Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30: Lighting

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

I love natural light and during the day, I try to let in as much as possible.  But there is a thing such as "mood lighting".  And when the mood I want to create is peaceful, there are things that I can with lighting to help that along.

1.  Candle light:  Everything looks more peaceful with candles lit.  It's soft and relaxing.  See the Day 28 post for using non toxic candles.

2.  Natural light:  During the day, turn off harsh overhead lights and let in as much natural light as possible.

3. Low Lighting:  Although natural light is great during the day, less light can create a more peaceful home at night.  Instead of lots of lights or overhead lights, I use smaller lamps placed around the room to create enough light that we can see or read.  But the light is low and peaceful and puts everyone in a more quiet mood.  And dimmer switches can be added to over head lighting so that you can determine exactly how much light is actually needed.  It helps to slow the pace and relax the mood getting the boys ready for bedtime.

4.  Think outside the "lamp":  There are other ways to get light into your home without using lamps.  Think wall sconces, night light table lampslanternsseasonal decorations, and LED rope lighting hidden around shelves or furniture.

The key is to find what type of lighting brings more "peace" to your home.  There isn't a one size fits all solution so luckily there are a ton of options to fit your needs and your home decor.

Please excuse all the Halloween decorations, but it is that time of year :)

Light up gourd.  We have one for every holiday.  

Dining room buffet lamps.  Yes we have a chandelier but these add soft lighting when we aren't actually eating in there.

Small lamp in the kitchen.  No need to turn on the harsh lights to get a glass of water.

Table lamps and tin punch lantern in the family room.  These are the lights we usually use in the evening before bed time.  It's plenty of light for me to read there.

For more information see:

Relaxing Lighting Ideas  from

Light Your Home, Lift Your Mood from My Home Ideas

Mood Lighting from Elle Decor

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 29: Decor

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

To me, this flies in the face of the decluttering.  But the kids love it.

For us, we like to change our seasonal decor.  I have both indoor and outdoor decor that gets switched around with the seasons. 

Halloween and Christmas are BIG decorating seasons in our home and both my older boys love to help but up decorations.

But we also have random spring, fall, and summer decorations that we like to use too.  It can be as simple as changing paper fireplace garland.

Stars on the fireplace in the background.  Usually up from Memorial day to Labor Day.  Then I replace with leaves.

Hearts for Valentine's Day.

Christmas, of course gets the most decorations.  But by January I'm so over it and ready to go back to simple seasonal decorating.

Ideas for seasonal decorating (that's not too cluttered):

1.  Seasonal window sill:  I have a window sill in my kitchen that I usually decorate with season items.  It's just small vignette of a couple of seasonal items (bunnies for spring, pumpkins for fall, etc.)

2.  Seasonal silk flowers:  I have a vase in my kitchen and I change out the flower arrangement to match the season (tulips in spring, sunflowers in the fall, etc).

3.  Door hangings:  Not only do I have seasonal decor on my front door, but I also change out door hangings on the inside of the house to match the seasons.

4.  Seasonal fresh flowers and plants:  I have a black thumb and sadly I am a plant killer.  But that never stops me from buying seasonal plants and fresh flowers to brighten up the house.  In the summer I can cut and bring in my own roses, but during non-growing seasons, I occasionally pick up something pretty to add to the house (both sight and smell depending on the seasons).

5.  The seasonal fireplace mantle:  I think this is the boys favorite of all the things we decorate for the seasons.

Again, I don't like for the seasonal decorations to get out of control (clutter) but adding a few things helps to make the house festive, cozy and brings in a more peaceful mood for the boys.

More ideas for including the season into your home:

1.  Bringing Summer Into Your Home from

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand".  Mother Teresa

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28 - Comforting Scents

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

I like candles.  I always have.  I found scented candles in college (circa 1991) and never looked back.  I don't have oodles of candles or every scent.  I have a couple of candles and I use them until they're gone, then I replace.

I had one candle that I purchased from a local shop and it was my favorite.  It's since been discontinued and I can't seem to find a similar scented candle anywhere.

For me candles are a cozy thing.  I don't really light them in the summer time when it's bright out or the windows are all open.  But in the fall, winter and spring when it's cool outside and gets darker earlier or the days are dark and dreary thanks to rain and snow, I like to light a candle and let the comforting smells drift through the house.

When it comes to lotions or perfumes (which I don't really wear) I prefer flowery scents.  But for scented candles, I prefer spicy, woodsy, smokey scents.

The boys like the candles too.  Last year for my birthday, they bought me a couple of candles in scents that they like.

A pretty scent seems to set a mood of "calm" in the house.  I usually light them on the weekends,  because during the week, I'm more in and out.  I usually keep it on the kitchen counter so I can see it and because the kitchen is a large, ventilated area.

My family likes more earthy, spicy scents.  The key is to find out what works for your family.

