Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 31 - Hallelujah!

As much as I've enjoyed 31 Days (especially reading everyone else's), I'm glad it's finally come to an end.  I did miss a few days, but put forth a good effort.  While reading Edie's blog, Life in Grace, (one of my very favorites EVER), I saw a sweet video Nester made for her and I fell in love with the song on the video.  So I bought the song and made a video using some of my sweet baby's weekly photos.  She'll be 1 year old on Saturday, and I've been reminiscing.

Happy first birthday sweet Emery Rose!
You're one of the main reasons I want our house to be a home.
I love you!


video

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 30 - Memo Board

Oops!  I didn't post yesterday.  I do have a good reason, though! :)  I was helping my sister, Amanda, take newborn photos of her sweet Jozie.  Loved it!

So today I have a quick post about something I made because I saw it on Pinterest.  And, really it's been helpful!

http://www.makeandtakes.com

Here's my version:



I hung it on the back of our front door because we walk by it every time we're coming and going.  It was so easy to make!  I bought a $5 frame from Dollar Store, a $0.20 piece of 'burlap' scrapbook paper, a roll of ribbon, and a wreath hanger.  I plan on changing out the paper for different times of the year.  The glass of the picture frame writes and erases very easily.


Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days Homemaking - Day 28 - Crock Pot Roast

Jeremiah has been in Atlanta all week and just came home late this afternoon.  It was so nice to see him after only speaking to him on the phone for less than 5 minutes each day.  I wanted to welcome him home with a good meal, so I made Crock Pot Roast.  It's one of my favorite meals ever and he loves it, too.

This is all you need:

1 Roast (I used a deer roast Jeremiah got from hunting last season)
Carrots
Potatoes (chunked)
2 pks. Onion Soup Mix
2 Cans Cream of Onion (or chicken, mushroom, celery..etc)

Spray your crock pot with cooking oil.  Put the roast on the bottom.  Cover it with 1 of the soup mix packets, then with one of the Cream of Onion.  Dump the carrots and potatoes on top of that.  Then put the other soup mix packets and Cream of Onion on top of them.  Pour about 1 1/2 cups water over it all.  Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 6.  It makes a delicious gravy.

It's so simple!  And, it was perfect for this cold wet day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 27 - Pumpkin Fun for the Little One

Emery got a pumpkin at Mom's Day Out.  She loves it!  She thinks it's a ball. :)  I've been looking for some fun things that Emery can do to help us decorate for fall.  These were some fun ideas on Pinterest for the little ones that can't carve a pumpkin yet...

http://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/stuServe/ec_thematic/hlwn_fineMotor.php



Young House Love

Young House Love

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 26 - Home

As I rocked my baby to sleep tonight, I thought, "This is what homemaking is all about."  It doesn't get any sweeter than that.  And the days are numbered of when I'll be able to rock my sweet baby to sleep.  She's almost 1 and it's hitting me like a ton of bricks.

This is home....


This is the day we brought her home from the hospital.  We were exhausted!  Jeremiah was so gentle with her and really wanted to rock her.  I went it to check on them a few minutes later and that is what I came across.  I always wanted a picture of my sleeping husband holding my sleeping baby.  Precious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 25 - Meal Planning

I am terrible at meal planning.  I usually wait until I'm grocery shopping to meal plan, and it doesn't work very well because I don't know what I already have at home and what I need to buy.

Meal time is the most stressful time at our home.  We're all coming in hungry from work (or mom's day out).  Not knowing what to make for dinner just adds to the stress.  I know that weekly planning will be the best option for me, and probably doing it on Saturday or Sunday night.  I can determine which nights in the upcoming week I need to cook a quick meal, a fancy dinner, or have leftovers.  I can check my pantry to see what I need and do the grocery shopping as the meals are planned.  I know that after I've done this a few weeks, meal planning will get easier because I can recycle plans.  Also, this will keep my grocery bill down because I will know exactly what I need to buy instead of buying something I might use that would end up spoiling.  And, I can plan healthier meals!

I've found a few cute menu planning printables online...click on the image to go to the source for your free printable:
http://projectsforyournest.blogspot.com


http://www.lovelyliving.com.au/


http://www.theprojectgirl.com


Do you meal plan?  Any tips?

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 24 - The Rule of 3

My momma has taught me so much including the rule of 3 (or odds).  Put very simply, it's more pleasing to the eye to decorate in 3s or odds.

