Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of "all things calm & cozy home."

She shares "how-to" plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It's THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️

Posts by this author:

Homemade Hamburger Helper: Healthier + Quick One Pot Hearty Recipe

Honestly, I’d never tasted hamburger helper until I was a busy Mama that was desperate to get dinner on the table quickly. I switched to homemade hamburger helper (I bought Betty Crocker brand during my coupon-clipping phase) after I realized that I typically had all of the basic ingredients on hand and that it was just as quick to make this boxed meal myself! I soon realized that it was just as cheap and it’s SO easy to customize to hamburger helper with potatoes, homemade hamburger helper stroganoff, to add rice, or even to create a gluten free hamburger helper version. No need to thank me, just enjoy!

white plate of homemade hamburger helper on wood table




I had no idea how to cook from scratch early in my marriage but now I love it! If you’ve been around THTG for more than a minute, you know that it’s an obsession of mine to figure out the easiest cooking hacks that make recipes easy as possible to get on that table. I remember the days of being so overwhelmed in the kitchen that I love sharing easy recipes with all of you (as well as the best family travel secrets, cozy home hacks, and family friendly entertainment).

Early on I realized how simple the ingredients list was for most of these boxed meals and it’s just as fast to throw together homemade hamburger helper of some variation myself. It’s a wholesome meal that the family enjoys AND the other thing I love is that it’s a one pot meal – which means easy clean up and less dishes to wash!


  • What is hamburger helper?

Created in the 1930s as a super convenient boxed meal, it originally was a skillet dish where you added boxed pasta and packets of powdered sauce and seasonings to cooked hamburger meat. Whether using a boxed meal or my homemade version, it’s a way to stretch that hamburger meat out with other cheap ingredients to feed a whole family. Nowadays, there are chicken helper and tuna helpers that have the same concept with alternative meat choices.

  • What does it require to make homemade hamburger helper from scratch? 

Depending on which version you are mimicking, you just need ground meat, pasta (or rice or potatoes), cheese, a little water, and seasonings.  That’s all that it’s in the boxed mix – along with some additives that may or may not be good for you! For instance, if you want cheeseburger macaroni, use the elbow noodles, ground meat, and lots of cheddar. If you want beef stroganoff, use egg noodles with your meat and cheese, etc.

  • What are the different types of Hamburger Helper?

Really, the sky is the limit on your choice of meal. My advice is to use what you have on hand, but here are some popular ones: Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger Macaroni, Cheese Lover’s Lasagna, Cheesy Enchilada, and Cheesy Beef & Hash browns.


Again, you can change out every aspect of this recipe as you wish. For instance, you can lighten the meat taste by using ground turkey instead of ground beef. If you need this recipe to be gluten free, simply make a switch to gluten free pasta. If you would like to create a dairy free dish, all you have to do is use an unsweetened almond or coconut milk of your choice.


All the exact measurements are on the printable recipe card below, but here are the ingredients for the original hamburger helper recipe at a glance. ->>>

  • ground meat
  • water
  • milk
  • pasta
  • seasonings
  • cheese


The ingredients and instructions for a printable recipe card on how to make homemade hamburger helper are below but here’s the basic idea:

Just like the boxed version, you do precook the ground meat, but you won’t have to precook the pasta, rice, or potatoes.  You’ll cook and drain 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey, add the water and all the other ingredients, and cook for ten minutes before stirring and cooking for a few more.

Easy Peasy!


You probably know this, but in case you don’t, be sure to drain the extra oil that accumulates while cooking your ground meat. Also, don’t skip the step of bringing all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring well, covering, and then letting simmer for the allotted time. All of those steps are important and don’t let it overcook!


Y’all. This little kitchen set is a couple of brilliant lifesavers. Not only can you chop up ground meat and use the scraper to get every drop, there’s also a little strainer that clips onto the chopper for a hands free way to easily drain the grease.

Yes, please!

