"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge it's rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Update On My Garden/ A Heart-To-Heart/ Making Everyday Things Beautiful

Hello again, friends!

Have you all been doing ok?

I think about you often, and pray you are happy and well!

We've had a lot of stormy, dark days here recently, and in-between rainfalls I've been puttering around in my garden.

This is what it looked like this afternoon...


Do you have a garden?

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." ~ Gertrude Jekyll 

The other day my grandma sent my parents over to my house with some hand-me-downs from her garden...

She gave me this cement birdbath,


and a box of lily of the valley that Nola helped me plant...


I sure hope it's successful! 

"O the green things growing, 
the green things growing, 
the faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
just to watch the happy life of my green things growing."
~ Dinah Mulock Craik


I haven't been blogging much lately.

I needed a little break.

My family and I have all been happy and well, but I'll just be honest... I got discouraged.

It seems you can't talk about having a happy home life without someone out there getting their undies in a bundle over it.

*eye roll*

I have been blogging about home living for about a year and a half now, and I've noticed that nothing that I write makes women more mad than the topic of staying home with children.

They tell me that it could be offensive to working moms.

Well, please know that it is never my desire to be offensive!

On the contrary, I've tried really hard over this year and a half to make my blog a positive and uplifting place for my readers!



So, let me just say (with full kindness of heart!) that I will continue to write about home living for stay-at-home moms because that is what I intended for this blog to be about, and what I STILL want it to be about... AND because our world simply does not need any more voices telling moms to leave their homes and go to work.

I do not write from the perspective of wanting to upset working moms and make them feel bad for not staying home...

NO! NO!

I write from the perspective of wanting to encourage women who have already chosen the stay-at-home life!

There are plenty of blogs out there to encourage working moms. I just saw that there was a need for more voices of encouragement for stay-at-home moms, that's all!

*smile*

I hope you understand!

As somebody older and much wiser than me said once, "Not wrong, just different!"

Yes, different!

I like that!

I want my blog to be different.

Different from what our culture says women should do...

Different from where the world says we get our value from...

And different from the popular "Keep It Real" blogs that brag about their messy houses and unruly children.


I enjoy blogs (and books) that challenge and encourage me in my homemaking!

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." 1 Thess. 5:11a

And I truly hope that you consider your time at my blog an encouragement to you!

One thing that's been on my mind lately as a topic to write about, is how to infuse beauty into everyday life.

A 'trick' that I began doing years ago is to just make the things that I use everyday, beautiful.

For example, after my morning coffee, I switch to ice water and try to be diligent about sipping it throughout the day.

I leave my water glass out on the counter to make it convenient.

When I first got into this habit, I would just grab a plastic cup. But I quickly realized that I didn't like how that looked sitting out!

'Why not use one of my beautiful goblets?' I finally thought one day!

That was several years ago and I've been doing it ever since!



It's also been important to me, throughout my mothering, that my children are being raised on real plates and glasses, too!

I bet you remember the dishes you had growing up...

Do you?

I remember ours!


And doesn't it bring back happy memories of family meals?

Our mothers and grandmothers would never have used paper or plastic plates!

While we're still in the kitchen, I'll show you one more example...

See my glass canisters?


You probably have something similar in your home.

Since it can be easily seen, why not use a beautiful teacup as a scoop instead of something plastic?


Just make your everyday things beautiful!

What I'm showing you are all simple and little things, but you'll find that adding beauty and dignity to the home is often in the details.

This is a shelf in my bathroom...

I have to use cotton balls and Q-tips everyday, so I might as well make it beautiful...


We have to grab school books out of this shelf everyday, so I might as well make it beautiful...


I use tea, sugar, and stir sticks everyday so I might as well make it beautiful...



A lot of these pictures have lilacs because that's what happens to be in full bloom right now.

If you've been following my blog since last summer, you'll know that I keep my home dressed in clippings from my yard from spring till fall. 

It's a commitment. 

I have to switch them out every few days, but I've always considered it worthwhile. Whatever is in bloom gets snipped and brought in!



Another thing I want to mention is that if all you do is just keep the surfaces of your home cleared and wiped off, that would make a huge difference! Don't worry if you're not a great decorator... 

Clean homes are beautiful homes!



