Friday, May 27, 2016


Today was Mark's last day with his employer of the last ten years. He has taken a new position in senior management in a small community bank about 45 minutes from here, and begins the new job on Tuesday. We are excited, and a bit nervous, albeit appropriately so, about what the future holds for our family and Mark's new career.  I was curious to see where Mark would be working in Charlotte County. Although Phenix, Virginia, is only 45 minutes from our home, I am completely unfamiliar with that part of Southern Virginia. At least I was until two days ago. I picked Courtland up from school on Wednesday, asked her if she wanted to go for a drive, she said yes, and so we took an inpromptu drive through the meandering country roads, by glorious green fields that stretched for miles, into the middle of nowhere, and wound up here. Here. I have never wanted to live in the country, but if I did decided to move to the middle of nowhere, it would be here.
This deep front porch is absolutely dreamy, and the back porch, too. I  would spend long, lazy days here, with a glass on lemonade in hand. I can picture the tables covered in sweet floral print cloths, topped with trays of sweet tea, surrounded by geraniums and ferns. There is no cell service, so I would have to talk to my neighbors in person, while we rock back and forth on the porch swing, sweet tea in hand. 
Then there is the English basement, the herringbone brick patio, and the oh-so-sweet tire swing. Sure I could have a tire swing at home, but I can't get these rolling hills and country road in the backdrop.
I told Mark we should buy this house. I know it is a long way from town, but it is only 15 minutes from The Bank of Charlotte County's headquarters in Phenix. It is 25 minutes to Halifax County High School and not much further to Farmville. Plus, the thought of living that far from town is strangely sort of appealing.  I do love people, and I would really miss entertaining, but I have whipped up a solution for that.  I would offer our home as a retreat, turn it into a Bed and Breakfast, and I would cater small events at the house, like bridal showers and tea parties. I could offer packages to include local winery and history tours, and would blog about how you can come here to take a step back in time - Modern life in a two hundred year old plantation home on ten acres in rural Southern Virginia.
What do you think? Have I gone mad, or does living on a two hundred year old plantation 20 minutes from town sound strangely appealing to you, too? ps Look at this picture and tell me the first thing that needs to be done, right after taking down this hornet nest. This porch ceiling needs a fresh coat of paint. I am already thinking of shades of blue to complement this beautiful Virginia sky.   
This house is Sylvan Hill Plantation, located in Saxe, Virginia, and it just so happens to be for sale. There are pictures of the interior on several real estate websites. The electrical, plumbing, and interior have been completely refurbished, and the house comes furnished with period furnishings. I have looked at the house twice, but haven't been inside yet. I'm a little afraid to. I might not want to leave. Wish us luck as we venture toward the future and our new career and life in Charlotte County. Until next time, I'll be dreaming of porch swings, rolling fields, country roads, freshly squeezed lemonade, and endless Southern hospitality.
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Favorite Finds at Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale, May 12-14, 2016

I went to the Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale early yesterday morning before it opened to the public, which meant I got first pick of what was in store. I bought a beautiful two large hammered metal beverage holders for entertaining. I believe they are champagne bottle holder, but I will use for wine, beer, bottled waters. I also bought a matching salad bowl, which again, can be used for nuts, candies, pretzels, you name it, and this beautiful round bar tray. (Yes, these are my Aldi's lemonade bottles!)

After I published the blog post yesterday morning, my friend Claire, who just bought and is refurbishing a home, and who has been knee deep in floor sand, paint colors, and wood refinishing, emailed me and asked if I would go back and pick some things up for her. When I arrived back there last night, a lot of the hammered metal was gone, but there were still a few pieces. (I am amazed at how much they move in one day at this sale.) There were a ton of sheet sets, towels, bath robes, kitchen lines, and soaps left as of last night. 
 I bought this hand towel for my guest bathroom, and I bought this hand soap at a previous sale.
 These two white towels and this linen hand towel are welcome additions to my new mud room.   I bought Claire three hand towels for her new guest bathroom, one every day table cloth, another special occasion tablecloth with the Green Sweet technology, which I will explain, and a French linen kitchen towel. I bought myself six every day placemats, hand lotion, a linen towel for my mud room, a few hand towels, and a couple of bath mats. I like the bathmats because they don't have the rubber backing, they can be tossed in the washer and dryer, and at 2 for $12 were a steal.
Green Sweet is a way of treating fibers individually, so that when they are woven together, they do not absorb stain causing agents, but trap them. When this happens, you can see the dirty mess on the fabric only until you wash it, but after it is washed, the dirt, wine, chocolate, etc. will wash right out, leaving no stain. High quality fibers are used and treated specially using this process. There is another process of applying acrylic layers over fabric that creates a different type of stain resistant fabric also available at the sale.
If you have wanting to visit the sale or are planning a future trip, or if you just want to know what's new and what has stayed the same, I hope this information has helped. To read yesterday's article, click here. Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with your favorite things!
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale May 12-14, 2016 in South Boston, Virginia

