Posted in cleaning, family, habits and routines, organizing, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

Cleaning with Kids

We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.

What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.

Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!

The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).

Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.

Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.

I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.

Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.

Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.

You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.

Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.

Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.

If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!

It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.

Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.

Kids respect what you inspect.  You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.

Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!

I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.

Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?

When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.

Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!

When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.

By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!

Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Blessings! XOXOXO

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Posted in cleaning, habits and routines, organizing, routines, Tips and Tricks

12 Habits of People with Clean Homes

We all know someone whose home we are in awe of. That home that always seems to be perfectly clean no matter when you drop in.

Photo by Sarah Jane on Pexels.com

How do they do that? What kind of magic is it?! Their magic is in their habits!

Here is a list of habits that I have compiled that people with clean homes do. If you would like to have a home that is always in a state of “near company ready”, try adopting these habits.

  • Put it back, don’t put it down. When working on a project or even just writing a note or curling your hair, put it all away before you walk away.
  • Declutter. Live more with less. A home with less “stuff” gets less messy. You can’t clean clutter.
  • Everything has a home and everything in it’s home.   If it doesn’t have a home, either make a home or toss it. Just like habit number one says, put it back. Always return things to their proper home.
  • Always make your bed. There are so many good reasons to make your bed, but most importantly it makes the room look better even if that is all that is done.
  • Empty the dishwasher ASAP.  A dishwasher full of clean dishes is a sure fire way to have dishes left in the sink.
  • Never leave dishes in the sink. See above! Dishes in the sink spreads to dishes on the counter, none of which looks tidy. Your sink is just like your bed but in the kitchen. If it looks nice it helps the rest of the room look nice.
  • Never leave a room empty-handed. When walking about the house, always take a look around before leaving a room and notice if there is something that needs to go to the room you are going to. I have a saying…”Always improve the room you are in, even if it’s just a smile.” If you can’t find anything out of place in a room, just smile and make it a happy place to be!
  • Do it now! Don’t wait to pick up that receipt that fell on the garage floor, do it now. Don’t wait to hang up your coat, do it now. Don’t wait to sort through today’s mail, do it now… most of it goes in the trash anyway! Most things take far less time to do than we think.
  • Work smart, not hard. Clean the shower while you are in it. Keep cleaners where you will need them. Clean the fridge one shelf at a time instead of all at once. Use a shared app with the family for groceries and to do lists. Cozi is my favorite! Check it out here!
  • Do a load of laundry a day. Small loads of laundry done daily are much more manageable than mountains of laundry done on the weekends.
  • Reset.  Before bed, before leaving the house, after the kids go to school or go down for a nap, Reset! Reset the room. Fix blankets and pillows on the couch, straighten books on the coffee table, put the slippers or shoes in the basket, and straighten the rug. Make it a beautiful place to come back to.
  • Respect your home and the people in it. Even if you don’t care about your coat on the couch or dishes in the sink, someone else does. A clean home is a peaceful home. Respect each other by picking up after yourself and helping out. Teach your children this from the time they are young. Even if it’s not our favorite thing to do, we do it to show respect and kindness to each other.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There ya have it! I hope you can pick up a few of those habits to help you have a super clean and happy home too!

Blessings! XOXO

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Below is a link where you can check it out! Please feel free to message me with questions!

You deserve a good night’s rest!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings.

Colossians 3:23
Posted in cleaning, family, happiness, organizing, spiritual

Blessed

We are BLESSED! We are so very blessed that our homes are full to bursting. We are so blessed that we have garages and sheds and storage units to hold it all!

We are so blessed that I think we sometimes forget what it means to really need anything. I have several coats and jackets, but there is one that I really want at Target. I have a lot of really cute boots….but I know there is a pair with my name on it at Kohls!

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

We are so blessed that our closet rod is sagging in the middle…. I know, ’cause mine is. Yet there are people in our own towns that don’t even have a coat. Can you imagine what a difference your “extra” stuff could make for someone in need?

Photo by THE COLLAB. on Pexels.com

I am not for a minute suggesting that you don’t deserve to buy things or have nice things just because there are people going without. I believe that if you earned the money to afford it then you most definitely deserve it! I am suggesting that we all get rid of our “extra blessings”. What good is a sweatshirt that you have not worn for seven years, hanging in your closet? What if we took all those things to women’s shelters or homeless shelters? What a blessing it would be to them!

