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It’s a given that everyone is busy in our culture, from kindergartener’s who arrive home with homework in their backpacks, to teenagers focused on social media, to working parents who are expected to check email during their “family” time in the evenings. If your family struggles to connect, think about instituting family dinners. Taking a half hour or more to share not only a meal but also part of one another’s day can have a great impact on strengthening your bonds.

What You’ll Gain

According to the Family Dinner Project, your kids will reap major benefits from family meals including doing better in school, increased self-esteems, and a stronger feeling of stability. Gathering your tribe together has been shown to decrease several problems – including risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. And becoming comfortable eating together helps lower the chance of your child developing an eating disorder or becoming obese.

A Columbia University study found that teens who participate in more frequent family dinners compared to those who dine together less than three times per week, are less likely to try drugs. Nearly three-quarters of the teens surveyed said family meals are important to them. And teens who share less frequent family meals are twice as likely to use tobacco and alcohol and 1.5 times more likely to use marijuana.

Food is Secondary

One thing you don’t want to do is stress about preparing a time-consuming meal. Keep it simple with basic recipes that are popular with your family. And on busy weeks, consider ordering takeout from a local restaurant. After all, the food is not the most important part of a family dinner – family is.

Engage your family in preparing the meal to expand your time together in an informal and relaxed way. This is also a good opportunity for your children to learn some cooking skills and tasks like how to set a proper table and participate in clean up.

Sharing a meal also gives family members an opportunity to talk about what is going on in their lives. Offering solutions informally, is a passive action that helps model for kids how they can communicate effectively and problem solve.

Dialing It In

If your family is particularly busy you might want to Skype missing members in or have them call in on speaker phone. Let technology be your family friend and bring you together, as opposed to creating obstacles between you. For those present, make phones off limits, or at least limit their use, during table time and focus on one another.

Food in the Spotlight

If you have the time, cooking a meal together will deepen your family connections. Homemade meals make it easier to instill portion control, make for better nutritional choices, give your kids an opportunity to discover new foods, and manage weight. Take your meal nights a step further and shop together at the food market. Allow your kids to choose what they want to eat and teach them how to shop for food. A side benefit will be saving money from less frequent meals being eaten in restaurants.

With over 1,600 designs and unique features, C.A. Jones has a housing option to fit every family. And our kitchen and dining configurations help provide an inviting place for your family to gather.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build “express homes” in new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn how we can design and build a kitchen for you that will increase family connections and enhance your family’s bond. We are ranked among the Top 15 largest home builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Crafting the Perfect Closet

Do you find yourself pausing a long time and looking yearningly at magazine features of a really great walk-in closet? Do they seem out of reach or something reserved for wealthy celebrities? They don’t need to be! Creating the perfect closet in your home does not have to break the budget. Starting your day getting dressed from an organized space will get your day off on the right foot. Knowing your belongings are valued and cared for will put your mind at ease. And knowing you have a favorite private space to retreat to at the end of the day, can be something to look forward to.

Getting the Right Aesthetic

A personal closet is just that, a personal space where you get to express your style. You get to create the perfect space just for you! You don’t have to worry about compromising or pleasing others – you’ve got this!

Storing and Organizing

Today’s options are limitless – whether you want techno-chic glass and steel, vintage warmth with baskets, or a closet that looks like a private boutique with your shoes and bags proudly on display – there are accessible choices for every taste. You get to decide if padded hangers or wood, or even color-coded hangers and clothes grouped by color, will fit your aesthetic.

You may decide to splurge on some custom built-ins or maximize the vertical space available with shelves and hooks. Whatever you choose, closet organization is key, and the options available to help achieve a decluttered, functional space where you can start and end your day are many. The most difficult choice you will have is deciding which options work best for your customized space.

Degrees of Luxury

Have you always dreamed of having a chaise longue? How about an old-fashioned vanity where you can apply your make-up? Maybe a delicate chandelier to provide some soft lighting? These are just a few splurge items you may include to up your closet game.

Don’t forget about your jewelry and lingerie – they need special attention.

Our homes are designed with women in mind, offering features that are important to women to have in their lifestyles. Things like ample closet space and luxury bath features that appeal to the modern female are choices that can be incorporated into your unique home.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build “express homes” in new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 largest home builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

How Home Makes You Happy

You know how owning a home is tied to the phrase “American Dream?” That’s because it is a measure of success on many levels. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense as each month you are working toward accumulating equity, with the ultimate goal of paying off your mortgage and owning your home outright. In our society, becoming a homeowner has traditionally been viewed as a mature, stable and responsible decision – a major mile marker in life. But owning a home brings emotional and psychological perks too. Where we live becomes a part of who we are, and when that place is stable, consistent and comfortable, it affects us internally, no matter our age.