Meat Chopper with Silicone Clip-On Strainer


Here are some of the other most popular easy recipes you may also enjoy:

Pork Chops Recipe – Low Carb + Cheap + Easy + Only 3 Ingredients

How To Cook Green Beans – Done in 12 Minutes & Perfectly Every Single Time

Crockpot Italian Meatballs – Low Carb & 3 Ingredients


Here’s the printable homemade hamburger helper recipe:

Homemade Hamburger Helper (The How-to Guru)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 C hot water
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 to 1/2 C pasta, rice, or small sliced potatoes
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 to 1/2 cups cheese
  • extra water if needed
  1. Cook and drain 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey.
  2. Add l cup hot water, 2 cups of milk, 1 to 1/2 cups pasta, rice, or very small sliced potatoes, 1 Tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sugar.
  3. Stir the mixture well and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir and add liquid if needed.
  5. Add lid and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, add cheese, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

I’d love to know – what’s your favorite homemade hamburger helper meal?


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Things To do In Hilton Head Island + Where To Stay + Best Family Restaurants

I’d heard rumors of fabulous shopping in Hilton Head and I was dying to investigate firsthand the other things to do in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for families. Like you, I wondered: Are there family friendly Hilton Head Island restaurants? Is this an over-the-top tourist town? What’s the weather like? Is Hilton Head Island beach crowded? I adore sharing the southern family travel scoop that women want to know about vacation spots, so stick around for the best things to do, where to stay, and what to eat with the whole family in tow.

view of lighthouse - things to do in Hilton Head Island



Save on your hotel -


Driving onto the island that’s twelve miles long and five miles wide, it definitely felt bigger and busier than its coastal cousin of St. Simons Island, Georgia that we’ve visited before – I wasn’t sure I would like it. We are grateful to the owners of #45 Ocean Club Condo for hosting us. As always, my honest Southern opinions are my own.

The story goes that back in 1949, developer Charles Fraser fell so in love with Hilton Head that he envisioned a peaceful beach community where the structures blended into the landscape and had respect for the nature around them. That’s why we noticed structures no higher than five stories and why even the McDonald’s yellow arches were tiny and didn’t have a neon light.


  • Can you give Hilton Head directions?

Whether you are driving north or south toward this coastal South Carolina island, Hilton Head is located just off of I95.

  • Is Hilton Head close to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?

There are about 150 miles between Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.

  • How close is Hilton Head to Charleston?

There are approximately two hours between Charleston and HHI.

  • How close is Hilton Head to Savannah, Georgia?

Hilton Head Island is about a twenty mile drive north from Savannah, Georgia.

  • What airport is closest to Hilton Head?

If you are flying to Hilton Head, the closest major airport is Savannah Hilton Head International Airport and it’s located about an hour away, or you may can fly straight into the Hilton Head Island Airport. Rental cars, taxis, and limos are all available for transportation from both.

  • Is Coligny Beach free?

Yes, parking at Hilton Head’s public beach is free. Yes, and you’ll love the family friendly amenities that will come in handy at this park like benches, changing rooms, gazebos with swings, bathrooms, restaurants, and stores.



A unique little waterfront community hub is tucked away on the south end of Hilton Head Island called Harbour Town. A cheerful, red and white candy-striped lighthouse stands in the center as  an iconic landmark and museum. Hilton Head’s history lines the lighthouse walls as you make the easy walk up to the top for the best scenic views of the Harbour Town Marina and the Calibogue Sound. At the top there is also a tiny gift shop with fun, memorable gifts. The shopping village is a collection of fine apparel boutiques, decor shoppes, and souvenir stores.

aerial view of Harbour Town, things to do in Hilton Head Island

Harbour Town

insider tips: The lighthouse tour is $5 to and actually has great gifts. It’s $8 per car charge to enter the Sea Pines community where Harbour Town is located. Be sure to buy a hand-dipped ice cream from the ice cream shop and chill in the red rocking chairs to watch the boats come into the marina. Kids can play and climb in the treehouse at the adjacent playground with the enormous live oak tree. Stick around for the nightly free performances there for kids there by a local artist.


With over 200 local Hilton Head restaurants, there is a place or two to fit everyone’s palate. The variety of Hilton Head Island restaurants goes beyond run-of-the-mill seafood joints on the coast. Surprisingly, there’s a strong representation of authentic Italian and Mexican/Southwestern neighborhood places also.

view of Aunt Chiladas mexican plate - things to do in Hilton Head

Aunt Chilada’s Mexican Fare

One of our favorite things to do in a new place is to check out the local eateries! Below is a list of our favorite family friendly restaurants in order of awesomeness:

  • Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House – most incredible stone oven-cooked pizza crust I’ve ever put in my mouth! Fresh ingredients. Family-friendly sports bar atmosphere.
  • Aunt Chiladas – broad range of “Tex-Mex” and Mexican cuisine. Indoor or covered patio outdoor seating. Not your everyday Mexican! Laid-back atmosphere.
  • The Smokehouse – exceptional wood-fired pulled pork BBQ, and wings. Very laid-back outdoor deck seating with a fireplace that was great.
  • Java Burrito – best described as a tricked-out Chipotle counter service & high-level coffee bar. Not fancy – strip mall-style space with roomy seating.

insider tips: One night we had planned to visit the fine dining Italian restaurant, Ombra, but stumbled upon Giuseppi’s instead and fell in love. This place is hopping – don’t wait too close to dinnertime to arrive or you may have to wait a while!


There is no shortage of Hilton Head Island shopping. From the Shelter Cove shopping center to the extensive range of Tanger Outlets, there is an area for everyone. Nestled in woodsy lots, each shopping center has a beautiful promenade and coastal decor.

view of best things to do in Hilton Head - shopping!

Hilton Head Shopping Center – Francesca’s at Shelter Cove


With twelve miles of Hilton Head Island beach to choose from, you’ll find wide stretches of hard-packed sand perfect for walking and bike riding. All along the South Carolina Coast, this area is family friendly and one of the cleanest you’ll find. With several public beach accesses, each have a vibe of their own:

  • Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Drive
  • Burkes Beach Access, at the end of Burkes Beach Road
  • Chaplin Community Park, off of William Hilton Parkway
  • Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Circle
  • Driessen Beach Park, at the end of Bradley Beach Road
  • Fish Haul Beach Park, off Beach City Road
  • Folly Field Beach Park, off Folly Field Road
  • Historical Mitchelville Freedom Park, at the end of Beach City Road
  • Islanders Beach Park, off Folly Field Road

Driessen Beach and Islanders Beach parks are great choices for families because they have playgrounds and picnic shelters.

beach chair on the beach - things to do in Hilton Head Island SC

HHI’s South Forest Beach

Personally, we thought South Forest Beach, the one-mile stretch of beachfront that begins at Coligny Circle and ends at Sea Pines Plantation (and directly in front of our condo), was the perfect family friendly spot because of the quiet, more secluded feel but with close access to beachside barefoot cafes, shopping, dining and live entertainment options.

insider tips: If you’re torn about where to stay, consider the AirBnB we stayed in (described below) that’s only 100 steps from the patio door to our favorite beach!


It may seem odd to include our condo to this list but it added SO much value to our stay! What we didn’t realize was that this was no ordinary beach condo. Not only was it located on the quietest area of the island, it was also close to shopping and restaurants, and had a fantastic view of the ocean. Literally five steps away from the back patio was a short walkway that led straight to the sand. Equipped with everything we needed, there were many extras that made our stay extra special.

Ocean Front 45 Ocean Club 
Recently renovated with breathtaking Coastal Farmhouse decor, our condo came with two roomy bedrooms, two baths, and the best master shower I’ve ever experienced. Not only was it immaculately clean but we had every possible supply that we needed plus many extras.

