So what does it mean to "live graciously"? To me it encompasses a lifestyle in which you show kindness and compassion. It also means that you surround yourself with things that bring you peace, comfort and blissful satisfaction. Which might mean a stash of chocolate to inhale after math (or is this just me?)
As homeschoolers we are especially fortunate to spend a good portion of our time at home. Our environments can really set the stage for beautiful living.
This really has nothing with your decor or the way you keep house. In fact, call me before you come over...K? Just sayin'
I'm going to share a few ways I like to practice "Gracious Living."
If you follow my blog at all you might recognize some of the pictures below. I believe in photo recycling.
Most homeschoolers I know are on tight budgets. There are weeks I've had to account for every bean. Just because we having the adventure of being frugal doesn't mean we can't make a meal a bit special. Below is a picture of my simple tomato soup. I topped it with some homemade croutons, a few shreds of cheese and parsley. Parsley goes along way if you need to make something pretty. I think serving it in a china bowl makes all the difference.
This is my favorite way to serve hot chocolate. Especially when company comes over. I don't have to worry about the cost snacks or special treats. A cup of hot chocolate brimming with marshmallows is a favorite with anyone. This is also a good way to celebrate a new book or the completion of a math unit. Personally, I think it's fun just to bring out on a random Tuesday.
This was the chalkboard sign my mom wrote out when she made me my French inspired Birthday dinner a few weeks ago. How fun is this! I think I'm going to try writing out our Saturday Pancake Breakfast menu in different languages every week. What is pancake in Mandarin?
Another beautiful way to add grace to your home is to bring the outside in. Sometimes, when I have extra money in my grocery budget, I like to get a simple bouquet of grocery store flowers. This lovely arrangement sat in the middle of my Birthday dinner table. It all came from my parents' farm. Another fun way to welcome company is to have the kids gather greenery and wildflowers to arrange in a vase.
We have a white board in our dining room that is really not convenient to use. I generally use a small one when we are doing our lessons so it's not like I'm missing the writing space. However, The Muffin took so much time to put it up for me I have decided not to move it. It has become sort of a bulletin board of sorts. This is a picture of the board around Valentine's Day.
I put up the Scripture we were learning for the month, a poem and a hymn. We were participating in Valentine's exchange so we started taking all the valentine's on the board. It has become a perfect place to display special correspondence, love notes and encouraging words. It has also made us more aware of sending notes to family or thank you notes when appropriate.
Aren't these Valentine's the cutest? I am busy making paper flowers for the spring bulletin board. Such fun (and a bit crazy...who has the time for this?)!
On a dresser in the dining room, we have a small coffee and tea station. This bunny (still hanging around from our Easter decor) is holding all kinds of tea and hot chocolate mix. We have instituted Tea Time during the day and make quite a production of enjoying our beverages and a book together. I also like having a hot drink available for company to enjoy. Just a little aside. Josiah brought home a 2 liter of Diet Dew this weekend from his grandparents' farm. This was not an approved Tea Time beverage. Just sayin'.
I have a fairly eclectic style. In our home I have combination of vintage items and things that fit my rather
This is not a great picture. It was dark in my living room (it was raining) and I couldn't get good light. I love having beautiful artwork around me. I think it is inspiring. Best of all, most of the artwork in my home is done by my favorite artist. Who also happens to be my Mom. This gallery wall is made up of a variety of things. You can't see it but I even have an old pin that belonged to my great-grandmother in frame. If you don't have access to quality art consider buying prints or using your children's art to create a special place.
I believe everybody needs a hobby. I happen to have a few (or 4). Josiah and The Muffin happen to love to Cycle. Which is why I have two road bikes in my living room (notice I didn't share a picture). Every homeschooling family needs a variety of activities that allow minds and bodies to breath. I love to loom knit on lazy evenings when my boys are watching TV. Josiah is in the process of making a stopmotion movie. Hand Crafts are a marvelous way to create a gift, pass the time or just create!
You must have books. Books. Books. Books. The books in our home reflect our lifestyle. We have "how to's," rich classical books, informational books,books that inspire and encourage us. I used to feel guilty for having so many books. But then I found my people. Homeschool Moms. You get me. No longer will I carry the guilt of being a bibliophile.
Music is a very important part of our lives. We let Josiah play the Christian radio station in his room almost 24/7. I will often play soft Classical music at certain parts of the day. I have found it provides a restful atmosphere. Sometimes we put on fun, "dancy" kind of music. Nothing like B-Bopping around to the oldies!
Several years ago, I supplied a list of Classical Music for Adventurous Boys. You can check it out if you need some inspiration.
I do need to say that sometimes I can be overstimulated. Are you with me? Do we have to have something going all the time? A little quiet is good for the soul (and momma's sanity!)
My last little thought is about hospitality and being considerate. Occasionally, I like to make up an apple cake to share with a friend. Or if we visit a family for the first time I like to take a basket of muffins. Our world is so busy nowadays. I don't want to lose that sense of family, community and friendship. You don't have to do anything big...just a little thought.
I am joining a wonderful group of blogging friends for the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents. Take a little time to visit the blogs below. I know you will be blessed.
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans