I have a mug of hot coffee next to me, a book for copying out some quotes, the ceiling fan is spinning up above me, giving me fresh cool air.  The rest of the house is dark, the children are all asleep, and outside it is pouring rain.  When I look out my window, I see two of my porch rockers~both with quilts draped over the back.  Beyond them, I see the rain and the green of leafy trees.

~ I am experiencing an “AHA!” moment this morning~

Here is what is going on~ now that our homeschool is almost done, we have so much more free time.  This sounds good, but it really hasn’t been all that good this week.  The kids don’t know what to do with themselves and instead of being in control of the situation, I find myself throwing out demands right and left, with hardly a thought or order put into the day itself. 

My aunt Colleen wrote in her blog yesterday about the concept of HOME, asking the question, “What is home to you?”  I had to admit that the place I feel at home is MY MOTHER’S house.  This home of mine seems like one big endless chore these days.  I love to cook and clean and work in my house, but the children are the priority right now.  How do I balance it all?  How do I find peace and the feeling of HOME here in my own house?  I want to step through my front door and sigh in delight. . ..not groan in the face of yet more tasks to complete. 

I read this in a housekeeping book this morning:

Dear daughters, I encourage you to establish a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly housekeeping routine.  This is the most important thing you can do to make your home work well.  Do everything in its time and place, and you will not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure time than those who are always hurrying.”

This is exactly what I need to do.  During this time of transition, from school year to summer vacation, I need to reorganize my days.  Right now we are in a helter-skelter sort of routine, where the children basically follow their every whim and I end up confused and disoriented (“Where are my children and what are they doing?”)  LOL

I’m excited now, to put some ideas down on paper and be more in control of my household.  General (not inflexible) order and routine is good for all of us and will add much more peace to our homelife.

I need to be creative. . . . . .I want the children to have plenty of freedom outside building forts and exploring but there will be times when I have them doing things in the house like puzzles, games, building blocks or legos, making play-dough, putting on plays, a craft or project that we could all work on together, etc.  I was even thinking that I could teach Jacob and Ethan how to remove wallpaper border.  We have some in a bedroom that is half way up the wall, so they could just stand there and work at it.  I’m sure it would be a good lesson for them and give them a feeling of responsibility and accomplishment.  There are probably lots of little projects like that, that I could teach them.

As I sit here, typing and thinking, I feel the burdens of the past week lift from my shoulders.  I’m so thankful that God has given me the answer to this challenge. . .of keeping my house and children in order so that I DON’T GO INSANE.

I encourage you to enjoy your HOMELIFE today.  If it’s not enjoyable right now, work on a solution, pray to God to show you what to do. . . . .and He will help you.  I know He will!

“All of us carry in our hearts and minds the image of our ideal home, realized or not.  It is a place where we feel we belong, a rightness, a knitting together of self and world.  Home is a place to become yourself, to rest and surrender all pretense.  As Dear Mother used to say, ‘Home is the place where you can restore your mind, body, and soul.’  It is a source of emotional nourishment.  It’s where you can close a door and open your heart.  If there is any meaning to existence, we are surely closest to it there.”

“We often take our homes for granted.  But when we steep ourselves in our home, a deep sense of peace begins to emerge.  Life becomes more meaningful.”

“Homekeeping is an ongoing art, a process, not an end product.  It will never be ‘all done.’  Bathrooms, clothes, and dishes, once clean, have a way of getting dirty again.  But home is meant to be lived in, in the fullest, most potentially fulfilling way for everyone in it.  That means that every room does NOT need to be picture perfect and waiting for a perfect display, but rather, each room has a sense of order and calmness to it.  The home looks like someone lives there, without appearing messy or cluttered.”


I took these pictures yesterday. . . .


Grace is always bringing me a little bouquet of wild flowers.  These looked so pretty I had to take a picture of them.  They are in a vintage yellow fiesta pitcher.


Caleb loves it when I copy off a Thomas picture for him to color.  See his boo-boo?  He burned his arm the other day.


I received a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday, a handmade cherry tote bag from a sweet xanga friend.

The little book, How to Pray, is what I am currently reading.



I sometimes buy a children’s book and keep it for myself, in my own bookcase, to read to the children but not GIVE to them.  This one is so lovely. . . .it’s all about the different home places our ancestors had.  The top picture is the cover of the book.  I found it for a very small price at a used bookstore.


This is a picture of what our garage looks like right now.  The trench is all dug out in preparation for the foundation.  It is hard to keep the children away.


