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,

Home decor · refreshment at home

Free Floral Arrangements

I love what beautiful flowers can do for the beauty of my home. They’re welcoming on the entry table. They make the dinner table inviting and intimate. They take a guest room to that next level. But fake flowers and greenery are so chintzy and fresh are too expensive to keep on hand.

What to do? I’ve found a way to have free florals and like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz who had the ability to go back home with her the entire time she was in Oz, I have always had this resource and didn’t realize it!

It’s called foraging.

for·age/ˈfôrij,ˈfärij/ – obtain (food or provisions)

I go out in my own yard and cut greenery from the bushes. I snip colored branches from my trees. I use the real green things or colored things to fill vases or to fill in fresh flowers I’ve purchased.

Okay, I’ve always cut my roses or hydrangeas, but to cut bush branches and fill a vase instead of using plastic greenery, was just never a thought. Look what my fresh bushes did to a $4 purchase of sunflowers from my sweet husband!

Everything except the sunflowers came from my yard. Those flowers are pretty, but all that greenery bumped them up to a florist grade arrangement. Thank you, Lord, for a yard full of beautiful plants that I can snip!

Here’s another arrangement I made with the last of my roses. I took my Halloween mug and filled it with the roses, some thyme and Creeping Jenny. It looked adorable on my book shelf.

This next arrangement is on my foyer table. I used branches from two different bushes and some small limbs from a tree in the backyard. I add water to the containers so the branches will stay fresh for a VERY long time!

Lastly, here’s a small pitcher that fits into my tiered stand on the island. I love the pop of color it gives. The green bush addition really fills it out, don’t you think?

I’d encourage you to think outside the box. Don’t just use a standard vase, look for other containers that will hold your flowers and the water…a tea pot, a pitcher, a pretty vintage tin (put a glass down inside to hold the water), a mug, a bottle. The sky’s the limit!

When winter comes, use those evergreen things outside to add the lovely floral touches. I’ll still use some where the sap might ruin a piece of furniture, but in arrangements, I’m hoping for fresh!

Look out your own window and see what you could use to refresh your home and add some floral beauty! That gorgeous red and orange tree branch in the front yard is just begging to step into your living room!

Tell me…do you use fresh things from your yard? What different container are you thinking about using for your next vase?

Home making · refreshment at home

Managing Your Laundry

I’m half way through the day and I have done two loads of laundry, ironed linens and put them away, and also pressed our clothes for the weekend. Then I got brave and peeked into the clothes hampers in our closets. I saw more dirty clothes wadded and waiting for the the Laundry Lady (that’s me!) to rescue them from the basket and repeat the process of my earlier hours.

Laundry Never Ending Story Wall Quotes™ Decal | WallQuotes.com

It’s true, isn’t it? Laundry never stops. It could be really easy to get cynical and resentful, but as I shared recently in this post, we need to make sure our heart is right in regards to our home. Having a right heart will safeguard us from attitudes that can make us begrudge the work that is so repetitious, but also God-given.

Home began In the Garden of Eden. As a matter of fact, the only thing we have left from the Garden of Eden is the family. What a gift!

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Gen 2:15

The word, “dress,” literally means to work it; for though a paradise, the garden still had to be tilled and planted. Seeds needed to be sown. and the cultivated plots kept in order; but all this really added to Adam’s happiness, because Adam hadn’t sinned yet and responded willingly to the husbandman’s care. 

“To keep it.” The animals weren’t all so peaceful and domesticated that Adam did not need to fence his garden against their plundering. Ever had deer eat your garden?! 

God made the family – Adam and Eve. He provided the place for them to live, and also gave them the responsibility of caring for it. They were to WORK. Work was not a result of sin.  Sometimes we treat it as though it is a curse, but work is a blessing. Work is necessary in order to keep a home a suitable place to live. Someone needs to oversee that the work is done – they need to manage it all.

As the wife, it is our responsibility to be the manager – keep the order. That involves training our children to help, but we are to be busy managing the home so that those that live there can serve God best. If our home is only confusion, we will be hindered in serving God or doing what he calls us to do.

But how do we get it all done? Let’s look to the practical side of this management.

What kind of atmosphere do you want it to have? 

