The Bedroom: Peace and Calm

Over the last few months, I’ve received several comments about our bedroom, specifically how peaceful the space looks. So I wanted to give it some thought and share with you what might help to make your bedroom a more restful room.

First of all, is your bedroom the dumping grounds in your house? Oftentimes, the bedroom is out of sight and get’s all the mismatched socks on the chair, library books on the dresser, mail on the nightstand. Get better sleep and reduce stress? Would a special haven and safe place from the busy demands feel soothing to you? Our bedrooms can be more than just a soft place for us to lay our head. Spending time in our bedroom should inspire rest and rejuvenation everyday.

Let’s consider ways that your own bedroom could bring calm and melt the pressures of the day away. To achieve serenity in the bedroom, less is more. Eliminating clutter will instantly help you feel relaxed when you enter your room. Anything that is stimulating needs to stay in the kitchen or the office! TV and work desks are not conducive to calm and tranquility. Cleared surfaces in the bedroom and minimal décor will welcome you with comfort and relaxation.

Here are a few ideas to help you create a peaceful bedroom:

  • Paint a light neutral color

  • Keep only the necessary things in the bedroom: bed, nightstands, dresser or vanity, maybe a stool/bench/chair and a mirror

  • Sconces or bedside lamps

  • A larger rug or two bedside rugs

  • Oil diffuser helps relax and clear the air

  • A scented candle open on the dresser will give your bedroom a soft fragrance

  • Soft sheets in a neutral and tiny pattern

  • Natural textiles (cotton, linen, knit or wool throws) add comfort

  • Display favorite things – only those that are useful and beautiful

  • Down comforter and a few extra pillow that you can use to prop up and read or relax before sleep.

  • Add texture for a cozy feeling

  • Add plants for an organic feel

What you see when you first wake up will set the tone for the rest of your day.

with love. Damaris

Family Currents: New + New + New + New = : )

Breaking into the new honey harvest!

We have bucket-fulls of raw honey from our hives. Nathan, his dad, William, and Alexander spun it out of the honey frames and screened out the wax. It’s so fun to see the difference in the honey the bees produce from year to year – this year’s bee sweetness is more gold than amber, and the raw texture is beautiful! Nathan bottles it fresh for each customer, so contact us through this post, facebook, instagram, or email. You’ll want to get a taste of this year’s honey harvest.

Fresh and green makes the kitchen feel new!

My little potted rosemary is surviving the winter in our kitchen. It’s perched on the window sill, and I water it everyday. Rosemary is my favorite herb in cooking and baking, but I’ve been hesitant to cut sprigs in case it saddens. It’s alive greenness makes me happy.

Fresh textiles bring a new mood!

Two warm days in a row and I already changed up the pillows in my bedroom – hah! Something so simple made the room reflect the sunshine and brightened up the room. It’s amazing how quickly our mood perks up with the sun warmth and glow through the windows. Now I’m off to pick up some Trader Joe’s eucalyptus and spruce up the bathrooms.

Bring on a new year!

This good-lookin’ lad had a birthday this week! He’s the firstborn, and we all enjoyed the excuse to love on him. Last year, his sisters practiced a little dance to perform in celebration of his special day, but this year,I dropped the ball. Nathan ordered a cookie dough ice cream cake for him, which was really fun. Not only did the cake make birthday dinner preparations much simpler, but it was a huge hit. First time, but may not be the last : )

with love. Damaris

5 Habits for Productivity

Time is a gift from God. He doesn’t owe it to us, yet he gives us days, hours, and minutes generously. Because time is a gift, it is never acceptable to waste it assuming that God will give us more. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Over and over again I wonder why I don’t get as much done during my day or week as I would like. It might be because I have 7 kids. It might be because homeschooling 5 takes all day or because the baby is still nursing. But honestly, I probably waste more time then I would like to admit. I’m often hesitant at the tasks God has called me to do on any given day, and I procrastinate.

Several years ago, I asked advice from a veteran mom of 10 on how to best start the day. I was completely overwhelmed with all the children waiting for me to direct them onto the next task and organize their school day, two toddler age children that were only going to cause destruction, and a nursing infant that would wake up at any time. I asked how she started her day, and she shared with me these tips on maintaining sanity. I think these are tips for productivity that all of us can find helpful. Whether we take the children to school or not, whether we still have children in the home or not, whether it’s a large family or not, whether we live in an apartment or a large 5 bedroom home, these tips will make you feel not only sane, but also more productive:

  1. open all the blinds- even in the bathroom

  2. make all the beds- children can learn to make their own

  3. collect and empty all the trash bins- the bedrooms, bathrooms, office, etc.

