A haven means different things to everyone.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about making my home a haven.
To me, it is a place to recharge, reset, and rest.
It is a place where laughter, work, learning, sleeping, and playing come together.
One of my favorite Amish proverbs: “A happy home is not merely having a roof over your head, but having a foundation under your feet.”
Yes! Our home is a haven because it is the foundation.
It is where our children learn, grow, and play.
But there is more to making our home a haven.
Let me share with you 5 ways to make your home a haven. You can start using these today!
Our home is the go-to place in our neighborhood.
While this might have to do with the fact that I have 5 kids and there is someone always to play with, I also feel like we do a good job of making our home a place for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests and visitors.
Hospitality is not about setting a date and sending out invitations. It is as simple as having kids in your home to play or feeding them dinner.
I always make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks and a few extras at dinner time to feed some friends or neighbors.
One aspect of hospitality in our home revolves around food. Meals are important in our home. We eat dinner together every night, moving the time around to make sure we are all able to be at the dinner table together.
emeals allows me to create a shopping list right on the app. I then have my local grocery store deliver the food!! emeals even has a way for you to send your list to Wal-Mart for pick up. Plus, they have TONS of meal planning options from slow cooker to Paleo.
MyFreezEasy has lots of simple recipes. Erin has a free workshop to get you started. I love her recipes!
They are frugal, kid-friendly, and easy for any night of the week.
My meal planning system is straightforward.
I look at our week ahead. Busy nights I choose InstantPot or Crock Pot meals. We normally have tacos on Tuesday before church and breakfast for dinner once a week.
I make sure to have a meal planned for every night. Even if we may have a conflict or a night out, I like to have the extra food, and I can always push the meal forward.
Once the meals are planned, I go to my local grocery store’s website, add the items to my cart, and I have my meals planned for the week.
Another trick is to write down the recipes and where they are located.
For example, this was our meal plan for the week:
M: Breakfast for Dinner (staple)
T: Taco Tuesday (staple)
W: Ginger Beef over noodles (emeals)
R: Beef, Brocolli, and cabbage bowls (emeals)
F: Taco Bean Skillet (emeals)
Sat: Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup (request from Colston)
Sun: Tilapia Tacos (Pinterest – I like to have one fish recipe a week)
I also like to take reasonable requests from my kids when they ask for something special!
My FB Live video on Hospitality and Haven.
#2: A Place to Rest
Obviously, our home is a place to recharge and sleep.
But sleep is not the only aspect to rest.
In order for my home to be a haven, I want there to be a sense of peace that comes from the space.
I try to only keep out decor that is calming and clutter-free. This is helpful for me, but there may be something else to making your home a place to rest.
Recently, I have been learning all I can about the Danish culture and Hygge.
It is fascinating to me that the Danish are considered the happiest nation in the world, yet live in darkness, snow, and below zero temperatures for 2/3 of the year.
The biggest Hygge notions that I have been able to apply to our home is warm, cozy blankets, lots of good books, and candles.
In reading about Hygge, one thing that sticks out to me a lot is the work-life balance.
Personally, this means that we do all of our work (school, blog, exercise, chores, cooking, etc) before 7:00. Once 7:00 hits, it is family time and time to relax.
I make a cup of tea, light candles, dim the lights, and settle into our family rhythm for the night.
Books I have read about Hygge: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living and The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country.
(Want to see all the books I am reading this year —> CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 52 BOOKS I AM READING THIS YEAR)
#3: Family Rhythms
Family rhythms are the way I survive as a mom of five.
A rhythm is a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes.
We have lots of rhythms in our home. It helps when we move during the offseason. It helps when our life in the NFL gets crazy. It keeps me sane.
Let’s take a closer look at each rhythm.
This is the trickiest rhythm for me to figure out.
On Pinterest, there are so many wonderfully laid out morning routines, but I could not make any of them happen for me!
Then, I discovered Kayse Pratt at Intentional Moms and now my morning routine is off running!!
Each morning I get into my Bible following her free reading plan and the book of the Bible I am reading (this month Philippians).
Then, I do a super quick workout in my pajamas and tennis shoes. Kayse has an amazing Pinterest board for quick workouts for moms HERE.
Finally, I write down 3 MITs for the day.
Done and done. The best thing about this morning routine is that you can even do it when your kids are up.
If I get a late start to my day, I can still fit in the three things listed above.
