3 Tips for a Better Morning

Generally, once I hit wind down mode, housework stops. It’s all about calming down, saying prayers, and hitting the hay. Problem is, wind down mode can come before the house is tidy enough for me to go to bed. when that happens, my mornings can be a big chaotic. So here are my three tips for a better morning, that need to be done tonight:

  1. Run the dishwasher: If I do it tonight, then we won’t be scrambling for dishes at breakfast. I’ll also have less to clean later. The dishwasher is already full so if I run it in the morning, then I’ll still have breakfast dishes to clean up. Plus if I run it tonight, maybe a nice little birdie will unload them in the morning before I do…maybe.
  2. Put away the laundry: Ugh laundry isn’t a problem for me until it comes time to fold, hang, and put away. But if I don’t do this tonight, then I’ll be scrambling for underwear and matching socks in the morning. It’s best to just do it.
  3. Check the schedule: I love lists, schedules, meal plans, and all things that keep me organized. Because of that, I keep binders full of plans. It helps to know what is going to happen in the day ahead, ahead of time. I’ll know who needs me, when; where I need to be, when; the phone calls that need to be made and the things I need to pick up at the store. Having a basic idea of the plan helps me stay on task.

Sure, it’s easy to write what I need to do, but to execute it is another story. As I write this, I see a laundry basket nagging at me. Well, I guess I’ll take my own advice tonight.

In the comments below, let me know what your nightly tips are for a smoother morning.

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Living at Home

I still live at home with my parents and I plan to continue. Many young people these days are desperate to fly the nest but I’m perfectly content staying where I am because I recognize the benefits of being home.

  1. Finances: It costs a lot to live on your own, a lot more than living with your parents. Rent+renter’s insurance+car+car insurance+utilities+food=a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent. I buy groceries for my household. That is my only financial responsibility. Some young people pay for their cars or cell phones, some families even charge rent. Chances are, the amount of money you spend living at home is significantly less than what you would spend living on your own.
  2. Training: There are so many great things we can learn from our parents still. One of the funnest things for me is cooking with my dad. We often do this spur of the moment so if I didn’t live at home, I wouldn’t do it very often. I have the opportunity to try different recipes and cleaning techniques so by the time I have a family and a home of my own, I’ll be prepared.
  3. Togetherness: So many young people experience loneliness which can lead to a lot of problems. Rather than pretending a boyfriend, roommate, or a dog can be used to supplement your family time, spend time with your family. The family is a natural, God given support network designed to bring peace, comfort, and love.

Too often young people want to be “independent” and move out of their parents’ homes. Problem with that his, we are not designed to be alone, and we aren’t responsible enough to live alone. It doesn’t make any financial sense to move out and yet kids are proud and do it anyway. Just stay under the care of your parents until you are under the care of your spouse.

I also want to finish this post with a clarification. If you are in a dangerous household, leave. No one should be subjected to any kind of abuse so if you are, go to your parish and seek assistance in changing your situation.

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Making Your House a Home: Prayer

Well this has been fun several weeks. It’s sad that we are at an end for this journey of creating a sanctuary for our families. I felt it was only fitting to complete this series with prayer.

This was a major project we have embarked on together and it is wise to speak with Our Captain about it. Christ should be the center of our lives, therefore he must be the center four homes. We cannot change anything without the grace of God so pray with him often about your home and your family. He is true rest and peace therefore he only way for your family to experience the peace we have been working on the past couple days, is by drawing closer to Jesus. Make family prayer a daily part of your routine.

It your family isn’t strong in faith, make praying for them a daily part of your routine. Ask Jesus, Mary, and St. Monica for help in turning the hearts of your loved ones to the one that is peace.

The goal of this series to create a place of refreshment for our loved ones and to encourage families to be together. My prayer is that I can achieve these things in my own household and encourage all of you while you do the same in your household. I hope you felt challenged to change how aspects of you home ran and that we will all make the necessary changes for the good of the family.

