Soft is also a natural mosquito repellant (more on that towards summer!)

Hope y’all enjoy this scrub as much as we do.  Blessings! – Sarah 


Valentine’s day is next week! We’re hosting a very fun Valentine Party. I have the cupcakes toppers, party bags and lot’s of delicious treats planned. But what we still need are some great game ideas for the kids. That got me searching for the best ideas around the web. Here’s what I found and I was thrilled to share with you:

1. Valentine’s Bingo (Free printable!) by Crazy Little Projects

2. Valentine’s Tic Tac Toe by Make & Takes @ Alpha Mom

Front 400 Heart Tic Tac Toe 023

Musical Hearts  Much like musical chairs, lay out hearts instead.  Each time you stop the music, remove a heart.  The last person standing wins!


Heart Hopscotch by Toddler Approved
heart hopscotch

Steal My Heart   Use chopsticks to try to steal as many hearts as you can in a minute from the bowl.  Whoever gets the most hearts- wins!


Candy Heart Learning Games by Teach Beside Me


Stack It Valentine!   Try to stack as many conversation hearts as you can in one minute.



And last but not least- a family fun night by notconsumed.com to do with conversation hearts!  Great ideas here.



Sometimes we need a little extra special dinner. Something romantic and showy to set the mood.  Whether its for Valentines, a promotion or anniversary.  Here is an easy yet decadent lobster for two recipe that won’t break the bank- but still has class and taste!

Stuffed Lobster Tail for Two

Stuffed Lobster Tail for Two


  • 2 Lobster Tails (approximately 8 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons Butter, salted (Melted. Garlic and/or lemon may be added to the blend for flavor.)
  • Crabmeat Stuffing
  • 3 tablespoons Butter, salted
  • 1/8-1/4 cup Onions (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup Crabmeat
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • dash Lemon Zest
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil


Step 1
Pre-heat oven to 425. Split lobster meat and remove from shells. Place back in shells and brush with melted butter mixture. Season with salt/pepper. Let bake for 5 minutes.
Step 2
In a small pan, melt butter. Add onions and garlic, cook until they are clear. Fold in crabmeat, salt, pepper, lemon zest and olive oil.
Step 3
Remove lobster from oven after 5 minutes. Brush with melted butter blend, stuff with crabmeat mixture.
Step 4
Let cook with stuffed crabmeat for approximately 13 minutes. Brush again if you’d like with butter then serve.


(Be sure to look for the FREE welcome home printable &
giveaway opportunity at the end of this post!)

Hip hip hurray!  They are almost home and now it’s time to plan their homecoming.  Here’s a round up of ideas, signs, balloons and more to make the day special.  Here’s 3 tips to make the day go smoothly.

1. Stay flexible and… Remember OPSEC.  You’ve made it this far… try to stay calm amongst all the jitters upon waiting their final return.  Be sure not to put anything about their return details (days, times ect) on social media.  Here is a link to a DOD Opsec slideshow for families.

2.  Stay open minded.  Do you have it all planned out just how it will go?  Try not to have expectations as you don’t want to be disappointed if things aren’t “perfect”.  Sometimes the glitches along the way will make for great stories later on.

3.  Be realistic.  Many service people have been traveling for days without sleep.  When they get home- they may need to recupperate!

Here’s some fabulous ideas of how to make their day special:

1.  Welcome Home Signs


Photo courtesy Baby Bun Designs on Etsy


Photo courtesy of Green Label Photography


Photo courtesy of Melissa Gephardt Photography

laurenriggsphotographyPhoto courtesy of Lauren Riggs Photography


2.  Welcome Home Wreaths


Photo courtesy of HangEverthingUp on Etsy

3.  A Shower of Balloons


4.  Welcome Home Glow In The Dark Balloons- (perfect for night time returns!)


5.  Decorate the car:  Use window paint or order a custom vinyl decal- both will be a great surprise!


Picture courtesy of Gift Queen Gifts

whimsicalwallartvinylwelcomehome Photo courtesy of Whimsical Wall Art on Etsy

And a decal for everyday of the year….


Photo courtesy of thefeistycarrot shop on Etsy

6.  Front Door/Porch Decor


Photo Credit: Stagetecture.com

7.  Lawn Decor  Get creative!  Here’s some fabulous lawn decor ideas.


Photo Credit: Unknown

8.  Patriotic Food & Decorations   Be sure to download our adorable & FREE cupcake toppers at  www.mediafire   Surprise your loved one with a cake, or better yet- plan a return party!


