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8kids4me
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Posted: July 16 2006 at 4:47pm | IP Logged Quote 8kids4me

I too have a small kitchen, and until recently had my mom's microwave on the counter(the one over the stove died two years ago, so now it's cupboard space ). I had dh haul the countertop microwave down to the basement since I really was used to not having one, and once we set up the bread machine, there was NO room for it. I went through my cupboards and decluttered in Feb. and actually have a couple of shelves that are EMPTY!! I still need to keep on top of it though, the plastic seems to be what takes up so much room what with lids everywhere and bowls that won't nest. I have been looking for pyrex serving/storage dishes at Salvation Army, and hope to get rid of all the plastic soon. I had a candle on the window sill but I tossed it when my mom died. I'm just not ready for candles yet. I hope to get a lot more done in the next couple of weeks before dd's wedding, and the 17yo dd going off to college. I have actually been thinking I might like a smaller house(but of course all the ones I like the best have TWO kitchens in them .

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Posted: July 16 2006 at 6:29pm | IP Logged Quote Molly Smith

Elizabeth wrote:
One thing I did that makes me feel more simply elegant is to move our dining table into the sunroom. The sunroom is just off the kitchen but the table is hidden from the kitchen by a wall. It used to bother me that when we were sitting and eating dinner in the kitchen eating space, I was being taunted by the mess in the kitchen I had waiting for me to clean after dinner. Now, we eat hidden from the prep mess.


We did something similar a year or two ago, except that we got rid of our kitchen table altogether!! Our dining room is at one end of the kitchen and the eating area at the opposite end. The dining room wasn't being used at all for anything related to dining, so we decided to ditch the kitchen table (actually gave it to someone who badly needed it) and eat in the dining room regularly. Our eating space in the kitchen is now a sunroom area--two big comfy chairs (old and faded, but comfy), an ottoman, coffee table and end table. We also moved the area rug that used to be under the dining room table into this new "sunroom". It's worked out beautifully. I just didn't see the logic in having two eating areas, and I was always drawn to start cleaning up before everyone had finished eating. Much better now...

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Posted: July 16 2006 at 7:00pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

Elizabeth wrote:
I love to have a candle burning on the center island, particularly when everything else is clean and clear.


This thread has been on my mind all afternoon. And the image of Elizabeth's island set me to work on my own - clearing it off and scrubbing it down. First of all, I had to move *a lot* of papers, books, catalogs and whatnot. Unfortunately my island becomes one big hotspot on a daily basis, because I end up using the short end as a desk.

Once it was all clean, I used a new spray cleaner I got the other day made with citrus and sage - it smelled great! I even got out the furniture polish and did the end shelves. Right now they hold mostly wooden children's toys - and the toys look nice actually - but no one plays with them!

When it was all clean I set a candle arrangement in the corner (my island makes an L). There are three white pillar candles set on a black pedestal; I placed a few small pinecones and tiny special rocks all around the base of the candles. And that was it. I stood back and thought wow, this looks clean, simple, and yes, even elegant - even with those toys on the end!

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Posted: July 16 2006 at 7:34pm | IP Logged Quote Betsy


Whoever got rid of the microwave - do you end up eating reheats for lunch? I have been tempted to get rid of the microwave for years now but dh has always convinced me to hang onto it in order to have the easy reheat luncehs!

I got rid of our microwave about 4 years ago, and we eat leftoverís almost every day. It truly doesn't take all that much longer to heat something on the stove or oven than in the microwave. Not to mention that it tastes SOOOOOOO much better, imho!!

I have a funny microwave story. We were just recently purchase a new gas range. I was dreaming of a 36" professional model and was talking to the sales lady on the phone. To purchase one of these you need ventilation over it. I told here that wouldn't be a problem, because we just have a microwave there that we don't use so we could replace it was a fan. There was a long pause and she said, "I just HAVE to know how you make popcorn" I described to her our on the stove contraption, then she asked, "How do you heat up water?"...no kidding the list when on for five minutes! I was the one calling here on advice for a range and I ended up educating her on how to live with out a microwave!!!

Big picture microwaves havenít been around for that long. I remember when my parent got their first oneÖ.remember the promise of cooking Thanks Giving dinner completely in the microwave!!! Anyway, our parents/grandparents didnít have one and they got by quite all right. Donít be afraid, just take the plunge. Youíll be surprised at how few times you even think of it.

