21 Simple Ways Enjoy Making and Keeping Your Home


1. Light a candle by your sink as you wash dishes.

2. Listen to worship music, classical music, or something you love as you work.

3. Clean one area or room at a time. Declare it off limits when you’re finished with it.

4. Take frequent breaks to do something you enjoy for just a few minutes.

5. Use cleaning products that either smell great or are homemade.

6. Be thankful for what you have. Thank your husband and the Lord for what they have provided.

7. Start looking at yard sales and thrift shops for things that fit in with what you would like your home to become.

8. Think comfort in all you purchase for your home. Some styles may be pretty; but, they’re not always comfortable.

9. Determine to be thankful for what you have now.

10. Ruthlessly get rid of the things that you don’t need or enjoy.

11. Smile!

12. Pray while you iron.

13. Invite someone over. It’s great motivation; and, God tells us to be hospitable. It’s also fun!

14. Make time in your day for doing something you enjoy…knitting, sewing, crocheting, writing, reading, whatever it may be.

15. Place your favorite chair near your husband’s favorite chair. Reach over and hold his hand.

16. Seek friendships with ladies who enjoy home keeping.

17. Try new recipes regularly.

18. Make useful things for your home and for your family.

19. Make things homemade as often as possible. There’s such satisfaction in it.

20. Take time for tea!

21. Use it up; wear it out; make it do; or do without!

This list is for me, too. I do many these things, but not all of them. I’m looking for ways to enjoy homemaking, too. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Just Something to Think About….
Blessings to you all from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….
Laura
Learning to Enjoy Homemaking More and More

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May I suggest?
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An Open Letter to a Lady Discouraged by Poverty

My friend Jes, of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, recently received a comment on her post  “Swept and Good Order” ~ The Mistress of the House. I felt compelled to respond to the comment and share it with you.

Dear Discouraged,

I feel so glad that you chose to share your discouragement with Jes. She shared some good ideas. I know what its like not to be able to fix things up like you’d like to. Even after 28 years, most of what we own was either given to us (usually second hand) or bought second hand.

Please don’t be discouraged. You’ve got to get creative. Find the things that cheer you. Maybe a candle burning (often cheap at yard sales), music playing (try Pandora or Spotify on-line if you don’t have a collection), the fragrance of supper simmering on the stove shouldn’t be underestimated!

I find that when I think about what I can do instead of what I cannot do, it helps.

When I didn’t have furniture for my living room, I baked cinnamon rolls and sold them to businesses in town for their break times. I bought my furniture from Craig’s List. Perhaps there’s something you could do to make a few dollars here and there.  I get to squirrel away all the money I make by selling books on-line to buy my school books and whatever I can use PayPal for.

As for hospitality,  years ago we had people over even when we had to sit on the floor.

We once went for Sunday dinner to someone’s house, and they served a simple bean soup with cornbread.  Inexpensive, true, but hospitality was given as they shared what they had with us, and we enjoyed our time very much. Their situation and home was similar to yours, but it was the friendship offered that I remembered.

If blogs and Pinterest discourage you, don’t look at them! If you do look, just let them be jumping off points to think about what you can do with what you have available to you.

For now, think about the things you have that you do enjoy and how you might make the best of them.

Here are a couple of posts from my blog that might be encouraging to you:

40 Ways to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

A Few Ways to Enjoy Homemaking

Sincerely,

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Forty Ways to Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Dear Readers,

I’ve been trying to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without for several years now. Here are some of the things I’ve done.

Ways to USE IT UP:

1. Toothpaste- Take the end of your toothbrush and slide it along the toothpaste tube, pushing all the toothpaste up toward the opening to get out all the last bits. If you’re at the end and want the very last bit, open the end with scissors and just put your toothbrush inside. You’ll get a few more brushings out of the tube.

2. Lotions- If you have body lotion or baby lotion setting around unused, you can use it for shaving lotion. I just put some in my hand, add a bit of water from the faucet and spread it on my skin. The razor slides smoothly. The same is true for unused hair conditioner.

3. Lipstick- Use a lip brush or cotton swab to get the last bits out of the container.

4. Unmatched dishes-either your own or garage sale finds. Use these to give food gifts to neighbors or friends. We have had single neighbors who really appreciate a single serving of soup or whatever meal we’re having. Using the mismatched items takes the worry away about getting your dishes back. When they’re returned, it’s just an added blessing.

5. Oftentimes, I have leftovers that I like to try to remake into something else. Soup is especially good for this. Leftover meat and gravy makes a great soup base.

6. If you have leftover bottles of cleaning supplies, use them!

7. Declutter and sell your things at yard sales.
8. Declutter your bookshelves and swap on http://www.paperbackswap.com/ . Please mention me, lauraofharvestlane, as referring you.  I’ll get a free book!
9. Sell clothes at consignment shops.
10. Sell other things on ebay.

