organization · refreshment at home · spring cleaning

Mini Mudroom in the Garage

When your garage is messy a disaster and needs some good organization and then you see that your neighbor is giving away a lovely piece of furniture that would make the perfect mini-mudroom, you slam on the brakes and go get that piece of furniture! That’s exactly what happened to us last weekend!

Garages easily become catch-all’s for everything that you don’t know what to do with or don’t need anymore (can I get a witness?!). Over the winter months, our garage got Out. Of. Hand. Now with this beautiful piece of furniture in tow, I decided to use it to make a mud room of sorts. It will be a place where shoes can be slipped on and off, and also used for some extra storage space for the thing my husband needs more room for – his books. I failed to take a picture before we moved the piece in, but here it is just piled up and not yet organized.

I’m married to a sentimental guy. He likes to hold onto things that were his from long ago, his parents’ possessions and maybe even his grandparents’. That means an old cell phone from his mom, a CD player/Boom Box, a ton of CD’s (you know what those are, right? Ha!), letters, and year books are treasures to him. I wanted to help organize his belongings, not really toss them, so that was part of my task in this garage clean-up job. I made a place for his mom’s CD player (and have it plugged in and accessible) and also found storage for the CD’s. I also made a place for his shoes when he comes in, as well as space for some car accessories, yard games and fire pit tools.

Since we always come in through the garage, I like to make it inviting. A wreath, a cute greeting on the door say, “Welcome Home!” If you’re going to hang art work in your garage, why not hang up a picture of a cool, old truck?! A young man at our church gave that to my husband a few years ago.

I also added a tin for bats, balls and other toys so that my grandsons could easily access them. The aqua cushion on the furniture was one I had already and wasn’t using anymore. Now it’s providing a soft place to sit down and lace up shoes!

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I love that this new space cost me $0, thanks to kind neighbors who needed to unload a piece of furniture. If you have a garage that could use some organization, why not look on Facebook Marketplace? People are often selling pieces like this one for little to nothing, or maybe you’ll be blessed with a free piece like I was!

What could you do to create an inviting space in your garage or car port? Sometimes just adding a wreath and a pretty rug can transform the garage from just a place for the car to a place that welcomes you home!

Refresh your garage with a little spring spruce up!

Home decor · refreshment at home

My Cozy Minimalist Family Room Makeover

Myquillin Smith’s book, The Cozy Minimalist has helped me to transform yet another room in my house. You may remember my living room makeover that was completed at this time last year. You can find that post here. The transformation made such a difference and created a space we still love so much.

Soooo, I was very excited to move to our bonus room upstairs to give it some much needed minimalizing. What is crazy is that we called it the Family Room, but our family spent little time up there because it just wasn’t inviting. All the leftover pieces of furniture got put there and it just didn’t flow. I’ll prove it by this embarrassing Before photo…

It pains me to even look at this before photo!

First, I want to say that I prayed about how I wanted to use this room. and I also prayed the Lord would give me wisdom to purchase what was needed and stay in a budget that I had saved for. Use:

  1. We wanted to have groups of people – our family, small group Bible study, folks we would counsel and also guests. We needed good seating, and a place for coffee cups or tea glasses.
  2. I also wanted a place where my grandsons could play and join me for Bible Club.
  3. My husband needed a spot that was good for rest and relaxation; a place to watch football
  4. I wanted and a place where we could be together in the evenings

When I decided to redo the room, I used a beautiful horse painting we were given by the dear man who painted it to guide my colors and style! It’s quite large and I could never find a spot to hang it. Now it’s the centerpiece of the room. I painted the wall behind it a deep blue to accent the colors in the painting and make it “pop.”

One new piece I purchased was a love seat. I looked everywhere for one I loved and finally found one at Robert’s Furniture Store in Greeneville, TN. The sales rep there was so helpful! I couldn’t be happier with our Made in America purchase!

Here’s the first peek at the room…

Per the clear and precise guidance of The Cozy Minimalist, I emptied the room of everything except the big pieces to “quiet” the room. Then I could really focus on what I felt the room needed.

Our sofa was about 25 years old and I was ready for something I was in love with. I sent it to another home where it’s being put to good use because it’s still in perfect condition! Then I went to Facebook Marketplace and searched for a replacement. When I found a white slip covered sofa in perfect condition I knew that’s what I wanted. She was asking more than I felt I wanted to spend. I prayed about it and offered her less. She took it!

Part of the way through the redecorating

Again, following the advice in The Cozy Minimalist, I purchased my rug before choosing paint. These had all the perfect colors from the horse painting and is large enough to go under the sofa and chairs.

The leather Ottoman came from a store in Brevard, NC – MANtiques. I wanted the room to feel masculine and like a library kind of feel, and when I found the leather Ethan Allen ottoman, I knew it would be perfect in our room. I called the store with an offer lower than the price tag. She came down a little, but it still didn’t fit in my budget. I told her I would pray about it and get back to her. The Lord gave me a price to offer. I called back and she said, “I’m happy to give it to you for that!” “Thank you, Lord!” It has storage under the lid, so it’s a great place to hold our games!