Some candles can burn and release toxins into the air.  So keep that in mind when purchasing your candles.  Buying beeswax or soy candles are safer and watch out for what types of "scents" the candles are made with.  Yes, it's important do a little research to find safe candles and stay away from cheap or dollar store candles.  Another consideration to keep in mind is what type of wick the candle uses.  Some wicks contain lead and the last thing you want to do is release lead into the air.

Other ideas for safe scents are essential oils, diffusers, and DIY air fresheners.

Here are some tips on safe candle buying:

Are Your Candles Toxic? from Green America

4 Tips For Choosing Safe, Healthy Candles from Organic Authority

Scented Candles - The Dangers To Your Health And Some Safe Solutions

How To Make Safe Candles from

"By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, 
in quiet and in trust your strength lies". 

- Isaiah 30:15

Monday, October 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 10-27-14

Is it Monday again?  Well not only is it Monday, but it's the last week of October.  The boys are excited for Trick or Treating this Friday.

Menu Plan:

Friday  - Pizza because Older Boy had some friends over before the Jr High Dance.  I made the
 Middle Man's safe pizza.

Here they are all costumed up.  Older Boy is the one in the purple morph suit.

Saturday:  Grilled Flank Steak, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sunday:  Pasta with Homemade Sauce

Monday:  Left Over Sauce

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Broccoli Cheese Soup (5 ingredient) with either Grilled Cheese or Sandwiches (depending on how much lunch meat is left over)

Thursday:  Clean Up Day or Ham Steak with Oven Potatoes

Have a blessed last week of October!!  And safe Trick or Treating to all.

For more MPM, visit

Day 27: Peaceful Sounds

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

When all 3 boys are home, the house is usually filled with the sounds of chaos.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing.  But sometimes it can seem overwhelming.

To quiet things down, I like to shut down the noise of the TV and put on some low background music.  The boys like it too.  Or at least they say they do.

I typically use one of the following:

1.  CD's that I already own.

2.  Sirius XM that needs a paid subscription.

3.  Spotify that you can use for free like I do or enhance with a paid subscription.

I usually like to stick with music that is more soothing.  Classical music seems to work the best.  I use various types of instrumentals from Mozart to Colonial American.  The boys don't seem to mind any of it.  And in a world where pop music dominates their social circles, it also helps to broaden their musical horizon.

Some times we listen to praise music (but I'm not a huge fan) and sometimes I put on 40's on 4 (Middle Man was the only kid in his class last year that actually knew who Louis Armstrong was).

If we want to dance around crazy, we put on Kids Place Live for the Little Monkey.  That's where all his favorite songs can be found.

The saying goes "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast" and in our house it soothes the savage boys.

"Musicke doth withdraw our mindes from earthly cogitations, lifteth up our spirits into heaven, maketh them light and celestial".     Saint John Chrysostom

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 26: Getting The House To FEEL More Peaceful

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

We've organized, we've calmed down, we've quieted down, we've got the kids doing their part and we've talked to God.

Now there are some little things that can be tweaked or added to help foster a more peaceful feeling at home.

Out of all of the posts that I read, there were a few suggestions that are just so easy but they stuck with me:

1.  Peaceful Sounds - such as music

2.  Peaceful Scents - Candles, Diffusers, etc.

3.  Decor - My kids love when we add decorations for the seasons

4.  Lighting - Lighting can help set a more peaceful mood

Over the next few days I'll quickly and easily break each on of these down. I can't believe we're in the home stretch of the 31 Days Writing Challenge.

Have a blessed and peaceful Sunday!

"The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service 
is peace".  Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 25: The Serenity Prayer

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

There is peace in remembering:

I worry about I things have no control over.  Sometimes you just have to give it to God.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 24: Prayer

(This post is part of the 31 Day Writing Challenge.  For previous posts click HERE)

Prayer is really the number one way for me to get a peaceful home.  I know I've waited until day 24 to share this, but it's really number one on the list.

When I don't take the time to pray, my attitude and my soul reflects that.

I know I don't pray enough.  I know it.  I get so wrapped up in the day and all the things that go on that I forget to talk to God.  I forget to thank him. I forget to ask for help.

Prayer time can be a kind of meditation.  Or it can just be a quick "Give me strength Lord".  Either way it's the one way to bring me back to the present, calm things down, and give me time to remember the reason why I have everything in my life and who I need to be giving glory to for it.

Morning Prayers
The Three O'Clock Prayer
Evening Prayers
The Rosary
Prayers asking for intercession of Saints
Prayers asking for the intercession of Mary
and oh so much more!

I think my favorite prayer time is just me talking with God.

The home is the domestic church and ours does have an alter where we can go to pray.  But most of the time I just pray as I go about my day and even in the car.

For more on prayers and praying see:

Daily Prayers - Specific Prayers plus the who, what, when and how or praying.
Catholic Prayers - from EWTN
Daily Readings  - from the USCCB
Praying With Our Kids - from Catholic Digest

"For me prayer s a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.
- Saint Therese of Lisieux