By Chef Alli on February 10, 2020
Boost Relaxing Scents and Sounds
To improve the welcome feel of my home, I have found that introducing relaxing scents has a beneficial impact on my family members, especially when these scents are subtle and fill the areas of our home that receive a lot of traffic.
Diffusers that use essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and jasmine help reduce stress, improve our moods and create sleep environments that provide more rest and relaxation.
Listening to soft music has been shown to slow pulse and heart rates, decrease stress hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Soothing music played in the background can have a powerful effect on our physiological functions.
Do Spring Cleaning and De-Cluttering When Mother Nature Keeps You Confined
I don’t know about you, but when spring finally rolls around, my spring-fever kicks in big time and the last place I want to be is inside cleaning. And, when your personal space is piled high with clutter, it can be difficult to enjoy your home.
While I’m stuck indoors throughout the cold weather months, I intentionally make my way through the house, one room at a time, getting all my spring cleaning put behind me. Decluttering and organizing our living space feel so good, and when warm weather rolls in, you can be out and about.
Home Sweet Home – Can You Feel It?
Home is where our family comes to feel safe and secure; a place where they can decompress and recharge. A home doesn’t have to be gorgeously furnished to provide that homey feel we all desire and long for. Lamp light, candles burning, comfy pillows and fuzzy blankets, cookies baking--all of these add up to a home that feels comfy, cozy, toasty warm and so inviting.
Don’t forget to roll out the welcome mat. Making a point to greet our family members as they return home makes them feel special, wanted and appreciated. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Please don’t greet me with a smile and a hug when I come through the door. ”
Bring the Outside In by Growing Something Green
Planting seeds indoors in early spring is a great way to get a jumpstart on your summer garden. While we wait for things outside to thaw and warm up, growing plants from seeds helps us remember winter can’t last forever and the warm days of spring and summer will return to us.
Studies have shown that year-round house plants boost productivity, creativity and improves our concentration. Growing green plants and herbs indoors also helps boost our moods and reduce stress. House plants clean the air by reducing toxins and producing oxygen in our home.
Be Willing to Invest in Items that Cultivate Fun At-Home Experiences
Save money for new patio furniture, complete with comfy cushions and pillows. This will encourage you to invite friends over to entertain as you relax together at summer cookouts and neighborhood gatherings.
Or, how about investing in a new fire ring to encourage weenie roasts and marshmallow roasting in the fall when the weather cools down? This simple thing brought so much pleasure to my sons when they were young and I was always thrilled at how much more conversational they were when we engaged around the fire, enjoying the outdoors.
Purchase new board games and card games and host an evening each week where all electronic devices are put away and you have fun together as a family. Puzzle nights with popcorn and treats is also a fun way to spend time together.
Share the Heart of Your Home
Inviting our friends into the kitchen to help us prepare a meal will be the highlight of their week, and using meal prep time as we enjoy the company of others makes our kitchen a very fun and productive place.
The kitchen is also a great place to engage your family. Purchase all the ingredients you’ll need for a cooking a meal together. Assign each family member a part of the meal, then let them get to work. Later, you can sit down together and enjoy the “fruits” of your labor.
Display Your Treasures
Are there signature items on display in your home that bring you joy? Perhaps it’s a bouquet of fresh herbs with cut zinnias in a special vase that is always sitting on your end table, or an embroidered tea towel from your Aunt MaryLou that’s hanging from the handle of your oven.
Maybe you own a special basket that you enjoy displaying in your kitchen that holds fresh fruits and vegetables. Viewing our treasures throughout our home gives us pleasure as we think about the sentiment and memories attached to each one.
Create Functional Spaces
Study the layout of your home. Really think about how you can utilize every area. Consider how your home space might work best for your family. Does the guest room in the basement need to become an office? Maybe the back part of your unfinished basement needs to become that giant craft and sewing room you’ve always longed for.
Give the Gift of Healthful Eating to Yourself During the Holidays
November and December bring all the good stuff that the holidays are made of: parties to attend, shopping, entertaining, decorating, candy making, cookie baking...the list goes on and on.
Hectic holiday schedules make it easy to wind up ordering Chinese takeout or having a bowl of cereal for supper--not always the best nutritional choice.
Consider treating your family to a meal delivery service during the holiday season to make eating nutritious foods and meal planning as easy as possible during this frenzied time of year.
Don’t Forget to Make Memories
Time is our most precious ingredient but somehow, we never seem to have enough of it. Giving our time to someone we love shows we care, and we want to intentionally invest in them.
As I think back over the years when my family was growing up, I remember all the times we laughed and cried, the endless rough housing (three sons can definitely do that), the big pancake breakfasts we enjoyed on Sunday mornings, the gardens we grew and harvested together every summer, the bottle calves and baby kittens we fed by hand and endless days on the farm doing chores morning and night to care for our livestock and pets.
We supported each other in good times and bad, we hugged each other and always made sure to say, “I love you” before leaving, even when we were angry. One of the greatest gifts we give our family members are the memories we make that forever link our hearts together.