By: Elizabeth Hansen Whether you are single, married and not ready for kids, don’t want children, struggling with infertility, or more, you can still be a parent—mother or father—in many ways. There are many relationships we have in our lives where we can step into […]
Author: Stance Studies on the Family
As college students, newly weds, young parents, or even veterans in the marriage arena, your home can be a place of refuge that you can call your own and also personalize to your own tastes and desires. However, it can sometimes be tricky to know how to arrange or decorate your house, especially if you can’t afford an interior designer or decorator.
While an interior designer or decorator might be wonderful to hire at some point in our lives, here are some beginner tips on how to arrange and manage the interior design of your own home. They are easy to follow and also give you a sense of power and understanding surrounding your own home.
First of all, lets get the definition straight of an interior designer versus an interior decorator. An interior designer understands how and why people behave so they can create a functional space specific to an individual or commercial business. An interior decorator, on the other hand, furnishes a space with items that are in fashion, beautiful, etc. While an interior designer can design and decorate, a decorator can decorate but cannot design.
Now, a few starter tips to improving the space of your home:
- Scale vs. Proportion: Scale is the actual size of an object while proportion is how big or small an object feels in relation to another object or to the room as a whole. So, have you ever felt like your space just isn’t big enough? Maybe its not the size of the room, but rather the scale and proportion of your furniture. Recently I felt the same way about my living room, but after removing our rather large scaled coffee table, the room seemed to double in size.
- Balance: Having balance, whether it be symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial, can help a room feel bigger, smaller, more calming and familiar, and more! Symmetry can help you understand, organize, and control your space better.
- Emphasis: A common feature of emphasis is having a focal point in your space. Do you feel like there is so much going on in your space that you don’t even know where to start organizing, cleaning, or decorating? You might be having an emphasis problem. Creating a focal point can help your space feel less chaotic. This can be done through adding some color, a focal piece of furniture, etc. If you have too much of one color or too many demanding pieces of furniture, you will lose this sense of emphasis.
- Harmony: Harmony includes variety and unity. You want your space to have some variety to it, so as not to be overly boring, but it also needs unity so the space and all its elements go together. A good rule of thumb, is that if you are going to add a new element to your space (e.g., a new color), you need to add it at least three times so that the space maintains a sense of unity and not too much variety.
Of course, there are many more factors and details that go into making a good design, but hopefully these few will put you on the right path to evaluating your home and creating a more perfect space for you and your family.
All of these facts and principles came from the textbook, Interior Design by Stephanie A. Clemons and published through The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc. This is a great place to start to learn more.
When I worked as the front desk medical assistant a few years ago at a primary care physicians office, I was able to observe many different questions, concerns, and discussions between the physician (Dr. F) and her patients. One afternoon Dr. F came out of an exam room looking amused and let all of the staff know that there would be an office meeting at lunch. During this meeting Dr. F applauded everyone for taking every patient concern seriously and scheduling appointments for every patient. However, we were scheduling one type of appointment far too often. This type of meeting concerned infertility in couples trying to get pregnant. We were taught that patients should be comforted and advised to not be concerned if they were not pregnant after one or two months of trying to conceive. In fact, we were told that an appointment should only be necessary after a couple had been trying to conceive consistently for six months to even a year! We were asked to continue to be respectful of patients’ concerns, but to advise couples to not request an appointment for infertility until they had been trying to conceive for longer than six months.
So why do so many couples get so nervous if they cannot get pregnant after a few months of trying to conceive? The answer is simple: culture. Dr. F said it best when she said, “when we teach our kids about sex during high school we push this idea that women will get pregnant if they even look in the general direction of a mans genitalia!” And while she was hyperbolizing, the statement has a point. Sex education in America is pretty hit-and-miss depending on what state you reside, with one study stating that sexual education programs often lose in competitions for school funding. But even when someone has received a satisfactory sexual education, there are several cultural factors that often affect couples’ thinking.