I was reading a devotion by Rick Warren. I will link it here, but I am going to share a portion of it with you. I encourage you to go and read the whole thing. It’s not lengthy.

Empty Hands Receive Greater Blessings


The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (NIV).
What an amazing verse! God makes you rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion, which will result in thanksgiving to God.
God doesn’t bless you so you can be greedy; he blesses you so you can be generous. You give away, and God gives back to you so you can give more away and he can give more back to you and on and on and on. God doesn’t give you things so you can pile them up. When you let go of what’s in your hand, it’s now empty to receive greater blessings from God.
But as I’ve said before, God’s giving to you is based on your attitude. That’s why it’s so important to live with an attitude of gratitude.

Rick Warren

I just love that! “Empty Hands Receive Great Blessings”! I am so excited to continue to let go of my excess blessings so that God can continue to bless me so that I can bless others!

Let’s not ever forget to be grateful for all the things we have and to never be dissatisfied because we don’t have the best car or pretty carpet or the newest phone. Let’s choose to be grateful for all our overflowing blessings! We ARE truly blessed.

Let’s continue to be grateful for what we have, declutter our lives and homes of our “extra” and bless others in the process so that God can continually bless us. What a wonderful win-win!

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

NIV

Blessings! XOXO

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Below is a link where you can check it out! Please feel free to message me with questions!

CBD Oil What it is and how it works in our bodies

I just pulled out my copy of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”. It has been many years since I have read it and after finding the above passage I felt I wanted to read this book again. I highly recommend it! If you would like a copy for yourself click on the image below to purchase from Amazon! You will be supporting me at no extra cost to you! Thank you!

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, routines, Tips and Tricks

You Don’t Need Money to be Organized

Boxes. Cardboard boxes. Sometimes taped together to make a particular shape. A shoebox, a cereal box cut to the right height, toilet paper tubes taped together.

When I was newly married we had next to nothing. Then we had three children and had even less. But we managed! I didn’t have money to spend on Rubbermaid boxes or cute baskets to organize my things. It really never crossed my mind! I just made do with what I had to organize our things. So cardboard, packing tape, and yogurt containers were often used as “organizational tools”.

I share this to say, don’t wait until you can find the right baskets or till you can afford the containers for the pantry. Declutter, see what you have left, decide what shape and size things you need and then find a shoe box or a salad bowl and use that for now. Write down in your notes in your phone the exact size etc of the things you need. Next time you are at Walmart or Target you know exactly what you are looking for. Do not buy a bunch of cute baskets and wooden boxes before you know what you need!

You don’t need money to organize. If you never get the perfect basket and your bathroom is primarily organized by shoe boxes and packing tape…. guess what?! It’s still organized. Currently, the drawer that holds my cleanser, moisturizer, deodorant, contacts and the like is completely coordinated with boxes taped together to make dividers. Classy, right?! At least it is organized!

I am sure by now you all have heard of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, she is a Japanese woman with an incredible amount of wisdom about decluttering and living a simple clean life. I will link her book here. You can click on the image to order from Amazon if you are interested! She has a show on Netflix called “Tidying Up”.

She does suggest that you do huge decluttering sessions and I don’t find that very feasible. As much as I would LIKE to do that I don’t have a lot of time for that and I don’t imagine you do either.

Declutter in a small area every day. Instead of putting off decluttering at all until you have time to pull everything out of each room of the house, I suggest doing little bits every day or as often as possible. Yes, it will take a long while to get through everything, but at least you will be making progress.

Decluttering is not a one and done. Hopefully next time you declutter and reorganize the junk drawer it will be much better, but you are going to have to do it again.

If you have the time and inclination to go all out… don’t have the kids at home, have pizza planned for dinner and have help! The likelihood of becoming overwhelmed is very possible so it is imperative to have a friend to help you.

Don’t start it if you can’t finish it! Don’t pull everything out of a dresser or the kitchen cupboards if you only have an hour to do it. Make sure you have the time to completely finish. Take it out, sort it, put it back, bag up garbage and take it to the trash, bag up donations and take them to a thrift store or charity of your choice. Do NOT leave donations in a bag in the living room or by the front door. Get it out! Decluttering is supposed to make your home less chaotic and more peaceful. A pile of junk left on the kitchen table when you got tired of doing it, is just the opposite.

