The Perfect Housewife

Are you the perfect housewife? | RaisingArrows.netMost women have an ideal of what their home should look like. It tends to resemble something out of the pages of a magazine or off my Home Decorating Ideas & Inspiration Pinterest board.

Does your idea of a perfect home resemble a Pinterest board?  Think again! | RaisingArrows.netSome are able to achieve this, but a vast majority of women are quite dissatisfied with the state of their homes.  This is particularly true of women who have purposefully chosen the title of “homemaker”.  They rarely seem to keep a home that meets the standard they envision in their minds as “the way it should be”.  This is even more evident when children are thrown into the mix…and doubly so when those children are homeschooled.

Titus 2 presents a picture of what young married women are to be doing (much more so than Proverbs 31 which presents an ideal), and when you look at the ESV version, you see,

“working at home”

as one of the things older women are to be teaching the younger women.  Nowhere in those verses does it say you are to be keeping a perfect home.  It doesn’t speak to perfectly organized shelves or immaculate kitchens.  It says “working.”

Working (or “keeping”) is a process and does not imply perfection, or that if you do it right, it will be perfect.  You are simply to be doing it rather than avoiding it.

The passage also speaks of loving your husband and children.  If God chooses to bless you with children, your home will forever be changed.  As a Christian mother, it’s your job to adjust to the changes with grace – toward yourself AND your children (and yes, even your husband).  Your house will be a different sort of clean, and your “working at home” will take on a new flair.  And again, it isn’t going to be perfect.

I recently watched a BBC documentary entitled Time Warp Wives.  At first, I was intrigued as the women on the show gave tours of their homes and lifestyles, some 1930s, but most 1950s.  I found myself wondering where the children were, and musing about how insane it would be to try keep up that kind of lifestyle with kids in tow.  Toward the end of the documentary, I learned where the children were.

There weren’t any.

Most of the couples had chosen to forgo having any children in order to keep up their lifestyle.  Their immaculate homes, crisply ironed clothing, perfect hair and nails, and ultimately fake sense of reality, were more important than the real (and often raw) beauty of bringing children into the world and raising them.

It was a sad commentary on the price of “perfection.”

As followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ, we seek Him with all our being, but perfect we are not.  We are made perfect in Him.  The translation of that for the housewife is a woman who is constantly striving to do her best within her realm of responsibility out of love for those God has placed in her life and out of reverence for the God she serves.  It has nothing to do with looking just so or meeting some arbitrary standard.  It has everything to do with surrender, grace, and a desire to be a living sacrifice.

Look around your home…does it speak to the love you have for your family?  Does it glorify the Lord?  Remember, “perfect” isn’t the goal!

Homemaking Podcasts

Need encouragement?  Need motivation?  Need a fresh perspective?  Here are some great FREE podcasts and mp3 downloads just for the homemaker! |

A lot of women consider homekeeping drudgery.  It is something that must be done over and over.  It’s not like a project that has a beginning and ending point.  It isn’t something that earns you accolades or gets you published.  You aren’t going to become famous keeping a home, and most of the time no one is even going to notice what you’ve done throughout the day.

I’ve written before about the monotony of homemaking as well as homemaker burnout, but this post isn’t about breaking up the day or even how to be a good homemaker.  It’s about being encouraged a little bit at a time.

One of the best ways I’ve found to be encouraged in my homemaking endeavors is to listen to audios that are specific to homemakers.  I may not have time to sit down with a book, but I can put on a podcast and keep going with my day.  Even now, as I’m recovering from having baby #9, I’m finding great encouragement in listening as I nurse my little one.  In fact, last night I sat on the floor outside my toddler’s door and listened to a podcast as I kept watch over his nighttime escape attempts.  (He is almost 2 and naps and bedtime have become a struggle because he’s too busy to sleep!)

I thought you might be interested in what is currently in my podcast queue as well as some free downloads I’ve found online that are specifically geared toward the homemaker.

Virtuous Woman

I was only able to find 16 of Melissa Ringstaff’s podcasts on iTunes, but after searching a bit, I found 65 Days worth of her From Calm to Chaos podcast series on her blog,

Heavenly Homemakers Podcasts

Laura’s podcasts cover everything from homeschooling to freezer cooking to teaching Scripture to your children!  She currently has 11 podcasts available for download on her website.

Biblical Womanhood free mp3 downloads

The link above goes to all the free downloads from Sovereign Grace Ministries on the topic of Biblical Womanhood.  I love Carolyn Mahaney’s down to earth practical speaking style!

