Posted in cleaning, family, food

Welcome Home

It is a beautiful snowy winter morning here in North Idaho.  I love all the seasons!  Each has its own beauty and uniqueness.  About the time I am tired of one season the next is coming up. There is always something fun to do each season.   We have had a lot of snow this winter which means I feel like baking!

winter

Today seemed like a good day to make granola.  It is super simple, delicious and makes the house smell like you’ve been slaving over a hot stove baking all day!  Not only that but it is much cheaper to make than store-bought and tastes better.

granola

There is something about smell that makes a house “feel” clean, cozy, welcoming.  All the things that you want for your family and friends.

I spend a lot of time in my home and  I want to feel like it loves me!  I want my home to hug my family when they come home from work.  I want your home to feel like that too!

You can’t always be making granola but you can do things to make your home feel welcoming when you come home after a long day.  Have dinner in the crock pot,  have your favorite beverage waiting for you in the fridge, have your favorite scent in the wax warmer.  Think about your future self and how you will want to feel when you walk in the front door. It can be very simple things that take only a moment.  If you know it will be dark out when you return, leave the porch light on and the light over the clean kitchen sink.  There is something about having a light on for you that makes you feel loved.    Treat yourself (your future self) and your family the way you treat your guests.  Put your favorite book by your chair.  Set your coffee pot to start automatically in the morning and put your husband’s favorite coffee mug next to the pot.  Have a warm fleece throw on the couch to cozy up in.

Cuisinart DCC-1100BK 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Black

 

Sherpa Flannel Fleece reversible blanket

Make yourself and your family feel like they are walking into a retreat and a refuge from the world when they arrive home.   You get beat up all day,  your home should be your safe place, your peaceful sanctuary.  A home is more than a place to hang your hat. Your home is where you can be restored. You and your family deserve that!  Your home is yours and it should love you back!

I would love to hear how you make your house a welcoming warm place to be for you and your family!
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Here is my granola recipe!

Granola

Different flavor combination ideas, or come up with your own!
Pecan pie: pecans, honey, brown sugar, vanilla
Hawaiian: macadamia nuts, honey, vanilla, coconut
Pumpkin: Pumpkin pie spice, rum extract, walnuts

3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sweetener : honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut opt
1 cup raisins opt
1 teaspoon spice of any kind cinnamon opt
1 frothy beaten egg white


Mix oats, nuts, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
Add honey, brown sugar, oil, and beaten egg white
Mix well.
Spread out on a large baking sheet on parchment paper
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Give it a stir and return it to the oven for 10-15 more minutes watching to be sure it doesn’t get too dark.
Stop when the granola looks toasty brown and smells incredible.
Let the granola cool completely in the pan without stirring, then break up and store in an airtight container.
Click here to get the awesome program I use for recipes and meal planning!

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

 


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Posted in food, planning

Menu planning

Sunday is usually my “prep for the weekday”.  My husband works Sundays so I have time to myself to get things prepared for dinners, our lunches for the week, start on laundry, make sure uniforms are clean and ready and gear up for daycare for the coming week.  The whole family comes to dinner on Sundays too, so it’s a busy day!

This last Sunday was especially busy!  Granddaughter Brooklyn had an ice skating show Sunday afternoon.

Isn’t she just the cutest Tinkerbell you’ve ever seen?!  They are not very clear pictures. The plexiglass at the rink is pretty beat up from hockey!  You can see that she is quite good though!  Especially for six years old! We are all so proud of her!  She has a competition coming up in March in Montana.  She will be practicing hard for that.

The Ice Show went longer than I had anticipated Sunday evening so I was really glad I had put a roast in the crockpot for pulled pork “Frito Burritos” as Brooklyn calls them.

My pork roast was a bit small so I put a small beef roast in another little crock pot.  (I have three!  I don’t feel you can have too many crock pots!) I put some beef broth over both roasts and a bit of salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin and turned them on low for the day.  I put some rice in my rice cooker (An invaluable appliance!)  and turned that on before leaving the house.

If you don’t already have a rice cooker, click on this one to check it out on Amazon!

When we all met back at the house for dinner the roasts were ready and so was the rice. My girls helped cut up some olives and tomato while I warmed up some black beans and refried beans and shredded the roasts.   We got out the hot sauce, sour cream, jalapenos and the FRITOS!  We wrapped all that up in giant burrito size tortillas.  YUM!  I wanted to get pictures but it was gone too fast!

Menu planning is vital for a well-run house.  It is important for your budget, your health and for your sanity!  When you plan ahead you can avoid having to eat out.  I didn’t know that the ice show would go so long but I knew I wouldn’t be home to prepare something so I used my crockpot.  Had I not planned ahead we probably would have had to order pizza.  That would definitely not be good for the pocket-book.

After a long day at work, no one wants to try to figure out what to make for dinner or run to the store at 5:30.   The drive-thru seems like a good option at the time but your health and weight will pay for that.

To save money, be healthy and have peaceful evenings, take a few minutes out of every week to plan a menu.

Take stock of what is in your freezer and pantry.  Try to use things you have first.  Check out your grocery store’s ads.  Buy meat when it is on sale.  My grocery store’s ads come out every Wednesday so that is the day I make my menu for the next week, Sunday-Saturday.