Inviting?

Restful? 

Peaceful?

None of that can happen if it’s mayhem.  

In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George gives a checklist for managing your time and your home. In today’s post, we’ll just elaborate on the area of laundry. I hope to give you some practical help here!

1. Plan! Nothing grand just happens – you have to plan. The more detail the better – the more you’ll get done.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.


Do you have goals for your home, or are they only wishes? We plan our work, and then we work our plan. How do we plan?

  1. If you don’t have some type of daily planning book, get one. It can be a spiral notebook or a formatted daily planner. If you use a plain notebook, list the days of the week on the page. 
  2. You will plan in the three areas – Maytag (Laundry), Messes (House cleaning) and Meals.
  3. Write down the major things you want to accomplish each day under each category.
  4. When the task is finished, check it off.
  5. Stay focused on your list and don’t get sidetracked by other chores. The list will help you do that!

Let’s start today with how you can plan for getting the laundry done

Maytag –
Plan when will you do the laundry.  Will you do one load each morning? Will you designate one day to do it all for the week?
Plan when you will fold the clothes. Note that if you leave the clothes in the dryer for hours after they’re dry, they will wrinkle. Help yourself by setting a goal to get to them as quickly as you can. This will keep your family from searching for their clean clothes and finding them still in the dryer, or spilled out on the living room couch.
Plan when you will put the clothes away, or who will put them away. Will you take each family member’s clothes to their bedroom? Will they each find their pile and put them where they belong?
Plan to teach your children to help. When they’re little they can help you sort. Folding wash cloths and sorting socks is another task they can do. As they grow older, make them more and more responsible for their own clothes. I know a mom who taught her girls to do their own laundry by the time they were ten years old. #smartmom

Whatever your Maytag goals are, keep moving forward and don’t check that chore off your list until it’s all been folded and put away. Seeing that chore on your plan will remind you that it still needs to be tossed into the dryer, or that it’s ready to be folded and put away.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t just wish you could get caught up on the laundry – have a goal AND a plan about how you’re going to tackle it. As with all of life, ask the Lord to help you have the right attitude and to do even the laundry for His glory. He gave you that family who dirties up all those clothes. If we could think of our laundry as a blessing because it represents the people who live there, would we have a better attitude? Pretty sure so.

Refresh your Maytag responsibilities and your attitude about it.

Cleaning · Home making · refreshment at home

Four Areas Of My House I Clean, Tidy or Straighten Every Day

This spring I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to do some deep cleaning.  That means that I got out the hand-held vacuum and cleaned behind furniture, I dusted the walls, I straightened out closets.  All that feels good, but it’s important to me to be able to walk into any room in my home on any given day and see that it looks presentable.  To accomplish that I take care of four major cleaning spots every single day, and they take very little time!

  1. The Bed.  I make the bed every day within 15 minutes after I get up.  It’s the major portion of the room, so it makes sense that if it’s all tidied, the room feels cleaner, even if there’s dust on the dresser!
    img_7113
  2. The Bathrooms. After we’re done showering and such in the morning, I clean the sinks, the tub, shower and toilet.  I change out the hand towels and clean off the mirror.  In literally ten minutes our bathroom is done.  (I do give it a deeper clean regularly, but this is the daily routine.)
    bcb5af5a-31de-4853-b82b-e1a8fd307fd1
  3. The laundry and laundry room.  I do a load of laundry every day except Sunday.  That way I can do one load, and it’s done first thing in the morning.  The baskets don’t pile up and it doesn’t take long to do one load!  I also clean the laundry room because that’s where my kitty’s litter box and food dishes are.  It’s also done first thing in the morning.
  4. The kitchen.  After every meal I wipe down the counters, the stove and the appliances.  A quick going over whenever it’s used keeps the clean up an easy job!  The dishes are always either loaded into the dishwasher or are hand washed.

By doing these four areas, I always feel like the majority of the house is in order and clean.  Once a routine is established, you never really feel like you’re working, but are just doing the daily schedule.  I listen to podcasts or my Bible app while I do each task and it makes it go even faster!

What areas of your home do you feel daily need attention to make your home inviting?

Refresh your home by creating quick, tidying tactics!

denise a