Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

FYSF February 27, 2009

Filed under: Free Your Space — Andie @ 11:02 am

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Alright. Take a deep breath. Today’s FYSF is to clean your junk drawer. Or, your junk basket. When I may need something (usually paperwork) in the future, but I don’t know where to put it, it goes in the junk basket. Some things I come back to, others I throw out months later. Today’s the day! Get to tossing, shredding, or giving away.

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Real life hostess February 26, 2009

Filed under: Hospitality — Kate @ 6:00 am

It is always a challenge to be a good hostess when you have a few million toys scattered around on the floor after a good day (or few minutes) of toddler play!  While I would love to have ALL the toys picked up and out of sight, it doesn’t always happen, nor does it have to!  I DO encourage my kids to help me get the house ready for company.  This means giving my 2 and 3 year old SPECIFIC tasks to do in the hour before company arrives … pick up a certain toy/book and return it to it’s place and repeat until at least the area around the door is clear :), carry plates (one at a time) to the table, wait and look out the window at the appointed time of arrival.

I also try to let the kids know of our plans early in the day so that we can anticipate the arrival of guests.  This helps our day to be focused on others and not just on ourselves … thinking about what the other people (big or small) might like for a special dessert and how we can clean up so that we have places to sit and talk or play together.

If I have actually gotten everything ready a few minutes before company is due to arrive, I like to try to engage the kids in a short quiet activity (read to them or turn on a book on CD.)  This is helps my kids to know that they are not forgotten even when Mommy and Daddy are talking with the company and it helps me to sit and ‘be still’ for a moment!

All that said, we have plenty of stories of welcoming friends into a home filled with toys on the floor and children in tears.  The last 2 times some of our good friends have come over Zoe has had a bloody nose and been in tears.  (She was so excited to see them this last time that I think she tried to jump out the window!)  Things like that just happen and I’m learning to make the best of it :)

 

Keep it Simple :) February 25, 2009

Filed under: Hospitality — Gretchen @ 12:56 pm

Hosting people is one of my absolute favorite things ever!  I love having people over.  I am not really gifted in elaborate parties or themes or decorating but what I really like is just getting to listen and serve people.  I am not a very good conversationalist or extremely outgoing so a lot of how I love people is through serving and listening.  Here are a few things I do or think through in regards to quick hostessing opportunities (which happen quite often at my house with my husband :)

  • Like I said I am not an elaborate planner but I always have basic food on hand to prepare for extra guests.  I know the things I make regularly and I always have extra on hand. This means if you come to my house you are not likely to get the latest recipe out there but you will get a decent meal :)  I usually always have stuff for chicken alfredo, spaghetti, or stir fry.  With these in mind I can accommodate a lot of different food allergies.
  • When I bake I try to make extras to freeze.  This comes in very handy for last minute hostessing.
  • I always try and set out a carafe of water and cups so people can simply help themselves.
  • I generally have a plan for my own housekeeping.  I always try and unload the dishwasher in the morning first thing so that I can just be throwing dishes in the dishwasher all day and they never pile up.  I have learned to always seize opportunities to clean in stead of waiting for big cleaning days.  I try and do a little when I can in between stuff.  This makes for a stress free visit with guests.  My house is not always clean but if I do the basics clean up goes a lot faster and is a lot less scary.
  • One last tip not mentioned yet is spending lots of time with your kiddos before people come over.  This is another reason I try to clean in little bits throughout the week :)  I have found that good playing with my kids prior to people arriving goes a long way when we have guests over.  They are much more content to play by themselves if it is adults or entertain little ones or just be less needy.

I really enjoy providing a place for people to come hang out and enjoy making people food :)  It is one way I feel like I can serve others.  The biggest thing I have found that blesses others in when you have your house and relationships in order.  This is not always possible, but when people walk into a calm, peaceful home they feel welcome.  When I say “calm” I mean one that is free from relational strife not noise  or playing :)

 

Hostessing? Yea, right. February 24, 2009

Filed under: Hospitality — Leah @ 6:00 am

Okay, so confession time:  I don’t have a habit of hosting much of anyone in our home…unless it’s summer and we can head outside. :-)  So, here are my winter excuses by the numbers:

1. We live in 915 sq. ft.

2. We have only 4 places to sit in our living room.

3. Our home is the smallest in our circle of family/friends.

SO, when it’s time to gather somewhere in the colder seasons- our place is usually not first, second, or even third on the list.  Knowing that we  spend our time invading someone else’s home, we try hard to contribute to the time while we are there.  Helping bring food, prepping the meal when we arrive, clearing dishes or cleaning the kitchen area partway through the evening, making time BEFORE our kids meltdown to help get the toys picked up…etc.  Other times I bring a nice hot coffee drink to the mom hosting us, or a loaf of bread or bag of fruit to contribute to the lunch crowd.

Summer tips?  Hit the dollar store and Walmart.  Buy more squirt bottles, spill proof bubble things, cheap balls, buckets, sponges, and sidewalk chalk than you have children.  Make sure there is enough of the cheap, fun summery stuff for your kids AND all of their friends.  It’s such an easy way to avoid potential conflict within a gaggle of kids and it lets the parents enjoy their time so So SO much more.

:-)  Happy Hosting…!

 

The Hostess with the Mostest February 23, 2009

Filed under: Hospitality — Andie @ 2:59 pm

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This week we’ll be sharing some simple ideas we use when we play hostess. The ways I try to make guests to my home feel welcome, Minnesota style:

– Always offer a hot drink and keep lots of different teas and powdered coffees (International Delight) on hand

-Light a candle (my favorites are from Pier 1… the smells are usually nice, but not overpowering)

– Have people over even when there is laundry piled on a chair in the living room and toys around on the floor 

-Offer a blanket when people sit on the couch (this is important in COLD Minnesota)

– Put an old towel inside the door so that people can put their shoes somewhere warm instead of on the porch 

-Pull a chair into my kitchen for my friend we can chat even if I have to do some work

 

Free download of Not For Sale February 19, 2009

Filed under: Books — Andie @ 2:00 pm

Not for Sale was one of Gretchen’s picks from Wednesday’s post. I just heard from Molly’s blog that there is a free download of this book during the month of February. You can download it here  from the Christian Audio website. You have to sign up for an account and use the code FEB2009 at checkout. It will be completely free. 

The description of the book on Christian Audio is as follows:

Award-winning journalist David Batstone reveals the story of a new generation of 21st century abolitionists and their heroic campaign to put an end to human bondage. In his accessible and inspiring book, Batstone carefully weaves the narratives of activists and those in bondage in a way that not only raises awareness of the modern-day slave trade, but also serves as a call to action.

Audio books are a really good way to incorporate “reading” into your life if you are not finding time for it otherwise. I plan to start listening to this book while I ride my stationary bike. And, Christian Audio has a new book for free every month!

 

Favorite Toddler Bible Books

Filed under: Books — Kate @ 10:14 am

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Read Aloud Bible Stories
by Ella K Lindvall

This Bible story series has become our favorite right now!!!  It is perfect for toddlers with BIG pictures and only one or two sentences on each page.  The stories are fun and simple, but accurate.  Both of my kids (at ages 2 & 3.5) really enjoy reading them.