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Posted: July 16 2006 at 7:51pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

Betsy wrote:
I have a funny microwave story. We were just recently purchase a new gas range. I was dreaming of a 36" professional model and was talking to the sales lady on the phone. . . then she asked, "How do you heat up water?"


Oh for crying out loud! Well I have to admit that I DID just get an electric kettle and I LOVE it. I never heated water in the microwave anyway but I WAS always burning kettles on the stove top. The electric water kettle is super fast and really takes up very little space on the counter. We keep it out because we use it all day long (water for tea and oatmeal in the morning and then tea and such during the day) and I really like the fact that's it's safer than boiling a kettle on the stove top. It heats water so fast that I never forget about it anyway because by the time I have my cup and bag ready for tea the water is hot. Oh and the best part is that Kathryn said it makes me an honorary Englishwoman.

In reagrds to microwaves and safety: Do a google search and you might not find it so hard to give up yours. Just an FYI.

God bless!

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Posted: July 16 2006 at 8:18pm | IP Logged Quote Donna Marie

We too gave up the microwave a few years ago. I just didn't want to take the chance with them. I found after we gave it up, I liked the quality of everything we warmed up much better anyway. I use the stovetop for some things and the oven for others.

I LOVE the extra room on the counter. I use that area for making my bread and such. We did splurge and get a nutrimill grinder for grain and a Bosch Mixer for making fresh bread. I purchase grain in bulk and store in pails on a metal rack. When the grinder and the mixer are not in use, I quickly wipe them off and place on the rack next to the grain and the countertop is cleared for the next cooking venture. The quality of the bread is wonderful. I am working on a more consistent system so I can work a starter into the whole deal. I am at the point that I am ready to learn a new thing into my schedual. I am building new kitchen habits in baby steps.

I want to say more, but the family needs me...duty calls! (ever hear about responding to the monastery bell??)...more later!

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 9:28am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

I'm bumping because I'd like to go back to the idea of a Simply Elegant House Tour (discussed earlier in this thread). Would folks be interested in participating? Would someone be willing to host? Maybe I should start a new thread ...?

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 9:32am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Dawn wrote:
I'm bumping because I'd like to go back to the idea of a Simply Elegant House Tour (discussed earlier in this thread). Would folks be interested in participating? Would someone be willing to host? Maybe I should start a new thread ...?


I'm interested in participating. Can a mom of one that isn't hsing yet be included? I'm not ready to volunteer to host, though.

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 9:38am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

JennGM wrote:
Can a mom of one that isn't hsing yet be included?


Oh, of course, Jenn! And IMO raising our little ones *is* homeschooling, or a warm-up anyway, LOL! But I don't mean to be the one to organize this, though I too would like to participate.



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Posted: July 17 2006 at 9:51am | IP Logged Quote Meredith

Dawn wrote:
I'm bumping because I'd like to go back to the idea of a Simply Elegant House Tour (discussed earlier in this thread). Would folks be interested in participating? Would someone be willing to host? Maybe I should start a new thread ...?


Dawn I'd be more than willing to host although I don't think I've added anything to this lovely thread myself    Would I do it on my blog?? Let me know some details and I'll go for it!

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 9:53am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

I'm late to this thread...I'm playing catch-up in the Board.

My kitchen is an odd U-shaped kitchen. There are few upper cabinets. My main cabinets are low, so everything is at child level. It's open and airy, and lots of floor space for trains and cars under my feet. I have a wall of windows over my kitchen sink and counters. My stovetop and oven need to be replaced, and I have wallpaper that I dislike, and no backsplash -- just ugly wallpaper that is getting all stained. But when it's clean, it's beautiful. Nothing detracts from the outside view. If my kitchen is in order, I'm at peace and energized to tackle anything else.

Inspired by this thread, I just put away my coffee pot and grinder. I haven't been using it in a while, so I thought it would be better in the cabinet.

I do have a crock. Despite all my cabinets, I don't have too many drawers, and the ones I have are too shallow for ladles and things. The tools get used all the time.

I have lots of countertop and it's constantly fighting the hot spots. CONSTANT. We have a few things on the counter: the toaster oven, the microwave (Grandma's, since my built-in died on Thanksgiving). I keep our water pitcher out, and since I have no walls, our paper towel holder is on the counter, too.

