Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Introvert's Guide to Hospitality

While I haven't taken an official personality test, I'm confident that I'm somewhere on the introvert spectrum.  I enjoy people and while I don't like too much alone time, I've also learned that people drain me.  I used to think I was some weirdo, but now that I know this about myself, it's been interesting to figure out how to manage it in this world filled with people.  I love my family and friends dearly, but this introvert mom needs some alone time.

Because of how it relates to being an introvert, an area where I've had to push myself over the years is hospitality.  When I was a new wife and homemaker, the thought of hosting people I didn't know extremely well was very overwhelming.  In my defense, I was still learning a lot of kitchen basics and not very experienced with cooking.  The Teacher always wanted to have people over, while I was often hesitant to commit until I could gather my thoughts and come up with a plan.

Since an introvert's energy level is drained by other people, I've come up with my own ways to host people in our home without adding much extra work.  If I know I'll be around people for the evening, then the last thing I want is to begin the time already tired from a whole lot of prep work.

So, here's my very own introvert's guide to hospitality.

Keep the meal simple
If cooking doesn't come easy to you, keep the meal simple.  When we have people over for a full meal, I always choose to cook something that I've made a lot of times.  I do try to experiment in the kitchen on occasion, but I never do so when we are having guests over.  Stick with a meal that you've made before and has gone over well.

If possible, make something that you can prepare in advance.  I think pasta dishes are always a nice option, but I've done things like Mexican Chicken or Mashed Potato Soup too.  Feel free to order some pizza if that would make things easier too.  Whatever you do, keep the dish basic and save yourself a lot of stress and energy.

Don't be ashamed of disposable
After you've prepared and served your guest, the last thing you probably want to worry about is dishes.  Feel free to pull out disposable if it will save you valuable time and energy that could be spent on your guests.  I almost always use paper plates for outside cookouts.  I can usually get my dishes cleared fairly quickly so I often use my normal dishes for inside meals, but I have been known to use some disposable plastic cups.  Do what works best for you and reserve your energy.

Stick to dessert and coffee instead
If you are having a hectic week and you just can't muster up the energy to do an entire meal, invite your guests over for dessert and coffee.  Since the food isn't the main point of hospitality anyway, then something like a small dessert with a hot drink works just as well.  We've done this before and it worked out nicely.  When you eliminate the main meal, there is definitely a lot less to stress over.

Maintain tidy living spaces      
One peak into our home and you will realize that I am certainly not an expert housekeeper, so I am definitely not advocating that you must have a perfectly kept home in order to be hospitable.  (I'm still trying to convince by family to adhere to the shower wipe down method in our bathroom).  

However, I have found that keeping our main living areas tidy is a huge help when it comes to hospitality.  Notice that I said the word tidy and not spotless because there is a huge difference.  I include some of these tasks in my morning and evening routines so that it's part of my daily habit.  I find that it allows us to invite people over without feeling this panic which leads to a cleaning rampage just before guests will walk through the door.  If I make it a habit to keep my main living areas tidy (notice I didn't mention bedrooms?), then I set myself up for less work later.

Remember to have fun
The purpose of hospitality is to spend time with and enjoy your guests.  Let go of any notions that your home must be perfect in order to impress people.  Your guests accepted your invitation in order to spend time with you, getting to know you better.  If you struggle with this area, plan on playing some fun games to break the ice and help you loosen up.  Who doesn't love a good board game?  Taboo* is one of our favorites.

Build in recovery time
After a night with people in your home, you will likely need a night to recover physically.  Remember, while it's fun to be with people, an introvert gets drained by being with people and will need time to rest and recharge.  Make time to feed your soul so that you can be ready for the next time!

After a little practice, I really enjoy having people in our home.  I still don't believe that hospitality comes naturally to me, but I've learned a few things over the years that have helped me to stop stressing about it so much.  I have a lot to learn, but I've really come to cherish the time I get to spend with people in our home.

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How does your personality type influence your own hospitality?

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Davis at 15 Months

The holidays flew by and I have to remind myself not that my 1 year old is now actually 15 months!  You wouldn't think there would be that much difference, but a lot can happen in 3 months.  

Here is what you are up to these days.

*  You are doing great drinking from sippy cups.  You can drink from a normal cup as well, but most definitely need us to help.  It's messy, but you can do it!  You drink milk at every meal and we offer you water if you are having a snack.  It seems to do the trick just fine.

*  You eat everything we eat, as long as it's not too hard.  You love fruits, but will eat most vegetables as well.  So far, you don't seem to be allergic to any foods.  You are very interested in feeding yourself with a spoon, so we are working on that when we can.  Otherwise, it's with your fingers!  We are still working on highchair manners- like not throwing your cup or dropping your food onto the floor when you are finished.  You can do the signs for:  more, all done, and milk.  You don't do them all the time, but we know you CAN.  

*  You are sleeping great at night, from 7pm to 7:30am.  It's wonderful!

*  You are napping pretty good, although you had some rough days while you were cutting your molars.  You usually nap in the morning from 9:30-11am and then again in the afternoon from 1:30-3:30pm.  If you miss a nap here or there, you are okay, although we adjust your bedtime accordingly.  
*  You weigh 25 lbs. 5 ozs. and measure 33-1/4 in. long.

*  You are wearing size 5 diapers.

*  You are wearing some 12-18 months clothes, but they are getting snug or too short on you.  It depends on the brand, but I'm pulling out some 18-24 months clothes to get us through the winter season.  

