An Unexpected Party

Expected company can be stressful enough to someone who is not used to, or warmed up to, the idea of opening their home. But unexpected company? What goes through your mind when you hear that phrase? To some, this is delight. To others, it’s sheer panic.

IMG_20190321_154115_767-01When my husband and I were married, we decided that our home would have an open door policy. Meaning anyone could stop by at anytime. We felt the desire to be available, and for our home to be a safe comfortable haven when needed. I’m not going to lie, I’m an introvert. Not as bad as I used to be. After a year being married to my very extroverted husband I actually score closer to the “E” side of the Meyer’s Brigg scale now. I still don’t get energized by being around people all the time. I enjoy it and I feel fulfilled, but I don’t recharge by being around people.  However, I wasn’t called to be an introvert sitting at home recharging myself and enjoying God’s blessings all by myself. I was called to practice hospitality. Sometimes it’s hard. The anxiety gets to me too. But my desire to be there when someone needs me, to make someone feel loved and safe, to offer a hot cup of tea and listening ear; those desires are so much stronger than my anxiety.

So I’ll put the kettle on and share with you 5 ways to stay prepared for unexpected company:

1.) Remember why you’re doing this.

I love this quote:
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” S. Niequist
If you feel the strong desire to open your heart and home to others that’s wonderful. We are told throughout God’s Word, to practice hospitality, give to those in need, and treat one other with kindness. It doesn’t need to be big and dramatic, but it does need to be loving and warm.

2.) Keep a stock of tea bags and pre made snacks on hand.baked-beverage-breakfast-2377474

You don’t need fresh baked goodies or a 5 course meal every time someone pops by for a visit. I like to keep a box of crackers, popcorn, or fresh fruit on hand. This makes it easy to put into a bowl and sit out. If you have the space for a guest shelf, or dedicated cabinet, this can be a huge time saver. Keep things such as crackers, cookies, tea biscuits, snack mix, and sugar alternatives for sweetening coffee and tea.
Asking the question “Can I get you anything?” can make people feel like they’re inconveniencing you. I usually sit out a snack and give them 2 choices for beverage, one cold and one hot. This lets them know that I’m already preparing something, and I just need them to make a decision. I usually don’t offer more than 2 choices because this can be overwhelming.

3.) Utilize that empty laundry basket.

663b5342af1425ab56cf2b144216b517I like to keep a laundry basket ready to grab and go. If there are any items laying around the living room or kitchen, they can be tossed into the basket and sat aside for a quick tidy up. This is especially useful if you have children and there are toys scattered about your home. You can also find a cute basket like this to match your décor to keep in your living room for those toys.

4.) Keep a canister of Lysol wipes on hand.

A quick and easy way to freshen up your bathroom and kitchen is wet wipes. I like the lemon scented Lysol wipes. I will run one over the bathroom sink and another over the toilet to give it a fresh sparkle. Easily wipe down kitchen countertops and appliances for an all over fresh feel.

burning-candles-decor-1832562.jpg5.)  Candles.

I love candles. They make your home smell great and add a cozy ambiance. Hint: I like to keep a long lighter on hand so it’s a quick start. The last thing I want to be doing is burning myself on a match or fumbling with a traditional lighter. Also, fabric freshener is great for freshening up your sofa or that bucket of blankets in your living room. I recommend a light clean scent that won’t overpower a room.
I would love to hear your tips and advice for always being ready for company! Drop a comment below.

Happy hosting,

Paige Baldwin

 

Manners for Success: Back To School

It’s that time again! Teachers are preparing, kids are dreading, and parents are anticipating…back to school! It’s hard to believe that Summer holiday is already over. Today, we’ll look at some important manners to refresh for kids to have a fun and successful school year.back-to-school-conceptual-cube-207658 Teach children manners at home to take with them back to school, don’t expect the school  teacher to do everything. Prepare your children ahead of time. A great way to teach and assess comprehension with younger children is to role play different scenarios and events. This is not only a fun way to learn, but will also increase the chance of them, remembering the correct way to handle a situation when it arises. There are 4 main categories to cover with children and teens:

Manners on the Bus

  1. Sit down and stay in your seat until you arrive at school/home.
  2. Do not yell or throw things.
  3. Be kind to others, especially new students.

Manners in the Classroomapple-blur-book-stack-256520

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Do not talk to your friends while your teacher is talking.
  3. Keep your phone put away during class.
  4. Raise your hand if you have a question.
  5. If your teacher corrects your behavior, do not throw a tantrum.