Homemakers By Choice

Donna Otto currently has 301 podcasts available with topics on everything from Scripture to communication in marriage.  The link above (and all following) are iTunes links.  You can listen via the Podcasts app on your Apple device or download the iTunes app to your computer or other device.  Many of these podcasts are also available on Stitcher.

A Happy Home

I heard so many good things about Keri Mae’s podcasts, I couldn’t wait to add her to my queue.  I am currently listening to the Downsizing Our Home series.

FLYlady Tools

Years and years ago, I took the information on FLYlady and ran with it, transforming my home in the process.  As our family grew, many of FLYlady’s tactics didn’t work as well as they once had, but still today, I use things I learned from her to keep my home running smoothly.

Organize 365

Lisa has some great information on organizing.  I enjoy reading her blog, but it’s especially nice to be able to listen to her organizing tips when I don’t have the time to read.

 Making Our Home a Haven

Topics on organizing your closet to finding the time to cook!  The audio quality isn’t the best, and there are only 10 very short episodes, but they were very good.

Domestic CEO

Over a hundred episodes, all nice and short, so you don’t have to carve out a lot of time to listen.  Topics range from how to clean a washing machine to how to make your home smell good.

A Slob Comes Clean

I know Dana (aka Nony the Slob) personally, and just love her!  She has been blogging through her personal deslobification (as she calls it), and encourages other women to learn to keep a decluttered and “clean enough” home with practical real-life tips.

By the way, Nony’s 2 ebook set (affiliate link) is on sale all of January for $5 total (usually $5 a piece!) – no coupon code needed.


Cleaning & Declutter ebook sale

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll make a podcast!  Until then, I hope you enjoy the ones I’ve listed!

Did I miss one of your favorite homemaking podcasts?  Know of any free mp3 downloads that would encourage the homemaker?  Let me know!

Minimalist Kitchen Tour Part 2

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Part 2 | RaisingArrows.netIn some ways, this seems a bit silly to post Part 2 of our minimalist kitchen with us moving.  Every time I move, I have to reconfigure my new kitchen.  So, the new house will look very different from this house in how we set things up and what our minimalism looks like.  However, I said I was going to post Part 2, so I am going to post Part 2!

In Part 1, I gave you a tour of the main section of my kitchen.  Before, we move on to the island and bar area of my kitchen, I wanted to address one reader question, and that is concerning my glasses.  I said we had 2 glasses per person, plus extras for guests.  One reader wanted to see inside the cupboard, so here it is…

Glasses in cupboard

The tie dye cup in the back of the bottom shelf is my Tervis.  It has a lid and it is the cup I take with me on the go.  Ty prefers the plastic cups you see in the box on the top shelf.  That box also holds his on-the-go coffee cups.  I got tired of these awkward glasses falling down on me every time I opened the cupboard door!  The glasses to the right of the box are the guest glasses.  We will often outfit them with a DrinkBand during the duration of their stay with us.  (pssst….DrinkBands giveaway coming soon!)

OK, so back to the tour!

On the opposite wall of the kitchen is a bar area.  This is my work station, and I still haven’t found a great system for organizing it.  So, I guess I’ll start over in the new house!  (By the way, the new house has a built-in office area in the kitchen already!  Yippee!)  The only appliance on the bar is the coffee maker, with the coffee mugs and coffee in a cupboard above it.  In the cupboards below I have stored the Vitamix (we have the wet and dry containers), a toaster, a large percolator (for my Festive Hot Punch), storage for jellies and sauces I canned this summer, vases, office supplies (our printer and computers are also on this bar), and a couple of baskets with utensils and small appliances we don’t use often (i.e. electric knife, apple peeler, corer, slicer, etc), and finally, a cupboard for tools.

And then, there is the island.  As you see in the graphic, only the Berkey and the knife block sit on the island.  (Ty brought me some flowers home that were there that day too!)

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Part 2 |

Another reader question concerned the knife block and keeping my toddler out of it.  Frankly, this hasn’t been much of an issue.  I wish I could give you some great training lesson, but the younger crowd seem to understand that knives are not something they are allowed to touch.