May the Lord bless your home.

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Making Your a House a Home: Smell

I read once that scent memories are the strongest memories we have. We associate people, places, and situations with scent more often than any other sense. I find that interesting and a little troubling. I have very distinct memories of the scent in my great-grandmother’s house, or the smell of the first apple pie I ever made, and the stench of the car after picking up my brother from football practice. All these memories are triggered when I smell something similar now. We should work on creating good memories to associate with good smells.

I have also done some reading on the benefits of aroma therapy. It may be mumbo jumbo, but I like sweet smelling things and I’m sure they can have a positive impact on the moods of my loved ones. Apparently, things that smell nice can improve one’s mental health when it comes to things like depression, anxiety, and stress. I’m willing to guess that most of us experience these things regularly to some degree. If these are feelings or imbalances our loved ones are suffering with, then science my be able to help.

A few things to help you get sweet aromas into your home are:
1. Candles: My dad and I don’t really like candles. he says they’re dangerous so he doesn’t mind the jar ones. I think they’re a waste of money.
2. Air diffusers: I bought a cute little pink one when I was like 16 and I liked it a lot. I just put a few drops of oil on a little pad and turned on the fan. Then my room smelled like apple pie. Of course, this made me hungry.
3. Nature: Forget the artificial stuff! Crack some windows and have flowers around your home to create natural smells in your home. Nothing can beat open windows and flowers, plus it’s better for the air inside your home. Open windows can remove interior pollutants and plants can purify the air in your home.

I don’t know much about aroma therapy or how the brain associates memories with scents but I do know I like things that smell nice. My only caution to you would be to keep the artificial scents to a minimum. I prefer for things to be as close to God made as possible so I tend to embrace essential oils rather than room spritzers.

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Make Your House a Home: Sound

What our brains receive through sounds can impact our mood tremendously. Studies have been done on plants and babies to determine how classical music can affect development and growth. Apparently classical music is very good for the cells. Because of this, we need to pay attention to the sounds we are subjecting our families to.

One day I heard a story about a small family and their bedtime routine. After playtime, Mom and Dad would tell the children to get themselves ready for bed and meet in the living room. In the meantime, Mom would turn on slow, quiet music that would help them become drowsy, while Dad turned the lights down in the house. Once teeth were brushed and jammies were on, the family would sit in the living room together and review the day. They would praise one another, apologize for tier transgressions, then read scripture together. But the time they did all of this, the little ones were sleepy.

I often like to go for walks outside and listen to the sounds of nature. I love the sound of river water on a dam, birds chirping, and the whisper of the wind. These sounds bring me comfort and joy because they pull me closer to the Creator.

What we hear in our homes can draw us closer to one another and closer to God. I don’t want to raise children around foul language, and raised voices so it is best to keep things like that out of the home. Try filling your household with classical music, smooth jazz, and the sounds of nature. Let these things fill your mind and the minds of your loved ones. Many know the importance of sound, which is why spas use sound machines with nature music on them.

My challenge for today is to remove negative sounds from your home and replace them with sounds that foster growth and development.

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Making Your House a Home: Taste

This one is my favorite because I like to cook and I love treats. My dad used to say to make a delicious meal, you have to cook with love. The food your family eats is very important to their physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies are done on children to find the correlation between the junk food they eat and their performance in the classroom. Taste is probably the most important of the five senses because it impacts the rest of one’s life.

To start with, use great ingredients. Overly processed food is cheap but it’s junk. If there is anything you should be spending extra money on, it’s food. I’m not saying you have to only shop at Whole Foods if you love your family but you should know that you are putting in their bodes. Be an educated consumer by reading labels and researching the ingredients. You should also try using the know materials wherever possible. Fresh ingredients will always be better than processed. Plus, fresh, locally grown organic fruits and veggies taste so much better. You can also try growing some things on your own and learning to preserve from your own kitchen. Using fresh ingredients that are healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune but you may have to look for the best deals.

