A Reflection on Father’s Day

Fathers are so special in our world. Their work is varied – they are the protectors, the providers, and the heavy when it comes to discipline.  Obviously, all families are very different and to do not follow this model.  These may even be stereotypes back to the 60’s.  In my ideal mind and world this is how I define the role.

I thought much about Father’s Day this year. Partly because my father is getting older and partly because I am divorced and do not have that traditional family.  I would like to dwell on positive aspects so I will describe how I feel about my father.  I remember in high school writing a paper on my dad.  We had to write a paper on “who we admired”.  People picked either the President or Jesus.  I picked my dad.

My dad has always been strength in my life. He has always believed in me while simultaneously always keeping me on the correct path.  He ran his life and his business with the highest of integrity and scruples.  Although it is my goal daily, I feel as I do not do half as well as he does.  He continues to always do what is always correct – no matter what the consequence is.  I look at the love and care that he gave me when I was going through my divorce.  He took time off work (along with my mom) to care for me during two major surgeries that I had during my divorce.  With a saint like heart he helped organize my clutter, took care of my children, helped with my dog, and drove me wherever I needed (doctors, hospital, physical therapy, drug store).  I remember him in the early years as always really enjoying my sister and I as we grew up.  His love and principal attitude never waived. He stood by me during my divorce always. My ex and I were under IRS investigation and he was always by my side (along with 6 other lawyers that I had to hire). Without his support, I am not sure how I would have endured all of that I survived.  Four years later, he continues to help me with my home (hang pictures, take care of my dog) with no complaints at all.

As a father, he always knew that the family unit is a sacred gift from God. Putting this on the highest priority allowed all other things to flow underneath.  Things were not always perfect, but they were always in a very God like manner.  He never used my sister and I as companions, he always knew we were his children.  His never-ending love showed in his strength to be a constant support and guide always.  I can say that I attempt to do this – but it is a skill that I have not yet mastered.  I tire with the everyday challenges that I deal with; I sometimes just do the best I can rather than fight hard to discipline my children to groom them to their best.  My father never put wedges in between anyone in our family.  He always supported and promoted cohesiveness.

As I reflect on the issues that our country is facing I cannot help to think that these principles that we need in our country need to start in our families. If there is disrespect in our families, it will be in our country.  If there is selfishness allowed in our families, it will reflect in our country.  Our homes and families are the areas that need change if we want change in our world.  The core of our values begins in the home.  Discipline, respect, empathy, and consequence for behavior are core for our homes.  This will then be able to go and transfer into the world.  Our culture expects the schools to train our children.  That will not work and is a failure for leadership and value (but that is another topic for later).

I am grateful for the high standards that I learned from my father. I am grateful for my father trying to bestow the high standards to my children.  Just having the blessing of being exposed to high Godly standards is amazing to me.  My current focus is to focus on the current now.  I am taking the knowledge that I must impart on my children a path toward their salvation.  The challenges are there as they have been brain washed against my being and intentions.  Thankfully I have been blessed with the skills and knowledge on focusing on the current time and the current ability to influence what I can influence. The circumstances that I have been dealt are unfortunate, but they will not halt my efforts.  Just as my father always had the strength and knowledge to impart his gifts to our family, I have the same to impart to my family.  I will persevere with the Godly strength no matter what is dealt my way.

I am wishing all fathers a blessed Father’s Day. Being a father is an amazing gift.  Enjoy and continue to do what you are called to do.

 

 

Five Remodeling Trend That Are Happening Now…..

Mashing Up Styles
Mashing up different styles adds a unique look to what would be an ordinary room.  Too many patterns may be too much but think of mixing a white wall with brightly patterned pillSouthwestern-Mid-Century-Mashup8ows and an eccentric lamp to suit your taste.  Textured fabrics are a must.

The Connected Home
We can all agree that we live in a technology world.  If you fall too far behind, it’s hard to catch up.  But imagine living in a home that connects all your devices togethers to become more efficient.  Look for options that accelerate your flexibility, convenience, and affordability such as linking your fridge when you are low on milk or a iphone reminder that your carbon dioxide detectors batteries need to be replaced.  How cool is that?

 


Becoming Eco-Friendly and Energy-Efficient
Not only is an eco-friendly home a more efficient way to live, it’s fastly becoming trendy.  Construction of new homes are now using low-impact waste materials such as bamboo and wood to create beautiful earthy spaces.  Steel recycling material and concrete are becoming more popular energy-efficient ways to insulate homes as well.  Upgrading your home in different ways will save you money in the long-run.