The extras included a fully stocked kitchen, modern washer and dryer, beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, heated pool, outdoor grill, over-sized Adirondack outdoor furniture, and three smart TVs. Here’s how to book this condo now.





Hilton Head Airbnb: South Forest Beach, Hilton Head, Island SC

Harbour Town Village & Lighthouse: 149 Lighthouse Rd, Hilton Head

Giuseppi’s: 32 Shelter Cove Ln, Hilton Head

Aunt Chilada’s: 69 Pope Ave, Hilton Head

The Smokehouse: 34 Palmetto Rd, Hilton Head

Java Burrito: 1000 William Hilton Pkwy

Shelter Cove Town Centre: 40 Shelter Cove Ln, Hilton Head

Tanger Outlets: 1414 Fording Island Rd., Bluffton, SC

Coligny Plaza/Beach Park: 1 N Forest Beach Dr., Hilton Head

you may also like…



Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


How To Clean Lamp Shades: 3 Genius Ideas For Almost Any Material

Don’t have a clue how to clean lamp shades, so they get ignored in a room that’s otherwise fairly clean? No judging here – I ignored my dusty lamp shades for far too long because I wasn’t sure how to clean fabric lamp shades and if I would rip or ruin them. Finally I’d had enough of those dust collectors and decided to experiment until I figured out cleaning hacks to get the job done and I can’t wait to share that with you. There are basically three methods to choose from to clean almost any lamp shade material and you won’t believe how fast and easy it is!

view of white and silver lamp on bedroom side table - How To Clean Lamp Shades



Growing up as an only child in the house, it was my task to do all the dusting every week. Maybe it was because my Mom owned 562 lamps and they were all fabric or that we lived off of a dirt road and it was especially dusty, but I despised having to clean lamp shades. It seemed to take me forever to get them all free of dust. I’m not sure if I was being a dramatic kid but I did feel like Cinderella. I mean, she made me drag out the vacuum cleaner for heaven sakes!

OK, I am a little dramatic.

I think that’s why dusting my lamps was never on my weekly cleaning list because I avoided it like the plague. When I realized I needed to know how to dust more efficiently because of dust allergies in our home, I knew I had to find out how to clean lamp shades quick and easy too! It was time to put on my big girl britches and get to experimenting! I found out a lot and here are the deets…..


  • How do you clean stained lamp shades?

My favorite lamp shade cleaners for stains have been Dawn dish washing detergent or or shout fabric spray. Start by testing a tiny spot on the inside of the lamp if possible. Spray a tiny bit of shout fabric spray on a damp cleaning rag and scrub the stain gently. Rinse the rag and wipe the spot gently again. Let dry!

  • Can you wash a fabric lampshade? 

Yes, I do all the time by carefully placing lamp shade in the bathtub (like fake flowers and so many other things) and giving it a good, gentle rinse with warm water. Be sure to do a test first where you wet a tiny spot on the back of the shade to be sure it won’t leave a mark. Some lamp shades like paper shades or linen shades may be too fragile so test a tiny spot and be very gentle.

  • What about a “yellowing” lamp shade?

Refer to the three choices of cleaning your lamp shades below according to the fabric, but if the fabric is sturdy enough, you could add a tiny amount of liquid bleach to the bath method below.


Lamp Shade and Fabric Cleaner


Depending on the type of lamp shade that you have and the extent of its dustiness will depend of which method you need to choose below to get it clean. I suggest starting with #1 and working your way through if the first method didn’t work.


As a first step, rub a microfiber cloth across your lamp shade to dust it easily and roll a lint roller across it gently to pick up any remaining particles, especially if the lamp shade is cotton or synthetic fabric. Most of the time, this is all that’s needed to get the job done!