You also should enjoy cooking. When you enjoy doing something, it shows in your work. Many don’t like to cook, but when you are only cooking because you have to, it shows in the food. Slow down, take your tie, and develop your craft. If dinner is at 6:00, don’t start thinking about what you’re going to make at 5:30pm. Look through your cookbooks and find a recipe you’d like to try. Better yet, have your family look through the cookbook and allow each one to choose a different recipe for you to try. Cooking should be fun so do it with your loved ones.

The most important thing I want you to know is that what you are feeding your family matters. Food is one of the most fundamental aspects of life. Take your job as a head chef seriously. Once you have created a great meal, enjoy it tougher as a family. There is no better way to connect at the end of the day than over a fabulous meal. This can set the tone for your home. For many, the kitchen is the central nervous system so keep your pantry stocked with healthy food for a healthy family.

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Make Your House a Home: Touch

Last time we looked at how what your family sees can help draw them closer to God and closer to one another. Today I’d like to write about how you can use textures and surfaces in your home to make it feel more inviting.

I love plush pillows and comfortable seating. I also love saving money. Often the furniture that is most beautiful and most comfortable i also the most expensive. As an alternative, you can try making things yourself. Subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel and I’ll make some crafty tutorials, especially pillows. They are great for your seating areas and bedrooms. The joys of making things yourself are: a job well done, cheap, and you can change them anytime. I know many people who like to change things up according to the seasons, that can get costly. If you learn how to make things yourself, it can be much cheaper. Plus, no one else will have what you have. you can even start a craft business if you want.

Pillows are great, but don’t stop there, make your own couch covers. Again, buy a cheap couch and cover it with an awesome fabric that is comfortable and easy to maintain. The bedroom should be the Holy of Holies in the sanctuary of your home. Learn to knit soft blankets so you and your loved ones can snuggle up in warmth during the cold months.

Consider the clothes your family wears. Are they comfortable? Make sure everyone is comfortable in everything they have. I have worn uncomfortable clothing at it ruins my mood. Don’t let them suffer, too.

Now that we have talked about the many fabrics that could cause discomfort, let’s move on some other things. Glass tables are nice, but they’re far from practical specially with kiddos. Purchase furniture that makes sense in your house. If you are empty nesters, embrace the lass. If not, you may want to reconsider. My mom loves glass water goblets, but we break them all the time. Perhaps you only need to bring the glassware out on special occasions and use ceramic in your day-to-day life.

Again, the bedroom is the Holy of Holies. It is an absolute must to have a bed that is exactly what you need. Test several beds and find out if you life soft, hard, or somewhere in between. The beds are probably the most important because they are our place of rest and comfort at the end of the day and they set the stage for the day ahead. Make sure the beds are comfortable.

One last thing I’d like to point out is carpet. Many people don’t like carpet because it is difficult to keep clean and it isn’t as modern. I’m an old school girl and I would rather take the time to clean carpet than to wake up and have cold feet. Home renovations are a huge pain, but if you re already remodeling, I suggest you strongly consider your flooring options. If you already have hard floor, choose nice rugs that feel fantastic between your toes and are aesthetically pleasing.

Next time we are going to talk about taste…MMMMM. We have already gone over sight, now we have finished touch, I can’t wait for the delicious treats can bring comfort to your family and foster an environment of togetherness. Subscribe to the right and have the rest of this series on making your house a home sent straight to your inbox.

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Make Your House a Home: Sight

We see in the book of Genesis that Eve “sees” the fruit of the tree is good. What our brains receive through our eyes is very important. When it comes to the sin of lust, it nearly always starts with the eyes. This is why magazine advertisements and commercials work so well, they aren’t using any of our other senses, yet they change our thought process. We say the eyes are the windows to the soul and when we are looking at things that are damaging our soul, our windows are cloudy. Before we go on, I want you to take a look around your house to see what may be clouding the windows of you and your family.

