Paris

Setting the Mood

My dear friend Angela, The Parisienne Farmgirl, posted a fun read about coffee.  In the post she mentions how she loves to drink it from an all white mug.  I too am a very particular person.  Yes, I will eat lunch in the car if I’m to that point (hubby will tell you sometimes if you just feed me first then talk to me it’s a much better outcome) but I do prefer my favorite mug and coffee made my way.  Or a drink in a clear glass with ice rather than a can.  Even if I have to clear off the table I’d rather eat there with a proper plate & silverware than in front of the tv (my boys think that’s the coolest thing ever!).

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When I plant the garden I want to arrange the seeds in a fun pattern.  I like to give gifts that are wrapped beautifully.  I don’t spend a lot of money or even a lot of time to make something extra special.  But I do it because I feel life is short and full of moments.  Everyone deserves to feel special.  I read a story once where a child remembered company was coming because Mom would take the time to make everything extra special with fancy dishes and music and candles.  But why do we do those things to impress others but not for our own family?  Sure I don’t do it all of the time either because life gets busy.  But if lighting a candle or turning on the music becomes a habit it really doesn’t take that much time.  Send the kids out to pick flowers for dinner or set the table with extra special elements.

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I am including an old post here of why I want to go the extra mile for me, my family & our home. Enjoy!

I have not posted in a while because I have been extremely busy.  Very, Very busy.  Did I mention extremely busy?  Not the busy that most people are used to I’m sure but for me very busy.  All with wonderful good things like volunteering at school and watching my boys play hockey and helping someone in need and going on dates with my husband to Lowes.  All very good things but I am just not used to getting my kids in bed after 8:30 and falling asleep while I read them stories.  We each have seasons in our lives of busyness.  I used to have to nurse the baby while I read to the preschooler and chased the toddler.  All at once.  My mom would say “Enjoy it.  It will go by fast.”  And looking back it did.  Now that I’m down to one kiddo at home I thought things would slow down but we are just as busy, just with different things.  But I love it and I love experiencing life with them.  As long as I get a few afternoons in the garden once in a while.

I’ve always tried to make time to do things for me that I love admist the busyness.  Most of the time I love where I am but I dream about and am inspired by a certain lifestyle that I don’t necessarily get to live out.  Like the poet who writes from her bedroom window overlooking Paris.  Or the artist who overlooks the River Seine as she paints the tourists.  Sensing a pattern here?  I take elements of what I imagine these carefree women with their lavish lifestyles enjoy, that appeal to me.  For instance, I love local coffee shops but I would rather make my own cappuccino or spiced chai tea latte.  I love to buy fancy drink ingredients and make them to suit my taste and my budget.  My sister got me hooked on making my own chocolate croissants, after having one for brunch on the Plaza, by simply placing one piece (or more!) of your favorite really good chocolate inside a Pillsbury triangle croissant dough.  I can make a dozen for the price of one and enjoy it without leaving my kitchen.

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I have always loved decorating, especially at the change of a season.  At times I feel frustrated in a house full of men; thinking “What’s the point?”  Recently I met with a good friend whose beautifully decorated home inspired me to remember that I do it because it makes me happy.  A quick google search of fall decorating or flipping through a favorite magazine can get my juices flowing to create even small vignettes that make me smile.
Who doesn’t love fresh flowers?  A few years ago when I was daydreaming, as a lot of stay at home moms do, I created my “dream budget.”  It was to include an amount for weekly bouquets.  I don’t treat myself to my favorite florist as often as I’d like but in the summer I pick bouquets from my garden that cost pennies from the seed aisle.  Even a branch from the out of doors can look artfully arranged on your fireplace mantle.

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In case you haven’t noticed I love all things french so a few years back I searched for french musicians.  I fell in love with a few artists whose songs I may not be able to understand but they can instantly put me in the mood that I’m not surrounded by screaming children, loads of laundry and dozens of action figures.
The woman sets the mood in the home for sure.  It’s sometimes a frustrating responsibility.  It took me a long time to realize I have to make myself happy and can’t wait for someone to do something for me that will make me happy.  For me, surrounding myself with beautiful things and delicacies to eat, good music and lots of fresh air make me happy.  If I take the time to pray and do something for myself before the kiddos wake up (coffee alone=bliss) it’s a definite step in the right direction.  Even throughout the day if I am doing chores while listening to my favorite show, that’s 30 minutes of me time that helps make me a better wife and mother.
What do you do to keep your sanity and include elegant elements in your every day?

Comments are welcome!
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