Metal Accents
We’ve said it before, metal is HUGE now!  Accenting metal pieces adds a focus element especially when blended with wood to add texture.  Very trend forward, people!
metals

Open Kitchens
Kitchens are truly the new living rooms.  They have become the place to gather, eat over a feast, have conversations, and connect with your family and friend.  New constructions are influenced by open kitchens that allow space and convenience. If you are trying to narrow down which room is most important to renovate, we highly suggest this space!

open kitchen
For more home trend ideas, follow me on my blog at: https://erinnewmanfinehomes.wordpress.com/
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Holiday Guest Frenzy? A Little Hosting Prep Work Will Make You Shine

As we march towards the holiday season, you may be strategically (and possibly frantically) planning for out-of-town friends and family to invade your home.  While their anticipated visit may be a very welcomed event, many of us aren’t fortunate enough to own a guesthouse on the property.  This is where you insert this guide to make the visit as comfortable and inviting as possible for your guests and for you- as the host- to feel like you aren’t tirelessly worried about the details.  You can sit back and enjoy the company!

bedroom

 Pre-planning is key

Ask your guests what essentials they may need to make them feel at home.  Will they need bedding accommodations such as an air mattress or pack-and-play for young children?  What are their favorite breakfast and snack foods?  Are there any allergies such as pets or dust?  This will help you to elaborate a plan to set up the room.  If you don’t have a requested item on hand, ask local friends or family to borrow items. If your visitors need extra bedding for little ones, make sure that they are set up and ready to crash in the moment they arrive.  Often times, traveling makes for cranky kids so it will be less hassle than setting it up upon arrival.  A thorough cleaning and dusting with clean sheets and towels is always helpful especially if there are allergies.  Don’t forget that great guests are always appreciative of a well-stocked pantry, too.  A little pre-planning goes a long way and will eliminate the unnecessary runaround after they walk through the door.

 Make it travel-sized

As they always say, attention is in the details.  We’ve all traveled somewhere and realized we’ve forgotten something at home.  Fill a basket in the bathroom with travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and shower essentials as well as razors, a toothbrush (unused, of course), toothpaste, and bottled water.  Provide reading material and mints on the nightstand.  These are all welcoming cues for your guests.

 But what about the kids?

For those hosts who may not have children, let’s face it. You have to think like one who does!  Kids have accidents and you have to prepare your home for the unknown.  Assess your home to make sure that sharp items such as scissors and knives are unreachable to tiny hands.  Just in case, make sure to re-stock your first aid kit with band-aids and other essentials.  Put away breakable or valuable items that might accidentally meet the fate of a flying toy.  Set out a spare set of linens to be placed on-call for those unexpected middle-of-the-night mishaps.

If you don’t have a TV/DVR in the guest room, relocate one that you can live without (or borrow one!) during the stay.  This will be a lifesaver for those times when the adults want to talk and the kids need their own space and activity.  Don’t forget to check out Redbox for the latest kid-friendly movie!
book

 Fun for all

The best part of visits is making it fun for everybody!  Don’t feel required to make every meal- suggest trying out the newest restaurant in town or ordering take-out.  Set aside a game night that includes everybody. Tie in holiday-themed activities such as baking cookies, strolling down neighborhood streets lit up in holiday lights, or even decorating your own house.  After all, time and laughs together are what you’ll remember long after they pull out of your driveway.

 And a little space is always good, too

Depending on the length of the visit, it’s always nice to have a little separation.  Be sure to research local events or shopping venues with information and brochures that you can provide your guests (especially with kids!) if they need to get out of the house.  This will give you a breather on prepping meals, do some spot cleaning, or just recharging your batteries until their return.

 Speaking of spot cleaning……

As with most hospitable hosts, you were probably raised better than to ask your guests to lift a finger.  But dirty laundry does tend to pile up and clutter seems to get pushed aside.  Keep a laundry basket or bin in a specified place such as a closet or laundry room to collect used towels or linens.  This is a better method than doing a scavenger hunt throughout the house before starting a load.  Let them know there are disinfectant wipes under the bathroom sink and disposable cups, plates, and utensils in the cupboard.  These little hints will hopefully keep bathrooms and kitchens (somewhat) tidy throughout the visit.

