Category Archives: Homemaking

DIY Girl Hair Accessories Organizer

Finding out I was having a daughter, I couldn’t wait to accessorize her with hair bows!  And I made sure from the time she was born that she got used to wearing headbands and bows.  With longer hair, we’ve now added ponytails and barrettes. And with all these accessories comes mass confusion.

How do I keep all her hair accessories organized?!

I have a cute Princess wall sign with ribbons to hold all of her bows. But the drawer with her ponytail holders, extra bows and barrettes has been a disaster.

So, one night as I stood there in the doorway staring at the giant mess while my kids were in the bathtub, I had a genius idea!

I’m currently in a mode of simplifying and minimizing my life.  So, rather than going out to buy more organization junk I really don’t need, I decided to think outside the box…actually outside of the eggbox.

DIY Hair Accessory Organizer

 

DIY Girl Hair Accessories Organizer

Needed:  2 egg cartons

1.  Take 2 cardboard egg cartons and cut them in half.  Any carton will do, I just prefer the cardboard over the Styrofoam.  I also used a 12 and 18 count egg carton, but 2-3 dozen cartons would work as well.

2. The bottom part is used to separate all the hair ties by color and for organizing the small                   elastic bands and barrettes.

3. I used the top part of the carton to collect all the small bows or the ones that won’t hang on the ribbon.

It’s truly amazing how easy it was to do this and the best part…it was FREE and easy to keep it organized!

Bonus tip to organize your jewelry: Use the same type of egg box and organize earrings on the bottom and bracelets in the top half of the carton.  Who knew egg cartons could be so versatile.

What other ways have you used everyday home items to keep yourself organized?  Please share!


Why I’m Throwing Away Photos

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What do you do with all those printed photographs you have stored away in boxes and totes in your attic or store room?

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Making Room for Us: The Importance of Managing the Stuff Monster

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Last weekend some friends came down to visit.  I was standing in the kitchen busy doing something, when Gavin asked me for help.  My quick response, “Just a minute buddy, mommy has to…and then I paused.  But, with saddened eyes and a low tone he filled in the blank for me, “do stuff?”

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Really.  That is what he thinks I do.  Stuff.  But at that moment it hit me.  I DO STUFF.  Not only do I DO stuff, I have too much stuff.  I spend more of my time managing my STUFF than I do enjoying the people around me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, as mamas we have a lot of “stuff” to do.  We are managing an entire household and all the people in it and raising a generation of future leaders, encouragers, lovers and, by God’s grace…believers!  We have A LOT on our plates.

But, is the “stuff” in our lives, taking priority?  It was like a lightbulb came on for me.  I’m tired of moving stuff, managing stuff, putting away stuff.  I decided that I’m tired of talking about how much “stuff” I have to do and instead I’m going to start eliminating some of the unnecessary “stuff” in my life.  And isn’t that the reality?  Much of our “stuff” is NOT necessary.  I am putting on a new pair of lenses.  I have been praying for God to give me new vision for what is important and what is not in my home and in my life.

I want to LIVE DIFFERENTLY.

Today and forever.  I want to be that person, be that family that others see as “different” and that God sees as being obedient.  I want to enjoy my children, spending time with them, being creative with them, helping them to see the genuine, God created beauty in this world and not be consumed with products and materialism.

They already at 2 and 3 have a well developed “wanter”: “Mama, I want that!  I want a new batman house!  I want a batman cape!  I want that… (any toy they see at Target)!”  They are foolish, just as we are.  They have learned that when you want something, you get it.  I honestly believe we are all born with a “wanter”.  It’s always been there.  But just like any sinful part of our nature, we must learn to control it.  But sadly, they are imitators.  They watch our behavior.  They learn from watching us.

Do we have our “wanters” in check?  Or are we guilty of feeling like we have to get what we want.  For most of us, life in America isn’t about getting what we need, it’s about getting what we want.  And sadly, we generally feel entitled to get what we want.  What we don’t realize is we have masked the lie by slightly changing the words.  Instead of “I WANT a new TV”, we say, ” I NEED a new TV”.  We have convinced ourselves that our wants are indeed needs that need to be met.

Oh, how sad a generation that we have created.  I am as guilty as everyone.  I enjoy being comfortable and running to Target is way too easy to buy what I “need”.  But when I walk out of Target and spend $100 every time I visit, am I really just feeding my “wanter”?  Because the truth is, the more we have, the more we want.  There is always some new gadget or item that will make our lives easier, less stressful, and more comfortable.  So then, after we have accumulated all these gadgets, why aren’t our lives any easier, less stressful or more comfortable?

So, my mission is to live differently.  What does that look like for me?  For my family?  It looks, well,……different.  In so many areas of my life.  Praise God He isn’t changing me all at once.  Whew!  Thankfully He works on us with love and grace and equips us to pursue the life HE desires for us, the life that we were meant to live.