Home is where many people say they feel the safest and secure. According to mental health professionals, being stable in your own home and knowing that you do not have to move – which is a major life change that can trigger upset for family members of all ages as adjustments to new jobs, different schools, and new communities are made – is worth its weight in gold for our psyches.

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Recent increases in natural disasters have created a need to ensure your family is prepared in the event of such an occurrence or even just a storm that strips you of power for an extended period of time. Make sure you are ready to handle any weather-related emergency that comes your way by preparing. Enroll your family in creating a plan, so you’re all in alignment on what actions to take and make sure each member has a copy of it. Go shopping together so you all understand what items will be included and allow each member to choose some personal items to their likings – such as a particular snack or personal items that will calm children.

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Creating an Efficient Kitchen

The kitchen really is the heart of the home. It is where we share nutritional sustenance, bond around a table to talk about our day and share stories, and where kids color or do homework at a counter while mom or dad prepare dinner. An efficient kitchen can promote smooth functioning through your entire household. For the kitchen to work for your family, it needs to work for the person who is the primary cook and person who maintains the space. And that is different for every family and its unique lifestyle.

Organize and Streamline

Young families especially need an organized and streamlined kitchen that easily meets its needs for fast meals and preparation of daily lunches that get toted off to school. Get rid of excess food, appliances and gadgets, and stick to what meets your lifestyle day to day. Trying to make your kitchen something your lifestyle is not will only lead to frustration.

Make sure there is a space where kids can keep you company, coloring or crafting, while you prepare food. This is a great opportunity to connect and hear about their day at school. This is not a stage in their life when you need to be focused on a formal dining table. Kids need a casual space that can handle a mess.

Clear your counters of unused appliances that are rarely used and replace with the ones that reflect how you live – like the waffle and pancake maker, and microwave or toaster ovens.

How You Cook

Are you raising small children with barely enough time to throw a meal together as you rush to keep up with diapers and laundry? Or are your kids teens and a little more independent with more advanced palates, eager to try your gourmet recipe attempts? A kitchen needs to grow and evolve with the family it serves – so make sure your kitchen is set up to match and meet the needs of your family at any given time. Remember the famous peg board fashioned by Julia Child’s husband so she could have her prized pots, pans and kitchen tools within easy reach? That was not a fancy option for a famous French chef and could have easily hung over a work table in a garage for tools, but it served its purpose. An easy over head rack can also keep your go-to pots and pans within an arm’s reach.

Path of Least Resistance

Forget about trends. Create a kitchen triangle with easy access between the refrigerator, sink and stove for ease of preparation and cooking. Ease of access from multiple points is the name of the game here. Follow the path of least resistance and it will save you time and energy.

Storage That Works

Get creative about where and how you store items to maximize space and decrease the time and energy it takes to retrieve items like baking supplies, herbs and spices, and kid’s snacks. An organized pantry space, or supplemental floor or counter storage can work wonders.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. Find out about our custom options that will help you create the kitchen that matches your family’s lifestyle. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Green Ways to Stay Cool

As we head into the warmer months, it is time to think about ways to keep your family and pets cool, without compromising the efficiency of your home. Air conditioning is great, but when used continually it can be expensive and not so easy on the environment. Work with nature when it comes to meal time by utilizing an outdoor grille to keep your indoor temperature lower. Use the power of the sun and the wind to dry your clothes outside to minimize dryer use and save energy costs. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry. Choosing eco-friendly alternatives can have a big impact on your utility bills and the environment.

Go Low Tech

Old-fashioned ceiling, pedestal and counter fans can help supplement your air conditioner by circulating the air in your home and keeping it at an even temperature, instead of having areas that are too cool or void of conditioned air. Cooking and drying the clothes outdoors will not only minimize your utility costs, it will also keep your indoor temperatures from being elevated and making your air conditioner have to work that much harder to keep your home comfortable.

Early morning is typically the coolest time of the day. Give your air conditioner a break and open the windows to save energy and allow fresh air into your home.