Recently I was in a friends' home. The home is not my style but because it was clean and tidy, it looked beautiful to me! The books were straight. The surfaces were cleared off. The blankets on the couch were folded neatly.

There are areas in my home that aren't decorated how I would like them to be, but I felt inspired to not let that stop me from keeping those areas clean and tidy, as well!

Well friends, it is time for me to gather up my kiddos, and get them ready for bed.

Micah's outside mowing, and the kids are playing board games on the family room floor... 

(An example of an area in my home that isn't how I want it to be...)

I've learned that it doesn't matter, though. We are all healthy and happy!

We sure are blessed, aren't we friends?!

Enjoy your home and family...

xo,

~ Courtney ~



















Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spring Is Here And Music Upstairs

Spring has officially arrived!


And a lot has been going on out here at the farmhouse!

We are enjoying getting back out in our yard to work on our flower beds.

Micah just planted two more rose bushes last night...

(Here's one of them up in the front yard.)

I am head over heels for roses in a farmhouse garden!

To me it is a fairytale come true!

We have some beautifully established roses that like to strut their stuff...

See what I mean?

(This is from last summer.)

But I am never satisfied.

I always beg and pester Micah to plant MORE!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"We lose ourselves in things we love. We find ourselves there, too." ~Kristen Martz

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I found a spare moment this week, so I grabbed my broom and swept away the winter dirt from my front porch.

I'm a little late with my porch cleaning and decorating this year, due to Mama Robin. She decided our home was hers, too. We found her nest and babies in a planter on the porch weeks ago.



We all agreed to give her her privacy. So, we stayed off the porch as much as possible.

Only just recently have the babies all flown away, so I'm now trying to play catch-up on the porch.

I washed the windows and swing and purchased a bright pink Begonia. 


There is still much to do, but this is a good start!

(A porch tip: I have learned through the years that begonias, impatiens, and ferns all do really well on my front porch. They're successful because they're shade plants, so the covered porch protects them from the summer sun, allowing them to thrive!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Our little Nola had a ballet recital recently, too.

(We grabbed a quick picture with her after the show...)

She did great!


And now our kitchen island is beautifully decorated with the flowers she received at her performance.

Fresh flowers sure know how to brighten up the place!


In the background you can see our chalkboard fridge.

I freshened it up the other day with a new saying.

Here's a close-up...


Remember this song?

"Count your blessings name them one by one..."

Isn't it a great reminder?!

There's always something to be thankful for!

The first verse is my favorite:

"When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."


I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mama!

There are hardly any childhood photos of me where I'm not holding a baby doll or my baby brother.

Once, when I was a kid, I set up my bedroom as a little 'apartment' and made a kitchen, a living room, and a nursery. I would make-believe that I was the mama there, and my dolls were my babies. My mom let me keep my room that way for months!

When I got a little older and began babysitting, I would take charge of the children in my care as though they were my own. I would dress them, make food for them, take them on walks to the park... And when the parents were due to arrive home, I would happily wash dishes, and scurry around the house tidying up. 

In high school, when all of my friends were talking about future career goals and college plans, I would say, "I just want to get married and have babies!" They all thought I was nuts! Haha...

Now, my dream has come true!

I'm never happier than when my schedule is clear and I'm just working hard at HOME!

"See to it that you lead a quiet life, minding your own business, and work with your hands..." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11

My most recent little project was this music table...


I am old-fashioned and prefer to listen to CD's. I've tried Pandora, but ended up deleting it from my phone. I just like my trusty, old, stand-by music that has been with me for years. 

I have a little CD player in my kitchen, but since removing Pandora, I realized we didn't have an option for music anymore upstairs!

I wanted to fix that.

I purchased a new, little CD player, and dug out this small table from storage.


In the picture above, I had given it a light sanding in our work room.

It needed some freshening up before bringing it out into the house.

After sanding it, I applied a coat of this Antique Walnut Minwax...


I really like this shade of stain and have used it in our home many times. It's a great color because it's not at all orange-y or overly dark.

Once it dried, I set it up in the hallway between my children's bedrooms.

It fits perfectly in this little spot!


I hate the look of draping electrical cords, so I tend to always rubber-band the excess like this:

(It's safer and much tidier!)

These are the CD's we are currently enjoying upstairs!


