Friday, May 7, 2010

Special Touches in My Home?

When the girls went upstairs for naptime yesterday, I started thinking, "What can I clean up around here to take a picture of as a 'Special Touch'?"

When I visit other people's homes, I always appreciate the sight of burning candles (remember, I can't smell), a beautifully decorated mantel (we don't have a fireplace), or a fancy coffee station or bar area stocked with fancy margarita glasses.

Right now, our home says "cluttered, messy family with a preschooler, a toddler, and a dog lives here."

No, this isn't a crime scene. Just the aftermath of a lively session of Polly Pockets playtime.
Small toys seem to be the main decoration around here lately.

I don't have a custom bar or a fancy coffee/espresso station, but we do have one of the best stocked sippy cup stockpiles around.
There's always a sippy cup available for our small guests.

No gourmet lemon mascarpone layer cake here today. But we will share a homemade Rice Krispie Treat with you. The girls helped make these!

I don't have any expensive artwork in my home, but I do have two budding artists who like to display their work liberally on my fridge.
So, here's the deal.

We're in a stage of life where it is really difficult to have a perfectly manicured home. As much as I'd love to walk into a magazine photo every morning, it's just not reality.

These photos might not seem like special touches to most readers, but they are reminders that God has blessed me with two sweet little girls and a husband who works hard to provide for us.

I could complain that I don't have a gorgeous fireplace with a mantel to decorate for Christmas; or I could rejoice that I have friends who like to come over with their kids so we can sip a homemade cafĂ© mocha or sample an Easy Chocolate Croissant.

It makes my heart smile when I can welcome friends and family into my house (after picking up the Polly Pockets, of course), knowing that it might not be my dream home.

I can work to demonstrate a welcoming attitude, even though I might not be able to offer every neat Special Touch that I'd like. I can do my best with what I have: showing my family I'm proud of them by displaying special photos or artwork, welcoming guests with yummy treats and a listening ear, or making sure my childrens' playmates enjoy their time in our home.

Because I think warmth and friendliness are the most Special Touches that you can have!

"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." 

I hope this encourages you today if you're in the same stage of life as I am. One of the reasons I just love Richella is that she has a real heart of encouragement for moms of any age and stage. I bet she's probably been in my shoes...maybe you have too.

{Happy Friday, friends. Enjoy your weekend and share some love with your family!}

Linking to Southern Fried Dreams and Imparting GraceThey're asking bloggers to share ways they've added Special Touches to their houses to make them homes.
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  1. I can very much relate to this post. My house, right in the middle of a whole-house renovation, is filled with dust, stacks of paint cans, lumber, ladders, and a LOT of projects underway. But I can see the beauty underneath... the beauty on the way. I love this house and while people gasp and give me that "look", I just try my best to share the vision with them so they can see the gem through my eyes. They see a mess, I see a messie blessing!

  2. AMANDA! What a wonderful post! YES!! This is the essence of what makes a home special!

    One of the things I love about blogging is that we get to take a peek into one another's lives. One of the things I dislike about blogging is that it can make us feel discontent with the stage of life we're in. And that's sad, because each stage has real treasures to be savored. You'd better believe that I really miss the days when I had artwork to display on my fridge. Now my refrigerator is all clean and free of any papers, so it looks "nice"--but it doesn't look nearly as interesting as back in the days when I had pictures that the boys had proudly drawn for me.

    I love Proverbs 21:8: "Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman." Your family is blessed to be sharing a home with a woman who cultivates gratitude and hospitality.

    THANK YOU so much for joining the party and for this wonderful post! Love you!

  3. Amanda, I LOVE this post. It's so true, so true. Now that my girls are 28, 22 and 21 and all grown up...there's plenty of time for my decorating. Truth be told, I really miss all the "toy" decor and them being little.

  4. Amanda...thank you for such a sincere, heartfelt post! I'm not a mom yet, but I can still definitely relate.

  5. Great post! My house looks like yours most of the time, I wasn't going to post anything today but after seeing yours I might have to link up at lunch! Have a great day!

  6. My house is always cluttered up with art projects. No art projects!!

  7. Oh Amanda, what a wonderful post! It was beautifully written and was so touching.

    My son turned 16 this week and your time with your little girls will fly by. You will have plenty of time to have a perfectly clean and lovely home when they are gone.

    Most bloggers take photos of the way they wish the house looked all the time. They let other things go (like closets, etc.) and I am one that loves the clean and organized but I don't blog as much as they do. My point being, just remember that everyones house is not magazine ready at all times.

    This WAS really a beautiful post. Happy Friday.

  8. Beautifully said! I love that blogging can allow you to be so honest & level w/ people who more than likely have the kind of experiences then you do! :-) Great post!

  9. I'm just starting to get out of the toys all over it weird to say I miss it a little bit?

  10. You're so right on! Your house definitely shows love & life being lived! I'm slightly half-dreading, but very much looking forward to that stage in our home!

  11. I am not in the same stage of life YET, but my almost 8 month old son is beginning to explore and crawl and it won't be long before I will be chasing after him. Reading your post today was inspiring. I have just started my journey of being a stay at home mom, and I feel like I have lots to learn!

