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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

 

Hello!  Every day we use things that make our lives easier or bring a smile to our face.  I encourage you to take a look at your daily routines and see what those things are.  It was fun for me to dig a bit and see a few of my “favorites”  all together! Check out Loved One’s Favorites too… you’ll get great gift ideas. Here we go!!
KITCHEN TONGS:   I am seriously addicted to these little gems. I have a bunch of them because they only cost a couple dollars. They are so handy to pick up anything and everything! I even have some spares in our chip containers so that I don’t get “cheeto fingers.”.
MINI CROCKPOT : My favorite scent is ANYTHING Christmas. I used to put a pot on the stove with simmering spices and fruit so that the whole house smelled yummy…but then I found mini crockpots! They are fabulous!!  This is a wonderful gift during the holiday season to give with a recipe and ingredients for simmering. Lemons, cinnamon sticks, clove,and oranges are a good place to begin.
FELT TIP PENS:  These beauties are a little pricey, but there are sales and coupons out there to get them a bit lower. I love how bold the ink is.  I love that it doesn’t smear and drys quickly. I love to use these on to-do lists to perk up the mundane chores, and I love to journal and write pretty much everything with them. 

 

 

RAINBOW INSULATED CUPS WITH STRAWS:  Oh happiness! It’s simple I know, but I get more water drank in my day with a different colored cup each morning! I have the whole rainbow at my fingertips, and since they come with lids…they travel from home to car easily.

 

 

FLAMELESS CANDLES: With a house full of boys, it is in our Homes best interest to not light many actual candles with real flames.  This set is lovely and it comes with a remote and timers! I have some in our kitchen, and I have some programmed in the living and bedrooms. As bedtime routines begin, it is nice to enter those dark spaces with the glow of a flickering candle. I love my flameless candles! 
POM POM COASTERS: Are these not the cutest little splashes of fuzzy color?!  
The kids made these with cork and glue and pom poms one Christmas for family gifts, and I snagged a set for our Drink Station. Each morning this cheerfulness greets me at the coffee maker. (I had just as much fun making these as the kids.)

 

NERF WALL: This saved my sanity with all the Nerf wars that happen daily in our home.  
If you have darts and kids in your life, I recommend that you review our Nerf Wars post on how to make one of these stations. The kids helped design and paint the walls; and hanging it all up in the garage was fun for all of us!  Now the tag has been moved outside. When it’s over, I have yet to ask a boy to put their Nerf stuff away. They rush to the Nerf Wall to get the best hangers!! (Such a Win for us all.)

 

 TAILGATE TABLES: These medium-sized rectangle, collapsible tables will rock your world! I have never actually used them for their intended purpose…but I have used them for pretty much everything else. They fold and are lightweight.  I have these tucked all over the house. The make a quick puzzle, Lego, you-name-it project off the floor. They wipe down and have two adjustable heights. And the bonus feature is that if you find them during football season, then you have local color options depending on nearby teams! If you want a certain color, look at the teams. 
CANDY CATCHERS: When you are between 2 candy-laced holidays, the thought occurs of what to do with the abundance of sweets (?)…  Since there are multiple boys in our home, and boys are a tad competitive in everything, we had to find a solution to storing any excess of overflow.  The number of kids you have, is the number of compartments needed for the Candy Catcher. Personalize it so there is no confusion. No Sharing is an unspoken for this little kitchen tool. This container usually stays out of reach, so that a parent monitors consumption. I pull from its resources for school lunches and snacks mixed with healthier choices. This has gone with us on road trips with each persons snacks divided so they can eat them at differing paces. This is a fun Favorite for me!
PORTABLE HAMMOCKS: My most recent Favorite! I love these soooooooo much.  Each child received one for a gift. We learned how to “stack” them in trees from college students. It looked as if there were a herd of nomads in my back yard the first 3 days!! The kids stayed outside for hours trying out different trees. They took books, water bottles, snacks, journals, DS’s, and even a Ukulele!!  I confess that I also enjoy gently swinging and cloud-gazing; especially snuggled with one of my Cuties’.

 

Well there you go! Hope you got an idea or two to add to your Favorites. Take a mental break from this week’s mundane and enjoy mulling over some of your own Favorites; you have more than you realize! 
You, Lord God, have done many wonderful things, and You have planned marvelous things for us.  Psalm 40:5

“We Need A Plan!”

 

 

“What day is it?”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Whose birthday are we celebrating?”

“How long is the practice?”

“What time is the game?”

“When is Date-Night???”

These are just a few of my own daily questions!! Than you throw the family’s questions in the pot too! My head starts swimming, and I seriously want to grab a larger cup of coffee and retreat.

Once the family stepped into extracurricular activities and more than one school campus, it was time for a plan! It’s not always a cake walk and there are still daily doses of coffee to recharge my stamina, but the plan definitely helps keep us grounded. (And on time to things!)

Every family’s dynamics are slightly different, but here are a few of our favorite ideas that we use on a weekly basis…and for this season of our lives, they are working beautifully.  Hope one or more might help your daily sanity!

