Slow Down. Get Cozy. Take Pleasure in the Simple Things
November. A season where the remaining leaves are golden yellow, rusty reds and the path beneath my feet feels the air with the sound of leaves crunching. Cool breezes blow across the way, morning are filled with heavy fog in the low valleys and evening sunsets come much earlier. The first glowing fire of the season has already been made in the fireplace and the wood pile has dwindled and been added to.
Stop for a moment and think back about November. What do you remember? For me it was the gathering of family and time spent together creating delicious foods to enjoy at dinner. It was a table so filled with food that people gathered on couches and floors or even porches to enjoy the meal that so many put love in to creating. It was the children watching the Macys Day Parade and then later the men watching the traditional football game. Times seem to have changed and November seems to be the month that is often skipped over in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas holiday. At one time I was that individual. I grew up with the traditional memories of Thanksgiving but then I fell into the “consumerism trap” and November became a month that was hectic and often left me feeling stressed about all that needed to be done. Thanksgiving day was filled with preparation and then sitting around the newspaper ads planning out the mad rush for the “must have Christmas present”. I never savored and enjoyed the moment of the season. November should be a month of gratitude, grace and generosity. I know many are anxious to deck the halls but I want to share some ways to slow down and enjoy all that this season has to offer and some ways that you can add a cozy welcoming feeling to your home. Our homes should be a place of refuge and rest. A place where memories are created and when our children think of home their minds are filled with the thoughts of safety and the visions of a cozy environment filled with the traditions of home that were created. Join me today as I share some ways that you can create a cozy home that your family will love and friends will want to linger and visit in this month of November.
1. Create Beauty Through Nature
Several years ago I donated or sold many of the traditional decor items that I had. Space was an issue and storing those totes was never an easy thing to do throughout the year. So I began decorating with much of what nature has to offer. Our world is filled with vibrant colors that represent each season in a beautiful simple way. A walk in nature during November provides leaves, dried grasses, colorful branches and acorns for small ways to add a touch of beauty in our home. It never has to be overdone or cost a grand amount of money. It’s about the memory of gathering and creating a cozy fall home. Have your children join you for a nature walk or maybe even a nature scavenger hunt. Allow them to show you the beauty that they see and take delight in the bright color of the leaves and the little acorns that they help gather. Allow their minds to ponder the falling of the leaves on a blustery day and to talk about the squirrels that scurry about with food in preparation for the long winter days. Getting out in nature allows each on of us to slow down and puts us in a more mindful and relaxed state of mind.
2. Create a Smell That Says This is Home
When you think of seasons do you think of different scents? There are hundreds upon hundreds of candles on the market and each one can be used to remind us of the season we are celebrating. What smells come to your thoughts when you think of November? Is it vanilla, apple, cloves, cinnamon, orange and pumpkin spice? Those are all the ones that I love and that bring my mind to a place of coziness. Burning candles, diffusing essentials, or making a simmer for your stove top are all ways that you can create a scent that when you step through the front door you have that feeling of “this is home”. I love the Candleberry Company and my favorites are the Creme Brulee and Hot Maple Toddy. The children can recall those scents from year to year and I love those moments when something as simple as a scent takes them back to a moment in their lives.
the season to find contentment at home
3. Wrap in Coziness
Large sweaters, fuzzy socks, warm boots, and plush blankets are all things I think of for the cooler days and nights of Novembers. We unpack our winter clothing and begin to think about layering up when we leave our home. Our beds get an extra blanket and the couches become filled with soft throws in colors of whites and grays, greens and even patterns of plaid and buffalo check. Pillows are tossed around, curled up around and even laid on for naps on those long dreary afternoons. I often place a large basket in the living room for all the throw blankets to be placed when they are not in use. It’s the perfect way to snuggle up!
4. Create Comfort Foods and Warm Drinks
I am a coffee drinker and each morning begins with a walk to the coffee pot, the fixings of coffee in one of my favorite mugs and then some moments of quiet before the day begins. The children enjoy warm drinks of hot cocoa, hot tea and hot apple cider in pretty mugs. It’s about creating an experience in the moment of savoring a hot beverage. Use your favorite mug and set out a beautiful creamer/sugar set or a little wooden spoon for stirring in the favorite toppings. Create a hot chocolate bar on those snow filled days for when they come in with noses as red as Rudolph and fingers that long to hold a mug of something warm.
In our home I get many requests for various dinner ideas and in the colder months everyone wants soups and chili with all the trimmings. Never worry about a big elaborate meal each day of the week. Sometimes I think we forget to give ourselves a little grace and we tend to forget that it’s just about being together and creating that moment that will always linger in our minds. Set the table and add a few candles for the cozy feel. Then enjoy the moment of being together as a family and savoring the comfort of food.
It seems like we live in a world where cellphones and tablets are just extensions of who we are. This is something that I have personally battled with and while there are many good things about technology, I often find a great peace when I don’t live by every notification that my phone lets me know about. Find ways to be together as family with out the stress of answering work emails or wondering who just updated what on their social media account. Gather the family around the table and enjoy an evening of playing board games, read books or take the time this season to hand write Christmas cards. Doesn’t that bring so much joy when you go to gather the mail and you have more cards than bills?
6. Take a Little Time for Yourself
I find it easy to serve my family and to serve others and in the process I forget to take the time to renew my own body and spirit. There was a time when I would read many books in a month and I realized recently that I hadn’t taken the time to do that anymore. I am always encouraged when I read books that are uplifting and especially when they are about motherhood and creating a home. I recently picked up several new books and a notetaking Bible that I am really enjoying. I am working on being intentional to find time to do more of what I love. What is more cozy than waking up, fixing a cup of coffee and then lingering in bed a little longer to enjoy a bit of reading? My current reads are Missional Motherhood, Glimpses of Grace and The Lifegiving Home. I recently got the Notetaking Bible and I have truly enjoyed having the wide space on the edges to take notes.
Home should be the very best place that we could ever want to be and a place where we create an environment of love, acceptance, peace, and rest from the demands of this world. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect and look like it come from a magazine before you open your doors to share it with others. Did you notice the flaws in my photos of our home? It’s an unfinished kitchen shelf that my 14 year old son built the other day by himself. I was so proud of him and I don’t know when I will get around to painting it but I know that I love it because of who built it. It’s not done but that doesn’t mean I can’t be intentional about creating a space that functions while we are all in the kitchen preparing meals together. I hope that you will take the time during the month of November to create a place of refuge and rest for your family and that you will take the time to not over look this month of gratitude, grace and generosity.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. I would love to read about your family traditions for the month of November or how you create a cozy and welcoming environment in your home during this month. Don’t forget to subscribe over on the right hand side of the screen if you want to receive updates from the blog.
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I am very excited to be joining these amazing ladies for this new series that will a monthly feature. Take a few moments to visit their blogs and see how they add a cozy fall feeling to their homes.