Archives for February 2009

Creating a Memory Shelf
for Children {or Yourself!}

Creating a Memory Shelf <br> for Children {or Yourself!}

When we did the pirate scavenger hunt for our son a few months ago, he collected quite a few “treasures.” We took a shelf in his room, cleared it off, and allowed him to put all of the mementos from that day on display. It was a rotating display, he could change the contents of the shelf at any time.

Creating a Memory Shelf <br> for Children {or Yourself!}

We have done similar things with all of our kids’ rooms over the years. Each of our kids has had at least one shelf or bookcase to show off their collected memories. The treasures can be from one memorable day, a special trip, gathered throughout the year, or be a collection they were trying to establish!

Having a place for children store all the little treasures they gather not only help to decorate their room on a budget, but gives them a sense of belonging, history and helps them to focus on all of their blessings and happy moments in life.

I love the row of Pez candy dispensers along the molding in the child’s room in the top photo! And, I really like the bookshelf to the right that has the artwork taped on it! Perfect for a memory shelf.

Creating a Memory Shelf <br> for Children {or Yourself!}

And a memory shelf doesn’t have to just be for children! Make one for yourself! Show off your love letters, your beach shells or any mementos that bring a smile to your face!

Shared for Tightwad Tuesday at

Top and bottom photos,
Absolutely Beautiful Things (from Serena & Lily and Cox & Cox)

Romantic Ambience

Romantic Ambience


Since Valentine’s day is just a couple of weeks away, and my personal goal for the month is to create more ambience in my home, I wanted to start off the month talking a little bit about ROMANCE at home. Are you blushing or cringing?

If you are at all like me, the busyness of life with kids, housework, jobs, carpools, and pets can take a bit of the romance out of living. Those fairytale ideals we had as teenagers of how romantic life would be once we were married give way pretty quickly to endless diapers, dust bunnies and sinks full of dirty dishes.

I can easily get lost in the day to day challenges of just keeping my home going. The last thought on my mind (sadly, more often than I would like to admit) is setting the mood for romance. For me, creating ambience is critical to a romantic mood in the home. Not just in the bedroom, but throughout the house.

Here are a few tips I use (or intend to use this month!) for creating ambience and setting a more romantic tone around our home in the evenings. I know my husband will be happy to read this post! {blush}

*Use the pretty dishes
(yes, it matters)

Are you eating dinner on plastic or otherwise ugly plates? Or, heaven forbid, eating in front of the TV every night? Bring out the pretty dishes and set the table. I buy a lot of shades of white plates at Homegoods or TJ Maxx. I don’t worry breaking them, there are plenty of them. They don’t all match and that is OK. They always look so pretty at the dinner table. Make your dinner table romantic with pretty plates and a couple of candles — it is a simple thing to do and sets the tone for a romantic evening.

*Freshen up the bedroom
& bathroom

If the laundry piled up on the bed during the day, or the kids flung their pull-ups or undies across the floor, or if your cereal bowl is still on the bathroom counter, take just a few moments to freshen things up. Seeing unsightly reminders of your long day will kill the romantic ambience pretty quickly.

Romantic Ambience

Coastal Living
*End the day earlier

If you tend to be tired in the evenings (aren’t we all once we get to be “our age”) do as your grandparents probably did and start having “supper” instead of dinner. Meaning, eat earlier if you can! The earlier you can eat and clean up, the more time you have in the evening to enjoy relaxation. And adjust the kids bedtime if you can pull that off! It is nice to have a couple of child-free hours in the evenings.

Another tip my husband and I used to use when our kids were young was to feed the kids separately once in awhile. I could get them fed before my husband even got home. Then, after the kids had a little time with daddy, we’d put them to bed and have our own dinner together, just like having a dinner date at home!


If your house smells like leftover fish tacos after dinner, air things out! Spray some perfume or heat some scented oil. Or bake something yummy to override the offending odor!

*Turn on the mood lighting

As the daylight starts to fade, turn down the bright lights in the house too. Use lamps instead of overhead lighting. Once the kids have gone to bed, light candles to lend a pretty glow to end tables.

*Light a fire

If you have a fireplace, use it! We now have a gas fireplace so it is easier to flip on a switch for instant warmth and ambience. If building a fire is impractical or you have a nonworking fireplace or no fireplace at all, set up a bunch of candles to give off light and sparkle. This tip works best if the little kids are already in bed, as a safety precaution!

*Get creative

Are you turning into an old married couple with a predictable evening routine? Gulp. If you usually clean up after dinner, put the kids to bed and then watch TV the rest of the night, try mixing up the routine by playing a board game next to the fireplace or reading out loud to each other curled up on the couch. Or, re-read your love letters or re-live your memories of your early dating days. At first you might think it sounds corny or forced, or you might think your old routine is pretty comfortable, but routines can get dull. And dull is NOT romantic.

Romantic Ambience

House Beautiful
*Music to your ears

Instead of flipping on the TV every evening to fill the silence, fire up your ipod or stereo with some more romantic background tunes.

*Attitude check

By the end of the day, I am usually really tired. I work hard right up until the end of the day. Not only do I need to end my day earlier, but I need to shift my thinking from work and housekeeping to setting a romantic tone — both around the house and in my attitude. I don’t want to make the house all pretty and romantic and then ruin the ambience by my attitude!