Look at your calendar, what do you have going on?  Do you need to plan a crock pot dinner? Is everyone going to be eating together? Is there a night it’s just you and you can have leftovers?

Check the weather for the week.  I am very much a “what do I feel like eating today” sort of person so weather is something that I look at when I make a menu.  If it is raining and cold I am not going to want a salad for dinner.  I am going to want soup and I know this about me, so I plan for it.

I use an awesome tool for menu planning.  I have been using a computer program, Cook’n for all my recipes for a very long time and I absolutely love it!  You can import recipes with a click of the mouse and drag and drop them into your week or month’s menus.  I highly recommend the program.  They also have an app for Android and IOS that is super convenient!  The company has been around since the early nineties and has only gotten better over time.  Their support is great too! I seriously couldn’t live without this!

It makes menu planning fun!  Please check them out here:

http://www.dvo.com/index.php?CID=blondie

Whatever you use, whether it be a computer program, App or a pad and pencil, just use it!  Plan! It will save time and money and it will give you and your family peaceful dinners together.  Take a few minutes so that you can spend more time doing what you love with who you love.

Here is a link to the Neato Frito Over-Stuffed Burritos that we had for dinner on Sunday! Check it out!  They were amazing!

foodiewithfamily.com/neato-frito-overstuffed-burritosNeato-Frito-Overstuffed-Burrito-a

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Posted in cleaning

Morning Habits

What did you do this weekend? This is what we did! In our neck of the woods this is what we enjoy doing with our free time. Making a lot of noise in the woods in the freezing cold. Seriously though, it was a blast! My granddaughter got to shoot the .22 rifle she got for Christmas for the first time. It took a lot of coaxing and a bit of bribery to get her to take the first shot. After that she kept begging for more ammo, which she so charmingly calls “gunlets”!

My husband and daughter got to shoot their brand new AR’s and then every other gun they own as well.

After spending the day in the woods we came home to warm up. I love coming home to a clean home that welcomes us! Earlier that morning, before we headed off to brunch and shooting we took a few short minutes to do our morning habits that ensured we would be returning to a clean and comfy house later that day. We won’t talk about the mud my hubby drug in on his boots when we got home …..

Morning habits are key to a Self Cleaning House!

*Make your bed when your feet hit the floor.

*Clean the bathroom before you leave it. Nothing major, just wipe the counter, sink and mirror and toilet seat.

*Empty the dishwasher and put any dishes in it.

*Take the trash out of necessary

Ten minutes tops to be able to come home to a clean house!

We were cold when we got back and hubby had started to feel a bit under the weather. I decided to make my homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. I made mention while I was making it that I don’t have a recipe. I just have it in my head. This makes my girls crazy. So I have been challenged by them to write my recipe for chicken noodle soup and share it with you! I hope you enjoy!

 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves: 6
 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 carrots sliced
4 ribs celery sliced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6-8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pound rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast
8 ounces good quality wide egg noodles

Directions:

In large Dutch oven melt butter. Sauté onion, garlic, carrots, celery, basil, bay leaf, salt and pepper until vegetables are softened. Add 4 cups of the chicken broth and bring to boil. Add noodles and chicken and reduce heat to medium. Stir often, add more chicken broth as necessary. Turn off as soon as noodles are cooked.

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

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Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

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Posted in cleaning, organizing, planning

A system that works

I love paper.  I love index cards. I love all things office supply.  Office Max practically makes me giddy!  I remember as a kid in grade school wanting to be the one chosen by the teacher to go to the paper room for her.  It smelled so good in there and all that fresh clean paper! I know, weird kid, huh?

I am a hands on, actual pen and paper person when it comes to lists and calendars.  It’s nice to have on my phone or computer but I really need to have it physically written as well.  For years I have had my housework organized on index cards.   It has worked well for me and still does.  I still have the chores on index cards that I made for my kids when they were young.  They have memories of those cards, I want to say fond memories but I can’t be sure of that!  Although they have said I can’t get rid of them.

I keep my box of index cards on my kitchen counter.  I have a cat.  Actually I have two cats, but one is quite mischievous.   I woke the other morning to find my entire box of  index cards scattered on the kitchen floor.  I was extremely irritated but took a deep breath and decided to use this as an opportunity to be re inspired and  reorganized.

chore box

My husband bought me new index cards, not just plain old white ones but colored ones!  He said he thought I might enjoy color coding them.   I think he knows me pretty well!  I have been sorting and writing new cards and trying to come up with a new system all morning between loads of laundry and changing diapers and I think I have come up with a pretty good plan!

* Daily Chores                                                                                                                                         * Chores that are done on specific days of the week                                                                       * Chores that only need to be done once or twice a year, broken down by rooms

finished chore box

It’s not perfect, it doesn’t look perfect, but it works for me.  Whatever you do, should work for you.  Whether it is just a sticky note on your mirror reminding you to make your bed or a full spreadsheet with every possible household duty listed, make sure it is working for you.  We are all different.  If it is overwhelming you, it’s not working.  Simplify.  If lists are your jam then get some fun note paper for that.   If you are weird like me, try color-coded index cards.  Don’t get bogged down with the details.  Just have a system that works so you can spend less time playing “catch up” on housework and more time just playing!

Now…… which one of these terrors is to blame?

kitties