31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 22}:
The Heart of the Home

Autumn is that wonderful season where we can fill our pantries for the winter, bake yummy things for our family without guilt, and spend cozy evenings together around the table. Family traditions involving the kitchen are probably some of the most powerful we have, since it is the room in our home where we spend so much of our time.

Kitchens are also the place where we can fully experience all of our senses, and because of that, we have the potential to create vivid and rich memories there for our families. Fortunately, with a tiny dose of creativity, we can do this simply and frugally if we so choose!


Country Living

Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma

Simple Family Memories

– Make memories through seasonal recipes and memorable baking pans. Special Fall cakes made in seasonal shapes will always be remembered. One pan can last through years of baking and cost far less than one dinner at a restaurant.

Country Living

Country Living

– Use hollowed squash or mini pumpkins to serve dips or meals. Kids will think this is very fun and adults will be amazed at your Martha-ness.

Country Living

– Keep regular weekend traditions but add a new twist in the fall, like pumpkin waffles with maple syrup on a Saturday morning. My family’s new favorite? Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancakes. Just say YUM.



Country Living

– Have special towels and table linens you bring out for the season. If you keep your main dishes white, punching up the color with a few accessories can give you the same visual pleasure as a whole set of seasonal dishes without the added expense or need for storage.

Country Living

Williams Sonoma

– Add a seasonal flourish to your best recipes with special tools, cookie cutters or shapes you make by hand.

Sur la Table

– Embrace traditions that are unique to the colder weather, like chocolate or cheese fondue. Repeat the tradition regularly so it becomes a vivid memory.


My son hollowing out his pumpkin this year.

– Let your kids make a big mess with fall projects at the kitchen table. You only have to clean up once. They’ll remember it for a lifetime.

Country Living

– Make being in the kitchen creating the meals or baking together part of the experience of memory making. Put on some favorite music and bring your kids in to help prepare a traditional family night feast! Little things and special touches will be long remembered. Simple creativity will bring lasting memories to even the most ordinary of events.

What are your family traditions centered around the kitchen?

photo credits: Kitchens Country Living
portions of this post were previously published on The Inspired Room

For the entire series links, click the 31 Days Button below!


Find the rest of the 31 Day girls here.

Baby Steps to Organization::
Step One, Assess the Needs

Dining room – Office from Martha Stewart

Every August here on The Inspired Room, I’ve shared my very basic and simple housekeeping routines. Housekeeping and routines are always some of my most popular topics this time of year! Guess we all struggle with the same issues, huh? These aren’t always the “prettiest” posts or topics, but without the behind the scenes efforts, our homes cannot be really beautiful inside and out.

 

August is the time I start thinking about getting back into a routine. I start dreaming about reorganizing rooms and closets, knowing that school and fall schedules will be starting right around the corner. I cannot stand the idea of a messy disorganized home during that stressful season of kids going back to school. You know that fall is my absolutely most favorite time of year so I want to be prepared to ENJOY it!

Here are the 4 Simple Housekeeping Routines that I shared last year. Those are the basic daily housekeeping routines I still use to keep my house “Clean Enough.” If you struggle with keeping your home clean, I highly recommend those simple routines.

Daughter’s original room and closet
on its way to turning into a guest room/game, gift and wrapping closet

If you follow me on The Inspired Room’s Facebook page (go ahead an visit my page and hit LIKE so you won’t be out of the loop, lol), you might have read yesterday that my daughter and I have begun an ambitious and complete overhaul of the organization on our second floor, where our bedrooms, laundry room and linen closets are.

This organizational overhaul is hopefully going to end in organizing a new office space for myself as well, once we get the upstairs reorganized. I introduced my new office plan in this post, Rethinking How You Use Your Space. It may take me years to get there, but I’m going to get there!

STEP ONE TO HOME ORGANIZATION::

ASSESS YOUR NEEDS

The first step to getting organized is assessing the needs and issues you currently have!

Taking a good look at the way you use your home, what is working and what is NOT working, will give you clarity on what needs to be tackled and why. It is normal to have to organize and re-organize your life as your family changes, grows and responsibilities evolve. Make your home work for you NOW and expect to let it evolve over time.

Remember how we talked about re-purposing rooms to be more effective for your needs? This is exactly what I am doing right now as I am going through the bedrooms and closets upstairs of our home. This is not a simple process of cleaning out a closet, this is a real top to bottom reorganization! Two rooms will be be given completely new purposes that will better suit our needs, and four closets will be totally re-purposed and reorganized. {faints}

daughter’s current room, soon to be guest room,
as we start the clearing out process

In our house, the reason we need an overhaul on our organization is three fold.

1. Sometimes you only learn what works by living in a space and using it over time. When we moved in, we did our best to determine where things should go. But as the year has passed, we’ve discovered that our first instinct for how we would use our closets and rooms was not necessarily the best solution to space management.

2. Changes in life always bring about different needs for organization.

Since we moved in, we’ve had a lot of changes with how we live in our home.

Our middle daughter moved to a dorm (and back again for the summer, and will be back to school again in the fall!) and her room needs to reflect her current needs as well as our needs while she is away at school. My parents have spent more time up here and my oldest daughter and her husband spend weekends here on occasion, thus we really need a designated guest room. My son spends less time playing with toys and needs less room to play inside. My husband has found he prefers to work at a coffee shop rather than a home office, and I have decided I need my own office for a “command center.” Changes to our needs open up new possibilities for how we use our space!

3. Lastly, this past year has absolutely been the busiest of our life. When you are extremely busy, it means many things get put off because you can only do so much at once. I’ll spare you the long list of things that kept us busy in the past twelve months!

We are READY to get settled here! No more chaos. Or at least a little less chaos.

oh my. somewhere in this mess is the room my daughter is moving to.
heaven help us.

What changes do you need to make to your home to be ready for Fall?

If you need further inspiration for routines and homemaking, my favorite resource is: FLYLADY! Check out her 31 babysteps to get started with routines and have a more organized, well-managed home. You’ll be glad you did!

Reluctant Entertainer & Hip Hostess Winners!

If only I could look that cute in an apron! That model is adorable!
But cute figure or not, that apron is AMAZING!
I’d hang it in my kitchen just to look cute all on its own!

Thanks so much for entering the Reluctant Entertainer and Hip Hostess giveaway!

By random number selector, the two winners of the book, apron and tea towel have been chosen….drumroll please…..

Debbie from Heart Choices
Julie from Less than Perfect Life of Bliss


If you didn’t win (boo hoo!) but want to buy a copy of Sandy’s book for yourself or for a gift, you can find it here in my amazon store! This book is truly amazing and inspiring, you really will love it! It will definitely inspire you to entertain and ENJOY it!

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