The Garden : Adding a Border to a Garden (plus Demolition and Awesome Friends)

Doesn't it look lovely with the rock border??

Well, it used to have this terrible black lining bordering it (but not set into the ground). It is way too easily seen and the black plastic is lining the entire front "curb appeal" of our house and the side garden. I understand that it's a weed barrier but we can make a weed barrier look a lot nicer. Right?

Yes. We most certainly can. 

All you need is a friendly neighbor that is breaking up their driveway cement, a few amazing friends that are willing to get their hands dirty and a truckbed (or the backseat of an SUV)... though a wheelbarrow will do the trick as well. 

The previous homeowners of our next door neighbors lined the garden in front of their house with large cement "rocks". It's a brilliant idea. Find some free cement and have at it. 

We almost took some broken up cement from a demoed Waffle House but JD thought it may be illegal so we decided not to be rebels in that scenario. It just so happens that our neighbors (the Eslingers) are renovating their driveway. JD saw the massive pile of broken up cement laying in their yard while on a jog one day. So we walked up there and asked if they wouldn't mind us taking some off their hands. 

The Eslingers

When they said yes, we immediately called our friends (Matt & Julie and Matt & Katy Jo) to ask them if they could come over early for the cookout we were having but "wear your work clothes... because we need your help carrying rocks and smashing cement." 

The result:

We are so thankful for friends who willingly give up hours of their lives to help us tear things up and make them beautiful in a new way. And, of course, we are deeply grateful for the Eslingers who let us use their old driveway in order for us to line our new house. The Eslingers are, all around, a fantastically generous and kind couple. They honestly could not believe that we were having so much fun with this project. 

We tried to take a ladies' pic at the end of the night but at least one of us looked ridiculous in each one. Fortunately, Google+ takes the photos from my Moto X and makes super sweet Auto Awesome videos with them. Haha!

Also, I feel terrible because I didn't get any video of JD rockin' the sledgehammer. He actually did most of the demolition work but I didn't get the camera out until everybody else was ready to give it a try. JD is, by far, the best sledge hammer-er ever. :) I just wish I had the video to prove it. 

He and I spent all evening last night making the side garden look pretty. I can't get over how excited I am about throwing that black liner away. Yay!!! Now, we just have to do the front and other sides of the house. 

PS: Thrift is spreading and the lilies and peonies are in bloom at the Todd Nest this month. What's growing in your garden?

The Todd Nest : Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch

Sneak into our garden and check out the Easter Egg Hunt we had with our neighbors this year...

As most of you know, we inherited an amazing backyard garden when we bought this house. The lady who lived her before us spent most of her days cultivating the lovely flowers that bloom year-round. We couldn't think of any better way to enjoy it than to enjoy it with others. 

Decor: We used the potting bench JD and dad made for us as the drink and dessert table. It worked superbly! We displayed chalkboards which proclaimed the glory of Christ, that He is risen! Unfinished quilting squares were used as tablecloths and we placed our snowball hydrangeas in old tins and a large vintage teapot. They bloomed just in time for the brunch. Mom and dad gave us their super sweet vintage cooler on wheels so we served ice out of that and filled with side pocket up with little glass Coca-Cola bottles (not pictured).

JD and I put together a mass of these "Jelly Bean Story" favors with the help of our next door neighbors. My friend Katy Jo told me about the poem she found online but I rendered it a bit to give it more diversity in the rhyming. :) The design matches the invitations we delivered to our neighbors. My genius husband had the idea of placing a couple of our barnwood boards on the arms of the island chair to create another table. Gosh, I love that man and his creative brain. We set a watering can and a few other vintage items on it. One of our neighbors brought us a lovely spring bouquet we set in the watering can.

All of the neighborhood kids came over, with baskets in tow. 

They started wandering the backyard garden as soon as we said "go"! 
{did you like the rhyming there...?}

Since we're planning on hosting this Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch annually, we asked the kids to return their emptied Easter eggs to a basket so that we could use for next year. (Thanks to my parents, we ended up having a total of 600 eggs!!! And thanks to our church small group, we had several hands willing to stuff tiny prizes in each one. Wahoo!)

The kids emptied their baskets and sorted through their eggs to find lots of little surprises....

And we even hid six golden eggs (a few with half dollar coins and one with a $5 bill). One of the kids found two golden eggs and sweetly gave his second one to Lilianna. She opened it only to find the one rolled up $5 bill. Cha-ching! 