We like to play praise music in the mornings while we're all upstairs together working on our 'morning routine'. 

If you're new to my blog then I'll fill you in... Our "morning routine' is what we call the time after breakfast when we all get to work making our beds, brushing our teeth, straightening up our rooms, and getting dressed.

I start a batch of laundry, and whip open the windows for some fresh air.

It's an up-beat and fun time in our day!

At night we listen to lullabies.

It's amazing the impact music has in the home!

It can really alter the atmosphere.

Sweet lullabies at bedtime calms everyone down and brings peace into our upstairs while the children drift off to sleep...


Mama's, it's OUR job to make sure our homes are peace-filled! 

Guard your home against anything that is negative!

Don't turn on the news, or scream at the kids and the dog... Don't play music that will drag down your spirit. Work around your home with a happy heart, and teach your children to have happy hearts as well! 


~ Homelife should be wonderful! ~

Take care, sweet friends...

xo,

~ Courtney ~












Monday, May 1, 2017

Quiet Hour

Hello again friends!

I truly hope you all are enjoying life and doing well!

I'm popping in quickly today with a post about our daily quiet hour.

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." ~ Laura Ingles Wilder 


I don't believe it is good or right to allow children to run the home. I've always approached my job as "mother" with the attitude that I run our home and schedule and determine the atmosphere here.

Since I've never sent my children to school or daycare and have never had a nanny, I feel as though I really need a break in the afternoons.

That's easy when you have babies and toddlers who nap.

But what about older children?

Our quiet hour has stemmed from a realization I made several years ago, and that was, Oh no... my oldest child no longer naps. So... Now what do I do? How do I still get my afternoon break?


"Every day of your life, whether you're eight or eighty, you take definitive steps in creating the life you have and the thinking that supports it." ~ Susan Branch


Noise and chaos can really wear me down, so every afternoon (usually somewhere around 1:00 and 3:00, depending on the day) I will announce to the kids to prepare for quiet hour.

By this time in the day our chores and school lessons are done, the kitchen has been cleaned from lunch, and the baby is napping.

Most of the time we've had our nature walk by this point, too, and I'm winding down on laundry for the day.

I go through the house and turn down the lights. 

It is time for all of us to take a short break!

We've earned it!

The children don't have to sleep or even be in their beds, but they must be quiet!

Good quiet hour activities are things like reading...


Drawing...


And quiet play...


I also don't mind if they watch a little PBS Kids, or a 30-min. Veggie Tales.

And while they are having a quiet hour, I am having a quiet hour!

I like to spend my quiet hour doing things like reading, baking, blogging, texting a friend, etc...

Sitting in the garden in the summertime, or in my front room with hot tea in the wintertime, are also good ways to spend the hour.

If I'm going through a season of illness or sleep issues, I use the hour to actually lay down and rest.



Mamas, it's important to schedule a rest into your day!

It will benefit you as a wife and mother in so many ways!

A short afternoon break can help you to restore your energy and sanity.

Our culture places high value on being busy and on the go. The general idea is that if your schedule's maxed out and you're stressed, then you must have a meaningful life.

But the Lord doesn't call us to a stressed out life.

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ~ Matthew 11:28-30



Now, some of you may be thinking, My kids would never go for that... How do you get them to stay quiet?

But, for the child who has been faithfully trained in obedience, this should not be a problem. Because this really just boils down to obedience. What mama says, goes.

If you tell them that you expect them to remain quiet for a full hour, then they should obey without question.

My children submit to my agenda. I do not submit to theirs. When one of my children disrupts quiet hour and begins to behave loudly, I do not think, Well, so much for that. I guess we won't have a quiet hour today. No. Instead, I meet the disobedience with age-appropriate discipline and remind them, "This is quiet hour. I expect you to find a quiet activity until the timer goes off." And then we try again. 

Once quiet hour has ended, we resume our days' activities. By this point it is late afternoon and time to do a house tidy, put school books away, start on supper, and set the table. 


An older, wiser homeschool mama told me once, "Just as they need play time, they need down time."

I've always tried to give my children a healthy balance of both.

I may not have it down perfectly, but it's a routine that we've established for our family and it works for us!

My prayer is that I've given you some practical encouragement today.

Please feel free to say "Hi" in my comments.

I love hearing from you!

xo,

~ Courtney ~