For more information about this morning routine, check out Kayse’s Simple Start Journal. It is amazing!
Once our school work is done, our books are somewhat picked up, and I have finished a little work for the day, then it is time for a recharge.
I grab a hot drink and allow myself about 30 minutes to work on my cross-stitch project or read a book.
By this time, the kids are usually playing outside with the neighborhood friends so I open some windows to listen or head outside with my book and project. This little bit of downtime gives me just the energy I need to do a quick pick up of the house and start dinner before my husband gets home.
This is my favorite rhythm of the day. This is our highly protected and intentional family time.
Every night, we have a family activity.
Once the dinner dishes are done and the house has been picked up from the day, we gather together for our evening rhythm.
We start off with time in the Bible and prayer. I like to turn down the lights and have candles on for this time of our day.
Here is our current evening rhythm:
I love having an evening rhythm because I know what we are going to do that night.
The kids look forward to each night that we spend as a family.
When you have young children, a bedtime rhythm is incredibly essential.
Once you have this routine in place, your nights will run much smoother and give you a little more time to collect yourself for the next day.
Kids love the stability of a bedtime routine. This is as simple as pajamas, brushing teeth, 2 books, and a song with prayers.
This has been our bedtime routine for years! It is such a sweet time of connection with my children.
Facebook Live Video on Rhythms
#4: Orderliness, Not Perfection
If we are going to open up our home to friends and neighbors, then we do want an orderly home.
Now do not mistake orderly for perfect. Not the same thing.
With small children and homeschooling, perfect is never a word that would describe my home. And honestly, I am ok with that.
I want our home to be warm and welcoming so I have learned to let the little things go.
I do try to teach my kids the concept of IF, THEN. If you get the milk out, then you put the milk away. If you get the game out, then you put the game away.
Using the IF, THEN language has been helpful in making me feel not as demanding. Rather than saying “put your clothes away,” I can say “if you take your clothes off for your bath, then you put them away.”
This is teaching responsibility for their actions. So essential!
Also, we make messes in our home, and we are ok with that. Homeschool is messy. Parenting is messy, and it is hard on your house.
When things are crazy, we will stop and have everyone pick up 10 things before we go on with our day.
I also have the kids do a 10 minute clean up every night before our evening rhythm.
If you are not sure where to start, just start somewhere. Pick a room, grab a laundry basket, and just stick everything in there that doesn’t belong. Then, take the rest of the week to start sifting through that laundry basket to put things in their proper place.
The last thing I think about when I am making my home a haven is encouragement.
The world is a scary, unkind place at times. Our homes can be a haven when we encourage our family members.
There are several ways to foster an encouraging environment.
One idea is to create a family mission statement. We have had our family mission statement since I was pregnant with our second son almost 10 years ago.
COLQUITT FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT
Another idea is to make encouraging words a part of your daily interaction with your children.
My kids love it when I brag about something good that they did that day.
I make sure that the encouragement is based on a character trait, not just an act.
For example, your math was really hard today, but you did not give up. I saw you persevere and stick to your work even when it was hard. That shows such diligence.
I am not focusing so much on the math work as I am the two character traits of perseverance and diligence.
And when you are focusing on encouragement, be sure to include encouraging your husband as well.
Our men love to know that we respect and appreciate all they do for our family.
Ways to Learn More
Hilary Bernstein at No Place Like Home: Transforming Your Home into a Haven is the expert on making your home a haven.
I had the privilege of hearing her speak at the Homemaking Ministries Conference, as well as take her course in
If you are interested in learning more about creating a haven, she has some wonderful resources.
First, Hilary offers a free ebook Begin Transforming Your Home Into a Haven in Less Than 30 Minutes just by being a subscriber.
With 19 chapters and 3 printable guides, you’ll be able to discover what obstacles stand in your way from caring for your home, the science behind motivation, and 16 different approaches you can use to motivate you!
Available as a PDF, Motivated costs $9.99. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
10 Secrets to Finding Joy in Homemaking
For many women, joy and homemaking are two words that don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence. (Isn’t homemaking something to be endured, or crammed in to a busy schedule?)
Yet Hilary Bernstein has discovered it is possible to find joy and great contentment in homemaking. And she’s identified 10 secrets in the process. She shares what she’s discovered in her latest eBook, 10 Secrets to Finding Joy in Homemaking.
Available as a PDF, 10 Secrets to Finding Joy in Homemaking costs $4.99. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.