Archive | May, 2011

Organize Your Kids: Summer Edition

31 May

This past weekend kicked off the unofficial start to summertime.  School is out and kids have traded in their books, pencils, and paper for swim suits, sunscreen, and water slides.  For most families though, it only takes a couple of days for the excitement of summer freedom to wear off and those inevitable words to be uttered: “I’m Bored!”  However, there are several things you can do to keep the boredom at bay!

Stick to a Routine

Summer is a carefree time and it’s so tempting to throw your day planner out the window in hopes for two solid months of nothing but relaxation and fun.  But, not so fast!  A schedule can be the difference between embracing every moment you have with your kids and counting down the days until school starts back.

I’m not asking that you plan out every second of your day.  After all, it is summer and no one wants to be stuck in the same ol’ routine.  I am, however, suggesting that you maintain a basic routine that will allow for the summertime flexibility that you crave.  In other words, have a routine that gives your kids a small taste of the structure they are familiar with when in school but provide ample room for the spontaneity that summertime is famous for.

Assign Chores

Some people disagree with giving children daily and weekly chores.  They claim that it “robs them of their childhood”.  I do not agree with that statement for this reason: my job as a parent is to prepare my child to become independent individuals and productive members of society.  By not giving chores, I am doing nothing to teach time management or responsibility for posessions.

Should you pay your kids for doing chores?  That’s up to you.  Some say that chores are required simply because the kids are a part of the family and they opt to simply give an allowance.  Others feel like it provides children with the opportunity to learn that pay often coincides with effort.  Either way, the kids will be doing their part to keep the house in order and can even earn some summer spending money.

Another way kids can combat boredom during the summer months, as well as earn some cash, is working a summer job.  If you have a teenager who is old enough, he or she can apply for a summer job at their favorite store or hangout.  Other teenagers (and even younger kids) who cannot yet apply for a payroll job can start their own summer business doing things like walking dogs, babysitting or mowing lawns.

Summer School

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you crack open a textbook or give pop quizzes.  The kind of school I’m referring to is the kind that teach kids things that they want or need to learn.  Does your son want to learn how to hit a baseball?  Schedule some time at the batting cages with someone who knows a thing or two about hitting.  Does your daughter want to learn how to sew?  If you know how, teach her.  If not, sign her up for some sewing classes.  Just because school is over doesn’t mean the learning has to stop.

While you’re at it, take this opportunity to teach them those life skills they won’t learn in school.  This could be learning how to change a tire, cook a meal, or manage money.  Even though these skills are important, the lessons need not be boring.  No, managing money isn’t necessarily fun, but you can teach them in such a way that their eyes don’t glaze over and they let an “I’m Bored” slip out.

Plan for Fun…

When I was a kid, I would make a list of things I wanted to do during the summer.  Problem was, the summer always ended before my list did.  However, if I had taken the time to assign tasks to a particular day, I probably would have accomplished much more.

Just like a routine is still important during the summer months, planning ahead is also key to making sure those fun activities happen.  As I have previously stated, you do not have to (or even need to)  assign a task to every second of your day.  You’ll be more successful and feel more at ease if you commit to checking one item of your list per day.  In fact, my recommendation for summertime is to dedicate mornings to chores and formal learning (sewing lessons, managing money, etc.) so that the rest of the day is available for whatever fun activities you’ve planned for.

…But Don’t Overplan

These days, children have video game systems, televisions, iPods, smart phones, and plenty of other technology that can prevent them from flexing their creative and imaginative muscles.  Instead of giving them something to do every time they express an ounce of boredom, allow them to play outside without providing a pre-planned activity or give them a cardboard box and let them pretend.  Creativity and a vivid imagination are important because they aid children in the ability to adjust to situations that may be outside of their comfort zone as well as improve crictical thinking skills.  This is yet another thing that we can do as parents to equip them for adulthood.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in:
What’s on your summer fun list?
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On My Bookshelf

27 May

On Tuesday, I posted a homemaking survey (that you are still welcome to take, if you haven’t already done so.)  I asked you to tell me what area of homemaking you struggle with the most and how you go about learning ways to improve upon this “weakness”.  Most of you shared that you struggle with organizing, at least on some level.  For some, the issue is organizing your home.  For others, time management is more your battle. 

