Over the last week we had a whole string of beautiful spring like days and were able to spend long hours outside, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the outdoors.
Then Tuesday we woke up to snow, sleet and freezing rain. Suddenly I found myself looking for ways to make the atmosphere inside calming, creative and fun when everyone really just wanted to go back outside.
Here is a list of things that help to make our home atmosphere pleasant.
1. Light a candle. This is one of my favorite. I love the scent and the sight of candles burning. Of course with so many little kids in the house I have to make sure they are up high in a safe place but with that taken care of it's an awesome mood lifter. My favorite are the vanilla scented candles and they have come to mean home for me. But everyone has their own favorite.
2. Mix up something simple, put it in the oven and enjoy the aroma wafting through the house. Brownies or cookies from a mix work just fine. There's just something about the smell of baked goods that make one feel at home and comforted.
3. Boil a few cinnamon sticks in a large pan of water. This has the added benefit of putting moisture into the air. I find the air in our home gets very dry when the heat is on in the winter.
4. Start a pot of coffee. I don't know about you, but often just the smell of freshly brewed coffee perks me up, even before the first sip. Even the kids seem to like the smell of it.
5. Music. This can work several ways. If things are feeling chaotic put on some quiet calming music and have everyone sit down for a few minutes with books. Is everyone down in the dumps or grumpy? Try putting on some upbeat music and having everyone dance to a few songs. Soon everyone will be laughing and having fun. Bad attitudes? I've found putting on a CD of worship music can have a soothing effect on ruffled spirits.
6.Words and tone of voice. It is so easy for me to find myself on a downward slide into the dumps and my attitude and tone of voice reflect that. When I make a conscious effort to keep an upbeat and positive attitude my words and tone of voice reflect that. I don't have to feel that way, at least not a first. Sometimes I just have to "fake it 'till I make it." But it does make a difference, both in myself and in those around me.
7. Combine a few of the above suggestions. Put a pan of brownies in the oven to bake and then sit down with books and quiet music until they are ready. Light a candle and enjoy some worship music. Dance to a few songs while waiting for the coffee to brew (maybe make a few mugs of hot chocolate for the little ones.)
Whatever you do, remember that this is the time of year when we are all getting spring fever. Be patient with yourself and everyone else, intentionally create a pleasant atmosphere, and soon, we will be seeing more and more of those warm days that so many of us are craving. Or maybe you're more like my mom and would rather winter would just stay. In that case make the most of the cold wintry days as warm weather peeks it's head around the corner.