Tweakin’ the Linkin’

13 Jul

The first “Organized Homemaker’s Linky Party” went as good as I could have expected – 6 links.  The second and third parties though, were kind duds – only 1 link a piece. 

This past week, Sinea of Ducks n’ a Row was the only person to link up, therefore she is officially my co-host this week.  This means, you must be a follower of Taylor Made Home and Ducks n’ a Row to participate in this week’s linky party.
Here’s what Sinea shared:
Want to make sure you never have to send out a “Belated Birthday” Cards again?  Then, create a Birthday Binder!  Click HERE for the full how-to!
Due to the more recent parties being somewhat unsuccessful, I’ve decided to tweak it a bit.  With that being said, here are the details of the new linky party:
NAME:
TAYLOR’D HOME PARTY 
WHAT TO LINK UP:
ANYTHING RELATED TO HOMEMAKING – 
ORGANIZING, DECORATING, CLEANING, CRAFTING, COOKING, ETC.
PLEASE NOTE:
You must be a follower of Taylor Made Home &
Ducks n’ a Row to particiate.
Favorite links will be featured at next week’s party and someone will be chosen at random to co-host next week’s party with me. {meaning, it will be a requirement that your blog is followed too!}
Now, LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS PARTY!
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Get Organized With: Lisa from Simply This.That.And the Other

12 Jul
Hey, all you Taylor Made Home readers!!  Have I told you lately how AWESOME you are?  No?  Well, I may be partial, but I think you all are the best readers any blogger can have.  That is why I am giving you the priviledge of hearing from a woman who shares my belief that homemaking (including being a wife and mommy) is THE best job in the entire world.  She is super sweet and has such a knack for hospitality and ministry.
With that, I will pass the keyboard to our guest {enjoy!}…

Hi, I’m Lisa. I am married to my college sweetheart, Scott, and am momma to two very fun children, Laurissa{19} and Caleb{17}.
Homemaking {laundry does NOT count}, date nights, a house full of kids and friends, recycling, entertaining, and finding a bargain are on “my favorite things” list.
Simply THIS.THAT.AND the OTHER is where I journal about marriage, parenting, faith, picnics and parties and whatever else comes to mind. I hope you will visit my blog and consider it a “home within your home!”
Showing hospitality by taking meals to people when they are sick, have had surgery or just need a little extra tlc when life gets overwhelming can be such a JOY! Sometimes it is easy to become so focused on our own families that it becomes difficult to think of others around us who are in need of our encouragement and help.
There have been PLENTY of times in my life when I have been taken under the wings of others and have been shown mercy. It is still a blessing thinking back to so many times others have cared for me and for my family. I can’t help but to think of how it feels to be taken care of. It is one of the best feelings in the world!
When I think of hospitality, I think of the root word “hospital”. So, I looked it up…just for fun. I know we are all familiar with what a hospital is, but my old 1963 edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as follows: “a charitable institution for the needy, aged, infirm, or young, an institution where the sick or injured are given medical or surgical care.”
While we are most likely not giving medical or surgical care, taking a meal to someone is comforting beyond words and it is always appreciated and welcome. For those of you who may struggle having people in your homes, this is the perfect alternative for you!
If your palms are starting to sweat, hold on. Showing hospitality to others does not mean fancy schmancy. It does not have to be homemade and it certainly does not have to be a complete meal…unless you signed up for it. If you did commit and are feeling like it is more than you bargained for, ask a friend to help. Maybe you can split the meal.
What is the first thing you do after you commit to taking a dinner to someone? Do you start to stress and wish you would have never offered? Do you ask a friend to trade dates in hope that the recipient will no longer be in need when it rolls around to your turn? Anyway you look at it, it can be a daunting task, to not only need to fix your family dinner but somebody elses family as well!
I think my favorite binder is the “MEALS TO GO” binder. It has made taking meals to people so easy…and might I add…FUN! I am not even kidding! Taking the guess work out of what to prepare and take allows me to make quick decisions and spend a little extra time embellishing it. It is a great way to pamper people and I no longer feel like I am just doing crafts “to do” crafts, but it allows me to be a little creative while being able to share with those who are in need!
Here is what works for me, but I would love to hear what works for you. Others ideas are always welcome and appreciated!!! I think we all enjoy hearing how other people do things!
BINDER ORGANIZATION:
Label your binder
The first page has the list of meals I choose from…if your recepient loves something in particular that you are aware of it makes it even easier to decide!
Keep this list simple and doable. If it is a chicken from Costco, a loaf of bread, bag-o-salad and lemonade, write it down. If it is a box of cereal, milk and bread write it down. This has to be what works for YOU! If it is having a pizza delivered write the phone number down so that you can call and have it DELIVERED! Are we all on the same page? Onward we go!
Each Meal has a complete list of what I will be taking to make it a “meal”.
I would encourage you to come up with one menu for each season…start with one meal that will be a JOY to make!
The next page has the recipes, so I am not spending all my time flippin’ through different binders trying to track down what I need to make dinner.
Have you ever thought about taking breakfast the evening before? This is AWESOME. You can deliver it in the evening after your evening has “settled” down and it might be a very welcome change for one VERY happy recipient. You may want to try it!
While we have been talking about “meals to go”, I wanted to make sure that I mentioned this: there are certainly seasons in our lives where helping others is easier than others. Showing hospitality is nurturing. It is showing you care. Simple as that.
A few of my favorite things I have received as a “bedridden Momma” are: {1}a little bag with a card, a peppermint plant and a box of tea, {2}a bottle of sparkling water and a fresh lemon, {3}a bag of epsom salts etc. Even a sleeve of Saltine crackers and 7 UP is something you could keep on hand to deliver when the need arises!
Simple meals to go:
taco salad
bbq beef or chicken
roasted chicken from the deli, a salad and bread
potato salad and chicken strips
pizza
pasta salad and crusty bread
tortilla soup and cornbread
So, as we have all been given the gift of TODAY, I hope that you, too, will find JOY in showing hospitality in a very real way wheather it be a meal, a note or a cup of lemonade!