A lot of you also told me that you utilize books to help you improve.  Soooo, I thought today I’d share several organizing books that are on my bookshelf right now.  In other words, I do actually own and have read them (sometimes numerous times).

House Works by Cynthia Townley Ewer
This one is my go-to resource most of the time, especially when I’m in a bit of an organizing funk.  What’s great is it’s a book that covers more than getting organized.  Cynthia covers housekeeping, grocery shopping, laundry/clothing care, and generally managing your home.
If you like this book, you’ll also like Cynthia’s website: organizedhome.com.

Organize Yourself by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly

This is another one of my go-to resources when I’m looking for ways to organize my home and time.  It covers nearly everything: time management, paper clutter, finances, household, event planning, personal issues, and organizing the kids.  She talks about how to create a tickler file, desk organizer binder (a.k.a. home management binder), and other tools that will help you stay on top of things.
To learn more about Ronni and her professional organizing business, visit her at organizeyourself.com.


Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley (a.k.a. The FlyLady)
Most people know about The FlyLady and her zone method.  In order to keep from “following the crowd”, I avoided buying this book for a LONG time.  However, when I took the time to open it up at the bookstore and kind of study it a little bit, I learned that this book could be very useful to me.  It’s not so much a book on organizing, necessarily, as it is about cleaning and keeping your home in order.  However, organizing is a recurring theme throughout the book (establishing routines, creating a “control journal” (home managment binder), getting rid of paper clutter, etc.  Because of that, this book has also become a tremendous resource to me.
For more information about The FlyLady and her methods, visit her at flylady.net.
The Get Organized Guide for New Moms by Stacey Crew
This book worked wonders for calming my fears about how to adjust to life with my first child.  For those of you who are expecting a new baby (even if you already have other children) this book can help you organize everything from before the baby arrives (choosing a pediatrician, dealing with maternity clothes, and getting the nursery ready for it’s new occupant) to after you bring baby home (baby etiquette, on-the-go, and time management for new parents).
The EVERYTHING Organize Your Home Book
by Jenny Schroedel

This is a great book for someone who is just beginning their organizing journey because it cover A LOT of ground.  It starts with the basics about how to take that first step and then goes into a room by room guide. I will warn you though, this is a fairly thick book.  With that in mind, don’t expect to read through it in a day.  Here’s how to get the most out of this one: read through one chapter at a time and then put what you’ve learned into practice.  When you’re comfortable that you’ve learned what you need to learn, go back to the book and read the next chapter.

In the spirit of full disclosure I do want to mention something:
This book talks about Feng Shui and House Blessings.  I don’t believe in Feng Shui (at all) or House Blessings (in the context of this book).  Although I don’t believe it Feng Shui it does include things that are not necessarily bad.  For example, one thing Feng Shui says to do is “Keep the front entrance of your home well maintained”.  This isn’t a bad idea, although I would do it for the same reasons that Feng Shui dictates.  As for the House Blessings, I do believe that praying for God to bless your home is okay (and I would even encourage it), but I do not believe in doing it in ways that this book speaks of (sprinkling blessed water from the church throughout the home by a priest while family and friends follow the priest and sing).
I just wanted to share that I do not follow these beliefs in case you decide to read the book and think that I follow these principles.  If you practice Feng Shui or House Blessings, please know I am not judging you.  I simply wanted to let you know how I feel about this portion of the book.
The Beverly Hills Organizer’s Home Organizing Bible
by Linda Koopersmith

This is another great book for beginners because it gives step-by-step instructions for several oganizing projects.  Each project gives you total time investment, degree of difficulty, tools, and easy to follow instructions.  Everything from clothes, closet re-dos, refrigerators, bookcases, purses, toys, mail, paperwork, etc.  Just about anything!

Are there any organizing books that you consider a valuable resource?  Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned and, if so, what did you think of them?

My Favorite Version

26 May
The “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has been seen EVERYWHERE online.  However, since I’m not a big fan of jumping on the bandwandwagon just for the sake of feeling included, I have to admit that I get tired of seeing the same one every time.  Because of this, different variations appeal to me more than the original.
Of course, my favorite variation ever is this one:
Do you still love the original “Keep Calm”?  What variation has been your favorite?

Organized Hospitality

25 May

Do you entertain or show hospitality?

We sometimes use the words “entertaining” and “hospitality” interchangeably.  But are they really the same thing?  When we entertain we are generally wanting our guests to see how clean and organized our home is, how delicious our cooking is, how smart our children are… do you see where this is going?  Entertaining can easily become all about us if we’re not careful.

Hospitality, on the other hand, is intentionally focusing on the guest.  Of course we still want to clean our home before their arrival, but instead of doing it because we want to impress them, we do it because it will make them more comfortable.  Instead of preparing a fancy meal to show off our culinary skills, we cook in order to offer them something nourishing to eat.  Instead of sharing stories that brag about how smart our kids are, the conversation focuses more on what’s going on the life of our guest.

In other words, hospitality is intenionally focusing on others.  Sounds easy enough, right?  It can be when your heart is in it.  However, I suspect that in the midst of our daily lives, it can be difficult to slow down enough to focus on someone else.  It’s not that we don’t care.  It’s just that your husband is working extra hours, little johnny has two baseball practices a week as well as a game every weekend, little suzy has swiming lessons twice a week, the dog has to be taken to a vet appointment on Friday, you haven’t been feeling well lately, and the grocery shopping isn’t even done yet, so you have no idea what’s for dinner.  No wonder you don’t have any energy to extend any sort of hospitality to anyone.  What’s a woman to do?

In today’s fast-paced society, if you want to become a more hospitable person, you are going to have to become intentionally hospitable.  Meaning, you’re going to have to make hospitality a priority and plan, plan, plan.  It may seem a little forced at first but over time, as you become more comfortable with the process, hospitality will become second nature.

Oh yeah, and here’s a tip that I stumbled upon today over at Offering Hospitality that might help.

You guys know I’m a sucker for binders.  (For more posts involving binders, click HERE and HERE.) 
This one in particular is great because she allows for both preparation and reflection.  Obviously, the preparation part happens before the guests arrive.  You write down the guest list, choose your menu, and plan for any decorations.  The reflection portion of this journal is used after the guests leave (again, stating the obvious).  Taking a few moments to document what went well and what you can do to avoid mistakes in the future will help you to consistently improve your hospitality skills.
For more details on the preparation section of this binder, click HERE.  Then, click HERE to learn more about the reflection section.
How do you prepare to show your guests hospitality?
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Help a Sister Out!

24 May

I am doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to improve Taylor Made Home.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 times again if necessary: I want this blog to be about YOU.  When it comes to your role as a home manager, I want to be your #1 resource and cheerleader.  In order to do that, and because I can’t read anyone’s mind, I’m asking that each visitor to this site (whether a current follower or not) fill out the following survey.

Your time and effort is greatly appreciated!

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

IF NO ONE HAS TOLD YOU TODAY HOW MUCH YOU ROCK, WELL…

YOU GENUINELY
ROCK!

Do This Tonight!

24 May

Yesterday I shared some ways you can lead a “lazier” lifestyle.  One of those ways included doing a little work NOW in order to avoid MORE work later.  An example I used was to create an evening routine that prepared you for a stress-free morning. 

But what should you include in your evening routine?  I’ve created a list of things that anyone can do at night to prepare for the next day:

Pack Those Lunches

After dinner has been eaten and the table has been cleared, go ahead and pack everyone’s lunches while you are still in the kitchen.  (You could even do this WHILE you’re making dinner if you wanted to.)  I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before but I am going to say it again: a packed lunch is healthier than anything from a school cafeteria, breakroom vending machine, or fast food drive thru.  Plus, like most organizing tips, putting this one into practice has numerous benefits. 

I’ve already mentioned the health benefits but there are also benefits to your budget, as a “bagged lunch” is often cheaper than anything else you can buy premade.  The reason this tip will streamline your morning routine is that you will not be scrambling to figure out what to put in your children’s lunches.  You need only remember to grab the lunch boxes/bags out of the refrigerator.

Clean the Kitchen

When you first step into your kitchen in the morning, does it look like the one in the picture above?  If so, don’t worry, I’m not here to judge you.  In fact, I’ve been there.  It was only about a month or so ago that I had to constantly rearrange the dirty dishes in order to get to the water faucet.  Then a dear friend of mine gave me a tip that is so simple yet it has completely changed my life:

Make it a habit to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher rather than stack them in the sink.  When the dishwasher is full, run it.  If, at the end of the day, your sink has accumlated dirty dishes due to a large home-cooked meal or after entertaining family and friends, take a few minutes and hand wash them.  It’s usually the pots or pans (bigger items that can’t fit in the dishwasher) that are left and they are generally easier to clean than cups that you have to squeeze your hands into.

Simple, right?  The overall point is that you make sure the kitchen is clean before you go to bed so that you won’t wake up to chaos on your countertops.  Once you clear the dinner table and pack those lunches make sure there are no dirty dishes left in the sink or clutter on your countertops.  After everything looks tidy, wipe down the countertops real quick and call it a day.

Whole House Pick Up
Just like making sure your kitchen is clean and your sink is clear, picking up the daily clutter from each room in your house before bedtime will add to the peaceful morning that you desire.  How?  Stepping on a lego hurts.  BAD.  Especially when you’re half asleep.  Talk about a bad start to your day!
For this step, you’ll need a basket and about 10-15 minutes of your time.  Take that basket and work your way through your home, collecting items that don’t belong.  Toys covering the living room floor when they belong in your daughter’s room?  Put them in the basket.  Mail sitting on the dining room table when it belongs in the office?  Put it in the basket.  Only put things in the basket.  Don’t take anything out yet.
Once you’ve visited every room and collected everything that isn’t in its assigned home, go back to the first room and make the rounds again.  This time your focus is putting things back where they go.  Now that you’ve removed those toys from the living room, put the DVDs that found their way into the kitchen (somehow?) back in the media cabinet.  After you collected the mail and put it back in the office, you can now place your centerpiece back on the dining room table.
This one tip will not only make your mornings more peaceful, but it will also keep your home in a more company ready state.  Adding a “whole house pick up” to your evening routine will prevent your daily clutter from piling up and becoming an overwhelming mess.  When clutter doesn’t accumulate, you can be company ready in a matter of minutes by going through your house to remove the clutter from each room and then placing the basket in a hidden location until you can make a put-it-all-away round after your guests leave.
Pick Out Everyone’s Clothes
I’m sure you have heard this one before but it definitely is one of the best ways to cut down on morning chaos.  How many times have you tried on five outfits only to choose one and then realize once you arrive at work (or church or wherever you were headed) that it has a stain or rip?  By picking out your entire outfit (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) you can inspect it ahead of time, try it on to make sure it still fits, and iron anything that has wrinkles.
Don’t stop at your outfit though.  Go ahead and have your chidren lay out their entire outfit.  Not only will you be preparing everyone for the next day, you will also be teaching them a valuable tool that they can carry into adulthood.  While your at it, be a dear and lay out clothes for your wonderful hubby as well (if he’ll let you).  If he’d rather do it himself, you can always give a friendly reminder once in a while (being careful not to nag.  They hate that).  😉 