If you have a cotton or synthetic fabric lamp shade that needs a little more attention, wipe it down with a damp rag that’s been dipped in a bowl of warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of Dawn detergent! If your lamp shade is made of a parchment/thin paper material or is especially fragile, use the same method but use a delicate laundry detergent instead of Dawn. Wipe the lamp gently and then rinse and repeat if necessary.


This trick works for so many things in our home that get extremely dusty like artificial flowers and certain decor items that hang on walls and aren’t dusted as often. All they need are a good rinse in warm water in the bathtub, let dry, and then put back where they belong.

view of white lamp shade and side table - how to clean lamp shades


Wayfair – we carry over 5,000 brands of products like furniture, lighting, cookware, and everything in between

Do you have any secrets you’d like to add about how to clean lamp shades? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!




Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Best Spring Break Destinations In The US: 4 Family Friendly Fun Spots

So long, winter! It’s that time when families seek the best Spring Break destinations in the US. It’s a perfect opportunity to strengthen those family bonds on a unique family vacation like a family friendly Florida Spring Break, glorious Georgia beaches road trip, fabulous fun in Alabama, or a relaxing respite in the Carolinas. Springtime in the south boasts colorful landscapes and mild weather for those looking to enjoy their time away with the fam.

view of beach chair on beach sand - best spring break destinations for families


For those of us in the United States, Spring break is typically “getaway time” anywhere between February and May. For those of our friends in the UK, their break is called Easter holiday.

I don’t know about you, but our family starts itching to for a simple getaway that involves a little activity outdoors, lots of sunshine and fun experiences after what always feels like the longest winter ever. This year especially, I’ve found myself obsessing over Instagram feeds filled with beach and Spring images. If you feel the same way, let’s get on with those Spring break vacation ideas for families, shall we?!


While others are unknowingly spending their Spring break hauling luggage into an enormous, cookie cutter high-rise hotel on a tourist-y beach, why not take a walk on the wild side… literally. Cumberland Island, Georgia is not your typical island. This small barrier island is a National Seashore with protected beaches and maritime forest, historic ruins, and is teeming with wildlife like loggerhead turtles. Oh, and did I mention the beautiful, wild horses that run free along the beach and all over?!

Take the road trip to St. Mary’s, Georgia and catch the ferry to this super secluded island where only 30 guest are allowed daily. Want to spend the night? Stay at the primitive Cumberland Island campground, Cumberland Island B&B (owned by none other than descendants of the Andrew Carnegie family), or an adorable St. Mary’s Bed and Breakfast.

insider tip: Make it a fun family trip by planning your ferry reservations ahead of time!

view of Cumberland Beach - Best Spring Break Destinations

Cumberland Island Georgia Beaches


We had a blast with our recent Key West vacation ideas, vacation to Miami Beach with kids, and our time at Walt Disney World, but I wouldn’t advise these Florida vacation destinations during Spring break because of the crowds! What I would suggest is visiting a place along the Florida Coast that I’d never heard about known as Hutchinson Island. I give you all the scoop on why Jensen Beach won our hearts last year as one of the best East Coast beaches.

insider tip: Stay closest to the beach area that I mention in the East Coast beach post for the least amount of crowds!

view of girl in ocean - 4 best Spring break destinations

Jensen Beach, Florida


Want to spend this year’s Spring break vacation on a beach whose town doesn’t put up with underage drinking and nonsense? Visit the breathtaking Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches and experience smaller crowds than the Florida beaches just to the east. Orange Beach, Alabama in particular is a gorgeous area known as the water sports hub of the area that also boasts a Waterfront park, fishing pier, lovely picnic areas, cool Native American history, and Backcountry Trails screaming to be explored.

insider tip: If family friendly beach time with your people is not in your Spring break plans, I wouldn’t choose Orange Beach, Alabama!

view of Alabama beach pier bottom - best Spring break destinations

Orange Beach, Alabama


Last but not least, Wilmington Island is one of the best Spring break destinations if you want a variety of family friendly things to do. Along the North Carolina Coast, this charming vacation town doesn’t have the crowds of nearby bustling cities. Wrightsville and Carolina beaches are a relaxing choice, but the Cape Fear Museum and shopping in the Cotton Exchange are alternatives if Spring showers make an appearance.

insider tip: Take a trip Downtown for the best meal around at one of the fabulous Mom and Pop Wilmington restaurants!

view of Wilmington waterfront - best Spring break destinations


  • Does Orange Beach, Alabama have orange sand or water?

