Connecting Life and Home in our "Home away from Home"

It has been a busy few weeks here at the Staalsen home and I've had a wonderful vacation.  I'm back to work, but thought I'd give you a little glimpse of what life has looked like over the past month.

We had a special Christmas together with our family! We hosted 18  for dinner on Christmas Day, which  was a ton  of work but so much fun. Getting all the food on the table hot was a chaotic challenge, but we did it.



Because there were so many of us, I opted to use paper plates which made all the teen dishwashers happy.  I found these gorgeous paper gold chargers. I used clear plastic plates for the food and it looked amazing.


My favorite part of hosting is setting up the main table and the buffet tables.  This year I used one of my sari's from India on the dessert table.


 For bringing in the New Year, we  took 20 college kids camping. We were the cooks! I was glad to be in our "home away from home " with my heater, Keurig and shower.


 The kids were brave and slept in their hammocks. Brrrrrrrr


Thanks to Kennedy with Perspectives Photography for the pictures below.

We brought the New Year in around the fire with sparklers and lots of loud fun.


We made memories and continued our tradition from last year.


Life is about these moments!  Community with those we love, even the crazy ones.


There is something about being around a roaring fire that makes us bring life back to the basics. It is the  imple things in life that makes it so rich.



My 2 words for this year are BE PRESENT.


Life is too short to not be in the moment with those we love. I challenge you to think on these words as you continue with your goals for the year.

Be present and be connected!

I have lots of fun things to announce in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Thanksgiving Table


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.


My goal this year for me was to set a very "natural" table.  I wanted neutral colors and simplicity.


My daughter and I found a Magnolia tree close by and we took a drive with our clippers in hand. It was a blast and a memory with great laughter.


We found more than just magnolia leaves.


I had a brand new large tarp (bought from Lowes) that fits over 2 large tables.

It was the perfect texture and color for what I was looking for.  We wanted everyone to be able to sit at one large table.  All 21 of us fit perfectly.  Now that we have teens, they would rather be with the adults.


I then placed black striped wrapping paper down the middle as my runner.  I found the animal print pumpkins at Hobby Lobby for 80% off so I was thrilled.


The magnolia leaves were layered down the center and I added fresh pears for some color.

 My husband bought me the plates for an anniversary present several years ago and I love them! I also layered cut aspen pieces amongst the magnolia leaves.


Time together around a table is priceless! Great conversation, good food and a beautiful table makes everyone happy!

decrenewinteriors 30

  This table could easily be duplicated for a Christmas table.


Just add some pomegranates and you are set!

If you would like to see the live periscope that I did of our table, visit where you can view the replay video.

You can also see many other video's I have done for decorating inspiration.

Who doesn't LOVE Sunday lunch?

I have always loved Sunday lunches after church with family.  This Sunday was extra special because my Aunt and Uncle from South Africa are here visiting! 
My mom, my aunt, my sister and myself :)
One of the things I love most about Sunday lunch is setting the table.  Nothing fancy but just simple and  inviting "using what I have."  I used my every day china and crystal this time.  I found the tablecloth last year at an estate sale (thank you to my daughter who ironed it for me).  It is a beautiful cross stitch pattern that the lady's mother had made. 
I brought in the miniature roses and berries from my backyard.  I have a set of 5 little vases and they always make the table feel "simply" spectacular.
We made fajitas since my Aunt and Uncle had never had them.  Of course, they loved them.  We did have to convince them that they didn't need to eat them with their knife and fork.  Picking them up and eating them like a sandwich was totally cool here in Texas.  We had a good laugh over that. 
Several years ago, I purposely purchased a large bowl that goes in the center of my table.  The reason I love it so much is that everyone can be seated and I can have something beautiful in it without disrupting our view of each other.  
Ruthie's tip of the day
 Centerpieces are lovely but don't create one or place one in the center of the table that you have to remove once everyone is seated.  You want to be able to enjoy it while you eat.  Make it low and wide if you have to, rather than too tall.
I change what is in the bowl with the seasons.  I can't wait to put my pumpkins in it for the fall and then fill it with Christmas ornaments for the holiday season.   Of course everybody got a cloth napkin because as you know, Fajitas are not easy to eat without making a mess!
For yesterday's meal, I filled it with these blown glass balls.  I placed a loose flower amongst them because I loved that pop of interest.
It was amazing to hear about my Aunt and Uncle's adventures and ministries that they are a part of all over the world.  Very inspiring to hear how lives are being touched and hope is being planted in others hearts. My uncle has been building houses, teaching others to garden so they can eat their own crops, feeding and providing shelter for orphans, etc.  See his website here.
After we finished the meal, I scattered the little vases around the house so we can enjoy them all week!  We all had coffee, apple pie and ice cream and chatted all afternoon.  Perfect Sunday!
Hope your Labor Day weekend was amazing.  We were blessed to have my husband's family and some great friends over for the day for burgers.
  My house was full all weekend and that is what makes my soul happy!
Thank you to my sister in law who brought me these beauties!  I have them on my desk so I can enjoy them while I work this week.
Hope your week is filled with beauty and not too much chaos.
   Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23 NLT)
Visit my website DecRenew Interiors to see my Design Portfolio. 
 I'd love to set up a consultation with you so we can make your home beautiful.