The cupboards under the bar contain the following items:

  • 2 large & 2 small mixing bowls (we prefer Pyrex)
  • canning jars and lids
  • a few glass and plastic containers and lids for leftovers
  • 3 large bowls for serving things like popcorn or chips to a crowd
  • 2 serving trays
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 large and 1 small cast iron skillet
  • 1 large, 2 medium, and 1 small saucepan with lids
  • a double boiler and a steamer for one of the medium pots
  • a roasting pan I never use…and for some reason, keep

I do need to mention that we have a large pantry that holds not only our dry goods and bulk foods, but also a couple of crock pots, an electric skillet, a dehydrator, a water bath canner, and an air popper.  We also have a large electric roaster that typically gets stored in the basement.

We could probably pare down even more, but I am comfortable with where we are right now.  I use most everything in the kitchen on a fairly regular basis (except for the roaster and the dehydrator), so that’s been my gauge of whether or not I “need” something.  There are certainly some items I’d like to own at some point (like a larger stock pot), but I manage just fine with the items I have.

And that is the key to minimalism in a large family…do you really need it?  Will you really use it?  If you find you don’t, let it go.

Need a little help paring down the “stuff” in your kitchen?  Nourishing Minimalism (the blog I mentioned inspired me to get rid of a lot!) has a set of ebooks that helps you declutter and live a more minimalist life. – including the one shown below:  30 Days to a Clean & Organized Kitchen.

30 days


So, what about your kitchen?  Are you a minimalist or do you tend to hold on to things you don’t use (and maybe don’t even like?)  I’d encourage you to start decluttering today and head into the New Year “lighter”!

How To Simplify Your Dinner Routine

How to Simplify Your Dinner Routine {using Simplified Dinners} |

Meal planning is one of those things that seems like it should be a breeze, but in reality, can quickly become a nightmare.  Some weeks, I really enjoy meal planning, but as soon as life gets busy, meal planning becomes a chore that feels nearly impossible.  Not to mention the fact that I am a stay at home homeschooling mom.  I have no less than 8 people (sometimes 9, soon to be 10) eating 3 meals a day on any given day!  Add to that a steady flow of guests, and you can imagine what one little hiccup in our routine will do to a meal plan.

In fact, I can totally relate to what Mystie Winkler has to say in this video:

Simplified Dinners ebook with recipes!

Get $3 off Simplified Dinners when you use coupon code: raisingarrows

Are you burned out on meal planning?

Simplified Dinners is Mystie’s creative answer to a busy mom’s frustration with meal planning.  It implements a master grocery list along with versatile recipes to create a method of meal planning that is streamlined and easy to use.  It even creates a pantry and refrigerator/freezer that can accommodate someone who isn’t used to running your kitchen – say a young cook, dad, or Grandma.

In fact, I decided to have my 13 year old daughter read through the ebook to see if she understood the concept and thought she could implement it on her own.  Her words were, “This is really neat!  I could definitely do this!”

Simplified Dinners - even my 13 year old can do it! |

So, how does it work?

Every recipe in Simplified Dinners gives you a starting point.  This is your “base”.  From there you add in other options to create a variety of different meals from that starting point.

For instance, let’s look at the Slow Cooker, No Defrost Chicken section (because, let’s be honest, how many busy moms actually get around to defrosting the chicken before it goes in the crock pot?)  The starting point is the chicken, a sauce, and a crock pot on low 8-10 hours.  From there, Mystie gives you 6 different kinds of sauces, along with notes on serving ideas and additions.  

This is how ALL the recipes are!  Tons of options, all laid out for you – easy peasy!


Use coupon code: raisingarrows to get $3 off your purchase!
code expires 10/20/14

None of the ingredients are crazy weird.  There is a shopping list included, so you could potentially always have everything on hand, no matter which starting point and which addition you choose.  The entire process is Simple, Simple, Simple!

But, let’s say you DO want to plan a little more than just opening the ebook.  (By the way, I printed out Simplified Dinners and put it in my Food Notebook so I don’t even have to open my computer to grab the recipes!)  Why not snag Mystie’s menu planner?

It’s FREE and Totally customized for use with the ebook!

Download Mystie’s Simplified Dinners Menu Planner & Master Grocery List!

This is especially helpful if you have someone coming into your home to care for your family and they might need a bit of help knowing what to feed everyone.

Simplified Dinners is also fabulous for new moms!  You know that newborn fog?  Don’t worry about it!  Lean on the recipes in Simplified Dinners!  Give the shopping list to your husband or other family member and you are all set!  In fact, most of the meals in Simplified Dinners are perfect freezer meals!

So, give yourself a break and order a copy of Simplified Dinners!

(Don’t forget that coupon code!  raisingarrows gets you $3 off! - code expires 10/20)

Simplified Dinners ebook with recipes!

