September 30, 2011

Quick Tip: Prompt Thank You Cards


I promise this tip will be quick....after I make a confession....

When I got married, it took me a long time to send out thank you cards for our wedding gifts. 

Like, a really long time. 

So long that people were calling to make sure I'd received their gift.  In fact (here's the really horrible part) by the time I got around to the last few thank you cards, it had been so long that I was ashamed to send them at all.  Some people never received thank you cards.

I know, I know....that's awful.

As a result, I am now very prompt with thank you cards.

So here's the simple tip.  Because I like to keep things simple.
  1. Keep the cards where you can easily grab one
  2. Write it out and address it right away so that it isn't just one more thing to do hanging over your head.
Simple, right?

I keep some thank you cards, and blank note cards in an organizer on my counter.  When I come home with a gift or from a nice visit that warrants a thank you card, I prepare a thank you card, address the envelope and put it by the front door, ready to leave the house next time I do.



Right now I have generic thank you cards in that spot, but while we were receiving gifts for the twins I replaced them with a stack of baby themed thank you cards.


(Before I bought this pretty white organizer, I used a basket as seen in this post. Now that basket is holding pumpkins in the living room as seen in this post.  I move things around.  A LOT.  Tweak your home until it works for you. When it stops working, tweak again!)


 Anybody else ever let a Thank You card go so long that they were too ashamed to send one at all?  Or is that just me?

September 29, 2011

My Fall Mantel


It's finally ready!  My fall mantel.


And the lovely faux fireplace that my husband built at my request.


(Even though he kinda thought the idea of a faux fireplace was stupid...


...he has since confessed that he sorta kinda maybe likes it just a little bit.)


I'm going to have a real place to hang my stockings this Christmas!   I am so excited!


Did I just bring up Christmas in an Autumn post?  It's like a sickness with me. I've been planning Christmas since August.  I started late this year!


 I had to chase my toddler around the house to retrieve these mini pumpkins.  I'm pretty sure some are still missing.   



Thanks for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

Don't forget that my 31 Days to an Organized Home series starts on Saturday. (And I'm only sorta kinda freaking out!) If you would like to make sure you don't miss any of the organiz-y goodness, "like" me on facebook or follow me on twitter!


The Lettered Cottage

September 27, 2011

And the winner is....

The winner of the two Seeds Family Worship cd's is (drum roll please...)
   
Jennifer Geer.  (Congrats Jen! I hope your family is greatly blessed by these cd's!)


Thanks to everybody who participated in the giveaway!

September 26, 2011

The One Basket Rule

This is a tip I received as a newly wed, back when it didn't matter much because all of our clothing combined would only fill one laundry basket. We used to stuff every article of clothing we owned, both of our towels and our bedsheets into one big duffel bag and then carried them up the street from our crappy apartment to a laundry mat that always kind of smelled like urine and citrus and submarine sandwiches.



But six years and five kids later, I do A LOT of laundry.

12 loads a week. At least.

So here's the tip.  (No, not a tip....  a rule!)  Here is the rule that will change your laundry routine forever if you dare implement it:

Own only one laundry basket.

And when it's full, empty it.  Fold the clothes, put them away.  Before you wash another load.

It isn't anything too profound, but in some small way it really is life changing.

One solitary laundry basket doesn't take up any floor space.  It can easily be place on top of the washer or dryer.

One solitary basket looks somewhat tidy, even when it is overflowing with clothes to be folded and put away.

One solitary basket is rarely so overwhelming a task that you would need to keep putting it off until later.

One basket.  Try it!

September 22, 2011

A Linen Closet Reveal


I have a confession to make...

I have a thing for pretty closets.

Honestly, they make me kinda giddy.

If I ever go on a vacation, you'll probably be able to find me sitting on a beach somewhere with a mojito and my laptop, surfing the Internet in search of pretty closets. Seriously.

I recently reorganized my linen closet using mostly dollar store items, and although 31 Days to an Organized Home doesn't start for another week and a half, this reveal just couldn't wait.


I made pretty labels using plain white dollarstore labels and a gold pen.



And I stenciled lovebirds onto a simple tote bag. This tote bag hangs on the linen closet door to hold my hot water bottle and heating pad.


Glass jars on a rectangular white plate make a pretty place to stash some toiletries.


 Thanks for stopping by The Complete Guide to Imperfect homemaking!


I'm linking up to:
Visit thecsiproject.com

Roomspiration

September 21, 2011

Memorizing Scipture with Your Kids {and a Giveaway!}

Your word I have hidden in my heart,  That I might not sin against You. 
~Psalm 119:11

Recently our family started memorizing a verse of scripture together each week.  My 3 year old and my 4 year old can often recite the weekly verse from memory before I can. (And always before daddy can!)

There are many ways to go about writing scripture on your heart.  Here is what works for our family:

On Monday morning I print off our verse, laminate it and post it on a message board inside our pantry door. This is mostly to help me remember it, because the kids can't really read yet.