Six Easy Steps to Keep More Money in Your Wallet

You’ve heard it before….. Avoid high-dollar coffee shops and make your own lattes.  Pack your own lunches.  Clip coupons.  Try store brand products to see how they compare to national brands.  We all need fresh ideas on how to get the most bang for our buck these days.  At times, we all need a new way of doing life and re-thinking our habits towards financial freedom.
wallet

  1. A well stock pantry- What does this mean?  It means that you have always have ingredients on hand to make your seasonings such as taco and chili as well as mix your own cleaning products (more environmentally safe, too!) for pennies on the dollars.  The best part is it only take minutes to make.  Google some recipes that will help you save even more at the register.
  2. Secondhand shop- Whether you are shopping for kids’ clothes or a kitchen table, there are plenty of options to find gently used items without the hefty new price tag.  Think eBay, consignment stores, and even the Goodwill.  Local community “buy and sell” sites and garage sales are great forums to find exactly what you are looking for and always a resourceful way to make money for things you no longer need.
  3. Become a good neighbor- Back in the day, people didn’t hesitate to call up a neighbor to ask for a cup of sugar or maybe two eggs if they were shorthanded.  By no means, make this a habit but if you are looking for something that you will only need to temporarily use (such as a ladder or a Halloween costume), reach out to neighbors to see if they have one on hand available for borrowing and gladly return the favor if they ever need anything.  It prevents you from purchasing something you will only use once and creating unnecessary clutter in your closets.
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  4. Consolidate trips and carpool- We live in an age where are always on the go and have a laundry list of to-dos.  However, lessen your trips to the pumps by picking one or two days out of the week to run errands opposed to jumping in your car everyday.  Make a carpool buddy that will help get the kids to and from school and soccer practices.  Best of all, it saves you time and is environmentally friendly, too!
  5. Negotiate rates with your credit card company or complete a balance transfer-  If you’re paying more on credit card interest than you would like, it’s vital to know that you do have some power as long as you’ve been making monthly payments on time. Call your credit card issuer to negotiate your current interest rate and explain your request.  Research transferring your balance to a low to no interest rate and stop using your credit card.  Create a manageable payment plan and stick to it!
    credit-card
  6. Develop a plan- If you are ready to make a dive into saving money, become serious about creating a plan for  “One Month of No Spending”.  Ruth Soukup discusses this plan in her book, “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero”.  Her family saved over $1,000 a month using this approach!  Cheers to saving!

Happy and Simple Life: Tips to Give Your Life a Fresh Perspective

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If you’ve been following my blog or social media posts lately, you may have noticed a common theme: How to live a more simple, happy life. This has included time-saving tips for busy school mornings, how to keep your home clean without feeling you spend your weekend scrubbing the floors, and fun projects to make your house the place you want to be every single day.It seems like our newsfeed is filled with heartbreaking stories and bad news. The purpose of my blogs and posts are to have more “feel good, be happy, and live simply” approach.

Here are FIVE great tips to make the most of each day:

1.Get dressed everyday– Sounds crazy, right? But getting up every single day and getting dressed gives you a sense of purpose opposed to staying in sweatpants all day. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work from home, or retired, this will give you the motivation to go to the library or meet friends for coffee. The upside benefit? Studies have proven that when you get in clothes that require buttoning and zippers that you tend to pay more attention to what you are eating than wearing yoga pants. Win-win.

2.Don’t cancel on plans– Have you ever made plans with friends to do something fun but dreaded the “going out” part? However, once you got there, you were happy that you didn’t cancel. Make plans with friends and put it on the calendar. No matter how tired you are, don’t cancel! Relationships are a cornerstone to our life. Make sure you nurture them accordingly!

3.Try something new– Find something that interests and inspires you. Some people enjoy a “bucket list” of local restaurants while others have one for travels. You might enjoy building a roadmap to every state park in Arizona! Whatever you decide, use these interests to fuel you through stressful or difficult times.

4.Show appreciation– Think about the influences in your life who have helped you along the way. Whether it be a friend, stepparent, or teacher, send them a note of appreciation. It could even be buying a coffee for an army service man or service woman in the line behind you. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to their face.

5. Volunteer- It’s been often said that rarely when a person volunteers or serves a charity or organization that they regret it. There is something good for the soul to give back. Consider serving your time in at a place that you hold near and dear.

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Simple Life: 10 Great Tips to Create More Time and Less Mess in Your Life

simple life

The one thing that I try to focus on is simplying life. Maximizing time and money allows more freedom for what matters most.  Easy life can also tie with reduced stress.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for cleaning, organizing, and cooking.  Enjoy!