Check Your Calendar
Once you’ve completed the other steps, take a few minutes to review your schedule and to-do list for tomorrow.  If you don’t already have a to-do list for the next day, this is the time to make one.  Think about what chores and errands need to be done and write it down.  Got a lunch date or play date tomorrow and want to confirm with the other person?  Add “Call Suzy to Cofirm Lunch Date” to your to-do list.  Just realized your nephew’s birthday is next week?  Write “Pick up a card for Johnny’s Birthday” on your to-do list.
If you want to take a few extra minutes to review the next 7 days or so then, by all means, do so.  It will only make you that much more prepared.  You’ll get an idea of what absolutely needs to be done tomorrow and what can wait for another day.
I hope these tips help you have a hectic-free morning.  When the start of your day is stress-free then it has a positive impact on the rest of your day.  You’ll be on time for work and have a better attitude with your co-workers.  If you are a SAHM, you will be ready to tackle a new day and your kids will be able to relax as well.  Everyone wins!
What’s your favorite way to prepare for the next day?

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Organized People are Lazy

23 May
Lazy Shirt
It’s true.  Before I offend anyone, let me explain.  First of all, I don’t like to waste time and energy.  I don’t like to repeat tasks unnecessarily.  And I like to make each task as easy as possible.  Basically, I’m not going to exert any more effort than truly necessary to complete any one task.  Lazy, huh?
Feel the same?
Congratulations!  You’re lazy too!  🙂
If you find that you tend to be a little more disorganized than you’d like, you can ask yourself these questions to help you put your ducks in a row and lead a more “lazy” life:
Is there anything I can do now to prevent more work later? 
If procrastination were a sport, would you be MVP?  If so, chances are you are spending more time and exerting more energy than you need to.  What do I mean?  Think about those mornings you spend looking for keys that have “sprouted legs and walked away”.  You used up at least 15 minutes on your search when that time could have been better used on something else.  Plus, it probably created or added to the stress you were already experiencing, thus raising your blood pressure and impacting your mood (potentially for the rest of the day).  All because you don’t have a designated “home” for your keys, such as a bowl or hook.
Think about some other situations in which acting on a task now can decrease your work load later:

  • When your evening routine includes laying clothes out, preparing lunches, and setting the table for breakfast, you are doing your part to make sure your morning runs smoothly. 
  • When you create a menu plan, clip coupons, and write out a grocery list, you are ensuring a pleasant trip to the store with as little impact on your wallet as possible. 
  • When you designate a well lit place in your home for your kids to study and you also provide them with a “Homework Kit” filled with paper, pencils, markers, scissors, and anything else they need to get the job done, you are decreasing the chance of an I-don’t-wanna-do-my-homework meltdown later on (see THIS POST for more ideas for organizing with kits). 
Just think about it this way: “If I go ahead and do something now, then I’ll get to be a little more ‘lazy’ later on.”
Also ask yourself:
How can I be more productive with my time?

At the beginning of this post I told you all that I don’t like to waste time.  I imagine you don’t either.  I mean, who really LOVES to waste time, right?  But we do it ALL the time; sometimes without even realizing it.
Lets say you are in the market for a new television.  Which course of action more closely resembles the one you’d take?
  • Option #1 – Load up the hubby and kids.  Drive around to 5 different stores, looking for the best deal.  Realize the best choice was at store #1. Drive back.  All the while enduring the I’m-tired-can-we-go-now whines and the I’m-hungry-when’s-dinner cries (and sometimes joining in because, face it, you’re tired and hungry too).
  • Option #2 – While the kids are napping, you log on to your trusty computer and search for the best deals.  You may even make a few phone calls to have some questions answered, all while hanging out in the comfort of your own home (maybe even in your pjs).  Once you decide on the best choice for your family and your wallet, you load up the kids, drive to the store, and make your purchase.  Then you drive home in plenty of time to whip up a homemade pizza and enjoy your favorite show or movie.
Maybe your shopping adventures already resemble the second one.  Heck, maybe you go one step further and just have the purchase delivered to your front door so that you never have to leave at all!  But is there another area of your life where your time could be managed just as effectively as it was in Option #2?