This was, by far, my favorite moment of the day. I loved watching JD help little Ava open all of her eggs. While we're incredibly happy in the season we are in (married without kiddos), these moments certainly make my heart anticipate the day that we have some little Todd-lings running around. He's going to be an amazing dad one day. ;)

Ok... retreating from the sappiness, each family brought a delicious brunch item which varied from homemade cinnamon rolls to cheesy grits casserole to homemade biscuits with the fixins to sausage pinwheels to fruit to cute cupcakes. It was incredible!! 

Look at all of these beautiful faces!!

What an absolute joy it was, to see relationships being built and families gathering together all while worshiping the resurrection of Christ through joining in community!

We loved, loved, loved getting together with everyone... but having my parents with us made this celebration priceless. My mom is the master of hosting and making all things lovely. Seriously. She is the person I call before typing "how to" into Google. 

I thought she was going to help me organize everything and give me a checklist of things to be done. On the contrary, she made dad turn into an estate sale early Saturday morning instead of coming to help us. Before you start judging her and thinking that this was a terrible thing for a mom to do, please know that in hindsight, I couldn't be more grateful. I'm incredibly dependent on her and she knows it. She wanted this to be an event that JD and I put together all by ourselves, to show that we could do it without her and dad. 

It's the same way I learned to ride my bike... My dad was always there guiding me but when he knew I could peddle on my own without falling off, he stepped back. He let me ride freely, with my hair flowing in the wind (or stuffed under a fat helmet). He trusted that I learned all that he taught me and that I listened well. And you know what? Sure, I fell off a few times after that, but I always got back up. I learned from my mistakes and developed into a really great biker that only falls off her bike rarely now (instead of often. Yes, it still happens occasionally).

And so it went with the party. It made me flip out at first, but at the end of the day, I learned SO MUCH MORE!! She and dad stepped in when they were absolutely needed but stepped back at all other times. Thank you for teaching us your skills, your tricks and your creativity. Thank you for trusting that we learned those things and learned them well enough to do it all on our own. Thank you for letting us go forth on our own, but still coming to support us and celebrate with us. We are so deeply grateful for you both, mom and dad. 

The entire event was a massive collaborative effort. Thank you to everyone who helped us prepare / brainstorm, brought food, and helped clean. We couldn't have done it without you all!!

The Garden : FREE MULCH in Huntsville & Bloom of the Week

Looking for a way to spruce up your garden beds? 

Our neighbors told us about the free mulch from the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. We don't have access to a truck so we grabbed an old plastic trashcan and unpacked a few more of our Rubbermaid tubs, loaded them in Silver Flash, grabbed our shovels and headed down the road.

There were huge piles of wood chip mulch - FREE mulch (well, donations are appreciated)!! It took us about twenty minutes to shovel as much as we could in the tubs and trashcan so it wasn't that bad. We barely made a dent in the mulch piles. Between our tubs, there was just enough mulch to fill the front yard and it looks lovely!

So, thank you, Botanical Gardens of Huntsville. You deserve the Award for Being Awesome this month. 

We're enjoying the blooms from the front of our vegetable gardens. I picked a few marigolds and placed them in a tiny teacup last week to add to our dining room centerpiece.

But this week's bloom feature goes out to the Black-eyed Susans which have so lovingly overtaken the end of our walking path through the garden. We're trying to figure out how to take care of that problem. 

The Garden : Assembling the Tomato-Trailing Trellis for the Raised Garden Bed

How can you transform an overgrown raised garden bed into a thriving vegetable garden? 

We're so glad you asked...

The raised garden bed looked something like this when we first looked at the house:

Add on three months of glorious Alabama sunshine and rain, and well, this garden bed needed some tough TLC. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it's achievable.

My mom uprooted every single inch of greenery in this bed and cleaned it all out. The huge elephant ears that you saw from our herb garden were transplanted from this garden first. It was unbelievably hard work. There are no words to express our gratitude towards my mom and dad for all of their help.

Next we covered the bed in fresh Miracle Grow, mixing in the old dirt. After a quick shop to Lowe's and the local garden center, we planted lettuce, tomatos, squash, eggplant, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, basil, cilantro, parsley, zinnias and nasturtium (which is an edible flower and quite delicious!).

JD soaked them in some serious amounts of water...

And then it was time to assemble the trellis:

There is something so endearing about seeing the two favorite men in your life work together.

Isn't he such a stud?

They even let me help!

They laid a board down the center for ease of picking and watering the plants while walking through the center instead of walking in our garden bed.

In about two weeks, everything flourished!!