Ways to WEAR IT OUT:

11. I tear up old towels to use as rags.

12. Wear those old tennis shoes in the creek or to mow the lawn.

13. Wear old clothes around the house; save your nicer things for going out.

14. Wear used clothes from yard sales, thrift stores, or resale stores.

15. Pass clothing down to younger children or to friends.
16. Patch those jeans! Put a pretty patch over a stain on a dress or blouse.
17. Let down the hem on your girls’ dresses. If it’s worn, add some rick rack, flat lace, or fancy machine stitching.
18. Put a ruffle around the bottom of dresses that are too short, or around legs of boys’ shorts to make them hand-me-downable to girls.
Ways to MAKE IT DO:

19. I have brushed my teeth with baking soda sprinkled on my wet brush. I have also poured a tiny bit of peroxide over my toothbrush. I’ve not tried combining them yet.

20. I’ve used my lipstick as blush. Dot it on; then blend, blend, blend.

21. Cut up old clothes or sheets into your preferred napkin size. Zigzag stitch or hem the edges. Fold them and leave them in a basket on the table or counter. It works for baby receiving blankets, too.

22. When I make jelly, I use an old pillowcase that is clean and lint free instead of a jelly bag to hang my fruit mixture in to strain.

23. Remake used or old clothing by: adding pretty patches or yo yos, dying the cloth, embroidering by hand or machine around edges or wear lines where a dress or pants were let out, or adding a ruffle or lace to make it long enough and fresh.

24. The most romantic dinners that my husband and I have had since we were married were those at home. I’d feed the kids and put them to bed early. Then, I’d either prepare something for us; or, we’d eat take out. Sometimes, we’d eat at the kitchen table or dining table, or even at a little table in our bedroom. When we lived in a second floor apartment, I’d put a tiny round table and two chairs on the balcony. Each time I’d use a nice tablecloth, candles, china or nice dishes, nice glasses or stemware. Add soft music; and, you have a wonderful setting. Give it a try!

25. You can clean a lot of things with baking soda and/or vinegar. Do some research.
26. Old baskets can be had for a song at many yard sales. You probably have some on hand. They can be spray painted for an updated look or to put goodies in for a gift.
27. Mismatched dishes in a color scheme, from yard sales, look pretty when set on a lovely table cloth.  Right now, I’m collecting white stoneware.
28. A sheet will work for a tablecloth. A two yard length of fabric hemmed at the ends can also make a tablecloth for many tables.  Sometimes I don’t even hem it!
Ways to DO WITHOUT:

29. Don’t go shopping for entertainment. Stay away from the mall and on-line shopping. It’s a whole lot easier to do without the latest greatest if you don’t go shopping for fun.

30. Stay home. Gas is a luxury these days; so limit trips.

31. Combine trips when you do need to go out. We have to go to a nearby city for some things we need. I like to combine everything I can think of that I need to do in that city on that day. This gets me to Hobby Lobby more frequently than I would get to go otherwise. ~smile~
32. Use a bicycle, if you have one.
5. Shop locally.
33. Invite friends for a pot luck. Share the cost of the meal by having others bring dishes to share.
34. The fewer ingredients in a recipe, the simpler and more cost effective it usually is. Steak is a notable exception to this rule. ~smile~

35. Rethink why you eat. Really, it’s just to fill your tummy and to give you nutrition. Rice and beans can do that just as well as meat and potatoes.

36. Always think about what precedents you are setting with your children. A new bike for a birthday or Christmas sets a high precedent for next year. Designer tennis shoes or clothes set a high precedent for next year.
37. Don’t allow your children to watch Saturday morning cartoons. The commercials are designed to make your children into Gimme Monsters.
38. Stay away from toy stores and toy aisles. Don’t let your little darlings see what other accessories there are to go with their toys!
39. Stay away from craft and fabric stores!  Eek!  I knew you wouldn’t like that one!
40. Do a Bible study on contentment. “Do not covet your neighbors______. You fill in the blank.
May God bless you as you journey along this life using it up, wearing it out, making it do and doing without… CHEERFULLY! That part can come only from God!
Blessings,
Laura

Will Work for Food

 

 

 

I read My Lowell’s blog today and saw the title Will Work for Food.  That title caught my attention.   He asked his readers what they would work for.  Good question.  What will we work for?  A house, cars, electricity, phones, computers, clothes, gas, water, toys, food, hobbies, fun, freedom.  There are lots of things.  They’re just that, aren’t they?   Things.  I’ve read some great articles and posts over the years about simplifying and such.  It’s really rather cliche’ in some circles.  That question, “What will you work for?” really is a good place to start.  Just as important is the question, “What won’t you work for?”

One of the very first things that started my husband down the road to the life we are currently living was a old, early 70’s model former police detective’s car.   By the time I saw it, it was old and tired and rusty.  Lowell rather jokingly offered to buy it for me when he saw the records of upkeep and the price, $250.  Now, it was almost 20 years ago, but I saw something in that old car that he didn’t.  Freedom!  He bought it for me.  I drove it proudly.  I called it my “I won’t work to pay for a car” car.  It ended up being a terrific blessing to me and our family.  Not having that extra car payment allowed us to make the choice for me to stay home and raise our newborn son, Matthew, myself.  That’s freedom.   It was one of the best things I ever did. 

So, now you know what I won’t work for.  

Laura

An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.

Laura

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.