I'm here! Thank you Garnier-Thiebaut for asking me again to the Warehouse Sale! Y'all know this warehouse sale is like a national holiday for me, so I would be remiss to not wish everyone a  Happy Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale Day! Such an occasion calls for celebration, so I do believe I'll treat myself. A day of shopping, anyone?
Are you a repeat customer, or a first timer? If a first timer, please let the folks at the warehouse sale know that Southern Virginia Mom sent you. If you are already a loyal customer, I am pleased to report that many of the items that you have come to know and love are still available. The high count bed sheet sets, Turkish towels, French linens, and the fine organic soaps and luxurious lotions, as well as the spa quality bathrobes are in abundance!
There are some new items on the shelves, as well. Do you love to cook? Their line of ovenware will stop you in your tracks. This is Chasseur, a heavy oven cookware line that is top of the line, high quality, used by professionals, and is perfect for both gas and electric oven cooking.

Garnier-Thiebaut's Warehouse Sale in South Boston, Virginia, is happening this weekend, Thursday May 12 through Saturday May 14. Read about my previous warehouse sale shopping trips here and here. And well, here, too.  The sale will be held Thursday, May 12th 10am - 8pm; Friday, May 13th 9:00am - 8pm; Saturday, May 14th 9am - 1pm. Location and directions are listed below.  Like them on facebook here to keep informed of current events and future sales.
Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale

The Best Home Gifts Below Wholesale Prices
THE BIG LINEN SALE- May 12 - May 14
Thursday May 12th 10am - 8pm
Friday May 13th 9am - 8pm
Saturday May 14th 9am - 1pm
 Come to the Spring Sale in South Boston, VA to find the perfect gifts for your family and friends, new napkins and tablecloths for your restaurant, new bed linens for your home or hotel, or just decorate your home with quality linens.

 -Bed Linen Sets -Bed Sheets, Pillow Cases, Duvet Covers...
 -Bath Towels -Wash Cloths, Hand Towels, Pool Towels
 -Bath Rugs, Door Mats -Napkins, Placemats, Table Runners
-Pots and Pans, Body Care products, and much more
Special Events:
Benefit Hotdog Cookout and Bake Sale
Thursday, May 12th
all proceeds will go to Halifax Cancer Association

Cooking Demonstration
with Chef Steve Shopen of Molasses Grill
Saturday, May 14th 10:30am to 12:30pm

 Raffle Drawing
Saturday, May 14th, 1 pm
all proceeds will go to Halifax Cancer Association

 *Rain or Shine*
*FREE Parking*
*FREE Shopping Bag with purchase*
*Cash, Visa, Mastercard ONLY*

I am heading home to unpack my warehouse sale finds. They are going to look so beautiful in my home. I bought a few pieces for entertaining, and might just throw a party to break them in. It is, after all a holiday! Join me in celebrating and meet me at the festivities at 1041 Commerce Lane, South Boston, VA  24592. Maybe I'll head over again and see you there, because anything worth celebrating is worth celebrating all weekend long!
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom

Directions: The Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale is located at 1041 Commerce Lane, South Boston, Virginia. If you are traveling from the town of South Boston, take 58 West, take the right at the stop light just beside Bojangles onto Commerce Lane. There are Garnier-Thiebaut buildings on both sides of the lane. The warehouse sale is in the building on the left. Go around to the rear of the building. 

Forms of Payment: Cash, Visa, and MasterCard are accepted. No AMEX. There is a 5% discount if you spend $100, 10% discount on purchases over $300. Please keep in mind that the prices on the merchandise are heavily discounted already, even without an additional discount.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Let me introduce you to aisle after aisle of organic, gluten-free, non-GMO fruits, vegetables, snacks and pastas, artisan pizzas, and fun foodie finds, and at a fraction of the price you would pay at other traditional grocery stores. Welcome to Aldi's. 
My friend Laura suggested that I would love this store, but I put off going for what was regretfully the longest time. When I finally discovered how much I love this store and its really cheap-for-organic,non GMO, gluten free-grocery items, I haven't looked back. I make an effort to drive to Danville once each week to stock up on items such as snacks, fruits, vanilla almond milk, salt-free mixed nuts, granola, and eggs.  I have a few favorite items I regularly buy, like the organic salad dressing line (my favorite is the roasted red pepper), the blue corn chips with peach mango salsa, and the rosemary olive oil crackers made with brown rice flour.  
If by chance I am not the last person to discover the budget grocery goodness that lies behind the Aldi's sign, then you might appreciate a few first-timer tips about the store whose aisles I will drive nearly an hour to peruse. 
1. When you go, take your own bags. One reason prices are so low, is that they do not give out grocery bags. If you forget yours, or if you make the mistake I did the first time and not take enough bags, you can purchase them at the cash register starting at $.06 for a plain brown grocery bag.
 2. Another reason their prices are so low is because of their grocery cart (or as we like to say around here, buggy) system. Insert a quarter to release a cart/buggy, stroll to your hearts content, fill it up with blue corn chips, peach mango salsa, and roasted red pepper salad dressing, and when you're done, return it to the corral and get your quarter back. Stick it in your vehicle's console for next time. Seriously, I use the same quarter Every. Single. Time.
If I had a Keurig, I would use these simply Nature coffees. These are organic, fair trade, and the pods are recyclable, which I think is pretty cool.  Also, note the organic pretzels.
A red blend with my son's name written all over it. He looked at me in the store and said with the straightest face, "Mom, I have never even tasted wine, much less made any." To know him is to love him. Moving on...

