The Blessing Hour

December 9, 2009

Life has gotten busy lately. Busy, busy, busy. Busy in a good way, but some of our days shift to be a bit more hectic, and our daily rhythm becomes even more important. I try really hard to keep my work life very separate from my home life, even though I work from home. My focus is to try and take care of most of what I need to accomplish while my children are asleep, or during our creative time together during our day.

One thing that has been so helpful lately is to return to our Blessing Hour midway through our day. Right after I gave birth to Elwood, a friend suggested that I check-out the Fly Lady to try and keep things clean and organized. At first I thought that it was just a silly gimmick, but after a few days of researching her techniques, I was blown away by how helpful it could be. In the past few weeks, I have returned back to follow her system in full, and the blessing hour has made it’s way back into all of our days.


I love a clean and well organized home, and I know the importance of maintaining a sense of peace and clarity in our homeschooling environment. Having said that, I am also more focused on playing with my kiddos, or messing up our home in a creative endeavor, than I am in keeping up with all of the housework.


The blessing hour gives us 60 minutes, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, to pick-up, dust, sweep and get ready for our evening routine. It is a nice way to transition into our down time, and to make sure that our home is ready for a quiet family dinner. It also gives the children the ability to have fun in their rooms, and feel free to play with out limits, while their mama knows that she will not have to go upstairs and nag about everything being a mess.


Once the toys have been put away, and the house has been straightened, then we settle in for our afternoon tea. You remember how much I love tea time. A warm cup of blueberry or mint tea, and a yummy treat makes every day end well. On those days when we miss this time for some reason, we all find it a bit harder to transition into our evening routine.

One of our tried and true favorites is my Lemon Honey and Ricotta tea bread. This bread was adapted from a recipe I found in a wonderful book out of the UK called Great Gluten Free Baking. I fell in love with a lemon drizzle tea bread recipe, but I didn’t like all of the sugar that it called for, so I broke it up with a bit of honey. I also felt like the amount of lemon called for might be a bit too tart, and a little ricotta cheese always does the trick to make the bread a bit more creamy, and a tad less tart (little palettes don’t really take to super sour).


Our home is beginning to feel less cluttered, and more serene and organized. 60 minutes a day of blessing our home with some TLC, and a little tea and bread, makes for a very good day indeed.


Lemon Honey and Ricotta Tea Cake

adapted from Great Gluten Free Baking

2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup of honey

1/2 a cup of ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups of brown rice flour

2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder
4 eggs beaten

grated rind and juice of one lemon

Lemon glaze
grated rind and juice of two lemons

1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan. Cream butter and honey, and then combine with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for *35-40 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Remove bread from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack, and poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick. Immediately drizzle the lemon glaze over the entire cake (make sure that you do this while the cake is still warm). Let stand until completely cool.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

April December 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I love the idea of calling it "blessing hour." Cleaning is a kind of gratitude practice for me- taking good care of the things I am blessed with and feeling grateful when the house is really clean, especially if the cleaning is in preparation for a special guest or activity. And I love sharing my house when it is clean!

Reply

michelle December 9, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I tried Fly Lady a while back and found her so overwhelming. I was getting three-five emails a day with all different reminders and things to do. I ended up canceling my account because it was too much. How did you navigate all the information she has there? I like the idea of a Blessing Hour. If I can manage to find a rhythm to our day I would love to incorporate that idea. I am really struggling with getting some type of rhythm established in our home. The only thing we have pretty set in place is bedtime and I see how helpful it is – I wish I could figure out the rest of our day.

Reply

AdirondackMama December 9, 2009 at 5:42 pm

The blessing hour…I have to give that a try. I found that having the rule of no toys outside of Eben's room helps in reducing the clutter. Actually, it's me that needs the blessing hour. I have to reorganize my sewing room at the end of the day. It never fails to looks like a bomb went off.

I love the recipe. it really looks delicious.

Reply

Gypsy Forest December 9, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I think you may have read my mind! I've been feeling very frustrated lately trying to keep up with the house and the list of craft things I'd rather be doing….. I think this might be just what we're looking for….. and so true that a tidy house makes the evening meal and time after so much sweeter! Thank you :)

Reply

Valarie December 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm

What a great idea to have an hour of transition during a difficult time of day. I know when my children were really little the hour between 4 and 5 is when the meltdowns happened. What a wonderful way to refocus that time into a collective gathering of good. Perfect,just perfect.

Reply

Mary YDP December 9, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I love having the house 'reset'. I do a big-time weekly resetting on Sunday nights. But I find if I take the hour to do that, we are a happier, centered family. Love the flylady techniques, a routine is so important for our little family too!

Reply

Mary Beth December 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I am very interested in this topic and would love to hear more about how you actually go about your blessing hour, especially with very young children. I always feel the children are either "undoing" any cleaning I might accomplish or making demands (get more juice, help me get on this costume, that sort of thing) so that I can't get to the cleaning at all. It really is a challenge.

