Nancy Larrosa-Stenson
I'm a crafter, crocheter and I like to cook. I blog creative DIY, recipes and more. Visit me @ www.happyandhandcrafted.com
5 Tips to Improve Your Relationship - Blushes & ButterfliesMahmoud and I have been married for almost four years, and been together for six. The first two years of our relationship was very difficult for us because it was long distance, which neither of us anticipated being apart for that long, so it was quite the experience for us to figure out how to keep our relationship thriving and healthy while navigating all the difficulties associated with not physically being together. One of the disadvantages of long-distance, especially early on in a relationship, is that neither of us got a chance to see each other for who we really are, especially with how we handle certain situations. But shortly after reuniting, we quickly and comfortably settled into our “relationship identity,” as I like to call it lol Mahmoud and I have a very sarcastic and playful type of relationship, which means we both enjoy annoying the heck out of each other and we bicker and squabble like an old married couple. That’s just the way we are, and the way we’ve always been. But we have so much fun together and love for each other, and we know that at the end of the day, the love and respect always remains. Sometimes, though, that playful communication can get lost in translation (even more so when there’s a slight language barrier between us), and since both of us are pretty stubborn, one of us is bound to take things the wrong way and get upset…eventually. While we don’t seriously argue a whole lot, it DOES tend to happen. There is no couple on the face of this planet Earth that doesn’t fight or have problems at some point or another. The problem isn’t that you fight or argue or disagree. The problem is how you solve those issues or settle the disagreements because, like I said, Mahmoud and I don’t fight a lot, but when we do, it’s ALWAYS over the littlest and silliest stuff. So, for us, knowing how to get over our problems is important so that our relationship doesn’t suffer over the pettiest things. Over the years, we’ve learned through trial and error what worked for us and how to get out of an argument as a stronger couple. Every relationship is different, but the following tips have truly helped us get to a point where we are happier and healthier than before. And that takes way more than just communication 😉 YES to going to bed angry. I know a lot of people will be confused by this statement since we always hear the exact opposite: “Never go to bed angry with your spouse!” It’s almost like a sin to even think of doing otherwise. No matter what you’re going through, you HAVE to solve ALL your problems at this VERY moment right NOW before you even THINK of going to bed! Yeahhhh, that’s not the way it works for us. I remember at the beginning of our relationship, I would try so hard to force us to solve our issues or whatever was going on, but what I found was the more we forced it, the more frustrating and problematic it became. Some issues just aren’t meant to be talked about or solved “right then and there.” Sometimes it’s better to let things be for a little bit and then revisit it at a later time when we’ve both cooled off long enough to discuss things in a more level-headed manner and without both of our emotions in the heat of the moment clouding our better judgment. Mornings call for a fresh start and a new perspective, and that’s exactly what happens with us. We’ll sleep in separate rooms, absolutely heated with each other, but wake up the next morning like “what the heck were we even arguing about?” And then laugh at ourselves, make up, and go back to normal lol Knowing when to mutually walk away from a negative situation will allow you both time to think things over and realize that what was made out to be a huge deal never was in the first place. Know when to ask for help. There’s nothing worse than unsolicited advice (about anything, really), and while most people mean well, they have no clue about the true dynamics of your relationship in order to know that what they’re saying can be very unhelpful and damaging (sometimes just downright rude and judgmental). Mahmoud and I have made it a point to be private about our problems, but there have been a few times we’ve talked to my mom about bigger issues that we were personally struggling with. And being able to have her play mediator, hear both sides of our stories, and give us advice to help us out of our rut has helped us better understand each other and give us that neutral party perspective that we needed to realize that getting to the resolution was easier than we thought, but couldn’t get to without help. But that’s not always the case for every couple out there, and just as it’s unhealthy to keep your feelings bottled up for a long time, it’s the exact same with a relationship. Bottling up your problems and keeping them between yourselves is only going to escalate into something worse than you intended it to. Knowing when to truly ask for help when you need it is one of the healthiest, and sometimes only, option you have to help your relationship. Whether it be a parent, sibling, close friend, or medical professional, whoever you choose to confide to should be able to give advice your relationship NEEDS, not necessarily what you personally might want to hear. If a disagreement or argument escalates, it can be difficult for either one to budge, but an outside view IN to the situation can give you both the fresh perspective you need to figure things out and move on. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and nothing to feel ashamed about when you might feel like you’re exposing a weaker side of your relationship. Realizing that not everyone is perfect and that you care enough about each other to want to seek outside advice can truly help you take on whatever you’re dealing with and emerge stronger as a couple. Travel alone…together. So this has been very tough for us personally because Mahmoud and I have yet to travel anywhere together with just the two of us. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that we never even got to go on a honeymoon because I couldn’t get approved to take even a few days off from work. So I had to return to my job literally the Monday right after my Saturday wedding! Unheard of, right?! (note – I’m no longer working at said job lol) It’s been four years since our wedding, though, and we still have yet to travel on our own for a number of reasons: opposite work schedules, drained bank accounts, and, eventually, kids lol But we are currently making it a priority to look into vacation destinations later this year where the both of us can just get away for a little bit on our own. It took us years to realize the importance of traveling together and how our relationship can improve because of it. When you’re stuck at home, it’s so easy to get caught up in the same routine every single day. That’s why getting out of the house and going on a new adventure together is good for your relationship! You get to share new experiences together and marvel at the wonder in seeing different parts of the world. Making these kinds of memories can strengthen the bond you have, not to mention invite more love and