So, I am waging war with the stuff monster that has invaded my home.  It has been keeping me hostage with busyness and spinning my wheels for so long, it’s grown to a pretty good size.  But, if not now, when?

So, my first battle…the toy department that has overtaken my house.  Now, let me be very clear, I have nothing against toys, but we my children live with excess.  I’ve tried to decrease the toy inventory in our home in the past, but honestly, I have become more attached to their toys than they have.  I always feel guilty.  But after last weekend, the light came on and I knew it was time.  No, I didn’t get rid of all their toys.  They still have more than I think they need, but I took probably 1/3 of their toys upstairs.  It’s been almost a week.  Do you think they have missed them or even noticed they are gone?  Nope.  Not one comment about a missing toy.  I honestly haven’t decided yet whether to just get rid of them or rotate them with the ones that remain.  I’ll probably do a little of both.

The reality: Toys are not important to our children.  We are.  Those precious cherubs will always ask for more things, but they really are craving and needing more time with us.  Now, as a mom we cannot, nor should we spend every waking hour  with our children.  They need independence and play time away from us for sure.  Nor do we cater to their every demand when they verbalize their immediate needs.  But for me, my “stuff” was keeping me stressed and constantly mentally focused on what needed to be done.  When I was playing with kids, it was because I was taking a break from doing my “stuff”.  My main objective seems to be my to-do list.  My ever growing to-do list.  The to-do list will ALWAYS be there.  Always.  And forever, I might add.  But my children will not.  Someone reminded me today as her son was getting ready to graduate from college that my children will be gone sooner than I can even imagine.  I don’t want to miss these moments.  I don’t want to look back and think, “Wow, I just lived stressed out and never caught up and focused on the wrong moments.”

And let me assure you this definitely isn’t about removing toys so I can have a spotless house.  I’m not interested in that.  Really.  I have three children age 3 and under.  My house will never be spotless.  My house will never be completely picked up.  Thank goodness.  I have children!! I want my children to be creative and use our home in that process.  I want them to drag their boxes around and play pretend.  I want our house to be THEIR HOME, for their enjoyment and growth.

My objective is to remove the “stuff” so that we can make room for us.  I have been emotionally pushing the most important people in my life to the side, so “stuff” can take priority.  And I keep doing it.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  To keep doing the same thing and expect different results?

I have a framed copy of our family mission statement on our wall and it says this:

The Perez Family Purpose Statement

We will trust God and make people and relationships more important than accomplishing tasks.

God has called us to make people important.  What God says is important.   I am on a mission to remove the clutter, the “stuff”, to make room in our home for the people that God placed here.  Why go to the effort of creating and displaying a purpose statement if I’m not going to live it?  Why claim to believe in a God who is loving and gracious, if I don’t show it?  Why pray for children, if I’m not going to be fully present to enjoy them? One word: hypocrisy.  Ouch.

From our front porch you can see the beautiful Texas sunsets.  Last night we sat on our front step and watched the sun go down.  It was a beautiful, peaceful moment.  The kids were running around us just laughing and playing.  Then they sat in our laps and just snuggled into our arms.  And as I held them close and looked out over the setting golden sun, God gently whispered in my heart…THIS is what is important.  Make room for this.  I looked down at their beautiful, smiling eyes.  I’m sure I heard from their hearts…Make room for us.  

How has “stuff” taken over in your home?  Please help me and share what you have done to make room for your family!  I look forward to hearing how God has been touching your hearts!


Home Is Where My Heart Is: Part 2 of 2

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Welcome back to part 2 of “Home Is Where My Heart Is!  This is my home.  My wonderfully messy home.  Where my children are free to enjoy life, expand their imaginations and have fun.  Many days their imaginations are much greater than this and it looks much more like an exploding toy store. But, instead of going crazy worrying about getting it back into order, I need to remember that this isn’t just a house to keep clean, this is my home.

And home isn’t just where we live, it’s where we love.

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I’ve always dreamed of being a mom and a wife and having a family.  I am living my dream.  But lately, I’m being reminded that this is my home, not just my house.

I think about how often girls plan for their wedding day with so much thought and detail, but sadly, many forget to prepare for the marriage.  Similarly, do we spend more time and effort picking out furniture and decorating the perfect house, that we forget to create our home?  Our homes are more important than our houses.

Which one are you creating?  The beautiful house, or a beautiful home?

I think about beautiful houses I have visited.  There are some that I can think of that were exquisite.  I walk away thinking, oh, I wish I had that style, or could decorate like that.  I wish my house looked like that.  I can clearly remember the feeling I got when I walked away.  It was beautiful, no doubt, but I left feeling like I was falling short, filled with comparison and jealousy.  I walked into my house and immediately started taking mental inventory of how I needed to make some changes.

