Monday, July 30, 2012

A Look Inside the Laundry Room ~ Free Printable Labels

Nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study house good.—Milton.

We spend so much time in the laundry room which makes it a worthy place to add some female touches. Gather up some linens, labels and love and place them here to fight the laundry room "blues". Sorting clothes in a happy and floral space can be very peaceful. It is also nice to have a CD player in this area to further the idea of tranquility with some soothing music.

Organization of space helps to create a pleasant working atmosphere. We like to have everything nice and tidy in our homes but the poor laundry room is often neglected making our daily duties seem dreary.

Simply place all like items together in some sort of storage container. Bless your space with lovely labels to give it that "finished" feel.

I have included some versatile "Laundry Label Printables" (below) in case you want to reorganize your washing area. 

If you are lacking "inspiration", you can always print out our "Wash Day Prayer". It puts everything into perspective as you begin to tackle the piles and mounds. I taped ours onto a cardboard, hole punched the top and slid some ribbon through for a frugal frame.

Look for jars in thrift shops and garage sales to store your detergents, extra clothespins, laundry bars and soaps (we also have a shower inside the laundry room which is why there are some bath products).

"Here, wherever it is, is your spot. This place should be expressing something of yourself. It should be communicating something of you to your visitors, but is should also satisfy something within you. You should feel 'at home' here, because you have made it home with something of yourself."
~ Edith Schaeffer

Even the basic ingredients necessary for a "natural" wash day are prettier to use when you apply a simple home made label (I place hydrogen peroxide in my rinse cycle as a whitener). For a frugal recipe on making your own fabric softener, visit here.

Most of the time, we are a clothesline community but in those winter months, the dryer is a blessing!

To save money on dryer sheets, we cut them in half. It works out just as well :) and leaves you with an extra supply of inventory.

Some other items we store in our laundry/utility room are rags for household cleaning, garden tools, and measuring cups (to use exclusively for preparing detergents, cleaners and other household concoctions). 

I love the convenience of sorting my clothing straight from the main hamper in the bathroom and directly into the appropriate sections in this laundry rack. Once a bag is full (which happens fast!) then it is time to do a load. We use the white, lights and dark system for our laundry. Hot water for white, warm water for lights and cold water for darks.

This old shelf/table hides a lot of items underneath the makeshift "skirt" it wears. I am able to store my cleaning buckets, outdoor towels and bulkier supplies underneath its covering. One of my favorite household inventions is the spring rod! Pairing them with curtains, flat sheets, or tablecloths, it is easy to cover any unsightly' s. This floral panel was one dollar at the Salvation Army.

We use store bought detergent for our "nicer" clothing. What I did learn is that two coffee scoops (when did I start measuring in the coffee system?) is suffient for your front loading washer. I was causing my machine many problems and clogging everything because of all the soap I was putting in at the beginning!

We use the homemade detergent for our towels, work and play clothes. It isn't as good at stain fighting but it does clean the clothes and save money for the items I am not so particular about. I found this easy recipe at diy natural. Note: When I wrote "scoops", it means tablespoons. 

We are going on our second year with the front loading washing machine. We like it although it does require a little extra care than the old water guzzler.

It helps to keep a towel (we like the microfiber) near your washer so that when you are finished laundering for the day, you can wipe up the glass on the front door.

It is also important to wipe out the inside of the rubber nook in the machine at the end of the wash day. Mold grows here very quickly! Lastly, keep the door ajar when not in use for the same reasons (and to prohibit musty smells).

The tour is now over and I hope you are ready to start on those clothes! HERE are our free laundry labels should you like to revive your work space. You can either print them out on plain paper and affix them with glue or you can print on plain sheet sticker paper (and cut to size). Happy washing and organizing! 

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life."

~Robert Louis Stevenson

I hope you have enjoyed this article and invite you to visit here for more Wash Day Inspiration!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who is Charlotte Mason? A Home Educator's Mentor!