A real-life picture of the living room.  David and Caleb just love taking all the cushions off the couches.

It is typical home life for me~ mostly clean, partly messy, with a pantless little boy trying to find a Thomas video~


(all quotes from book linked here):

0 thoughts on “housekeeping

  1. The early part of your entry took me back to a time when our children were in school – and my adjustment to rescheduling for summer.  Love the wildflowers in the yellow vase.

  2. What an encouraging post.  I have been feeling the need to set more of a rountine for the summer.  It reminds me that I don’t need to be stressed out about it.  Now that the kids are done with school, I can work on teaching them some chores too.  I am excited for the summer! 

  3. Good Morning Shanda! I ADORE that picture of the flowers, boots & shutter…wow I would hang it in my house! =)
    I love the last quote about Home…the one that explains how a house is meant to be lived in =) It is a daily struggle for me to keep a nice calm house with two little boys running around…but that quote put it in perspective.
    I have been thinking about making a housekeeping routine of some kind for quite awhile now, you have given me that gentle push to actually do it!
    Here’s to not going insane! πŸ˜‰
    Have a great day!

  4. You know, I SO hear you about needing structure in the day. My kiddos have been done with school for a few weeks- and it seems like a slothful spirit has taken over our home. It’s especially hard not having MY free time like I did before to motivate and structure activities……but since workign out of the home I’m very occupied most of the day with my business.Anyhow, your pictures were lovely.

  5. Shanda,
    Another book you and I have in common:  Homeplace.  It is a good book, isn’t it.
    Annee in FL
    PS:  We had a good time at the Naples Zoo, thanks for the recommendation.  Glad you enjoyed Orlando, we’ve yet to get there after living in FL for 16 years.

  6. I truly hope that you can find your balance in your home. So that it changes your feeling for your house to more of feeling like a true home. When my daughter was little my house was a mess, and it got me down a lot. But over the years and now that she is 19 I have found my balance in my home.
    I love the picture of caleb coloring with his boo boo arm. God Bless

  7. When I was little I LOVED taking the couch… it was so much fun to bounce, stak, and build forts I know how exciting construction can be, too. When I was younger, we added on an addition and two car garage, and I was always peeping about and exploring and watching then men work.

  8. We both had “Aha!” moments today!  Our house needs some attention today.  I have several things in the works, but they’re all unfinished.  I’m hoping the caffeine will kick in soon so that I can get moving.  Really, I just want to crawl back under my cozy blankets and go to sleep…oh yeah, there are two little ones running around…

  9. Some good thoughts this morning.  Transitioning from one stage to another can be frustrating….Yesterday was our “Thursday fun day” and I find it easier to do “messy” projects when I can “prepare myself” and think about it ahead of time, like letting them play in the sprinkler, knowing I’d have a mess later, but since I had it in my mind to let them do it then, it wasn’t so bad….another thing I like to do in the afternoon when they’re getting out of sorts is to have an hour of quiet time, each separated so they can’t see one another….helps them and me both!! I even sometimes do it in the morning when they get up grouchy at each other, like 15 minutes, to help them calm a bit, and try to encourage them to thank God for another day, etc, sorta like a time to meditate.  Looks like I’m writing a book here, lol…..have a great weekend!!

  10. I love the picture of the living room. Both of my kids, but my son especially is ALWAYS taking the cushions off the couch. He mostly builds forts with the cushions. (It still secretly drives me crazy πŸ™‚ but he has learned now how to put them away again, so I am better with him taking them off.)

  11. A couple of good book recommendations (I can’t wait to get to the library!).  Those quotes about home and the effect it has on a person are so true.  I recognize that so clearly b/c I don’t feel like I have a home of my own right now. 

  12. I think your children will also enjoy and appreciate your new plan. Maybe some of them even have some ideas to help with your summer schedule. I only have one husband to make a home for now but it is surprising how messy he can be! He tries, bless his heart, but it just seems innate in him that every flat surface must be covered with something of his. He is the absent minded professor, and prefers to leave his things and projects out where he can see them and won’t forget them. We have come to an understanding, because he is never going to be able to change. Love covers, right? LOL!

  13. Today I’m getting my house in order, to what it can be with the kids:)   The last 3 days I have had a terrible migraine and not really did much of anything except feed the kids & take care of their needs and I can tell the house has been let go:)   I’m so glad you posted this.   I just love reading your posts!   What a nice gift to get from a friend!