For us, it’s stuff. We are surrounded by stuff all the time and it drives us crazy. We can never find anything because there is so much clutter all over the place. The first step in cleaning your windows is to get rid of stuff. ALL STUFF! Go through each room, closet, and cabinet in your house. If there is something you haven’t seen in a year, get rid of it. What if it holds sentimental value, you may ask. If it does, ask the other members in your family. If it is sentimental to them, keep it. I mean that seriously, if you are the only person in the household that thinks that item is important, you need to get rid of it. It’s presence in the home effects everyone so to keep it for your own benefit is selfish. Selfish is not love.

After you’ve taken the time to purge your home, I recommend determining if the items would be good to sell at a garage sale or just to trash. Remember that one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure. For all the items you plan to sell at the garage sale, set aside. This next tip is important: Whatever you haven’t sold at the end of the weekend gets donated first thing Monday morning. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’ll have another garage sale. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you can sell it on e-Bay. Don’t give your junk to your friends or family. Take it all to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, or whatever! you should never see any of that stuff again.

One thing we have run into with my family is that we think we may need something in the future so we don’t want to get rid of it now. If you haven’t needed it in a year, you don’t need it. In the off chance you do, buy a new one. But that’s a waste of money? No, it’s a waste of space! Get rid of it and trust that if you do need it again in the future, the Lord will provide. HE doesn’t want us concerned about the future, he wants us concerned about the present. You worry about now and let him worry about later.

Well now that our houses are empty, we have space to buy new stuff! Scripture tells us to put God’s word on our doorposts. Paint bible verse on your walls, get saint statues for your shelves, display sacred art on your counts. Once we have purged our homes of junk, we make room to fill our homes with Jesus. Surround your loved ones with things that will reveal God to them. Also, put your family on display with old photos and art projects the kids did when they were little. Let people know a family live in that home, children grew in your home, laughs and tears fill your home. It should look lived in.

The key to sight is creating a space that uses the eyes to draw your family closer to God and closer to one another. Purging this unnecessary and filling with love is what we need to do to clean the windows of the soul. Put an end to all the clutter and junk one room at a time. Then, fill it with the love of God and family.

Subscribe to catch next post is about touch.

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Making Your House a Home: Introduction

Our homes really should be retreat houses, sanctuaries. When all the madness of the world overpowers us, we should find peace and security in our homes. The structure should be a place of refuge for all who are there. I think many of us desire to have this kind of comfort but aren’t quite sure how to achieve it. Over the next few posts I’m going to write a series about how to make the home a place of peace. It will challenge each of us to change, but I hope during this season we will be able to purge our hearts and our homes of what can be damaging and bring in things that bring about joy.

The first thing I want to point out is that women are the hearts of their homes. It is our responsibility for our families to create this sanctuary for them. I’d also like to add extra emphasis on the word create. This kind of home is built by the wise woman, it doesn’t just come to be by chance. We have to make the commitment to our loved ones that we will serve them in this way.

In order for us to make our houses homes we will use each of the five senses plus a bonus.
1. Sight: The things your family and friends see in your home should feel welcoming and comfortable.
2. Touch: The surfaces of our homes should be comfortable.
3. Taste: A sure sign to a happy home is a well fed family.
4. Hear: The things we receive through our ears can alter our moods, so we should surround ourselves with positive sounds.
5. Smell: When the family comes home at the end of a long day, the smells of the household may be the first thing they receive.
6. Prayer: It is God who brings together families and is the foundations of a home.

Over the next six posts we will work on developing ourselves to become servants to our loved ones and caregivers of our homes. This journey should be more than cleaning and cooking, it should be a lifestyle change that brings tranquility into our lives. As people of faith, we fight a battle each day. When we go home we should find our purpose in fighting that battle. It should be a space for our families to get the rest they need to fight another day tomorrow. The home is a safe house for all who reside there and the woman is what makes the house safe.

In the next post we will start with sight and how the things we see can affect us. Subscribe so you don’t miss a single tip on making your house a home.

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