On the contrary, think about someone’s home you have visited where you weren’t even drawn to the surroundings or the scenery on the inside, but rather, you immediately felt at home.   I have a dear friend I’ve known for years in Iowa, that when I walk into her home, it’s a breath of fresh air, an invitation to be fully present and refreshed.  It’s a retreat for my soul.  I imagine myself being wrapped in the arms of this home, that if it could talk it would say, “Welcome.  We’ve been expecting you.  You are home.”  I walked away feeling joy, warmth and peace.

Which one would you rather create?  We are all creating something.  Our homes have nothing to do with the decorations or the furniture.  A home is created by who WE are.  As we grow and mature and become the women God created us to be, our home will breath life into all who live there and all who enter.  I want to create that kind of home.  But homes just don’t happen.  They are intentionally created–one day at a time, one decision at a time.  We create the mood, the memories, and the relationships that are vital to a thriving home.

What kind of home are you creating?

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So, of course, I love God’s word and I wanted to know what it said about “home”.   And as always, here are some beautiful truths that God revealed to me. Keep in mind there are over 200 verses in the bible relating to “home”.  I will not go into detail with every one, but if you have a block of time to search for them yourself, you will be blessed.  I used Bible Gateway, which is a very simple, easy to use app.

Genesis 18:33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home. 

Home is the place we will always return to.

Genesis 25:27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.

Our children grow up at home.  We want to create a place where they are content to stay.

Genesis 29:13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him.  He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things.

We bring people to our home.  We welcome them, embrace them.  And our home is where we tell our children and our families “all these things”.  In our homes, we talk about God, about important issues, about life.

Genesis 30:25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland.”

We need a home to go back to.  A home is something you take ownership of.  It is ours, it is our family’s.

Genesis 34:5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home. 

Home is where we discipline and instruct our children.

Genesis 43:26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.

We give gifts to our loved ones and bless them.  We honor each other in our homes.

Exodus 3:8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with mild and honey–the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

Our homes are to be abundantly good, spacious (room to live-cut out clutter), and overflowing.

Exodus 12:27 Then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”

Our homes are a refuge, a safe place.  We are protected in our homes.

Ruth 2:11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband-how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.”

We must leave our homes to serve others.

Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

We must open our homes to others.

Titus 2:4-5 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

We are to love our husbands and children at home.  We are to learn to be self controlled and pure at home.  We are to be busy at home.  How often are we busy–away from home?

1 Tim 5:14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

We are to manage our home.  If we choose not to, we give the enemy an opportunity.

Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.

We are to eat together, break bread and fellowship in our homes.  We are to do this with glad and sincere hearts.

Acts 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.  When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

We are to invite others into our home and explain the way of God!  We should invite people who don’t know the Lord so we can share Him with them.  We must invite those that do, so we can talk about God and grow in our faith!

Acts 20:12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Home is where we are alive and can be comforted.

Acts 28:7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island.  He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days.

Let’s welcome others to our home and show them generous hospitality.

Oh, I could go on and on.  But you get the point.  The Bible is clear on it’s vision of the home.  There is so much more that I could tell you, but you will just have to read it yourself.  Our homes are about nurturing our families, about growing together, making memories, about being fully alive!  We honor one another, we respect and bless one another.  We have freedom to grow personally. We give life sustaining training and discipline.  We instruct and guide.  But we also, welcome and invite others.  We build our homes, so they are a place where others can see and feel God.  We talk about God in our homes.  We make Him the center of our homes.  And, also importantly, we are to launch from our homes to serve the world.  And we are to do it all with a glad and sincere heart.  Whew!

When we build our homes with love, freedom, confidence, security, respect, honor and goodness, we will be building up our husband and our children to go out and share Jesus with the world! Amen!

Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman build her house (home), but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Ouch.  Are you building your home up?

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Image courtesy of njaj / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

 

Or tearing it down?

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Image courtesy of Surachai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

What vision do you have for your home?

Let me share something I wrote recently in my journal:

My home is a reflection of who God made ME!  It’s MY home to display God’s work in my life.  To show what’s important to me.  To be a vessel to love others, to provide shelter for those needing it.  To be a refuge to the weary.  I want my home to speak truth and love.  I needn’t be afraid of what people think of it.  It is MY home.  What does my home say about me?  About us as a family?  Am I inspired by living here?  Have I created idols?  Do my children and husband feel a sense of love and belonging?  Help me Lord to transform my home into a creative, loving masterpiece.  A place to worship God.  A place to create memories.  2 Corinthians 5:9 “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

 Oh, I pray dear God, that this is the home I am building.  Please lead me and guide my hands as I shape and form the home in which you have given me.  And above all, let it be pleasing to you.  Amen.

What vision to do YOU have for YOUR home?  What kind of home are YOU creating? How are YOU building YOUR home?