For example:  when picking colors for a room, you can paint the room one main color, use a secondary main color in big pieces of furniture or rugs, and a third color for accent pops.

http://knightmovesblog.blogspot.com



http://danielleoakeyinteriors.blogspot.com/

Or, when grouping decorations (Besides mirrors, lamps, and candlesticks), it feels better to have them grouped in 3s or odds...

via Pinterest (original source unknown)



From newlyweddiaries.blogspot.com


From knightmovesblog.blogspot.com

Happy decorating!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 23 - C. S. Lewis

I thought this was a precious quote from C.S.Lewis.  As homemakers we really do have one of the most important jobs in the whole world.


I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr Johnson said, ‘To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour’. (1st to be happy, to prepare for being happy in our own real Home hereafter: 2nd, in the meantime, to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist.

“Letter to Mrs Johnson, 16 March 1955,” in The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. III, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004), 580.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 22 - Fly Lady

Have you heard of the Fly Lady?  A few years ago we had a Proverbs 31 conference for the ladies at my church.  Mrs. Willene shared about the Fly Lady.  Basically, she gives you daily reminders to keep your house managed.

via FlyLady.net


She starts Day 1 with shining your sink.  I don't follow all of her steps, but I've always remembered this tip over the years.  I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen.  It doesn't happen all the time, but I try to make sure the dishes are clean before I go to bed.  One reason it's nice having your kitchen sink shining before you go to bed is so that when you wake up, you have nothing holding you back from meal preparations for the day.  It just makes life a little easier.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Days 17-21 - Life

For the last 5 days, life has been a whirlwind.  My twin sister had her 1st baby, sweet Jozie Mae.  She's the spitting image of her daddy, Chris.  I got to be there for most of the birth experience and it's just a precious miracle!  I'm so proud of Amanda.  She's already such a good momma.



Unfortunately, her husband's father passed away this week.  Luckily, Jozie Mae got to meet her grandpa before he passed on.  My goal the last 5 days has been to be there for my sister whenever I can without neglecting my own little family so her husband can focus on being there for his family.  Jeremiah has been super helpful, taking care of Emery.  And crazy enough, Emery has been weaning herself (so bittersweet for me).  She's basically down to 2 or 3 nursing sessions a day....it's so weird from going from every 4 hours to this.  I feel like I'm getting my body back for myself, but my sweet baby isn't a baby anymore.  This is so blatant since Jozie came along.

I'm learning this week that homemaking does not stop at your own home.  It should continue wherever it is needed...Making people feel at home wherever you are.  What's more comforting than that?  My mom is the queen of homemaking, and I know Amanda is so appreciative of what she's doing for her.

Seeing the miracle of life and the passing of life all within 1 week really makes you appreciate the moments you get with your loved ones.  I'm thankful for God's evident grace and love on my sister and her husband.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 16 - Yummy Fall Goodness

We had our Hope Group tonight (small group meeting for church).  We really have such a good time!  Our leaders really know how to make everyone feel at home.  And, we take turns bringing snacks for everyone.  This week my friend, Heather, brought the yummiest fruit dip.  She found it on Pinterest (of course).  I'm definitely gonna have to try this!  It's such a yummy fall recipe, but could really go for any time of year.

Half-bakedbaker.blogspot.com

What are your favorite recipes for hosting? 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 15 - Welcome Fall

I know it's been fall for a little while now, but I'm just now getting to decorate my front porch.  I love all things fall!  I decided to go with some mums and pumpkins.

I had a nice little brunch today and wanted to welcome my guests with fall...



Next year I hope to try a different look.  It's always fun to change things up.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 14 - Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my goals in life is to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever!  I've been working on it.  I love baking cookies...there's just something about doing it that makes me feel at home.  So far I have 2 recipes that are in the lead, but since this is basically a life-long mission, I'm sure things will change.

One of my favorites was shared with me by a friend who found it on the little red house blog.

the little red house: chocolate chip coconut cookies

I LOVE THEM!  I do omit the coconut so it's just a regular chocolate chip cookie.  But this turns out chewy with a little crispy on the outside.  Perfect. 



My second favorite was found via Pinterest from Sunday Baker. This recipe includes a couple of packs of instant vanilla pudding.  It really keeps the cookies chewy and moist. 

SundayBaker.net - Snack That'll Last You All Week - Pudding Cookies

 Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe you want to share?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 13 - Puttering

Never in my life have I heard the term puttering.  But, crazy enough, I do it all the time.  As I've been researching homemaking, I've learned that puttering is to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks.  In relation to homemaking, it's really the act of making your house a home.  Doing things like putting out candles and pictures, rearranging furniture, tablescaping, light gardening, and decorating in a non-pressure way.  Puttering is not to be confused with piddling (ha!) :)  Puttering really has a purpose.