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? {Kitchen Tour – Part 1}

Back in March, I wrote a post about keeping your kitchen clean.  I mentioned in the post how reducing clutter in your kitchen helps tremendously, but I’ll be honest, sometimes clutter lurks in places you forget about, or sneaks onto your counters, and sometimes it shows up in the form of a gift from a well-meaning someone who brings it into your kitchen and leaves it there.  Before you know it, the kitchen has been overrun by things that do nothing but take up space.

So, when I saw a post on Pinterest that begged me to take a look at one woman’s minimalist kitchen, I couldn’t help myself.  What I saw made me sigh happy, clean counter, sighs.  But, it also made me wonder…

Can a large family live without a lot of extra kitchen appliances, dishes, tools, and gadgets?

In other words…

Can a large family have a minimalist kitchen?

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? (plus Kitchen Tour Part 1!) |

I will start off by telling you that kitchen gadgets are NOT my thing.  They hold no appeal for me, so you won’t find a lot of that type of thing in my kitchen, minimalist or not.  In fact, in nearly every area of my life, I tend toward the minimalist category.  Decluttering is cheap therapy for me.  I like to throw things away.  But everyone knows a large family naturally accumulates more stuff than a smaller family.  More people bringing in more things, not to mention outsiders who figure you need more stuff since there are so many of you, can easily overtake a large family kitchen.

I was determined to take the minimalist approach to the kitchen, and run with it – just to see how far I’d get.  I can definitively say that you ABSOLUTELY CAN HAVE A MINIMALIST KITCHEN in a large family, but there are a couple of things you have to take into consideration.

1.  Have the RIGHT SIZE of tool for the job.  You will waste a ton of space if you are trying to accommodate a large family with 3 too-small pots, rather than 1 perfect-sized pot.  Don’t hang onto items that don’t really fit your family.  Upsize and declutter the too-small things.

2.  Purge often.  Because of the sheer number of people in a large family household, you have to be on your toes with sorting and getting rid of things that don’t truly belong in your home.  If you receive something that is a better fit, get rid of the item it replaces.  And don’t look back!

OK, let’s get started with the tour…

{affiliate links included}

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? |

This is the main wall of my kitchen.  This is by far, the largest kitchen I have ever had; however, it has a few tricky spots I’ll point out as we go.

On the far left, you see a glimpse of an antique ice box that holds our teas and my Bosch mixer.  While I use my Bosch often, I decided it was not often enough to warrant counter space.  On top of the ice box is a glass pitcher, a flower arrangement my 10 year put together (she has a real knack for home decor), and a plate for fruit.  These things are all decorative and functional.

Working our way to the right, you’ll see a counter space that has a basket for bread with a butter dish next to it.  I could get a bread box, but that’s not something I’ve ever owned, so until I do, a basket works.  I also hung my hot pads on a 3M removable hook next to the stove.  (I LOVE these hooks!)

Above that counter space is my Baking Cupboard.  I have had a designated Baking Cabinet/Cupboard for years.  If you bake a lot, and you can spare the space, I highly recommend doing this.  This is also where our often-used seasonings go, so they are quick to grab when cooking up meat and other dishes.

Below that counter, are casserole dishes, cookie sheets, and other baking dishes.  Here is a list of exactly what I own:

I could rid of the items we don’t use often, but for now, I like to have them on hand for the few times I do want to make something that calls for one of those pans.

Next, is the stove.  I do not keep anything stored in the oven or in the drawer below (except the broiler pan that belongs with the stove…and never gets used).  On top of the stove, I have a tea pot.  This would not necessarily have to be there, but I like the way it makes the stove look all homey. ;)

Above the stove and microwave, is where I keep olive oil and olive oil spray, along with my knife sharpener.

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? |

The next counter space over has an upcycled utensil holder made by my friend Char at New Life Treasures.  It holds a few wooden spoons, an assortment of spatulas, whisks, tongs, a ladle, and a couple of other utensils.  I was brutal and got rid of any utensil that didn’t get used regularly.  If there was something that didn’t get used often, but I still thought ought to be kept, I moved it to a container in a cupboard – more on that in another post.  I will say this counter top space is also where clean dishes go to dry.  We hand wash any dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher as well as any dishes or knives that are not supposed to be put in a dishwasher.  I use an XL Envision Dish Drying Mat to put the overflow dishes on to dry.