That morning we spend some time on the verse. We recite it. We talk about what it means.  We say it very quietly.We say it very loudly.We say it with a mean monster voice.  We say it with a squeeky voice. We clap as we say each word and we stomp our feet on each syllable. We act it out.  we think up ways to live it out. 

After that, we review it each day at breakfast and each evening at dinner.We talk about it when we're driving somewhere in the van. We normally have it memorized by Tuesday evening.  By friday it's cement.

When the week is over I take down the verse and clip the pieces together with a binder clip. I'm saving them because when the kids are old enough to read them I think it would be a  fun review to lay the pieces out and try to put them in order!  I'm printing the verses in different colors in case they get jumbled.


Here are some great memory verses to get you started:
  • Ephesians 4:32   And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Romans 6:23   For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Deuteronomy 6:5   You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31   Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  • Genesis 1:1   In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Recently I purchased some cd's from Seeds Family Worship.  Seeds Family Worship sets God's word to music.  It aids in scripture memorization by turning bible verses into catchy little diddies!

I love these Cd's. They are kid-friendly enough to enchant the children, sending them dancing around the living room singing scripture, and also grown up enough not to make me want to hide in the bathroom when the kids beg to listen to it one more time. 

(Although some times I just plain want to hide in the bathroom. What mom doesn't have those moments?)

Seeds Family Worship had this awesome idea to include 2 cd's in every purchase... one to keep and one to share with a friend.  And I want to give my extra cd's to you!


One reader will win Seeds Family Worship Volume 2: Seeds of faith, And Seeds Family Worship Volume 3: Seeds of Praise! 



Each of you can enter the draw twice.  Here's how:

For your first entry: Just comment below.  Include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

For a second entry: Share my blog with some friends in any way you choose!  Tweet about the giveaway, share a link to my blog on Facebook, add the button for my upcoming 31 Days of Organizing to your blog (the code is in my sidebar under the title "grab a button"), Pin one of my articles to your pinterest, physically tell one of your real-life friends about my blog, email your mom about one of my articles...it's up to you!   Find a way to share my blog with somebody and then comment a second time to let me know that you did something to spread the word about The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

Contest closes on Sunday. The winner will be drawn randomly and notified by email next week.

If you don't win the cd's, you should consider purchasing them from Amazon by clicking Here because they are awesome and because I'm an amazon affiliate and could really use the money...

****THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED****

September 20, 2011

Announcing: 31 Days to an Organized Home


Last October, the amazing Nester gathered together 8 brave women to blog for 31 days straight about something they are passionate about.  I loved reading all the great posts, on diverse topics like autumn, entertaining, and even Grace!

They are doing it again this year!  Only this year Nester has encouraged her readers to join in on the mayhem.  And I'm excited to announce that I will be blogging every day in October as I organize every nook and cranny of my home and share it with my lovely readers.

Blogging every day.  Even on weekends.  Even if we all come down with the sniffles.  Even if we're having one of those days...you know the ones.  Even if my favorite store has a 50% off sale on baskets and teal things...

Every. Single. Day.

Join me every day in October for 31 Days to an Organized Home.

In other news, I will be hosting a great giveaway tomorrow. Swing by tomorrow and see what it is!

pssst...Don't want to miss a post? 

September 19, 2011

4 Ways to Fold Bedsheets



There are two things you need to know in order to fold your freshly laundered bedsheets into happy little packages waiting to be opened next time you change the sheets.  

1. You need adequate space.  A big clean bed is great, the floor or kitchen table will work too if they are clean. 
2. It doesn't have to be perfect. Flawless is for people who have all day to spend folding sheets. Pretty is good enough for the rest of us.

I'm going to show you 4 different methods, but the difference is in how you fold the pillow case. So either way, you'll need to start at step one.

Step One: Fold the fitted sheet in half, wrong sides together.  Tuck the elastic corners inside each other.


Step two: Fold it in half again, tucking the elastic corners inside each other once more. Lay out on bed or table and smooth into a nice square or rectangle (depending on the size of your sheet).


Step 3: Fold fitted sheet into thirds lengthwise.

For large sheet sets you may want to fold it into fourths instead. If so, fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up and then in half so that there are no exposed edges.




Step 4:  Now fold in thirds the other way.



Step 6: Fold your flat sheet to be the same size as your fitted sheet.  Stack together.


Step 7: Fold your pillowcase.


Method 1: Place the sheets inside the pillowcase and fold the excess pillow case under.
Method 2:  Fold the pillowcase in thirds lengthwise and then wrap across the stacked sheets. 
Method 3: Simply fold the pillowcase and place on top of the sheets
Method 4: Fold the pillowcase lengthwise to make it the same width as your folded sheets.  Wrap around both sheets creating a nice smooth front to display in your linen closet.

The second method is my favorite.  My Daughter says it looks like a little present for her bed!


Which is your favorite way to fold a sheet set?  

at Home Stories AtoZ for more fabulous tips and tutorials!