Natural Fibers

Just as you wear lighter colors and weights of clothing during the summer months, make sure your bedding is breathable. Cotton sheets are the best for helping to keep you cool when the temperatures climb. Before you retire for the night or start your day, taking a cool shower will lower your body temperature and make you more comfortable on hot days. Using less hot water will also save on energy costs.

Our homes are built with a focus on quality and efficiency, so you are one step ahead of the curve already when you choose a C.A. Jones home. New homes are built tighter, eliminating air loss and ensuring a controlled indoor climate. Contact us to find out more about our participation in the Home Energy Rating System Index and our 10-year Builder’s Limited Warranty.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer for green-home options. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Wall color not only makes a strong visual statement in your home, but it can also impact how you feel in a space in terms of emotion and energy level. Whether your goal is to create rooms that are comforting, energizing, relaxing or inspiring – this is a decision you and your family can enjoy making together. Make no mistake, this can also be an intimidating prospect. A good place to begin is with a visit to your local hardware store, where you can browse palettes and purchase small samples of paint you can apply to your walls to discern if it is the right color. The process of painting an entire home can be eased with a palette approach that utilizes different shades of the same hue.

Whole-House Color Palette

If you want to keep a sense of spaciousness and flow in your home, you can achieve this with a whole-house color palette. Begin by observing your floor plan and determining which rooms are visible from others. Focus first on the largest space, usually the living or kitchen and dining area. Using a soft and natural palette will take much of the worry out of this process. Once you decide on the primary color for the largest space, you can then continue room by room, adding varying shades of the same hue.

Go Bold

If you enjoy color and are brave, think about using a totally out-of-the-box color in at least one room and perhaps applying the statement hue to only one wall if you think color on all walls may be too intense. Like a statement piece of furniture – one bold room or wall will speak volumes to family members and visitors alike.

Lighting Sources

Your paint color will be affected by the light in a room. Both the natural light that enters the room through windows and the lighting you install via fixtures will make a difference on your paint choice, so be sure to take this into consideration when selecting your color. Using samples and holding them up in different areas of your home may help determine if that color will complement the space.

But How Does It Make You Feel?

Never underestimate the power of color and its impact. It can make or break a design and a mood! In general, blues are soothing, greens are relaxing, and reds are energizing. But the shades used can definitely change the emotional response.

Take into consideration what actions will be undertaken when selecting an appropriate paint color. For example, a vibrant red in a bedroom is probably not going to encourage a restful sleep!

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. We offer custom design options, for both interior aesthetics and exterior finishes and color, to make your home unique and to your liking. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Keeping little ones entertained and engaged in inclement weather can sometimes be a task. When bad weather keeps your family indoors, make the most of it by spending quality time together and creating fun, rainy-day memories your kids will retain as they grow up. Remember, kids have a lot of energy to burn, so make sure to incorporate indoor physical activity until they can get back outside. From creating indoor forts, obstacle courses and treasure hunts – with a little advanced planning, you can turn a blah day into a wow day in no time.

Include Physical Play

Just because it’s raining out and you have to stay inside doesn’t mean your kids don’t want or need to play. Line up some plastic bottles and grab a tennis ball and you’ve got yourself an indoor bowling alley. Set up floor targets and toss homemade bean bags to see who can come closest. Grab a hula hoop and let the kids work off some energy – just make sure the furniture and any breakables are pushed out of the way first! Paper plates and balloons make for a great indoor badminton game.

Build Forts

Let the kids build their own forts in their rooms. Employ blankets, pillows, and discarded (and saved for a rainy day) carboard boxes. Have some colorful light sets on hand to lend a decorative element to their structures. Set up a battery-powered lantern so they can read and nap inside their fort. Let them do a craft inside their fort or simply color with crayons and markers.

Don’t Let a Little Rain Spoil Your Vacation

You’ve saved all year to take your family to the perfect sun, sand and water spot and it’s raining! Disaster can be averted with some creativity and some pre-destination research. Find out what type of museums are in the area. From history, to space, to specific places for kids – there is usually something nearby. What about indoor play areas that offer a slew of games and recreation for several ages? When is the last time you went to a real movie on the big screen as a family? Now is your chance! Don’t forget about libraries. Many libraries have motivated staff members who schedule great kid’s events that are free and open to all.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Time really does seem to fly when you are raising children. They grow up so fast – if you could get them to stand in one place for more than a few minutes, you could almost see them grow before your eyes. Any parent who has bought swiftly changing sizes of clothes and shoes, can attest to this. Keeping their bedroom current and relevant as children age can be a challenge but sticking to some guidelines can help keep them happy with their personal space without your furniture and decorating ideas breaking the bank.

Invest in Classic Furniture

Forget setting up a nursery that will be quickly outgrown once your child is a toddler. Instead, invest in some timeless, classic pieces from the outset that will continue to serve your children until they are ready to fly the coop. A timeless chest of drawers can be used by kids of all ages. As they mature, you may add to the “suite” with new classic pieces, such as a full bed. Avoid trends and furniture chosen for specific ages that will not stand the test of time.

Also, choose multifunctional, flexible furnishings which are becoming more widely available and can see your child through many ages.

Let Them Choose

You can make their room age through the years with appropriate accessories and décor. And keeping them happy with their space can be as easy as enlisting their help along the way. Let them choose color variations and decorative themes when it comes to outfitting the room, so they get a sense of ownership.

Storage Solutions

As kids grow, their belongings change and also increase in size and quantity; from clothing and toys to sporting equipment and musical instruments. Look for storage solutions that can accommodate each stage of growth and the accompanying items. Classic canvas totes, colored cubes, and baskets are suitable for different ages.

Add Pops of Color with Paint and Wall Coverings

Nothing changes the appearance of a youngster’s bedroom faster than paint or wall paper. Changing one wall every couple of years, especially if it’s just paint, will help reflect their evolving personality and keep their space relevant.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn how we can help you design a home that will grow with the needs of your family. With over 1,600 designs and unique features including drop zones, hidden prep areas and kid zones, we have a housing option to fit every family. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

Clean Home, Clear Head

Keeping an organized and clean home has a positive impact on our mental outlook and even our physical well-being. Clearing clutter from our residence ultimately helps to clear “cluttered” thoughts from our mind, freeing up space for clear thoughts. Laying down at night with a clear mind leads to a much better night’s sleep, which is crucial for good health. Research has shown that an orderly home leads to better nutritional habits and the physical activity required to maintain a clean home, contributes to being physically fit. Having an orderly foundation, means we spend less time looking for lost items, and more time on more important things. Cleaning our home regularly also keeps dust and contaminants at bay which can lead to allergies and illness. Having a tidy home is a practice with numerous benefits that can help improve our lives.

Routine

Routine is key in keeping a clean and organized home. Once that is established, it takes less overall time. Simple steps like making the bed every morning and not leaving dirty dishes to accumulate have a visible impact that can keep us motivated. Spending a half hour to an hour a day doing the basics – dishes, a load of laundry, a quick surface dusting or vacuum can keep a home clean in a very efficient and effective manner. Knowing a home is cared for, naturally makes a person feel better.

Increase Productivity

Having an orderly foundation to work from, that is free of distracting clutter, means you save time and can accomplish more work and enjoy other activities. Being more productive means you can finish tasks and then move on to other things like spending time with family, relaxing, exercising, making nutritious meals and ensuring you have enough time for proper sleep.

Mood and Home

In 2009, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology found a link between the state of a person’s home and their mood. Those who described their home as cluttered or unfinished experienced more stress and cortisol present in their brains than those who described their home as restful and restorative.

Benefitting Body and Mind

Indiana University found that people who were more physically active had cleaner homes. And the physical activity definitely has to do with what it takes to keep a clean home. Further, they determined that cleaning helped keep the body healthy through release of excess energy and toxins and also improved blood circulation.

Indoor Air Quality and Physical Health

Today’s homes are definitely built tighter and as a result, especially in winter months when they are closed up, seal in and circulate a lot of the same air. The US EPA has said indoor air quality can often be more contaminated than outdoor air quality.

If a home is not kept clean, the indoor air quality can plummet leading to allergies and illness. Pet dander, mold and dust mites can accumulate and lead to health problems.

Launched in 1995 by Chris Jones, C.A. Jones is the only woman-centric builder in Southern Illinois. Our roots are in Southwestern Illinois, in several communities in Madison County. We have expanded south to build new communities in St. Clair and Montgomery counties. Contact us today to learn what we have to offer. With over 1,600 designs and unique features we have a housing option to fit every family, providing a home that will motivate you to maintain well. We are ranked among the Top 15 Largest Home Builders by St. Louis Business Journal. Our forward-thinking philosophy, business integrity and superior customer service make us the right choice to build your next home.

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