Thursday, April 3, 2008

Homemaking for Spring

We just came back from vacationing to see the Creation Museum and I must say that spring is in the air! Gardens have been on my mind since I am finding small shoots budding all around my house. I've never been really into gardening but this year I can't stop thinking about it! I am intrigued with design and how it can enhance our home. Beautifying our homes is one of the many pleasures that God has given up to make our homes a haven---an escape and refuge from the world. A place for souls to be nurtured. A safe place to love and learn. Spring is a time to prepare our homes for the excitement that lies ahead for the year.I love romantic escape gardens...I do not have much of a green thumb but am very willing to learn. I am excited to teach my daughters as well. The girls are excited about what vegetables to plant---I was thinking of lettuce, strawberries, cilantro and tomatoes.

I am also working out my spring cleaning strategy and was thrilled when I found last years plan of attack in my home journal. It was simple and so unlike what I find in the magazines which are too complex or time consuming for me with a large family. Here is what it looks like:

Spring Cleaning Strategy

1. Count how many rooms you have in your home. This will be how many days you will devote to spring cleaning. You do one room a day.

2. Go room to room with a list and write down what needs to get done. (Example: wash curtains, touch up paint, organization, deep clean closet) This is your master list, you don't really need it if you can remember it all but I like to see everything on paper.

3. Follow your list. Whatever doesn't get done plan for later----at least you've got alot done in your spring cleaning week, more than what you would have without a plan. Knowing I only have one day to work on something makes me work quicker and more efficiently especially since I am planning off the list. Pat yourself on the back, kick up your feet and enjoy the contentment that comes from beautifying your home.

Since we had gone on vacation and stayed at a hotel that had a pool I was able to buy some spring/summer gear early. I love buying new wardrobes for the new season. Here is how I tackle it with eight children:

Tip: I carry a pink 'cheat sheet' in my wallet of all their sizes. From shirts to shoe size-it's all there. It comes in handy all the time! When I am at the store I don't have to commit it all to memory, it is written down and there are fewer mistakes on size so I save money. It is pink so I can easily pull it out and not waste anytime. I also have their birthdays all written down so I don't waste time filling out paperwork anywhere. I also try to devote one day or a week to buying much of what I need instead of stretching it out all season long. This works for me so I can get that out of the way and move onto other projects.

Preparing our homes and beautifying it is important work and a timeless art. It requires alot of loving sacrifice and work but so satisfying when the entire family can enjoy the fruit of it all. And finally, here is what one of my favorite authors has to share about the power of refining influences of home:

"There is nothing in all the influences and surrounding of the home of tender childhood so small that it does not leave its touch of beauty or of marring upon the life. Even the natural scenery in which a child is reared has much to do with the tone and hue of its future character. Beautiful things spread before the eye of childhood print themselves on the sensitive heart. The mountains, the sea, lovely valleys, picturesque landscapes, forests, flowers, all have their influence in shaping life. Still greater is the influence of the house itself in which a child is brought up....

Wherever a child grows up it carries in its character the subtle impressions of the home in which it lives. The house itself, its shape and appearance, its interior arrangement and decoration, its furnishing, its external surroundings---- brick walls and paved streets or green grass and the choosing and preparation of a home this fact must not be overlooked. The educating power of beauty must not be forgotten."

---JR Miller


  1. Another great read!! This year I too wish to do some gardening - last year we were knee deep in renovations and gardening was placed very low on our list of priorities. This year I hope to plant some tomatoes, herbs and a few flowers for color!

    BTW - I would love to know more about your home journal (or have you posted about it alread?). This seems like it would be a good tool for homemakers to have. Since I am a new mom (despite being in my mid 30's) and have recently made the decision to give up my career for the last 15 years - I'm in a phase where I'm not learning what it means to be a homemaker! Your thread has become a source of inspiration to me. Such a blessing!
    Thank you,

  2. Lovely post. I just started doing my Spring Cleaning last weekend, and I use a similar method to getting started. So far, I've tackled the kitchen, living room, and dining room. This weekend, I'm going for the bedrooms and organizing all of our papers in the office. Last, we'll be getting to the "outside" stuff like sweeping the balconies and washing the windows. I also enjoyed the JR Miller quote.

  3. Who is the artist who did the beautiful landscape paintings used in your post?

    Thank you.

  4. My prayer time for the past couple of days has really focused on asking God to show me how beautiful my home can be. To show me how to make it a place of peace and nurturing. A safe place.
    Thanks for the ideas in this article.

  5. Thanks for the tips. As soon as we are done with fires for the year, I need to get onto my spring cleaning. :-D

  6. Dear Anonymous,

    These are none other than Thomas Kincade's art. I really need to get better at labeling these things, don't I?

    Many blessings...

  7. Thank you. After posting my question I recognized his style but still couldn't think of his name.
    The painting with the stairs reminded me of a painting by Akiane, one minute into this clip:

    Yes, if you'd label the paintings that would be so helpful. :-)

  8. Great reminders! I know it makes me feel so much better when my home is well taken care of, and it's a good reminder to think of it effecting my children in the same way. Thanks!

  9. June,

    We live about 5 minutes from the Creation Museum. Isn't it wonderful? I love the beautiful grounds and flowers, etc...

    Blessings to you, Chanin

  10. Lovely Post! I really like your strategy list too. Thanks for the reminder to put a cheat sheet in my wallet too:)

    Have a great day.


  11. I love the tip. I have been sick for weeks and weeks with morning sickness. I am 14 weeks now and see light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. I have made my list, I now am just waiting to feel good enough to lead my troops into action. I love to have my house deep cleaned and this is a great plan to get it done while still getting the daily things done, too.
    Thank you for sharing!


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