Photo Credit: Unknown


Photo credit:  Pretty My Party

9. What to wear: If your spouse is anything like mine, it won’t really matter a whole lot what you and the kids are wearing!  He’s just so happy to be home.  But we still want to add some style to the big event.  If you have time to prep here are some great looks.

For babies & toddlers:


Photo Courtesy of TheStripedSwallow on Etsy



Photo Courtesy of PersonallyGraced on Etsy


Photo Courtesy of Chiccoutureboutique on Etsy

Kids:  militarybabycouture

Photo courtesy of Militarybabycouture on Etsy



”Homecoming Red” by onthewayhome on Polyvore.

10. Photographing the return.

Hire a local photographer or have a friend take pictures for you.  It is truely a beautiful moment you will want to remember.  Some local photographers have great rates, check your local spouses facebook pages for military spouses that specialize in homecomings!

Here is the link to an article written by a military spouse that you’ll want to read about capturing the moments of this special day.


Last but not least are our free printables- the cupcake toppers!
Click on the image to be directed to the download.


A special thank you goes to thefeistycarrot & giftqueengifts shops for providing these great giveaways below!  Two chances to win! 


 If you love the cupcake toppers shown above, they are available at our SHOP for $1.00!  Use promo code: OPEN50

This year our family has taken on the challenge of living a gluten-free lifestyle.  While we do try to eat clean as well, there is always the occasional treat!  These cupcakes are a great addition to any party and are moist and sweet.  The cupcake recipe on its own without the icing uses agave- and could be considered among an eat clean diet, gluten-free diet.

Here is the cupcake recipe:

Strawberry Cupcakes


  • 1 2/3 cup Pamelas Gluten Free Pancake & Baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 stick Salted butter
  • 1/2-2/3 cup Agave
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cups Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Strawberries (Mashed. You might like to add 1 tablespoon agave to strawberry mixture to sweeten.)


Step 1
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
Step 2
Mix wet ingredients in electric mixer. Slowly add all dry ingredients, mix well. Add strawberries last, fold into mixture. Then fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Powered by GetMeCooking

Gluten-Free Vanilla Frosting:
I used the frosting recipe on the back of the Pamela’s Frosting Mix bag.  It says to add 1 bag frosting mix, 2tbsp water and 1 stick of butter.   I tweaked it by adding about 2 tablespoons of milk to it.

Be sure to let the cupcakes really cook because the frosting melts considerably if placed on it too soon.  Enjoy! 


I love Valentine’s Day.  Full of pinks, roses and of course this year I am using my burlap theme from Christmas and tying it into the winter season.  Check back from now through February as I add new items.

No-sew Burlap & Lace Table Runner

This no sew table runner took about 25 minutes to make.  I used the following materials.

laceburlaprunner1Lace, burlap approximately 10-14″ wide, pearl sequins, hot glue gun, scissors.

1.  Cut burlap to desired length.

2. Cut lace approximately 3 inches in width.


3. Cut enough to space evenly the full length of the runner.



4. Pinch the lace together to form a “bow”.
laceburlaprunner-45. Glue the lace bow onto the table runner in desired space.
laceburlaprunner-56.  Glue a pearl in the center.

7.  Repeat steps 4-6 until runner is finished.



Hey there! I’m Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof. I am so happy to be sharing here at On the Way Home today. Sarah is a great gal with an awesome blog! Thanks for having me today, Sarah!

A little about me:

Jenna from rainonatinroof.com

First off, I am terrible at “About Me-s.” In fact, so terrible, that I use pictures (entertaining ones) on my own About Me page at Rain on a Tin Roof. Its quite comical. In short, I’m a southern gal who loves some serious thrifting, crafting, re-purposing, and home diy-ing, which is what my blog is all about. This decorating thing started early for me. While other 14 year olds wanted to read Seventeen, I was reading Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Design (Does anyone even remember Christopher Lowell?!), and re-arranging my bedroom. I can handle a power saw with the best of ‘em, but tend to make my Grunt Labor (hubby) use the power tools. (It makes him feel special to be needed. Total reverse psychology, y’all.)  A comfortable, eye-pleasing room just warms my soul, and makes me dang proud its mine. I love turning something old and decrepit into something new and amazing. I even started carting my daughter around to yard sales when she was a month old, its important to train ‘em early around here. My whole decorating mantra is to do it frugally. Thrift it. Craft it. DIY it. If this hasn’t bored you enough, you can read more about me here.

I loved how the first monogrammed tray I did turned out. Lindsay loved getting it for her birthday, and it is beautiful in her home. In fact, I loved it so much that I made another one for a friend who is getting married in October and I have one for myself in the works.