  14. Good Morning Shanda….Such a lovely picture of the vase, the rubber boots and the shutter. Very creative! The pic of your LR is a good one too. My LR used to look like that when my children were small too. Now its books, markers, crayons, girl stuff that is all over the place sometimes.
    I love the quotes too. I too MUST have a schedule or guideline for my house. But the problem with that for me is that I work most of the day into the night. And I can’t be here to make sure the children have done their chores. So I’m anxious for the children to be out of school so that we can all work together to straighten things out here. Its alot of decluttering that needs to be done. Then everyone can relax and enjoy being home. I get major stress when my house is not in order….lol! And we are getting a visitor in the next few weeks too…YIKES!!!
    Anyhow, enjoy your day, your wonderful children and your wonderful home. You truly are BLESSED!!!

  15. Our homes look so much alike {ok, mine is the suburbs, and yours is the country, but you know what I mean!}.  I really am going to call you soon!  I really am!

  16. I too am struggling with the transition of summer, I have a few kids completely done and then some that have another week or two. My house seems like it is in utter chaos right now. Thank you for sharing your wonderful finds with us, I think I need to implement some of your ideas. I love that last picture, it is nice to see my children aren’t the only ones who can’t keep the cushions on the furniture. I love where you put your new bowls, they look lovely there. Have a wonderful weekend with your family. (((((HUGS))))

  17. I’m trying to think of fun things to do this summer (besides the usual swimming) and hopefully we’ll do lots of fun day trips.  I love the pictures, very REAL.  Hope you’re having a good day, this lovely, stormy morning.

  18. I love the picture of the fiesta wear and boots, if it were a poster, I would put it on my wall in my kitchen. So cute! I hope the scheduling stuff works out soon. I am in the same boat right now. After baby #4 and needing to meet all his little needs, my house is a disaster. I’m finding a really hard time of keeping things neat and organized. The good thing is that we’re moving soon, so it’s gonna get messy anyway. Sigh!

  19. I came to that place about 6 months to a year ago…that is when we wrote up all of the chores that the kids were going to be responsible for.  It has worked…it is not faultless – we do have our bad days, and our crazy busy days.  But overall the kids know what is expected of them – and they realize that their jobs connect to each other.  Like we will have dirty dishes piled on the counters and sinks if Molly doesn’t empty the dishwasher once it is cleaned.  (Which some days will delay dinner until I can clear the counters to have room to cook.)  We won’t have dinner until Meg sets the table, etc.  The girls had a difficult time adjusting and they are still not perfect.  But they are getting there. 
    I’m not looking for a perfectly clean house (I know your shocked – NOT!).  But I am looking for help to keep it in some sort of order.  Plus I find that they are less likely to mess it up, if they are the ones that are going to be picking it up again.  Especially if it makes more mess for a sister – they have a way of getting even with each other.  (You mess up my job – I’ll mess up yours)
    I really do think that home is the family – and that you can make a homey place any where.  If we can create a place where the family is comfortable enough to relax and be themselves.  My post was more about  – a connection to a place.   That place just happens to be where we grew up – and I do fell comfortable there and more myself.

  20. Ahh, Shanda, you give me the peace and joy of family homelife so often.  I am glad you have the balance of letting them all live in it and enjoy….yet, also maintaining it.  I am overwhelmed today with our little place as we arrived home last night from our get away at my Mom’s big home to our little place.  So much to put away and find room for (new curriculum passed down from Mary for David).  Garden needs tending and we are running out of town this afternoon to go take care of my inlaws again.  Nana has to have another transfusion.  But, big breath, I know it will all get done and the peace and joy of home is the main thing.  I love the ideas you have for schedule, free time, projects…..etc.  And the book looks wonderful! Have a blessed day! Jenny

  21. After I had Lorelei and was trying to find order in my life since I was staying home all the time (remember I used to work in my father-in-law’s office and take Ainsley with me???). I was feeling like I was going crazy with a very needy newborn, a 2 year old and no structure to my life. Anyway, I made myself a very loose cleaning schedule. Monday is sweeping/vacuuming day, Tuesday mopping, Wednesday dusting, etc. And I made myself ask my husband for help keeping things generally picked up. Now that the girls are older they’re pitching in, too. More than a year and a half later, I’ve kept the schedule most weeks and it makes me feel like things aren’t getting too out of hand. Nothing is clean all at the same time, or for very long, but at least I know it’s getting clean once a week. I do keep the kitchen clean nearly all the time because I can’t stand for it to be dirty. Deep cleaning… well, that doesn’t really ever get done, but I figure there will be a time and place for that someday…