We did some furniture swapping in our house and had two chairs that worked perfectly for more seating. Shopping your own house is great and free!! The only other thing I purchased is the large round mirror over the sofa. It came from Hobby Lobby and was purchased at 50% off! I love that it reflects the painting, the blue wall and the good light from the wide window.

I’m still contemplating my curtains. I’m thinking about going with a blue.

The television armoire was built for us by my father-in-law many years ago. I love having the television tucked away from view.

I’ll end with a before and after. Simply click in the middle of the next picture to slide the picture over to reveal the whole before and after photos!

Click in the middle of the picture and slide it over to see the Before and After!

The planning, purchasing and work of the transformation took six months, but it was worth it! We have spent so much more time up there already!

Is there a room in your house you don’t use because it isn’t inviting? I urge you to consider using Myquillen Smith’s techniques. I’m clearly not a minimalist, but her step-by-step guide is so helpful in making decisions in every step of the process. You can’t even imagine how easy it makes decorating! Don’t forget to pray about each decision and let the Lord make the room a blessing for you to use for His glory!

I hope you’ll refresh a room in your house!

denise a
refreshing others · refreshment at home · Winter

Perk Up An Afternoon With Winter Tea

Rather than sharing a recipe today, I’m sharing an idea using food that might perk up your lingering winter months! February can be snowy and cold, so perhaps having a fun event in the afternoon will make it a little more enjoyable!

Last month I spent a good part of one week with my parents in Kentucky. I always love being with them in their home. It’s cozy, inviting, has sunny rooms and comfy places to sit. I was there to help out while my poor mom was dealing with Sciatic nerve pain. I had the fun of cooking and helping with some of the household chores while she rested. My dad does a great job of keeping the house cleaned up, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do when my mealtime work was ended.

But as many older couples have experienced since March, they’ve had few outings, for safety sake. Life can get very routine and drab in the wintertime, and especially so when someone is not well, so I thought it would be fun to do “Winter Tea” one afternoon. I’ve enjoyed that treat many times when I’ve visited them in the past, and I knew it would be something they would enjoy.

I didn’t do a full-fledged tea with cookies, cheese and all the sandwiches – I opted for just dessert. My sister had made a delicious sponge-like cake with raspberry filling for my dad’s Christmas Eve birthday and my mom had popped the leftovers in the freezer. It was perfect. Not only was it good, it also looked really pretty on the Country Roses dishes!

I set the table with the Country Roses dishes, got the hot water in the tea pot and put out flavored teas bags. Then I went to Amazon music and found a playlist of piano songs for an afternoon tea. It added a nice atmosphere for our “event.”

We had such a good time sipping tea, enjoying the cake and ice cream and just lingering at the table chatting. It was a fun way to spend an hour together.

Children would also enjoy a tea! You could use dishes that were a little less fragile, perhaps, but still make it special, pretty and delicious. It takes a little effort, but you could make a fun memory for a child, a group of friends…or your parents.

Why not refresh an afternoon with a lovely cup of tea and cake?

Comfort · refreshment at home · Women's roles

Five Routines That Will Help During Difficult Times

Maybe with all the stuff going on in the world you’re having a bit of a hard time getting motivated in your home. I want to encourage you today about how helpful it is to keep moving forward especially during these difficult days.

If we can’t have the confidence that home will be a constant place of comfort, where will we go?

If we are also at odds with our loved ones because we are stressed, who else on this earth will love them?

Therefore…

This was supper one night this week. I moved a small side table in front of the fireplace so we could have the ambiance at our simple spaghetti supper.
  1. Keep your normal routines going at home.
    Get up and get dressed.
    Make the bed.
    Do the laundry.
    Vacuum the carpet.
    Sweep the floor.
    Make the bathroom shine.
    You have control over yourself, so be disciplined.
  2. Keep mealtimes delicious, engaging and special.
    Cook good food. That doesn’t mean you have to fix gourmet food.
    I do think there’s great value in fixing a supper meal at home, in involving your family in setting the table, and helping with clean up. While at the table, turn off the television and make effort to create conversation, even if it’s just you and your spouse.
    Turn on some relaxing music in the background.
    Light a candle.
    Set the table.
    Linger after the meal.
    Have a small dessert and coffee and take time to enjoy it all together as the gift it really is.
    It’s hard work being a homemaker, but if you don’t do it for your family, who will?
  3. Be present for your spouse and children. In all that’s going on, it’s so easy for people to feel disconnected.
    Children are certainly feeling some hard things and may need to ask questions or share any fears they may be experiencing.
    What a great time to point them to God’s Word with answers.
    Stop and pray with them over any anxious feelings they may be experiencing.
    My husband and I quoted Bible verses to one another one recent evening as we were drifting off to sleep. They were verses of comfort that did much to stop my worry!
    No one can take your place in the home. Your presence is imperative and irreplaceable.
  4. Make home the best place to be. Create a warmth that draws your family back.
    Plan for game night with popcorn and hot chocolate.
    Keep the house tidied up so it feels welcoming.
    Get that last bit of Christmas decor put away and the tree needles swept up.
    Light a new, fresh candle.
    Make comfy places for people to sit and read.
    Maybe this is the time to change the furniture around for a fresh look in your living room?
    Home is a gift, and the woman is the one who sets the tone.
  5. Make sure you’re spending greater time with the Lord each day. If we ever needed direction and comfort from His Word, it’s now.
    Pray.
    Spend time giving Him your burdens.
    Learn from Him.
    Write down what you learn.
    Stay close through the day by listening to godly podcasts.
    Meditate on God’s Word through Scripture memory.

