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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...
Surviving the Christmas Countdown: A Parent's Guide
Well, it’s almost Christmas. How’s it going? If you tried to answer that and found you could produce only a strange clicking sound and not actual words, I understand and hear you loud and clear. Back...
Modern Manners for Conflict-Free Family Visits
Where are you supposed to have Grandma sleep when you don’t have a guest room? Who controls the thermostat? Who gets the first shower? And do you have to let your brother bring his dog? Having family come to stay can be both easier (you know what to...
Modern Party Etiquette for Hosts and Guests
Invitations, seating cards and cell phones, oh my! Navigating modern party etiquette can be tricky for both hosts and guests. These 10 do's and don'ts should help clear up everything from what to bring (try a book instead of flowers) to those pesky details...
Simple Pleasures: Decorating Is Fun
Just like the title of famed decorator Dorothy Draper’s book, decorating is fun! Or at least, it can be, once you get beyond the...
You Said It: ‘Happy Is Such a Good Thing’ and More Quotes of the Week
This week on Houzz, we continued our holiday preparations and looked toward some of the changes we’d like to make in the new year. Whether you’re planning an extensive renovation or a move, looking for a new wall color or planning to swap a few things...
11 Ways to Have More Fun at Home
Building or renovating a house is serious business — as it should be. But once the important stuff is done, the bills are paid and the dust has settled, you can let the fun begin. It’s clear from Houzzers’ comments that you enjoy putting your personalities...
How to Prepare for and Live With a Power Outage
You probably know the ominous feeling: As a storm or hurricane sweeps through your community, you’re huddled safe at home or in a nearby shelter … and without warning, the lights all flicker and die. You’ve lost power, and experience says it could...
‘A Little Bold Color Goes a Long Way’ and Other Houzz Quotables
Does anyone else feel a bit scattered this week? Between traveling, holiday prep and dramatic changes in the weather, I’ve had trouble figuring out which task to tackle first. But this week’s Houzz stories gave us good projects to choose from, whether...
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....