Manners on the Playground

  1. Do not bully others (Bullying is the same as teasing, making fun, pranks, mean words, touching, or taking someone’s things).
  2. Do not allow others to bully you. (Always find an adult if you feel like you’re being bullied)
  3. Share toys and take turns with equipment.

Manners for the Cafeteria

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Do not talk with food in your mouth.
  3. Throw your trash away, do not leave it on the table.
  4. Do not throw food.
  5. Be friendly to everyone, especially new students.

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Taking time to refresh children and teens on basic manners at home will set them up for a successful school year. Their teachers and classmates will benefit as well. When children/teens ask why these manners are important, there are 3 main reasons to give them.

  • It will make you a more likeable person
  • It will set you apart in a good way
  • It will give you a boost in confidence

Happy School Year!

Paige Baldwin

 

Easy Home Cleaning Schedule

Saving house cleaning for one day can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a full time mother or career woman (sometimes both at the same time). But spending every spare minute of every day cleaning is not the better option! So what do you do to simplify and save time cleaning? The first step in organizing and simplifying your task list is to create one. Create a list for daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, and seasonally/yearly tasks. Then separate out what needs to be done when. This can save a ton of time and headache going forward!

Your daily tasks should include:

  • Make the bed
  • Wash dishes/utilize dishwasher
  • Sweep floors clean of all food
  • Wipe down all counter surfaces
  • Clear daily clutter
  • Collect and sort mail

These tasks are done in between deeper cleanings, on a daily basis, to help maintain a tidy and sanitary home. These are small tasks that should take under 5 minutes each (the exception being dishes, depending on family size and availability of a dishwasher).

Any other task that can be done in under 1 minute should be done daily as well.
Example:
Put away your shoes
Throw out old food
Put books away

Your weekly task list should include:

  • Clean the toilets
  • Wipe down appliances
  • Clean the stove (see recipe for easy homemade cleaner below)
  • Clean sink/garbage disposal
  • Change linens
  • Mop floors
  • Dust the furniture
  • Laundry (adjust frequency to fit your needs)

These tasks can be split up and assigned a day of the week so you’re not putting everything on one day and exhausting yourself. Remember that we are to work 6 days and Sabbath 1 day per week. (Exodus 20:8-10a: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…) God commands our resting 1 day a week, so plan appropriately. An example of how this task schedule might work is pictured below, but of course it can be adjusted to fit your individual needs.

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Download the free “My Cleaning Routine” checklist here!

 

Your monthly task list should include:

  • Scrub out microwave and refrigerator
  • Wax hardwood floors
  • Wash all windows and doors
  • Dust walls (wash if needed)
  • Disinfect garbage

These tasks will keep your house looking new and smelling great. Dusting the walls will help with potential allergens and get rid of problem causing bacteria. We all know that kid that licks the walls. We may as well accept it and keep them as clean as we can. Disinfecting garbage cans by wiping them out and down with Lysol monthly will keep that garbage stench out of your home, and help to keep away gnats and other unwelcomed visitors.

Your seasonally/yearly task list should include:

  • Shampoo carpets (bi-annually)
  • Clean out pantry (quarterly to bi-annually)
  • Wash comforters and drapes (bi-annually)
  • Clean blinds (annually)
  • Clean out closets (with season change)
  • Clean out desk and shred documents that are no longer needed (yearly)

Yearly/Twice yearly tasks refresh your home after a long stale winter, or after busy holiday seasons. Refreshing carpets will keep your house looking well cared for, and washing old allergens out of the comforters and drapes will keep your body happy. If you do set aside a day or weekend for these tasks, be sure to take some time for yourself afterward. Ladies, go out and get a pedicure, guys go play golf. Do something to relax after a long deep cleaning.

I want to close by saying this. If you are a busy mom and/or career woman and you just don’t have the time you want/need to put into those deep cleans, it’s alright to get help. It’s not shameful to hire a cleaner to come once a month (or once a week for that matter) to help you. It’s ok to ask for help. Let me tell you friends, I am not a mom yet, but I am a full time wife, nurse, and blogger. And guess what. That’s right, I just hired a cleaning lady. She’s going to come once a month and help me do the things I just don’t have time for. And I’ve decided that I’m not going to be embarrassed or ashamed of it at all. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion to try and prove something to people whose opinion doesn’t matter. If you need help, get help.

 

Happy Cleaning!

~Paige Baldwin

 

 

Easy Stovetop Cleaner (works with flat top stoves)

Make a paste using Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Rub it into your stove top paying extra attention to burnt areas. Let dry for a few hours, or overnight. Use a soft, warm, wet cloth to gently scrub away dried paste. Buff with microfiber cloth. This keeps your stove top clean and shiny.