    I'm stopping by from SITS and now following! Hope you have a great weekend!

  12. I hear you, girl! Our house is the same way!

  13. Beautifully written Amanda! I remember the days of little army guys all over the floor and legos! Oh the legos that made me cuss every time I stepped on them! Your post brought back great memories of having little kids!

  14. I seriously love this post! If you replaced the Polly Pockets with Hot Wheels, that would be my house almost every day of the week! Sometimes I do wish my home looked like it was from a magazine, but then I think I would miss stepping on all the cars and seeing the greasy little boy fingerprints everywhere:)

  15. Oh my, I love this post today!! I yearn to be the Mommy who just lets things be and take pleasure in having the toys underfoot because I've got happy kiddos playing with them. You made some great points (and hey, my fridge looks just like yours)!

  16. Amanda, childrens artwork is so special and it encourages their creativity when you display it!!

    Come see me when you have a moment!

    Art by Karena

  17. oh boy, my dining room looks like that Polly Pocket picture!! nice post and so true :)

  18. It does create a special touch to have your very own artists Amanda. Everything is just precious and heartfelt. ~Beautiful!

    Blessings, ~Melissa :)

  19. Hi Amanda!

    I can so relate. I have a 2.5 year old and your special touches are very similar to mine! At east once a week I have pictures showing this or that and once they are psoted I realize the background s filled with toys or stacks of laundry. But, that is my life. LOL Loved your post today!

  20. The toys and art are the most special touches I can think of. Your post made me smile!

  21. I really loved your post today. It made me feel better knowing my girls arent the only ones act like tornadoes thoughtout my house! Thanks for posting this!

  22. Love your post, thank you for pointing me to this party!

  23. I couldn't agree more. I despise going to my in-laws because they sooo many expensive breakables and untreated granite that I can't be comfortable with the kids there. UGH! I always want people to feel like they can come in and make themselves at home.

    Also, so glad you your house has toys all over the floor like mine. So nice to see a realistic picture every once in awhile!

    BTW, I didn't know you couldn't smell! Really?

  24. Aww, cute post. :-) My son came in while I was reading it and pointing at the screen said, "Mommy, look at those toys!" I think he liked your special touches. ;-)

  25. You see all the "perfection" in the blog world thanks for being REAL! My house is a mess...and that is reality with 2 kids under 3.

    I have a drawer that pulls out like yours sippy cup one & I am going to get baskets for mine! I love that idea!! So smart. I'm so glad I stopped by!

  26. Amanda, this is what I love about you. Your honesty and caring nature and ability to really care about the things that matter the most in life. Your kiddies and hubby are so lucky to have you in their lives :) I love the polly pockets on the carpets. Adds a special touch!! xoxox

  27. Hi Amanda, :)
    Cute post. Love it! Visiting from finding your blog through a friends. :) Looks like your home is very happy, and your girls are just beautiful, so sweet. Hehe I know how you feel, :) Not having the home of your dreams, But hey, at least we have a place to call home, and its not the building thats important, its whats inside that is! We are blessed beyond measure! :) I agree, as long as everyone does the best they can with what they have adding special touches in the best ways we know how. :)
    Enjoy your day!

  28. Those pictures are how real people live. I started taking people on random tours of the upstairs when it's a mess. I don't care. Everyone has a mess. It's not perfect. Every time I say I clean a part of a room I should take a picture, but I never do.

  29. Those are the most special touches ever!!! :)

  30. The dude's special touch today was to dump Apple Jacks all over the family room. It gave it a little color!

  31. Thanks for the return visit. I decided to find some new blogs and actually clicked on "next blog" a few times until I found one that caught my interest. --- I put this on my blog but have learned people don't subscribe to comments so you might not have seen it.

    I didn't think you'd visit mine but am super glad you did. I always want more people looking at it.

  32. I would love to come play at your house! Lezlee

  33. I love how you used this post to "keep it real." Your home is obviously a placed filled with love and I'm sure that your family and friends always feel welcome. I can only imagine how many times a day you must have to squat down to pick something up. You should have iron quads!

  34. "Because I think warmth and friendliness are the most Special Touches that you can have!" i agree, i agree, i agree! and while those Pollys are calling my vacuum's name (i know... mean mom) i get it. so much. in fact, your kindof house is the kind of house that makes me feel good inside about the life that lives there. and i will always remember going to a first playdate with my daughter's best friend (of 13 yrs!) and their house was like a kids wonderland. plastic picnic table covered with paint next to the dining room table and a little mermaid tent filled with dress up clothes in the living room. and i felt... home.

  35. Wise words, Amanda. These are things all mothers need to be reminded of...especially with all the inspiring projects and homes we see through the web. Thank you for taking time to catalog your precious special touches. Blessings ~

  36. this is such a fantastic post!! well said, my dear...well said!

  37. Yay! I'm glad it worked. Wonderful post and your tweaks make it perfect for the party! Thanks for practicing hospitality!


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