*****************************
To Lisa:
Girl, laundry is NOT on my favorites list either!  And, a binder?  You are a woman after my own heart.  Or is it, sister from another mister?  Anyways, point is, I appreciate you taking the time to share how you use organizing to become more hospitable and participate in ministry.
To my readers:
I know you’re going to want to head on over to her blog and immediately follow her.  It’s okay.  I won’t be jealous!  🙂
See you all back here tomorrow!
God Bless

Menu Plan Monday

11 Jul
I have never participated in a Meal Plan Monday before, but I figured I’d give it a shot and see what you all think about it.
Before I get into this week’s menu though, I’d thought I’d share a meal-planning-related orgnizing tip first:
Sort & Clean the Fridge
Before you even sit down to think about meals for the week ahead or create a shopping list, take a few minutes to clean out your fridge. 
Step #1
Sort through the contents one item at a time. 
If it’s expired, toss it!  Take out all those leftovers that your family never ate.
By doing this, you’ll be better able to see what you have to work with in the week ahead as well as what your family really didn’t like, so you can avoid wasting food in the future.  For example, if no one ate the chicken leftovers, simply make less of that dish next time.
Step #2
Wipe down interior.
 
After all, it can easily become one of the most bacteria-ridden places in your home (ranking right up there with your toilet, if you let it).  By making a habit of wiping up spills immediately after they occur and giving the inside a complete wipe-down every week will work to keep the germs at bay.
(Fridge Cleaning Recipe – 1/4 cup of Baking Soda + 1 quart of warm water.)
Now that you’ve got a fridge that is ready to take on a new week’s worth of ingredients, snack and beverages, you can sit down to plan your meals.  Checking to see if you already have certain ingredients on hand will be a cinch and you won’t have sticky finger prints glaring at you when you put the new purchases inside.
Here’s what my fridge now looks like:
(Sorry for the terrible cell phone pictures)
Now, on to what you really want to see:
My Menu for the Week of 7-11-11
Breakfasts
Wednesday – Strawberries + Yogurt
Thursday – English Muffin + Sunny Side Up Eggs
Friday – Peaches or Strawberries + Cottage Cheese
Lunches
Tuesday – Pasta Salad
Wednesday – Grilled Cheese w/ Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms & Spinach
Thursday – Fiesta Pasta (Made Up Recipe – Rotini with Black Beans, Corn, Pepper Jack Cheese & Spices)
Friday – Cobb Salad
Snacks
Monday – Apples + Peanut Butter
Tuesday – Hard Boiled Egg
Wednesday – Carrot Sticks + Ranch Dressing
Thursday – Raw Brocolli + Cauliflower with Cheese Dip
Friday – Celery + Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese
Dinners
Monday – Spaghetti with Salad + Garlic Bread
Tuesday – Salmon with Brussels Sprouts + Couscous
Wednesday – Pizzas (Church Night)
Thursday – Puerto Rican Chicken with Asparagus +
Friday – Sloppy Joes, Brocolli + Sweet Potato Fries

Could You Do Me a Favor?

8 Jul
I know I don’t say it enough, but I really do appreciate each and every person who takes time out of their day to visit Taylor Made Home.  You are the reason I continue to write!  Whenever I get the feeling that no one cares what I have to say, one of you always comes through with an encouraging comment or email telling me how much you enjoy reading.
I also know that I ask a lot of you guys sometimes when I create a new survey or ask for advice and you all NEVER fail me!  If I may, I’d like to ask you all to vote for me daily {one vote per day} at Picket Fence Blogs.  All you have to do is click the logo below or the one on the top of my sidebar and your vote will be cast.