Our greatest gardening endeavor is for our raised bed garden to look like this masterpiece in a few months (or at least next summer):

This is a truly thriving vegetable garden, cared for from seed to veggie by my dad. 

He and I spent Father's Day morning sitting in his garden, drinking hot tea and listening to birds. I'm not sure if it was his best Father's Day ever but it was certainly my favorite!

The Garden : Get Your Herb On

Bring on the cucumber water! We have enough rosemary and mint to last us till next summer.

This area of our new yard is overflowing with herbs - specifically mint, oregano and rosemary. It is absolutely unbelievable! Obviously, the herbs were all waiting for us when we moved into our new home. It's much more abundant than our tiny balcony herb garden from our apartment last year....

Mint engulfed much of the area so we cut a large amount out and placed a few sprigs in mason jars at the kitchen sink. 

The elephant ears were the first plants we transferred as we were moving in. My mom cleared out the raised garden bed (which held elephant ears and a few other plants) while dad, JD and one of our old neighbors moved all of our boxes into the rooms (and I directed). Instead of tossing out the elephant ears, we separated the roots and moved most of them into the right-hand corner of the herb garden (mom and dad took the rest home with them). Aren't they fun!? 

What is your favorite herb to cook with or to grow?

The Garden : Generations of Green Thumbs

Welcome to the home of robins, bluebirds, blue jays, squirrels, chipmunks, fireflies, and whimsical plants.

AKA: Our Garden

I wish we could say that we built it from the ground-up, but we didn't. With the simple sign of a pen, we obtained this absolutely amazing garden along with our new home. 

It's magical.

Forget a green thumb. These previous homeowners must have had green streaming from each of their fingertips. A number of people are terrified that we're going to ruin have a little trouble keeping the garden up since I haven't always had the best luck with something as small as a potted plant... but I really think we'll get the hang of it eventually.

When all else fails, we must remember that all things will [hopefully] grow back.

At least, that's what my mom tells me.

I think that's one reason I love this garden so much. It reminds me of both my mother's and my grandmother's gardens. They are - hands-down - the best gardeners I know. Their gardens are both extraordinarily lovely, charming and peaceful. I loved walking through Gingin's gardens with her when we lived at the Bungalow; and no time is sweeter with my mom than when we play in the dirt and have conversations surrounded by rich blooms. 

"I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falls on my ear
The Son of God discloses"

That's one of our favorite hymns. I have no doubt that we all sing it when watering our gardens. 

{Side Note: I butchered Gingin's hydrangea bushes (my favorite flowers) at the Bungalow when I attempted to "prune" them for the first time. That was my first terrible gardening experience. But, just like mom and Gingin said, they have grown back. There is hope for me yet!}

mom and her garden

mom and dad's raised garden beds

deeply thankful for these green-thumbed lovebirds

Dad is an incredible gardener also, especially with vegetables. He is a master scientist. It comes in handy when growing all of your plants from little seedlings!

JD and I have confidence that we will be able to keep a beautiful garden because we have our families as a resource.

JD and dad spent a lot of time tackling this task before we moved into our new home.
Next week, we'll share our raised garden bed project with you.

In the meantime, here are a few of the perennials in bloom this week:

Balloon Flower


The Rock Where Jesus Wept: Church of All Nations

Maybe you were a little baffled at the fact we didn't post photos of the place Jesus actually prayed upon while Peter, James and John were snoozin' against the olive trees. After a few steps through the garden, it was hard to miss the quick transition back to reality. Would it surprise you if we told you they built an actual church around the rock where Jesus fell on his face and cried out to his Father, "Not as I will, but as you will!"

The church was pretty epic. Elaborate murals consume the walls and ceiling while flags represent each nation. The Basilica of the Agony is the original name of the church. It was built from 1919-1924 with funding from twelve different countries, thus giving it the nickname, The Church of All Nations.

In the center, the high altar overlooks a large slab of rock, which is said to be the rock on which Jesus prayed in agony the night of his betrayal. 

We were just about to leave when we heard a group of people singing hymns beside the rock. They had just begun a church service. Hearing the angelic voices echoing through the church built around the rock and upon the Rock sent chills down our spine. 

When you're standing at the Garden of Gethsemane, this is the glimpse you get of the Old City in Jerusalem (where the Via Dolorosa is, etc.). The particular part of the Old City Walls is the Golden Gate, a closed gate located above ground level and below the Temple Mount. It is only visible from outside the city. 

According to Jewish tradition, when the Messiah comes, he will enter Jerusalem through this gate. To prevent him from coming, the Muslims sealed the gate during the rule of Suleiman.