  22. You write just like you talk, it makes me smile, I can hear the fluctuations (Sp?) of your voice as I read it! πŸ™‚
    I can relate to the “What do I do with them now that it is Summer?!!!”  I have had a ton of stuff going through my mind about that subject!
    The image of the wild flowers looks like it was in a country living mag. British edition πŸ™‚

  23. You’ve encouraged me today, thank you.  Since moving into this home we’ve been experiencing such imbalance in our schedule/routine.  I’m in need of reorganizing things.  I can hardly wait for this house to feel like home.  Sooooo jealous that you are almost done with school!!  Your home looks very comfortably lived in, love the real life picture.:)

  24. Beautiful thoughts on home.  When my girls get home, we are going to implement a loose summer routine.  We have to be flexible with hubby’s schedule, and I know he has more camping trips planned, but for the days we are home we can have a plan!  I really like the cherry bag- what a nice gift!  Hope you have a great evening, and a relaxing weekend!

  25. Shan I think I groan too much when I enter my home.  I think of all the projects I need to do and how long it will take to do them BUT i have looked back and see all we have accomplished–especially outside.  What a mess that used to be!  Our home needs an extreme makeover that we can’t afford all at once and that is the most of my frustration.  So little by little we plug along.  I continue dreaming about a kitchen and bathroom I’ll sigh in but . . . for now we try to be content with what God has given and be good stewards of it.  I am definitely convinced that my groaning is complaining and I shouldn’t do that so much.  I’m really rambling now , sorry.  I love you and I hope that your plans for a better organized household work for the best.  I aim to have a comfortable home too.  Love you LOTS.

  26. …as i started reading down through your post i began to smile – then sigh.. that kind of “hmm.. this is a God thing” kind of sigh. I was just scurrying around the house cleaning this up. picking that up. doing another load of laundry. fixing a curtain rod emma pulled down today. picking up pieces of dirt on my hands and knees – cause I’m not about to get the vaccum out yet again! and still – the dishes sit on the kitchen table from dinner!!!! i walked into S. office to put something away and felt the “urge” to sit down a moment… πŸ™‚ came to your site… and “wha-la!” a read just for me!!yes – so often i can look at my home as one giant chore, as you said.. instead of making sure that i’m cultivating the spirit of calmness. order. love. belonging. so – – i’m glad i stopped by amidst all the to-do’s here. πŸ™‚ great stuff – as always.

  27. AND – very true about maintaining order even during summer holiday. i’m not a structured type person generally.. but am realizing more and more that my life and especially the kiddos run so much smoother with it~we’re doing a summer book club. math tutoring. and continuing on w/ history (my favorite subject – don’t mind doing that one year round)

  28. I was blog hopping, and found your site. What a great post. Your pictures are beautiful, and your words so encouraging. I have 4 kids 5 and under, and I used to be able to keep a clean house. After the last one made her grand entrance, I feel like I am getting lost under a sea of dirty clothes and couch cushion (yes my kids love to take cushions and pillows off everything too). I love the picture of your living room. What an honest real life shot. Why is it kids hate to wear pants??? I have my fill of spiderman undies all day everyday.

  29. I love the picture of the wildflowers in the yellow pitcher!  And the one at the top of your page of the backs of the children.  I think you worry too much about how you’re doing; you’re doing much better than most of us can claim and our children turned out well.  So relax a little.

  30. Although I haven’t read it all the way through, I LOVE “Mrs. Dunwoody’s” book. Another two that I like to flip through are “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” and “Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book and Household Guide”. I found them on I keep them on my desk so I can flip through them every now and then. Like I have much free time to do stuff like that!I homeschool year round and that really helps “routines” not be quite so interrupted. A couple and their five children from Ohio are here visiting (Thurs – Sun) and we haven’t bothered with homeschooling. But my girls don’t know some children have “breaks” and this has just been a way of life for us, since the beginning. In the summer, I let them swim in the morning and late afternoon when the heat and sun aren’t so treacherous, but they like to school or watch movies in between chores during the hottest part of the day. I feel bad they are missing out on outdoor play. We don’t have the large countryside and pond you have, when they built these large houses, the skimped on the backyards and I don’t feel safe letting them play in the front – I can’t see them from the house.

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