  1. Put an old newspaper at the bottom of your trash can and absorb leaks.  A real lifesaver for your floors when you’re taking bags out to the curb!
  2. When cleaning a blender, forget the dish brush or sponge.  Fill the blender with soap and warm water.  Plug it back in and whirl the cleaning solution.  Pour out the dirty water, rinse, and dry!  Simple.
    blender
  3. Did you know that you can find out if a battery is good or bad by a simple bounce?  It’s true.  Drop them on a flat surface from 6 inches.  A good battery will give a small bounce and fall over.  A dead battery will continue to bounce across the surface.  Try it!
  4. Looking for a safe place to keep your valuables (keys, money, cell phone) at the beach or pool?  Use an old lotion container or wrap them in a (clean) diaper.
  5. Place a wide rubber band around a can of paint.  This is a great way to wipe off excess paint.
    paint can
  6. Place a wooden spoon over boiling water to prevent it from spilling over onto the stove.
  7. When boiling eggs, add one teaspoon of baking soda to the water.  It will make it much easier to peel the shell.
  8. Have you ever thought of organizing your shirt drawer by storing them vertically?  It makes it easier to find while you are looking for opposed to searching through a pile.  shirt drawer
  9. Place a cupcake wrapper around the base of a popsicle on the stick.  This will catch all the juices as the popsicle melts.  Best of all- no more sticky hands!
  10. To get rid of residue, wrap a baggie of vinegar around a shower head overnight.  It will work its magic for a clean shower head with no work while you sleep. shower head

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Weekend Warrior: Take Your Front Door From Tired to Inviting

Old man winter is behind us.  It’s time to bring out the rakes and potting soil and bring life back into your yard this spring!  Whether you have just moved in, putting your home on the market, and need a new look, spend a weekend doing a few things to give a brand new look to your home and plenty of curb appeal.
front door before
A few tip that will make a huge difference…..
1.) Clean out old flower beds by raking dead leaves and plants, rocks, and debris .  Replace it with fresh mulch for a more manicured look.
2.) Replaced a tired doormat with a colorful one.  Find a versatile wreath or door decoration that adds character to your front door.
3.) Find flowers and plants that you can easily take care of during the warmer months.  Be mindful of watering and daily sun/shade requirements.
4.) Never underestimate the power of pressure-washing and a fresh coat of paint.

front door after

Daydreaming of a Vacation?

Planning the Best Summer Vacation Ever

It’s only early spring but there are plenty of reasons why you should already be thinking of summer.  If you are like lots of families, the beach is what you think of when you plan your getaway.  But there are lots of other places that get people out, too!  Here are some of the best tips to plan a trip to remember.

beach pic

Be an Information Gatherer

Think about what kind of vacation you want.  Touring a new city?  A relaxing beach trip?  A weekend at the lake?  Maybe two weeks on a cruise in Europe?

Whatever your way to un-wind is, start gathering information with reviews and suggestions from friends and family.  Social media is a great place to start!   After all, people you know will give you their most valuable (and honest) opinion.  If you want a family-friendly beach, make sure there are plenty of activities for those rainy days (ie: movie theatres, indoor putt-putt courses, outlet shopping).  If you’re thinking of exploring a new city, where are the best hotels and restaurants?   You get the gist.  It’s all about doing your homework before arriving into town.

Book Early

The best places to stay book up early.  It’s just a fact.  Check out VRBO for renting condos and homes during your stay if you want more than a hotel room.  Even if you don’t book early, you may be able to find great deals for owners who want to rent out their space for weeks that aren’t booked.  If your trip will require flying, check out sites like Skyscanner which will keep tabs and alert you on the cheapest fares.  Make reservations at hot restaurants that tend to book up during peak seasons.  A little planning will go a long way on the wallet and your time!

cruise pic

Join the Party

Many families use vacations as time to be together.  But if you’re up for it, consider inviting along another family (or couple) that enjoys the same activities.  This will not only help with defraying expense by splitting the cost of renting a beach house but you can rotate cooking meals.  If you’re traveling with kids, you can also trade off babysitting with date nights.  The more, the merrier!

Make It Educational

Even if your beach trip was designed for relaxation, explore the local area with a tour with a lighthouse or visit a Civil War fort.  Even a ghost tour will give you a little history of a time long gone.  For kids, there is nothing more valuable than seeing places that they have read in their school textbooks.  Don’t forget to take pictures of them to share with their class in the fall!

Do Something Memorable

One of the best parts of traveling is doing something that you don’t usually do.  Maybe parasail or take dinner cruise to look for dolphins.  This can even be eating food that is beyond your comfort zone (fried octopus, anyone?).  Even if you are staying right here in the U.S. ( or your own state), it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore different tastes or experiences.