We took a wall in the garage and installed a 6 Month Calendar! Let me say that this has been amazing for our coordination!! When we first talked about putting this up, I thought it might be too much..wouldn’t 3 months work fine? But I am a believer now! Each family member has a color, and EVERYTHING goes on the board. So when I feel my brain beginning to go on overdrive with planning, I just step up to the board and can easily see the master plan. Love it!

We have a clip board for each child also hung in the garage. I was tired of the visual clutter sitting in the kitchen. There was always a “lost” slip to sign and turn in for school. And birthday invitations for different friends was enough to make me drink coffee all day! So…whaala! Everything from permission slips to lunch numbers, and friend’s phone numbers are attached to each kids board. Easily accessible to grab off its hook and look through when needed. Love this too!!

So this is an awesome way to capture all those artistic treasures that come home from school and such. I keep some of them, but realistically they don’t all make the cut. When a particular season has come to its end, we snap a picture with the resident artist. I stumbled upon this idea and it is one of my favorites to look back on and see how each child grows. Love, Love, Love!

On a similar note, I have one bulletin board in our kitchen that I rotate 2 pieces of art work per child. I switch it out now and then. I like seeing the mix of all my kiddos art together. They enjoy pointing out to visitors which ones belong to them. I hung this low so that the kids are eye level with it. You know I love this!

I must confess that this does not happen always. But on the weeks that it does, this little tool is amazing! We have a Dinner Board that I put the meal plan on. The boys love it when I am able to follow through with this plan. I am calmer and happier too. There is less fast food in our lives. When we implement this plan, I do not have to run to the store for that missing ingredient either; and that is something I love!

And last, but most certainly not least… I will leave you with this little gem. This prayer calendar has been taped to the inside of my bathroom cabinet for 9 years. When I get ready each morning, I glance at the day’s word and prayer. While drying my hair, I pray these over my kids and whole family. It’s pretty much committed to memory by now, and I am testament that as I pray these over my children and spouse, they saturate me as well. This is a cherished plan. Love everything about this!

Calendars, Dry Erase Markers, Magnets, ClipBoards, Recipes, Art Work, and Prayers…go forth and Make A Plan!! Have a Beautiful Week!

Hints of hospitality

Throughout the year we have houseguests and like to welcome them in small ways so that they feel special.

hydrangea blossoms– Cutting some flowers from the garden and plunking them into an empty garden pot on an outdoor table

– Jotting a welcome note onto the dry erase board propped on the kitchen counter.

– Stacking some magazines on the guest’s bed

-Setting out a try of cold drinks

– Baking some cookies..and perhaps adding some bonus chocolate chips 🙂bonus chocolate chips

– Leaving a stack of freshly laundered towels and new body wash in the guest bathroom

– Providing an empty basket for their family to use as a catch-all for their traveling items

– Writing out our network name and WiFi password so it’s easily accessible

welcome sign in garden


hospitality = the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

hello door and rainbow wreath

Hospitality is easily nurtured by including everyone in your family. Encourage your children to greet guests at the door and invite kids into their activities.

Set out some fidget toys or old-fashioned games to help get them started.

A family pet can be a great distraction to push through any awkward getting-to-know-you jitters.doggy welcomeSometimes hospitality is welcoming your own people back home after summer camp…welcome home goodie bag

Or perhaps your spouse knows you’ve had a long day and provides you with a fruity drink in a fun souvenir glass…then joins you for a few quiet moments.

boat drink

All of these little touches communicate “you are known” and “you are welcome here.” We are ambassadors of our families and can minister Christ’s love to others through simple gestures. So, put out that welcome mat and open your hearts for whoever may cross your threshold today!

welcome mat



“…seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13


If you are new to our site, Welcome! If you’re a continuing reader, notice we’ve made some changes to freshen up virtually for you. We’re still tweaking some of the format, so it may be a little messy — just like our houses when we’re in the midst of a good visit.

Colors, and Glitter and Hydration, O My!

spiral bottles

 

I have been having so much fun playing with paint and glitter the last few months! These wreaths are made of water bottles.  I have hand-painted and spray painted to get the results I want. After paint, I douse them in glitter. (My hubby has shown great patience with the glitter, but did finally mention that the dogs were sparkly!!) 

more bottles

 After they dry, I cut the bottom off and then begin cutting around the bottle until I reach the top. It leaves a great ribbon effect that has a boing to it!

bottles

The really fun part comes when it’s time to put the wreath together. A simple metal form is all that’s needed as you begin to weave the spirals through it.                                                         

bottle assemblyThe possibilities are pretty much endless, the cost is minimal for the supplies, and my favorite thing about this wreath is that it does not attract bugs, spider webs, wasps nesting, etc. because those creepy crawlies don’t linger on plastic. Also a bonus that it is waterproof!

