Archives For Homemaking

It’s been very quiet around here due to major life changes. At the end of March, we found a home on a little over 5 acres (after looking for nearly 3 years) and decided it was time to try to sell. We put our home on the market on a Wednesday and had 2 offers by Sunday evening, April 2 (which just so happened to be the 6 year anniversary of moving into this home!) The timing was right and everything has worked out wonderfully. We closed on both houses on May 2 and now are settling into our new home. We’ve been in our new home 5 days and have gotten quite a bit done and are feeling ready for baby (I’m 38 weeks today!)

I wanted to share the way our home looked when we started packing a few weeks ago for my memories and so you can see how everything was laid out and organized.

The view of the front door in the living room.

The living room. One of my favorite parts of this room was the gallery wall. It was one of the first things I laid out when we moved in. Of course, it’s changed over the years and the pictures have been changed out since we added 2 babies in that time!

A close up of our bookshelf tucked into the corner. We love our books!

The view from the living room into the kitchen. About 18 months ago, we started our kitchen renovation, putting down new floors, knocking out some cabinets, putting in a new stove and refrigerator. We worked on it slowly (paying cash as we went) and it was officially finished 3 days before we moved! (We had ordered a section of countertop on December 31 and the order was delayed, then messed up, then reordered and delayed so we never really had the opportunity to enjoy the fully completed kitchen.)

A view of the whole kitchen post renovation (with the new ‘bar’ countertop installed). So many meals and memories were made in this room.

And, here’s a bit of a close up of the new countertop section! I hope the new owners love this kitchen.

The dining room and kitchen are one open room. This was the most used room in our entire home. We ate here, we did school work here (school books and supplies were stored in the white cabinet), it was our main entry (thus the coat rack along the wall) and it was my office area. We spent hours here each day!

Here’s the view from the living room looking down the hall. These floors were put down as part of our renovation. To the left is Cecilia’s room and straight ahead is the door to the boys room. The door at the end of the hall is to the master, the bathroom is on the right and the other doors were storage closets and the pantry.

Our full bathroom.

Another view of the bathroom.

This is Cecilia’s room, her sweet little toddler bed and play kitchen. I painted this room when we first moved into this house for Paxton’s nursery. It has been Paxton’s nursery, a guest room, Weston’s nursery, a play room, Cecilia’s nursery and most recently was set up as a shared room for Cecilia and our new baby.

Here’s the baby’s area of the room. Even though the baby never lived here, we were ready for baby and didn’t think our 1,300 square feet was too small for our 4 children! (The bunting and the C would have been replaced at some point but it was still Cecilia’s room so I just kept it up!)

A view of the closet in this room. It stored Cecilia’s toys, her nice clothes, extra bedding and blankets, her memory box and some diapers for baby.

The master bedroom.

Another angle of our master bedroom.

Here’s a peek into our closet. By most standards, it is a small closet but was perfect for us. We added some shelving for shoe storage and since we both have minimal wardrobes, we had more than enough space.

Our boys room. This was a very large room/playroom that served our kiddos quite well over the years.

Another view of the boys room. That dresser was purchased for Paxton’s first nursery before he was born and I made those curtains a few years ago.

John David custom built this closet shelving and it has been great for toy, game and clothing storage. A little bit of smart design can transform a small closet into a very useful space!

This little gallery wall was one of my favorites of the boys room. All of the artwork was painted by me or the boys which makes everything special!

That’s the tour of our sweet little brick ranch. We lived in 4 different homes in less than 5 years but lived here for 6 years. We made so many memories while living in this home. Paxton turned one here, we found out we were expecting our second baby a month after we moved in, Cecilia was born in our bedroom, all 3 of our kiddos learned to walk here, we started homeschooling here and we found out we were having our 4th baby here.

Now, we’re looking forward to making new memories in our new home and adding a new baby to our family. The house is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. At just under 1,800 square feet, it gives us room to grow but it’s not too large of a home (we really wanted to stay under 2,000 square feet.) It feels absolutely massive to us right now! We have a little over 5 acres of land so we can have livestock here! We’re all pretty excited about living on our small farm. We already have honeybees and are looking forward to adding chickens very soon.

 

Hello, dear blog friends. It’s been a while since I last wrote. Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on in the past few months:

We started our second year of homeschooling back in August with Paxton in 1st Grade, Weston in Pre-K and Cecilia as a tag along! This second year of homeschooling has gone so much better than our first. I’ve learned so much about my little student and have learned a lot about myself. Our first half of first grade has been great and I’m really enjoying teaching and learning alongside my children.

Paxton played tackle football this fall which kept us busy for 2 months. He had practice 2-3 times a week with games on Saturdays and a few games on weeknights. It was a lot of going but Paxton had a blast and Weston and Cecilia loved playing with Paxton’s teammates siblings during practices and games. (I may be an introvert and need to be home a lot but my children are quite outgoing and enjoy going places.)

Then the holiday season arrived. We traveled to visit my family for Thanksgiving and we also visited John David’s family in mid-December. We enjoyed the month of December and all the festivities. Our Weston turned 5 on the 22nd, we had a lovely Christmas as a family and John David took the last two weeks of the year off which was wonderful.

During his time off, he started tackling our kitchen renovation more and we’re finally getting close to being finished! And, I am so excited and looking forward to sharing when it’s finished!