I have an aloe vera plant that has survived 5 years of marriage, but I think it's detracting from the open view of the kitchen (and closing the blinds). I think since we now have a permanent home, I will plant it outdoors, but not sure if it will survive. Have to research it. So in the meantime, it's my constant prickly companion.

I haven't figured out spots for everyday use things: such as purses, missals, mail, dh's lunchbox. When we come home, everything goes on the main counter, and then I spend the rest of the day sifting through. There's also a space where dh leaves his "pocket stuff": keys, cell phone, change, ...and then it morphs if I'm not careful.

I love the idea of candles, but I read somewhere that unless it's a clean burning (like soy, maybe?), that you are adding pollution to your inside air. And then also to never burn more than 3 hours at a time. I'm wary of fires...really chicken. That's probably another post, but how to incorporate safety, (smoke alarms, child proof devices) elegantly simple.

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 11:02am | IP Logged Quote Rebecca

MicheleQ wrote:
Elizabeth wrote:
   My mixer/blender, toaster, and food processor are out all the time. They are used nearly daily, so even if I had room, I probably wouldn't put them in cupboards.


I think this makes a good point in that simplicity is also about what makes sense. Putting everything in the cupboards everytime would make it harder for you so keeping it out makes sense. It can still look lovely (and does - I've seen your kitchen) but it really should be about what suits us individually.


I put all of my small appliances in the cupboards because I do not have counter space. If I had a large kitchen with a large island or some extra counter space, I would leave mine out as well.

People with small kitchens often complain that they always look messy, even when tidied up. I think that is mainly because there is stuff everywhere, even stuff we use, that wouldn't look so cluttered in a large kitchen but looks awful in a small kitchen. It would be easier to leave it out but in because I am trying to simplify and beautify my little kitchen, I put it away.

With a toaster, microwave and blender on my counter, that pretty much leaves no room for food prep. When I have to battle through clutter to make dinner, I am more apt to get fast food or some other poor choice rather than prepare something healthy.
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Posted: July 17 2006 at 1:07pm | IP Logged Quote Lisbet

Jen, I have an aloe vera plant that has been around for ages too, and it's invaluable in the kitchen!! (I'm not the most graceful cook lets just say! ) I put mine on top of my fridge, in a pretty green pot, and it's the only thing up there so it has a pretty clean look to it. Just a suggestion.

My kitchen is a work in progress. It's set up very awkward and because of the 'hardware', it's difficult to change.

I recently ripped off all the wallpaper and some paneling that was there when we moved in. I plan on painting as soon as my mother can take the kids for an afternoon.    My husband revamped my pantry a few weeks ago and it's been great for the decluttering cause.    My counter tops are clear except for the crock that holds my utensils! They are used daily and I have 4 drawers in the whole kitchen. I keep the coffee percolator on the stovetop since I use that many times a day for coffee and tea.   

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 1:58pm | IP Logged Quote Katie

All of you have inspired me. I was a bit of a decluttering fool today - no horizontal surface left untouched! I have been hesitant to add to these "Elegant Simplicity" threads, because I think my decorating style is rather untraditional, a bit quirky maybe! We recently painted the kitchen a nice, clean, bright apple green - well it's a bit of a cross between sage and apple green, if you can imagine. I get so many comments on it, and it really matches everything, surprisingly enough.

The best thing I ever did to make my kitchen look more elegantly simple was remove the homeschooling stuff from there. I just could not function as either a teacher or a cook with the messes from my other job staring at me.

My main focus areas in the kitchen are the counters, which have to be cleaned off to stop me from hyper-ventilating, all except my KitchenAid mixer. There is no way I can put that thing away after each use (daily). Plus I have been known to stroke it's beautiful blackness as I walk by on occasion. Much to my kids' hilarity.... I also have the ubiquitous crock of wooden spoons and other cooking utensils that I might need to grab while at the stove.

I try and make my minimal cupboard space work for me, and if there is something in there I use less than 4 times a year, I store it elsewhere. That really helps free up some space. I have one shelf for tea and coffee, for example, that has the grinder, coffee pot, teapots, teabags etc. Next up is flours and sugars. You get the picture, I'm sure. I find that the kitchen is one of the hardest areas to declutter, but it's so nice to have the cupbaords neat and organized and not overflowing.

I have my junk drawers (yes, I have two) organized with those cheapo ziploc boxes (without lids) - one each for batteries, matches, candles, screws, cords etc. Works great, and when we move I can just pop on the lids.

I try and put a tablecloth on the kitchen table and at the moment I have an old copper wine jug and a copper bowl full of napkins as a "centerpiece". I have two identical colourful woven bedpreads I use as tablecloths; I just change them out as one gets dirty or spilled on.

I find that if an area has a tendency to attract clutter, then as others have said it is best to make it as lovely as possible to discourage that. On top of my fridge I have three enamel pots that hold cat food, but there's not enough room for much else so that helps that area. I have a free-standing cabinet that just begs for stuff to be put down on it, so I try and fill that with a fruit bowl, a plant, a bowl of nuts etc. in order to try and fend off the paper/legos/banana peels/books that land there. On top of the microwave I have a spice rack and a recipe box, so that area's better, too.

You ladies with a pantry are so lucky!

The walls in the kitchen (as in every room, really) are a way to add those individual touches without taking up space. I have some artwork, some framed photos, some chilli peppers and bayleaves, some antique colanders, and some plates all hanging on the walls.

On top of the kitchen cupboards gets used as storage for jars and things, and to be honest it bugs me. I love the look of a nice collection up on the very top of the shelves - baskets, bottles, etc. I may have to tackle that area next. Any fun, simple, elegant, ideas for way up high on top of those upper cupboards?

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Posted: July 17 2006 at 3:06pm | IP Logged Quote Donna Marie

I think that the putting away vs not putting away an appliance has to do with how much space you have. We have very little counter space but make it work by storing up...a few shelves that go all the way to the ceiling...one is a bakers kinda rack and the other is a country hutch with doors. (on them are nice baskets some open some closed and large tins)....throw in a step stool type of thing that can be easily folded and tucked away from view (and is large enough for 2 little guys to stand on while I am cooking)and you have easy accessiblity. keep in mind that I have to cook for 9 or more.

This is a necessity for my short self...I am 5 3" and my dh does not mind this storage at all since he is 6ft 8...(yeah, one of life's funny things that shows that God has a sense of humor...and he is trying to straighten out our height genes) nevertheless..this works well for us...we BOTH feel comfortable working here. This place has to be a functional restaurant kitchen and FEEL like home too!   Visually it has to stay uncluttered or I find that I am reacting to claustrophobia...

...did I mention that I ditched the toaster? I was making so much toast, that I finally just used the oven and did the whole loaf at once...when we do this 2 kids man the buttering station This means that you have to sweep out the oven now and then...but (for me) it sure beats having a big bulky toaster in the way!

I would LOVE to host a virtual home tour...in my next life ....as a grandmother...LOL (JK!)....I am decluttering like mad now so I will participate but hosting might make me split a blood vessel at this point I don't think I have enough caffene (dark chocolate) for that! AAnd I don't have a working camera right now...but I can do it in WORDS....

Right now I am in the process of room-thinking with a clip board and decluttering...

As to eliminating clutter...take a good look at what you have....look with a clip board and with detachment.
See WHAT is piling up....WHERE...and WHY. Are you a piler or a filer? Do you LIKE being there...do you like being there sometimes??...if so what times? Does something work well for you? What is your biggest joy and biggest woe with this space? What never seems to get cleaned? What do you trip over? What falls apart? What needs repair?

Is your kitchen user friendly for all of your family members? TEACH THE KIDS YOUNG!! Are the kids resistant to being in there for helping? Can you figure out what the hang up is? Maybe they don't know where things go all of the time.. maybe they lack CONFIDENCE....write down what you OBSERVE....we can tackle the HOW later!!

Does you dh want to go in there to do something besides open the fridge? Are you afraid of your fridge? WRITE it DOWN! You will be surprised how it looks on paper.

Where are your cleaning tools? Are they neatly together and in good repair? Do you have kid-friendly cleaners and tools? If not GET THEM!...you will more than love the extra help...training them is another matter...but little things make big things happen. Remember training them to do housework is a school subject

You might want to think of decorative storage...baskets....ways of hiding clutter. Even a hardware drawer type of storage area can work well..think of putting rubber bands in one drawer and batteries in another...unless you are like me and need a large BOX for them...complete with battery tester. I have a small storage retrieval basket on the end of my counter for small wooden shapes and matchbox cars that roll in...I put them away once a day...it can be a chore that the kids choose to do..."Find the place where these little things belong OR empty the dishwasher"...one ds will choose the former rather than the latter...

Do you have an area in your kitchen for something LIVING...a plant or flowers...even dandylions in a teacup from your favorite young admirer will brighten up any space!

Did I mention that I am NOT a 'type A' personality?? I just keep trying new things to make the members of this household feel like they are set up to work sucessfully and do good things. If my ds suddenly feels the urge to sweep, I really want him to be able to actually find the broom!

I have a terrible hot spot by the phone...I pay my bills there. So, I went to my local Home Goods store and got this cool looking organizer by the phone ...one slot is my inbox...one is for dh to peruse...I get rid of junk mail right away!...from the door right to the garbage can. The rest of my bill stuff is in a rectangular basket with a few divided pocket storage thingyies oooh darn...what do you call them... one is RED for manuals and instructions for appliances and toys. One is green for storage of the yearly bills ...one is blue for the budget...it has a pad of legal paper in it to actually write out the monthly bills. Did I mention that I hate paying bills?? I have an area in this organizer thingy for a pen, stamps, envelopes, and holy cards (yes! holy cards! Keep them handy to slip in correspondance).

Catalogs that I need are placed on a divided shelf by my printer in the living room....most i just throw away because they are on-line anyway and the baby will eat it eventually....

I want to get this decluttering and chore training well in gear before September. I want to LIVE here...not scramble for the basics...KWIM??

Ok...time to declutter and make more herbal iced tea! We are trying to stay cool in this heat today but the little-ies really love being outside, no matter how HOT it is!



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Posted: July 17 2006 at 3:30pm | IP Logged Quote Cheryl

Dawn wrote:
I'm bumping because I'd like to go back to the idea of a Simply Elegant House Tour (discussed earlier in this thread). Would folks be interested in participating? Would someone be willing to host? Maybe I should start a new thread ...?


Dawn,
I would be interested in participating. Just tell me what pictures to send in. I think it would help me to have a deadline to organize some of my messes here.

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Posted: July 18 2006 at 9:30am | IP Logged Quote ~Rachel~

I am a member of making it home too it's nice in there, Mrs. Catherine has some great Elegant Simplicitiy ideas!
As for the microwave... well we never replaced ours when it died... I reheat on the stovetop or in the over (toaster or main). It is annoying if I forget to get the meat out though
I like to use the Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products to clean in there.
My favourite kitchen tip? On your kitchen or dining table, place some of that clear vinyl over your tablecloth. Your tablecloth will stay nice and clean!

I have a crock, and I need to use it more. I have two drawers in my entire kitchen... that's right, two drawers. That is not enough.

Can someone give me ideas for what to do with shoes? I'd like something pretty and we don't have a mud room. I just have an old wooden box that doesn't look so good...


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Posted: July 18 2006 at 2:42pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmyown

Okay, Ladies, I am just coming to this thread and what caught my attention was the no microwave thing.

But how do you defrost bagels?!!!

I honestly never considered life without a microwave. I do remember "the old days" without one, but I have really looked at it as a necessity.

But it DOES take up way too much room! And it probably isn't good for us. And food might really taste better reheated on the stove or in the oven.

This is just revolutionary!

But I am still stuck on the frozen bagel question.

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Molly
wife to Court & mom to ds '91, dd '96, ds '97, dds '99, '01, '03, '06, and dss '07 and 01/20/11
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MicheleQ
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Posted: July 18 2006 at 3:11pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

teachingmyown wrote:
But how do you defrost bagels?!!!
In the toaster - we have ones with extra wide slots. I know someone said they got rid of their toaster, no way, that I like and we use it everyday.

Quote:
I honestly never considered life without a microwave. I do remember "the old days" without one, but I have really looked at it as a necessity.


Oh me too! I remember so well when they first came out for homes. We didn't have one but my best friend's family did. Wow was it cool how you could melt cheese on a cracker in a snap!

Molly I DO understand. Like I said my dh was REALLY skeptical at first but we are living without it and doing great!

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ALmom
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Posted: July 18 2006 at 3:16pm | IP Logged Quote ALmom

Rachel:

You asked the same question that first came to my mind about my kitchen. It is large, so I am very, very fortunate here - but I don't make the best use of this space as most countertops become clutterbugs - and the other biggest eyesores are the handmade shoe shelf and the cups all over the counter.