"The great work of education is to inspire children with vitalising ideas as to every relation of life, every department of knowledge, every subject of thought; and to give deliberate care to the formation of those habits of the good life which are the outcome of vitalising ideas."
~ Charlotte Mason (1842-1923)

Enter a room with maps, globes, magnifying glasses, artwork, microscopes, an abacus, colored pencils, paints, handicrafts and rows of shelving featuring beautiful volumes of the best of books. Here my friends, is a "Charlotte Mason" environment. Many who are familiar to the world of home education have heard her name. Ms. Mason's ideas, presented nearly 100 years ago, have been influencing many homeschoolers today. The reason is that her classical methods are sensible yet lovely, pleasurable to the student and teacher, and yield wonderful results.

"By the saying, education is an atmosphere, it is not meant that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child environment,' especially adapted and prepared; but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the 'child's' level." 
~ Charlotte Mason
Born in Britain, Ms. Mason was an only child who lost her mother at the age of 16 and her father one year later. She became a certified teacher to support herself. Her beliefs were that children should receive a generous and rich education. Having a desire to share her ideas with parents who were instructing their children, she began a series of lectures which were later published under the name, Home Education. Her methods and philosophies were widely received as she became involved in various organizations. Teaching children high moral standards and virtuous character traits were of great importance to her and she published many items which helped parents and governesses to facilitate her ideas. 
“Self-education is the only possible education; 
the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.”
~ Charlotte Mason

What we gleaned from her teachings is that children should be presented with "quality" instead of quantity in many aspects. Instead of reading many short, meaningless books, read together from rich volumes of poetry and classic literature. Instead of forcing them to work out an hour of math problems, have them do short but precise lessons (either they know it or they do not). Instead of "dry" and dull textbooks about a little bit of everything, immerse your children in "living books" such as biographies, rich-in-detail historical fiction and other in depth literature written by people who loved their topics. Finish up your basic lessons in the morning and allow room for crafts, handiwork, nature study and exploration for the rest of the day. Immerse your children in a rich lifestyle of books, nature, skill and arts.  Present learning as a way of life and learning becomes a pleasurable habit! Teach your children to learn how to learn. That is the purpose of an education. Learning is a lifestyle!

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.”
~ Charlotte Mason 

Here is a list of her educational ideas which we love and utilize. I will be sharing how we incorporate these concepts in our eclectic style of home education (but please customize your school to your family):

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life..."
~ Charlotte Mason

by Karen Andreola

by Catherine Levison

You can also find her Original Homeschool Series online for *free*!

Queen Homeschool Supplies for all your Charlotte Mason Curriculum Needs!
Queen Homeschool Supplies, Our Favorite Charlotte Mason Curriculum
{Note: We are affiliated with them and do receive a small commission if purchased through our link.}

And finally: Ambleside Curriculum ~ Free Online Resource

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIY Avocado Salsa {Like Pico de Gallo} Healthy & Satisfying

One of our favorite ways to use a fresh garden tomato is making this avocado salsa (I believe it is called "pico de gallo" in Spanish). It is so tasty to eat and is excellent for you! All you need to do is place together the following:
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Tomato
  • Chopped Onion
  • Freshly Chopped Cilantro and/or Freshly Chopped Parsley to Taste
  • Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice or Freshly Squeezed Lemon to Taste (about 1/2 lemon)
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • optional: 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Combine ingredients together with a spoon.

Serve with some of the following:
  • Natural Tortilla Chips
  • Burritos
  • Chicken Soft Tacos
  • Beef Tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Quesadillas 
  • Or anything made with beans found here

And enjoy! ~ JES

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Biblical Cure for "Bored" Children

There is something sweeping across America, the home and era of the most amusements in the entire world, and it is affecting many children today. It is called boredom. Interestingly enough, the word as we know it is not found in the Webster's 1828 Dictionary though now it is daily vocabulary for children in many homes.

Busy Hours

Can you imagine the pioneer children every saying that they were "bored"?

Why?... probably because they had many responsibilies and chores. When they finally did have free time, they treasured it and knew exactly what to do with it.

"Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that's the stuff life is made of."
~ Benjamin Franklin

Afternoon Games

Boredom can be a huge hinderance in life as it can cultivate negative traits such as idleness and laziness which breeds other problems within themselves.

"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep;
and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."
~ Proverbs 19:15

Happy Hours

The constant feeling of boredom in your children now can grow into discontentment later on in life. There is danger that they will constantly be seeking "high" thrills at every turn and will be disappointed and "bored" with the "normal" activities a responsible adult assumes. They need to learn to be content in their present situation. 