  4. gather and run a load of laundry- everyday (remember to walk through the bathrooms and kitchen for washcloths and towels)

  5. wipe down surfaces- as many as you can, as fast as you can (kitchen and eating areas)

I realize that most of these can be delegated, and I leave that up to you. The simplicity and effectiveness of these tasks always energizes me and gets me feeling productive. The secret is in doing these small jobs before any meaningful activity has begun. For me, that is first thing in the morning after getting dressed but before breakfast. I’m a big believer in cleared counters before going to bed, but I still give them a fresh wiping in the morning. I guarantee you’ll feel revitalized! So blinds, beds, trash bins, laundry baskets, and wipe surfaces – now take a breath and say a prayer while looking out the windows and get ready to make some coffee. Here’s to a happy day, dear ones!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do — do it all for the glory of God!”
1 Corinthians 10:31

with love, Damaris

Christmas Simmer Pot

Few things have been bringing me more joy these blustery winter days than listening to Handel’s Unto Us A Child Born from the Messiah masterpiece. My kids surely think my heart will burst as I sing along with my eyes closed for focus. To perfect the moment, this simmering pot has been steaming for hours now on the stovetop, adding warmth and sharp aroma to a day spent at home. Just like the world outside my windowpanes, the simmer pot is delicate and woodsy. It’s is all the smells of the season in one pot. The amazing aroma also looks lovely. There’s no better combination than citrus, spices, and some springs of nature. This simmer pot is a beautiful way to enrich your space with homemade Christmas scents (in lieu of pricey candles) and also adds a little needed moisture to the dry winter indoors. If you’re feeling restless on this very still Monday, a simmer pot will undoubtedly warm up your senses.

  • one sliced, whole orange

  • a large handful of cranberries

  • a couple cinnamon sticks

  • a few bay leaves

  • rosemary sprigs (or cuttings from your Christmas tree)

  • a large pinch of whole cloves

Fill a large pot with water and add all the aromatics in. Simmer for hours and hours adding water as needed. This makes a fun kitchen experiment when you switch things up by using what you have or choose your preferred winter scents.

with love. Damaris

Fall Essential Oils

I’ve shared on here before how much I love change! A delightful way to revamp your space is by filling the air with the beloved fragrances of fall.

I am quite the candle addict. Even just lighting a candle is a relaxing ritual to me. There’s nothing I love more that walking around the house greeted by the spicy scents of fall! A flickering candle makes me all warm and cozy inside. The sweet aromas of “Pumpkin Cupcake”, “Warm Sugar Cookie”, “Hot Maple”, and “Caramel Butter” evoke all my favorite feelings about crisp autumn days.

I would love to burn a candle in my home all day long, but they get expensive, and many candles are not free of toxins. I don’t feel deprived, though! There are many essential oils that we’re pretty excited to use this fall season, too!

This is the diffuser we have. If we’re running it in the living room, I add 15-20 drops with the water. If we use the diffuser in a bedroom, we do 5-10 drops. Whether it’s upstairs or downstairs, we always set it to be intermittent. On this setting, it will last all night.

~ 9 drops sweet orange (I use this for moping too)
~ 6 drops cloves

These two are the basic elements for that festive autumn fragrance. A couple more favorite oils to add to the basic recipe are ginger and cinnamon bark. This is an inexpensive way to add freshness too and enhance the smell of your rooms! Also, if it’s a cold-air diffuser, you’ll profit from the therapeutic benefits.

What are some of your quintessential fall scents?

with love. Damaris

Family Currents

photo credit: Nathan

The highlight of our week was, hands-down, Isabel’s birthday! She has grown up so much this year! She is always so calm and unassuming. She’s our constant – but when it comes to her birthday…Lookout! She brings us so much joy, as God works in her to make her his own : )

photo credit: Nathan

Damaris has been reading this book with the girls for the last couple of months. It has been a special treat for the little women of the house in the quiet afternoons. They’ve all enjoyed it, especially the 7, 5, and 3 year old. Not only is the reading enjoyable, but the illustrations are beautiful and draw the little ones in.

I’m a fortunate husband, because for the last 15 years Damaris has been practicing the art of creating a welcoming home. She won’t admit it, but I think she’s mastered it : ) Candles are one of her signature brush strokes. As unassuming as they are, she uses them to set a mood, create an atmosphere…and even cover some smells, I suppose ; ) She told me this candle is one of her new faves. “What makes a favorite candle”, you ask? Well, as I have been informed – it lasts super long, it smells great of course, and it looks classy. What she didn’t say was that it’s from World Market…she pretty much loves everything from them!

All I need is a long and wide front porch, a gentile straw hat, and a rocking chair. Sipping Damaris’ iced tea on a hot, muggy July day makes me think I’m in Savannah. What else is there to do in the mid-day heat, but take it easy?? She actually mixes half of this Tazo with half chamomile for her special brew : )

some thoughts, Nathan

Family Currents

The girls’ hair is getting longer, and we have some fun experimenting with braided buns. They are also more patient at my bobby pin stabbing . The braided buns are really easy, and they keep the hair out of the honey-coated cornbread. These hairbrushes have helped lessen the detangling tears.

When schooldays are shorter, we can be open to more creative leisurely learning. An atmosphere of exploration encouraged the children to seek beauty in art and in nature this week. The clean up is well worth it!

How many can you spot? Nature fills them and me with zest and enthusiasm. We praise our Creator for His glory displayed around us!

As you can imagine, the rooms in our home need cleaning very often – ha! But, in between deep scrubs, I love to use this to freshen up the bedrooms! I don’t know about you, but I feel more accomplished in my day when the linens smell good.

Photo Credit: Daddy

Nathan and I were so blessed when a couple friend called us the other week and offered to watch all of our munchkins, so we could enjoy some alone time. Baby Samuel agreed to chaperone. Oh, what a treat! And what a good example to us of someone ministering in their season of life. Their children are all out of the home now, and our friends graciously gave their time and effort (puppet show included) to care for our children.

with love. Damaris