Thanks to you guys, TMH has seen tremendous growth in the 5 short months it has been a part of the wonderful blogosphere.  Voting is simply another way to show your support.
I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful and relaxing weekend.  I’ll see you guys back here next week for some more Taylor Made fun.  🙂

How To: Organize Your Husband

8 Jul
Between the two of us (my husband and I), I am by far the more organized one.  I’m not trying to brag at all; simply stating the facts. 
Though it’s true I tend to like things a little more “in order” than the Mister, he does have organizational-tendencies and, in all honesty, has the potential to be a neat freak if he wanted to.  Of course, “if he wanted to” is the key phrase here.  I love my man dearly but I’ve been married to him long enough to know that he doesn’t exactly want to get organized.  Or, at least, that’s the vibe I’ve been getting for the past going-on-four-years now.  So, what’s an organize-obsessed wife to do?
~*~ STOP NAGGING… ~*~
This is, by far, the most important tip I can give any of you who hold the title of “Mrs.”.  Nagging does absolutely nothing in the area of “changing” your sweetie pie.  In fact, it is counter-productive.  You see, at the risk of sounding like I’m male-bashing, (which, I’m totally not) men are like children in the respect that if you consistently nag them they’ll, often times, wind up doing the complete opposite of what you want them to do.  Or at least, they’ll wait as long as possible to “get around to it”.
Another problem with nagging is that he will begin to tune you out completely.  It doesn’t matter that your concerns may be appropriately valid; he is not going to listen to you after a certain number of complaints.  Especially if those complaints are expressed at the most inopportune time, like while you’re lying in bed and his eyes are already getting heavy.  (Am I the only female on the plate who does this?)
Instead of coming across as a pain-in-the-you-know-what, take a moment to ask yourself this question:

As the saying goes, “pick your battles”.  Does he refuse to put the toilet seat down?  Yes.  Is it worth getting in a screaming match over?  No.  I simply put it back down when I go in the bathroom.  It takes me two seconds to do and I have avoided a potentially day-ruining argument.  Seriously, I’m not into ruining my marriage over a stupid toilet seat.
In a good marriage, each partner puts the other’s needs ahead of his or her own.  Problem is, if I am waiting on him to meet my needs first and he is waiting on me to meet his needs first, then that leaves both of our needs unmet and both of use unhappy.  Instead, why don’t YOU start working on meeting HIS needs and then just wait and see how he reacts.  He may actually surprise you.
 ~*~ …BUT DO COMMUNICATE ~*~
If you’ve been married for any length of time and your method of choice for dealing with conflict is to nag your husband, chances are good that it isn’t going to be easy to change and that change will not come overnight.  After all, it generally takes at least 30 days to develop a new habit.  However, I encourage you to start today (right now) practicing quality communication versus nagging.  Here’s how it works:
BRAINSTORM FIRST
In other words, don’t go into a discussion without a script or premeditated outline.  Doing so will pretty much guarantee that you will lose your cool and say things that you truly don’t mean.  (Been there.  Done that.  Don’t want to keep repeating it.)  For those of you who are Christians, this is a good time to pray for your attitude FIRST and then pray for your husband.
APPROACH WITH LOVE
If you automatically go into the conversation with furrowed brows and a high-pitched voice, he is going to immediately put up his guard and “shut down” quicker than if you go to him with relaxed posture and a smile.  If you have to, practice in the mirror.  And just for the record: No, it’s not okay to smile and talk to him through clenched teeth!
BEGIN WITH POSITIVITY
No, he may not have the same organizing and cleanliness standards that you do, but my guess is that he does a lot of other things for you and your family.  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in our house, my husband is the breadwinner.  So, before I bring a concern before my husband, I generally try to compliment him on how hard he works or thank him for providing for us so that I can stay home and raise our son.  If you start off with something positive to say, he will relax and be more open to what you have to say, knowing that you value him as a person.

EXPLAIN FEELINGS
As a stay at home wife, mother and homemaker, I am responsible for managing our household.  A big part of my job is to pick up the daily clutter, clean our many surfaces, do the laundry and load/unload the dishwasher – basically keep the house in order.  When my husband comes in at the end of the day and leaves his dirty work boots sitting in the middle of the floor, tosses his jacket or bag on top the dining room table, and scattered the contents of his pockets (along with the mail) on top of the kitchen counter, it makes he feel that he doesn’t value the work I put into the house during the day.  How will he ever know that unless I tell him?

Is the issue really worth bringing up again or is it something I can overlook?