Beach Etiquette

IMG_20190715_100254-EFFECTS

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Panama City Beach. It was such a wonderful time. We got to explore a few beaches, try several new restaurants, go on a pirate ship cruise, and much more. We made beautiful memories and came home feeling relaxed and thankful.

While we were there I overheard several conversations, and witnessed a couple cringe worthy scenes. I thought we’d look at some basic etiquette to get us going in the right direction for memorable beach vacation. After all, there’s nothing more relaxing than laying in the sun and hearing the ocean waves flirt with the warm sand. ♥

Beach Etiquette:

1.) Don’t make fun of others.
There are enough people in this world pointing fingers and “body shaming”. Do not

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become one of those people. It’s rude, unmannered, and shows ignorance.

2.) Follow the rules
Just because it’s a vacation does not give any of us a right to disregard the rules. If the rules say no eating on the beach, do not eat on the beach.

3.) Don’t leave trash
There are plenty of trash bins scattered through out the beach. Take 2 minutes and walk your garbage to be bin. Leave nothing but footprints.

4.) Keep your music to yourself
Everyone has a different taste in music. Keep your music low, or use earbuds, out of respect and courtesy for others.

5.) Watch your language
Please respect the families with children on the beach and watch the language you use. For that matter, please have respect for yourself and watch your language. It’s low class and uncouth to drop swear words into your sentence. It discredits anything you say and you will lose respect.

BeachChairs

6.) Watch your kids and pets
Don’t be the parent letting their unruly children and pets go bother other people and disrupt their vacations. Teach your children beach etiquette as well and everyone will have a much better time. Keep your pets on a leash. Some people have allergies or fear of animals and don’t want Bowser coming up and licking their unsuspecting face.

7.) Don’t feed the birds
Most beaches will have this as a posted rule (see #2). Even if they don’t have it posted, avoid feeding the birds. It’s harmful to them and it can damage their ability to hunt their own food resulting in starvation long after you’re gone.

8.) Don’t get drunk
Remember the one drink rule? It’s ok to have one if you know your limit. Do not get drunk on a public beach. It’s rude to others and dangerous to yourself.

9.) Don’t smoke
Even if there are no rules against it, please don’t smoke. There are a lot of asthmatic people who don’t need a respiratory event while they’re on vacation. Also, cigarette smoke and butts do damage to wildlife and nature. Please wait until you’re in a specially designated are to smoke.

10.) Watch your swimsuit for “slips”

SunBathing

Losing your swim top or bottom in the ocean is not funny or cute. Unless you’re on a nude beach, be sure and wear an appropriate swim suit. This shows respect to yourself and those around you.

11.) Don’t shake sand/water everywhere
If you’re going to shake out of hair or beach towel, be sure and do it away from others. You don’t want the wind carrying your mess right into someone else’s face or drink.

The Beach is such a wonderful place for relaxation, boosting Vitamin D, and just unwinding. Please be courteous and treat others as you would want yourself and your children treated. With those tips in mind, pack your sunscreen and swimsuit and head to the beach! The ocean is calling!

SunSet

Happy Beaching! Paige Baldwin

Tips for the Wedding Guest

Have you ever been faced with an invitation to a wedding and you didn’t know what to do? Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve attending a wedding and you don’t know whether or not the rules have changed. I’ve been there. Within the past year, we’ve been invited to 11 weddings. Y’all, before I met my husband I had only ever been to 3 weddings in my 26 years of life. (Yes, my husband is an extreme extrovert with an amazing social life.) Naturally, I had to read up on wedding etiquette. I studied it front to back and became obsessed to the point where he threatened not to take me. It’s quite a funny scene to think back on.

With wedding season is in full swing, this is the perfect time to remind ourselves of a few important wedding etiquette rules that haven’t gone out of style.

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1.) Do RSVP before the deadline. The couple needs a headcount so they can reserve seating, catering, and favors.

2.) Don’t wear white. Of all the fashion rules that are no longer relevant, this one still is. Unless the Bride herself has requested all guests wear white (which I have seen once) please leave that color for her. RobertsBaldwin00416

3.) Do be on time. 10-15 minutes prior to ceremony start time is recommended. Don’t be the person walking in at the same time as the bride.

4.) Don’t take pictures during the ceremony. (and be discreet about photography after. Whatever you do, don’t get in the professional photographer’s way.)

5.) Don’t post pictures before the bride and groom (or photographer in some cases). Posting pictures of yourself and your friends is fine, but reserve photos of the Bride and Groom for the special couple themselves.