Here is a super great article on what NOT to do when decluttering! Check it out!

Pro Organizer Tips: What NOT to do when decluttering your home

I hope you do something fun this weekend. Spend time with your kids. Our time with them is so short. Be with your spouse. Enjoy the life you’ve been gifted!

1 Thessalonians 5:16

Be joyful always

Blessings! XOXO

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, spiritual

You Deserve a Clean and Peaceful Home

I have a guilty pleasure. I get tremendous enjoyment from watching “Hoarders” and immense satisfaction watching them clean up all that junk. At first, it’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away. Then you want to shake the person and say “You don’t deserve to live like this!”! The cleaning process begins and it is amazing to see what is under all that garbage. You can see that at one time they had a beautiful home!

Scary and sad, right?!

Unfortunately, I am sure that without a lot of intense counseling those people will go right back to living in filth. Somewhere in their lives, they decided that they weren’t worth anything but garbage…. and lots of it.

I am not suggesting that any one of us has a problem even remotely like this! If you did, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. A lot of us do struggle with excess stuff though.

Let me tell you right now that no matter what life has handed you, you are worth more than your junk, your clutter, and garbage. You are a daughter or son of God! He wants the very best for you.

If you are drowning in “stuff” and find it hard to get rid of, I want you to ask yourself when it was that you decided that you didn’t deserve a nice clean home. If it is really a difficult challenge for you I strongly encourage counseling. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of letting go of things because of the fear of not being provided for. Sometimes it is surrounding ourselves with a layer of stuff so we are protected from hurt. Our minds do funny things while trying to protect us. Without some help to learn to forgive, let go and heal it will continue to be an issue and keep you from being the best you can be! Therapy is for everyone because this is am an imperfect world full of imperfect people!

I read an article by The Minimalists called “Decluttering Doesn’t Work”. I will link it here. They talk about what happens if we don’t address the “why”. If the reasons we have our clutter don’t go away then getting rid of it won’t help. We will just find ourselves replacing our “pacifiers” as they call it.

The Minimalists “Why Decluttering Doesn’t Work”

When we remove our possessions we have to face who we really are. What is really important to us? Are material things so essential? Where does our happiness come from? Who are we without anything? Some pretty deep questions to consider and some serious soul searching to do!

Every single one of us deserves to come home at night to a well organized, clean, healthy, safe house. Not just certain people, not just rich people, not just other people. YOU! Your home is your castle, your refuge and a place of peace.

This is the reason and the passion behind this blog. I want to make that clean, organized dream home come true for everyone! YOU deserve it! So…. on with decluttering and maybe some inner cleansing as well.

If you are part of the VIP Self Cleaning House Facebook group, I hope you are enjoying the daily challenges! If you aren’t, please enter your email to follow my blog and you will get an invite!

Posted in cleaning, happiness, organizing

Happy Decluttering!

Hi Friends!

We are going to start this year off with a bang! We are going to focus on DECLUTTERING!!!! I am sooooo stinkin excited guys! I am doing this right along with you! We are going to toss, donate, rehome and classify!

So what exactly IS clutter? Clutter isn’t just that stack of last weeks mail on the counter and the pile of magazines that you just haven’t had time to read yet. Although those things ARE clutter, there are so many more things that are clutter.


clutter
(klʌtəʳ  )

Word forms: 3rd person singular present tense clutters  , present participle cluttering  , past tense, past participle cluttered

 1. uncountable noun

Clutter is a lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not useful or necessary.
Caroline prefers her worktops to be clear of clutter.
Synonyms: untidiness, messdisorderconfusion 

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/clutter

Clutter is anything that makes your space too crowded or busy and causes stress, anxiety or confusion. Clutter is unnecessary and drags you down, even if you don’t realize it. It can be too many pictures hanging on the wall, too many clothes in the closet, excess Christmas decorations, an entire shoebox full of nail polish….and you get your nails done at a salon. Too many lipsticks, phone apps or salt and pepper shaker collections. It can be too many projects, sports activities or even the wrong people.

You can try to organize clutter, but it is guaranteed to turn to chaos the minute you turn your back. Organized clutter is ….still clutter. The only way to truly organize and KEEP a clean and tidy home is to get rid of the clutter!

Clutter not only is an eyesore and an annoyance. Did you know that clutter actually affects our health, our choices, and our relationships? Clutter actually makes you tired. Your brain is forced to deal with every item you see. It is like a program running in the background that is making decisions and choices and using energy to do so.

I listened to these podcasts over again this week. There is an incredible amount of wisdom here! I can’t say enough about Chalene Johnson! A former “messy person” she knows what it is like and how to go about changing it. She has so many tips for getting rid of “stuff” and keeping your things organized. You can be free of the mess and clutter that prevents you from having the life you want!

The Model Health Show with Chalene Johnson Episode 287

If you are new to podcasts these are a great first! I am obsessed with listening to podcasts whenever I get the chance! I listen to them at 1 1/2x speed so that I can fit more in! Learning from people that have more wisdom than you do is….wise!


Proverbs 2:2 “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding.”


Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”

Chalene Johnson Best of the De-Clutter Project

Please take the time to listen to these podcasts! They are exciting and uplifting. Listen while you are putting your make up on, doing your hair, driving to work. What a great way to start your day, filling your mind with good ideas, positive thoughts, life hacks, and wisdom!

I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to going through my house again (yes, again…. decluttering is not a “one and done”, it is an ongoing process) and digging even deeper this time! It is so freeing!

Happy decluttering!

I hate belongings. I hate clutter. It really bothers me because I can’t think properly. If you’ve got distractions in front of you, your mind goes nuts. ~ Simon Cowell

Posted in cleaning, family, family traditions, food, happiness, organizing, planning

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Photo by Matej on Pexels.com

We had a “quiet” New Year’s celebration this year. Quiet for us anyway. It was still rather noisy and full of laughter and fun! It was just our family and a couple of friends playing games, eating and generally having a good time.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without the annual tree burning. I honestly don’t know how this tradition even started. For years we have been burning the Christmas Tree in the backyard in the snow New Year’s Eve night.

It seems so symbolic. The representation of the end of the year. All the past year’s mistakes go up in a pillar of black smoke and we are given a clean slate to start new. We get a chance to make different decisions and make better choices. It, in some way, resembles the forgiveness we were given when Jesus died on a tree and then defeated death to give us new life.

It is awesome sight to see a tree burning in your back yard! Safely… for the most part!

It is now January 2nd, and everything is back to reality with the addition of maybe some new resolutions to actually make changes this year. It is a good thing to want to make good changes in our lives! We often have such lofty goals that we totally miss the mark and are more discouraged than before though, and that is not where we want to be.

The key is making small changes that will lead you in the direction you want to go! Having someone to be accountable to, that can encourage you, guide or help you is good too!

I am so excited about the upcoming things planned for The Self Cleaning House this year! We are going to work together, step by step to get rid of clutter and organize the things we need to keep. We are going to learn how to decide what to keep and what to get rid of! We’ll find out what needs to be cleaned and how often we need to clean it. What are the best tools and supplies for cleaning? How do you make it look nice once it is clean? We will talk about time management, kids, meals and menu planning, self-care, positive attitudes, self-talk and keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.

I don’t claim to know all things clean and organized and so there will be some guest bloggers here to share their knowledge and skills!

Most importantly, these things are not going to be so hard, time-consuming or overwhelming that it takes away from your family time or your weekends. They will be small changes that will be fun and lead you to have a clean, peaceful home for you and your family to enjoy.

We are going to do this together! We are going to stick to those resolutions to clean and organize your home and we are all going to be doing it together!

When you enter your email to follow the Self Cleaning House, you will receive an invitation to the exclusive Self Cleaning House Facebook Group! There we can discuss what topics you want to hear about, chat about questions or ideas you have. We will do challenges and get daily reminders for things.

I am looking forward to transforming our homes together this year so that you can spend more time doing what you love!

Cheers to a very happy 2019!!

Posted in cleaning, laundry, Tips and Tricks

Laundry Cheat Sheet

I was tidying up in my laundry room and came across the “Laundry Cheat Sheet” that I made waaaaaay back when, when I was teaching my daughters how to do laundry.  I had put it in a page protector and hung it in the laundry room so that they could easily look to see how to wash what they were washing!  

As you can see, it is a bit wrinkled and worn.  It has been stored away for quite some time.  I thought it would be fun to update it and make it prettier and share it with you!  It can be a reminder for you or help you to teach your kids to laundry too.  