EXPLAIN CONSEQUENCES
One of the biggest reasons I want to maintain an organized home and lifestyle is because I want my son to adopt those good habits that will serve him well as he becomes a man.  If the Mister is working against my efforts by casually leaving his shoes wherever they land and littering the dresser’s surface with the random contents of his pocket, then his actions are not only affecting him but it’s also affecting our son.  If he procrastinates on paying a bill, causing the company to charge us a late fee, this action affects more than just him.  Because it affects our checking account, it affects both of us.
In addition to revealing the negative consequences to his disorganization, take the time to explain the good that can come from an effort to “get it together”.  Using the examples above: If my husband would pick up after himself, the house would remain cleaner and we could have guests over more often.  (My hubby is a bit of a social butterfly and loves to have people over, so this is a plus to him.)  As for paying the bills on time, avoiding late fees is a good consequence, but you may also want to mention what you’re family could do with that money if it were not going to your utility company, cell phone company, etc.
OFFER YOUR HELP
If after explaining how his actions affect others he is willing to at least TRY to change his habits, genuinely offer your assistance.  You can’t change FOR him, but you can help him figure out HOW to change.  This may mean creating a space for his jacket and shoes or showing him how to use a calendar to keep up with due dates for the bills.  Just ask him: “How can I help you?”
WAIT AND SEE
After you’ve brainstormed and prayed up, practiced your approach, showered him with compliments, shown him who is affected, and offered your assistance, the next step is to back off.  Don’t hover.  Don’t nag (see first tip!).  Don’t do it for him.  Simply step back and see what happens.  Just be sure to thank him when he does what you’ve asked him to do.  (Not in a cheesy, gee-thanks kind of way, but a genuine, I-recognize-you-are-trying-and-I-truly-appreciate-it way.)
He may do well for a few days and then suddenly fall back into his old ways.  That’s okay.  Don’t be hard on him.  Do you always change a habit the moment you want to?  Of course not!  We’re all human and we all have moments of “back sliding”.  Instead of criticizing, go to him again and say something like: “Honey, I appreciate that you were putting your jacket on the hook we designated for you.  I’ve noticed recently that you are putting it on the floor again.  Is there anything I can do to help you remember to hang it on the hook from now on?”  This way of communicating does three things: recognizes his prior achievement, acknowledges that you have noticed the backwards step, and expresses your (continued) willingness to see him succeed in establishing this habit.
You may have to go through this cycle several times before the habit truly sticks.  Again, that’s okay.  Keep encouraging and keep offering to help.  Doing those two things show him that you are not “out to get him” but that the two of you are on the same team.  In the spirit of fair play, offer to listen to any of his concerns about a habit or two of yours and then work on improving together.
~*~ PRACTICAL TIPS ~*~
Now that you know how to approach and deal with a disorganized husband, I’d like to give you a couple of practical things you can do to help:
Make it just as easy (if not, easier) to put something away than to take it out.
This is a tip that works for anyone (including the kiddos).  If it takes four or five different steps to simply put something away, most of us tend to choose the easy route by dropping and leaving the item wherever it lands.  However, if it only takes opening a drawer or tossing the item in a basket, everyone is more likely to cooperate. 
Work WITH his habits.
I’ve been having a problem with my husband leaving his clothes in a pile on our bedroom floor.  This little hill of clothing that he’s formed is a mere 5 steps from the hamper in our bathroom.  Needless to say, it’s been driving me nuts!  I’ve mentioned my frustration more times than I care to admit, and not always in the nicest, most loving way possible.  So, today, I placed a second hamper where the pile tends to accumulate.  Yes, that means I have two hampers within mere feet of one another but if it keeps my floors clear, I really don’t care. 
(I know I could have simply moved the one from the bathroom to his clothing-pile-spot but I have a feeling he would begin another pile back in the bathroom.  So, two hampers it is!)
Give him space to keep however messy he wishes.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with picking your battles.  In my house, my husband and I have separate dressers.  So, I choose not to complain about his messy dresser drawers.  Of course, I get aggravated when I go to put his clothes away and everything is in total chaos.  But, I generally only have to look at the contents of those drawers for about five minutes every other day.  I’ll live.
Men were created with a sort of territorial instinct.  They crave a space of their own, even if it’s just a chair that no one else sits in but him.  Guys don’t want us ladies to control every little aspect of their posessions and space.  So, I encourage you to simply let some things go.
~*~BOTTOM LINE ~*~ 
Men don’t like it when we try to “change” them, even if the change means a neater house, zero late fees and always being able to find {fill in the blank}.  However, if you cease to nag and instead approach him with the right attitude, a gentle spirit and a willingness to help, he will be much more open to what you have to say.  I have noticed this to be true in how I deal with my husband and I imagine it is the same with yours. 
Now, if your husband responds negatively at first, don’t give up.  Keep the right attitude and you will begin to see your husband (slowly) put his guard down and become more open to what you are trying to accomplish.  If he simply refuses to talk about it and never wants to improve, all you can do is pray for him.  At this point you may consider working around his disoranized behavior as best as you can, even if it means that you have to step up your organizing “game” just a bit.
I am not going to ask a question at the end like I normally do because I do not want to turn the comment section into a male-bashing party; not that any of you would intentionally degrade your husband.  However, if you have something constructive to say, by all means, comment away.  If you have a specific question/situation that I did not address in this post and you’d like some guidance, feel free to email me at ourtaylormadehome (at) gmail (dot) com or simply fill out the form under the {Contact} tab.
NOTE:
These tips can be applied to any situation in which you are relating your husband.  I simply chose to list them here because they work for organizing as well.