Above that counter is where our plates and bowls are kept.  I have 3 small plastic bowls and 3 small plastic plates for my little guys.  I have 6 more plastic bowls that work well for snacks and such, along with 8 pottery bowls that match the 8 dinner plates I have of October Franciscan pottery.  I also keep 3 deep bowls in that cupboard that work well to mix small batches of things.  Besides the 8 dinner plates, I also have 8 smaller Corelle-type plates.  Typically, when the table is set, Mommy, Daddy, and the two oldest children get large plates, and everyone else uses the Corelle or plastic smaller plates.  Sometimes, depending on the meal, we all use the smaller plates.

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Kitchen Tour!|

Excuse the horrible photo.  I was taking it with my phone and there was no making it look pretty.  You can see below the sink there is a cupboard and another right next to it.  These hold cleaning supplies.

Next to those cupboards, you will see the only drawers in the kitchen.  They are small and shallow.  Very strange setup for such a large kitchen, but we’ve made it work.  The top drawer is silverware and extra DrinkBands for guests.  The next drawer contains kitchen towels.  The 3rd drawer contains Bosch attachments, gadgets we actually use on a regular basis (pastry cutter, apple corer, beaters, etc).  The bottom drawer used to hold plastic storage container lids, but I’ve decluttered enough of those that it currently stands empty! *gasp*  It will probably end up housing my drying mats (yes, I have more than one) or some of the less used kitchen gadgets that are put away on the opposite side of the kitchen (another topic in Part 2).

The counter top above those drawers is the dirty dish holding area.  That is where all the dirty dishes go until my Dishwasher Helper takes care of them after every meal.

And lastly, the cupboard above that counter is where glasses go.  We have two glasses for each person, colored coded with their DrinkBand.  There is also a place for sippy cups, and a box that holds plastic reusable cups that my husband takes with him on his daily commute.  I use a box for these because inevitably, someone would open the cupboard door and out would fall all the plastic cups!  I do have a few extra glasses for when company comes stored on the top shelf as well.

I will be sharing what is housed on the other side of the kitchen along with the island in a later post.  Feel free to ask any questions and offer ideas for other readers to create a more minimalist kitchen of their own!

Posts in this Series:
Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen (with Kitchen Tour Part 1)
Minimalist Kitchen Tour Part 2

Want to read more about Homemaking?
Check out my Homemaking Basics!

Homemaking Basics | RaisingArrows

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas {a 12 week series}

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas - 12 weeks to get your heart and home focused on Christ | hosted by with SheriGraham.comKnowing Jesus should bring a peace to our lives that surpasses all else.  Celebrating His birth should be a beautiful time of sharing the Light of the world with others.

Yet, as the holidays approach many people fall apart, Christians included.  We get wrapped up in all the busyness of the season and forget to let Christ’s peace reign in our lives.  We worry about holiday meals, presents, relatives, and keeping sane through it all.

This year, I could easily get “too busy” and lose my peace and focus in the process.  Our family has some traveling to do, some decisions to make, and I’m due with baby #9 just days before Christmas.

Back in 2008, I purchased The 12-Week Holiday Planner. {affiliate link}  Our daughter, Emily, had passed away earlier that year, and I was due with baby #6 on Christmas Day.  Having that planner was such a blessing to our entire family.  Now it has become a tradition at the beginning of every October to get out the green binder that holds my 12-Week Holiday Planner and purposefully plan so I can stay focused on WHY we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, rather than muddying up the season with stress.

This year, I would like to invite you to join me in preparing for Christmas with the peace of Christ at the forefront of your planning as we journey through The 12-Week Holiday Planner together!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas - a 12 week series from and

Sheri Graham, co-author of The 12-Week Holiday Planner, will have her Holiday Combo Set on sale today through Oct 10, 2014.  When you use coupon code:


you will receive the entire set for $12.95.  This set includes The 12-Week Holiday Planner, a Holiday Open House guide, Homemade Gift Mixes ebook, a Christmas journal, and a Thanksgiving Planner!  (This coupon code is exclusive to Raising Arrows, so be sure to send your friends and family to this post to get their own set!)


Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas - 12 weeks to get your heart and home focused | hosted by along with SheriGraham.comThe 12 week series will begin on October 5 and will be hosted here on Raising Arrows, with Sheri Graham as the guest writer.  Sheri is a homeschool mom who loves to blog about homeschooling, homemaking, healthy eating, home business, and more. Her desire is to provide encouragement to the Christian family, touching on matters that are close to her heart. Sheri sells a variety of ebooks on homeschooling and homemaking, as well as publishing books in print and Kindle formats.

Let’s start preparing!

and join us on October 5th!