I am a fan of bleach.  I use inexpensive white hand towels and washcloths for my dish towels and dishcloths.  They can be bleached and when they get gross or wear out I throw them away!  I can’t stand the thought of all the bacteria and raw meat and all the nastiness that can be in a kitchen NOT being cleaned with bleach.  Bleh!  That is just my germophobia coming out I guess! 

I don’t wash my bath towels with dish towels.  It just seems yucky to me.   I don’t bleach my bath towels either.  Vinegar is a great way to get any smells out of the bath towels though!  No, they don’t end up smelling like pickles! 

I rarely dry any of our shirts.  The less time in the dryer, the longer your clothes will last.  Besides, I find that skipping that step and going straight to a hanger to dry and then to the closet speeds up the laundry process.  There is less in the dryer so those things dry faster, and the shirts are hung up already so they just have to be moved to the closet.  

This is one of my husband’s favorite shirts.  Notice the year printed on the shirt.  It has rarely ever been dried, if ever.  I would say it has lasted pretty well! 

My favorites things for laundry are right here!  You can purchase from Amazon by clicking on the pictures.



If you are subscribed to The Self Cleaning House you will receive the Laundry Cheat Sheet in your email!  I hope you enjoy it!  My Christmas present to you!

Posted in cleaning, family, family traditions, food, happiness, memories

Holiday Traditions

Traditions are something that you give your family that will last long after you are gone. They are a gift you give your kids and they give their kids.

Traditions make your family unique.  It is what makes your family special and different from the neighbor.  Tradition gives us a feeling of belonging, a part of something exclusive.

woman preparing christmas table
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As parents, it is our responsibility to pass on our core values and beliefs in a way that they will be as meaningful to them as they are to us.  There is no better way to instill your values into your children than through tradition.  Faith, patriotism, integrity, responsibility, work ethic, and compassion can all be taught through tradition in a way that it becomes a part of them and they will pass it down to their own children.

Traditions give security to children.  Something they look forward to year after year.  Your children will remember the traditions forever.  The gifts at the holidays and birthdays will be quickly forgotten.

Families need to be held together by that bond of memories and traditions.  Now more than ever we need to keep our traditions and give that gift of belonging and history to our children so that they never forget who they are!

It is important to involve your children in your traditions!  Take the time to explain why you are doing those things and where it came from.  Family history gives them pride in who they are and in their family.  It’s that sense of being part of something big and special. The most important thing about tradition is that it is done every year!!

Our traditions have changed slightly over the years.  When my husband and I were married, we combined and morphed our traditions together and add a few of our own.  It makes OUR family unique!

We have a lot of traditions in our family!  I will share a few of them with you.  It’s always inspiring to see what other families do and I am always looking for new ideas.  I would love to hear what you do!

We go to church on Easter morning every year.  We have lamb for dinner and always have communion as a family before dinner. Easter baskets for our kids always had a new swimsuit for the season!

easter

When our kids were young we went downtown to the local fireworks display for the 4th of July every year!  Over time the crowd got really bad and it just didn’t feel safe anymore. So now we have a huge BBQ at our house, play yard games and do our own fireworks in the street in front with our neighbors.  The May Family Annual 4th of July Party is awesome!

The planning, baking, and cooking for Thanksgiving with my girls is one of my favorites.  Before we pray over the Thanksgiving dinner, we each say what we are thankful for.  After dinner, we play games, watch football, and just hang out in comfy clothes until we are hungry again and then we have rolls with turkey and cream cheese and cranberry sauce, and more pie!  Mmmmmm!

dessert

The day after Thanksgiving/Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year!  Not because of the shopping.  That is fun and all but our favorite part is going to our local annual lighting ceremony, parade and fireworks!  Rain, cold or snow has never stopped us from being there.  It is the most wonderful time of the year! After the fireworks we go home and have Cheeseburger Chowder for dinner. Yummy!

Putting up the Christmas Tree and decorating it has always been super special for all of us.  We all get involved!  We play Christmas music, have a fire in the fireplace, drink hot chocolate and have Clam Chowder for dinner.

Christmas Tree

When our kids were little they always got to open one present on Christmas Eve. My daughter has continued to do that with her daughter but changed it a bit.  She makes a Christmas Eve box for her to open.  She gets new Christmas jammies, slippers, a new movie to watch that evening among other things.  Such a fun thing to do!