If planning 'puttering' projects is allowed these are some I'd like to attempt:

Arranging candles in glass jars with coffee beans (or something similar):
via Pinterest vis HGTV


Arranging mums and pumpkins on the front porch for a nice fall welcome:
via Pinterest via scissorsandspatulas.com

I'd love to hang plates in my entry way like this...
via Pinterest via mmmcrafts.blogspot.com


What's your favorite puttering activity?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 12 - Children

Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord.



I believe it!  I love my sweet Emery Rose.  Since she's been born, my homemaking has changed drastically.  Now I have to think about laundry, food, baths, sleep, etc. for another person.  It can get overwhelming, but I've found a couple of tips that have helped so much.

1.  Have a routine!  Emery (and most children) work best on a schedule.  She wakes up right around the same time everyday which starts with a clean diaper, lots of love, a nursing session, and Mickey Mouse Club House (while I take a shower).  She always eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner right around the same time.  And she usually naps around the same time.  We also have a bedtime routine.  This makes life so much easier.  Unless we have a church activity, Emery is in bed between 6:30-7:30.  She thrives on structure.  That gives me 3-5 hours to myself or with Jeremiah before we go to bed.

2.  Get everything ready the night before.  Pick out your outfit, get homework finished, pack your lunch, pack the diaper bag, etc. the night before.  Then you don't have to scramble in the morning trying to get everything put together.

These are just 2 basic steps that have made all the difference for me.  In our home, we all know what's coming next (well, most of the time) :).  We have crazy busy schedules, so every little bit of organization helps!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 11 - A Good Husband

Today is my 3rd anniversary!  So, I have to write a tribute to the best husband in the world!  Nothing makes homemaking more worth it than knowing my husband appreciates what I do for/at our home.  When I'm lacking motivation, I think of him.  I know he values the work I put into cleaning, cooking, and taking care of our daughter and home.  He's such a good husband!  One of the things that makes him so awesome is that he doesn't expect me to bare the 'burden' of homemaking alone.  He helps with cooking dinner, doing laundry, taking care of Emery.  He does the yard work and little fix-it jobs in our home.  PLUS, he's a full time graduate student and works full time as a financial planner.  And in the in-between time, he helps me with ministry and really carries a burden for our church members...wanting to see them living happy, loving, fruitful, grace-filled lives.  He's a good man and even better husband.

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 10 - A Little Pick-Me-Up

If you walk into my living room on most days this is what you'll find...


As you can see, we really needed a storage box.  I saw a super cute box at Sam's that was perfect for our living room.


It's amazing what a little box can do for a room!  


As I studied a few self-help :) cleaning books/websites, one of the things I learned was to time how long it takes to do certain cleaning activities.  In my mind it took something like 15 minutes to empty and fill the dishwasher and 30 minutes to do laundry.  After timing myself, I found out it actually only takes a couple of minutes for me to do my dishwasher and a few more to start laundry.  This helped me realize that I really do have time to do little things that make a big difference in the appearance of my home and make me feel better.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 9 - Rest


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28

What a week!  I'm worn out!  So, I'm taking a rest from homemaking today.  I'm not even going to empty the dishwasher.  :)  I'm sure it'll wait for me.

AMEN!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 8 - 2 Tips on How to Clean Your House

I'm no expert on how to clean your house.  If you came to mine on any given day without me knowing company is coming, you'd see why I'm not expert.  But, I have learned a couple of little tricks a long the way that help keep my house manageable (sometimes).

I read the book The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark.  It's excellent!  I actually need to read it again...it's been 3 years ago!


Tip 1:  Look at all of the places where your clutter/messes seem to always be.  For example:  Do you throw your keys down on the table right next to the front door?  Do you throw your mail on the kitchen island?  Your shoes in the living room?  Etc, Etc.  Notice all of those clutter spots that you know have become routine spots for you, and put an organizational element there to keep it nice and neat.  So, put a little basket for keys on the table by the front door, or a mail bin in the kitchen.....so on and so forth.  Make your house fit you, not the other way around.

Tip 2:  Keep all of the cleaning supplies you need for a particular space in that particular space.  For example:  have Clorox wipes in the kitchen and in every bathroom.  Have trash bags in every room with a trash can.  Paper towels, toilet paper, Windex....whatever you need there...keep in there.  You're more likely to clean a space when everything you need is right there at your finger tips.  I even have a vacuum cleaner for upstairs and one for downstairs.  I just know I'm more likely to use it that way.

