Moving on...

I created this blog in September 2005 in Dallas, TX at a time when I needed to find my voice. I remember typing the first words as a young woman in the twinkle-lit loft of my condo. At first, it was simply an outlet to stay connected to friends near and far and share the tidbits of my newly-married life. Soon, it became so much more...a place for me to share my photography and art, regularly practice gratefulness, and process the way my life was moving to a simpler one day by day.

When we uprooted our lives from Dallas to Nashville in the fall of 2015, I had captured 10 years of our lives in words, photos, memories, details. This blog is a treasure, a time capsule of a very important decade of my life where we were young and married, owned our own businesses, and had two children. 

Now, after a long hiatus, I know it's time to close the door on Dreams of Simple Life and start fresh on my new website.

Here's a list of my favorite things I've written here over the years. Enjoy!


Summer is {almost} officially here, and the backyard is flourishing from all the recent rains.  The downside is that the flood waters have brought an insane amount of fire ants and mammoth mosquitoes which is a total bummer for playing outside.  But we're bound and determined to be outside a lot this summer and enjoy the bounty of this little piece of urban land we own.  This is the first year we've had a blackberry bush that stands upright - and we've already harvested several handfuls of luscious, tart berries.  Luci Belle loves checking on them each morning and making bouquets with our wildflowers.

The fairy ring we planted with gladiolus bulbs is starting to bloom and will hopefully be a fun play spot...if we can keep the fire ants away.  I'm using a doTerra peppermint oil/vinegar/water spray right now - we'll see if it works!

Here's our little plot of land in early June...

Besides that, we're seeking out all the swimming pools and splash pads possible to keep the little ones cool and happy! 

And of course there's already been lots of this....

...with fresh-squeezed lime juice on top.  If you haven't ever had watermelon with lime, JUST DO IT NOW.  Trust me.

What are you doing with your early summer days? 

Are you implementing any new traditions or activities this summer?

I'd love to know!

10 Tips For Gardening With Kids.

I recently wrote a guest post on 10 Tips for Gardening With Kids for the What's In The Bible blog.  If you have little ones, I hope you'll check out and get some fun ideas.  There are some vintage photos of Luci Belle as a toddler too :).

"Are your kids bouncing off the walls? Are you struggling with tiredness and a sour attitude? Here’s an idea: get your hands in the soil, and let your kids join you. Surround yourself with green. I promise, it will make everything better. God made us to be nourished by these things..."  {continue reading}

Garden progress.

The backyard homestead is progressing.

We've got zucchini!

And tomatoes!

{Well, a few less tomatoes since a certain someone thinks it's funny to pluck off the green ones...}

And a tiny, funky-looking pepper that was so hot it made my husband do a little circle-dance in the kitchen after tasting it...

And loads of herbs, apparently.  Bouquet of fresh oregano, anyone?

Or how about some sage to brush your teeth?

It's true, you can brush your teeth with a sage leaf.  The Italians do it all the time!  Just rub the leaf all over your teeth and you'll see the grimy residue on the leaf, and your teeth will literally be squeaky clean.

So, that's hardly enough food to feed two people much less an entire village, but at least it's progress!

Return of the backyard homestead...

Remember once upon a time, several years ago, when our backyard looked like this?

Remember a cute little couple who spent hours upon hours there tending to their beautiful veggie garden?

Well, things have changed a little.  Here's what the backyard looked like in January...

...and now...


For the last few years we didn't grow as much as we could have, but we do have an excuse - we were sorta busy running a demanding small business and then raising a newborn.  Thankfully, that newborn is now a very active toddler who loves being outside, digging in the dirt.

What's never changed is our dream to have our own farm one day - not in the city, but just outside a small city (Nashville?) - where we grow delicious organic food and host farm dinners at a big rustic table on a patio with white twinkle lights and our children grow up frolicking freely in fields of flowers and horses and goats and chickens.  It's a wonderful, worthy dream, but if we cannot grow food in our small urban backyard in Dallas, we surely won't be able to grow it on 40 acres of land.  Anywhere.

So instead of waiting for a someday dream, we decided it was time to get dirt caked under our nails again.

Here's the grand master plan that Steven drew up for our backyard "homestead":

Much of our recent inspiration came after reading the incredibly fascinating book Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm (featured in the movies Food, Inc. and Food Matters).   Salatin sites, "As early as 1946, nearly 50 percent of all produce grown in America came out of backyard gardens."  A pretty shocking statistic, don't you think?  My mom was born in 1946.  That's not very long ago.

Somehow between the mid-40s and now, convenience began to trump wholesomeness, and growing your own food is mostly viewed as a "hobby" for people who "have time," not as a necessity.

It's not easy.  And I know it's not realistic for everyone to grow all their food in their own backyards these days.  But everyone can plant a few seeds and grow something.  Even if it's just some herbs in a few pots on an urban patio.

So, I wanted to give you a further glimpse into our garden this year.  It's far from perfect, with unrelenting grass sprouts and weeds threatening to overtake our food crops every single day.  Somedays I wish our backyard was an idyllic haven that pruned and weeded itself, but that's not life. We were created to tend the land God created, and I believe that there is a deep satisfaction in doing so.

And most of all, it's ours.  And it will bear food to eat and to share.  And that's something.

Wild cilantro

Lavender flower

Bees love lavender

Trusty red gardening Crocs Teensy salad greens

Red chard



Iris before blooming

Iris unfurling

Clematis vine // Summer squash plant

Persimmon treeTaking a breakWe've already harvested enough greens for a few simple salads, and like the Frances Mayes quote says, it's true. There is something special that happens when you eat something you grow. Maybe it's woven into our very being to be connected to the dirt in a way that sustains us.

Coconut milk latté.

After a heavenly walk in the coolness yesterday, we turned off the air, threw the front and back doors open to create a wind tunnel, and had a wonderful, slow food breakfast with close friends.  Linda knows the way into my heart and brought over my favorite tea in the entire universe - Enfusia - which has recently been discontinued by NutriHarmony due to supply issues.  I've missed my daily Enfusia lattés so much, so I savored every sip!

Isn't it beautiful?

Here's how to make the perfect coconut milk latté...

  • Brew some coffee or maté tea, and make it strong
  • Froth coconut milk in a big mug if you have a frother, or heat it slowly and whisk it in a pan on the stove
  • Slowly pour the hot coffee or tea into the mug with the frothed coconut milk
  • Add a few drops of Vanilla Creme Stevia, to taste
  • Cover with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg

The house looked so cheery with the light coming through...

And while we ate, our poor, crisped back yard got some sprinkler time...

A perfect morning.

Instagram love.

Yes, I know.  I'm the last person on earth to use Instagram.  But after my daughter recently threw my old phone in the toilet, I started using an iPhone generously given to me by a friend.  I love taking photos with a real camera, so I didn't think I'd get into Instagram.  But the more I played around with it, the more I became hooked on how it enables me to take a quick snapshot to capture an ordinary moment or mood in my day.  And some of the photo effects add such a beautiful timeless quality.  So, here are some of my Instagram photos lately...