As Christians, all we can say is, "Praise God that the Messiah has already come and defeated the grave! Now we wait eagerly for his glorious return." 

"He is like a Tree Planted by Water..."

My absolute favorite part of last week was gardening with my parents... 
or rather, learning how to garden. They have this extraordinary fairy garden in their backyard. The base of the garden is an old iron cast bathtub from my grandparent's lakehouse at Lake Rabun in North Georgia. Isn't the entire garden just magical??

Here are a few close-ups of the fairies. Little kids LOVE playing in this garden, especially our little niece / cousin Emma Kate. Just precious. :)

This is Gnomeo and Juliet. JD and I really liked this movie but mom and dad had no idea who these little figurines were until we told them. :) Don't you love the little door? My parents are going to attach matching windows going up the tree to act like a castle.

Fast forward to this week and we end up at a nice little quiet time I spent with the Lord while waiting on the maintenance man to come hang up my new art project on the wall...

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

First of all, did you catch that line where it says we are blessed if we not only trust in the Lord but actually transform our trust to be Jesus? I hadn't ever thought of it that way until reading this verse. It's a challenging thing, but so much more rewarding. When Jesus is our trust, we have absolutely nothing to be anxious about. For He is good. He is enough.

Secondly, I fear that I wouldn't have truly grasped verse eight if I had not spent the week gardening. God really knows when to place things in front of our eyes, huh? Dad taught me a lot about deeply planting the roots - especially tomato roots because they spread quickly with enough water. 

Think about that with a tree. 

If we are deeply rooted and planted beside the Living Water, we are going to grow in mighty ways through Christ's power alone. Better yet, fear will begin to disperse because we will have faith in knowing that our roots are deeply planted, spread widely and quenched by the Living Water of our Savior. 

We are so thankful for this Truth today. 


And here is our garden at the apartment!! :) 


I LOVE using fresh herbs and practically punch myself in the kneecap when I have to buy herbs at the grocery store. We left the herb garden (in the strawberry planter) at the bungalow when we moved, so we're thrilled to have it back home with us. Finally, fresh herbs without the cost! 

We're growing rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme, mint and basil. 

The box on the wooden pedestal is our tiny fairy garden. It's quite sweet.

And here's one more photo of mom for ya... 

The John Deere has always been an Adams Family staple. I can't remember a summer when she wasn't on this thing. And if she wasn't riding around the yard, picking up tree branches or rocks before my dad plowed through on the much bigger tractor, well... you would probably find me chugging along on it. 

Hope you're having a wonderful week!! 

Special Finds at The Cotton Depot

Is it in you?? The desire to find the hottest deals at the lowest prices... with the most history behind it? 

Here are the hottest things I found when antique-ing in Monroe, GA, at The Cotton Depot with my mom the week before Easter...

There is just something classic about an old rotary phone, no? This screams retro and America. Don't you love it? I had to part ways with it after snapping this photo because I have a lovely yellow one just like it (oh, but it would fit in so wonderfully with my light blue and red kitchen appliances!!). 

Old filing cabinet. 
Oh yes. I've been searching for something like this for a while. I just never expected it to be so perfect. This purchased jewel will be stored in my shabby chic office when we buy a new home. 

These pieces were created using photo frames and candlestick holders. Fantastic way to create a tiered look to those photos, word art creations or scrapbook paper accents!

This lady's booth is one of my favorites. She has such a beautiful way of organizing her products. Old suitcases such as the one above simply make my heart melt. Did I mention that my mom had a tiny tan one waiting for me (with a few inches of fabric for me to play with tucked inside) when I went to visit her and dad the week before Easter? She knows me so well. :)

An old sewing machine head. This baby was only $22 but will probably never be able to work again without the sewing table and presser foot. I don't care. It's beautiful. 

One day, JD and I will buy an old typewriter to put in our home. We just have to find the perfect one. This one was close to it, but I had already maxed out the budget for my trip. How so? 

...Well, we'll show you that once we have it all settled and cozy in our home...

And finally, I couldn't resist sharing this absolutely striking photo of my mom walking her garden. 

Isn't she beautiful? 

We had the best time walking around their yard as mom pointed out each plant and the history behind it. Many of the plants have been pulled from her mother's and grandmother's yards, simply to be re-planted in my parent's yard. I look forward to the day my mom and Gingin pass down plants to us when JD and I move into our first house. 

Come back Thursday to see photos of my parent's yard and the magical little fairy garden they've created in an old rusty bathtub from my grandparent's lake house in North Georgia.