What about this?: Do you ever get distracted while cleaning your house?  Me too.  I’ll start wiping down our coffee table only to realize our end tables are cluttered.  So, I set down my cloth and cleaner so that I can return items to their proper home.  While returning items to my bedroom, I notice that I forgot to make the bed.  As I begin to make the bed, I see a pile of my hubby’s clothes on the bathroom floor.

The problem with the above situation is that I never finished wiping down the coffee table, putting items in their proper place, or making our bed.  All tasks remain unfinished even though I was running around the house like a mad woman in an attempt to clean.  This isn’t good use of my time.  Instead, I could place sticky notes on items that need my attention. (Forgot where I read this idea. Sorry.)  If I had done so, here’s how the above story would have changed:

I start wiping down our coffee table only to realize our end tables are cluttered.  I put a sticky note on the end table that reads “Declutter” and continue wiping down the coffee table.  When I finish wiping it down, I remove the sticky note from the end table and take things back to their proper homes.  While returning items to my bedroom I notice that I forgot to make the bed.  I place a sticky note on top of the bed that says “Make” and continue putting things away.  Once all things are returned, I go back to my bedroom, remove the sticky note, and begin to make the bed.  I then see a pile of my hubby’s clothes on the bathroom floor.  I place a sticky note on top of the pile that says “Pick Up” and go back to making the bed.

In this case, the coffee table was wiped down, the end table was decluttered, items were returned to their proper homes, the bed got made… things were accomplished!  It may sound silly to keep a stash of sticky notes in your cleaning caddy but it may be just what you need to keep from getting distracted while cleaning, thus making the most of your time!

Another Tip: Use the computer to pay bills, schedule a post office pick up, and shop for gifts.  Not only does it make the best use of your time, it also saves money because you’re not using up gas by driving around to take care of these errands.

So, when you think of getting more organized, think about ways to become “lazier”.  Ask yourself if there is anyting you can do now to keep you from working harder later and how you can be more productive with your time.

What’s your favorite productive and time saving tip?

New Linky Party + Updates

22 May

Hello, everyone!  Yes, our computer is still not up working, so my posts have been few and far between.  I truly do miss being able to post on a regular basis but I am working on behind the scenes stuff to make this blog a better place for us to hang out together.

I’m thinking about adding a linky party here at Taylor Made Home that allows you to share your organizing projects.  What I want to know from you is:
  • Would you prefer to link up the organizing project of your choice or would you like for me to issue you a new challenge each week and you link up the results?
  • What day of the week do you think would work best for a linky party?
My goal for the linky party is that it is a way for you to pat yourself on the back as well as share your results with others.  So, I will choose my favorites to feature in a later post.
Another thing I’m working on behind the scenes is a blog makeover.  I like my humble little blog design that I have now but I am hoping to have a new design that looks more professional and more “me”.  Hopefully, I’ll have everything squared away within the next couple of weeks.

One last thing: If anyone has an organizing question, I will be happy to share what I know.  I plan to share questions and corresponding answers with readers in hopes that it helps others who may be dealing with the same issue.  Of course, if you don’t want me to share or you wish to remain anonymous, I will gladly respect your wishes.  (Otherwise, I would only really share your first name.)

Please bear with me as I work on improving the content and look of this blog.  I sincerely want it to be a place of inspiration, learning, and fun.  As a reader your input is important to me, so I welcome all comments.

Organize with "Kits"

19 May

One of my favorite organizing tips (besides using binders) is to categorize your belongings into kits.  If you think about it, you probably already do this to some degree.  For example, when you take all of your makeup and put it in a bag or pouch, you are essentially creating a makeup kit.  However, have you considered how you can take this idea and use it to organize other areas of your home?

Aby, from the blog Creative Organizing and owner of Simplify 101, has shared several “mini zone” ideas that I am loving:

Picnic-mini-zone-copyright-simplify101

(Photo courtesy of Creative Organizing)

This is her “Picnic Mini Zone” filled with everything you need for a spontaneous summertime picnic (table cloth, napkins, wipes, salt and pepper shakers…click HERE for the full list).  She also suggested creating a “Travel Mini Zone” by filling a tote with travel sized toiletries, laundry bag, and a laminated travel checklist.  That way an impromtu road trip is a little easier to pack for. 