Reply

sowabisabi December 9, 2009 at 7:28 pm

heather, you are consistently inspiring! we are in dire need of a blessing hour around our wabi sabi home. If it could end with tea and a bit of that lemon tea cake, I might just be able to stick to it. thanks again for a wonderful idea.

Reply

annie December 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Thanks for this post! I've been working hard on getting my daughter to help around the house more but I definitely think that making it part of a daily routine that has a rhythm to it would really, really help.

Reply

Tonya December 9, 2009 at 8:06 pm

At our home we call it the 4:00 tidy – but I like the Blessing Hour better – you are so right that it is a wonderful transition into the evening.
Warm wishes.

Reply

nicola December 9, 2009 at 8:11 pm

you are a fly baby?! i love transition time, too. i find when we miss our schedule (or rhythm), we are ALL out of sync and it makes for a less lovely going-to-bed time. THANK YOU for the recipe. i love "quick breads" like these and i always appreciate a new one to try.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Reply

lily boot December 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Oh Heather – this is precisely what i was writing about on my blog last night – sharing with you each day inspires me so much! I'm going to sound a bit 1950s housewife here, but when Julian comes home from a 12 hour day, he cannot cope with chaos, untidiness and no routine (i.e. no dinner ready, Abby and I still mesmerised with what we have been doing, the house in darkness) – it really gets him down, leaves Abby flustered for the evening, and I feel chaotic and overwhelmed. I cannot wait to read him your ideas and start our own Blessing Hour when we finally move. This will be SO GOOD for Abby and I to transition from the busyness of our day to a quiet, peaceful famlly time, will make the home run so much more smoothly, and give Julian a chance to relax after the stresses of his day. And I'm definitely trying the lemon bread – Abby and I love lemon.

Reply

Andrea December 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

What a nice, soothing way to transition into the evening…would love to institute something similar on our "at-home" days.

Reply

Stephanie December 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm

We have this routine in our home, but I've always just done this because I feel bad when my husband gets home from work and the house is a mess from the days activities. It really does benefit more then just him though, it makes everyones mood much more calm into the evening.

Reply

Shivayamama December 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I have those same feelings. I hate for my husband to come on and feel like life is not settled, or that he needs to help. He works 80+ hours a day, and if things are messy, then really none of us get quality time together.

________________________________________

Reply

kyndale December 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I so need a blessing hour at my house. Having one in the afternoon is great!

Reply

patty-jean December 9, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I feel exactly the same!

Reply

patty-jean December 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Great post – I'm looking forward to trying out this recipe…I've got a bunch of frozen ricotta waiting for something like this! I also do a little flylady here and a little flylady there! 3 weeks ago I made a dicision that has been the best house managing one since I started motherhood – and that is, I hired a "mother's hand"…a local homeschooled young teen, who is happy to work for $5/hr…I hope you all don't think I'm advocating slave labor. She comes for 3hrs once a week, so far, and I CANNOT believe I didn't do this before! We get more done in those 3 hrs, than i could all day! I'm happy, and she's happy making some a little bit of cash!

patty-jean; ” target=”_blank”>http://www.littlequiver.com

Reply

samthehamsmom December 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Yummy recipe~ I need a "Blessing Day" some times! Sounds like a great start though, thanks for sharing. Laura

Reply

Brooke December 9, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I, too have tried FlyLady, but could never seem to stick to it… maybe if I tried to get the kids involved a little bit more, we would all be happy. We have been happily (kind of) living in chaos it seems these last couple weeks getting things ready for the holidays, and today i am doing a huge clean up and wishing that I hadn't left it all for today (I am having a cookie swap tonight) But oh, well. I am SO inspired by you all the time, and LOVE the idea of tea time. I know you are a huge fan, I am becoming one, and my kids love to play tea time… so maybe we will try to incorporate something for all of us to look forward to… any suggestions for kids tea? And where do you get it? That lemon tea bread looks fantastic… I will try to try it out in the near future! Thanks again, Heather.

Reply

Gypsy Mama December 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Funny, I am feeling so thankful to not be the only wife/mama who does this mostly for the husband :) Not that he really cares what the house looks like… but when he comes home to a tidy house and the smell of something warm cooking… our whole evening goes so much better. And since he works so hard to provide for us financially…. I feel like this is the least I (we) can do to show him how appreciated he is :) This blessing hour idea will help me get in the habit of getting it done more often and enlisting some help from kids too!

Reply

Maeghan December 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I love this idea! I too have found since I have been home it has been hectic. I even have 1 in school. What a wonderful idea!

Reply

Kelly December 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm

yum, that looks tasty! I love the idea of teatime and keep hoping to put it in our day.

Reply

kristyn December 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

I'm a fan of FlyLady as well! I don't subscribe to the emails anymore, because they were a bit much for me. But I do try to follow a moning and evening routine as well as a cleaning schedule. I'm with you on the organized home!! And agree with Stephanie…I like to have the house calm and welcoming when my husband comes home from work too.

Reply

Rose December 10, 2009 at 1:37 am

Lovely and inspiring. Thank you!

Reply

renee December 10, 2009 at 2:50 am

I need a clean and tidy house too!
And another comment on the interview… nice that the working at home situation was addressed. It can be hard to find that balance!

Reply

Lisa Q December 10, 2009 at 2:58 am

I like calling it the blessing hour…rather than the nagging routine…pick up! pick up! Thanks for the gentle reminder. I too like a clean, picked up house…this is so good for me.

Reply

Julia December 10, 2009 at 4:05 am

amen to the flylady, I have not checked her out in a while! thanks for that gentle reminder, I was in decluttering mode today….time for hibernation I guess, with our first snowfall!!! can't wait to try this recipe, i have just the person to make it for, a lovely person I hope will be my sister in law someday;)

Reply

darlene December 10, 2009 at 4:27 am

what a nice way to work and play together.

Reply

Arianne December 10, 2009 at 4:54 am

Hi Heather, I just discovered (and am thouroughly enjoying) your blog. I just recently started found the Fly Lady and she rocks!
The Blessing hour sounds like a blessing indeed, sometimes "clean up time" gets a little tired. This bread sounds delicious, I'll be trying it very soon. What work do you do? I don't know why but I thought for some reason that you had a yarn shop ?!?

Reply

Imene December 10, 2009 at 4:24 am

OMG we must be soul sisters. I have been using the FLY lady method and was planning on talking about it tomorrow!!

Reply

Eva December 10, 2009 at 4:43 am

I love the Fly Lady…. so many great suggestions! What a wonderful thing, The Blessing Hour. I was expecting something else at first, but what a pleasant surprise. I am in the process right now on how to make things run delicately while being out of the home everyday…. maybe The Fly Lady will help soar through the mess! Hope you are staying warm.. I know I am trying!

Reply

shannon December 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm

what a pure delight to read this post this morning. i also work from home and stay-at-home every day with my little toddler. i love a clean home, however, i struggle with balancing my creative work, play and everything else with trying to keep the house cleaned and orderly. i am excited to implement the blessing hour. how lovely. and we are all about gluten free in this house. in fact, i'm making gluten free chocolate chip cookies today on our first snow. thanks so much. your blog is beautiful.

Reply

healing hillary December 10, 2009 at 8:48 pm

love this. just checked out the flylady and scrubbed my sink :). hope to make a bit more progress today on the clutter. i have a goal to get it out before more comes in :).
like the blessing hour idea with tea…my, my…that might be just the incentive i needed.

thanks for sharing your wisdom and gluten-free recipe (we are GF too).

Reply

larissa December 12, 2009 at 3:40 am

I love how you reward yourself and your kiddos with a lovely snack and tea at the end of the tidying up. puts everyhting in perspective beautifully!

Reply

Jennifer December 13, 2009 at 4:09 am

I love the idea of the blessing hour, but I can't imagine it "flying" (Ha…) at our house! The boys are 19 months and just over 3; neither of them can be trusted to entertain themselves without making a poor choice for more than five minutes, and most late afternoons I find that I have to work very hard to simply prevent fights right now. I know that this will get better as they get older, and we will be able to have a blessing hour. I am wondering how you ever made it work with really little ones at home?

Oh, and I completely forgot to subscribe to replies on my last comment about the blocks used in the fairy's home… Oops!

Reply

Gerri December 13, 2009 at 8:28 pm

What a wonderful idea. I love the idea of blessing my home an then in-turn blessing ourselves.

Reply

MamaRuck December 23, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I like the idea of having a blessing hour at 4pm. I usually try and clean in the morning but so many things distract and prevent a cleaning hour that I might actually be able to be productive with and enjoy. I am going to make the switch. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Julia B. January 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm

i tried this loaf btw, and it was lovely ! thank you for that.
now to return to my unread inbox, full of flylady emails for the last year…somehow i missed the one about the blessing hour! love it!

Reply

Emmalina January 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm

It is a bit of a shame that many of us feel that acting in a considerate or thoughtful/appreciative way towards our partner is something we have to be a bit quiet about! So much of the "I'm worth it" culture is about demanding what we are 'entitled' to instead of a mutual, respectful relationship. I have just redefined our evening routine to give my partner some well earned down time and reduce stress. Nice to hear other mamas are working with the same goals in mind – something that works for the whole family!

Reply

Emmalina January 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Reading this has given me a bit of an 'aha!' moment. The cogs are turning…thanks again for your inspiration!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: