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Life 407 Stories

With an overblown, all-out, retail-fueled holiday frenzy at one extreme and an all-natural, homemade Christmas worthy of Little House on the Prairie at the other, I’m guessing most of us have a holiday that lies somewhere in the middle. If you find yourself struggling to balance a desire for simplicity and sharing...
The Not Naturally Organized Parent's Guide to the Holidays
In family life so many things are mythologized and sentimentalized and too often we parents feel depressed — even ashamed — because the experiences we try to create for our kids don't measure up to our expectations. And...
Gift Giving the Simple-ish Way
Every year in the weeks preceding Christmas, I say, “This year we’re keeping things simple!” and every year there are places where I do that. Also, every year, as anyone who has seen my tree covered with hundreds of ornaments could tell...
4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Them
My husband and I began dating when we were still children. He was 16 and I was 15, back in the olden days when people still talked on the phone and wrote letters. By the time we got married and had three kids, we had almost 20 years of correspondence....
14 Things You Need to Start Doing Now for Your Spouse’s Sake
OK, nobody’s perfect. But seriously, you really need to start putting a new roll of toilet paper on the spindle when it’s out. And you definitely need to start closing the toilet lid, like, 10 years ago. Oh, and I’m pretty sure someone has...
Chore Time: How to Work Better as a Family
Years and years ago, one Saturday morning in spring, my husband, Paul, and I had an impromptu discussion. In truth it was an argument, but since we were in the front yard, in the sight of God, our neighbors and anyone who happened...
9 Ways to Appreciate Your House Just as It Is
Whether you've been letting your home improvement to-do list get the best of you, or are finding yourself comparing your real-world home to professionally styled and photographed ones, it's natural to get a little down on your home from time to time....
How to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays
If you’re a pet owner, you’re probably aware of the things you need to do to keep your pets safe around your home. But as the holidays approach,...
Simple Pleasures: The Joy of Fresh Sheets
When you’ve had an especially trying day, there’s nothing quite so restorative as slipping into a freshly made bed. Sinking into crisp sheets, cozy blankets and fluffed-up pillows soothes the spirit and encourages a restful night’s sleep. Here are...
You Said It: ‘Let It Go’ and More Tips From the Week
Last week we talked about how clearing out clutter can help you clear the clutter in your brain. This week, it’s time for the next step, creating surroundings that inspire us. Buying original art, setting up a stimulating workspace or simply switching...
10 Steps for Saying Goodbye to Sentimental Objects
Old photographs, hand-me-down tea sets, sweaters, school art projects — we all have some variations of these items, just sitting in boxes, waiting for … er, what is it they are waiting for, exactly? A day when you will suddenly wake up and feel a...
Houzz Call: Show Us Your Thanksgiving Fails
We’ve all had holidays like these: The dog eats the turkey drippings before you can make the gravy; your husband cuts his hand with a knife while chopping onions and has to go to the emergency room just before the big meal; you ordered the entire holiday...
You Said It: Imagine It Empty and More Tips of the Week
Houzzers, have you ever felt your creative mojo completely drain from your brain? It happened to me this week, and it’s panic-inducing. So I stared at the screen for a few days, adding a sentence here or there, barely able to finish a story. Then I...
You Said It: ‘We Get the House a Present’ and Other Quotes of the Week
Highlights from Houzz this week were quirky and fun. I enjoyed looking through your fall photos so much that I have gone back three times to gaze and daydream, and I’m sure I will again. Elsewhere around Houzz I saw a steampunk kitty structure and learned...
Making a Home Away From Home
If you’ve ever made a big move, whether to a different state or a different country, you are probably familiar with that uprooted feeling that comes along with leaving everything known for something different and new. It can be exciting but also...
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