He went back to work yesterday and we’re settling back into our school routine.

Of course, the beginning of a new year is a time for thinking about goals and living intentionally and I’ve set a few goals/objectives for 2017.

  • One of those goals is to write here more regularly. I really enjoy blogging/writing but I do not do a great job of making time to blog.
  • Limiting my time on social media is also a goal for this year. I find myself mindlessly browsing Facebook or Instagram when I could be reading, writing, cooking, cleaning or so many other things. I no longer have my phone plugged up beside my bed so it’s not touched first thing in the morning or right before I go to bed. This is really helping!
  • A short term goal we’re working on is a pantry challenge. Our pantry, kitchen freezer and extra freezer were packed full so for the first two weeks of January we’re eating from the pantry/freezer.  The ‘rule’ is that we can buy eggs, milk and produce. All we’ve spent so far this month is $12.09 at Aldi for eggs, 6 avocados (can’t beat $.49 for an avocado!!) and a pineapple for the kids (we have a lot of oranges/apples still) so this will give them a yummy treat! I easily made out a 2 week meal plan and the goal is to make it these 2 weeks but I’m really hoping we can make it all month.
  • We’re also focused on our mortgage payoff goal. The goal is to pay it off by May 2020 and we’re currently a little bit ahead. We’ve been talking about ways to reach this goal faster and are working on implementing some of them. It’s fun having financial goals to work towards!

I’ve got a small list of blog post ideas for the coming weeks so you should be hearing from me more often in 2017!

Come to the Family Table

When we were planning for our marriage, we talked about the importance of family meal times. We have made it a priority to sit down at the table for our meals since our newlywed days (with the exception of pizza night or snack dinner with a movie!)

Now that our children are 6, 4 and 2, we’re actually able to have conversation at the dinner table which is so fun.

We are in the habit of gathering around the table during meal times but we tend to rush through meals. I’ll dish up everybody a plate and call everyone to the table. We sit down, eat, talk a bit and then clear the table. We don’t savor our meal or linger around the table.

Ted and Amy Cunningham’s new book, Come to the Family Table is about ‘slowing down to enjoy food, each other and Jesus.’

This book has both convicted me in the importance of slowing our meal times and has encouraged me in practical ways to do just that.

One chapter is titled ‘A Place for Memories’ and it reminded me that meals are not just about feeding people. Meals are to enjoy and to create ties with the loved ones. I want our family to create memories around our table that each of our children can take with them when they leave our home.

It seems like so much of my day is spend preparing meals and with our tendency to rush through meals, it sometimes leaves me frustrated that I will spend an hour or two preparing a meal only to have it eaten within 10 minutes and then move on to cleaning up the mess. I think that slowing down to savor our food and our time spent together around the table will help me value the time I spend preparing meals even more.

The second part of Come to the Family Table is about sharing meals with others and the importance of hospitality, especially for Christians. This is one area that we’re intentionally working on as a family. It’s still a bit of a step out of our comfort zone to invite others to share meals with our family. We’re finding as we do it more, it becomes easier and we always enjoy time spent gathered around our table with others.

Not only is this book full of inspiring information, it’s also fun. Each chapter includes a recipe that is meaningful to the authors as well as a game you can play around the table and a small devotional. We’ve tried out a couple of the game ideas during our family meals over the past couple of weeks and they have been fun for us all!

This book has practical applications for people in every season of life. Singles, young married couples, couples with children, grandparents all can glean inspiration, wisdom and ideas to strengthen ties with those who gather around their table from Come to the Family Table.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links which help support the maintenance of this website.

Sharable-MarthaHomeMaryWay-Less

I am a naturally neat and organized person who actually enjoys cleaning. But, this doesn’t mean my home is always neat and clean. I do want it to be tidy and clean always but that isn’t the case.

In fact, over the years since becoming a mother, I’ve learned to relax my standards of neatness and embrace the mess and clutter that comes with having young children. And, I’ve struggled with finding a cleaning routine that works well with our daily rhythms and keeps our bathrooms from getting downright nasty (4 and 5 year old boys can make a bathroom gross very quickly!)

In the introduction of Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, Sarah Mae writes ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not a clean house that defines good homemaking but rather a warm, inviting place that is filled with love.’ Those words need to be taken to heart by everyone who considers themselves a homemaker, household manager or main caretaker of the home, whether you are a woman or a man.

In the book, Sarah Mae shares her struggles in homemaking and offers encouragement to others about valuing their homes as places of love and warmth before measuring their cleanliness. And, this encouragement makes this book an excellent read for mothers, especially mothers of new babies and young children.

The book is broken down into 31 days with each day having an short encouraging piece/devotional, followed by a Mary Challenge which has scripture and questions to help the reader reflect on their life and it ends with a Martha Challenge which is the actual homemaking project. Spreading out the projects (like cleaning out your fridge, purging your closet and organizing the kitchen) over 31 days makes getting your entire home in order seem quite manageable!

I enjoyed following along with the projects cleaning and ridding my home of even more clutter. It was fun for me because I love this type of thing but I really believe even ‘messy’ types would find encouragement and motivation from this book. And, she reminds us to ‘enjoy the seasons God allows you to move through and pray for a contented spirit.’ (Even those seasons of life that include bathrooms that are never clean!)

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is a simple, fun book that is full of encouragement and practical advice for anyone wanting to clear out some clutter and clean their home better.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

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