If you wish to know God, you must know His Word. If you wish to perceive his power, you must see how he works by his Word. If you wish to know his purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by his Word. ~Spurgeon

Without a relationship with God, we can do nothing that is effective for eternity.

These five things will not change the world, but they can change the people that live inside your home…including you! I pray that these simple steps will help you bring some joy from the home that our loving God has entrusted to you. You can make a difference, dear friend.

Refresh the atmosphere of your home,

Comfort · Family life · refreshment at home · Tablescapes

Mealtime Is What YOU Make It

Every Monday I share a recipe or two with you because I love to cook good food for my family and those I serve in my home. I enjoy it because of what a good meal does for a family. It makes memories and traditions. It binds us together. As our stomachs are nourished, so are our hearts. But there’s a whole other dimension to food that plays into each of those blessings. It’s the whole presentation.

At Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter our dinner tables look like they’re competing for front cover of Southern Living Magazine. The tablecloth is spread out with careful, smoothing strokes. Everyone gets a matching napkin and the centerpiece is well thought out and gorgeous. But what did your lunch look like this past Saturday? Maybe it was just the leftover pizza from your family time the night before, but how was it served? Or even think about Sunday dinner…

  • Did everyone have a real plate?
  • Were there napkins for messy fingers?
  • Where did you sit?
  • If you sat at the table, did you have any kind of covering on it, like a placemat or tablecloth?
  • Was the blessing said?
  • Did you use glasses?
    In regards to the evening meal…
  • Did you add anything special to the dinner table like candles or flowers?
  • Did you all eat at the same time?
  • How was the conversation during the meal?

Good, nourishing, healthy, delicious food is important, but just as important is the way we share it together. I’m not talking about the Pinterest Perfect Presentation of holiday meals – I’m just speaking about making it obvious to the ones we’re serving that we put thought into it. It’s doesn’t have to be fancy or fussy. We don’t have to pull out the china for Sloppy Joes, but I’d encourage you to consider…

  • Plates – Give everyone a real plate – not paper, not a paper towel, but a plate. It doesn’t take that much more effort to wash the plate and they’re more economical, as well as easier to cut on. Pull out those pretty dishes! Use them, rather than saving them for special events. Make today special by putting them on the table for your family!
  • Silverware – For supper, put out a knife, fork and spoon. At lunch you can just make sure the adequate silverware is out.
  • Napkins – I love to use cloth napkins at every meal. One reason is because they’re so much sturdier! They’re also pretty AND economical. I have a collection I’ve gathered over the years, but you can make them easily if you have a machine, or find good deals at places like TJ Maxx.
  • Table cloth or place mats – Eating on a bare table feels cold, in my opinion. You can add a cute place mat or a cloth tablecloth to add a layer of decor and warmth to the table.
  • Centerpiece – For something pretty in the center of the table, you could add fresh flowers from the grocery store in a simple white pitcher or make a seasonal display on a tiered stand.
I have a base platter and outdoor greens from my yard on it, then a small cake stand and a lit candle for a simple centerpiece for a recent Sunday dinner.
  • Glasses – Call me snobbish, but I prefer to use glasses on the table, rather than water bottles. There is one exception, and that’s our favorite carbonated beverage that tastes best in glass bottles! So, everyone has their own preferences, but if I want the table to be a little more special, I like everyone to have a pretty glass.
  • Serving bowls – Putting the food into bowls, rather than setting pots and pans on the dinner table is another way to keep things a little more special.
  • Atmosphere – Playing some soft music in the background is a way to set the tone. Keep conversation pleasant and encouraging. Maybe a “Please leave your phone on the counter” rule would help. 😉 Call everyone to the meal by giving them a heads-up about ten minutes beforehand so they can finish what they’re doing, get washed and to the table.
  • Blessing – We have so much to thank the Lord for! My grandsons pray for the meal by telling God thank you for what they see on their plates. It’s so sweet. Every meal should start with our gratitude for God’s provisions.

Mealtime is a time to gather, to nourish hungry hearts as well as hungry bellies. In this unsettling, strange time, how blessed is the family who can look forward to a simple, yet special time together at your table. The atmosphere is truly up to us, ladies. It will be what we make it. Let’s take the high road and the extra work to create a place where people are thankful to gather for yet another meal.

What area challenges you the most?

Refresh others at your table,