Capturing Contentment: Keep the Plan, Make a Plan

Pretty After being enamored with my 15-year-old youngest sister’s new bangs, Ilse requested bangs of her own. Since I am slightly disappointed during this current heavy-bangs trend that I can’t have bangs (I have a cowlick right at my forehead), I happily obliged her. She calls them bang-bongs. Knox ran around the house in circles yelling, “Bang! Bang! Bang!” apparently demonstrating that he, too, has bangs. Happy An after-dinner, after-bedtime clean kitchen: It’s not show-worthy clean — there are still … Read More

Capturing Contentment while I #keeptheplan

This post contains updates about my April Keep the Plan challenge. It’s not too late to join in! Pretty My Easter children! Happy I’ve been doing it, despite having sickies in the house! I committed to my three basic things to do first thing in the morning, and I’ve done them before checking my email — a pretty big step for me! :) Funny Egg coloring at my mom’s house! Real The night before Easter:

Capturing Contentment: Clear the Desks!

It’s the last week of Simple Mom’s Project Simplify, where we were supposed to choose our own focus area. I chose my desk and the back office table, both of which are dumping grounds and magnets for clutter. But next week I start ordering books for our next school year, and so I wanted a place I could start my book piles and begin organizing papers and the like. So these two places needed some attention — in a big … Read More

Capturing Contentment: My Closet

This week was closet week for Simple Mom’s Project Simplify. I took before pictures of 3 different closets, but only managed to tackle my own. Real This is the shelf area where I keep my sweaters. It’s seen better days. My main closet space is in our master bathroom, so the shelves hold our hygiene supplies. My closet area is one of the areas most prone to entropy in the entire house. Old habits do die hard. This is, however, … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: Dinner Helper

Sometimes “purposeful” and “intentional” can turn into “taking oneself too seriously.” Anything that doesn’t go as planned (and isn’t that usually most things?) is a temptation to discouragement or at least to the laser-eye of analysis. Instead, it might just be a reminder that God is in charge and we are not, and we need to be willing to laugh at ourselves. Here is one way I have tried to introduce quality, relationship-building time into our days. Dinner Helper My … Read More

Capturing Contentment: Pantry Organization

This was pantry week for Simple Mom‘s Project Simplify, and Auntie Leila asked us to post something about making dinnertime smoother or nicer. A nice dovetail. Real The state of my pantry. The result of my clumsiness during “organization”: Funny I thought I had a fairly purged pantry, after all my efforts toward simplification in this area. Yet I found this bottle lurking in my pantry: It must be at least 5-6 years old, and I’ve only ever used about … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: Lighten Up

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but it has to me often. A parent relates a disobedient or otherwise disciplinable antic of their child, and comments, “I had to leave the room because I couldn’t help laughing.” Nine times out of ten I simply can’t relate; I find myself giving a blank stare or a forced “Heh, heh, yeah.” I almost never have that problem. With a small toddler who is cute but testing defiance, perhaps … Read More

Capturing Contentment: Declutter Toys

Spring decluttering time! We’ll do our pretty–happy–funny–real backwards this month for a before & after effect. Real — Before This week Simple Mom’s Project Simplify area was children’s toys, an area that can always use attention at our house! My first step was to grab some empty buckets and tell the kids to simply find as many toys hidden in nooks and crannies (and not) and fill the buckets. They didn’t have to put them all away in the right … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: The Need

Whether it be Chinese-Are-Superior Mothers or French-Are-Superior Mothers, these foreign parenting-commentators point out that American mothers are afraid to be in charge, and that’s why they raise hellions. That is a particular side of the ditch, but it is not my temptation. My husband and I are both rather authoritarian parents, and happy and comfortable being so. My mom was a “mean mom,” not afraid to make unpopular decisions or enforce them. She told me (and I needed to be … Read More

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