No. In the early days of this Alabama region, forestland was depleted and replaced with orange groves. The citrus industry was an important aspect of this town until several hard freezes (up until 1926) ended the fruit tree’s days.

  • What  big cities are closest to Wilmington, North Carolina?

Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Charlotte, North Carolina are the ones nearest in the state.

  • Is it warm enough to swim in Florida in March?

“Warm enough” to swim varies from person to person (I’m a coldie!) but generally most people find Florida ocean waters warm enough to swim between April and October.


Currently, this is the favorite, perfect little cover up or comfy beach dress to go from beachcomber to beach shopper.

perfect cover up or beach dress
A fabulous multi-purpose, extra large blanket!

Huge Outdoor Blanket
I hope you found all of the information about this southern destinations helpful. Let me know if you visit one of them and tell ’em I sent ya!


Are any of these also one of your best Spring break destinations in the South? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!



Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Farmhouse Easter Ideas: How To Easily Decorate & Love Your Home

Crisp Springtime air, light pastel colors after dreary winter, and the season of hope of Christian faith are reasons why Easter brings me joy. So, I’m tickled to share some fun Easter ideas for decorating in adorable farmhouse style this year. Oh, yeah! Indoor and Outdoor Easter Decorations with a couple Easter decor DIY ideas thrown in that won’t break the bank have been top on my list lately. So let’s get busy, friend, spreading a little Springtime love around our homes for friends, family, and ourselves to enjoy!


view of white vase, pink roses, and pink Easter eggs on table



It seems like every Spring season when I’m ready to decorate, all the Easter decor is so expensive. The reality is that I don’t plan ahead and I’m just wondering around at the last minute wanting to grab items. When I see how much the farmhouse style Easter decorations that I like cost, I just keep on walking. Therefore, I don’t have very much to decorate with when it comes time.

This year, I’m ready early. As you know if you’ve been following my social media, we’ve been doing a lot of renovation on the homestead and I’m super excited to finish and redecorate. I’m pretty tickled to show you the affordable Easter ideas I have – both DIY and cheap Amazon decorations we can just buy!

  • New but old Easter decorations
  • DIY Easter decorations
  • the best Amazon Easter decorations for inside & outside


Since I’m trying to be frugal with my Easter budget (I assume you are too since you’re reading this) AND stay within the Farmhouse Easter decor style,  I realized that I had many pieces in my home already that could be pulled into this special Spring decor.

Variety of containers ~ If you’re like me, you have several solid white pieces that aren’t seasonal that can be used for many holidays. Look around and see if you have any white, silver, wood, glass or galvanized metal vases, buckets, baskets, etc. Look around before you answer because you may be surprised in what you already own. These pieces can be the base for a new tablescape or mantle.

Inexpensive contents ~ As suggested above, find a variety of containers around the house and then fill them with artificial flowers or flowers from your garden. You’ll be amazed how pretty some artificial flowers can be that are bought at craft stores, dollar stores,, or from Amazon. Real flowers don’t have to be fancy either – simple, long-stemmed wildflowers are a nice touch for a springtime feel.

view of Easter ideas DIY


Before you get anxiety about having to make a fragile egg craft or something (just, no), realize that I struggle in this area. I always want to do crafts for the holidays but I also don’t want to spend more money buying the supplies than just buying it on Amazon.

Rustic bunny ~ How about a DIY rustic bunny from wood pieces that you or the hubs just may have laying around somewhere. Check out the tutorial for this adorable wooden bunny.