LINKED UP TO:

HOMEMAKING LINK UP AT RAISING HOMEMAKERS
WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAYS AT WE ARE THAT FAMILY
WOMEN LIVING WELL WEDNESDAYS AT WOMEN LIVING WELL MINISTRIES

Thoughts on Pinterest + Some Organizing Eye Candy

7 Jul

As an advocate of home and personal organizing, I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  For those of you who are already on Pinterest, you’re probably wondering how I could even have one ounce of hate (okay, not really HATE, just dislike) for this wonderful website.  Let me explain…

There is one reason, and one reason alone, for my slightly ill feelings toward Pinterest and that is this: it has a mysterious pull on me and often sucks me in for far longer than I ever intended, thus becoming a time waster.  Now before you go unsubscribing to my humble little blog, let me just say that this isn’t, and shouldn’t, be a deal breaker.  Just like when we use anything other modern gadget or convenience (email, TV, and yes, even blogs), we must learn to manage our time better.

So, how do we do that?  Well, now that I’ve pinned {pun intended} Pinterest as a bit of a time waster in my life, I have two choices: continue to allow myself to be sucked in for hours time after time, or set aside a certain amount of time for the website and stick to that time limit.  I’m recommending we all choose the second option.  Give yourself thirty to forty five minutes of quality Pinterest time each day and then leave it be for the rest of the day.  I mean, seriously, you can collect all of the recipes and DIY ideas that you want, but how many of us actually have the time to tackle them all.  Especially if we’re spending most of our time on Pinterest.  (I’m talking to myself here, just as much as all of you.)

With all of that being said, let me just say that Pinterest is wonderful for us organizing nerds for a couple of reasons.  The first being that I can categorize my inspiration: organizing, style, recipes, gift ideas, entertaining idea, general tips, etc.  The second reason is because it cuts down on my need to have binders for all of the wonderful information and inspiration I come across on a daily basis.  Having to print it all out was draining my printer ink, not to mention increasing the amount of paper clutter in home (you know, when I didn’t put the printed out page in my binder right away).  Now I can save up my ink for coupons and still have everything I find inspiring at my fingertips.

So, there you have it: my love/hatedislike relationship with Pinterest in a nutshell!  Thanks for hearing me out.  To reward you, I thought I’d share some organizing inspiration that I found via Pinterest this week…

The ultimate to-do list! 
My categories would probably be: Home, Church, Blog, Business (Start Up Tasks), Little Man, Mine and Honey-Do.
Clear, zipper, baggie, storage, organize, label, declutter
You all know I’m a sucker for organizing kits.  These are just too cute: first aid, snacks, baby items, outdoors, activity bag, and travel games.  BHG recommends that you pack kits like these and keep them by the door to make it easy to grab one on your way out.
A well-organized AND cute cleaning closet.  Love that the vacuum fits inside and that the cleaning supplies are categorized by task: dust, scrub and mop.  The only problem I see with this kind of setup is that the cleaning supplies are not kept in a portable cleaning caddy.  You’d have to take everything else and put it in a basket, which is no big deal, but it’s just one more step.  Plus, I don’t use paper towels.  I use cloth, or as well call them in the south: “rags”.
This is someone’s tickler file.  She has 52 file folders (one for each week of the year – as if you needed me to tell you that!).  She staples a to-do list to each one as well as menu plans and birthday reminders.  For the full tutorial, click HERE.  I am SO making one of these!
A medicine cabinet that you can actually find what you need!  She even categorized the medication according to illness (cold & sinus is separate from pains & tummy aches).  Makes them that much easier to locate when you’re too miserable to think straight.  Go HERE for the full tutorial.
I imagine this whole Pinterest inspiration will happen on a weekly basis as there are just so many wonderful ideas out there.  Especially since I’ve only been sharing my organization-related inspiration.
Would you like to see Pinterest inspiration posts that are non-organizing related or do you like seeing the kind of stuff I’ve already been showing?

