clay-house-flowers

When my daughter recently turned four, I decided to save money and make her cake myself. I scoured the internet for cute pumpkin-themed ideas and finally decided on one that I thought was a creative, Pinterest style. I’d put two bundt cakes on top of each other, creating the shape of a pumpkin, cover them in orange icing, and stick an ice cream cone in the middle for the stem. Voila, a pumpkin!

When I boasted about my idea to my mother-in-law, though, I was a little stunned to hear, “Oh yeah, I used to make those when my kids were little!”

Mind you, this woman raised my husband and his brother far before Pinterest was a thing. In fact the internet wasn’t even a thing. But I wasn’t really surprised when she said she’d been making that cake for decades. My mother-in-law has never needed modern technology to produce resourceful, festive cakes, meals or decor for her family. She was and is a plain and simple homemaker.

In my book, she’s legendary for creating an environment that’s warm, inviting and homey. In fact she’s moved several times in recent years, but no matter where she lives, my husband, girls and I can walk in and instantly feel at home.

Usually it’s because there’s a hot meal cooking (or at least a refrigerator full of left-overs), a scented candle burning, and several throw pillows and blankets just asking to be curled up under. Honestly, I’m not sure how she does it, but she perpetually creates an environment I only wish I could replicate.

For years I’ve heard my husband spout off memories from his childhood – the way his mom would dress up for Halloween, decorate the house and hand out candy. The way she ordered fish plates every Friday, something the family could look forward to and count on. And the way she had an open-door policy at dinner-time. Anyone and everyone was welcome at her table. She always, always prepared more than enough – just in case.

Thankfully, my husband is gracious and never judges the fact that I don’t put out a dinner-time spread like his mama did. Or the fact that I rarely have a dessert prepared. Or the fact that all you smell when you walk into our house is dirty dishes and stinky diapers. (Let’s just be real.)

And while I try to give myself grace and reminders that I may never be the homemaking queen, I also aspire to do a little better. Because I do want my husband and children to feel they have a safe-haven in this gray and white house where we live. I want them to know, when they walk in, they’ll be nourished, loved and at ease. And some day, I want them to look back and be overwhelmed with warm, cozy memories from our time together inside these four walls.

So I’ll spend my life working to make it so.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27