Yes, I can get organic coconut oil anywhere, but not at this price. I'm trying this sparkling pink lemonade because my daughter loves pink lemonade, and I love the label. 
I am not sure how we managed to get home without buying this big fluffy thing, but we did. Close call.
 3. They don't bag your groceries, you do. This is nice if you have a "system." The cashiers don't play around, either. They are tossing your stuff in the cart/buggy faster than you can get it onto the conveyor belt and have rung up the person behind you before you can get the weight equally distributed with the bread on top. Think fast.
My dear husband bagged groceries in high school at Gravitt's and at Ukrops in Richmond, and swears it was his favorite ever job, so he was in his own little grocery bagging paradise. Grand total of our trip was $104. Not too bad. 
I don't know much about the grocery chain, or their history, etc. You can read all about that on their website. What I do know is that I like pretty much everything I have bought there, they have some things that I can't find at other stores, and the low prices are worth the gas money it takes to drive 45 minutes each way.  Aldi's is situated in between Chic-Fil-A and Sheetz at 3465 Riverside Drive in Danville, VA. We took these few pictures for our friends who might find this store worth checking out.  Feel free to share your opinions and experiences with me. I would love to compare notes. That is, as soon a I finish off this chocolate hazelnut granola...

UPDATE: I was just informed that there is a new Aldi's in Lynchburg, Virginia. The new store which opened May 26, is located at 2617 Lakeside Drive, so now we have two stores within driving distance from which to choose. 

xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom
SoVA Mom Home     

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fresh Mint from My Friendship Garden, Perfect for Juleps with Friends on Derby Day

It's Derby Day! That means I have been outside in my Friendship Garden clipping fresh mint for juleps. I haven't slowed down much in the past few months, including to write and capture images of beautiful things, much less to smell the flowers, but today I did. No matter how simple or how small, fresh tiny buds capture my attention in the sweetest of ways and beckon me to quiet myself.
I call mine a Friendship Garden because almost everything I have was a gift from a dear friend. The daylillies were from my dear friend Tracy. She gave me two large ones, which I divided into twelve now large and beautiful border plants. The hostas were shared with me by my neighbor Vilma. We divided them about twelve years ago. A longtime friend Jerry shared the Lady Astor rose bushes with me, via an invitation to the grand opening of Lady Astor's childhood home as a Danville museum. I love having these in my front yard. The mint and the lemon mint were gifts from my friend Jeanene, and now serve as a wonderfully fragrant ground cover. The six strawberry plants were given to me by a dear friend, Jennifer. After my magnolias came down two years ago, my friend Rhonda gifted me with a tiny new magnolia with seven leaves to grow in its place.  The blackberries, blueberries, fruit tees, bulbs, herbs, vegetables, and other rose bushes are my gifts to myself.
Two Lady Astor Rose Bushes, cloned from the original rose bushes that Lady Astor gave each school child in Danville, Virginia, upon her visit home to the United States. These cloned bushes were grown in glass tubes at Virginia Tech.
Twelve Daylillies from my good friend and neighbor Tracy
Hostas and Daylillies from my friends and neighbors Vilma and Tracy
Wandering Wild Roses
Pink Wild Roses

Six Strawberry Plants, Which Have Since Multiplied
Blackberry Buds

Pedigree Mint from Jeanine's home, Woodlawn Plantation in Clover, Virginia
I stopped the smell the mint, then clipped a bunch for juleps.  

Simple Mint Julep Recipe

  1. Mix together equal parts water and sugar. Bring to a boil in a saucepan to make a simple syrup. After bringing to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Clip stems of fresh mint. Muddle the leaves.
  3. Fill glasses with crushed ice.
  4. Add the crushed mint, simple syrup, then 2-3 ounces of Woodford Reserve bourbon.  Many variations exist, but this is the simplest and a nice introduction to the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.    
Next stop, Beth's house for Mint Juleps, Bourbon Balls, and Cheese Crisps, best enjoyed with friends. So don your hat and your best bow tie, and prepare to sip real slow. In my best Southern drawl, Happy Derby Day, Y'all!
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom
Southern Virginia Mom Home

ps The flowers on my hat didn't come from my yard, but they did come from a local florist, Bill Granger at Triangle Florist. Monogram by Distrinct Impressions. Thanks so much Triangle Florist and Distinct Impressions for always making my hats look gorgeous!