 

rainbow wreathesSuper fun and eye-catching! Also quite addictive to make…my garage walls are filling up with seasonal ones that my mind comes up with faster than I can paint! I have made these in all sorts of color combos for family, friends and a few sweet paying customers.                                                

rwb wreath

If you would like more info on these, don’t hesitate to send me a message; always happy to talk all things with glitter involved! If you love them as much as I do, but would like someone else to make it, then I’m your gal too! Happy Creative Day to Ya”ll!

Making Felt Buddies

“COLORS PURSUE ME; INTO MY VERY DREAMS” -MONET

felt buddies

 

As the last Nerf dart went whizzing by, and the whoops and hollers were trailing, I grabbed a rare opportunity: boys setting their motion down for a brief rest.

We wasted no time and “dove”  into a calm activity that makes my heart so happy. My hope in sharing, is that you and yours will enjoy such sweet moments too.

As we laid out felt, sequins, ribbon, feathers, thread, needles and scissors, our imaginations took flight! This was very hands-on for me; but the conversation and laughter that came as we worked together was so worth it!!

felt supplies

 

All sorts of Felt Buddies emerged from our craft session. We stuffed them with batting before stitching them closed. They are colorful and crazy, and we love seeing them all piled together looking back at us.

Since that inspired session, we have set up a basket that holds all the components for new Felt Buddies that may arrive on a whim. Sometimes a grandparent has stopped by and joined the process. Occasionally one child has needed a quiet retreat, and lingered at the basket to begin a new friend. Some have capes, others have feathers, a few have sequins and initials stitched in, and all have become priceless to us.

Continue to explore this summer with your children; the views are beautiful.

Nooks and Nests

Think back to when you were a kid and when you felt the most safe and secure…what images come to mind? Were you with a particular person…or in a certain place?

Chances are that you were tucked into a small space with someone you loved. What sensations does this memory evoke?

The world is a big place with a lot of things coming at us all the time. Sometimes we just need to close it down a little bit — like clicking the minimize button on the computer to narrow things down to a smaller focus.

high-top game tableOccasionally these recharges happen naturally, but otherwise we have to be a little intentional to have some prompts in our environments to slow down. As moms we can provide some nooks around the house to encourage our kiddos to find a place to recharge…

boy doing homework at shared family room desk

-a game table for an impromptu game or puzzle

-a seat tucked into a corner with a cozy blanket and soft pillows; some low-key reading materials

-a bedroom fort, making the most of those bunkbeds

-a desk in a corner of the family room so your child can share your space while you’re making dinner

-a pile of beanbag chairs for kids to plop into while reading or gaming

Every one of us craves a nook that is “just ours,” where we can get lost in a good book or daydream and plan. This space is not just for children. My husband’s nook is usually a favored chair in the living room where a nap can ensue as the lullaby of sports plays him to dreamland. As a mom who is always searching for a moment to be creative, I find myself “nesting” throughout our home. I leave lots of “twigs and fluff” in each room so that wherever the children are, I can settle in as well and be near. I group reading material in baskets, and I have small containers holding current projects that I can pick up at a moment’s notice. My nests are for the most part side-by-side with my kids’ nooks. However, once the day has been put to rest, and I can really call my time my own, there are nooks that ground me and restore any fraying from the day…

I have a battery-powered candle that is on a timer so that when I finally make it to my bedroom at night, I walk into the glow of this candle. It makes me smile each night when I snuggle into bed with a good book.

As you think about the personalities of your family, nooks and nests will begin to emerge on their own:

-a reading nook

-a Lego nook

-an electronic plug-in nook for all iPads, etc

I love my coffee nook with a devo for the start of my day.

I laugh as I walk by a nook I set up for my boys: an oversized chair, a small table and low lit lamp with comic books… 3 boys are surrounding this nook they were drawn to, but none of them are in the chair! Each boy is laying on the floor or under the chair...unconventional nook building.record wallWhen I think of a nook, I think of it in layers…indirect lighting, a soft place to snuggle in, sounds in the background…white noise of a home that reflects each individual settling into their spaces after being out in the world.teen boy nest

Sometimes a cozy space is outside. When we moved, one of the first things we did in the yard was hang our hammock. It became a magnet for boys seeking a daydreamy spot to gaze at clouds or squirrels chasing each other overhead. From the house often the only thing visible is the top of a head, knobby knees, or a pair of dirty feet.dreamimg

Remembering my mother’s nature nook: on warm summer nights after dinner, she would slip away to her garden patch in the backyard by herself. She would garden through dusk and come in with the fireflies for bed. It was good mental relaxation.   climatis in the backyard

As a preteen, I would sneak away barefoot to the swing outside and sway back and forth under the stars. I felt secure looking past the windows and seeing my parents unwinding with the news or a book inside our home. I liked testing the distance with a safety net still in place during those formative years of adolescence. I would dream and grow in that swaying nook.

Enjoy your nooks and nests in life. Share them with loved ones, and keep a few sacred for your heart only. Rejuvenation and Dreams come forth from such places.

 



“The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are His everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

…”for You alone, o Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8