children · Family life · home · Parenting

Family Friday – The Happiest Place On Earth

 

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I just heard a comment from a high school senior on her senior trip to Disney World say, “This has to be the happiest place on earth!” Having been there I can understand her sentiment. With beautiful flowers everywhere, light-hearted music, Mickey and Minnie, fun food, fun rides and fun times. of course it’s a happy place!

 There is another place that should be one of the happiest places on this earth – home. Home should be the most loving, secure and fun place for a child. What will you do today to make it that way for your children? Are you homeschooling? Are you sending your children off for the day?  Dealing with adult children living at home?  What can you do to make this the BEST place to live in or return to? Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day routines that you forget to make more than a house – make it a home…a place to nurture, love, accept and have FUN!!
For your little ones – Change things around today or even on April Fools Day. Let them eat their dessert first! Have lunch under the table instead of on it. Go to the library and get new books – perhaps books about spring, baby lambs or even a child’s cookbook. Read together in a new place – build a comfy spot on the floor with pillows and cushions or make a tent using all the kitchen chairs as props.
Play uplifting music – Patch the Pirate, The Donut Man, Veggie Tales, etc. Let the atmosphere of your home be encouraging for them. It’s easy to play what we like instead of what they would enjoy.
How about some fun food? Cut their sandwich into shapes using cookie cutters. Peanut butter and jelly can take on a whole new taste when it’s cut differently!

For your older kids = 
be there for them. Sit and listen to them.  Do something fun together.  Cook.  Bake.  Shop.  Scroll through Pinterest for ideas and then rearrange her room. Stay up late with them.  Watch their movie or ball game.  Talk. Nod. Love. Pray.
Make your home the “happiest place on the earth” by taking time to be with your children, using creativity and thoughtful action to make each day one they won’t forget!
What are you doing to make your home the HAPPIEST place on earth?
Denise Signature 150 px
home · Home decor · Uncategorized

Creating A Cozy Summer Home

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Home is described as the sweetest place on earth, the place we hang our hats and our hearts, and the place that is like no other.  As a Christian homemaker, it’s my desire that my home would radiate the love of Christ; that others would feel His presence when they enter our doors.   Would that not be the ultimate of being an inviting home?  That happens when the people that live here know the Lord and fellowship daily with Him. We, the dwellers of this place, must be filled with His Spirit so that others can know His love, His peace and His joy.  We can open our doors and use our home to share that kind of love – what a privilege!

There are also ways that we can make our homes inviting, cozy, warm, restful and peaceful right now in these summer months.  We often only think of cozy-ing up our home during the cool months when the hearth is lit and the aroma of comfort foods are wafting in the air.  But summertime offers lots of ways to make our residence a cozy and inviting place.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Open the doors, curtains and shades to let the light in!  While there is beautiful sunshine outside, invite it inside!  Pull up the shades in the morning and leave them up.  The warmth of the sunshine will brighten every corner all day long.
  2. Rearrange the furniture so you can make the most of the sunlight and outdoor views.  I have a small table in my bedroom that I put near the fireplace in the winter.  When summer rolls around, I bring it close to the window so I can sit there and sip my morning coffee and have my Bible reading beside the view of the backyard.  I can see the sun hitting the hillside, watch the birds, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors early in the day.
    I also recently turned the couch to face the living room windows for the same reason.  Think about how you might be able to enjoy the outside view from inside and arrange your furniture accordingly.
  3. Make livable space on your porch, deck  or backyard.  Patio lights, fire pit, candles, outdoor rugs, chairs, table and umbrella can create a whole other room for your family to enjoy while it’s warm.  There’s nothing like sitting outside after dark and star gazing while a fire is burning.  (Oh, and right now is a great time to buy outdoor furniture and accessories!  There are some great sales are going on!!)
    back porchIf you entertain outside, you don’t have to make sure the house is dusted!  Who doesn’t love to sit out at a fire pit, talk in hushed tones and roast marshmallows?!
  4. Burn floral or fruit fragrance candles. Beautiful scents are important when you walk inside, and so are the soft lights of flickering candles.  Put one on your entryway table to burn when your family is planned to come home, or when guests are arriving.
  5. Keep the entryway spotless.  Step outside your front door and LOOK at it.  Most people drive in the garage and never see what guests see at their front door.  Make sure the rug is fresh, the porch is swept, and the glass door is free from dirt and fingerprints.  Put a perky, colorful plant near the front entryway.  Hang a fresh wreath on the door.  Get a new garden flag (again, you might find these on sale right now!).
    The inside entry should be welcoming, too.  A soft light, good fragrance and a pretty, eye-catching flower arrangement, wall-hanging or picture that draws people in are good elements in the foyer.  I love Yankee Candle Plug-ins.  They last a LONG time and smell so good when you walk in the front door.
  6. Lighten up the linens.  Use light colors on the beds and table, if you can.  Remove any heavy throws from couches, chairs or beds, replacing with lightweight quilts in lighter colors.  I keep a white quilt on my outdoor swing for the cool nights when we’re outside.  It doesn’t look like a wool blanket would, but is inviting and comforting without being too hot.
  7. This is a good time of year to freshen the house with paint.  Add a light color that will be calming.  Paint the room you use the most.  Get a friend to help and the work will be done in half the time, and you’ll have a ton of fun while doing it!Image result for calm paint colors

Cozy up your home for summertime and then invite some people over to enjoy it with you!  The warm months won’t last forever, so enjoy these elements of coziness at home before it’s time to light the fireplace inside!

Next week I’m going to be showing you some recent updates I’ve made in my home.  I hope you’ll check back and see what I’ve done!

Now tell me, what makes your summer home inviting to others?