6.) Don’t get drunk. If there’s a bar, drink responsibly and do not cause a scene. If the couple choose to have a dry wedding for religious reasons, but you just have to have your flask, please be respectful and discreet about drinking.

RobertsBaldwin003787.) Don’t verbally compare the decorations to the last wedding you went to. Everyone has a different style, and much more important, everyone has a different budget.

8.)  Don’t criticize the food. Someone paid a lot of money to feed you. Be appreciative.

9.) Do get up and dance. Don’t sit there and sulk at your table. Even if you’re not a great dancer (raising my hand) anyone can at least learn the Cupid Shuffle. It’ll get your blood pumping and give you some energy for the remainder of the party.

10.) Do keep the chit-chat with the Bride and Groom to a minimum. There will be a host of people wanting to talk to them and the couple will have a lot on their minds. Offer congratulations and love, but don’t sit there and discuss every detail with them while in the receiving line.

11.) Do talk with your tablemates. Chances are you’ll make some new friends! You will have a much better time compared to if you just sit there sullen and bored.

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12.) Do sign the guestbook. The Bride and Groom will have a hard time remembering every detail about the guests. They will appreciate having a record of who was there.

 

I love attending weddings now. And I can *mostly* attend with no anxiety. (There’s still that gut sinking feeling of oh no! I’m going to clash with the wedding colors! It’s ok. It won’t be the end of the world.) Weddings are a great time to let your hair down, mingle, and have a fantastic time. Just so long as we do it with class and consideration.

Happy Wedding Season!
Paige

 

***For Brides and Wedding Proffesionals, check out our Wedding Etiquette Seminar

How to do a “Mocktail” Mimosa Bar

This past weekend my friend, Lauren, and I hosted a baby shower for another dear friend of ours. It was so fun to plan and pull off! We sat down together one evening and started planning, but got stuck. It was a tea party so of course we’d serve tea,  but we were struggling with fun drink options to have in addition. We didn’t want just lemonade and iced tea and all the punch recipes seemed boring. So we brainstormed, researched our trusty source, Pinterest, and came up with the brilliant idea of a “Mocktail” MOM-osa bar. We were giddy with excitement as we planned out our drink bar. We started with a list of juices.

We Chose:

BabyShowerJuiceLable2

Orange
Pineapple
Cucumber Mint Lime
Peach
Watermelon
Cranberry
Raspberry
Pomegranate

For the bubbly addition, I chose unflavored sparkling water and raspberry sparkling water. However, there is a large variety of flavored sparkling waters out there and any of them would be delicious! (TIP:  I suggest limiting the selection to 2 flavors of sparkling water so your guests don’t feel overwhelmed at all of the choices. Pick unflavored and 1 flavored.) Next you’ll want to choose some fruits and herbs for garnishes.

We chose:

Strawberries BabyShowerFruit
Blueberries
Blackberries
Raspberries
Peaches/Nectarines
Chopped fresh Mint
Other good options:
Pineapple
Basil

Other items that you’ll need include a variety of small fruit bowls and serving spoons. You’ll want a selection of Mimosa or Champagne flutes. (TIP: Visit your local dollar tree for a variety of special drink glasses. I purchase all of mine there because I’d much rather accidently break a $1 glass as opposed to a nice $7+ glass) You’ll want a stack of cocktail napkins available, and for fun you can add a jar of fun paper straws. Amazon is a great place to find bulk party items. Check out this set of 6 fruit bowls great for parties and drink bars.

How do you make a Mom-osa?

It’s super easy! Choose your glass and select your juice(s). Pick your bubbly. Pour a half BabyShowerDrinkglass of juice, followed by a half glass of sparkling water. Then add your fruit and/or herbs. There are endless combinations you can make and it’s such a fun activity, as well as a beautifully displayed refreshing station. We were so happy with how this drink bar turned out, that we’ll definitely be using it again! This is a great option for Baby showers, Bridal showers, graduation parties, retirement parties, birthday parties, and much more.

Favorite Combinations from this weekend include:

From Paige: Peach juice, unflavored sparkling water, strawberries, and chopped mint

From Jamie (aka Mommy-to-Be): Cucumber Mint Lime with blueberries and chopped mint

From Anika: Watermelon with unflavored sparkling water, raspberries, and chopped mint.

From Lauren: Cucumber Mint Lime with unflavored sparkling water, strawberries, and chopped mint

BabyShowerBar

A special thanks to Elizabeth Anne Photography for the beautiful  photos.

I’d love to hear if you used this idea and how it worked for you, as well as any flavor combinations that were popular!

~Paige Baldwin

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