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Coffee Conversations: Turning A House Into A Home

Welcome to my first Coffee Break post.  My hope and desire in the Coffee Break Series is to share with you, my friends, what’s on my heart.  Today I’d like to share with you something that hit me over this past week…the importance of turning our house into a home.  What does this mean to us as women, wives, & mothers?  And, what does this mean for our families?

So, please join me for girl talk, snuggle into a comfy spot for a couple of minutes, savor your coffee, and prepare to be inspired, sweet friend.

In 3 Quick Easy Steps...

2016 was a hard year for our family.  I joke that it all started when I was diagnosed with Shingles a week or so before Christmas in 2015.  I called it my Merry Shingles Christmas, #shinglebells! ?

Ringing in the new year, having Shingles of all things, seemed to be a bad omen.  Loved one after loved one, all became sick throughout the year.  I think between our families being ill, and me my work schedule, I practically lived at the hospital for several months.

My dear beloved aunt, Aunt Bobbie, was in and out of the hospital after several falls at home, mini strokes, and cardiac conditions. She ended up passing away in May.  And, it really shook our family to the core.

Never in my own life, except for my miscarriage, had I ever lost someone so close and dear to my heart.  I wasn’t prepared for the emotion and weight that the grief brought.

She was elderly and sick, and I knew that she was happy and healthy, reunited with loved ones in heaven and dancing on streets on gold.  That brought comfort.

But, as those of you who’ve lost loved ones know, the family that is left here on earth to finalize funeral planning and estate details, can become quickly overwhelmed.

In the midst of processing your grief, you then are thrown into a heap of paperwork and legalities that one doesn’t deal with often enough to even comprehend.

In our family, we finally closed this chapter of Aunt Bobbie’s story this week when her house finally sold, and we all attended the closing.  They should’ve built us a bandstand in the office building, because we all wanted to be there to see the house off.

I didn’t think it would bother me too much, the selling of her house that is.  But, on the contrary, it ended up being quite emotional for me.

As I sat there with my husband, sister, and mom in a board room of sorts, staring at the young gentlemen who would now be occupying my aunt’s house, I had a million things to tell him.

Memories of Sunday afternoon brunches came to mind when he asked, “how is it that the appliances are so nicely kept even though their from the 80’s!”  I’m sure he thought Aunt Bobbie never cooked at all, but oh contraire, the lady cooked.

She’d make us hoagies after church on Sunday, and broccoli cheese soup.  Mmmm, I miss those hoagies, her “West Virginia specialty”.

 My sister and I would stay at her house whenever we didn’t feel good and needed to stay home from school, because our mom was a teacher. And, I remember her making us her homemade chicken noodle soup, and letting us watch The Price Is Right.

She’d bake us a Hershey chocolate cake for our birthdays every year with special pink icing that I can taste now as I write about it.

I wondered what the new owner would turn our old playroom into?  The room that had an odd stain in the hardwood floor that looked like sunglasses, that my sister and I were convinced could transport us to magical far away places when we were kids.  Oh, the imaginations we had.

Memories of watching Victor Borge playing the piano on Aunt Bobbie’s old ginormous TV came flooding back.

I remembered how she only had a small selection of VHS tapes to watch, so often we chose “All Dogs Go To Heaven”.  I could recite that movie if my life depended on it, I think. ?

I wanted to tell him how we’d pick “snowball” flowers in the backyard, and watch the cardinals from her back window.  Aunt Bobbie loved cardinals.

{Yes, that’s me in the blue striped skirt in the photo…wiping my nose.  Gotta love these old photos. ? Even though my undiagnosed allergies were apparently a problem that day, I still picked several of those snowball flowers. See them in my hand?}

“We shared a lot of family gathering in this house”, my mom told the new owner.

As my mom instructed him on how to coax the garage door to open, since it had the tendency to be stubborn, my mind wandered to the Christmas Eve pizza parties we’d most recently enjoyed at her house.  She always bought us pajamas for Christmas morning, a tradition she still kept every year even though we were grown ups.  Even our husbands got in the pajama tradition.

Boy, was I glad I went to that last Christmas Eve pizza party…shingles and all.  Little did I know, it would be our last one with Aunt Bobbie.

I realized in that moment, in that boardroom, that a house isn’t about the decorations, the paint color, the Pottery Barn furnishings, and so on.  Although I do love me some Pottery Barn! ??

A house becomes a home when we begin to make memories and traditions there.

I began to think about the legacy I wanted to have, and the memories I wanted people to cherish about my home.

You see, we all have the power to do this with our homes.

Aunt Bobbie’s house wasn’t the prettiest.  In fact, not much had changed since the 1980’s.  But, from the pink bathroom to the wood paneling on the walls, I would miss it all, because of the memories we made there.

So, can I ask you this, friend?  What do you want your family and friends to remember about your home?  What can you do today to give your children the memories and traditions that they will remember for a lifetime?

Here’s 3 Quick & Easy Ways…

In 3 Quick & Easy Steps...

Establish Family Traditions

Your kids won’t remember everything little thing that you lie awake at night worrying about.  They won’t remember the “failures” and the “short-comings” that you think they will.

They will, however, remember the traditions that you establish in your family home.  They’ll remember those simple movie nights with popcorn every Saturday night.  They’ll remember that impromptu sleepover in your bedroom that one stormy night.

They’ll remember that you went to church every Sunday, and said grace before every meal.  They’ll remember all of the simple, sometimes mundane, things that we sometimes think fall short in this Pinterest Perfection driven society.

Create Consistency 

It’s true what “they” say, that kids thrive on consistency.  From your family rules and values, to how you treat your home and others, children need to know what is tolerated in your family/home and what’s not.

Consistency can also be established in our families through favorite recipes, activities, and birthday celebrations.  Consistency doesn’t always have to mean rules and regulations.  Try to brainstorm how you add more positive consistency into your home.

Take Photos & Display Them

As we all know, time goes by way too quickly, and sometimes photos are the only thing we have to remind us of the people and the moments we most cherished in our life.

Take those pictures proudly, mama.  Display your family photos and memories throughout your home.  Relive your experiences together day in and day out.  Photos are your families art gallery of memories.   Trust me you won’t regret taking those extra pictures.

I love this quote,

“A House is made of walls & beams.  A Home is made of love & dreams.”

What can you do today, dear friend, to start turning your house into a home?

{This post is dedicated to our Aunt Bobbie, and her home on Elmgrove.}


  • That was so beautifully done Stephanie, your Aunt Bobbie would be so proud of you.

    • Awww, thank you so much Aunt Sharon. That means so much to me. ?

  • OMG, I soo enjoyed reading this. You took me on a journey which i enjoyed. Love the tips too – I’m gonna see to eat I create such great memories for my family too.

  • OMGOODNESS , did that bring memories of my childhood, my grandmother who raised me, our humble home filled with love & laughter, funny but our g. kids love hearing about my childhood, growing up, going away to school, etc. Thank you for a powerful eye opener.

    • Thank you Rebecca. I’m so glad this post brought back happy memories. ?


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