Weekly Shout Outs {7.7.11}

7 Jul
~*~ FAVORITE FOLLOWER ~*~
Each week I plan on choosing a follower at random to brag on! This week I’m giving a shout out to:
Congratulations, Monica, you’re this week’s favorite follower!
Monica is a woman who has a heart for homemaking.  I love that she defines what an atypical housewife is:
Atypical:  not conforming to the type; irregular; abnormal

Housewife:  a married woman who manages her own household, especially as her principal occupation
If that’s what it means to be an atypical housewife, then sign me up!
I’ve had the pleasure to talk to Monica via email and she is such a sweetheart.  She knows that she isn’t a perfect housewife, but she is striving daily to do her very best and bring honor to God.
 
Please take a moment to visit Monica’s blog, The Atypical Housewife and consider following her as she has a great series in the works called The Art of Housewifery (I am so excited about it!)
 
If you are a homemaker, consider joining her forum as well.  It’s still pretty new but the more people visit, the bigger it’ll get.  Remember, here at Taylor Made Home we believe in supporting one another!
 
~*~ TOP COMMENTER ~*~
This week the award goes to:
Sinea Pies profile image
Sinea is a fellow organizing-obsessed woman (yes, that’s a compliment!) who has a passion for all things related to family and home.  She firmly believes that your home should be a place of peace instead of the common chaos that consumes so many.  Her flair for the written (typed?) word is evident in every blog post.  Something else that is evident is her love for the FlyLady.
Be sure to visit Sinea’s blog, Ducks ‘n a Row (I hear she’s got a giveaway and ne series in the works) and like her on Facebook.
Another way to enjoy her writing is by visiting her HubPages profile.
~*~ WANNA GET A SHOUT-OUT OF YOUR OWN? ~*~
(You know you do!)  😉
It’s easy!
All you have to do is BE A FOLLOWER to qualify for becoming a “Favorite Follower” and leave frequent, relevant comments to be in the running for “Top Commenter”.
Basically, just be you and do what you do!
(Cheesy, I know) 😉

Wanted: Design Assistance

6 Jul
I’ve made reference to my “builder beige” home HERE and HERE.  In those posts, I’ve also mentioned that I want to “make it work”.  However, I have always had a crush on white cabinet kitchens and the cooler color schemes.  (See more on that HERE and HERE.)  In other words, I cannot make up my mind.
You see, I love to decorate and I can whip up mood boards for my friends and family in a couple of hours flat.  Problem is, when it comes to my own home, I’m ridiculously indecisive.  One minute I just want to go the easy route and work with the colors and finishes that are already in our home.  The next, I’m dreaming of a bright and sunny white-cabinet-clad kitchen surrounded by dreamy blues, greens and greys.
Because my house is only 1375 sq ft, I like the idea of creating a whole house color scheme to make things feel a little more cohesive.  However, I don’t want matchy-matchy.  In other words, things should flow seamlessly but not be repetitive.
In my mind, it all hinges on the question:
To paint the kitchen cabinets or not to paint the kitchen cabinets?
If I don’t paint them, I’ll have to work with the tans and browns that are already in our home.  If I do paint them, I’m going to have to replace the floors and the appliances (which I wanted to do both of those things anyway.  It’s just going to take some time).
~*~ OPTION #1 ~*~
Here’s a picture of my kitchen in it’s current state:
(Sorry for the ugly cell phone pic.  A “blogger” camera is on my wish list!)
~*~ OPTION #2 ~*~
Here’s the kind of kitchen I dream of:
finalkitchenafterweb
 (From Young House Love)

Organized Homemaker Linky Party #3

6 Jul
Last week’s link up party did not do nearly as well as the first, so I’m going to be changing things up a bit.  (More on that in a minute.)  First, I would like to recognize the ONE person who linked up something:
Chelsea, from A Simple Life, came through for me again with a great tip on how 20 minutes can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home.  To find out more, click HERE.
Here are the details for this week’s link up:

 
WHO:
All Homemakers!  However, you MUST be a follower to participate.
**Please Note: Even if you work a full time job outside of the home, you are still a home maker.**

 

WHAT:
Today’s theme is:
 
HOME MANAGEMENT BINDER
 
Have you ever made a Home Management Binder?
 
If you’ve never made a Home Management Binder, click HERE to see how I did it (along with a list of free printables).  You have a whole week to assemble your binder, so take your time and just be sure to link up before next Tuesday.
 
Already created a binder and wrote a post about it?
 
Add it below and then link back to me (pretty please!). 
If it’s been a while since you’ve written the post or tweaked your binder, feel free to write an updated post to link up.  (Go to the {Resources} tab if you want to find some new printable pages.)
 