On Christmas morning we open presents…like at the crack of dawn!  A lot of times my husband and oldest daughter have to work at 7am-7pm Christmas (they are law enforcement) and we want to have them there for presents so we just all get up really early!  Then we put on a huge brunch for all the extended family.  It is an open house style so that people can come and go as needed. It’s nice to get to see people without anyone feeling like they have to be there at a certain time or stay until the party is over.  It works out great!  Later in the evening, we have a nice family dinner.

We have always had a big New Years Eve party with lots of friends and family and champagne! They are so much fun!

party

Keep your family traditions alive! Give your children the memories and traditions that will continue to live on for generations.

Please enjoy my favorite pie crust recipe!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Holiday Recipes / Holiday Recipes

Perfect flaky pie crust everytime!

4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup water


Mix first 3 ingredients, add shortening. Cut in until crumbles. Beat water, vinegar and egg. Combine with flour, stirring until moistened. Do not over mix. Divide into 5 pieces. Chill. Makes about 5 single crust pies.

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Posted in cleaning, organizing, planning, routines, self discipline, Tips and Tricks

The Crockpot List

composition cute design diary
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I am a list person! I love  “to do lists” and “honey-do lists” and “things I want to make lists” and “grocery lists”.  For some though, lists are overwhelming and discouraging.    They are not a challenge but instead just daunting, and they are likely to give up before they start.   If that is you, I want to help you!

First of all, your daily routines are going to become HABIT and you won’t need a list to tell you to do it.  You may need to remind yourself for a while with sticky notes or index cards until your habits are set in stone but eventually, they are like breathing.  That is the whole point!  You won’t have to think about it! (If you haven’t read the daily routines on my blog, go do that now! Check in the main menu! )

If you get overwhelmed by lists, I am willing to bet that you put everything from “Clean the garage” to “feed the cat” on your list of things to do today.  Your list is longer than your arm and you have work, your child has ball practice and you have to make cookies for the bake sale.  Not a good day for cleaning the garage or anything else that is going to take more than five minutes to accomplish.  That list, although some things like “feed the cat” need to happen today, is way too much and it is discouraging right off.

Even if you don’t think you are a “list person”, lists can be very helpful.    Going to the store without a grocery list is like a dizzy blindfolded kid trying to hit a pinata. Good luck!  If you don’t make a list of Christmas gifts to buy, you are guaranteed to forget someone. Awkward!!!  Lists are very important!

Sometimes our minds get so busy thinking of all the things we need to do that we can’t focus or even sleep well.  Putting those things in writing on a list helps to get it out of our brain and onto paper so you can rest or focus fully at the task at hand.

Lists help you feel grounded and less scattered.   Lists allow you to be able to make a plan.

The trick to not getting overwhelmed with lists is to not put everything on the same list and don’t expect to get everything on your list done by lunchtime.  You can have lists for things you don’t plan to have finished until next year!

crockpot

Today I want you to take just a few minutes and start a “crockpot list”.  Yes, a “crockpot list”!  This is a list of things that you would eventually like to get done but aren’t vital do NOW! Things that can sit and “cook” for a while.  This is not a list that you are to look at and feel pressured by.  This is a list that you can look at next time you find yourself at home for an afternoon and you have two hours free….what on that list can you get done?  Maybe your husband agreed to help you do some household things for one hour, what on that list can you do?  You are waiting for a friend and they call and say they are running fifteen minutes late.  There is a lot of things you can do in fifteen minutes instead of staring at the clock!

My “Crockpot List”  looks like this:

Clean out/tidy the secretary desk (desk where we keep bills, coupons, envelopes, stamps etc.)

Clean and organize the corner cupboards in my kitchen

Work on my cookbook

Defrost the chest freezer and organize

Work on my book

Organize the craft supplies

Post the items I would like to sell on Marketplace

Scan old photos and save on my computer

Clean the junk drawer

Tidy the coat closet

Break down boxes to fit in the recycle bin

person hands woman pen
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Make your crockpot list and keep it either in your day planner or the side of the fridge, where ever you will find it next time you have a few moments to work on something.   A “Crockpot List” will help you be more productive and a better time manager!

round gold colored analog watch with pink leather strap on pink notebook
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