My dh put out all kinds of different colored washcloths to identfy each person's cup spot and I cringed inside! Now I have enlisted my very artistic dd to make me a wine rack type of holder for the cups - we don't like to re-wash cups so often as we almost always drink water so these should be re-used or we are constantly washing. But with 9 in the family, just leaving them out is cluttered and non-effective as no one remembers which is their cup (and I really hate using washcloths all over the counter to identify whose cup it is)!

We're thinking on a solution to the shoe rack. It is certainly better than before when shoes were scattered everywhere in the kitchen and the large basket that kept getting dumped - mud and all. It also must have some means of being easy to clean or keeping the mud from falling behind the shelf and gathering. Practically speaking, it should be by the back door for convenience but cannot be outside (safety reasons - brown recluses would love to hide in our shoes left out). If there weren't so many of us, a really beatiful basket by the door lined with something that could be easily washed would do. But with 9 of us, no one would be able to find their shoes in that mob --- and I'd be upset when my shoes got red clay on them from the boys mud encrusted ones (speaking from experience here - the basket is now a catch all for loose things in the family room - like library books). Whenever we would go to look, the shoes would be in a puddle by the door - so it must be organized where each person has their own special spot - convenient enough to use, easy to find and clean and somehow hiding the shoes so we don't stare at them as we eat! I'm still thinking on this one.

Also thanks for the response on microwaves. We're moving it temporarily to the garage for a month to see if we miss it. If we don't, then dh said I could get rid of it . It is so old and ugly and probably leaks - plus is a great enticer for littles to make a mess all the time.

Someone once said that they always had tablecloths on the table. Well that set me to thinking - that really does make the table beautiful, but the last time we used my favorite white tablecloth - well it has never been beautiful again and I've avoided using tablecloths ever since as I just don't want them ruined. But then I got to thinking again - at Chinese resaurants, they always have these luxurious cloths - but they are covered with a clear plastic cloth or a plexiglass top. That would protect our tablecloth, be beautiful and even save on cleaning (our table has built in leaves that we have to pull out and clean between the cracks everytime we eat - but with the plexiglass cover, we'd have the beautiful clean cloth underneath that wouldn't have to be cleaned or ironed too often) and the plexiglass that could be wiped clean with ease. Has anyone done anything like this?

If I could put the tablecloth on the table with protection, then I got inspired about candles. I was noticing my glass cabinet above the desk for displaying knick knacky stuff (but which is way too cluttered). In there, stored for safekeeping from damage and little hands is the candle and holder used at our wedding. Now wouldn't it be simply elegant to have that as the centerpiece of our table - and then as part of grace, we could ask for blessings for our family - those present and those away from home at the time (thinking of our dd going off to college). After all, our family started on the day of our wedding with the Sacrament of matrimony and this just seems so meaningful to me.

Our dc all simply delight in candles - mostly because we have pyrotechnic boys who like to experiment with different ways of snuffing candles (finger pinching, snuffler, even some sort of fire extinguisher spray). This would certainly help everyone stay at the table - we might even get to thanksgiving after meals as well. Anyways, with some limits to how this candle is extinguished, protection from wax on the tablecloth.... I'm really getting excited about this idea.

The only other thing I need to do in the kitchen is large, so more long term - it is too dark and the wall paper from the previous owner is a big contributer so we'd need to strip the wall paper (but leave up the top border) and paint it a nice bright color. I don't have energy for that yet - but could do the other things now. We also need to do some repair of the linoleum in the floor - it came pre-damaged and I really have to accept that it is too large a room for us to really replace the floor anytime soon. I'd rather wait until I can buy a really durable and beautiful floor - and still don't know what that would be - and right now we couldn't afford it with all my book purchases and dd going to college!

This whole topic has been wonderful! Thanks to the moms for expressing so well, exactly how important beaty is and the article about practicality sometimes killing beauty. I think this really reached my dh who is practical through and through - he had backwards curtains up in his apartment all over the walls (not just the windows) when we met - for sound absorbtion and his kitchen table was a cardtable boosted up with boxes so it was at window level. I don't think he even noticed what it looked like. He can help us become orderly(that was always a strength of his)- and now I think he'll support me in the beautifying as well! I just had not communicated to him as well - and knew I was missing something and had never seen anyone beautify their environment and felt so inadequate but didn't know what it was until I read this article. Even as a teen, I just took whatever came in the box that fit me(regardless of color or style) as my dad was unemployed - so I really was so hungry for beauty. I want to learn this art.

Janet
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