Stay refreshed at home,

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Family life · home · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · memories · refreshment at home

Summer Date Night Ideas

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One day last week, my husband was cleaning out some of his office boxes that had been stored away in our garage when he came across a stack of preserved letters, notes and cards, most of them written by “Yours truly.”  We began reading them and found ourselves laughing, crying, and rejoicing over the years, the experiences we’ve shared, and the goodness of the Lord in it all.

It became so obvious to me that the written note is so important!  Without that, how would we recall these precious memories?  How would we have remembered how awed we were by God’s provision, or how near the Lord was during that trial?

Since that afternoon, I’ve determined that I must
a.) Continue writing notes.  Texts are great, but in ten years, how will we be able to reread that form of media?
b.) Read through the stack I have tucked away from the 36 years behind us!

Now, here are 30 great Summer Date Night ideas! 

  1. My first encouragement to you about a summer date night is to make a time when you and your spouse can sit down and read through some of your cards and letters you’ve saved.  Go out on your back porch to read them, or take them to the lake where you can sit at a picnic table.  Just do it.  It will remind you where you’ve come from and how special your relationship really is!  I fell in love with my husband all over again!
  2. You don’t have any notes?  Sit down and write your husband one today and leave it in a special place where he’ll find it.  Write it on pretty paper.  Spray a little perfume on it.  Then tuck it away so you can start that file you’ll be able to read again when you’re old and gray.
  3. Make your own Drive-In.  Make the setting outside your home perfect for watching a movie or show on your laptop or tablet.  Turn on the patio lights, light candles, get a bowl of popcorn popped and a comfy swing to share!
  4. Bookstore Date–  I first shared about this here ,and no matter if you have done it before, this date can be done over and over again and it will be new each time.  It’s one of our favorites!
  5. Read your favorite books to one another – or find a new one to read!
  6. Bake cookies together
  7. Watch the sunrise, then make breakfast together
  8. Attend a local baseball game
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Have a picnic
  11. Play Frisbee
  12. Visit the farmer’s market
  13. Video Record the Story of How You Met & Fell in Love
  14. Cook a Late Night Dinner Together
  15. Write a Prayer List & Pray Together
  16. Make Smoothies or Milkshakes
  17. Share 5 Goals Over a Late Night Snack
  18. Do a Puzzle Together
  19. Play a Game
  20. Have a Chip & Dip Night – Add Conversation
  21. Record Each Other Sharing a Recent Memory
  22. Tackle a FUN Project
  23. Write a Gratitude List about one another
  24. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Night
  25. Search for Funny YouTube Videos
  26. Go to Yard Sales and see who can find the best bargain
  27. Go to the Local Bike Trail and ride bikes.
  28. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  29. Begin a Date Night Journal and Write down each time you have a date, what you did and any fun memories you created.
  30. Go to a Theme Park Without your children and leave your phones in the car.  Ride all the water rides.  Eat the snacks.  See the shows.  Stay late for the fireworks!

I hope you’ve had a great first week of June, and I hope some of the ideas shared this week will inspire you to create some fun at home this summer!  Each day is a gift from God and is worth celebrating!  So enjoy!!

Stay refreshed in God’s Word this weekend.  We need Him every single day!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Family life

The Hearth in the Home

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Will you indulge me to repost some of my “way back yonder” blog posts on Thursday’s? I’ll pick through some of my favorites and find things that I think will be relevant to my readers today. Let’s start with one that focuses on one of my favorite topics: Home.

In yesterday’s patriotic service at our church I participated by reading a monologue as it would be written by the Statue of Liberty. An ending phrase has gone over and over in my mind as I’ve pondered its meaning in my country and my own heart as well. It read…

 “O people, restore me to where I can once again see a land of beautiful homes – A land where homes are never separated – a land where home is viewed more by what is on the inside than what is on the outside – a home where these three gifts will always be: the hearth, the flag, and the place of prayer.”

What does it mean to you that you keep alive the gift of the hearth? Wikepdia says that a hearth is “a brick– or stone-lined fireplace or oven used for cooking and/or heating. Because of its nature, in historic times the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature: its Latin name is focus.[1]This concept has been generalized to refer to a home place or household, as in the terms “hearth and home” and “keep the home fires burning.” In fireplace design, the hearth is often considered the visible elements of the fireplace, with emphasis upon the floor level extension of masonry associated with the fireplace mantel.

Following this definition I see the hearth as a symbol of the warmth of a family inside a home. It’s not the kind of warmth a real hearth would have brought, but the kind of that comes from being together, spending time talking, sharing in the lives of those that live there with us. I believe this can only be done by the diligence that it took to keep the fire burning in those old- time fireplaces.

One integral part of family warmth is mealtime. I don’t mean the hurry-up and eat and get out of here kind of meal. This is the mealtime where the meal is lingered over, empty plates are pushed back and conversation happens. We have often read a book together after our supper meal. Having Bible reading or devotions works well at this time of day when everyone is gathered together.

The hearth’s warmth can be spread outside to the front porch or the deck. Last weekend we enjoyed having company and spent Friday and Saturday evenings out on the deck talking, sharing dessert and coffee, and also listening to stringed instruments being played and hymns being sung. I could just feel those “home fires burning” during those sweet times of fellowship.

Often the piano in the living room has served as our “hearth.” Because our girls play we have the blessing of being able to gather ’round it and sing together. Game boards have also served in bringing us together in laughter and closeness as games were played with stiff competition and fun.

Each family may interpret the “hearth” in a different way. The important thing is that we do all we can, with the Lord’s strength to keep it burning, and that we each understand that the hearth in the home truly is a gift.

Are you making the most of the gift of your hearth?  How are you accomplishing that?  Ask the Lord to give you ideas, if that gift isn’t being maximized!  

From my hearth,