"He who loves pleasure will be a poor man…"
~ Proverbs 21:17a

Serving others in need is an excellent way to instill appreciation for their circumstances while being a laborer for the Lord, showing them that giving pleasure to those in hardship is a finer feeling than seeking it for themselves. How can one ever be bored with so many people who require help?

Feeding the Rabbits

Boredom can also give birth to sluaggardness. Is my child too lazy to figure out what to do with their free time? Do they need to constantly be entertained by someone or something? Encourage them to be industrious by teaching handicrafts and skills. We want to nurture our offspring to become the adults who will use their talents and double them for the Lord (Matthew 25:14-29).

"He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich."
~ Proverbs 10:4

The Model Aeroplane

When a child is old enough to say they are "bored" and use it in the right context, then they are definately old enough to amuse themselves. This may sound like tough stuff but we call it love in this home.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh but it is a reality in this entertainment based society we live in. Flashing lights, loud music and flickering electronics are almost too much eye candy for the young mind to absorb and not be impacted by. Many times, if we just simplify our environment, the children will flourish with activities as they did in yesteryears. Junk the video games and remote control and provide an area with paints, legos, colored pencils, magnifying glasses, crafts, blocks, paper projects and anything else that children can manipulate with their hands and cultivate creativity with in their minds.

“In works of labour, or of skill, 
I would be busy too; 
For Satan finds some mischief still 
For idle hands to do.” 
~ Isaac Watts

The Young Dress Makers

The television is not industry. Limit time in front of that "boredom box" or forego it all together. All it does it nurture the need for constant excitement in your children. Encourage a richer life for your dear ones by partaking in activities portrayed in these paintings. This is what children used to do in the past and they were so happy to do it!

Playing Skittles

My husband was brought up on a dairy (outside the United States) and had to wake up at 4:30 every morning to help feed and milk the cows (Did I mention he was 5 years old? With all the new rules out there, his parents could have gotten jail time in todays society!). When finished, he would dress, go to school, come home, and do more chores. When there was a break in his day, he definately knew what to do with it (and there was no television, computer or electronics in the home)! No one needed to teach him how to enjoy himself.

Playing School

I was brought up in an opposite environment, as a latch-key kid in the city. When we got home, we ran outside and thought up ways to engage the neighborhood children. We climbed trees, attempted to make forts in them, swung on rope swings and felt adventurous when trying to retrieve our ball from the neighbor's back yard who had a growling dog. No one was home to entertain us or teach us to have fun. There was no money to amuse us with dazzling electronics but we were never "bored".

Delicate Patient

This new phenomenon of boredom is hard to comprehend when so much is available today. Our child dared to breathe the words once after hearing a friend's older brother say it at their house. However, it has never been said since because of the biblical solution to this situation...

Making a Doll's House

The answer is W O R K...

Stack firewood, wash dishes, clean closets, mow the lawn, rake the leaves, dust furniture, vacuum the house, organize the garage, sweep the porch, fold clothes, hang clothes out to dry, and so forth…

"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,
and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you…"
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11

The Scrap Book

W O R K works. When they are "bored", give them chores. I guarantee you will never hear the word "bored" in your home again. We even take it a step further (call us cruel) for when we even see our child looking lazy, we assign work. In order to avoid the threat of labor, you will find that they quickly are able to employ themselves. It can be anything from reading and feeding the mind to working with their hands or simply playing outside. Anything but being idle!

"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house;
and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."
~ 1 Timothy 5:13

Tea Party

I think this mentality of complete leisure for children was developed because our forefathers worked so hard trying to establish themselves. They felt they lost out on their childhood and did not want their children to be deprived. However, now the pendulum has swung in the other direction and our children are deprived of good, old fashioned work and the blessing it brings. A balance is crucial for a healthy and harmonious development of character.

The Toy Carriage

Play time should be a natural occuring thing that the child itself can create for his or herself. Encourage wholesome and hands on recreation. We are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) and should teach our children to be purposeful with their time in the younger years in order to instill godly habits and a productive life for their future years as adults.

"Even a child is known by his deeds,
Whether what he does is pure and right."
~ Proverbs 20:11

Household Chores

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you,
that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly,
working not at all, but are busybodies.

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12