Meaningful decor ~ It’s fairly easy to find Easter bunny decor in practically every store in this season, but finding faith-based decor that’s pretty is a much harder task. Check out these beautiful DIY Religious Easter Decorations that I’m obsessed with. I’m definitely making the twig cross wreath pictured and can’t wait!

Chalk spray paint ~ Make old containers you have feel fresh and new with a quick spray of white or pastel-colored chalk spray paint. Fill them with inexpensive flowers or other decor. You can use this to paint many things like the idea below.

White frames ~ Most everyone has picture frames sitting around or can purchase some very cheaply. How about filling several white frames (this can be ones you already own just spray painted white if you have to) with photos of past Easter celebrations?! I think it would be super cute to have several frames sitting on a table or mantle of Easter memories you and your family have shared together or with the Easter bunny!

Farmhouse carrots ~ Here’s how to make the coolest looking farmhouse accessories that would add so much texture and cuteness to a tablescape or vignette: dollar tree carrots.


Here are a few of my favorite adorable indoor Easter decorations available easily on Amazon:

Spring Theme Pillow Covers
Easter Burlap Banner

“He Lives” Table Top Decor
Mama & Baby Bunnies Shelf Sitters
Here are my favorite outdoor Easter decorations easily found on Amazon:

Simple Front Door Artificial Boxwood Wreath 
Wood Wagon Flower Planter 
Easter Bunny Hugger with Posable Arms
Solar Easter Lily LED Flower Light

I hope you have enjoyed my roundup of favorite Easter ideas to add to your home too!

Do you have any Easter ideas to add to mine that you’d like to share with our community? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Jekyll Island: 6 Reasons You’ll Want An Annual Getaway To This Paradise

Although we didn’t arrive by luxurious yacht onto Jekyll Island, Georgia like the wealthy elite that bought the island in the 1800s, we certainly felt the Victorian elegance of this enchanting island the moment we crossed the causeway. As a travel journalist, I’ve seen a lot of vacation destinations, but the spectacular balance of nature, glamorous Jekyll Island Club, and all of the unique Jekyll Island things to do for families is truly a rarity. Here are the top six reasons that you’ll want to plan an annual family vacation tradition to this paradise.

view of Jekyll Island Driftwood beach and Jekyll Island Club Resort

After all, there is a famous legend floating around… Have you heard about it?


view of horse and carriage outside of Jekyll Island Club

Countless blockbusters have been filmed on Jekyll Island because of the breathtaking scenery, yet somehow this barrier island is still flying under the radar as a vacation escape. Thanks to the Jekyll Island Club Resort for hosting us, and, as always, my Southern opinions are my own. 

Links to venues and activities mentioned will be listed at the end for your convenience.


The moment we entered the Historic District, we felt as though we’d stepped back in time because all 240-acres of the Jekyll Island Club Resort and Island Cottages have been preserved in the splendor of the Gilded Age – earning an induction into the Historic Hotels of America.

The attention to detail that began with the valet staff was extended to our luxurious suite, the gorgeous river view, and the grand architecture. As we navigated throughout the property, we found beauty around every corner of the perfectly manicured grounds.

This Jekyll Island resort certainly knew exactly how to pamper us in every way. Our luxurious suite had a double balcony and that’s where I spent most of my time when we weren’t exploring the island.

Again we felt as if I’d been whisked away to yesteryear world of glamour and leisure when we watched a Cinderella-like horse and carriage pass below our balcony and later saw a group of couples dressed in Victorian-period attire play croquet on the front lawn.

view of Jekyll Island Club Croquet

Croquet at the Jekyll Island Club Resort

view of Jekyll Island Club Resort balcony overlook of the pool and river

Jekyll Island Club Resort Balcony View


When I first heard stories of Jekyll Island treasure hunting, I was intrigued.  A hide-and-seek game to find collectible gems on a secluded island?! Yes, please, sign me up!