This one is Ashley’s that I gave her at her bridal tea a few weeks ago. I did it a little differently than the last one I did.
With the last one, which you can read about here, I used leftover trim to make the bottom. For Ashley’s, we didn’t have enough trim for the bottom and sides, so I bought a piece of MDF at Lowe’s. Grunt Labor had it cut to size and put together before I could snap a shot of the materials. Here is what it looked like together.

Pretty basic. He just cut the MDF into rectangles and cut the trim to fit around it. He used a finish nailer and wood glue to hold it all together. I primed it with gray spray paint primer and mixed up some chalk paint with some white and dark blue paint samples I had to get the light blue color. From looking at the comments on some pins from my last DIY monogram tray, I think there were some questions about how I did the monogram without a Silhouette or painting it. It was really simple. All I did was create the monogram in word. I used the free Cursif font I found here. I just typed in the letters and made the “H” bigger than the other two initials.I printed out the monogram on regular printer paper then I cut out the letters and taped them to some textured scrapbook paper.


I cut them out with a pair of scissors and an X-Acto knife for the really tight spaces.
Next, I just laid the letters on the tray, centered them, and used Mod-Podge to adhere them. I finished the whole thing off with a gloss topcoat.
I bought the handles at Hobby Lobby. They were originally rust brown. I sprayed them with gloss white.
The tray seemed to be a huge hit. The bride loved it (or at least put on a really good show acting like she did! haha, I’m kidding, Ashley!) and everyone at the tea gave it wonderful compliments, which made me feel pretty great! Oh and fun fact: The bride’s name is Ashley. Guess what the groom’s name is?! Ashley, too! Isn’t that fantastic!? I can’t wait to see how they screw with people’s minds on that one!
What do you think? Done any tray projects lately?


Today on the blog we have an international travel feature from blogger and student Olivia Cunningham.  

She is a college student who blogs about travel, frugality, religion, culture, and life in general at http://livlovelaugh.com. You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/livlovelaughblog


Vatican City is a definite must-see for travelers to Rome, especially Catholics. Its single square mile is simply steeped in history, both of the Church and of the Roman Empire before it. Any visitor to the Vatican should see St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, but some of my favorite things at the Vatican are details that often go unnoticed.

When you enter St. Peter’s Square, spend a few minutes just taking everything in. It truly is huge and impressive, not to mention that it’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you’re standing not far from where St. Peter was crucified, in the middle of one of Nero’s circuses. Be sure to find the marker on the ground that indicates where the columns of Bernini’s colonnade line up, making it appear as if it’s all one column.

Explore the obelisk and the fountains in the piazza and then turn to the right. The plain building that abuts the square to the right of the basilica is where the Papal Apartments are located. The first three windows of the top floor are the pope’s windows! The third from the right is where he will appear to deliver his blessing every Sunday at noon. Pope Francis has chosen not to live in the apartment, preferring a simpler style, but still uses the space as an office.

Next, look at the building that is slightly recessed between the basilica and the apartment. Notice the portrait of the Madonna. Legend has it that in 1981 when Pope John Paul II was shot, he prayed to the Virgin Mary as he was carried out of the square. In tribute to her protection of him that day, he thought that an icon of her was missing from the piazza. Eventually, an appropriate one was found and installed, so that future pilgrims would have a visual reminder of Mary, the mother of the Church, and her protection.

Inside the basilica, you must see Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s dome. But don’t neglect to notice some of the other monuments, including the tombs of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his relatives and Queen Christina of Sweden.

Pilgrims typically walk around the church in a counter-clockwise circle. About 2/3 of the way around, to the left of the altar, is the entrance to the crypt. Entrance to the first level, which includes many, many tombs of popes and such, as well as some preserved walls and paintings from the earliest time of the basilica, is entirely free. Guided tours of the lower excavations, which include St. Peter’s tomb, must be made by appointment and cost about ten euro. If you don’t have time or inclination for that kind of commitment, the free crypt is fascinating and an easy addition to your visit.

Another overlooked point of interest inside the church is the adoration chapel, which contains a beautifully intricate tabernacle designed by Bernini. It is reserved for prayer only (no pictures allowed) and attended by a guard, but it’s well worth a few minutes to spend in silent prayer and contemplation.

After you exit, spend some time in the piazza, perhaps eating a gelato from the famous nearby Old Bridge gelateria. St. Peter’s Square is one of the best places to people-watch in all of Rome.

Finally, the Vatican post office is located on the left side of the colonnade (as if you’re looking at the church). It’s a convenient place to mail postcards, and much faster than the notoriously slow Italian post. Make sure to let them know that your letter is going to the USA if you need an international stamp.