romance into your lives. There’s just something about traveling that is so carefree, and you don’t have the stress and distractions of everyday life getting in the way of anything like you do at home. There is also never been a place I (or he) have traveled to that I haven’t learned something new from, be it the food, language, culture, or whatever! Being able to learn together will undoubtedly bring us closer and allow us to have more fun, and maybe even learn something new about ourselves! Traveling is refreshing, revitalizing, and beneficial to you as a couple because you come back with better, feel-good vibes, and ready to take on the life that’s waiting for you back home. Appreciate the small things. Remember when you first start dating how you go the extra mile for each other? I’ll never forget my time in Lebanon when Mahmoud and I first got together. Even though it was just for a few short weeks, it was what I’d like to call the “honeymoon phase,” even though we weren’t technically married yet. But since our relationship was so new and we were still figuring things out about each other, we would go out of each other’s way to impress each other. And it would literally be the smallest things. We would constantly dish out compliments for literally everything, thank each other often for the most normal situations, hold hands, refuse to sit anywhere except next to each other, hug, snuggle, go out for nightly walks in the town, and even gush about each other for the short time we weren’t in each other’s presence. We were probably that annoying lovey dovey couple if you ever saw us lol But I mean, it’s called “honeymoon phase” for a reason…because it doesn’t last lol And sure enough, as soon as we moved in together and were in each other’s face all day every day for years, those cute little moves and sayings eventually got to be less and less. This happens with every single couple, and it’s completely normal, but just because you’ve been together for years doesn’t mean that you should stop appreciating the small things. Mahmoud and I know our place in the home very well. He has his chores and I have mine. But even though we have certain expectations of each other shouldn’t mean that we don’t appreciate what we do. Every time I do the dishes, he thanks me. Every time he takes out the trash, I thank him. Whenever he looks good, I tell him. The rare occasions I dress up and look good, he compliments me too (it’s been nine long months of a complicated pregnancy…the last thing I’m worried about at the moment is my appearance, believe me). But even when I look like a rag doll, he makes it a point to say something nice. Yes, even though sometimes he’ll say it sarcastically because, again, that’s just what our relationship has developed into, he’s genuine and he just can’t help but be annoying about it 🙂 The point is, though, little things like that can help us feel good about ourselves and each other. Appreciating the little things, no matter what they are, helps to lift our spirits and inject some intimacy into a romantic relationship that may have started to fizzle. Be responsible for your own happiness. There’s a quote somewhere out there that basically says you shouldn’t expect someone to complete your happiness. Rather, they should only be an addition to it. And that is very obviously true. It’s not fair to expect someone else to make you happy; only you can do that. Depending on someone else for that is very detrimental to who you are as a person, and if you let others control how happy you are, you’ll only get hurt in the long run. Mahmoud and I both had lives before we met each other, ones that we were both quite content with. Meeting each other only elevated our lives, but neither of us sought the other out because “we needed each other to be happy.” Mahmoud is my love, my best friend, my support, and everything else. As I am to him....
The Complete Spring Cleaning List - The Faithful Help MeetFor me, spring cleaning is the most wonderful time of the year! Nothing is better than having a clean house, except a super clean house. The only problem is, it can be so overwhelming. You don’t know where to start, or you forget to clean something, or you clean the same thing more than once. In this list I have only included the most basic rooms that everyone has. So, in the spring cleaning checklist printable at the bottom, there are lines at the end of each room to add anything extra you might have to clean. There is also a blank room for you to write in any extra rooms you have to clean and what specifically you need to clean in them. Also included at the bottom of this post is a few of my favorite cleaning supplies. Cleaning is so much easier (and I think more fun) when you have a great supply to use. I love using natural cleaners, especially vinegar whenever I can. I also could never live without my Swiffer WetJet, Clorox Toiletwand, and microfiber glass cleaning cloths. Entryway: clean door shake out & vacuum doormat organize shoes & jackets dust all surfaces clean decor sweep & mop floors wipe down baseboards wash walls wipe light switches & doorknobs wash windows   Kitchen: wipe out drawers & cupboards wash out silverware tray deep clean fridge & freezer clean dishwasher with vinegar deep clean stove ~ including iron grates deep clean oven ~ including oven racks reorganize shelves & drawers wipe down outside of cabinets clean behind appliances wipe out sink & clean faucet deep clean small appliances wash out garbage can wash range hood filters wash curtains & blinds sweep & mop floors dust light fixtures/fan wash walls wash windows Dining Room: dust all surfaces wash table linens organize any cabinets clean decor wipe down table & chairs sweep & mop floors vacuum rug wipe down baseboards wash walls wash curtains & blinds wash windows wipe light switches & doorknobs   Living Room: dust all surfaces clean glass on picture frames wash blankets & pillows vacuum couch & chairs organize any shelves/cabinets vacuum floor & rugs dust electronics, wipe screens clean ceiling fans dust lamp shades clean decor wipe remote controls wash curtains & blinds wipe down baseboards wash walls wipe light switches & doorknobs wash windows Bathrooms: deep clean shower and tub soak shower head in vinegar wash shower curtain was bath mat wipe down shower liner clean vanity and sink wipe mirror clean toilet wash trash can wipe out drawers & cabinets organize drawers & cabinets wash laundry basket clean decor wash curtains & blinds clean light fixtures wipe down baseboards wash walls wash windows wipe light switches & doorknobs Bedrooms: dust all furniture wash all bedding clean under beds organize closets vacuum & flip mattress wipe out dresser drawers wipe closet shelves vacuum carpets & mop hardwoods dust light fixtures/ceiling fans clean decor wash curtains & blinds wipe down baseboards wash walls wash windows wipe light switches & doorknobs   Laundry Room: deep clean washing machine & dryer clean dryer vent clean lint trap vacuum behind appliances organize laundry supplies wipe out any drawers or cupboards wash out trash can clean light fixture sweep & mop floor clean decor wash curtains & blinds wipe down baseboards wash walls wash windows wipe light switches & doorknobs                        Free downloadable Spring Cleaning Checklist!    Related