*  You are walking really well.  You walk exclusively now and you are getting faster and faster.  The other day, you were mimicking me marching too.  It was really adorable.

*  You are a busy little guy and into just about everything.  We keep the stairs gated most of the time, although we've been practicing the stairs together when I can follow behind you.  You are slow, but you are getting it.  We haven't practiced going down yet.

*  You are still pretty flexible and chill, but you are definitely becoming more vocal.  You scream loud if we close the doors to rooms we don't want you to go in or if we have to put you down when you are in the mood to snuggle.  You let us know you are mad when you don't get your way - ha!

*  You can entertain yourself pretty well - with or without toys.  You can destroy a room in no time, but I've also watched you put toys back in the baskets one by one.  It's funny to watch!  You love to get into the cabinets, toilet bowls, and trashcans, so we have to keep you contained unless we are watching you like a hawk.  Your sister and brother are really helpful with that when I am busy doing housework.

*  You love it when I read to you.  You love to point at all the pictures and turn the pages.  You laugh when you see me grabbing a book off the shelf.  It's so precious.  You love hearing me make all the animal sounds when we read. 

*  You have 10 teeth now - 6 on the top and 4 on the bottom.  We are still waiting on your last one year molar to emerge.  You still suck your thumb, but only when you are tired.  Don't ask me about brushing your teeth because I'll dodge that question.  #thirdchildproblems 

*  You are talking up a storm.  I love to listen to your babbling and I so wish I could understand what it was you were trying to say.  You haven't added any new words that I can recognize, but I sure do love hearing you say "mama!"

*  You love it when we tickle you and play with you.  I could listen to your laugh and stare at your smile all day.  You love playing with your siblings too.  I've caught Brady already trying to wrestle with you, so it should be fun as you get older.

You are a handful at times, David John, but this is such a fun age too.  I love seeing your personality begin to emerge.  Time is going by so quickly - slow down!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Goals

Here we are again with another monthly goals post.  January tends to go by slowly for me, but this one went by pretty quickly.  We enjoyed some fun family snow days, but they did affect my productivity a bit.  That's okay though.  The memories and time together was special and totally worth it.

Before I jump into February, here's how I ended the month of January.  It could have been worse, but could have been better.

1.  Have a date night with The Teacher
Check!  We opted to stay in for an at-home date night.  We ordered takeout and watched The War Room*.  It was such a great and inspiring movie!  I was so touched by it and cried my eyes out.  The Teacher may have shed a tear as well, but don't tell anyone. (Wink wink)

2.  Have a date with Brady
I was determined to fit this one in, despite the snowstorm causing us to postpone.  I took him to a local playground and then we had dinner together at Arby's.  It was so special to be able to focus on him 100%!  The little stinker didn't touch his Jr. Roast Beef, but was such a handsome date!  :-)

3.  Read Money Making Mom* by Crystal Paine
I wasn't able to find much time to do extra reading, but I was able to read the first chapter.  That's better than nothing, I guess.
4.  Create and test out my first cleaning routine schedule
I created a cleaning routine, but only did it for about 2 days and then completely got off track.  The snow days messed me up completely.  When we are all here together, I totally get out of my routine!

5.  Work on organizing my guest room
I made a tiny bit of progress, but not enough to warrant it getting marked off.  I have totes of clothes sitting out in the room, and I need to figure out where I will consign them and then put them away until I'm ready to tag them.  Again, snow days didn't help!

6.  Schedule doctor appointments for the kids
I'm marking this one off, although I am waiting for a call back from one doctor.  I guess new patients need to call and leave messages more than twice in order to schedule appointments?  It's nothing urgent, but still!  Davis had his 15 month well check and is doing great!

7.  Look for scripture memory resources to begin using with our kids
I failed on this one entirely.  I didn't even do a Google search on this one.  Boo!!!!!

8.  Try to find a devotional for moms with little ones
I've decided that I'm going to keep it simple and use Jesus Calling* as my devotional.  It's simple and a good starting point, so I think it will fit the bill for this season of life.  

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Here is my plan for February goals.

1.  Have a date night with Kevin
Valentine's Day might be an obvious time for this one.  Our church is offering childcare as a fundraiser, so we have no excuses!

2.  Have a date with Savannah
I can't wait to do something fun with this girl.

3.  Read Money Making Mom* by Crystal Paine
I'm excited to dig deeper into this one!

4.  Implement cleaning routine for at least 1 week
I want to give my cleaning routine a fair shot before deciding if it will work for the long haul.  

5.  Research soccer for Brady (and maybe Savannah)
I'd like to see what options there are for spring soccer for our little guy.  I think he'd really enjoy it, but I don't want anything really intense.

6.  Finish DIY necklace board
My dresser is a hot mess because of all my necklaces, so I really need to get this done.  I'm somewhat overwhelmed at the next steps, but I just need to plow through and finish it up.

7.  Research Wordpress migration options
Everyone says Wordpress is where it's at when it comes to blogging platforms.  I've reached out to one company about the prices of a migration, but would like to do a little more research.  

8.  Schedule remaining doctor appointments (dentist) for the kids
I'd like to get the final appointment scheduled for Savannah, but also need to schedule Brady's first dentist appointment.  He went with The Teacher to his appointment the other day, but it's time for his own!
There you have it.  I'll report back and let you know how I did!

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What are your goals for this month?

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