The End of Heartfelt Hosting

Dear Friends,

I have had fun with heartfelt hosting in the last year, but sometimes good things have to end. I thought I could do this as a hobby, a fun outlet for that inner-creativity. Alas, when I measured how much time I was putting into each post I realized I could no longer keep up with this “hobby”. Blogging is everywhere now. If you want your blog to get attention, you have to spend endless hours on other blogs, do special “link” parties, and even throw a little money out there for it. I have decided that I would rather put that time into caring for my family and serving the Lord with more fervor.

Hosting will always be something I love, so I will also be devoting more of my time doing just that.

Thank you for your kindness in following Heartfelt Hosting!

Carrie

Defeating the Laundry Monster

DSCF2575When we first got married, my husband and I would make one trip to the laundry mat once a week.  We would wash about 3 or 4 loads of laundry at once, fold them all there, then come home to put them away.  The entire process took about three hours.  ONLY THREE hours a week!

When my daughter was born, I was so excited to add her clothes to our laundry.  How fun to fold her cute little clothes and blankets! We were still taking our trips to the laundry mat, so it didn’t really make much of a change to our laundry load.

No we have 4 children, three of which are BOYS.  We have our own laundry room now, with only one washer and dryer.  The dryer doesn’t work too well.  It takes two rounds to dry a large load, that’s 2 hours.  GONE are the days that my entire laundry process took three hours a week.  I would say it takes me three hours A DAY!

Monday mornings, you’ll find me dragging laundry from all the bedrooms and bathroom down to the basement to add to the piles already waiting to be washed.  I’ll spend the next two days washing and drying.  Wednesday comes around, and I have about 6 baskets of clothes waiting to be folded and put away.   If I have a busy schedule, the laundry sits in my dining room, stacked on chairs in the corners of the room.  Of course I don’t want to get behind on my laundry, so I keep washing and drying clothes, the baskets in my dining room growing to large mountains of clothing needing to be folded!

A few months ago, I decided ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH!

I created a new method, and a new way of thought with my laundry.  It has REVOLUTIONIZED my way of thinking about laundry.  No more are the days I would stay up until 10 pm folding and putting away 10 loads of laundry!  No more are the tears shed over my overwhelming sense of failure with the LAUNDRY MONSTER!

Here’s what you need:

  • one pop-up basket for each member of your family.
  • laminated name tags, one for each member of your family, plus one that says “towels”, and one that says “bedding”.
  • large safety pins

Here’s the idea:

  • Each member of the family get’s their own basket.  Pin their name card on the front of their pop-up basket.
  • Every  morning, bring down the dirty laundry, sorting the clothing into the correct pop-up basket.
  • When there is enough laundry in a basket, wash it, dry it, and fold it that day.

Once you have done this for a couple weeks, you’ll find that usually there is only one or two baskets needing to be washed each day.  Sometimes, there’s not even ONE needing to be washed!

GONE are the mountains of dirty clothes on the laundry room floor!  GONE are the baskets of clean clothes, stacked upon each other, waiting to be folded!  GONE are the tears I used to shed when having to fold 10 loads of laundry in one evening!

Have some other laundry tips or ideas that have helped you defeat the Laundry Monster?  I would love to hear them!  Leave a post to share!

10 Sanity Saving Tips When Hosting A Houseful

DSCF0328This lovely crazy picture is of my mom (red sweater), 4 sisters, and me (bottom left) a couple of Christmas’s ago.  Some of us have husbands and kids, and when we all get together – well, it’s a massive day of pure crazy fun! When you are hosting family for more than one day through the Christmas holiday, it can tend to be overwhelming.  So here are a few tips that can help keep your sanity.

1.  Prepare your bathroom for company.  Put name tags on towels, set up a place in the guest room for wet towels to dry.  Go here for some great tips on sharing a bathroom with many people!

2.  Stock your fridge, especially if your have growing teenage boys in the family!  It’s hard to plan each meal ahead of time when having such a large crowd together, especially if your company has friends in town to visit, as well.  I usually stock my fridge with the staples for easy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks (lots of snacks!).  I then stock my freezer with chicken and ground beef, so I can be ready at a moments notice to throw a meal together.

3.  Provide plenty of bedding.  My guest room is in the basement.  We have a queen bed, a couch, and usually my sister brings her air mattress for her teen girls.   I have three tubs I always keep tucked away in the basement.  One is for blankets, one is for sheets, the other is for pillows.  You can keep everything smelling fresh by putting dryer sheets in each container.

4. Buy lots of paper products.  With as big as my family is, I buy a pack of plastic cups for every day.  I always have lots of paper plates and silverware on hand, too.  This gives me plenty of time to enjoy visiting with my company, instead of sweating over the sink washing dishes!

5.  Keep your bedroom door closed at all times.  Not only will it help keep your room cool (is it just my house that heats up by 10 degrees when you have more than 4 adults in it at a time?), but it can be your quick, quiet, CLEAN haven for those moments when you just need a minute!

6. Go to Costco or Sams Club, and buy your toilet paper in bulk.  Trust me.  Just do this!

7.  Take advantage of an empty house.  When your company leaves for a few hours to visit friends or the mall, use that opportunity to whip out your vacuum and polish!  Use Clorox wipes in the bathroom on the toilet and sink.  Spray a little bleach in the bathtub and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing off.  Fluff the couch pillows, spray some Febreeze on the furniture, and quickly load up the dishes, using Fantastic on your stove and counter-tops.

8.  Keep a basket of shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, and a few extra toothbrushes in the bathroom.  I forgot to do that this year, and of course, someone needed a toothbrush, my tube of toothpaste disappeared, and my own personal supply of shampoo was quickly depleted!

9.  Go to bed on time at least one night your guests are in town.  I have the habit of staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning, laughing and talking of old times, forgetting that my youngest kids will be up at 7 am sharp!  This year I went to bed a little earlier than in the past, and I was much more rested and really felt I was able to enjoy my family’s visit so much more!

10.  Don’t forget about your quiet time with the Lord.  Spend your normal time in prayer and in His Word, and you will be more able to handle whatever surprises may come your way with your company!

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”

 

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas!

 

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No-Bake-Peanut-Butter-Ritz-Cracker-Cookies

DSCF2731I’m not sure if that’s really what they are called, but that’s what I’ve called them for the last 15 years!  It’s not the name that matters, really, it’s the taste, and oh do these cookies taste good!  I make them every year for Christmas to give to friends, family, and neighbors.  These cookies are so easy to make, anyone can figure it out.  It is time consuming, but so worth it!

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Ritz Crackers
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 2 pkg white chocolate bark (large)
  • wax paper
  • tongs

Divide the crackers into 2 piles.  Evenly spread peanut butter onto each cracker from one of the piles, then top with crackers from the second pile, making little peanut butter sandwiches.

Put chocolate into microwave safe bowl and melt according to package directions.  Dip each sandwich into the chocolate, using the tongs to pull out of the chocolate.  Carefully place onto wax paper.  Let dry for 2 to 3 hours.

TIPS

  • Put the wax paper on a large cookie sheet for easy moving.
  • You can put dipped cookies in freezer for quicker drying time.
  • Don’t be skimpy on the peanut butter, but don’t use too much, either.
  • Hold the dipped cookie over the bowl for a few seconds before placing on wax paper.
  • For decoration, melt some chocolate chips with a TB of butter to drizzle over dry cookies.

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Christmas Projects

I’ve been sewing my life away the last three days!  Check out the

pictures and links below to see just a little of what I’ve been working on for Christmas gifts!

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Cotton Drawstring Bags

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Cozy Car Caddy

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Crayon Roll

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Super Hero Cape

Homemade Christmas Potpourri

DSCF2697  I recently discovered how to dehydrate my own fruit without a dehydrator.  I wanted to make potpourri to give to neighbors for Christmas this year instead of cookies.  I researched several different recipes, but in the end made up my own.  We loved how it smelled up the whole house!  If you are hosting company this year for the holidays, this is a great way to make your house smell warm and inviting.  It is also a great gift idea for neighbors and friends!

For directions on how to dehydrate your own apples and orange slices, go here.

YOU’LL NEED

  • 3 dried apples slices
  • 2 dried orange slices
  • 1 /2 tsp lemon peel (in a jar found in the spice isle)
  • 1 basil leaf
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp whole cloves

Place ingredients in small saucepan and then fill pan halfway with water.  Water should cover spices.  Simmer on low or “warm”, if that is an option on your stove.  Check on your pan every-so-often, adding more water as needed.  Discard contents of pan when you are finished with your potpourri.  I usually simmer my potpourri for 5 to 6 hours, but checking on it once an hour or so.

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