WHEN:

The linky party will be available all week long.

So, if you don’t have an organizing post ready just yet,
you’ve got time to get one together and link up!
 
WHY:
The first purpose is to share your organizing successes!
The second, and equally important, reason to link up is to encourage others and be encouraged in your role as a fellow home maker.
 
PARTY ETIQUETTE:
Spread the news about this linky party by placing a link back to this post somewhere within the post you are sharing. 
Also, please don’t “link and run”.  Take a few minutes to click on other links and comment.  Let’s encourage one another!
If everyone does this, the linky party will get more traffic, which ultimately results in more traffic to your blog!
 
PLEASE NOTE:
 
Those of you who link up your home management binders this week will be in the running to co-host the party with me next week.  Each week, I will choose a new co-host from the people who link up to the previous week’s party.
 
The benefit to you is that participants will have to follow you (in the same way that they have to follow me) in order to participate.
Let’s Party!!

Design Your Life with Jess Constable of Jess LC

5 Jul
Don’t Forget to Join this Week’s
Organized Homemaker’s Linky Party {HERE}.

Jess is an entrepreneur who designs and sells her own jewelry and handbags through her company, Jess LC.
Here are some examples of her fabulous work:
Astor Cluster Bib Necklace
Armitage Thick Cable Bracelet with Links
To visit her online store, click HERE.
Not only can Jess whip up some chic accessories, but she can also organize and decorate with the best of them:
portablevanity
The way I found Jess, though, was through her blog, Makeunder My Life, where she shares her journey toward intentional living.  This is a passion that propelled her to begin a consulting business, Business with Intention, where she helps others begin, grow or improve their business.
As a part of her intentional living initiative, she has established July 11th – 25th as two weeks dedicated to Email Intervention.  What is it exactly?  It’s simply a pledge you take to only check work related emails during business hours.  For me, as someone who doesn’t own a business (YET!), I am pledging to only check my personal email during specific times of the day: first thing in the morning and then again when Little Man takes his nap.  The rest of the time I will ignore my inbox and focus on other, more important, people and tasks.  (To join me, click HERE and leave a comment as your pledge.)
The reason I wanted to introduce her to you today is because she has created a series titled “Do-it-Yourself Design Your Life” where she encourages her readers to share 5-7 areas of life that they are going to become more intentional about improving.
What I’d like to do now is share my list with you.  From now on, I’m going to focus on one area at a time and one task at a time.  Every month I’m going to share how I’m doing on each area (hopefully focusing on one task per week).  With that in mind, please note: If I have listed something that you are unsure exactly what I mean, I will get back to it in a future post.  (So, stay tuned!)
Here Goes…
~*~ INTENIONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH ~*~
Those of you who have hung out with me here at Taylor Made Home know that I am a Christian whose faith is the foundation for everything that I do in life.  With that in mind, focusing on my relationship with God is by far the most important thing I can do to become more intentional with every other aspect of my life.  Here are some specific things I’m hoping to accomplish as I work on this area:
  • Daily Morning Bible Study & Prayer Time
  • Begin (and Keep) a Prayer Journal/Blessings Book
  • Read a Christian Living Book for at least 1 Hour Daily
  • Focus on one Christian characteristic per week: self-control, kindness, etc.
~*~ INTENTIONAL HEALTHY LIVING ~*~
This area of my life is also one that affects so many other areas.  Unfortunately, this is one area that needs some MAJOR work!  I want to lead a healthy lifestyle for my own sake but most importantly because I am a role model to my son.  How I eat and how active I choose to be will directly shape the habits he forms as he gets older.  Here’s what I’m hoping to do about it:
  • Research and Implement a Real Foods Diet
  • Become More Active, in General
  • “Formally” Exercise 4-5 Times per Week
  • Set Small Weight Loss Goals Which Will Add Up to Larger Goal
~*~ INTENTIONAL MARRIAGE ~*~
I am married to a wonderful man.  But, do I always treat him like the blessing that he is?  No.  Instead I complain and nag about ridiculous things.  He deserves so much better.  Plus, this day and age, a lasting marriage is a miracle.  I’d like to experience that miracle.  Here’s are some habits I hope to adopt:
  • Do One Nice Thing for Him Every Day
  • Establish a Weekly Date Night and COMMIT to it!
  • Start a Couples’ Journal
  • Have a Weekly Bible Study/Meeting
~*~ INTENTIONAL PARENTING ~*~
I’ve been struggling with this area of my life recently.  My son is 2 and a half years old.  We’re right in the middle of potty training as well as learning how to Biblically train and discipline him.  As far as receiving a practical handbook on this whole parenting thing?  I never got one.  Did you?  What I want to know is: when are they going to start passing those out at the hospital.  🙂  All joking aside, I know that the Bible is my handbook and although it does have a lot to say about parenting, it doesn’t exactly come with practical tips and scenario examples.  Regardless of that fact, there are some things I can do to become more intentional in this area of my life:
  • Read God’s Word Daily (See First Bullet under Intentional Spiritual Growth) as well as Christian Parenting Books from Trusted Authors.
  • Set Aside Time Each Day to Focus on Quality Time with Little Man
  • Work on my Anger and the Way I React to Things.  (It’s not like I have anger or violence issues.  I just know that, like everyone else, I can have a temper at times.)
  • Read Little Man Bible Stories and Teach Him How to Memorize Scripture.
~*~ INTENTIONAL HOMEMAKING ~*~
My house is not always under control.  There, I said it.  I know half of you are gasping and the other half have your mouth wide open in surprise.  Just because I write about organizing, decorating and homemaking doesn’t mean that my home is a show stopper.  In fact, it’s often the opposite.  In fact, at this very moment, my carpet is a wreck (I dream of hardwood floors) and my baseboards are looking a little dusty.  Plus, I may have mentioned this before but I’ll share it again: all of our furniture is either a hand-me-down or was purchased for us.  Well, almost all of it.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of things about my home that I do not like but realistically cannot change right now.  However, instead of allowing discontentment to set in, I should simply make the most of what I have.  Here’s how I plan to do that:
  • Tweak my Cleaning Schedule and Stick to It
  • Freshen up my Home with Inexpensive Changes
  • Focus on Organizing One Area/Room of my Home per Month
  • Learn One New Skill per Month (Sewing, Baking, Etc.)
~*~ INTENTIONAL HOSPITALITY ~*~
I keep telling my husband that I wish we could have more people over.  His response is always: “Well, why don’t we?”  After that I utter at least one of many excuses: “The house isn’t presentable.”; “What can I possibly make?”; “I don’t feel like entertaining.”  On and on, the excuses keep coming.  Problem is, none of my excuses are valid because they’re all focused on me.  So what if my house isn’t magazine ready and my cooking isn’t gourmet?  Oh, and that “I don’t feel like it” excuse?  Well, I should just get over it!  🙂  Once I set my own feelings aside, I realize that this is one of the few ways I can minister to others as a full time stay-at-home-mom and by not embracing it, I’m not serving God as I should be.  So, what’s the plan?
  • Commit to Hosting a Meal Once a Month
  • Keep House Reasonably Clean (See First Bullet under Intentional Homemaking)
  • Experiment with More “Entertaining-Friendly” Meals
  • Invite Other Stay-at-Home-Moms Over During the Day for Playdates
~*~ INTENTIONAL APPEARANCE ~*~
I need to work on my appearance/personal upkeep a little bit more.  I know this one sounds so shallow after everything else I’ve mentioned but it is an area of my life that I need to work on.  I have fallen “victim” to the typical mom uniform of a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers or flip flops.  I also pull my hair up every. single. day.  The main reason I want to put more effort into my appearance is mainly for my husband.  Mind you, he has NEVER made any negative comments about how I fix (or don’t fix) my hair, how I am dressed or how much weight I’ve gained since we got married.  Still, I want to look my best for him.  It may sound silly but I want to be the ultimate trophy wife: looks good on the outside and has a heart for God on the inside.  To do this, I’m going to have to:
  • Organize Closet – Purge the Ugly and Ill-Fitting
  • Purchase Modest, Ladylike Clothing (No T-Shirt/Jeans Combos)
  • Wake Up Earlier to Make Time for Make-Up and an Actual Hair STYLE
  • Pamper Myself Once a Week – Taking Care of Skin, Nails, Etc.
~*~ BOTTOM LINE ~*~
It was rather easy chosing my 7 things.  In fact, I could have typed out more.  But, I don’t need to over-do it.  Maybe in another 6 months to 1 year, I can write out another DIY DYL post and set new goals but, for now, I’ve got A LOT of work ahead of me.  Luckily just getting it all down on paper in a blog post has given me a renewed sense of where I desire to be as a Christian wife, mother and homemaker. 
WHAT WOULD YOUR 5-7 THINGS BE?
If you want to share your intentions in a blog post like I have done, I would encourage you to do so.  Then send the link to Jess via email: jess (at) jesslc (dot) com.  If you’d rather just share them in the comments below, feel free to do so.

Linked to:
TITUS 2SDAY AT TIME-WARP WIFE
WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAYS AT WE ARE THAT FAMILY
HOMEMAKING LINK UP AT RAISING HOMEMAKERS
WOMEN LIVING WELL WEDNESDAYS AT WOMEN LIVING WELL