Hey, spontaneous picnics and impromptu road trips… who says organizing leaves no room for unplanned fun?

Errand-mini-zone
(Photo Courtesy of Creative Organizing)
She also came up with this super cute “Errands Center Mini Zone”.  Use a box or basket to corral things like a preprinted grocery list, coupon organizer, and a clip board to use while shopping.  (For the full list, click HERE.)
What else can you organize using Aby’s “Mini Zone” method, or what I like to call “Kits”?
How about a snack station for the kiddos?

Organize your finances with a budget box (courtesy of Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons):

Keep all of your monthly budgets and bills in one place.  Plus, to make it more efficient, stash envelopes, a checkbook (or two), and stamps in a plastic file container.  (Click HERE for the full how-to.)
A gift wrapping kit would come in handy:
Other ways you can organize using kits/”mini zones”/stations:
  •  Kid’s Activity Kit – Long car rides can be oh-so-boring for active kids.  Sure you could break out the portable DVD player, but why not give them other options: crayons and coloring book, travel size games, books, journal, and small toys.  Place it all in a tote bag or backpack and keep it in the car to ward off the famous “are we there yet” question.
  • Meal Kits – Got a few recipes that are family favorites?  Gather all pantry ingredients and store box or basket.  This also works if you want to create a sandwhich-making kit to store in your fridge.  Gives the phrase “fast food” a whole new (more nutritious) meaning.
  • Nail Kit (a.k.a. Pamper Yourself Kit) – Gather everything you need to do your nails or to create your very own spa night at home.  It’s important to take some time to recharge your batteries.  Putting together a kit will make it that much easier to relax.
  • Wait Kit – Grocery lines, doctor’s office lobbies, school pick-up lines.  We spend a lot of our lives simply waiting.  Why not use this time wisely?  Pack a tote with your favorite crossword or sudoku book, the current novel you’re reading, or a journal to write down your thoughts.

What kind of ideas for kits can you come up with?

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What Makes a Home?

19 May

The other day, I received a Facebook message from a dear woman who taught me when I was in the youth group at church.  She has a larger-than-average family and here’s what she had to say about her home:

“…One of the boys’ said “Momma, it’s clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.” I’ve always wanted a home where people feel at home and enjoy being here – and that’s what seems to be the consensus, so I guess I’ll have to just keep dreaming about the perfectly decorated home and be blessed by my throw covered and mismatched furniture.”

Her words have been running through my mind ever since I read them.  I keep thinking to myself “What kind of home do I want to have?” and “Is an immaculately organized and impressively decorated home really all that important?”

Can I just be completely open and honest with you?  As much as I’ve enjoyed blogging, I do become discouraged from time to time when my home isn’t as stylish, organized, or spotless as theirs.  Staged vignettes and edited photos make it nearly impossible to meet the “standard”.  Not to mention that it seems like others have a more disposable income than we do.

Anyone else feel this way?

Mind you, I’m not trying to put any other blogger down or imply that I will never create my own vignettes for photos here at Taylor Made Home.  I understand that staged photos are more pleasing to the eye and can provide a source of inspiration for others.  Seriously, there are some SUPER talented and creative women out there in the blogosphere.

For me, that dear woman’s words challenged me to focus on the things that make up a home that don’t revolve around fabric, hardware, or paint.  To be thankful for what I do have instead of complaining about what I don’t.  To invest more time in my son than in choosing color schemes or dreaming about what I would rather my home look like.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing what is on my heart and mind right now.  I will happily return to blogging about decorating and organizing, but I hope to do it with a little perspective. 

I also want to send some encouragement your way by reminding you that what you read on anyone’s blog is only a small glimpse into their life.  So, next time you think someone’s home is always perfectly organized, decorated, and clean, remember that it probably isn’t.

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