Friday, May 30, 2008

BRINGING THE BEACH HOME: VACATION STATE OF MIND, AT HOMEAs I am writing this, I am listening to some great music and drinking a hot cup of tea with honey. Out of a beautiful cup and saucer. With a sugar cookie. And I realize, these simple pleasures bring the beach home for me. I feel as relaxed and happy and peaceful as if I were sitting on the beach with my toes in the sand.
Since we have come back home from the beach, I have been even more aware of what simple pleasures heighten the daily experiences of our lives. Here are a few simple ways that I try to elevate the ordinary to extraordinary in our home. I would love to hear yours.

-Play music throughout the day. In the morning, when we are cleaning house, or doing schoolwork, I play classical. Usually something methodical, like Bach. In the evening, while I am cooking, I play Jason Castro, Norah Jones, Indigo Girls, Rod Stewart, etc. At night, Chopin Nocturnes. I can't tell you how much this changes the mood.

-I keep clutter picked up and put away. Beds made first thing. Table cleared. I am so much happier to be at home when basic housecleaning is kept up with!

-Good linens. 100% cotton sheets, feather pillows, down comforter. Clean, fluffy towels.

-Bubble baths at night. It feels so decadent!

-A slower pace. I have been making more of an effort in recent weeks to be completely present. To stay home more. To read to the boys, several times a day. To snuggle and be still. I have picked up the piano again, for the first time in years. I am not putting off these small pleasures. When the boys ask to read, instead of saying "later", I say "Go get a book". In the evening after dinner, we will take a walk around the neighborhood as a family. These are things that I always have wanted to do regularly, but put off because of "busyness". That mindset is changing, since coming back from the beach.

-Good food. Fresh fruit. Wine. This is going to get it's own post.

-Extras: Candles lit at night, lights on dimmers. Creates an ambience and helps everyone relax. Wine with dinner. Dinner set with nice dishes, a centerpiece. Reading good books.

How do you relax at home?


  1. Laurel, you inspire me! I love this post. I do many of the same things you do. I love to turn on Bach in the morning, and I, too, have different CDs I play through the day. I have one with Paris sidewalk cafe music from the 30's and 40's that I often play while cooking dinner (always wearing an apron!). I have a Sigur Ros CD I play for its loveliness. I have lots of classical, but I like new stuff, too.

    Setting the table nicely (always with candles in winter) for each meal matters, and sitting down with family to eat together and talk. Clean cotton sheets. A tidy house. Lots of fresh air and light in the house. Simple flowers here and there, even if it's just a few wildflowers or pansies in a tiny bottle. Lavender-sprayed and ironed pillowcases. Line-dried linens. Like you, delicious, fresh food. Lots of conversation. Yes, keeping things slowed down makes for a peaceful environment.

    That's off the top of my head, but there's plenty more that matters to me and my family. :-)

    Thanks for the nice series you're writing. I look forward to them.


  2. i love all of these things. I feel so much better when housework is kept up with. lately I have been so tired. its dark and there is still so much to be done! but after the kids are in bed, I go outside and feed the chickens...check on my garden and bring in the laundry. it really refreshes me. i feel like Thomisina tittlemouse.

  3. Anonymous11:57 PM

    Oh my goodness, you're turning into me!!!! Your Mama

  4. I love your mom's comment, LOL! Laurel, I feel such a kindred spirit with you, your posts warm the cockles of my heart. I also love my italian linens and setting the table fancy with candles or flowers, playing soft acoustic music, lounging in a swing with a book and a babe... life is full of peaceful moments just waiting to be recognized.

  5. Hey Laurel,

    I get so inspired by your blogs. I have the same interests as you, but love your ideas and take on things. This evening I'm chilling to a celtic cd. I put Bekah to bed early and Chris is playing b-ball with my brothers. I love my evenings. I'm not much of a morning person especially since both my brothers currently live with us...but I hope to change that and get up like you do. I think I'd be more productive.

    Have you started your shopping bags, yet? I'd love to see what they look like!