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!
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  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.)
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  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

Crafts · refreshment at home

Dollar Tree Galvanized Tin Makeover

Back in the day when we shopped at the Dollar Tree, I got this little galvanized container…

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It was so shiny, so nice that it just didn’t fit with the word, galvanized tin!   I felt like it was lacking some character.  It needed some age on it to make it look like it had been around a while, like maybe it had a story or two that it could tell!

Sooooo, I got out a piece of sandpaper and tried to roughen up the smooth surface, but it did nothing.  I knew hammering it would only make dents.  Then I turned to Pinterest to find some answers.  I learned that all this container needed was two things – Continue reading “Dollar Tree Galvanized Tin Makeover”

baking · Coronavirus · Meal planning · refreshment at home

Ideas for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping During Covid 19

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Simple strategy in managing food for our families is always important, but certainly so in our current situation.  I’m going to share with you five things that I’m doing right now to plan wisely for our meal planning and shopping.

  1. Each week after I pick up my on-line order at Kroger, I go ahead and immediately start another on-line order and schedule it for the next week. The time slots fill up quickly, so this way I know I can go back a week from now and get what I need.  Also, I can go back on the Kroger app and modify my order up to midnight the night before I pick it up.  So even if I just put in an order for milk, initially, I am able to add whatever else I need before my actual pick up.

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  2. I’m shopping for two-week menus at a time (that is aside from dairy products and fresh fruit. Last week my Kroger order was under $15, for milk, yogurt and a few other essentials). I have planned ahead so that we only have to make minimal trips out.  I’m blessed to have a large freezer in the garage, so I have plenty of meat stored away (which is my normal way of life!). I also have breads, frozen vegetables, and ice cream in that freezer (ice cream isn’t a necessity, but a nice treat when you can’t stop at Chick-Fil-A for a cone!).
  3. I’m buying fresh fruits and vegetables that have a long shelf life.  Broccoli, apples, lemons, small colored peppers, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, carrots, potatoes and onions have served us well!  I even pickled red onions and have wondered how I ever got along without them!! They are delicious on tacos, salads and sandwiches!

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  4.  We planted some fresh lettuces and broccoli.  I have three raised beds and have grown tomatoes and cucumbers, but never these greens.  I’m excited about trying my hand at it and am hopeful for some delicious salads as result!
    I’m wondering if there will be a rise in gardening this year.  What’s better than growing your own vegetables?! It’s so cost effective and the time outside is refreshing!
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5.  I’m praying and not panicking.  Matthew 6 has become a much read and reviewed chapter for me.  There are so many wonderful reminders about how God provides for us and will care for our every need.  Why should I worry?  I’m resting in God’s promises. I’m planning and preparing as wisely as I know how, then I’m leaving it all in the hands of a  sovereign God.

How are you doing at getting what you need for your family?  If you have any tips to share, please leave them in the comments below!

Refresh yourself and your family with some wise planning, but most of all, trust in a God Who loves you!

denise a