Happy Homemaking! :)   

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 7 - A Little Encouragement





In the Word there's a few scriptures specifically about homemaking.  It's encouraging to know that God gives us grace (His ability) to make our house a home when our schedules are super busy, we have children and spouses who need our time and whose time we need, and jobs that may keep us from being at our home.  


In my own experience, I always feel better walking into a clean house with dinner plans made and ready to go.  But, we don't need to feel inadequate when that doesn't happen and we feel we don't measure up to our (or other's) standard of homemaking.  When I look at the 'homemaking' scriptures, it would be so easy to say..."Yeah right!  That never happens and probably never will."  I just need to remember that God's mercies are new everyday...and that that's not just a nice saying, it's the truth.  We need to enjoy our life and rest in God's love for us.  That'll make the "have to" mentality turn into the "get to!" mentality.


Proverbs 14:1
The wisest of women builds her house,
   but folly with her own hands tears it down.



Proverbs 31:27
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
   and keeps them all busy and productive.



1 Timothy 5:13-14
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but alsogossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.


Titus 2:5
By looking at them (older women), the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. 







Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 6 - Hot Pepper Jelly

Have you ever had Hot Pepper Jelly?  There's nothing like it!  It's the perfect quick-fix appetizer for when company (expected or unexpected) comes.  My favorite way to serve it is poured over cream cheese then spread it all over a Ritz Cracker.



A couple of years ago I made hot pepper jelly using the green peppers Jeremiah and I grew in the garden and jalapenos Jeremiah's mom and step-dad grew in their garden.  It was delicious, and I actually won Best of Show in the fair with it! :)  It makes perfect and inexpensive Christmas gifts.  I still have a few jars left, and it's just as good as when I first made it.

I used Paula Deen's Recipe :)


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh hot green pepper, such as jalapeno or serrano
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces pectin (recommended: Certo)
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • Special Equipment: 6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Directions

Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal*.


*Cook's Note: Follow USDA guidelines for proper sterilization and canning procedures.

* Sterilizing Jars




Properly handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Sterilizing Tips:
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
Before filling with jams, pickles or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 5 - Finding Inspiration

It's so important to have a vision of what you want in your life.

Habakuk 2:2-3 tells us:

 2And the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.

3For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry.

   
I have dream books, journals, lists, and pictures of many of the visions of my heart.  One of the area's I have the most fun with this is in regard to dream homes.  I've had this picture of the 2004 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway house for years...



I also fell in love with the home on The Notebook the moment I saw it...




And now, with Pinterest, I feel inspired to make my house homey every time I log on.

Here's some of my favorite homey place and spaces from Pinterest...


Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

I just want to encourage you to dream big when it comes to your dream home and home projects. You don't have to spend tons of money to make your house homey.  Start small changes and you'll see a big difference. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 4 - How to Hang Wall Art

Have you ever walked into a room and the first thing you notice is how high the art is hung on the wall?

http://www.squidoo.com/ten-biggest-decorating-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them

I have.  It's probably my mother coming out in me, but it's something I definitely notice and it usually ends up bothering me a little (OCD, much?) ha!  There are a couple of fail-proof tips that can help you hang that piece of beauty in the most perfect spot.

1.  The top of the frame should never be higher than the door frame.  There are always exceptions to this rule, especially with big art pieces, but as a rule of thumb, if you have a 'regular' size piece of art or smaller, make sure it's not sticking up higher than your door frame.



2. The rule my momma always taught me was to hang your picture at eye level.  This can be tricky since we're not all the same height.  So, we will go off of the average eye-level height of a person at 57".  The center of your wall art should be at 57".  This is probably not where your nail/hook/wire/whatever is. So...

1. Measure and lightly mark 57" on the wall
2. Measure top of your picture to the middle (or take height and divide by 2)

3. Measure top of your picture to the tightened wire (a small amount)
4. Subtract this last amount to tell you how far above 57" your hook should go
5. Measure up from 57" with this last amount and lightly mark on the wall

This also works for hanging groups of pictures.  Just always remember the CENTER of your picture (or group of pictures) should always fall at 57 inches from the floor.

Some picture hanging tips that I've seen on Pinterest:


http://theindustrialcottage.blogspot.com/




http://www.apartmenttherapy.com



http://mmscrapshoppe.blogspot.com


Hope this helps!