September 16, 2011

6 Simple Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Fall


I'm not one to go all out decorating for the seasons.  You will never see me hauling some blow up lawn decoration from the basement.  But I do like to celebrate the changing of the seasons.  I think seasonal decor should evolve as the year does, it happens slowly as we embrace the good things of the season.  The bushel of apples you bring home from the farmers market, the sunflowers you clip from the yard, the pumpkins shared from the neighbors garden, the leaves you gather on a nature walk with the kids, all these things and more are fall decor.

Here are some simple ways to embrace the coziness of fall in your own home.   The important thing is to keep it simple.  And when your done, invite some good friends over for board games and hot apple cider.

#1. Introduce Texture.  Use Burlap, twine, wool, and baskets to create simple crafts and vignettes



#2.  Display your hobbies.   If you knit, crochet or embroider, display your current projects in a handy basket.


 #3. Consider scent.  Use scented candles, cinnamon sticks, and potpourri to fill your home with the smells of the season.


 #4.  Include natural elements.   Hunt outside or at you local craft store for pine cones, acorns, leaves and twigs.  Bring them inside and display them as part of your autumn vignettes.



#5. Use Books as decoration.  Nothing says autumn like a good book.  Pile books together, turn some with the spines facing away, tie some up with ribbon or twine.  Use them to give height and drama to other decor items. 



#6. Create a warm drinks Bar on your counter top.  Fill a basket or tray with all the things you need to make your families favorite autumn drinks.


Autumn is an opportunity to slow down, savor the good things, and gather together.  Do those things and your home will be a warm, welcoming, cozy place to be.  Happy Fall!

For more inspiration for preparing your home for Autumn, check out the Fall Nesting Party at the Inspired Room

Do you decorate for fall?  Have you done it yet?

September 15, 2011

Quick Tip: An Easier Way to Clean a Blender

This is one of those simple, why didn't I think of this sooner? sort of tips.

Never again will we have to risk life and limb (and dishcloths) reaching into a blender to scrub sticky smoothie goop off the blades.


1.Put a squirt of dish soap in the blender.  2.Fill blender 1/3 full with hot tap water  3.Put lid on and take the blender for a whirl.  4. Rinse, dry and done!


September 14, 2011

Story Time Pillows



I mentioned in yesterday's post that I like to read to my older children while I'm feeding one of my infant twins. 

And some of you probably tried to imagine the logistics of such an endeavor. How does a woman with a baby attached to her breast keep 3 young kids happily seated long enough to listen to a story?

The answer is story time pillows.  Tired of being climbed all over by a gang of curious children who want to see the pictures, turn the pages, touch the book and elbow me in the neck, I made them each their own floor pillow for story time.


I took them to the fabric store and let them each pick out their own fabric. (Okay, I may have coached them a little bit to make sure the pillows would look nice with my decor...)

Because they picked out their own fabric, and each pillow is different, the pillows are treasured by my children.  They *LOVE* to sit on their story time pillows.  Sometimes even for an entire story!

When the pillows aren't in use they are stored neatly beside the sofa. (Or in the middle of the living room floor for everybody to trip over. )


These pillows have brought a lot of peace to our story time.  Is there anything better than a calm, quiet story time to refresh everybody in the middle of the daily chaos?

Here are a few of our favorite books to read!

















What is your favorite Children's book?

September 13, 2011

Setting Up a Cozy Breastfeeding Corner


When I was pregnant with my twins I read that it takes about 10 hours a day to breastfeed twins.  That's a lie.  It takes at least 23 and a half hours.

In all seriousness, breastfeeding is a big part of a nursing momma's day.  Even with only one baby, it is a precious, priceless and time consuming job.

So I decided to set up a little nursing corner to make things a little simpler and organized.

I stashed some receiving blankets, breast pads and other supplies in a cute basket beside my favorite chair.


  I added a stack of  books I'm reading, my bible, my journal and a chapter book that I like to read to the children during the mid morning feeding.



Some things you may want in your nursing corner:
  • a favorite chair and a lamp
  • breast pads, nipple cream, receiving blankets
  • your nursing pillow, or any pillow to prop baby up a little
  • a favorite blankie for you
  • a place to set down a cup of tea
  • your laptop so you can browse Pinterest during midnight feedings (pretty much my favorite past time lately)
  • some favorite decor items to create a nice atmosphere...you may be spending a lot of time in this spot!!
  • the television remote, a stereo, the telephone, anything you often wish was in reach while nursing your precious bundle of joy!

There is one more thing I would like to mention.  While reading and surfing the internet and watching television might be a nice way to spend some of your feedings, don't forget to sometimes just sit and rest and quietly and enjoy your baby.  Right now, in the midst of it all, nursing our babies may seem like a common and ordinary task.  But really it is an amazing and fleeting gift.  Take the time to bond with your baby, to talk and sing to her/him.  Nothing on Pinterest can begin to compete with that miracle you are holding.

Please leave a comment and introduce yourself.  Are you breastfeeding a baby these days (or two?)   How is it going?  Do you have a favorite spot to nurse when you are at home?
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