Every January and February, Jekyll Island volunteers called “beach buddies” hide replicas of glass globes that replicate glass fishing floats used by fishermen all over the world in years past to keep their lines afloat. We found out that guests find these globes “hidden” in plain sight… on a bench, in a flower bed, on the front porch of a cottage. They are never off of a public path or in the marsh or dunes.

close up view of Jekyll Island Treasures

view of Jekyll Island treasure at Visitor Center

Jekyll Island Visitor Center wall of handmade glass treasures


“Wow” is what I mumbled under my breath several times during our guided tram tour.  Our expert guide did a fantastic job of bringing the stories to life of the elite Jekyll Island Club members that created an exclusive island retreat for family and friends.

I was captivated because I’m a history buff, but also because our guide slowly drove through the entire 240-acre historic district while sharing juicy details about what was called back in the day “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”  We were even able to tour two of the millionaire cottages that were full of period-style furnishings and more stories.

Did you know that men with famous last names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Baker wanted this island as a retreat for their friends and families and that together they represented one-sixth of the world’s wealth?!

view of Jekyll Island History Tour Cottage of 1800s Millionaires

One of the “simple” Jekyll Island Cottages owned by the Jekyll Island millionaires in the 1800s


When my daughter expressed how much she’d like to explore the island and hunt for treasure via bike paths, I didn’t know if this was going to end well or not!  Boy, was I delightfully surprised!

When we arrived at the bike rental center, there were many sizes and styles to choose from. I fell in love with the bike rental I was given because of the rugged tires, comfy seat, and the zip pouch attached to the front to hold our belongings.

We had one of the most memorable family bonding days while riding our bikes that day.  My daughter still hasn’t stopped talking about it and we decided that it was our second favorite part of the trip – next in line to staying in our favorite luxurious Jekyll Club suite.

view of Jekyll Island Bike Rental

Jekyll Island Bike Rental


When most of the United States is dealing with snow and ice, this Southernmost island of the Golden Isles has very mild winters.  The Gilded Age millionaires were certainly on to something when they acquired this Southern playground for its Jekyll Island weather.

Can you believe that the annual average annual average temperature is a delightful 68º F here?


We were in full agreement of sadness when it came time to leave our stress-free oasis.  We fully recognized that this vacation was unique in many ways but mainly in the fact that we literally forgot the world we left behind.  Not once did I worry about stresses that we all have in our daily lives.

I believe the reason is because Jekyll Island, Georgia literally melts stress away the moment you drive across the causeway.  The fact that it’s only 65% developed, 35 % nature and seclusion, and includes just the right amount of amenities at your fingertips was soothing to our souls.  We’ve been to nice resorts and pretty islands, but we’ve never truly relaxed like we did on Jekyll Island.

view of Jekyll Island Luxury Robe

Jekyll Island Club Resort Robes

view of Jekyll Island Club Resort sign and girl


Jekyll Island Club Resort: 371 Riverview Drive Jekyll Island, GA  Facebook link   Instagram link  any other sm links?

Jekyll Club Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest

Jekyll Island Historic Tours 101 Old Plantation Rd., Jekyll Island, GA

Jekyll Island Bike Barn corner of N. Beachview Dr. and Shell Rd., Jekyll Island, GA

Bike Path Map

Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter images & videos of our stay

For more information, visit Jekyll Club

Thanks again goes to The Jekyll Club for taking
care of us in every way!

view of Jekyll Island path of canopied oak trees

Do you have any secrets you’d like to share about Jekyll Island?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!




Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, multiple sites and her local newspaper, Shan Walker is a Family Travel Journalist and Guru of “all things calm & cozy home.”

She shares “how-to” plan the best family vacations in the South with reviews & secrets that Women REALLY want to know. She also has quick home hacks to create a comfy space we all crave & easy recipes to knock your socks off!

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️