Have you ever heard that a woman has to have her babies before she turns thirty-five or her chances of having a baby will drop drastically? How about that once she is forty, her chances of having birth defects are doubled? I would be surprised if someone in their twenties hadn’t heard these statements. We hear comments such as these all the time from concerned friends, mothers, and other close individuals. Every year during the holidays, many young couples are accosted by inquisitive family members about when they are planning on starting because, their “biological clocks are ticking!” Commonly held beliefs such as these come from caring individuals but are simply not true. First off, the “thirty-five year cut off” came from a French census record from the 1600’s. More modern studies from populations of modern women see a drastic increase in the child bearing years of women. In fact, in one study it was shown that women at near forty still had an 87% of getting pregnant within a year. And the doubling of birth defects? That is a quote from a study that completely missed the point of the study itself. While it is true that women over forty have a doubled chance of experiencing birth defects, the study from which these statics originate found that the percentage of women experiencing birth defects after the age of 35 only “climbed” from .5 to 1%. So, while it is technically true that the rate of birth defects doubled, this “doubling” was in an extremely small number! When we separate out the cultural boogey-man stories of infertility and the ever ticking clock of a woman’s body, we realize that couples have way more time than they thought to start their families.
But what about “right now” for all of those couples that I saw at the front desk, and all of the other couples that are trying to get pregnant in their twenties? It is fine that they have more time than commonly believed, but they still aren’t pregnant after three months of trying? Multiple failed attempts at pregnancy can in fact be very stressful, but everyone—young couples and their friends and family alike—need to understand that getting pregnant is hard. In a study done by the journal of human reproduction, when couples timed intercourse with ovulation there still was only a 37% of getting pregnant in one month. Creating a human body is incredibly intricate, there is a reason that many call it the miracle of birth. More often than not, something goes wrong during the first couple weeks of pregnancy, resulting in a failure to truly conceive a child. When someone is trying to get pregnant, it more common to experience failure rather than success in the first month. However, if they keep trying throughout the year, it is probable that they will conceive before the year is up!
So what is the take away? Women have way more time than they often think to conceive a child, it can be hard to conceive the very first time that a couple tries. Finally, if a couple keep trying, success is right around the corner. When it comes to starting a family, there are a lot of things to get stressed out about, but whether or not a couple will be able to conceive should not be one of them. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process.
I grew up in a big family, and my parents were always looking for ways to save money. My mom turned to coupons to buy the necessities without spending ridiculous amounts of money. Couponing can help families and individuals save a lot of money, especially when they are used correctly. Here are some steps to help you start couponing:
- Collect Coupons: Most of us have that huge pile of junk mail and advertisements that gets delivered to our houses a few times a week. I usually throw it aside, find it weeks later, and throw it away. Many of those advertisements, however, come with coupons in them! Looking through these advertisements, the Sunday paper, and local store ads are a great way to find coupons. Many stores also have online coupons or apps that allow you to download coupons while you’re standing in the store!
- Organize your Coupons: Once you start collecting coupons, you’re going to need some way to keep track of them all. The best way is to organize by category (e.g., food, cleaning products, and health care) and expiration date. There are several ways to do this. My mom would get the small, cheap photo albums that hold about twenty 4” x 6” photos and organize her coupons in that. Other people use binders or little containers designed to hold 3” x 5” index cards. Find the way that works for you and use it!
- Find the Deals: This is a step that many beginning couponers miss. Just because you have a coupon for an item doesn’t mean buying that item will save you money. If you usually buy the cheap, off-brand version of something because it’s $1.00 cheaper than the name-brand version, then you aren’t going to save any money if you buy a name-brand item with a $0.75 off coupon—you’ll still end up spending $0.25 more than if you bought the off-brand item. If you can find an item on sale, and then use a coupon with it, that’s when the big savings start to happen.
- Know Store Policy: Different stores have different coupon policies, such as doubling coupons on one item or using multiple of the same coupon in one transaction. Make sure you know what your store policy is so you can use your coupons most effectively and avoid any surprises at check-out.
- Save Money: You’re ready to start! If you’ve found and organized your coupons and located the deals, then you are ready to save money. Good luck with your couponing!
When did you finally learn that a “pee-pee” was actually a penis? Or, when did you learn that women have a clitoris and what its true purpose is? Understanding sexuality is extremely important to having healthy sexuality and effective sexual communication throughout life, and especially […]